Sunday, February 14, 2016

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes and Weekend Round-Up Part 2

Cook's Notes:Indulge a bit in these decadent Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes. It's a holiday today. Add a touch of bittersweet chocolate mixed with semi sweet chocolate for a deep, dark chocolaty flavor. The addition of essresso powder deepens the chocolate flavor without giving it a coffee taste. The molten cakes pair well with vanilla ice cream or sweet whipped cream topping, and raspberries or strawberries. 
Recipe makes 6 jumbo muffin size cakes and was adapted from
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I tested with Valrhona)
  • 1 stick of butter, plus 2 tablesoons, divided
  • 1- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder 
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • optional 1 TB. Amaretto
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream, sweetened whipped cream, raspberries, chocolate sauce or caramel sauce for serving
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter 6 wells of a jumbo muffin pan or six 6 oz. ramekins with 1 TB softened butter (cover well as you don't want these to stick), set aside.
  • Place chocolate and 1 stick of butter plus 1 tablesoon butter in a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat in microwave in high power for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Return to microwave and heat 30 seconds longer, stir well. If it's still not melted continue to heat in 15 second intervals until melted. Let cool slightly. 
  • Stir in powdered sugar, espresso powder and salt (it will be thick at this point) then mix in eggs, egg yolks, Amaretto, and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in flour mix until combined. 
  • Divide batter among prepared muffin wells, filling each about 2/3 full (about 1/2 cup in each. If using custard cups transfer them to a baking sheet to bake). 
  • Bake in preheated oven until edges are set but center is still soft, about 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 1-2 minutes (run a knife around edge if they don't seem loose), invert onto a cutting board. Then tranfer to a dessert plate and serve warm.

Weekend Round-Up:Part 2 Tucson Area

Step into...
De Grazia Gallery in the Sun. It is is on the National Register of Historic Places. This legendary landmark of Southwestern art and architecture was designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist Ted De Grazia. The 10-acre foothills site
 of the Santa Catalina Mountains includes the adobe gallery with permanent and rotating exhibits, chapel with interior murals, gift shop, cactus courtyard, the artist’s home, and his grave.
De Grazia built the gallery so his paintings"would feel good inside." Opened in 1965, it is the home to more than 15, 000 De Grazia originals, including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics and sculptures. The gallery stands as a testament to a man who loved the Southwest, customs, traditions and its people. His work is unique. It reflects and documents all that De Grazia saw and experienced including cultural and religious events. 

Some of his notable works include 

For more information on this gallery and the Renaissance man check out blog posting from last year.

Tucson Botanical Gardens is a five -and-a-half-acre urban garden, a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Built from the historic nursery and home of the Porter Family, the shaded Historic Gardens and the Porter House Gallery offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy eleven rotating exhibits annual. These exhibits focus on emerging and established local and regional artists whose themes interpret the flora, fauna, and landscape of desert regions.

Paths lead through a diverse selection of residentially scaled specialty gardens, including a Zen Garden, Prehistoric Garden, Barrio Garden, Butterfly Garden and Children’s Garden. Stunning colorful benches made with handmade tiles were scattered throughout the gardens. 

The Stonewall Foundation Tropical Exhibit is home to orchids, bromeliads and jungle vegetation.
During the months of October to April, the exhibit hosts Butterfly Magic, a display of live tropical butterflies with species representation from five continents. This exhibit captured my immediate attention with butterflies everywhere. I could not take enough pictures!!
This specimen called Achilles Morpho was quite spectacular when its wings spread open to reveal a beautiful azure blue.  

Perhaps someday you will have an opportunity to experience the sights of the Tucson area. The southwest is a unique region and certainly a contrast to the Midwest for me.  

1 comment:

  1. The flower and butterfly photos are beautiful. I want to be there.