Chocolate

chocolate
Chocolate Recipes for Easter (or anytime)

Easter chocolate is like the The Phantom Menace. After plenty of hype and lots of waiting you're all set for something dark and intense, but the final product is just a disappointing merchandising opportunity. Take the classic chocolate rabbit. Tall ears, a basket on his back...

Chocolate pots de creme for two
Messy Valentine’s Day
Chocolate pots de creme for two The astute among you will notice the subtle change in the header. Although the domain name remains the same, Christie's Corner has been replaced by The Messy Baker. Baby steps, Charmian. Baby steps. The new domain name and layout are coming. Just slowly. There's a lot of tech involved and that always takes more time and chocolate than I imagined. My eyelids are quivering and I'm not sure if that's from hours of staring at a computer screen or fuelling myself with caffeine and cocoa beans. Regardless, stay tuned for changes. I don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day, but am going to make an exception this year. I've been sitting on some news and think Valentine's Day is a great chance to share the love. The Messy Baker is going to arrive in bookstores in Spring 2014. Yes, that's later than originally planned, but it's going to be published in Canada via HarperCollins Canada and the US / rest of the English-speaking world via Rodale. I'm still in shock. Anyway, let's celebrate with chocolate. I've two recipes for you. One is a newly created, ultra-decadent, romantic French dessert scaled down for two. The other is a healthy, family-friendly treat for those with real kids or just a very persistent inner child. It's one of my favourites and courtesy of Mairlyn Smith. So get out the baking chocolate, find a few extra dish cloths to mop up the spills, and say I love you with food.
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Improvisation
Black Forest Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe - The Messy Baker I think I've created a new, never-heard-of-before dessert. Bundt Trifle. Not because I'm trying to be different or start the next food craze, but because my imagination plays tricks on me. I had wanted to make a trifle in one of those clear, straight-sided dishes that shows off all the layers. I knew my mother had one. I just knew it — as in Bet-Real-Money-on-It knew it. I could see it clearly in my head. I could even tell you where it was stored. So I phoned my mother and made arrangements to pop over and pick up the bowl. When I arrived, my mother handed me the cut-glass bowl with sloped sides she uses every year for the Christmas trifle. "Thanks, Mom. But I want your other trifle bowl." There was no other trifle bowl.
Tripel Chocolate Brownie Cookies - Made with love by TheMessyBaker.com
Recipe: Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies
This is Mairlyn Smith. Like me, she has a  frequently misspelled first name and a passion for chocolate that borders on illegal. She even has an impossibly small kitchen (like mine was until last year). I had the pleasure of interviewing her earlier this month and the longer we talked the more I realized we had in lot common. By the end of our conversation, the only difference between us -- other than hairstyle and a few inches of height -- is that I don't go into grocery stores with a big blade and hack at the root vegetables. Other than that? We're practically twins. She also wrote a health-conscious cookbook that fits my tagline, putting flavour before looks. Unlike many health-focused cookbooks, where fibre content and finger-wagging trump taste and joy, Mairlyn's Healthy Starts Here!: 140 Recipes that Will Make You Feel Great is rooted in pleasure and practicality. She believes, and backs up with studies, that treats are essential to your emotional health. She believes if  something is "good for you" it should also taste good. She believes cooking shouldn't be so complicated you end up huddled in the corner nursing a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome and an anxiety disorder.
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Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - TheMessyBaker.com A while ago I solicited recipes for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. A lot of suggestions rolled in. Conflicting opinions on walnuts, oatmeal and chefs flew through cyberspace. Some people loved Alton Brown's recipe. Others called it "cakey" and touted the ever-popular David Lebovitz. Thomas Keller's name cropped up frequently, while a small but vocal group swore on their grandmother's baking pans that Cook's Illustrated's browned butter version was the best. Make that The Very Best. Ever. So I did some research into the various options. Some recipes called for chopped chocolate. But with chips readily available that just seemed like extra work. Other recipes used bread flour, which I don't stock. So I nixed them. Many demanded an extra yolk. Needless to say, I was a little put off by this requirement since I hate wasting food and never know what to do with an extra white. Two or three? Make meringues. But one? However, I adore browned butter and hunted down the Cook's Illustrated recipe. Even though it called for that pesky extra yolk, it used ordinary flour and included my beloved walnuts. So I was willing to sacrifice some albumin for the cause. Then I read the instructions.
