Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Chip Blondies with Praline Topping

Last Sunday was hair supervisor Monica Costea’s last day at Virginia Woolf and she aptly requested “Blondies.”  Monica’s moving next door to the Shubert to work on the new musical Matilda  (previews start on March 4.)  But she’ll still be able to stop over and enjoy WINE AND UNWIND on Sundays.

Monica not only styled the women’s hair for Woolf, she also cut the male actor’s hair and has been a Broadway fixture for almost three decades.   Her first show was Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night at Ballyhoo, and she’s worked steadily ever since, doing hair on Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Lion King, Wicked, The Music Man, A Class Act, Ghost, Sister Act and Hair, to name just a few.

Since she is a Southern girl, James decided to top the Blondies with a praline topping.  (He would usually use pecans but Monica wanted walnuts, so he substituted.)

blondies

Chocolate Chip Blondies with Walnut Praline Topping:

Ingredients

nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Topping:
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Method

1.  Heat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with the cooking spray. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; spray the parchment with the cooking spray.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Then, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and mix in the brown sugar and vanilla. One at a time, mix in the eggs; mix in the flour mixture until just combined (do not over mix). Add the pecans or walnuts and chocolate chips.

3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.

4.  Make the praline topping: In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, 1 tablespoon of water, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over the cooled blondies and sprinkle with the nuts. Let the topping set, 10 to 15 minutes.

5.Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Store the blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Triple Layer Double Decadence Death by Chocolate No. 17

Mmmm . . . What better way to celebrate a birthday than the chocolatiest most decadent cake imaginable??

Yesterday was Carrie Coon’s birthday, “Honey” in Broadway’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.   I imagine she just signed up for a chocolate cake on James’ “Birthday Information Form” that first day of rehearsal, never expecting that she would get treated to this:

Death by Chocolate No. 17

BTW, James tells me that the reason behind the name of the cake is that he experimented with 16 varieties of Chocolate Layer Cake before finally settling on this one as the ne plus ultra.  How lucky are we to know someone who would experiment with chocolate cakes that thoroughly.

Happy birthday, Honey!!

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Triple Layer Double Decadence Death By Chocolate No. 17

 Ingredients:

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1.4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups hot coffee or espresso
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (not dutch process). James likes to use 1/4 cup of black cocoa as part of that 1/2 cups
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, use 1 1/2 cups whole milk (minus 2 Tablespoons) mixed with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of vinegar.
1 tsp vanilla

Ganache Icing
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 300. Spray three 9” round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment and spray again.

2.  Combine chips and hot coffee. Let it stand and whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking power, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl  beat eggs until thick and yellow (3-5 minutes), slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate mixture to the eggs beating until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium until JUST combined.

3.  Divide batter between pans and bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean- 40-50 minutes.

For ganache icing
1.  In saucepan whisk together cream, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil over medium heat whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cut butter into 3 pieces. Add to mixture, whisking after each addition until smooth.

2.  Chill for 45- 60 minutes until spreadable. If it is in the refrigerator too long, just bring back to room temperature before frosting.

3.  Keep cake covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving. Amazing!!!!

James’ note: “I use a cake comb on the sides of the cake when frosting to give it linear texture.”

Of course you do James, of course you do!