death by chocolate


chocolate, check. sugar, check. eggs, check. This recipe came from one of my favorite sources: Orangette Molly has yet to lead me astray whether it’s the oatmeal sandwich bread or the Italian vegetable soup. Today’s treat is the Winning Hearts and Minds Cake. In case you’re not connecting the dots, I’m talking about a rich decadent cake with a killer name. I think you need to make it just to brag you made something so amazing. I decided to make this as a morale boost but Molly from Orangette made it for her wedding cake. Granted this would even be perfect for any old Tuesday as it is simple and gives a big bang for the effort. The only downside to this is that it would be cruel to change this recipe – as tempting as it is to find a way to decrease the points value per serving.

Carver described this as souffle meets brownie meets cake and I have to agree with his findings. What I like is the depth of flavor, the contrast in textures and the subtle sweetness. Yes, I’m raving but the cake has earned it. Full disclosure, I edited the recipe a bit – increased flour from 1 tablespoon to 3, added vanilla extract and coffee.

Winning Hearts and Minds Cake

  • 7 oz good dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 70%), cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 7oz unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons flour

So first things first – preheat the oven to 375 and prepare muffin tins with liners and a quick spray of Pam; set aside.

In a medium glass bowl combine butter and chocolate, microwave for 1:30 pausing to stir every 15 seconds. You may not need the whole 90 seconds, but you need almost all the chocolate to be melted. Small chunks will melt with enough stirring. Whisk in sugar and set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Whisk in eggs to chocolate/butter 1 at a time. Next add in remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine. Pour batter into prepared tin – for me it took 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon per cup. Now it’s time for the magic… Bake this in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes. I baked for 18 minutes, rotated sheet halfway through and then baked for another 5 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes and finish cooling out of pan. Yields 12 cakes at 13 points plus per cake.

I’m told they are delicious with a cup of milk and well worth burning your tongue on… 3 guesses who shared that bit of information.

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Pizza and beer?


Saturday morning! But not just any Saturday, this Saturday started with Jen!! We have a fun afternoon planned- lunch, shopping, maybe a cupcake or two to go with our coffee.
Last night was date night for Carver and I, and we had a great time. We drove to downtown Phoenix and had dinner at Pizzeria Bianco. This restaurant was featured on Food Network and it is one of Carver’s favorite pizza places.
The room was tiny but smelled amazing, but we were told there was an hour-long wait. So we went to their bar and had a beer and a ham-cheese panino. Super greasy but very good, and it was served with a warm stony grain mustard and homemade bread and butter pickles which made me want pickles at the reception.
After a quick 25 minutes we were seated and I let Carver do all the ordering: caprese salad, farmhouse salad, and a wiseguys pizza. The caprese salad was very good, and the tomatoes had formed a tasty sauce at the bottom of the plate which was great for dipping the ciabatta in. The farmhouse salad was very nice: arugula and watercress in a lemony vinaigrette with goat cheese and fresh figs. And the pizza you ask? Well it had caramelized onions, Italian sausage and a creamy cheese blend. The crust was light and crispy and full of flavor.
All in all a delicious date night and we will certainly be back.

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Inaugural date night


That’s right, we have instituted date night. Currently on Thursday’s. Our first date date night of our new lives happened to be in Albuquerque, NM. After the two precious dinners and the less than satisfying road meals we had been eating we decided we would hunt down authentic Mexican food. Once we got to the hotel we put the iPad to use and searched out a restaurant within walking distance.
In Carver’s words the meal was, “Glorious,” or maybe that was just the beers he was referring to…
The restaurant was very unassuming from the front, as most good restaurants usually are. The service was great and the food was perfect.
We started out with a beer (Pacifico and Negro Modelo) and some chips with lime juice. For the entree I had fish tacos while Carver had mixed fajitas. We shared the meals of course and they were the perfect way to kick off date night. I also LOVED the rice, not your standard red rice. If I had to guess, I would say: white rice cooked in chicken stock and then a mirepoix mixed in before serving. I will certainly be trying it out at home.
Dessert was flan- free because we mentioned their website. And the flan was equally delicious. There had to be a little old lady involved. Our waiter Javier denied it, but I don’t think he was telling the truth.

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