Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating American Chocolate Week

We have already received many wonderful stories about Chocolate from our readers.  Thanks for responding to our request!  Here is one of our favorite submissions:

"When I'm really seeking Chocolate I take my time and choose my poisons wisely; because calories are at stake and I aint waisting my time on just any kind of chocolate. I can usually satisfy my sweet tooth with a simple butter cream from Sees. When I go hard; I usually end up at the Grand Lux with a slice of the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.. This is best when shared with someone who is equally fond of chocolate and is equally fond of you. Sooo tasty.  I use a spoon because you're given a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, personally I don't indulge ice cream often (lactose intolerant) but it kicks it up a notch, especially when the ice cream melts perfectly around the plate, which is drizzled with a combination of white and dark chocolate sauce. It's something about using a spoon that makes you feel like a kid again. It's like when your grandma or Nano would bake a cake and give you permission to lick the bowl or spoon Hmmm Hmmm good.  I like to follow my Molten Cake experience with a dry red; A Merlot or Cabby is the perfect ending."

Thank you for sharing those delicious details, Crystal!

So now you might be wondering... "Where is the Grand Lux Cafe?"  Read on! "The idea for Grand Lux Cafe came to life when The Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas asked David Overton, Founder of The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, to create an upscale casual restaurant concept for their property.  Blending the grandeur and luxury of European cafes with the sensibilities and spirit of an all-American restaurant, 'Grand Lux Cafe' was born. Today, with locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston, Grand Lux Cafe is proud to offer our guests unique, casual global cuisine in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere."

If you would like to make your own molten chocolate cake at home, try:
Martha Stewart's Molten Chocolate Cupcakes
(Makes 16 cupcakes)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Make ganache: Place 4 ounces chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm cream until it begins to boil. Pour cream over chocolate. Let stand a few minutes, then mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Use 1-inch ice cream scoop to make balls; place on parchment-lined tray, close but not touching. Freeze 1 hour, or airtight up to 3 days.

2. Make batter: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat remaining 8 ounces chocolate with butter until melted. Meanwhile, with a mixer, whisk together eggs, yolks, and sugar until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Quickly fold egg mixture into chocolate until almost completely incorporated. Sift flour and salt over mixture, and fold in.

3. Divide batter among liners, filling halfway. Add ganache ball to each. Cover with batter, almost to top.

4. Bake until just set, 8 minutes. Transfer tin to rack to cool for 10 minutes (cakes will fall). With a small offset spatula, gently remove from tin. Serve warm.

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