November 26, 2011

Molten Chocolate Babycakes, and the joy that is Gianduja

Gianduja is a truly delicious substance made of hazelnut (or another nut) paste and chocolate - you may know it as hazelnut praline.  It melts like chocolate and acts rather like chocolate in baking, too, as I discovered in my little forays in substituting it into recipes.  Its taste is reminiscent of Nutella and expensive chocolates, i.e. mouthwatering.

It can also be used for decoration, in different forms depending on how you cut it.  It can go into chunks or shavings, but if you're careful you can coax it into curls.

One of the things I used the gianduja for was Molten Chocolate Babycakes, a delightful and completely chocolatey recipe from James McNair via a Nigella Lawson cookbook.  The recipe uses chocolate but I substituted about half the chocolate for gianduja and it gave the babycakes a lovely hazelnut-chocolatey (Nutella-y, gianduja-y) taste.  The babycakes are equally as good with just chocolate, mind you.

Recipe Adapted From: How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
Molten Chocolate Babycakes
50g unsalted butter/margarine, plus extra for greasing
350g good quality dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/392 F.  If you're making the babycakes in advance (they can be refrigerated as batter, because it's best to eat them right after they've been baked) then don't heat the oven until closer to the serving time.

2. Grease six large cupcake/muffin moulds or about 12 smaller ones with butter.  Make sure there's adequate greasing because, if not, the babycakes will stick.

3. Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool.

4. Cream the butter and sugar.

5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and add a pinch of salt, then the vanilla.

6. Stir in the flour, then the cooled chocolate, blending it into a smooth batter.

7. Divide the batter between the moulds.  If you take too long to do this, the batter will begin to harden and then it just gets annoying, so keep that in mind!

8. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (make sure you bake them for the whole 12 minutes if the babycakes have been in the fridge)

9. Once removed from the oven, upturn the moulds onto plates and serve with ice cream or cream (the babycakes are very rich!)

When cut open, the babycakes should be molten and gooey and warm on the inside.


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