Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes

From my February 2009 Newsletter

Here’s a fast treat that’s sure to impress a date. You can make these confections ahead of time, then stick them into the oven as you finish dinner. (Yeah, so much for low fat and sugar :))

  • 1 1/3 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cocoa nibs* (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter six 3/4-cup size ramekins (or 7 muffin cups)

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate and butter on medium power 1-2 minutes until butter melts. Stir, reheating if necessary to melt chocolate. Set aside. Stir egg yolks and 2 tbsp. sugar into chocolate-butter mixture. Add cocoa nibs, if using.

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; beat until foamy. Combine remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and cocoa powder; gradually beat into whites, until soft peaks fold over when you lift the beaters.

Stir in 1/3 of chocolate-butter mixture into whites mixture. Gently fold in remaining chocolate mixture until completely combined. Divide evenly between cups.

You can cover the ramekins at this point and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking.

Bake 10-12 minutes (14-16 minutes, if refrigerated) until puffy and cracks form on top. Edges should be firm and center moist between the cracks. Cool 3 minutes. Run knife around edges and invert cakes onto dessert plates. Serve hot with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. For a gourmet flair, dust with cocoa powder.

* Cocoa nibs are roasted, unprocessed, crushed whole cocoa beans. They’re crunchy and full of polyphenols and OEA, a special fat that helps you burn fat.

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