chocolate bouchons (chocolate corks)

Makes 16 2-inch bouchons

Butter and flour for the timbale molds
3/4 cup flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 tablespoons (12 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, just slightly warm
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
Confectioner's sugar
So named after their faint resemblance to a champagne cork. Chocolate Bouchons (or chocolate corks) are a cross between a brownie and a chocolate lava cake. They're a deep reddish brown in color, with a molten chocolate center and a sinfully intense chocolate flavor due to the bittersweet & dark chocolates.

While the ones that I made did not have the traditional "cork-like" shape,and although I used semisweet chocolate rather than bittersweet/dark, they're intensely chocolatey & dense all the same. Chef Keller's recipe calls for timbale moldsor muffin pans, but I opted for miniature springform cake pans, just to make use of my latest bakeware purchase (Hehe). I'm guessing ramekins would be perfect all the same.

With its brownie-like texture & and little craters of molten chocolate, this chocolate dessert is insanely decadent. It is a chock-full of pure chocolate goodness. Beware, it has a high risk for sugar and/or chocolate coma.

Ahhhhhh...Blisssssssssssss.... Blissssssssssssssss!

Bouchons au Chocolat
(from Thomas Keller's cookbook, Bouchon)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 16 (2-ounce) timbale molds or fleximolds. Set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.

2. In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a hand-held mixer, mix the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla.

3. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

4. Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain tip, and fill each mold two-thirds full.

5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate).

6. Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds, then lift off the molds. (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.) To serve: Invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioner's sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired.