Tag Archives: Chocolate

Torta Gianduia con Ciliege (Gianduia Cake with Cherries)

10 Feb

Love and sweetness together? Yes it is possible with my gianduia cake prepared with chocolate and hazelnuts and then covered with a cherry topping. Chocolate is seductive and slightly mysterious; it has been called the food of the devil. Chocolate and love result in the same good feelings and sensations in the brain. Therefore, this delicious and tasty cake is perfect to serve as dessert for the most intimate dinner of the year, Valentine’s Day! Gianduia is a specialty of Piedmont, and it is made with ground hazelnuts and chocolate. The combination of these flavors makes an irresistible treat. I also recommend gianduiotti, the pralines made with the same mixture. The colorful and fruity addition of cherry topping gives a moist texture to this cake. You can certainly impress your partner on such a special day, an experience for all senses! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my beloved readers.

TORTA GIANDUIA CON CILIEGE GIANDUIA CAKE WITH CHERRIES)
Preparation time: 1 h Cooking time: 50 min. Servings: 8

Torta Gianduia fetta

INGREDIENTS
Cake
260 g (1 ¼ cups) granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g (5 oz) melted butter
140 g (1 ¼ cups) ground hazelnut
240 g (1 2/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
15 g (3 teaspoons) baking powder
150 g (5 oz) dark chocolate (70%)
170 ml (¾ cup) buttermilk at room temperature
2 tablespoons rum
1 pinch salt

Topping
450 g (1 pound) canned, pitted cherries
1 lemon (juice)
6 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoon potato starch
300 ml (1 ¼ cups) cherry juice

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F)
2. Put the hazelnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside
3. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cacao powder, ground hazelnuts
4.Beat the eggs and the sugar with an electric whisk for at least 5 min. until pale and creamy. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined
5. In a double boiler melt chocolate. Cool for about 2 minutes stirring continously and slowly add buttermilk
6. Combine the egg mixture with the flour mixture, then add the chocolate mix and rum. Mix with an electric whisk until creamy
7. Generously butter a 25 cm (10 inch) spring-form cake pan. Sprinkle with flour to cover the entire surface, removing any excess flour
8. Bake for 40-45 min. or until done. Test by inserting a wooden toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it is done, it should come out dry
9. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 min. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack
10. In the meantime prepare the topping. In a saucepan dissolve sugar and potato starch into the cherry juice. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and the cherries. Over a medium low heat bring to boil. Cook for 4- 5 min. stirring slowly until thick. Let cool and spread over the cake. -Paola

 

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Torta al Cioccolato e Barolo Chinato (Barolo Chinato Chocolate Cake)

10 Feb

This delicious dark chocolate cake flavored with Barolo Chinato and served with whipped cream and raspberries is a truly romantic treat for an amorous occasion such as Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate, the so called natural “love drug” and one of the top ten aphrodisiac foods, is definitely an excellent choice when celebrating this holiday.  The feeling eating chocolate produces is the same you feel as when falling in love so … let’s eat more chocolate!!!  In fact, several compounds present in chocolate have been linked to one’s mood and pleasure, such as phenyl-ethylamine which has amphetamine-like stimulating properties and tryptophan, related to serotonin, a substance associated with ecstasy and happiness.  In addition to its “love effects”, dark chocolate – rich in antioxidants – provides other beneficial properties such as reducing your levels of free radicals, which are responsible for cellular damage, aging and cancer.  This delicious food is obtained from the tropical tree Theobroma Cacao, which has been cultivated in central and south America for at least three millennia.  The Aztecs thought it gave strength and power to their warriors. In the past chocolate has been considered more medicinal, rather than the delicious treat it is today.  In this recipe, the chocolate’s aroma blends well with the distinct flavor of Barolo Chinato, a Barolo wine flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, including quinine bark (china in Italian, pronounced KEY-na), and sweetened with a touch of sugar.  As a dessert wine Barolo Chinato is a perfect match for rich sweets, especially those with chocolate like this superb cake.  So when making the cake, save a glass (better yet, save 2!) to enjoy with your cake.  And now, food meets art!  Chocolate is not only a delicious treat; some artists use it as an expressive material in their work.  If you like video performances please take a look at my dear friend and great artist, Ciriaca Erre’s video “Can I have another question?” A passionate and emotional modern Medea.  Enjoy it!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORCWRiQ7_tM&feature=player_embedded  
www.ciriacaerre.com

