Help me fatten my beloved
February 7, 2019 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I am giving my SO the Valentine's Day gift of a month's worth of home baking. However, my baking knowledge extends to and ends with apple crumble. The SO loves chocolate, so the two challenges are a) ease and b) chocolate or so delicious it doesn't matter that chocolate isn't in it. Cookies, brownies, maybe I could pull off a cake or breads, anything! Hope me and thank you!
posted by angrycat to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What a sweet idea!

Serious Eats' Turkish Coffee Brownies are super easy and taste fantastic. It's a great brownie-plus recipe. It comes together really quickly, too. It's my go-to whenever I remember I need to bake something the morning of, or if whatever I intended to make didn't turn out.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:38 AM on February 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is my favorite brownie recipe. I add toasted pecans, because they add nice texture to the brownies without being too nutty or crunchy. I’ve made the recipe without nuts, and it tastes fantastic, but needs a little oomph in the texture department.

Use good chocolate and good butter. If you’ve got a Whole Foods near you, go pick up a half-pound container of Callebaut unsweetened chocolate and a package of your preferred fancy butter (Kerrygold is good, Organic Valley cultured pasture butter, something with a lot of butterfat and flavor). You really notice the difference with high quality ingredients vs. a bag of Nestle chocolate chips.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:40 AM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I want something easy and quick, I make Chocolate cherry cake. I use two cans of cherries, rather than just one. And I serve with either ice cream or whipped cream.

Also, Betty Crocker brownie mixes are super easy, and relatively good for price and convenience.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:44 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Cooking for Engineer's Cheesecake Cupcakes are so easy (nilla wafer for crust! no water bath! four ingredients besides the cookies!). I like to make them in a mini muffin pan; the wafers fit better and being able to pop a cheesecake in one bite is very addictive.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I strongly recommend this recipe, which is simple and delicious! (I think it is the same as the one on the back of Hershey's cocoa.) I once made it for a certain picky chocolate lover's birthday, and he had rave reviews. It is rich, moist, indulgent without being *too* sweet, and extremely chocolately. The batter will seem alarmingly liquidy, but don't panic and just carry on. One warning that it works much better as cupcakes than as a cake. I had originally planned a multi-layer cake with it, and did a trial run and the middle didn't cook (it was still delicious, but so fudgey/pudding-like that it wouldn't come out of the tin, so my housemates had to eat it out of the tin with a spoon). I figured the higher surface area of cupcakes would improve this situation, which turned out to be the case. Cupcakes made from this recipe were perfect. The only modification I made was to use coffee instead of boiling water (i.e. add instant coffee to boiling water instead of simply using water). I was aiming for mocha: one actually couldn't taste the coffee, surprisingly, in the end result, but it added a depth of flavor that was fantastic. I frosted them with ample chocolate cream cheese icing (I think it was this one), which paired amazingly. Report back about which recipes you used and which you'd recommend on that basis! :-)
posted by ClaireBear at 7:50 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: This is an incidentally vegan chocolate cake (my mother made it all the time when I was little, and veganism was not her thing):

Joy of Cooking default chocolate cake. It's so easy you won't believe - it just stirs together. I think it was the first cake I ever made. My only suggestion is to reduce the sugar by 2T - it's better a little less sweet IMO.

You can dust it with powdered sugar or make either of these simple chocolate frostings:

1. Take about 4 T of room temperature butter (or Buttery Spread - the spread is softer and mashes easier) and mash it with a fork until soft. Mash in about 2 T cocoa and about 3/4 C powdered sugar, plus a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter. Once mashed, add about 1 tsp milk or water. Mash further. Add more cocoa, powdered sugar and liquid until you get a frosting whose flavor and consistency you like. You can also mash in more butter if you add too many dry ingredients.

2. Do basically the same thing except mash together powdered sugar and butter, then add chocolate that you have melted in the microwave. To melt chocolate in the microwave: cut it into small pieces or use chips. Heat for 30 seconds, stir. Heat for 15 seconds, stir. Repeat 15 second stirring until it's mostly melted, then give one final stir and let residual heat melt the rest.

You can also use store-bought frosting, or just serve with ice cream.
posted by Frowner at 7:51 AM on February 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, for the JoC cake: the batter will be pourable. This is fine. You can bake it in a slightly larger or slightly smaller pan and it will also work - just keep an eye on it if the pan is larger and cut the baking time by a couple of minutes.

