One of my FAVORITE desserts is to be had at the Denver Steak and Chop House. Anne Hall and I have shared several GORGEOUS dinners there, and today's recipe hearkens back to the lazy evenings after an Irish dancing competitions where we'd share a variation on this awesome dessert.
1 cup butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 Tbsp orange brandy (optional, but I like it)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (now you can play with variations on the chips. I'd like to try omitting the brandy and adding instead a few cinnamon flavored chocolate chips. I think it'd be pretty good)
Garnish: Strawberries (liquefy in the food processor with 1/3 cup sugar and then run through a strainer. Throw in the fridge for 2 hours)
Sprig of Mint (I love mint in dessert, and if you set it up right, you can make the strawberry sauce look like molten lava and pretend that the whipped cream is an island refuge for you mint sprig in the midst of an erruption of flavor!)
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees F
2. In a double-boiler melt the chocolate and the butter over medium heat. When melted, remove from heat.
3. As the chocolate and butter combine, use an electric mixer to mix the eggs and sugar together. Add in the salt and the orange brandy.
4. Now slowly add the egg mixture to the cooled-off chocolate sauce.
The preparation time for this is really short, and cooking time is about 8-10 minutes. The original recipe (Pam Anderson, allrecipes.com) does not have provisions for high-altitude cooking, so it took me 12 minutes. If you're in my family, you're probably in the Great Lakes region and, therefore, in low country.
Get your muffin tins out - the big ones! - and line with paper cups. Spray butter-flavored Pam into the cups to coat them (the canola oil, non-flavored version doesn't enhance the dish, so use butter-flavored) and then fill the cups to the brim with the batter. Toss them into the oven and, after 8 minutes, begin to check on them.
Now, here's the rub: the cakes should puff up a good little bit and look pretty solid on the top, but they should have a little bit of a dip in the center. It's really important that they are pretty well cooked, otherwise it'll be a sloppy mess. I made two extra last night for dinner so that I had some room for error, and believe me, I had error. So, be careful!
Once you pull them from the oven, let them cool for a minute. Then, gingerly, remove them from the muffin tins, invert them onto the waiting plates, and remove the paper cup. Now, make a pool with the sauce and add your island.
The cool thing about this dish is that the center is molten, so when you break through the outer crust (or, in geological terms, the mantle) you will arrive at a liquid center (magma). Ever think you'd use the word "magma" in cooking?