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Decadent Chocolate Recipes

Here are my favorite decadent chocolate recipes: Fudgy Brownies, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, and my Chocolate Pumpkin Birthday Cake.

Chocolate chip cookies baked in my hometown.
A cookie jar full of chewy chocolate chip cookies.

My global baking tour continued this month with more comfort recipes from home. In Part I of American Baking month, I shared some of my fall favorites I grew up making and eating, including Autumn Apple Pie, Classic Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. In this installment, I stick with the autumn trend by sharing the Chocolate Pumpkin Birthday Cake I made for my birthday. I also share here the renditions of Fudgy Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ve been devouring up.

Now that I’m feeling more settled and have made all my favorite childhood classics about 20 times each since moving to California, is it time to branch out again? Baking is just so easy when you reuse the same recipes again and again. I cringe to think of the failed liquid mochi I made during my Japanese baking month, the bone-dry Tres Leches cakes I originally created during Mexican baking month, or the dog biscuit-like crumpets I concocted during British baking month. But if I don’t branch out, the inevitable happens: comfort becomes stale.

So, Italian baking month, here I come. I’m envisioning an Italian-style Thanksgiving if that’s possible, complete with pumpkin spice cannoli and sugared cranberry topped tiramisu. Stay tuned for more soon!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

A plate of Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Frida, and a latte.

Makes about 2 dozen medium-sized cookies

1 cup butter, browned

1.5 cups cake flour*

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ tablespoon ground coffee (optional)

1 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt (plus extra for topping)

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

¾ cup white sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon molasses OR ½ tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup chocolate chips

½ cup chocolate chunks**

¼ cup crushed walnuts

  1. “Brown” the butter by bringing it to a boil in a saucepan and allowing it to bubble until it changes color to become a light maple syrupy brown. Remove from heat and allow it to cool while preparing the other ingredients.

  2. Sift the flour into a small bowl. Then whisk in the baking soda, baking powder, ground coffee, and sea salt.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and yolk. Then, stir in the sugars and molasses. Finally, once the butter has cooled slightly, stir it into the egg mixture.

  4. Use a spatula to incorporate the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add the flour in thirds and stir gently after each addition without overmixing.

  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.

  6. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavor to set.

  7. After the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge. Heat the oven to 350° F and set out two large baking sheets.

  8. Spoon a small fist-shaped ball of cookie dough out. Gently roll the dough ball in your hands, and gently flatten it with the palm of your hand. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat for the remaining dough.

  9. Either bake both trays immediately or bake them first and save the second for later. To bake immediately, bake at 350° F for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on the edges but still soft in the center.

  10. To save for later, place the baking sheet in the freezer. Allow the dough to set in the freezer for about 1 hour or overnight before transferring to a freezer-safe storage container for up to 1 month. When ready to eat, transfer to a baking tray and bake without thawing at 350° F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges but still soft in the center.

  11. While the cookies are still hot and soft from the oven, sprinkle them with a pinch of coarse ground sea salt***.

  12. Serve while warm with a cappuccino or a warm peppermint tea latte.

* Or use all all-purpose flour if you don’t have cake flour.

** The better the quality of chocolate, the better to cookies. I recommend crushing or cutting up your favorite single-origin dark chocolate bar for this.

*** The bigger and flakier the sea salt, the better.

Aunt Sally’s Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy Brownies sprinkled with lavender in the spring.
Fudgy Brownies baked in my hometown.

Adapted from my Aunt Sally*

Makes 9 1x1-inch brownies

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

1 cup flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable oil (I use olive)

1 cup mini marshmallows**

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350° F.

  2. Melt the baking chocolate using the double boiler method or in the microwave in 30-second intervals.

  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour***, cocoa powder, and sea salt.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk for about 30 seconds. Then, whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract. Finally, whisk in the vegetable oil and melted chocolate.

  5. Use a spatula to stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Then, stir in the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and pecans.

  6. Grease a 9x9-inch square baking tin with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Then pour in the brownie batter evenly.

  7. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until the edges begin to crisp up.

  8. Serve while warm from the oven or store whatever is not eaten on the first day in the refrigerator. Eat any leftover brownies chilled with an iced peppermint mocha or iced mint tea.

* Technically, this was adapted from my Aunt Trish who used a recipe from my Great Aunt Sally, who got the recipe from television. But it’s a family recipe, nonetheless.

** Stale marshmallows don’t quite work for this because they don’t separate well. The fresher the marshmallows, the better.

*** Don’t bother sifting the flour because the brownies should be thick and rich rather than light and fluffy.

Chocolate Pumpkin Birthday Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Birthday Cake for my 29th birthday.
Chocolate Pumpkin Birthday Cake

Makes about 1 9-inch cake

For the cake:

1 cup dark chocolate chips or baking chocolate

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

1½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse ground sea salt

1 egg

1 cup cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

15 oz (1 can) pumpkin puree

½ cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

For the frosting:

Buttercream chocolate frosting (see Add a Pinch for an example)

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350° F.

  2. Melt ¾ cup chocolate chips using the double boiler method or in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Set aside the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.

  3. Sift the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs for about 30 seconds using a whisk. Then, whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and melted chocolate, switching to mixing with a spatula when the batter thickens.

  5. Once the liquid ingredients have been combined, use a spatula to lightly mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Then, stir in the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

  6. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Then, pour the batter evenly into the pan.

  7. Bake the cake at 350° F for about 35 minutes or until the top of the cake becomes springy and a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean.

  8. Let the cake cool completely* before topping with a chocolate buttercream frosting (see this recipe from Add a Pinch for a delicious example).

  9. Top with candles, serve with red wine or a latte (or both if it’s your birthday!) and enjoy.

*It seems obvious, but I learned this the hard way – buttercream frosting will melt if added onto a hot cake.


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