FOR THE LOVE OF chocolate
Two ways to indulge your desires
Chocolate deserves a place in your heart — and on your dessert plate — all year round.
Why do we love it so? Years ago, I asked Carole Bloom, cookbook author, teacher and chocolate authority, about chocolate’s allure. It contains a chemical, she said, that creates the same chemistry in the brain as occurs when people are in love, a feeling of euphoria.
We all might benefit from some chocolate-induced cranial jubilation. And we have two delicious suggestions.
Michael Owens’ Moon Pies
Makes 9to 11sandwich cookies.
1/2 cup (1stick) butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar
1cup evaporated milk
1teaspoon vanilla extract
2cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1stick) butter, room temperature 1cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup marshmallow creme
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
In large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed using the paddle attachment; beat until light in color, scraping down sides with a rubber or silicone spatula as needed. Add egg, evaporated milk and the vanilla slowly to incorporate; beat on medium speed and scrape the bowl as needed.
Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until well incorporated.
With a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized, plain piping tip, pipe the batter into circles the size of a silver dollar on prepared baking sheet. Bake until the cookies feel set or firm to the touch, 12to 14minutes. Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
In large bowl of electric mixer, use paddle attachment to cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy and no lumps of butter remain. Add marshmallow creme and mix to blend.
Transfer filling to a pastry bag equipped with a large, plain tip. Match the cookies together by size.
Profiteroles au Chocolat
Serves 10to 12.
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
6tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten
6ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup whole milk 1tablespoon unsalted butter 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1quart ice cream, such as vanilla, salted caramel or pistachio
To make the puffs, position two racks in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a heavy saucepan over mediumhigh heat, combine the milk, water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. When the butter melts, remove the pan from the heat, add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until blended. Return the pan to medium heat and continue stirring until the mixture forms a ball and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
Using an electric mixer on mediumhigh speed, add the beaten eggs, a quarter at a time, to the dough, beating well after each addition until thoroughly incorporated, and the dough is smooth and shiny. Let the dough cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a 3/16-inch round tip. Pipe mounds about 1 inch in diameter (about 1 teaspoon dough) onto the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 2 inches apart. You should have about 40puffs.
Bake the puffs for 15minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until well puffed and golden brown, about 5minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately prick the bottom of each puff with a thin wooden skewer or toothpick. Return to the oven, leave the oven door open and allow the puffs to dry out for about 15minutes. Then remove from the oven and let the pastries cool completely on the pans on wire racks.
To make the chocolate sauce, combine the chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl and set over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Add the milk, butter and vanilla and stir until blended. Remove from heat.
Slice each puff in half horizontally, stopping just short of the opposite side. (The puff should open like a clam shell.) Place a small scoop of ice cream in the bottom half of each puff and replace the top. Arrange the filled puffs on individual plates. Top with the chocolate sauce and serve.