Choco Flan

Unmolded this☝️before chilling it completely. Notice the sunken area on the upper left.

Lesson learned: Be patient! Chill it overnight before unmolding. 😊

ChocoFlan! This is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with a beautiful layer of creamy flan sitting on top.

I first had this over a decade ago when my Cuban coworker at UCLA brought it for a potluck. It still amazes me how the layers switch when baking. You get a bit of yummy chocolate cake, a thick, creamy flan, all topped with caramelized sugar syrup…what more could you ask for?

This cake is easy to make and truly beautiful that you can bring it to any gathering and it’s sure to wow everyone lucky enough to have a slice…or two!

You’ll need a 12-cup bundt pan to make this as it rises almost to the top when baked. Most bundt pans I own have a capacity of 10 cups, so be sure to check your pan!

If you only have the 10 cup mold, set some of the cake batter aside for 2-3 cupcakes, or make a couple of small individual Choco flans in a ramekin with some of the syrup, flan, and cake mixture. The baking pan with water will also catch any overflow batter, so you should be fine.

The flan layer on this cake is thick, just the way I like it. You’ll get a good proportion of flan to chocolate cake in every bite, I promise!

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*I recently found a 6-cup bundt pan in Target made by Nordicware (https://www.target.com/p/nordic-ware-6-cup-formed-bundt-pan-navy/-/A-76431260#lnk=sametab) and I got 2 of course! If you have these smaller pans, you can split the caramel, flan, and cake batter between the 2 little bundt pans and have 2 Chocoflans – one to eat now and another for later, or to share!

Ingredients:

For the Caramel:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

For the Flan:

1 can (12oz) evaporated milk

1 can (14oz) condensed milk

4 oz cream cheese (half a bar)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:

1 box (15.25oz) devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup canola oil

3 eggs, separated*

1 cup water

Equipment:

1 12-cup bundt pan (or 2 6-cup bundt pans)

Saucepan

Blender

Large baking dish

Bowls

Hand mixer

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Spray your bundt pan/s with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Caramelized sugar:

3. Pour sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until deep brown, about 10-15 minutes. Keep swirling the pan when it starts to turn golden and remove from heat right before it reaches the color you want as it’ll keep cooking. You don’t want to burn this.

4. Using heavy oven gloves, immediately pour into prepared pan/s. Set aside.

Flan:

5. Pour all flan ingredients into a blender and pulse until well mixed.

6. Pour over caramel layer.

7. Place the bundt pan/s in a large baking dish. Fill baking dish with water halfway up the bundt pan. We are steam baking this, baine marie style!

8. Now carefully place the entire set up in the middle rack of your preheated oven. Close the oven and set your timer to 20 minutes.

9. In the meantime, prepare your Cake layer:

10. In a bowl, beat together devil’s food cake mix, oil, egg yolks, and water until blended. Set aside.

11. Grab another bowl that it is clean, dry, no traces of oil or grease, or any speck of egg yolks. Wash and clean your beaters and dry them, too. Then beat egg whites in the bowl using clean beaters until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in 1/3 into the cake mixture until mixed. Fold in another 1/3, mix and then add in the last 1/3. Fold in until no more traces of the egg white can be seen.

*If you are crunched for time, you can also just place ALL the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat for about 2 minutes on medium to high speed. The cake won’t be as light, but I’m quite sure no one will notice!*

12. Carefully remove the pan from the oven after 20 minutes.

13. Slowly pour the cake mixture over the flan. Cover with foil, lower the oven temperature to 350F, and bake for 55 minutes more, or until cake is fully baked. Check if cake is done by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake, it should come out clean.

14. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight before unmolding.

15. Place a plate on top of the bundt pan and carefully invert the whole thing. You would hear/feel the cake drop onto the plate. Carefully remove the bundt pan and serve the cake!

*You might want to fill the bundt pan with water now to facilitate removing the caramel that is stuck on the bottom. It will dissolve on it’s own, no need to scrub, but it will need time, like a day or two!*

Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Elon Musk one)

Finally, I was able to write this article. I hope you all will like it!

Tesla. Elon Musk. Bitcoin…..Chocolate Chip Cookies???

A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare break times at work, I came across this article about a Chocolate Chip Cookie that allegedly made Elon Musk go back for seconds. Wait, what? Did I read that right?

So of course, I read the whole article. The baker’s boyfriend works at Space X, and his desk is near Elon Musk’s office. So when the cookies were seen, he asked the bodyguard to get some. And then more.

I just wanted to go home and try the recipe she shared after I was done reading the article. But of course, I had to finish work before leaving.

So, a few hours later, I was able to prepare it. Lucky for me, ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always in my pantry. 😊

I doubled the recipe so that I could share, and made it in the Thermomix so that it came together really fast.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks

1. Place the butter in a bowl. You can use a stand mixer or a hand held one. I used the Thermomix to make life easier.

2. Add the brown sugar,

3. And the white sugar. Mix together over low speed for 3 minutes.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the vanilla extract,

6. And the egg (eggs in the photo as I doubled the recipe).

7. Mix for about 15 seconds, low speed.

8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

9. Stir in the flour,

10. Baking soda,

11. And salt into the butter mixture.

12. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds, until just combined.

