Chocolate Guinness Cake

The image for the article is licensed by robplusjessie under a Creative Commons By-NC-SA 2.0 license. If I need a relatively simple dessert, or if I feel that I have earned a reward, or if I think of it, I like to make Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake, from her cookbook Feast. It is the perfect cake, because not only is the cake itself rich and flavorful, but I actually enjoy the frosting as well. Generally, I despise frosting in more than trace amounts, and I will ditch the frosting from a cake without a second thought. This cake, though, is great with all of its frosting. Indeed, the frosting balances out the dark chocolatey, Guinnessey nature of the cake. It is a well-balanced cake. The problem for others has been that, as far as I knew, the recipe wasn't available online. However, Susie Nadler from The Kitchn showed me that it was in the New York Times all along. Hooray! So run, run, run, and make the Chocolate Guinness Cake. Serve it to people that you like, and notice how they like you just a little bit more now.

TGRWT #13: Chili Mole

Round 13 of TGRWT is Chocolate and Caraway. For various reasons, including the fact that I had recently made Chili, I thought that a Caraway Cocoa Chili would be an interesting. caraway_chili_mole1.jpg Every step of the dish was on the precipice of disaster. I thought that there was way too much caraway, so I compensated with a lot of cocoa, and suddenly I had a mole. Hurray! There was far more chili powder than I could process at once in the blender, so after a bit of an optimistic time overfilling it, I had to redistribute the powdered and unaffected bits of chiles, eventually combining them together once everything was particulated. I went to open the beer and it started foaming everywhere so it spilled all over the kitchen. It took me 30 minutes to discover where the bottle cap disappeared to. Still, after all is said and done, the chili turned out great, and even got my wife's approval. She couldn't taste the caraway individually, but thought all the flavors were balanced quite well. I could certainly taste the caraway, as I had worked with it recently, and it definitely adds a new note to the chili. Probably some sesame would have rounded it out nicely. Ingredients:
  • Chili Powder
    • 3.7 oz. Cumin Seeds, whole, toasted
    • 2.2 oz. Caraway Seeds, whole, toasted
    • 1.5 oz. New Mexico Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 1.5 oz. Guajillo Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 6 oz. Pajillo Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 1.5 oz. Chipotle Grande Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • .5 oz. Garlic Powder
    • .5 oz. Cumin Powder
    • 2.2 oz. Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
  • Chili
    • 750 ml Beer
    • 30 oz. Tomato Sauce
    • 2 oz. Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
    • ½ cup Chili Powder
    • ½ cup Masa
    • 2 lb. Lamb, 1" Cubes
    • 1 lb. Beef Chuck, 1" Cubes
    • ¼ cup Vegetable oil
    • 4 medium shallots, sliced
    • Salt, To taste
  • Topping
    • Crème Fraiche
Directions: For the chili powder: In a dry pan, toast the chiles and seeds and let cool. In batches, process the chiles and seeds in a blender until powdered. Combine with the other powders and set aside. For the chili: Toss the meat in half of the vegetable oil to coat. Season liberally with salt. In batches, brown each side in a scorchingly hot dutch oven. Don't catch anything on fire. Set aside. Either in a separate pan or letting the dutch oven cool a bit, sofrito the shallots. Pour the beer into the dutch oven, turn up to high, and deglaze the pan. Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 1-1.5 hours. Season with salt. Top with the crème fraiche. Notes: This makes faaaar more chili powder than you'll need for the actual chili. Feel free to cut back significantly or, as I do, jar it up to use later or give away. The beer I used was Mandrin au Sapin. Feel free to use whatever beer makes you happiest. This is not a proper mole. I know this because I really don't know how to make a mole, but I know it's a sauce with chocolate, and so I called it a mole. I believe a proper mole has more fat in it.

