Friday, December 31, 2010

Mint Chocolate Truffles - by Lisa

Happy New Year! So, nothing like waiting until the last moment, eh? I kept putting this one off even tho I was excited to sample these treats. It finally dawned on me this afternoon that today was the last day of the month, and I *had* to get them done tonight! Fortunately, I had all the ingredients already purchased. Unfortunately, I totally forgot that this recipe is a multi-step one in that there are chilling requirements at two separate stages. So here it is at 8:30pm, and I am waiting for one more hour to get my first taste!

For some reason, this recipe just didn't want to go smoothly for me. I should've recognized signs of impending doom when I had to go to 3 grocery stores just to find the peppermint extract. However, I just chalked that up to typical lame Seattle area ingredient availability. Then of  course there was the whole starting it late and realizing there was a lot of downtime in between steps. Then I forgot to transfer butter from the freezer to the fridge never mind letting it get to room temp, so I had to gently microwave the 6 tablespoons needed. THEN as I was going to snap a picture of the melted chocolate, my whisk flipped out of the pan and splattered chocolate all over the stove and floor. *sigh*

But on the upside, Hubby graciously helped me with the chopping of the chocolate. Yes, I admit it. I am a wimp about chopping chocolate. I just don't have good luck with it, and staring down a pound of the stuff was rather daunting. Once I got all the mishaps out of the way, the actual making of the truffles was fairly easy. I melted down the chocolate into the cream and added the butter, peppermint and salt and happily got to break in my new saucier pan. Then the chocolate was transferred to the fridge. After chilling for 4 hours, I pulled it back out to roll into balls. I was a little nervous about this part given Summer's experience, but found it wasn't as difficult as I'd feared. Most of the chocolate had firmed up pretty nicely, and it was just the middle that needed some extra chill time. So I made about half the batch and put the rest of the bowl back in the fridge to make tomorrow.

Melting the chocolate into the cream in my new saucier pan
Oo - it's 9:30 now! Time for a taste! Oh wow oh wow oh wow. These are goooood. The middle is cool and smooth with a delicious rich chocolate mint flavor. The crushed cookie coating adds a nice texture and crunch. There is no way we'll be able to eat them all, so Hubby's coworkers will be getting a treat on Monday morning!! :)

Like Summer said in her last entry, this has been a great year for learning and baking things I wouldn't have ever tried otherwise! I also love sharing this experience with Summer. We may be a couple thousand miles apart, but doing this project together helps narrow the gap a bit. I have also learned a lot of great new tips and tricks and grown ever more passionate about baking as my hobby. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what 2011 brings in the baking realm!

Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies - by Summer

I hope everyone had very happy holidays.  It's always a busy time of year.  I actually made these cookies a few days ago, but haven't had time (nearly forgot) to post until now. 

I was having some friends over for lunch this week and post-Christmas, I wanted to make things simple.  But of course I can't host without having some sort of dessert.  It was the perfect time to make this recipe.

I would never in a million years think to put cornmeal into a cookie recipe.  The rest of the ingredients are very common - flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, egg, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and sliced almonds.  This cookie comes together very quickly and they baked for about 15 minutes.    The result is a very tasty cookie.  The cornmeal definitely adds a different texture and I liked the combination of the cranberries and almonds.

The cookie was also a big hit with my friends.  They commented that it was a "light" cookie and they couldn't stop eating them!  I can definitely see making them again.  They are a great change of pace from the traditional chocolate chip cookie.

It's hard to believe that Lisa and I are wrapping up our first year of baking together.  It's been a lot of fun and I have made a lot of things that I would never normally have made.  I feel as though I have grown a lot not only in with baking, but in the kitchen in general.  I look forward to continuing our baking journey in 2011! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mom's Mexican Wedding Cookies - by Lisa

Merry Christmas! I have been excited about making these cookies all month as I knew who would be the perfect recipient for a surprise shipment of cookies! A couple of Christmases ago, I learned that these cookies are the absolute favorite of my father-in-law. I actually made these last weekend, but I wanted to make sure the cookies were received before I wrote about them for maximum surprise effect. :) Hope you like them Larry!

In my household, these cookies go by the name Russian Teacakes, and my sister Karla is the real expert when it comes to making them. I was quite surprised to see that when compared side by side, the recipes were rather different. Granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. Different amounts of flour and vanilla. I was very curious to see just how these would compare to the version I am used to making.

Since I am already accustomed to making this style of cookie, putting it all together was pretty simple. I used my quick chop to crush up all the walnuts and my cookie scooper to make fast (and uniform) work of placing the cookies on the baking sheet. They baked for about 25 minutes and came out nice and golden. When I have made the teacakes in the past, I used a large plastic bag full of powered sugar and gently shook the cookies around in it. But I used the method suggested in the book this time which was rolling them in a bowl of powered sugar. I found this new way was much easier and faster!

After they were cooled and rolled, I packed up half of them for shipping and indulged on the other half. I thought they were quite tasty and noticed they were a little bit crispier than the version I have made before. It was a pleasant change, and I liked seeing how these turned out. I can easily see myself using this recipe again for a nice change of pace from the teacake variety.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mint Chocolate Truffles - by Summer

This recipe I had originally picked as one of the ones that Lisa and I were going to bake together when I visited in October.  But then she had commented that she wanted to do this one in December because that is the perfect time to make truffles - with the holidays and all.  And I agree, so we moved it to this month.

I was very excited to try making these.  I have heard that truffles are pretty easy to make.  The only ones that I have ever made are the Oreo Truffles which are so easy, it seems like you are cheating when you are making them!

I chose to make them this week because friends of ours are baby-sitting for us on Thursday night while my husband and I have a rare date night (so excited - going to see the musical Billy Elliot!)  My friends love the Oreo Truffles, so I thought I would make this for them to snack on while they hang out.

I had some problems assembling the ingredients for this recipe.  Even though I read through it a million times, I kept forgetting something (first peppermint extract, then the chocolate, and then I didn't have enough cream!)  But fortunately I was trying to plan ahead, so I was still able to get everything together in advance.  This recipe calls for a pound a semi-sweet chocolate.  I really wish they had pre-chopped baking chocolate.  I was seriously tempted to just use chocolate chips, but in the end I sucked it up and chopped up a pound of chocolate.

After warming the cream and melting the chocolate, it needed to chill in the fridge.  That evening I set about actually making them into balls.  Here is where things got a little messy.  My hands were an absolute mess making these!  They didn't shape into balls very nicely either.  I think maybe they shouldn't have chilled for as long, so I could just use my scooper instead of rolling them into balls.  I was sort of frustrated by it.  They did rolls in the cookie crumbs and cocoa easily.  But I really hated shaping them into the balls.  Anyone else made truffles and knows some tips. 

My friends loved the truffles and they do make a great gift this time of year.  The taste was pretty amazing and with the exception of rolling into balls, they were really easy to make.  I would like to try them without the mint next time.  And I also ended up with a lot of cookie crumbs leftover.  Next time I would only chopped up half the cookies, so I could eat the rest of the them whole :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mom's Mexican Wedding Cookies - by Summer

This is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  And as a baker, I love baking cookies for the holidays.  I have fond memories of baking cookies with my mom and we still try every year to get together and bake cookies.  The past couple of years have been tough, but we managed to fit some in this year.  In past we have made up to 7 or 8 kinds of cookies in one weekend!

I picked this recipe because I think every family has some variation of this one.  In my family the recipe is called Pecan Crescents.  The funny thing about that is over the years walnuts replaced the pecans and it was discovered that rolling the cookies into balls was easier than shaping them into crescents!  So we started calling them Walnut Balls.  I was excited to try this recipe.  I am definitely a pecan-gal, so substitutions for me!

This was a great cookie to make.  It's super easy, makes about 40 cookies, which fit onto 2 cookie sheets and that way I could bake them at the same time!  When cooled, you roll in powdered sugar.  They taste similar to the cookies I grew up with, but we didn't roll them in sugar, we would just sprinkle over the tops.  I like rolling them better!  Of course, you'll notice in the picture below that I did leave the sugar off of a few for my hubby who likes them best plain.  I liked this recipe a lot and can definitely see making them again!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies - by Lisa

Every year I host a cookie baking party for the holidays, so of course this presented the perfect opportunity to showcase one of the cookie recipes we selected for this month! :) I chose the Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies as I thought they looked  festive with the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. The unusual thing about this recipe is right there in the name of the cookie - cornmeal. I was excited to see how this would come out in the cookie!

