1. If you are not given a spoon you may start licking this straight out of the cup. Not very dignified, but you might not be able to help yourself. Ask my friend Diane.
2. Eating this dessert may make you groan out loud. In public.
3. If your body is unaccustomed to lots of caffeine you will probably not be able to go to sleep until 2 am unless you were smart enough to eat this at 4:30 in the afternoon. I know because I’m clearly not very smart and I eat it after dinner, which in turn keeps me up way past my bedtime.
Why am I even bothering to give you a recipe that needs disclaimers? Because this molten chocolate death in a cup is awesome and once in a while you just need a dessert so delicious that your knees buckle. This is that recipe.
When I first moved back to the happy valley I would occasionally work for the Lisa Ekus Group prepping food for their media trainings. I would slice and dice then drop off several recipes in various stages of preparation so that that week’s author could practice talking and cooking at the same time (harder than it looks) while making their favorite dishes (even complicated ones) in three minutes or less. My favorite part of the job was getting to try so many fantastic recipes as well as the cookbooks I was able to add to my collection.
Molten Chocolate Death
The recipe originally came from Mon Cheri Cooking School in California (they’ve since closed), and called for a white chocolate espresso sauce. Since I’m not found of white chocolate I’ve eliminated the sauce and no one has ever complained they didn’t get any. If you want that recipe send me an email and I’ll forward it to you.
3/4 cup espresso (if you don’t drink espresso use 2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water)
1/4 cup kaluha
8 Tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
10 Tablespoons sweet butter, plus more for greasing cups
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 frozen ganache balls*
Preheat oven to 325ºF and grease 8 small custard cups with butter. Place on a jelly roll pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan heat espresso, kaluha, cocoa, and butter, whisking a bit. This mixture will smell heavenly but don’t be tempted to lick the whisk yet. Pour the hot liquid into a bowl and whisk in the sugar, stirring for about a minute. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and whisk some more. Plop in the egg and vanilla and when you’ve whisked everything is a velvety smoothness pour evenly into the prepared custard cups and slip into the oven for 6-9 minutes or until the edges of the cakes are just starting to set. At this moment you may lick the whisk. Pull the tray out, plunk a ganache ball into the center of each cake and return the tray to the oven for another 6-9 minutes. You don’t want to over cook these, but you want the cake batter to be cooked and the ganache melted and oozy in its chocolatey-ness. I suggest you look at the pictures below.
* Frozen Ganache Balls
Basically you have two choices here. You can make an enormous quantity of chocolate ganache, let it firm up, then roll all of it into balls which you store in your freezer. Or you simply steal eight balls worth of ganache when you’re making truffles or glazing a cake.
What is ganache you ask? Heavy cream and really good chocolate plus maybe a bit of flavoring. How could you go wrong?
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
7 ounces heavy cream (1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup)
1 Tablespoon cognac, honey or espresso (optional)
Put the cream on the stove to boil in a small pan. Chop the chocolate very fine and dump into a shallow dish. Pour boiling cream over chocolate and let sit for a minute or two. Add flavorings (or not) and stir gently with a spatula until the mixture looks like velvet but doesn’t have too many air bubbles. Put in fridge to solidify and lick your spatula. When the ganache has firmed up scoop out large marble size chunks and roll into balls. Freeze. You will be messy, but you get to lick your hands this time.