Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Scones

Apparently, I am on a bit of a dark chocolate-raspberry kick. But, to be honest, I am hard pressed to think of a time when I am not on a dark-chocolate-raspberry kick.

Combine my deep love of this nothing-shy-of-perfect flavor combination with my mission to master scones, and I had no choice but to try my hand at these Chocolate Raspberry Scones.

And, let me tell you, these scones are completely delightful. One of my favorite things about these scones is that they are not too sweet. Most of the sweetness in these scones comes from the bits of dark chocolate and raspberries. And for me, this makes them a perfect afternoon snack. And midnight snack. And breakfast snack. And... well, I think you get the picture.

Not only is the sweetness just right, and not only are they chalk full of dark chocolate and raspberries, the texture is just perfect. The scones are soft, tender, and ever so slightly crumbly. What more could you ask from a scone?

For the most part, making these scones is like the other scones I have made. The one difference of note is that instead of using cream or buttermilk for the liquid, this recipe calls for whole milk yogurt (and just when pumpkin scones taught my how to make my own buttermilk...).
As ever, start by cutting up your butter into chunks.
Now, get out your dark chocolate (preferably around 70%).
And cut it into chunks.
Next, you want to add together the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine together the yogurt, a slightly beaten egg, and vanilla.
Add your butter.
And cut it in.
You are done cutting in the butter when it looks like coarse crumbs.
A note about the raspberries. Even though I live in California, raspberries are still not in season in February, so I opted for frozen. If you do use frozen fruit, it is important to use it in frozen form. Defrosted fruit will bleed everywhere and be a mess.
After you have cut in the butter, you add in the frozen or fresh raspberries and chocolate. Even at this stage, you know these scones are going to be fantastic.
Stir that up.
Now, pour in your yogurt mixture.
Stir that just until everything is incorporated.
Just look at it! How could these scones not be delicious?

Next, get your dough on a slightly floured surface. And knead it four or five time. Then pat it out into a 7 inch circle.
Cut it into 8 pie wedges.
Get those wedges on your parchment lined baking sheet. Do take care to leave some room between them: they spread. And add some egg wash to each scone.
Pop them in the over for 18-20 minutes. Did I mention they will spread?
Let them cool on a wire rack.
And... just take one look at what is waiting in store for you!
Get ready to be in dark chocolate-raspberry heaven.

Chocolate Raspberry Scones (from
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
2 ounces dark chocolate chunks or chips (about 1/2 cup) (50 grams)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Egg wash:
1 large egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chunks and raspberries. In a small measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla extract, and egg. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut the dough into eight triangles. Place the scones on a baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn your broiler on high.* Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the tops of the scones and place them under the broiler. Broil for a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar has melted and turns golden brown. Make sure to watch the scones carefully as the sugar will burn very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*I didn't do this step, because I ran out of time. But, it seems like it would taste and look great!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis

This is a slice of chocolate torte with raspberry coulis and vanilla bean ice cream.
And if ever there was a slice of perfection covered in deliciousness, this is it.

The 'torte' is a cake that originated in Austria, and it contains little to no flour. In lieu of flour, the lift in the cake comes from a large quantity of eggs. This particular chocolate torte would be a knock-out on its own. The cake is dense, but not heavy. The chocolate flavor is rich, but not overwhelming. In all, a lovely torte. But, I wanted to get 'fancy'.

After researching raspberry coulis, I made a wonderful discovery: raspberry coulis is unbelievably easy to make. Minimal skill is involved: the ability to press a button and press down on a spatula. And you end up with a lovely sauce. Pour that over some chocolate torte, add some scoops of ice cream, and voila: perfection covered in deliciousness.

Here's how I made the torte.

You start by separating 6 eggs. It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but you want the eggs at room temperature when you make the cake. So, take your eggs out, get an assembly line going, separate your eggs, and let them come up to room temperature.
Once they are at room temperature, get out a 9 inch spring form pan. Grease it and cover the bottom with parchment.
Next, you want to get the chocolate ready. You will need 9 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. And, as I just learned, semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are just terms for dark chocolate. I like to eat dark chocolate that is around 70%, so I decided to go with that for this torte.
Now, you want to chop the chocolate up into even pieces.
Next, cut up some butter into small pieces.
You are going to melt all of this together in a double boiler, or something like a double boiler. I put a glass bowl over a Dutch oven and it worked just fine.
Stir frequently, and take it off as soon as everything is melted.

The next step is beating together the egg yolks and sugar. They start looking like this:
And after beating them for 5 minutes, the mixture should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon. It should look like this:
Next, you are going to add in some good vanilla.
And pour in your chocolate.
Stir that up. It looks good doesn't it?
Now its time to beat the egg whites in a separate bowl.
Start beating them until they are frothy.
Add some cream of tartar, and beat that until soft peaks form.
Then gradually add in the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
What you are going to do next is fold in the egg whites. This step is delicate: if you add the egg whites all at once and stir vigorously, you will deflate all the lovely air bubbles in the egg whites, and your cake will not rise. To avoid this, first add a little of the whites and gently fold that in. This will lighten up the batter, and make folding in the rest easier. Now, add in the rest of the whites. Fold that in... gently.

Pour that into your prepared pan. And bake it off.
When you remove the cake from the oven it will look fluffy,
But, the cake will fall. This is supposed to happen. Enjoy the fact that a fallen cake in this situation is totally acceptable.
Eventually, you will want to unmold the cake. You can either serve it at room temperature, or put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Then again, you could always make a raspberry coulis to accompany it. As I said, this is so incredible easy. If its winter, why not just defrost some raspberries from the freezer?
For the sauce, add together the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
Puree that.
Pass it through a sieve (I had to use a sifter, as I don't own a sieve).
Taste it, adjust the flavors to your liking, and that's it!
Back to the torte, cut yourself a piece.
Add some ice cream and raspberry coulis.
And enjoy your slice of perfection covered in deliciousness.

Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis (from and Joy of Cooking)
Ingredients for the Torte:
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated white sugar, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions for the Torte:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in center of oven. Butter a 9x3 springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.

Separate the egg whites while still cold, placing the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another. Cover both with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a sauce pan of simmering water.

Place egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer (can also use a hand mixer). Beat on medium-high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mix.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula or whisk, fold a small amount of the whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter. Add the remaining egg whites, folding just until incorporated. Do not overmix or the batter will deflate.

Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The top of the cake will have become hard with a cracked surface and lots of crumbs.

Note: I find this cake is best served the next day as it allows for the flavors to blend.

Raspberry Coulis Recipe
1 pint raspberries or 12 ounces frozen dry-pack raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Puree ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Use a flexible rubber spatula to push the pulp through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Press firmly and periodically scrape the inside of the sieve clear of seeds, which will otherwise plug up the holds. Do not waste the precious pulp. Continue to press until you are left with just a heaping tablespoon of stiff, clumped together seeds. Taste, then stir in a little more sugar or lemon juice if needed. Serve, at room temperature or chilled. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.