Putting this recipe together was pretty straight forward. I didn't have to pay too much attention which was good because I was pretty distracted (in a good way!) with everything that was going on already in the kitchen! Once I had everything ready to go and the cookies lined up on the sheet, I just had to wait my turn for the oven. :)

These baked up nice and even at the low end of the recommended time. When they first came out they were soft in the center and had a little bit of crunch on the outside. Everyone who tasted them liked them pretty well, but each person commented on the cornmeal part which I found amusing. I had a couple more after they cooled and found I liked them just as well as fresh out of the oven. I like the texture that the cornmeal adds to them, and I  also like how the cranberries add a nice extra bit of chewiness to the cookie. Even though I do like the taste of these cookies, I'm not sure they quite grabbed me enough to add them to my favorites list. I will say they make a nice alternative to more traditional chocolate based cookies tho!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apple Crumble - by Summer

While I was the one that came up with our flexible scheduling for baking recipes (we pick the recipes for the month and then we decide when we want to make them), and I do believe it's a good idea, it wasn't a good thing for me this month.  At the beginning of the month I put off making the Apple Crumble and then it was the middle of Nov - just in time for my hubby's b-day and then Thanksgiving follows immediately.  Talk about bad timing on my part!  Way too many sweets in the house (although my dad probably would think that no such thing is possible!) 

Lisa gave me the brilliant idea of just making half the recipe.  That turned out to be the perfect thing!  Especially because this recipe is hard to share unless you have people over to help eat it.  It's not something that would really travel well to my husband's work like bars, or cookies or cake. 

So cutting it close to the end of the month, yesterday afternoon I made just under half of the recipe.  The original calls for 5 apples and I did just 2.  I had the perfect size dish* and the crumble topping was really easy to cut in half.  It baked for about 40 minutes instead of the 55.

I have to say that I really liked this crumble a lot!  I am not sure how much sugar I really used when combining with the apples, but it wasn't a lot, so they were nice and tart and the topping was crunchy with a touch of cinnamon.  I think this will replace my go-to recipe for apple crisp.  The amount was absolutely perfect for me and my husband!  I feel bad that I put off making this one for so long!  Here's hoping that December's recipes are done sooner!!!

*Anybody recognize that dish that I used?  Maybe someone from Lisa's family?!!! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Streusel Topping - by Lisa

Gobble Gobble! Like Summer, I thought this would make an excellent addition to our Thanksgiving menu this year. I had no idea what to expect from this pie, but it turned out great! The recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes, but knowing how the stores can be around here, I opted to buy fresh sweet potatoes instead of trying to hunt down the canned variety. I also decided to make my own pumpkin pie spice since nearly all pre-made spice includes nutmeg. Sadly, nutmeg and I do not get along so I must omit whenever possible!

I was quite pleased to see a pre-made frozen pie shell was suggested here, because I am horrible at making pie crusts. They are my baking kryptonite. I swear they can smell my fear. Someday I am going to spend the entire day working on crusts until I master the dang things. That's right pie crust, I'm looking at you.

This definitely was an easy pie to make, and I'm glad I decided to make it fresh on Thanksgiving day. It baked for about 5-7 min longer than suggested and set up quite nicely. I served it with some fresh whipped cream. Those of us who still had room left after dinner enjoyed it quite a bit! It was sweeter than I expected (in a good way), and I particularly liked the streusel topping. I would definitely consider making this again for next Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Streusel Topping - by Summer

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am sorry for the lack of posting this month.  I promise to get back with the program here.  I figure there's no better time to get back to baking for Thanksgiving.  I purposely chose this recipe this month, as a replacement for the traditional pumpkin pie.  My husband was not too pleased to hear the news as he loves some pumpkin pie (I promised to make him one for Christmas!)

I actually made this pie yesterday.  I assembled everything as best I could before actually putting it together:
 This pie was really easy to make.  The recipe called for a pre-made pie crust, but I don't do that in my house, so I made one from scratch.  Once everything was set up, I literally made this pie while holding my 8 month old on my hip!  I was a little worried because the streusel topping seemed like it was falling into the pie.
Before Oven

Fresh out of the Oven
As I mentioned before my husband was bummed that we weren't having pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving.  And then I started worrying that this was going to be a really sweet pie.  I made some fresh whipped cream for our pie, cut a couple of pies and hoped for the best.

Both my husband and I were surprised by the taste.  It wasn't too sweet at all.  It was pretty similar to the pumpkin pie, but I think the streusel topping provided the main difference.  We both quickly gobbled up our pieces!  Yum!  I am glad I took a chance on something different for this holiday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple Crumble - by Lisa

My sister Cathy came to visit us this weekend, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to bake one of our picks while she was here! I decided to make the Apple Crumble and save the sweet potato pie for later this month at Thanksgiving. I really am digging our new baking schedule as it allows for lots more baking flexibility!

We have done a really good job this fall of taking advantage of making lots of the apple recipes while they are in season. Once again, I utilized my produce co-op and ordered Granny Smith apples to use specifically for this recipe. This really was an easy one to make! With the exception of the apples, I already had everything I needed on hand to put it together. And of course, any opportunity to use my CPS (heretofore known as the corer/peeler/slicer) makes me one happy girl!

While I worked on the apples, I cheated a little and had Cathy put together the topping. Half the fun of baking is doing it together, right?! Since I just don't have the hang of cutting in butter with a pastry cutter, I opted for my old friend the food processor. This was also a handy lesson for Cathy on utilizing this particular technique.

Once the topping was ready, I sprinkled it all over the apples and got it into the oven.

Fifty minutes later, it was ready to come out of the oven! I let it cool for a little while on a wire rack. While it was cooling, we chatted with friends Rob and Anastasia who came over for a visit. I'm glad we made it this dessert when we did because I love to share these baked goods with friends! I cut a piece for each of them and everyone declared it a delicious hit. I enjoyed it too. I do wish I had some ice cream or whipped cream to go with it tho. It would have also been really yummy with some fresh cranberries thrown in. I have to say, I've really come around to enjoying baked apple dishes thanks to many of the recipes in this book. I never was a big fan of them before, but that has all changed! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plum Galette - by Summer

Somehow this recipe ended up being a lot harder than it needed to be.  For some reason I didn't think it would be any problem to try and find plums this time of year.  I guess I just figured it's fall and plums are in season.  Little did I remember that it's already the end of October (close to the end of fall) and when I went grocery shopping early last week, there were no plums to be found.  I went to a couple of stores and one even told me that they were out for the season.  I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I did some googling and decided that I would make a Pear-Apple Galette instead because both of those are easily found in stores right now.  I sort of combined recipes and when I went to eat it, discovered that it didn't bake nearly long enough (this was after it made a HUGE mess in my oven).  Defeat!

But the same day that I made the galette, I discovered Walmart selling red plums.  Initially I was bummed that I hadn't thought to run there before making the Pear-Apple Galette.  When I discovered the failure of the PA Galette, I decided that I could actually make the plum one after all.  So the next day I went to Walmart to purchase plums and more puff pastry.

By this point I had seen the galette made by Lisa and made one myself, so it actually came together pretty quickly.  And my mistake with the PA one was that I didn't make sure the edges were tight and the cookie sheet that I used to bake it didn't have edges all the way around, so that made a mess in the oven as it leaked juices.  For the plum galette I made sure that the edges where tight and I used a different cookie sheet.
Before baking

After baking
I tried to make this close to when we were eating dinner, so it might still be a little warm when we tasted it.  Unfortunately we ended up doing an impromptu dinner with a friend and ate later than normal, so it wasn't warm.  My edges got a little too brown and tried covering loosely with foil, but one side still got slightly burnt.  Overall it still tasted good.  I think mine was a little tarter than Lisa's and I think it was due to using only red plums.  I think if I made this again, I would try using a mix of different plums.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

S'Mores Bars - by Summer and Lisa

Lisa Says: Bonus recipe this month! Since Summer was out here visiting me in Seattle, and we didn't have loads of stuff going on, we decided that we should bake something together! Summer narrowed down the field to three options, and I got to choose which one it would be. The S'Mores Bars just looked too good to pass up, plus I had all the ingredients on hand which made for a nice bonus.

Baking is so much more fun when you can do it together. :) Making this recipe was almost like making chocolate chip cookie bars with some marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs thrown in for good measure. It was really easy to assemble, and I liked that the topping wasn't one solid mass and instead allowed for the marshmallows to puff thru. We tag teamed on making the batter and putting it all together. The hard part was waiting for it to be ready to eat! After it came out of the oven, it had to cool to room temperature and THEN it went into the fridge for awhile!

Making the batter
Summer working the layers
Lisa tags in and adds more layers

Once it was finally ready for consumption, I thought it was pretty tasty. Although, it was a pretty dense bar and the mass of chocolate chips melded together made for some heavy bites of sugar. I do like it tho, and it has been my lunch dessert for most of the week. I think if I were to make it again, I would go a little lighter on the chocolate chips and maybe add a handful more of marshmallows. I might also consider thinning the bottom layer a bit more to even out the whole cake-y experience.

Summer Says:
I was really excited to go visit Lisa and meet her precious new baby and also spend time with my godson (her older child).  It was also an added bonus that we had the time to bake together. 

Somehow in my head, I was thinking the base of this dessert was more brownie like (i.e. chocolate), but it was really graham cracker.  I agree that I wish the bottom layer was a little bit thinner, but I loved the layer of chocolate chips and marshmallows.  The hardest part was definitely waiting to dig into them.

I was able to take some home with me and since my hubby doesn't like marshmallows or s'mores, I was able to eat them all myself.  They were a little rich, so they lasted me a long while.  I loved being able to bake with Lisa in her kitchen.  My fondest memory though was when her husband had the great idea to put the bars in the garage to cool off quicker.  We moved them back inside and into the fridge while he was off doing something else.  When he went looking for them, he convinced that someone broke into their garage and stole them! :-)

Before going in the oven
The finished product

Elegant Apple Tartlets - by Lisa

Hot diggity these were some tasty little treats! I'm normally not the biggest fan of apple pie, but these were simply delicious! So much so that I helped myself to 3 servings. Thank heaven for the extra calories burned off by nursing! LOL! Anywho, I'm always excited to make use of my specialty kitchen gadgets, and for this one I got to pull out my apple peeler/corer. Incidentally, my cat has an amazing memory and was at my feet begging for the apple ribbon as soon as I pulled the gadget out! But I digress...this tool makes handy work of peeling, coring and slicing the apple, so that step was completed in no time at all! I was also excited to utilize my CSA and ordered Gala apples especially for this recipe.

Once I had the puff pastry rolled out, it was super simple to cut the circles, transfer them to the baking sheet and layer the apple slices on. Next was brushing melted butter and sprinkling cinnamon sugar over these little darlings. The only thing I messed up on was not having any sugar in the raw. I totally forgot that the recipe needed that, so I never picked any up from the store (or swiped packets of 'em from Starbucks for that matter).

Just placed in the oven

Twenty or so minutes later, Hubby and I were busy stuffing them into our mouths. We didn't even need to use forks - they were perfectly sized and just crisp enough to be picked up and ferried to our mouths. I can see how these would pair incredibly well with some vanilla ice cream too. Next time I'll have to do that!

 The final product

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rustic Plum Galette - by Lisa

Making the plum galette was extra fun because Summer was in Seattle for a visit!! Hooray!! :)
I was a little concerned about making this because I suspected we were nearing the end of in season plums. I wasn't sure if my grocery store was going to have any in stock! Fortunately, I lucked out and got my hands on some, and they were all in good shape too. Ripe, but still firm. 

I decided I would make this the weekend Summer was here so that we could both sample it. I had spent a busy day in the kitchen working on dinner, so I was glad to find this recipe very easy to make!

And can I just say? Frozen puff pastry is my new favorite thing. It is so easy to work with and tastes so yummy! You may not know this, but me and pie crusts generally don't get along so well. I might start using this on days when I just don't feel like fighting against the pie crust gods. Anywho, the most time consuming part of this recipe was slicing up the plums, but that was fairly easy - more so because they weren't too mushy.

Unlike Summer, I'm not so good about reading ahead in recipes which can sometimes lead to problems. Case in point, the recipe called for rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. For rolling out dough I almost always use waxed paper (cuz I'm cheap), so I figured I'd do the same here. Fortunately Summer noticed that the bottom layer of parchment paper does not get discarded and instead goes into the oven with the galette. Can't do that with the waxed paper! So she swapped that out for me while I was working with some of the ingredients.

Since I had to get this in the oven by a certain time, I didn't have the chance to line up the plum slices in neat circles. I kind of wish I did, because it would have made it look so much prettier!

Before going into the oven
And on the flip side

After dinner, we dug into dessert. I think Hubby put it best when he said: "It's a mouthful of win!" :) Yes, we all thoroughly enjoyed this tasty treat! Summer mentioned that it would be neat to try this with a different variety of plum. I might even try it with pluots next year!