TORTA AL CIOCCOLATO E BAROLO CHINATO (BAROLO CHINATO CHOCOLATE CAKE)
Preparation time: 1 ½ hours                              Baking time: 45-50 minutes

Torta al cioccolato fetta small

INGREDIENTS
250 g (1 cup +2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
260 g (1 ¼ cups) granulated sugar
30 g (8 tablespoons) cocoa powder
250 g (1 ½ cups) flour, type 00
15 g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs separated
150 g (5 ounces) dark chocolate (70%)
240 ml (1 cup) Barolo Chinato
250 g (2 cups) raspberries
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 165°C (325°F)
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside
2. In a large bowl cream the butter with sugar and cocoa using an electric mixer.  Beat in egg yolks one at the time
3. In a double boiler, heat wine slowly and melt chocolate.  Cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the wine-chocolate mixture to the butter and mix well with a spoon
5. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter
6. In a medium bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until firm and glossy
7. Gently fold whites into the batter using a spatula until there are no more white streaks
8.Grease and flour a 24 cm (10 in) spring-form pan
9. Pour in the batter and bake for about 45-50 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean
10. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack
11. Wash raspberries under running water.  Gently dry them with paper towels.  Set aside
12. In a medium bowl combine cream and powdered sugar, and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Decorate the cake with whipped cream and raspberries.

Note: You can substitute Barolo Chinato with another sweet or fortified red wine such as Marsala, Port or Sherry.  -Paola

 

 

Rose del Deserto (Desert Roses)

23 Sep

Kids need between-meal pick-me-ups.  Why not make this Italian variation of yummy chocolate chip cookies? “Desert roses” are delicious, perfect for a tasty and healthy snack to enjoy with a glass of milk.  Even adults love them with a nice cup of tea or, even better, with an Italian espresso or cappuccino.  These cookies get their name from the rosette-shaped formations of  ocher-colored minerals found in desert areas.  

ROSE DEL DESERTO (DESERT ROSES)

Preparation time: 20 min.               Baking time: 10-12 min.      

INGREDIENTS
130 g (⅔ cup) granulated sugar
120 g (½ cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
240 g (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
5 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder
Pinch of salt
180 g (1 cup) chocolate chips
200 g (7 oz) approx., cornflakes (like Special K) or similar
Powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 170°C (350 °F) 

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl with an electric mixer
  2. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract
  3. Mix the flour and the baking powder in a small bowl
  4. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips
  6. Roll teaspoon-sized balls of dough in a bowl of cornflakes
  7. Place the cookies, well-spaced (about 3-4 cm), on a greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake about 10-12 minutes
  9. Remove from pan and cool on a rack
  10. Cover with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, just before serving

Note: This recipe makes about 50 cookies.  If the dough is too sticky, add one or two spoons of flour. You can substitute chocolate chips with other ingredients such as raisins, for an even healthier snack.  Store in a airtight container.   You can also store the baked cookies in the freezer; before serving, let them thaw at room temperature and then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.  -Paola

My friend Chiyo kindly wrote a note about this recipe.  As Paola notes, this name apparently derives from its likeness to a mineral in the desert, but I’m still waiting for someone to tell me whose wild imagination tied the Saharan desert to an Italian cookie.  While American type chocolate chip cookies vie for excellence on its soft chewiness, the Italian version is half cake/half cookie that has a firm bite and an additional crunch that comes from the corn flakes.  Paola says the best thing about these cookies is that it is fun to make with her kids who love to eat the corn flakes while they shape the dough.  My kids are much more greedy, they delight in eating the cookies which they say are their favorite biscotti.   -Chiyo

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