Are you watching what you eat over the holidays, or are you giving yourself an-eat-whatever-you-want pass?
I'm doing a little bit of extra indulging this year. I'm not going crazy, but I do think I need to be rewarded after spending the last two years in cholesterol jail.
In fact, my doctor just gave me a get-out-jail-free card for the holidays!
Do Not Pass Go.
Do Not Pass The Cheese Counter at Fairway...well, at least, just this one time.
For the past two years, my cholesterol has been inching higher, so I've been diligently watching what I eat to keep it under control. I really want to avoid the whole statin thing as long as I can.
You have to understand that this has been torture for me! Cheese is my most favorite food on earth, and to cut it out of my diet has been cruel and unusual punishment. I can pass on the red meat...skip the egg yolks, and say no to shellfish...
But no pizza????? No baked brie? No mac and cheese???
Torture, I tell you...Torture.
The good news is that I just had my cholesterol tested again, and guess what? It went waaaay down... it was my lowest number in years!
So at least for this holiday season, I'm ringing in the new year with saturated fats...
...including these Chocolate Lava Cakes.
I mentioned in this post about an easy New Year's centerpiece, that I'd be making the lava cakes for New Year's Eve, along with my Shortbread Sparkler cookies.
You cannot believe how EASY they are to make. And they are quite impressive, I might add. You will get rave reviews. RAVES!
If you've been following me, you know I'm not the kind of baker to invent my own recipes. I just like to bring you recipes that I've found to be really worth making. And this is one of them, which was an ad for Ghirardelli Chocolate that I ripped out of a magazine back in '06.
Now these are admittedly not my best photos. My lava cakes do not look at all like these magazine photos:
|Photo by Ghirardelli Chocolate|
It was not easy to get them out of the oven, and set them up to be photographed, while they were still hot and lava-y, but before the whipped cream melted all over it.
I almost scrapped the whole post, because I didn't like the photos, but the cakes are just too good, so I went with it.
Fortunately for you, you will not have to photograph them before serving. As long as they look like this when you bring them to table...
...and like this when your guests dig their forks into them...
...they will be a hit...and you will be a New Year's Eve Baking Diva.
A couple of notes before you start...
Plan your time, because you will need two hours to chill the chocolate centers.
These should be served immediately after baking, while the chocolate centers are soft.
Unless you are a confident and relaxed hostess -- which I am most definitely not -- who doesn't mind whipping up a dessert while your guests are waiting with their forks in hand, the cakes can be assembled in advance. Just keep them in the fridge, and take them out about 1/2 hour before you want to serve them; then bake as directed, below.
Recipe by Ghirardelli Yield - 6 servings
1/2 bar (2 0z.) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 bar (4 oz.) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup cake flour
Whipped cream for garnish
To make centers, melt chocolate and cream in double boiler. Whisk gently to blend.
Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until firm. Form into 6 balls; refrigerate until needed.
To make cake, preheat oven to 400°F. Spray six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray.
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler; whisk gently to blend.
With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla on high speed about 5 minutes, or until thick and light.
Fold melted chocolate mixture and flour into egg mixture just until combined.
Spoon cake batter into ramekins.
Place a chocolate ball in the middle of each ramekin.
Bake about 15 minutes, or until cake is firm to the touch.
Let them sit out of the oven for about 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around inside of each ramekin, place a plate on top, invert and remove ramekin.
Garnish with whipped cream and serve immediately.
Yes, these have lots of butter and heavy cream. But so what? It's a special occasion.
And besides, that's what New Year's resolutions are for.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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