Somewhat Muddled Musings

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Valentine's Treat - Chocolate Lava Muffins & Snow Cream

I wanted to do something a little special for Valentine's Day this year. We don't really celebrate much - just some food gifts to each other. Usually some kind of meat for Russ (he got a lobster tail, fancy sausages and some bison meat), and chocolate for the kids and I. But this year, I wanted to do a little more. I've been wanting these for weeks, and thought V-day was the perfect day to give them a try - and impress the heck out of my family..who never said a word, they were too busy consuming with big happy smiles on their faces! I love you guys!

Alton Brown 's Chocolate Lava Muffins
from Good Eats: The Early Years

8 oz bittersweet chocolate (though we just used chocolate chips)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 TB all purpose flour (or for those purists 1.5 oz)
1/2 C Sugar (again, for the purists 4 oz sugar)
2 TB natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large eggs

*Heat oven to 375
*Bring a large saucepan with about 1" of water to boil
*Use your stand mixer to put on saucepan, and melt chocolate and butter together, stirring frequently.
*Stir in vanilla
(if you don't have a stand mixer you can do this in a regular double boiler configuration, then transfer it to a large mixing bowl)

*Sift together flour, sugar, 1 tb of cocoa powder and salt. (you can do this over a paper plate to make incorporating easier)

*Crank the mixer to medium speed and add eggs one at ta time to the chocolate mixer..fulling incorporating each egg before adding the next.

*Drop speed to low and begin adding in dry ingredients.

*Increase speed to high and beat for 5 min (light and creamy). (you can do this with a hand mixer, but be prepared to stand there awhile).

*Chill for 30 min.

*Pour into 12 silicone muffin compartments. If you're using standard muffin tins, coat each in butter, then dust with remaining cocoa powder.

*Spoon contents into muffin 'tins', about 1/2 way up sides.

*Bake for 10-11 min. Wen the muffins are finished, they'll be gooey. The top is firm and kind of cracked, but the insides are gooey. This is a good thing!

*You can serve this with a bit of ice cream melted and blended with espresso powder as the book suggests, but we didn't bother since we were doing it with our snow cream. I think a little whipped cream (freshly made) would be good, too.

Snow Ice Cream
(put out bowls for collecting clean snow when you know it's coming. This recipe makes about a gallon total...enough for leftovers even after the snow is gone!)

1 C Half and Half
1 C Milk
1 C sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
15C snow

Pour snow into a large bowl, mix in rest of ingredients, and stir until fully incorporated. This takes awhile, and it looks kind of crumbly, but it does pack well. When frozen, it gets hard, but I just scrape it and pack into a measuring cup to serve.


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