The Prudent Foodie has been delinquent in the posting department lately; the first two weeks back to work (and my daughter's school) since the New Year have been rough! This week we are back to desserts - and I'm not much of a dessert eater, so what's with that? I think it is my northern european genes kicking in; searching for ways to survive the long hard winter, via increased calorie intake :-)
We had friends over for dinner last night, and I had this wild fantasy about making individual chocolate souffles for dessert - for about 15 seconds until I got a grip on myself, and realized that this would completely prevent me from actually spending time with my guests, and enjoying my dinner. Not that souffles are so hard to make, but they take both time and timing, and I wanted to enjoy the evening too! Then I remembered one of my favorite desserts as a child, a chocolate cake that forms as if by magic over a creamy chocolate pudding type underlayer. This is a fair, though less fluffy facsimile of the chocolate souffles, and way, way less trouble and fuss. I have adapted it to my taste by adding extra cocoa powder at every opportunity! Next time I try it, I may add a little cognac or Grand Marnier, and update this post if I like the results!
I assumed that it would be a chore to make when I first asked my mom for the recipe many years ago, and was thrilled to find that it is as easy to make as it is yummy. And, it contains no exotic (or expensive) ingredients, so when you are making a last minute dessert, you will have all these things in the pantry, with no need to run out to the grocery store for those asian pears, or some pomegranate molasses ;-)
Preheat oven to 350F. If you are using a convection oven set it at 325F.
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 TB cocoa powder
The instructions say to sift all these dry ingredients together in a bowl. I don't think anybody ever sifts any more (does anyone even own a sifter these days? ) so I just run a whisk or spatula through the ingredients. But feel free if you are having a master pastry chef moment! Stir in:
1/2 cup milk
2TB melted butter or shortening - I suppose you could also use corn or canola oil.
blend in 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Spread this in a 9" square baking pan - if you are going for the souffle look, this looks quite pretty in a white ceramic souffle style dish
Sprinkle the batter with a mixture of
1 cup brown sugar
5-6 TB cocoa powder
Then pour over all of it
1 3/4 cup hot water
If you are using the 350 degree standard oven plan on 45 minutes, for convection 325F, about 30 minutes)
When this comes bubbling out of the oven, it even looks satisfyingly like a souffle, although like a souffle it settles as it cools. I like to serve this still warm with vanilla flavored whipped cream - ice cream is lovely too! Serve it forth, and enjoy! DeeDee