TGRWT #13: Caraway and Chocolate/Cocoa

I may have to do this one. While reading what Erik at Fooducation wrote about the Food Timeline, I noticed that he is posting this month's They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT). TGRWT, as you may remember, is a food pairing competition. You take two ingredients that generally are not classically paired but should go together well anyways. This month's competition is Chocolate (or Cocoa) and Caraway. This sounds really good. Caraway is generally used in, well, rye bread. Probably other things as well, but it is most strongly associated with rye, at least for me. I've always loved hiding it in dishes as a kind of secret ingredient. I know exactly what I'm going to do with this, as well. Muhahaha. Details later. Later, I say! Go to the original post to learn how to enter, but the gist is to make something using this combo and post about it, good or bad, by December 31. Erik will round everything up and tell us more about how this pairing works. » Blog Archive » Chocolate Zen » Blog Archive » Chocolate Zen: "The legends preceded it: chocolate so dark it ceased to taste like chocolate. Chocolate so intense it required cautionary statements. Chocolate so fine it cost $32 per pound. One of my coworkers is a fan of dark chocolate, and he was the one who first told me about the 99%-cocoa Lindt chocolate bar."

(Via reddit.)

LEGO Chocolate Printer

LEGO Chocolate ExtruderInstructables has a great entry on a homemade 3D Chocolate Printer, made from LEGOs (with some custom work). Its very rough at the moment, and the maximum geometry is limited by the fact that there isn't yet a way to work in support structures, but it's a great start. There are some movies on the site of the device working, as well as step-by-step pictures of its construction (in the Instructables way).

Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids

Chocolate AltoidsI believe I've mentioned my affinity for mints in the Metromint story, so it should come as no surprise that I'd mention this. Make Magazine's blog reports that Altoids are releasing a new set of ginger, cinnamon, and (of course) peppermint flavored candies, but this time dipped in dark chocolate. Curiously Strong Chocolates. Unfortunately, they won't be available for a few months, unless you win an eBay auction to benefit the American Red Cross. Were it not for the charitable component, I think that even Dark Chocolate Covered Altoids would not be worth the (as of posting) $172.51 highest bid, even for the three tins. Still, if you enjoy helping people, chocolate, peppermint, and the knowledge that you would be one of the few people in the world who knows the tastiness of this treat, then it's likely worthwhile to start bidding.

Roulette Chocolate

I've mentioned before that the spicy/sweet connection is getting stronger in Popular Culture. It's not quite there yet, but one of my local coffee houses has a Maya Mocha which, so you know, thoroughly sucks. Mind you, that's more because of their poor coffee than the concept of the mocha, but I can think of a good version of that, so I'll work on that at some point. Anyways, most of the products that mix spicy and sweet are niche products, and this is no exception. It's called Roulette Chocolate, and it's a series of twelve chocolate "bullets" that are mostly pure chocolate, with one that has what would appear to be a Thai chile hiding within. It's meant to be scary, but I suspect it would be mostly tasty. Perhaps not as good as my Chocolate Lava Fudge, but interesting nevertheless.

A terrible secret

Iced CreamsI feel kind of guilty writing this, but I fear that I must spread the word: chocolate chunks in ice cream is a bad idea. I know, I've just lost half of my readership, but bear with me. I'm not suggesting that chocolate is in any way bad, as chocolate is clearly one of the most important foodstuffs of the past however many years since it was discovered. I'm not saying that chocolate flavoring in ice cream is bad, either; though it's not one of my favorite flavors, it's a vital part of the ice cream pantheon. No, what I'm saying is, at the freezing temperature of ice cream, chocolate chunks have the flavor and consistency of candle wax. And not that fancy, scented candle wax either, no. The dollar-store, white, plain, boring, good-for-a-power-outage candle candle wax. Oh, sure, there's a hint of chocolate flavor once it's finally come to a decent temperature, but that's brief and unsatisfying compared with the candle nature of the stuff beforehand. It's a waste of chocolate, it's a waste of ice cream, and I really wish people would stop putting it into what would otherwise be a flavorful, nicely-textured dish. That is all, continue with your day.