To check for doneness: Stick either a toothpick, a skewer or a paring knife (this last one leaves a visible hole, but you'll be frosting it) in the middle of the cake. If it pulls out with no batter clinging to it, the cake is done. The top of the cake will be risen and slightly glossy.
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: I wanted to echo Autumnheart in the recommendation to use high-quality ingredients - especially for the chocolate/cocoa in all these recipes (also potentially for butter, and maybe eggs). The cocoa so foregrounded in my recipe and the others that you can really taste the difference. It will still be delicious either way, so if it's not possible definitely don't feel bad or stress about it (I used a mix of Hershey's and Trader Joe's cocoa in the birthday ones I described above, so about as cheap as it gets, because I didn't have extra money), but if you can afford to splurge and are in the mood to do so, you will taste the difference and you won't regret it.
posted by ClaireBear at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Juliet Banana's cheesecake cupcakes are also good with a chocolate-dipped digestive biscuit as the base - chocolate side up (touching the filling).
posted by wellred at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I swear by the one-bowl-brownie recipe on the Baker’s chocolate box. Easy and so delicious!
posted by bookmammal at 7:56 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Are you interested in making your own bar chocolate? “Raw” chocolate from cacao powder and cacao butter can be pretty easy to make, either as bark or with some inexpensive molds. Refrigerator chocolate doesn’t require tempering, which is much easier to start with. You can use different cacao sources which have different taste profile, and add nuts, seeds and other flavors to your taste. I’ll dig up some references if you wish.
posted by dttocs at 8:02 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: We were obsessively eating chocolate dipped coconut macaroons the other day. Very simple to make and satisfying to eat! Recipe samples: BrownEyed Baker | RealSimple | Taste Kitchen

Martha Stewart has a recipe with the chocolate mixed in
posted by crush at 8:04 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: If you have a Costco membership and they have these in stock, the Kirkland chocolate chips are really pretty dang good quality. It is a three-pound bag, but hey, you did say you wanted a month of chocolate...

If it’s winter where you are, you could also pick up some mini marshmallows and make some whipped cream, maybe some crushed peppermints or some caramel sauce, and create a little hot chocolate bar. The recipe I made most recently is basically “Heat milk in pan” and “nuke chocolate in microwave on 30-second intervals until it’s melted”, stir, pour into mugs, add toppings. Pick up a jar of espresso powder (usually found in the coffee aisle at the store) for mocha flavor. Again, fancy chocolate is your friend here!

Speaking of fancy chocolate, I hit up Cost Plus World Market the other day, and found Icelandic chocolate bars, Swiss chocolate bars and German chocolate bars. You could certainly use these as the fancy chocolate for your chocolate recipes, but they could also be a fun gift as-is.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This no-bake chocolate raspberry torte (thank you to whichever MeFite put it on my radar) is insanely easy and incredibly good.

I also asked this question a few weeks ago, and got a lot of great suggestions. The sorbet is now on my go-to list.
posted by Mchelly at 8:24 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: This Smitten Kitchen brownie recipe is quick and easy and the brownies are pretty much perfect.

Another great easy one from Smitten Kitchen: Brownie Roll-Out cookies. (No need to use fancy cookie cutters; you can just cut them into rectangles or whatever with a knife.)

Not everyone loves the texture of shortbread, but if your SO does, these Double Dark Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies are very easy and very good. They're equally good with regular cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the dark versions.

This chocolate cake takes a little longer to make than a pan of brownies but there's nothing difficult about it, it always turns out well, and it's so good that when my kids (who have had this as their standard chocolate cake all their lives) recently tried making a chocolate cake from a boxed mix they didn't even think it was worth eating the whole cake and the last of it got thrown out.
posted by Redstart at 8:40 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: My absolute go-to favorite for impressing fellow chocolate-lovers is Lava Cakes, they’re so easy it’s shocking, and they are so so tasty.
posted by suri at 9:17 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: My favourite brownies (one bowl):

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, such as muscovado
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional.

1. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.

2. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.

Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies.

Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped.

This is currently my favourite chocolate cake.

Lava cakes are great, freeze super well, do not overbake.

The food lab cookies are a pain but delicious (you should be chopping the chocolate for it -- it isn't hard, just sort of tedious).
posted by jeather at 9:26 AM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Nope, not done. This is a fun self-pudding cake to have with ice cream:

Brownie Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/3 cups boiling water
Accompaniment: coffee ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Into a bowl sift together the flour, 1/3 cup of the cocoa powder, the baking powder, and the salt. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, the granulates sugar, the butter, the milk, and the vanilla, add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. Stir in the walnuts and spread the batter evenly in an ungreased 8-inch-square baking pan. In a bowl whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup cocoa powder, the brown sugar, and the water, pour the mixture over the batter, and bake the cake in the middle of the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it.

These are very chocolatey cookies:

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1½ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1½ cup sugar
1½ tbsp instant coffee
2 tsp vanilla
Melt half the chocolate chips, butter and unsweetened chocolate in double boiler. Stir until smooth, remove. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, coffee at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate mixture and flour. Add remaining chocolate chips. Bake until crackled and shiny outside, soft inside, about 8 minutes.

