Chocolate Lasagna

The first time we made this recipe it was for a dinner party where we attempted to make the main course look like a dessert and the dessert to look like a main course. The main course that our friends came up with was a sausage, mashed cauliflower and gravy “banana split”. Our dessert concoction was chocolate lasagna. The leftovers from dessert became closely guarded, rationed and enjoyed in the following days, and the dish became that of legend.

Legend and something you dared not make again for fear of the amount of weight you would gain lol. When inventing this I tried to recreate the different layers I do with my regular lasagna and thought of replacements that would give a similar look and texture.

We made the chocolate Lasagna out of wide flat chocolate noodles, chocolate mousse, bananas, strawberries, blackberry syrup and whipped cream. The noodles are hand-made fresh noodles and other than boiling them there’s no cooking involved in the entire dish. You assemble the Lasagna as you would a traditional one, building layer upon layer of noodles and fillings. With a thin layer of syrup on the bottom and a final coating on the top, the noodles soak it up and take on a chocolate berry flavor while maintaining a soft texture. The mousse is fairly delicate, so a day in the refrigerator is necessary before consumption. This melding time helps the ingredients congeal and meld together.

We had to create the noodles by hand because we couldn’t find any online. But I am very happy with the recipe we found for chocolate noodles (there are actually quite a few of them out there). It is more of a bittersweet flavored noodle but after the melding with the blackberry syrup they become awesome tasting. The mousse is a really simple no-cook mousse which uses cream cheese and whipped cream for its creamy texture and gelatin for its shape holding. Trevor likes to taste all along the way so he can totally vouch for all of the ingredients lol.

This is one of Melissa’s top two desserts, right there with croisant bread pudding.

Which I am sure we will have to make again and blog about since it quite literally stopped all conversation in the room for about 5 minutes ;D

Chocolate Chunk [Pancake] Cookies

A cleaver is an awesome tool for chocolate cutting

Today I fixed our oven. It was simple to do, all I did was connect a loose wire in the breaker box, but given the fact that 2 separate oven repair men failed to figure out the problem I felt pretty good about having diagnosed and repaired it myself. Tonight was one of Melissa’s semi-weekly “girls’ night out” events, so the girl’s and I decided to make a night of baking some cookies. I quickly realized we were out of chocolate chips, but after a quick call to Melissa I discovered the magic of cutting chunks of chocolate off a large brick she had stashed away in a cabinet.

Yes the call went something like this:

“Did you know we are out of chocolate chips?”
“But I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies”
“There is a large block of chocolate in the top cabinet”
“So then I have to make chips myself?”
“Oh, ok”
“Have fun…”

Look! I’m using a butter warmer for warming butter

The next call went about the same and so on and so forth. He called me about 5 times for various ingredients and their locations. It was cute but a bit irritating since I was driving.

A few more phone calls later I had everything I needed and was well on my way. The girls were so excited it was incredibly hard to keep them from eating all the cookie dough. The trouble was, the recipe I used is intended to create chewy cookies. The concept is generally that the cookies have more brown sugar and when you bake them the dough should be cold so they don’t flatten out before they begin to rise.

At this stage everything was still looking good

This recipe also called for creaming the butter by first melting it and then mixing sugar into it with a paddle. Between the melting of the butter and the friction of the creaming, the resulting dough took ages to cool down. We became impatient after playing an hour or so of Zelda, and decided to just go for it.

Ahh impatience, the downfall of a cook.

Aurora couldn’t contain her excitement

At this point the dough was probably not cold enough, but it wasn’t molten sugar anymore either. I gave the girls each a small bowl of the dough to keep them at bay, and I dished out the majority of the dough onto parchment laid onto 2 half-sized bun pans. The girl’s didn’t really have the appetite for cookie dough they thought they would, and returned the bowls only partially eaten within a couple of minutes. I think it’s a good thing that their tolerance for sugar is low enough that they know when to call it quits, but I also suspected that the dough just wasn’t that tasty when not ice cold.

Probably because of the baking soda it has a nasty tang to it. I never like cookie dough with baking soda in it. Yuck!

These cookies left my confidence a bit deflated

Once the oven was at 375ºF I loaded the pans in and returned to playing Zelda. After 7.5min I came to rotate the pans and found the cookies had flattened out considerably. Realizing I had reached the point of no return, I put the fact that I jumped the gun out of my mind and rotated the pans as if all was well. 7.5min later I pulled the pans out and found the cookies were so flat and thin, well – it was comical. The girls passed out before the cookies cooled down. I struggled to brush what cookie dough they had consumed off their teeth before they collapsed.

Well at least they got their teeth brushed but the cookies were more than just a “little flattened out”, they were puddles. Guess he learned his lesson lol.

The cookies are tasty, in an odd sort of way. I’m glad our oven is working now, but I look forward to going back to baking with Melissa’s direct supervision until I’m ready to take my training wheels off.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Last night I was looking through the fridge and decided to cook up the rest of the bacon in the meat drawer while it was still a tasty color. I covered 2 half-size bun pan racks with bacon strips and baked them in the oven at about 475 degrees until golden brown and delicious. But while cooking bacon in the oven on a rack removes the vast majority of fat, it doesn’t really result in the kind of pan-fried crispiness I was after. So I finished them off in a frying pan on high, dumping the grease off into a container after each pan-full for later use – after all, rendered bacon fat is good stuff. After letting the now crispy but mostly still flat bacon strips rest for a bit, I set up the double-boiler with about a quarter pound of dark chocolate, and then dipped the bacon strips into it, laying them out on parchment paper to cool overnight.

Not very photogenic, I know

The results… Well I only have a photo of one of the strips because this stuff didn’t last very long at the office. There were some reluctant partakers though, but all were instantly converted after experiencing the medley of flavors this simple snack provides. Sweet and bitter chocolate over savory salty bacon.