A Passion for Chocolate

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Chocolate YOLO Grenades


People say there’s a fine line between genius and insanity, for some of us that line disappears under smears of chocolate and cake batter. I myself was pushed across this line by Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, which my family gave me for Christmas.   It’s my favorite kind of cookbook, with tons of stories along with the recipes for things like liquid cheesecake, bagel bombs and the infamous crack pie.

So, when I went to make my old-fashioned chocolate crinkles today and finish off my cookie posts I asked myself, “What would Christina Tosi do?” If you don’t have a strong constitution it’s probably best not to ask yourself that question. I answered it with hazelnuts, almonds, coffee and sea salt caramels. If I had some good-quality chocolate jimmies I swear on all that is sacred I would have used those as well.

Chocolate YOLO Grenades, Makes 18

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. ground hazelnuts
1/3 c. almond flour
1 t. instant coffee (I used Mackinac Island Fudge coffee.)
1/3 c. dark cocoa
3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 c. milk
5 large sea salt caramels
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar

Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then the melted chocolate.


Beat in the nuts and coffee.


Combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Beat in half the flour mixture, beat in the milk, and then the rest of the flour. Chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.




Cut the sea salt caramels into quarters, and put the sugars in separate bowls. Preheat the oven to 350.

YOLO mise en place

Scoop out a spoonful of dough and mold it around a square of caramel.


Roll it in the granulated sugar, then the powdered sugar.

chocolate_YOLO_grenades10_little_house_dunes chocolate_YOLO_grenades11_little_house_dunes


Leaving about three inches between cookies, place the balls on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. The centers should still be slightly shiny if you’re going for Tosi-gooey.




There you have it. Check out that runny caramel in the brownie-like center. Brutal. Warm these a touch before serving.

I hope you’re happy Christina Tosi – I have a feeling you will be 🙂


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Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding, A Passion for Chocolate

There is nothing like pudding to sooth the soul, and after a crazy busy week it was just what the doctor ordered. Even without a box it is entirely possible to throw it together with the rest of dinner and get it to the table while still slightly warm. This also makes great filling for chocolate cream pie.

Chocolate Pudding (Six servings or filling for one 8″ pie)

3 c. milk (whole milk is best, but I used 1/2%)

2 T. cornstarch

1/2 c. sugar

2 T. cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.)

2 t. vanilla

1/2 c. chocolate chips

Warm the milk over medium heat. Combine the dry ingredients together well.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the milk. Continue to whisk over medium heat.

It will thicken up, bubble and start to look like pudding.

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat until combined. Spoon a couple large dollops of hot pudding into the eggs to temper them.

Stir together and dump it into the pan on the stovetop. Whisk briskly for another minute over the heat.

Take the pudding off the heat. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate chips, stirring until the chips are melted and incorporated. This final step is what gives you the richness of boxed pudding.

Pour into bowls or dishes. You can serve it right away or put it in the fridge. If you don’t like the skin on the top, just press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface before you put it in the fridge.

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake Little House by the Dunes

Pudding cakes are one of those old-fashioned desserts that deserve to be more popular. My grandma didn’t make desserts all that often, but when she did this was one of them. I have always loved it. It looks like a hot mess when you’re putting it together, but in the oven that dark energy goes to work and magically separates the layers with a moist cakey layer resting on top of hot fudge.  This recipe is a hybrid of my grandma’s recipe and one that is in my BHG Family Desserts cookbook. I like this version because it’s a lot lighter on the sugar then the original, but they are very close in taste and texture. Plus it goes together in under 10 minutes!

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake Recipe (Six Servings)

For the batter:

3 T.  cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

2 T. olive oil

1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. milk

1/3 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1 t. vanilla

For the fudge:

1 c. boiling water

1/3 c. brown sugar

2 T. cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all the batter ingredients in a bowl and stir quickly to combine. You could also add some chopped pecans here if you like.

Sorry about the photo, this time of year the sun comes straight in. Grease an 8″ square pan and pour in the batter.

Mix the fudge ingredients together. At this point it will look like something has gone horribly wrong, but that’s part of the magic.

Take a deep breath and gently pour it all over the cake batter in the pan.

I know, it’s not pretty. Just stick it in the oven and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes. When you take it out it will be “quivery” as my daughter says. That’s okay.

It’s best to rest this dessert 15-20 minutes, because the fudge on the bottom will thicken as it cools a bit.

Spoon it out into dishes. I like to flip it over so the fudge is on top, and add a scoop of ice cream because I’m a lily-gilder from way back. (This is happens to be cookie dough ice cream. . .ahem).

Hot fudge pudding cake – what’s not to love?