Best Friends Baking - Together in Seattle!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elegant Apple Tartlets - by Summer

We're back!  We decided to start out a little slow and only pick two recipes for the month.  We are changing things up a little bit again.  This time, we are each going to have picks for the month and then we can independently decide which week we are going to bake them.  Flexibility is something that you learn as a parent, and that's how we are going to roll on here too!  After we decided on two picks for this month, Lisa came up with a fabulous idea!  Next week I am flying out to Seattle to meet her latest addition and to spend some time with my godson (her firstborn), so we thought it would be fun to bake a recipe together!  It might be one of us distracting the kids while the other one bakes, but I am sure we will figure it out! 

Anyhow - enough housekeeping - on with the baking!  Both recipes we chose this month use puff pastry.  For some silly reason - I have always been scared of puff pastry.  After making this recipe I have no idea why!  It's so easy to work with and you don't have to do a thing but thaw it!

Funny thing about that thawing it piece.  Beth is a huge advocate of reading the recipe twice before you start baking anything.  She puts this in her book and I have seen her mention it on other places.  Usually I study the recipes a couple of days before attempting them.  This one was no different, but for some reason, my mind completely ignored the word thaw!  During the baby's morning nap, I got everything ready to make these.  I sliced the apples (I used an apple peeler/corer thing because I am terrible at pealing by hand), got the butter melted, oven preheated - I mean everything was ready.  And then I went to the freezer and took out the puff pastry.  Basically I had to turn off the oven and put away some of the stuff until the next naptime rolled around.  You simply can't roll out frozen puff pastry.  It just won't work!  Lesson learned the hard way!

Other than that little issue, I was able to assemble these quickly.  My apple slices weren't as thin as the recipe called for and my apples were slightly large as I was trying to use up what I had on hand (a Golden Delicious and a Cortland).  Fortunately that wasn't an issue at all in the outcome.  The apples baked up soft after 20 minutes and the taste was so amazing!  It's like a little apple pie without all the work of a pie crust!  I can not wait to make these again!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bun in the Oven - by Lisa

Our new little guy - Ezra Paul - made his appearance Sunday, August 22nd at 10:11pm! He weighed 8lbs 15oz and was 21.26in long! I can hardly believe he is 11 days old already. We absolutely adore him and promptly fell head over heels in love with him. Big brother Caiden has been adjusting pretty well and loves to hold his new little brother.

We will likely get back to our baking schedule sometime in late September or early October, so keep an eye out for our return!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake - by Lisa

I honestly don't know where I found the energy and drive to complete this final recipe at 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant with 90+ degree temps in the land of no air conditioning, but I DID IT! :D Subconsciously, I worry that now I am caught up, I am going to go into labor any minute now. LOL!

Anywho, I am thankful that this was a pretty easy recipe to make - I was even motivated enough to make the raspberry sauce since Summer's entry made it sound especially yummy! I divided this one into two days - Monday night I made the cake, and then tonight I made the raspberry sauce. As usual, it took me longer than expected to chop the chocolate (Summer, I can't wait to see your technique!), but once that was done, everything else pretty much sailed right along. I might have over beaten the eggs as they ended up pretty fluffy and had lots of air bubbles, but that didn't seem to detract from the cake. As per usual, I omitted the espresso powder but didn't change anything else otherwise. I was also excited to finally use the spring-form pan that I bought a couple of months ago. I've been wanting to try out a cheesecake, but I've just been too busy to squeeze that in!

Making the raspberry sauce was real easy, and it added a very nice touch to the cake. I tried out my Cuisipro Decorating Pen with the sauce, and I am sad to report that it didn't do as well as I'd thought. Oh well, it might just take some practice! Hubby and I both dived into the cake tonight after dinner. We both thought it was pretty tasty - very moist and almost icing-like in its consistency. I think I was expecting a slightly firmer cake with a little more sweetness, but this could also be due to my cheaping out on the chocolate. Normally I would buy the Ghirardelli chocolate, but price persuaded me to go with Hershey's and Baker's chocolates. I am pretty sure it would have been a richer cake with the better chocolate. I definitely enjoyed the contrast of the tart raspberry sauce against sheer chocolate. It would be neat to see how it would taste with some whipped cream too. All in all, a yummy dessert and one that was pretty easy to make!