This is the best ever fudge sauce:

Nana’s Chocolate Sauce

¼ lb butter
1 can 2% evaporated milk
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
In a double boiler cook until all ingredients are dissolved. Do not stir until it’s finished cooking. Then, with hand mixer, whip until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla.
(I often put Kahlua instead of vanilla)

Every now and then I find this a very lovely treat:

Brownie Pie

½ cup butter
3 sq unsweetened chocolate
1½ cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp corn syrup

Melt and cool butter and chocolate, then beat in all ingredients. Pour in an unbaked crust. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

This is a great cake

Hazelnut Fudge Torte
(Nuts About Chocolate)

preheat oven to 350 F

b cup hazelnuts, toasted and ground
¼ cup flour
1½ tablespoons ground coffee beans

combine and set aside

1 cup butter
7 oz (200g) semi-sweet chocolate
¾ cup sugar

melt butter and chocolate and let cool for a couple of minutes, then add sugar

1½ tablespoon coffee liqueur
4 eggs

mix well and add to chocolate mixture
now add dry ingredients

Bake in prepared, round 9" pan for 25 minutes. do not overbake. Cool, then chill.

Place cake on rack with plate underneath. Pour glaze over top and gently spoon over sides. Decorate with 8-10 whole hazelnuts, toasted. (I don't glaze)
posted by jeather at 9:33 AM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a big fan of this stout cake.

I also like this plum upside down cake and find it adapts well to other fruits and modifications. (I like to add candied ginger).

(added bonus for both is that they halve very easily if you have appropriate baking dishes)
posted by vunder at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As an adjunct to your home-baked treats, can you borrow a countertop ice cream maker? A small scoop of ice cream gives fantastic contrasts of texture and temperature and flavor that can throw the best aspects of your baked goods into high relief.

Making ice cream doesn't necessarily involve a double-boiler: the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Cookbook is all recipes that are started and done under an hour (i.e., no steps of heating and then cooling in the fridge before final freezing). We've been using it for years and they're great.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:04 PM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not chocolate, but this almond cake is ridiculous:

You probably really do want a food processor: I've tried making it with a stand mixer and it's annoyingly slow.
posted by LizardBreath at 2:15 PM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Um, it looks like you don't need any more brownie info, but I agree with the Smitten Kitchen brownie recipe. I am a very novice baker and I have done these twice and they're super easy and definite crowd-pleasers. I don't have data to back this up, but I think going with flaky sea salt over table salt is key. One thing they don't tell you—stick the pan in the fridge to chill them for a bit, then take them out, pull them out by the parchment, and cut them. If you try to cut while hot the knife will become a sticky mess.
posted by radioamy at 3:57 PM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: I use table salt in my Smitten Kitchen brownies and they are just dandy. (But I've never tried using sea salt, so for all I know maybe they would be even better with that.)
posted by Redstart at 4:04 PM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: Scones! Delicious when spread with whipped cream and jam, or just butter. I'm making these Saturday for a baby shower for our first great grandchild.

Pema's Scones recipe, makes 12-15

preheat oven 220 °Celsius, 430 °F
150g salted butter (cold)
600g plain flour
150g caster sugar
40g baking powder
280g sultanas
190g double cream
190ml milk
1 egg beaten with salt for glaze

Cut cold butter into cubes and rub into flour until crumbly and evenly mixed (small crumb flour)
Add sugar & baking powder
Mix, add sultanas
Add cream & milk
Mix well
Flatten on floured surface

Rest covered 15 mins

Roll to 2.5-3 cm thick
Cut into individual scones
Turn oven to 200°C, 390°F
Bake until golden, about 20 mins
posted by anadem at 8:49 PM on February 7, 2019

Best answer: An unusual and fun chocolate cake is Concorde Cake (yes, named after the plane!). It's very simple -- just chocolate meringue and chocolate mousse -- and is delicious. I've only made a vegan version I patched together from recipes on the internet, so can't vouch for the exact recipe I linked. You do need a good mixer to make meringue unless you're ready to an arm workout (you can do it by hand, it'll just take a while).
posted by snaw at 4:37 AM on February 8, 2019

Best answer: Chocolate mousse is a great dessert. No oven involved, but there is skill involved in making it. Just make sure that as you add the warm cream, you go very slowly and whisk while you do it. If the cream were poured in all at once, it would cook the eggs and you'll end up with bits of scrambled egg in your mousse. This is why there is a step involving a sieve -- to strain out tiny amounts of cooked egg. It'll leave you with a silky smooth result.
posted by pdxhiker at 3:40 PM on February 8, 2019

Best answer: This Chocolate Ginger Chilli Cake has a lot of ingredients but is very easy to make and IT IS WORTH IT.
posted by quacks like a duck at 4:00 AM on February 10, 2019

Response by poster: THANK YOU EVERYBODY with these delights I am certain to entertain my beloved's gut. Thank you all (puts on chef's hat)
posted by angrycat at 3:21 PM on February 12, 2019

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