Run in with an Avocado

Fruit can be dangerous. We found this out recently when my daughter was attempting to remove the pit from an avocado. The knife slipped off the edge of the pit and slid into the palm of her hand. We took her to a local emergency clinic for what I assumed would just be a few stitches. The reality of the situation was more along the lines of: 2 severed nerves, 1 emergency surgery, and 0 basketball tournaments. A basketball tournament in Barcelona Spain that was going to begin in 2 days time. It's her senior year. Ouch.

Side bar: Being a nurse, my plan, had I found a suture kit in my box of supplies, was to give her a shot of tequila and throw in the 3 stitches needed to close the original wound.

Yes, really I had thought about it. Yes, I think we're all glad that I didn't have a suture kit.

We still went to Barcelona, she cheered on the team, it was really hard, but good. Good in the way that one day you'll look back and see that you learned a lot but at the moment this really sucks and you need your mom to buy you churros and dark chocolate and shirts from H&M.

I'm still needed. So grateful for that.

You're probably wondering about the picture of the avocados. You're probably thinking that it's pretty insensitive of me to post that photo or maybe even have large bowls of avocados in my kitchen. You're probably right. But in my defense, avocados are just so darn good.

And so for my avocado loving daughter who needs a little balm not only for her hand, but for her heart that is a little disappointed, I give you this.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding. I have to say when we tried this I wasn't sure what to think. It was good, but I was hoping that I could say it did not taste like avocados. But it does. That's not a bad thing, unless you end up in the emergency clinic while trying to make this dessert.

I used some melted dark chocolate along with cocoa powder to give a deep chocolate flavor, some dark brown sugar underscores it even more. Most recipes only use honey or agave nectar to sweeten the pudding, so feel free to leave out the brown sugar if you want to. My feelings won't be hurt in the least.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
4 ripe avocados
1/4 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 ounces of dark chocolate 70% or higher, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pit and peel the avocados and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste, season as you would like, more sweetener, more vanilla.....process again for 2 minutes until the pudding is very smooth.

Serves 4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Did Someone Say Cake?

I have an indiscriminate sweet tooth. If it contains sugar, I'm in. My children know not to leave their candy unguarded, even the picked over unwanted Halloween candy is fine by me. Santa never gets to eat his cookies on Christmas Eve, and ears have been known to go missing from chocolate Easter bunnies. 

Don't get me started on what I would do for a tub of red vines.

Thankfully this week combines two great reasons to bake. Valentines Day and a friends birthday. That is where this cake comes in.

It was my friend Marty's birthday. He has a sweet tooth as well. He's a good guy.

The other day for inspiration I was looking at the Cupcake Royale website, they feature a treat called the Deathcake for Valentines Day. A jaw dropping combination of a Chocolate Decadence cupcake with espresso infused ganache and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Since I couldn't have theirs (they don't deliver to Tunisia. I checked) I decided to make my own. Then I got a little lazy. I didn't want to make, frost, and decorate a bunch of cupcakes. And that is how the Deathcake, as layer cake, was born.


A molten chocolate cake, gooey in the middle, with a smear of bittersweet chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of vanilla bean infused sea salt.
Santa will not be getting a bite of this either this year.

Happy Birthday Marty!

This cake is perfectly acceptable without the ganache topping. Take it out of the oven, let it sit for 15 minutes and serve it with some whipped cream or ice cream. It's fantastic like that, or if you want to make someone swoon on their birthday, top it with the ganache.

Molten Chocolate Brownie with Espresso Ganache and Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel
3 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour and cocoa powder, set aside. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven, in 30 second bursts, stirring well until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium mixing bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salt, mixing well, then the eggs one at a time until well blended. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract, and melted chocolate. Beat until well combined.
Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder until just blended. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
The cake will be puffy but the center should still jiggle and be gooey. Allow to cool for 15 minutes if you are going to serve it right away or cool completely before topping it with the ganache.
Once the cake is cool, pour the ganache evenly over the top of the cake and spread with an off set spatula. Let the cake sit in a cool place for several hours or until the ganache is firm. Once the ganache is firm to the touch release the sides of the springform pan (you may need to run a knife around the edges of the cake first) and then sprinkle with the vanilla bean fleur de sel.

Espresso and Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup (optional)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Bring heavy cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Add the chocolate and espresso powder. Stir well, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth then allow to cool until it begins to thicken slightly.

Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel
2 tablespoons large flake sea salt or fleur de sel
1 vanilla bean split and scraped

In a small ramekin or other small bowl combine the salt and vanilla bean seeds, rubbing together with your fingers until the vanilla is uniformly disbursed.