Sunday, December 11, 2011
Betcha can't eat just one: Flourless chocolate bites
hese little flourless chocolate morsels have come out of my oven more than any other sweet thing, ever. I feel pretty confident saying that, as one year (2003, I believe) I made 2,000+ of them for a local winery during the winter barrel tasting weekend.
I remember the first time I made the recipe at home (which I found at epicurious). In 2000, epicurious was pretty much the best online source for recipes. I made it as a full-size cake for a dinner party, which was what the recipe called for--a 10-inch springform pan. It was good, but I found it a little dry at the outside, and a little wet at the center, and decided the recipe would work much better, and spend much less time in the oven, as smaller cakes.
Since then, I've never made a full-size flourless chocolate cake again. I've made them mostly in mini muffin tins and popped them out as "bites," or as individual desserts in a larger muffin pan (about 1.5 x a regular muffin size). They don't puff up like a muffin, thankfully, so they have a really pretty look. (Key: don't fill the tins too full. An ample half-fill is about the right amount.)
This year I decided that a) I finally need to post the recipe, and b) I was ready to try a couple of variations.
First, the recipe:
Flourless chocolate cake bites
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted. Mix sugar and cocoa in large bowl. Add eggs; whisk until well blended. Pour in the butter-chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
At this point, you're ready to bake. You can follow the directions at epicurious and bake in a 10-inch springform pan, or you can deviate as I do and make many smaller cakes.
This recipe multiplies well. In fact, I don't think I've ever made a single recipe--I've made as many as 10x the recipe, and just recently made it 5x. So my stab at how many a recipe makes... is around 72 little bites, which is three of the mini muffin tins.
A couple of my tips: Let the batter sit for a bit and cool before putting into the well-sprayed (baking spray) muffin tins. In fact, you can refrigerate the batter for a few hours or overnight and scoop it into the tins with a spoon. (At that point, you'll have to let it sit out for a bit to actually warm to the point of scooping.) I have always found that a little easier than trying to pour it in as a runny batter. I haven't frozen the batter, but I have definitely frozen the baked cake bites, and they thaw and even reheat quite beautifully. The larger size that I've made can almost resemble a molten chocolate cake once it's been reheated in the oven for a few minutes.
Variations: This year I decided I would make them with a hazelnut twist and an Almond Joy twist. Oddly, I'm not sure I would again; both of them felt like they needed to be baked in little baking cups to accommodate the extra ingredients, and so it added a cumbersome aspect to the process. (I know that sounds lazy, but when one is making 500 or so, being able to be efficient gets kind of important...) The Almond Joy variation turned out messier in both the making and the eating than I like, but very yummy. The hazelnut version (see the picture above) was also quite delicious, and less messy than the almond variation. To accomplish the hazelnut, I baked the bites for about 7 minutes (filling the tins with a little less batter than usual), pulled them from the oven, piped Nutella into the middle of the bite, topped it with a roasted hazelnut and popped them back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Worked well, but not sure it's that big of an improvement over the original...
Finally! The flourless chocolate bites have been shared. They are a really easy little sweet nibble to master, but be sure to spray whatever you bake them in very well. The batter loves to stick, and I have thumped many a muffin tin on a countertop to try and separate cake from tin... At this point my muffin tins are quite well seasoned and the baked cakes fairly leap from the pan. But be warned: PAM!
Bake up a couple of batches of these and you'll be set for those drop-in guests throughout the holidays! Enjoy.