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Monday, January 21, 2008

My First Sugar High Friday - Molten Chocolate Reisens for Living

For my very first SHF, the theme chosen by CandyRecapper was Baking with Candy. At first I had a hard time thinking of something I could do with this. Then, it finally hit me. I could combine my favorite candy from my teen years with my most favorite, want to try it, but still never have recipe. Thus is born "Molten Chocolate Reisens for Living." So, I compulsively save magazines that have recipes that look like I have to try them. I have held onto this one forever (ok, just since 2002). In that time, I just finally tried it for the first time today. Sort of. I decided that the Molten Chocolate Cakes in Martha Stewart Living (Feb 2002) would be perfect for this. But would it work?

If you have never had a chocolate Reisen's candy, then let me explain what they are. They are small chocolate caramels covered in bittersweet chocolate. They were my absolute favorite in high school. We had a tradition that whenever the girls got together for a special occassion (birthdays, sleepovers, dances, parties, etc.) we would get a bottle of sparkling pink (non-alcoholic of course) catawaba. Mainly, because it was pink, and We would drink it out of pretty glasses. We would get everyone's favorite treat to have with it, which could vary, and we would always get Chocolate Covered Reisens. We would pour our pretty pink drink, take a chocolate, and make a toast of sorts. Then when everyone was ready to open their first chocolate, you had to give a reason for living, or in this case, Reisen for living. It didn't have to be anything earth shattering and was often silly, or just having to do with the occassion. I can't actually remember a single reason I ever gave, but I remember all the awesome memories with my best friends. (And for someone who is a bit of a tom-boy, this was about as girly as I got!)

Though miles and years have separated us, we are still all friends. We only get to see each other once or twice a year if that, but it doesn't matter as far as how close we feel. They will always be my sisters. And, we will always have Reisens and Pink Catawaba.

So, on to the experiment. Obstacle number one. Will the hard chocolate caramel of the Reisen's melt? I worried over this, but figured, apply heat and what else could it do. I knew the chocolate would probably melt and be absorbed into the cake. Yup. That happened. The chocolate melted. The caramel softened and kind of absorbed into the cake a little too, but there were caramely bites within the center that were delicious to find. It would be fun to try this with regular caramels too to see if that would make a melted caramel center. I'll have to try that some other time.

Obstacle number two was tougher to beat, and frankly, I didn't beat it. Martha's recipe calls for cake rings. I have no cake rings. I have no money for cake rings (they were $10 each on $60 was not an investment I could make for this. Believe me, I want to, but with medical bills from me and the baby still piled up there was nooo way. So, I zigged when I probably should have zagged. Translation? I used a jumbo muffin tin. Dumb idea! There was no way to individually get these cakes loose without ruining the lot. Bottom line. I should have used my small brulee cups instead, but I didn't think of it until it was too late. I don't think I probably could have still unmolded them, but they could have been plated in each little brulee cup and been prettier. So, I knew that the jumbo muffin tin really wasn't going to work for actually plating and removing the cakes, but I really wanted to try making the dessert anyway. Since I don't recommend using the jumbo muffin tin, I've included Martha's original directions for baking.

So, prettiness aside, these cakes tasted great, and though not perfect looking, still look mighty tempting! The nice surprise of caramely bites was awesome and really was a surprise. Since these are chocolate caramels, you couldn't see where they were. These gooey bites were a real "sneak attack". Spoon in hand (thinking to myself, "will there be caramel, or cake, both... hmm... poor me, I'll just have to keep eating!").
I served it with a little sweetened whipped cream. Anyway, it was lovely, even if it didn't look as lovely as Martha's. But I maintain, it tasted great! I am a firm believer that if you use the best quality ingredients you can get that even if you run into trouble with a recipe you will still succeed.

Obviously the key here was the chocolate. I absolutely love bittersweet and dark chocolate the best. I got really lucky here because I have some Guittard chocolate that was left over from a wedding cake I made a little while back for some friends. (Poor me, beautiful chocolate on hand... oh what will I do - besides put it in everything I can think of and have fabulous hot chocolate every day! Mmwwaa - ha - ha!)

Chocolate Caramel Cakes (a.k.a Molten Chocolate Reisens for Living)

(Adapted from February 2002 Edition of Martha Stewart Living - pg 202)

Special Equipment - 6 (2 1/2-inch high by 2 3/4-inch in diameter) cake rings (this is what Martha recommends - as I do not have those, I used a jumbo muffin tin - which was messier and I do not recommend)

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for ring molds
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I like Guittard)
5 large eggs, separated
10 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 chocolate Reisens candies, unwrapped, set aside
sweetened whipped cream for garnish
chocolate shavings for garnish

1. Butter six ring molds. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and set aside.

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until melted. Stir mixture to combine.

3. Combine the egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl, and whisk until mixture is pale yelllow and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Add a little bit of the chocolate mixture at a time to the egg yolk mixture, and stir to combine.

5. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat until frothy. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar, and whisk until stiff peaks form.

6. Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.

7. Spoon enough mixture to fill the cake mold almost half way. Place two Reisen candies back to back and gently place into the middle of the batter in each mold.

8. Spoon the remaining batter into each mold over the candies.

9. Place the tray into the freezer to set for at least 1 hour (or until you are ready to bake them).

10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the ring molds with the baking sheet into the oven. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until sides and top are set but center is still soft.

11. Using a thin spatula, carefully transfer the cakes (still in the ring molds) to a serving plate.

12. Serve the cakes warm with the sweetened whipping cream and chocolate shavings (or vanilla bean ice cream)


Allen of EOL said...

Gooey and rich ... looks good to me!

Brilynn said...

What a cute story! And those sound delicious!

I've actually made molten cakes in muffin tins before and it worked. I think the secret is thoroughly greasing them, but I suspect the caramel in yours may have also played a role in the difficulty you had unmolding them.

Holly said...

Hi Allen - thanks for visiting!

Hi Brilynn - Thanks! I think you are right about the caramels. I have made molten chocolate cakes before too, but they were the variety where you just freeze the batter. Martha's original recipe used homemade chocolate truffles that you freeze and place in the center. The caramel was a definate "sticking point" (oh yea, I am GOOD with the bad puns!).

I've actually made a hot fudge pudding cake (weirdest cake ever!) for years, and this ended up looking something like it. I will have to make the hot fudge cake soon so you can see what I mean.

Ann said...

Mmmmm...! Great photo!

Maggie said...

I love Riesen! What a great idea to stick them in a cake.

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