Friday, February 13, 2009

I Heart Chocolate

So it's Valentine's Day again, it seems. And I don't really have much to say about it, except for that it is a marvelous excuse to eat chocolate. My husband and I have never really gone crazy for this day, mostly because it is so very difficult to find a willing babysitter and we have been parents for eleven out of our twelve and a half year marriage. We have made this "holiday" about the kids with heart shaped decorations around the house, chocolate chip heart shaped pancakes for breakfast, and cards and boxes of chocolate to greet them at the kitchen table in the morning. I usually make a semi-romantical dinner for us to eat after we put the kids to bed....fillet Mignon, lobster risotto or seared ahi have appeared on menus past, served with champagne (of course) and a delicious dessert.

But this year, we are actually going to brave the crowds and eat out (thanks mom!), and so we made a rich, fudgy dessert tonight to enjoy with the family. I'd be really hard pressed to come up with a more perfect and sensual Valentine's Day sweet. Its molten chocolate interior pours forth when you pierce it with a fork and when topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries, it is pure bliss. Because it takes only a few minutes to stir together and just a few minutes more to bake, this should not be limited to special occasions only. Wow your friends or family after a casual dinner, or make it anytime you are in the need of some serious chocolate therapy. It is so easy to make your seven year old could do it...just like mine did tonight.

Molten Lava Cakes
makes 8

4 T butter, softened
1/3 C sugar
3 extra large eggs
1/3 C flour
1/4 t salt
8 oz. semi sweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well, until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt until combined. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a bowl, in thirty second intervals, stirring between each one. It should take around a minute to melt completely. Let cool slightly then pour into the flour and egg mixture. Whisk until smooth.

Pour into eight greased cups of a muffin tin. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until edges are set. Carefully run a knife around the edges of the cakes. Place a large platter over the muffins and invert cakes onto it. Using a spatula, lift the cakes to individual plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar and berries if desired. Top with vanilla ice cream.

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