Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chocolate Pots de Creme and World Peace Cookies

This dessert is a chocolate dream comes true! I made this chocolate treat for a girl’s lunch with my sisters, mom, aunt and grandma and I will have to say that making and eating it brought chocolate happiness to my day!

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Pots De Crème

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant decaffeinated coffee mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For The Pots de Crème:  Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half.  Transfer mixture to medium saucepan.  Cook mixture over medium-heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes.  Do not let custard overcook or simmer.

Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate.  Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes.  Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and coffee.  Divide mixture evenly among eight 5-ounce ramekins.  Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours.  Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.

For The Whipped Cream:  Using hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds.  Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer.  Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30-45 seconds longer. 

Dollop each pot de crème with whipped cream.  Serve.

Recipe adapted just a tiny bit from America's Test Kitchen

World Peace Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chips

Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add both sugar, salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes.

Turn off mixer.  Pour flour mixture and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each.  If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, continue mixing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flours disappears into the dough-for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly.  Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half.  Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.  (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.  If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking-just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with a sharp knife, slice the logs into round that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them-don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.)  Arrange rounds on the baking sheets, leaving one inch between them.  Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes- they won't look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be.  Transfer to a baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

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