The first few snowfalls were polite little things, gently reacquainting us with the season. Then overnight, winter determinedly made her entrance. Ottawa woke up to 30 centimetres of freshly fallen snow yesterday and I, for one, was so excited that the novelty of shovelling the driveway won’t wear off for a little while yet. With the school semester coming to an end and the holidays almost beginning, I tend to be a little all over the place at this time of year. Should I be baking gingerbread or studying for exams? (Baking gingerbread, obviously. In my dreams.) But this decadent dessert doesn’t take much time to come together and it only requires four basic ingredients — perfect for a quick winter study break. Musical accompaniment: A Fine Frenzy
This recipe for baked hot chocolate comes from Scharffenberger’s The Essence of Chocolate and just one spoonful is like indulging in three desserts, as they describe it: “the top layer has just a hint of crispness, the center has the texture of warm chocolate pudding, and the bottom layer is just a shade thicker than the thickest hot chocolate you can imagine.” Irresistible.
Baked Hot Chocolate from The Essence of Chocolate
Ingredients (serves 4):
9 ounces (255 grams) 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
-Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange four 1-cup ovenproof coffee cups or mugs or 8-ounce ramekins in a baking or roasting pan.
-Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water, and whisk occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. (I just put my chocolate ant butter in a pot directly on the stove, just make sure you keep on eye on it.)
Stir the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer then set over the simmering water and stir until warm to the touch.
-Place the bowl on the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Remove from the mixer, and fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture until it is light and smooth.
-Spoon the batter into the cups. Add enough very hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the side of the cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The baked hot chocolate will be done when the tops lose their glossy finish. A wooden skewer inserted in the top will emerge clean, but batter toward the bottom of the cup will still be very moist.
-Carefully remove the cups from the pan. The cakes can be served warm, at room temperature or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, bring to room temperature and place in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 5 minutes, or until warm.
-Serve topped with a dollop of cocoa whipped cream.
Serving note: This take on hot cocoa is so chocolatey and rich that I actually preferred serving them in a smaller espresso demi-tasse — it was just the right amount!