I’m back in Canada! And, therefore, back in the kitchen.
As a Canadian, I spend a lot of time apologizing.
A few months ago, I was standing in the hallway outside my office saying goodbye to a co-worker. As he turned around to leave, he walked straight into someone else. From where I was standing – about a metre away and completely uninvolved – I apologized.
A few years ago, in a bar, I came down the stairs and walked straight into a mirror. And apologized to my reflection.
Almost a year ago, the best part of waiting in the airport from my flight home from Sydney was being around all the other Canadians, apologizing to each other as we passed by with room to spare. If I bump into something, I’ll often apologize to an inanimate object. Kiefer Sutherland does it too. (True story. I think it was a parking meter. No comment on whether or not he head-butted it.)
The only thing I won’t apologize for, as a Canadian? Molten chocolate lava cakes. No one should have to apologize for molten chocolate lava cakes.
(I do apologize for not taking a photo of the molten-ness of them, but mine were slightly over done – I was too busy yelling at the TV during the hockey game – and then I was too busy eating. And one last huge apology – some of you may have seen this post already. I wanted to have a post scheduled for when I got home so I didn’t need to scramble to get something together, but I accidentally hit publish in January 2014 instead of 2015 so it was sent out immediately. I’m a mess. Please forgive me.)
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (gluten-free)
six tablespoons butter
eight ounces (225g) chocolate, chopped (I used a mix of milk and semi-sweet)
pinch of salt
half cup sugar
quarter cup brown sugar
two large eggs
one teaspoon vanilla
one tablespoon cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
three tablespoons cornstarch
flaked sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 6 ramekins (you can also use silicon muffin cups or mini paper panettone molds – I don’t suggest using a muffin pan as they will be very difficult to get out) and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Place these on top of a baking sheet so it’s easy to get them in and out of the oven.
Melt butter and chocolate over low heat, being careful not to burn the chocolate. Once melted, scrape it into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add salt and sugars, and start to mix on medium speed. Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time and keep beating.
Sift in the cocoa powder and cornstarch, and beat for at least a minute – you want it really well-mixed. There’s no gluten, so it’s better here to over-mix than under-mix.
Divide the batter evenly between the ramekins, and top with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top is just starting to set but still looks slightly wet in the very centre (I’d check them at 12 minutes just to be safe). You want the middle of the cake to still be uncooked. If you used ramekins or silicon muffin cups, turn them upside down on a plate to serve; if you used paper molds, place them on a plate as is. Serve immediately, preferably with vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you’re making these for a dinner party, make them ahead and throw the filled ramekins in the fridge, and don’t put them in the oven until just before you’re ready to serve.
Note #2: If you don’t want all 6 lava cakes, rather than cutting the recipe in half, I would suggest taking out the ones you want to eat as lava cakes immediately, and letting the others bake an extra 5-10 minutes (until the top has just set and it doesn’t look wet anymore) and eat them over the next few days (or hours) as brownies.