Bittersweet French Chocolate Mousse
French Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse
It's official. We are the neighbourhood hillbillies. The stove, doormat, counter top, sink and fake plant have been in the back patio for two weeks -- or a fortnight as the British would say. Doesn't "Our unwanted kitchen items have been sitting about for a fortnight," sound more civilized than "we dumped our junk the backyard for a couple of weeks"? Maybe the plaster dust is affecting my brain, but the word "fortnight" conjures images of summer vacations with days spent wandering the beach and nights spent at swishy cocktail parties -- not used appliances and bits of furniture. To counteract the junk-laden karma of our reno, I made a very decadent dessert for Easter. Regan Daley's  In the Sweet Kitchen arrived just in time for the long weekend and I took it as a sign. Since I often browse cookbooks back to front, one of the first recipes I came upon (page 548) was for chocolate mousse. Real chocolate mousse. With hand-whisked egg whites,  top-end chocolate and a vanilla bean. Does this decadent dessert settle the score?
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Chocolate Chip Mousse
Easy Chocolate Chip Mousse - TheMessyBaker.com Late on Sunday afternoon I did the unthinkable. I made chocolate mousse without high-end chocolate. Company was coming.  The oven was occupied with Apple Roasted Chicken. And I had very little time to devote to dessert. So, I opened the baking cupboard and grabbed the first thing I saw -- a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. What can you do with chocolate chips, a stove top and half an hour kitchen time? Make mousse. And dang, if it didn't turn out more than a little okay.
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Black Forest Chocolate Cookies
Sneaking in under the wire. It's still Groundhog Day. And all I can think of is Bill Murray sitting in a Punxsatawney diner, stuffing his face full of donuts with impunity. According to the groundhog, we have six more weeks of winter coming, which makes me want to stuff my face with donuts, too. Only I know that if I do, I won't start the next day as if nothing happened. Impunity for gluttonous digressions is not part of my Groundhog Day reality. Wanting something decadent, but reasonably healthy, I decided to make some chocolate cookies. Looking in my cupboards I found what I needed. Cocoa is always low-fat, dried cherries are full of antioxidants and nuts are good for you. Add a glass of milk and it's practically a whole meal.
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Raspberry Hot Chocolate and a Book Giveaway
When I was a child, my father used to make an ice rink in the back yard. He'd pile us onto the toboggan and pull us around to flatten the snow. Then, night after night, he'd zip up his navy blue snowmobile suit and disappear into the dark. When he came back in, his mittens would be coated in ice and his nose and cheeks would be bright red. The fix? Hot chocolate. When the rink was finally ready, after what seemed like weeks, mom would lace  up our skates, stuff us into an envelope of winter wear and send us out to slip and slide the afternoon away. We'd return with numb toes and ice-encrusted lashes. The cure? Hot chocolate. Today, as I face yet another snow shovel, I find myself craving this drink -- only a grown up version. As luck would have it, Dominique and Cindy Duby, chocolate artisans from Vancouver, have released a new book focusing entirely on chocolate. And their hot chocolate recipe is a raspberry version. And  raspberry is the only chocolate flavour  my lemon-loving dad likes. So I figure this was meant to be. I had to try it.
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Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Parfait

I didn't make this dessert. My younger sister did. The entire dish was earmarked for her boyfriend. But she loves me enough to let me take a few photographs of the last serving reserved for him. She even provided the martini glass. I love her enough...

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