13. See the texture on the photo above.

14. Add in the chocolate chips, (love Trader Joe’s chocolate chips!)

15. And stir until incorporated.

16. Transfer dough into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

17. Next day, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Preheat oven to 350F.

18. Drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.

19. Leave 2 inches of space between the dough balls as these spread out a bit.

*You can also scoop the dough, place it on the sheets, touching is fine, and freeze them. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and bake as needed. See above photo.*

20. Bake in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden, but the middle is still soft.

21. Slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto the counter and cool for a few minutes. When set, about 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy cookies while they’re warm and gooey!

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Regular version

These make amazingly delicious cookies! I already had a staple recipe for chocolate chip cookies (The Original Toll House recipe of course!) but, like I mentioned before, I love to experiment. I am so glad I did, as this just might be my new favorite!

I made the dough twice, using half of the ingredients for each. One batch was made using sugar free chocolate chips, sugar and brown sugar substitute, sprouted spelt flour and added walnuts. The other half was all regular ingredients, without nuts.

Funny thing is, the sugar free version looked a lot prettier! Enjoy both!

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Sugar free version

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

3 cups flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

Line your cookie sheets with silpat or parchment to make it easy to remove the cookies later.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars for around 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating for about 1 minute.

4. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. When a dough forms, stir in chocolate chips.

6. Measure 1/4 cup dough and form into balls, pull them apart and place the halves next to each other, torn side up. Press together to adhere, then place on the cookie sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Or make smaller ones using a tablespoon of dough for each.

7. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, just until set and very lightly browned. Rotate cookie sheets, top to bottom and front to back, halfway through baking.

8. Cool on the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or even just enough to not burn your tongue and enjoy! These are absolutely amazing warm when the chocolate chips are still gooey and soft! Yum!

8. Makes about 2 dozens.

Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

We have been trying to use sugar substitutes to reduce my husband’s sugar intake lately.

As you can imagine, I am up to the challenge to create sugar-free sweets as he loves baked goods almost as much as I do.

Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite in my home (as with most homes, I would guess!) so this is the first recipe I tried making. We went to the grocery store and I found our that Hershey’s made sugar free chocolate chips! Hurray! And on the back of the package, there is a recipe for sugar-free chocolate chip cookies that I decided to try, with some modifications.

Most of the sugar-free sweets I had before are dry, and compared to my regular cookies this is a little on the dry size. But my husband loves it so I’m sharing it here in case you’re looking for sugar free chocolate chip cookies recipe as it made delicious cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sucralose granulated sugar substitute

1/3 cup sucralose brown sugar blend, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla paste, or extract

2 large eggs

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup spelt flour(I used sprouted spelt this time)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s brand)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Beat butter , sugars and vanilla in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

3. Add eggs and beat well.

4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.

5. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Stir in walnuts, if using.

7. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto 2 large ungreased cookie sheets.

8. Bake 10 minutes at 375F until edges are lightly browned.

9. Cool for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Enjoy! This recipe makes 4 dozens so feel free to share!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

A peanut butter cookie rolled in granulated sugar, and topped with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kiss!

This was one of my favorite cookies growing up. I think I first saw it in a magazine, a Betty Crocker Cookbook, or in a Hershey Chocolate Cookbook. I love milk chocolate so I made it, and again, and again.

I haven’t made it in a long time (maybe over a decade!) so since I was off for 5 days partly because of my second Covid-19 vaccine, I planned on baking a batch, excited to see if it still tastes the same as it did before. I wasn’t well after my Thursday vaccination (like the first dose, only not as bad) but was well enough on Valentine’s Day, so I made it then.

It didn’t disappoint at all. My son peeled the kisses but needed to do some math problems so I made the cookies myself. It was quick and easy, although I would recommend using an electric mixer because the dough is quite stiff.

For the peanut butter, feel free to use crunchy or smooth, whichever you like or have on hand. I like crunchy but keep some smooth PB in the pantry to use for sate sauce and Asian noodles. I used crunchy PB, as I like the crunch it lends to the cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar, to roll dough in

36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, place butter,

3. Sugar,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Peanut butter,

6. And egg.

7. Beat well using an electric mixer , until combined and smooth.

8. Add flour,

9. Baking soda,

10. And baking powder.

11. Beat well until mixed.

12. Scoop up about a tablespoon dough and roll into a ball.

13. Drop into a bowl with granulated sugar. Roll to coat.

14. Place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

15. Repeat with remaining dough, making 36 balls.

16. Line them up 2 inches apart on 2 cookie sheets. They will spread a little as they bake.

17. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.

18. Immediately press a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie.

20. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and onto wire racks.

