This recipe for molten dark chocolate lava cakes with a creamy chocolate center is seasoned with the zest of a Christmas orange and a bit of Christmas spirit(s) for a divine dessert in a jar.
Let’s discuss what makes a good holiday meal. It begins with an email from the host. Subject line: It’s Time to Prepare the Feast.
The night starts with appetizers and bloody marys, shrimp dips and weenies on toothpicks, baked brie, and an assortment of canapés. Dinner comes next. There are few things I dislike more than a ham dinner with mayonnaise waiting for me, so I am blessed that ham is served along with prime rib. Cheese-and-cream-laden potatoes are always provided, biscuits like fluffy clouds smeared with sun-yellow butter, evergreen Brussels sprouts and broccoli, a salad or two, jeweled pomegranates like mini tree lights, glistening against the sea of emerald.
Gifts come next for proper digestion before desserts and cookies of all sorts are laid out, the bar turning to after-dinner drinks. But the question, if you’re me and charged with bringing dessert, remains as to what those desserts should be. Surely Christmas is a time for celebrating, and with everyone stuffed thoroughly, satiated and smiling something small is in order, petite, perfect for resting alongside a selection of sugar-dusted confections.
Rich dark chocolate cake surrounds a molten core of orange-spiced (or is it spiked?) chocolate in a 4-ounce jar that is just the right size for a few bites of dessert. You can make these the day before, refrigerate, and then bake on demand. Plus, unbaked cakes can go home and be baked later, too, making them an ideal gift for those who forgot to save room.
While you cannot find these cakes between the pages of Desserts in Jars, you can find my book in more places than ever, including Target, World Market, Barnes & Noble, your local bookseller, and Amazon.
To celebrate the holidays, Specialty Bottle would like to give away three 12-count cases of their 4-ounce jars to three lucky readers! I’ll be tossing in three signed books to go along with each of those cases as well. Specialty Bottle carries a wide variety of jars, which I find dangerous (how many cases do I need on my shelves?).
To enter, simply leave a comment below.
- If you live in Seattle or find yourself in the area, you may recognize these jars as the very same as the ones Hot Cakes owner Autumn Martin uses for her amazing molten chocolate cakes. If you haven’t been there, go. Since doing a class and book signing there in August, I have several times found myself planning to relocate so that I may bring my laptop and move in to the cakery: The giant chalkboard menu, the local ingredients, the wood benches.
Autumn makes an insanely good salted caramel sauce, and the milkshakes on the menu are the stuff of dreams (boozy shakes, too!). In fact, she has a cookbook coming out in April on just that topic, Malts & Milkshakes. Buy it. Then plan a trip to Seattle to visit her.
- I was lucky enough to receive a few Pete and Gerry’s Organic and Heirloom Eggs for my holiday baking needs. Their rich flavor has been a wonder in everything I’ve used them in, from poaching them over my breakfast to whipping them into baked goods for the holidays. Their bright yellow yolks standing out from the rest, custards are creamier and molten lava cakes deeper in flavor. Plus, they are pretty. I did declare 2012 the year of the egg nearly 12 months ago. Perhaps I’ll keep the theme going for 2013. Eggs for all!
8 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Use one tablespoon of butter to butter the inside walls and bottom of six 4-ounce mason jars or ramekins. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together. Remove from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier and the orange zest. Sift in sugar, flour, and salt, and stir to mix. Using an electric beater, beat in the eggs one at a time, then continue beating for about 3 minutes, until the chocolate turns a slightly lighter shade of brown.
Fill jars with about 1/3 cup batter each. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400º F. Remove the jars from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the top is set in the center, but still slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.
Makes 6 cakes.
This giveaway is provided as a collaboration between Specialty Bottle, Harvard Common Press, and my hand signing books and will run until Friday, December 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Three winners will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Chosen winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!