There’s no way to deny that chocolate is the official food of Valentines Day. In fact for the past two years my husband has given me a box of delicious Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolates, and trust me, I enjoy every single one of them. I decided to share one of my favorite desserts on the blog today, chocolate espresso lava cakes. The first time I decided to make it I was surprised by how simple it was. You’d think for something so decadent and rich it would be a complicated recipe, but it’s just a few simple steps, and very quick. Plus I think it’s great that you can make little individual serving sizes, so if you’re trying to impress your friends at a dinner party this would definitely be the perfect dessert!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 5 ounces Bittersweet (NOT unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped.
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 4 eggs: 2 whole eggs, and then just two yolks
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or instant coffee powder if you can’t find the espresso)
- large pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- Optional: vanilla ice cream, raspberries, or whipped cream.
Butter four ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt your butter, then add in your chocolate bit by bit. Slowly and continuously stir and keep adding your chocolate until it’s all smooth and melted. This next parts important, REMOVE FROM HEAT, then add in your brandy. Otherwise it may flair and bubble up on you. Continue to stir until smooth. Let it cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this 10 minutes you can blend your other ingredients.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add your two eggs, plus two egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. With a beater on medium or high blend for quite awhile, until you get nice ribbons that fall of the beaters when lifted from the bowl. I beat mine for about 4 or 5 minutes. Sift your flour over this batter mixture, and fold it in with a spatula. Add your chocolate mixture and also fold in. Now you’re ready to divide it into the ramekins, they’ll end up being about 1/2 to 3/4 full (and probably try to be a little neater than I was).
I only cooked two ramekins for my husband and I. The others can be stored in the fridge overnight and cooked the next day. Just make sure you pull them out of the fridge and warm to room temperature before putting in the oven. Baking times will vary. For two I’d recommend 10 minutes, for four 13-15 minutes. You want to bake til the tops are just puffed and dry, but a toothpick inserted comes out with batter still attached (that’s the lava part). You don’t want them baked all the way through, but moist and gooey in the center, so the chocolate oozes out.
Let them cool for about 5 minutes. You’ll want to serve them warm. I take a knife and loosen mine from the edges, then dump them in a bowl. Add vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries. You can also add whip cream instead, or a great Christmas variation is peppermint ice cream. It's one of my husbands favorites, and he's not a big dessert eater. Enjoy your decadent lava filled goodness with your sweetheart!
xo ~ Emily