21. Cool completely.

22. Serve! You can also drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Makes 36 pieces.

Electric Lunchbox #88: Chocolate Lava Cake

Good morning everyone!

It’s already the 5th day of February! Oh my goodness! Is it too early to post a Valentine’s recipe?

Well, I am posting a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe today so you can make a few trial runs of it before the actual Valentine’s Day – you know, for quality control or testing purposes! 😉 Think of it this way…I can’t be the only one eating all these yummy experimental food and sacrificing my figure for a good recipe, right?

This recipe will make the perfect dessert to finish a special meal for two, as the size of this little cake is just right.

It is rich and chocolatey that you’ll only need a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate it. Feel free to use a stencil to make it prettier. You can also top it with chocolate dipped strawberries! Double yum!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

1. Grease the big or medium ELB bowl.

2. Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl.

4. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Stir and microwave again using 30 second increments until smooth.

6. Make sure to stir as residual heat can sometimes be enough to melt the last few bits of chocolate. Careful to not burn the chocolate. This will take only about a minute or two total.

7. Mix in vanilla,

8. Eggs,

9. Flour,

10. And powdered sugar.

11. Mix well until blended.

12. Pour batter into prepared bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base.

13. Add 2 1/2 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 45 minutes.

14. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake. It should be set but the center should jiggle like the video below. It should NOT be set all the way.

15. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Run a knife along the edges and invert onto a serving dish.

16. Dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

16. Serve and enjoy!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Espresso muffin is one of my favorite treat, as are blueberry, cappuccino, and chocolate chip! I had been playing with recipes to make this just right – with the taste of coffee coming through strong and blending well with chocolate.

I used instant coffee at first but that didn’t taste like espresso so I purchased a jar of instant espresso powder. That made it taste better. Semi sweet chocolate chips plays well with the bitter coffee to round out the taste of this delicious muffin! Perfect to start your day right!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup instant espresso coffee powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Combine flour, espresso, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, an vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl, fold just until mixture is evenly moistened. Do not over mix.

4. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each muffin.

5. Bake until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the muffin cup, 20-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

6. I like this still a bit warm for breakfast, with a cup of hot coffee or tea! Enjoy!

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Hot Chocolate Bombs

Happy 4th day of the New Year!

So have you had a Hot Chocolate Bomb yet? I didn’t realize how popular these things are!

These are fun little spheres (my molds were 2 1/2 inches) made of chocolate, candy coating, or butterscotch chips, and filled with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. I also made some filled with French Vanilla Latte, Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato flavored coffees.

You place the beautifully decorated ball in a mug big enough to hold it, pour HOT milk (or hot water for the coffee ones), and watch as the magic happens – the shell melts, usually turns over in the cup, and reveals the marshmallows and chocolate mixture (or flavored coffee) inside. Stir then enjoy!

I made some to give as gifts before the holidays and got several orders that I had to keep buying the ingredients to make it. And the stores kept running out of the brand I use so I had to keep going to several places to find them! They were worth it though as everyone is so happy when they get it.

So here…in case you want to try your hand at making these, are my step by step instructions!

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These are everything you need (plus a lot of marshmallows!!!) to make hot chocolate bombs.

Chocolate chips, candy coating, or flavored baking chips

Instant hot chocolate/cocoa mix (I like the brands I photographed above, but use any you like!)

Mini marshmallows

Sprinkles, crushed candy canes, edible metallic sprays, any candy or cookie decoration you want

Chocolate melting pot or a microwave safe bowl

Sphere molds

1. I started by melting a bag of chocolate in my chocolate melting pot. I also tried in the microwave – use full power at 30 second increments until the chocolate gets soft looking and shiny.

2. Stir to melt thoroughly.

3. Place about s tablespoon of melted chocolate in each cavity of the mold.

4. Using the back of a spoon, carefully coat the inside of the cavity with the melted chocolate. Make sure you try to coat evenly, and cover all visibly thin areas.

5. Refrigerate until it sets, about 30 minutes.

6. Carefully unmold each chocolate and place on a dish or plate.

7. To even out the edges, heat a small plate for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave and quickly invert 1 chocolate shell on the plate. When it starts melting the edges, twist and return to the plate. Repeat with remaining chocolate pieces.

8. Fill half of the shells with the hot chocolate mixture.

9. And top with a lot of marshmallows.

10. Reheat the small plate, around 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. One by one, invert the unfilled shells on to the plate, let it melt the edges slightly then twist the shell onto the filled shells. Run your finger through the crease and make sure to seal it together. You do not want hot chocolate powder coming out of the ball.

11. Drizzle with more melted chocolate (be sure it is not too hot otherwise it can melt your chocolate ball) and top with sprinkles, peppermint candies, cookie crumbs, etc!

12. You can also spray them with edible metallic spray to make it look really pretty!

13. Ta-da! Enjoy!

Below are some videos we took while preparing these hot chocolate balls!

This was mine! White chocolate peppermint hot chocolate!
This was my son’s!