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A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 6

From Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012)


serves 8

Like most chocolate lovers, we think that if you are going to the trouble of cooking with chocolate rather than just eating it in its pure and heavenly state, you better make it really good. If memory serves us, we first had this cake at Maida Heatter’s Miami house overlooking Biscayne Bay. No one can bake like Maida—she just has the touch. And this flourless chocolate cake was no exception. It had a crisp sugary crust that collapsed over its rich mousselike filling. Maida got the recipe from pastry chef Mark Allen, of the long-gone New York City restaurant Foodworks. He learned to make the cake at the Culinary Institute of America. And now we make it. Good recipes pass round and round, year after year. Every time we make this cake, we think of wonderful Maida.

8 ounces unsalted butter,
at room temperature (plus some
for greasing the pan)

1 cup granulated sugar,
plus ¼ cup for the pan

10 ounces semisweet or
bittersweet chocolate, chopped

¼ cup espresso or
very strong black coffee

8 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 300°. Grease a nonstick tube or bundt pan liberally with butter. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of sugar into the pan and shake to coat the bottom and sides with the sugar. Some sugar will fall to the bottom of the pan, that’s just fine.

Heat the chocolate and coffee together in a heavy small saucepan set over a larger pan filled with simmering water over medium heat, and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the butter with ¾ cup of the sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer or with an hand mixer on medium speed until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla. Fold the cooled melted chocolate into the batter. Set aside.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Continue beating, gradually adding the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, until the whites are thick and hold a peak, about 5 minutes. Fold one-third of the whites into the chocolate batter, then fold in the remaining whites in 2 batches, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 2 hours. The cake will rise, then fall.

Cover the pan with a serving plate, turn the pan over, and unmold the cake onto the plate. It may collapse and look a bit messy, but that’s the nature of this cake. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar, if you like.




A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 5

From Canal House Cooking Volume N° 7


makes about 1 quart

In any form, the classic Piedmontese combination of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate is one of our favorite flavors. You’ll see why, when you taste this luxurious gelato.

3 cups skinned hazelnuts
2¼ cups whole milk
1¼ cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon Frangelico or other
hazelnut liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350° and toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. When cool, finely grind 2 cups of the nuts in a food processor. Chop the remaining 1 cup of nuts and set them aside.

Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the finely ground hazelnuts, and steep for 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into another saucepan, pressing on the solids before discarding them. Add ½ cup of the sugar to the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Put the yolks, salt, and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together until thick and pale yellow. Whisk in the cocoa. Gradually ladle about 1 cup of the hot milk into the yolks, whisking constantly. Stir the warm yolk mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers between 175° and 180° on an instant-read thermometer, 3–5 minutes.

Strain the custard into a medium bowl. Add the liqueur and vanilla and stir frequently until cooled. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Churn the custard in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s direc-tions. Just before the gelato has finished churning, add the reserved chopped hazelnuts, letting the paddle stir them in. Transfer the gelato to a quart container with a lid. Cover and freeze for a couple of hours or until it is just firm.




A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 4

From Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012)


makes 24–28

We make these every Valentine’s Day for all our sweethearts. The meringue frosting—light, silky-smooth, and sweet—beats all the others we’ve tried, hands down.

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]FOR THE CUPCAKES
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup red food coloring
2 tablespoons good unsweetened
  cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ cups cake flour, sifted


[wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]1½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ teaspoons white vinegar
1½ teaspoons baking soda

1½ cups sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
Large pinch of cream of tartar


For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line muffin pans with paper with 24–28 cupcake liners and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the flour and buttermilk to the butter-egg mixture alternately in thirds, beating after each addition until just combined. Mix the vinegar and bak-ing soda together, then add to the batter. Beat until the batter is smooth and well combined.

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Tip the cupcakes out of the pans, transfer them to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

For the meringue frosting, put the sugar and ½ cup cold water into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, gently swirling the pan to help dissolve the sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, cover the pan to let the steam run down the sides, washing away and dissolving any sugar granules clinging to the sides. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Uncover, and continue boiling until the temperature registers 238° on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, put the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and gradually pour in the hot syrup. Continue to beat until the whites are stiff, glossy, and have cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Ice the cupcakes with the meringue frosting. (There may be frosting left over; unfortunately it doesn’t keep.)




A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 3

From Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012)


makes about 5 dozen

Our friend Katherine Yang is a New York baker whose exquisite pastries and desserts always balance sweet and savory perfectly. We wanted the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, so we asked her advice. Always gracious, she shared her recipe for these delicate, crisp, salty-sweet cookies—just the kind we had in mind. Like most bakers, Katherine relies on measur-ing her ingredients by weight, not volume, for the most consistent results. We agree, but have included both methods below in case you don’t have a scale.

10 ounces room temperature
high-fat butter
1¼ cups (298g) dark brown sugar
¾ cup (149g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
or extract
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (265g)
all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes.

Whisk the flour and baking soda together, then add to the dough, continuing to mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, quickly mix the dough, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Drop the batter by the well-rounded tablespoon, about 4 inches apart, onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 10–11 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.



A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 2

From Canal House Cooking Volume N° 2


serves 12

We aren’t gooey cake fans so this cake is perfect for us—more about flavor than sweetness. The gooiest part is pouring on the melted chocolate icing. We smooth it out and just let it run over the sides of the cake. Who can resist warm gingerbread on cold winter afternoons?

2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses or sorghum
8 ounces chocolate chips, melted
1 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled

8 ounces chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream

For the gingerbread, preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan, then dust it with flour, tapping out any excess.

Sift or whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, mustard, and pepper together in a large bowl then set aside.

Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the brown sugar, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs at one at a time. Beat in the molasses and the choc-olate until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and the espresso alternately while you continue to beat the mixture. Use a rubber spatula to help incorporate any batter on the bottom or sides of the bowl. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake until the top springs back when you lightly press it in the middle, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

For the chocolate icing, while the cake cools, heat the chocolate and the cream together in a small heavy pot over low heat. Stir with a whisk as it melts.

Transfer the cooled gingerbread onto to a plate. Arrange strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to keep the plate clean. Smooth the icing on top of the gingerbread, allowing it to drip over the sides. Remove the paper.



A Week of Chocolate Valentines for
Bon Appétit — Day 1

From Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012)


makes about 2 cups

We slather this creamy chocolate and toasted hazelnut spread—our purer, more flavorful version of Nutella, the commercial brand available throughout the world—on warm toast for breakfast. (We’ve found that it also tastes sinfully good with Oreo cookies, but let’s just keep that our little secret.)

1 generous cup (5 ounces) skinned hazelnuts
Large pinch of sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts out on small baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet and toast them in the oven until they are a deep toasty brown, about 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Grind the hazelnuts with the sugar in batches in a food processor to a fairly smooth, buttery paste.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water over medium-low heat, stirring often. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the cream and butter. Stir in the ground hazelnuts. The gianduia will thicken and become soft and peanut butter–like as it cools. It will keep at room temperature in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.



Super Bowl Meatball Madness

From Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012)


makes 100 little meatballs

Everyone loves good ole meatballs, including us, and this big batch can feed a crowd. We are partial to a delicate diminutive size, so a 1-ounce ice cream scoop works perfectly and keeps everything uniform (a tablespoon works just fine also). We use one of the sauces that follow, depending on our moods.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1½ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork

Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Sea­son to taste with salt, pepper, and lots of nutmeg. Remove from heat and let cool.

Put the eggs and half-and-half into a large bowl and beat together until well mixed. Add the bread crumbs and the cooled onions and mix together. Add the veal, beef, and pork and mix well. Roll the meatballs into 1-ounce balls (they will be very soft but they will hold their shape when cooked) and arrange on 4 large baking pans. Bake in the oven until just cooked, about 20 minutes.



makes 2–3 cups

Add the hot meatballs to the finished sauce and serve over spaghetti for an old-fashioned Italian–American style dinner. Don’t forget the candle in the Chianti bottle!

1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons salted butter
Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, minced
2 cups canned whole
Italian tomatoes, crushed
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Melt the butter in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the bay leaf and rosemary. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the parsley and adjust the seasonings. Remove the bay leaf before serving.



makes 2–3 cups

It seems like no one cooks with sherry anymore—it is a forgotten flavor. Once ladies sipped sherry in tiny stemmed glasses and added a splash of it to sauces to make them taste fancy. This sauce, with its white button mushrooms, is decidedly retro, but we love it spooned over the hot meatballs over creamy mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles.

1 onion, minced
4 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
¼ cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often,until just soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until it has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, stirring until the flour coats them and absorbs any butter left in the pan, 5–10 minutes. (At this point you are cooking the flour to remove that raw floury taste.) Heat the chicken stock along with the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Add the stock mixture, ½ cup at a time, to the mushrooms, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the parmigiano.



makes about 3 cups

We serve meatballs in this dill sauce on a bed of fluffy white rice. Sometimes we add a spoonful of sour cream on top and lots of chopped fresh dill.

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup minced fresh dill


Melt the butter in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring often with a wooden spoon, and cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until warm. Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, to the onions, stir- ring with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the fresh dill.


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