Friday, March 22, 2013

Molten Chocolate Pecan Praline Lava Cakes with Caramel Sauce

Short of falling into a vat of chocolate, this is one of the most decadent ways to die.  You’ve already tried baby lava cakes, but this one takes you to a whole new level.

We’ve all read recipes that say, “butter or margarine” and known that a true foodie wouldn’t even consider using margarine.  Phht!  We spit on your fake butter.  It’s the real thing or nothing, right?  But we also know that if someone only has margarine, at least the recipe will work for them.  And it’s like that with everything.  The finest chocolate is going to give you superior results.  But will it work with chocolate chips?  Sure—and it will still be phenomenal.  Just not quite AS phenomenal as if you use the best chocolate money can buy.  So here we go:

Make the sauce first (because some of it goes inside!):

½ Cup sugar

1/3 Cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. corn syrup, dark or light

½ Cup heavy cream

½  Cup pecan pieces, toasted (stir in a dry pan over medium heat until golden)

Stir all but the pecans in a sauce pan over medium-high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat and cook for another 10 minutes.  Set aside.  Save pecans for stirring in later.

Now make the cakes:

¾ Cup butter

1 Cup semisweet or milk chocolate pieces (or extra dark chocolate chips)

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

1/3 Cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1/3 Cup flour

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease and flour 6 ramekin cups (or use the Pam spray for baking).  Place on a baking sheet and set aside.  In a sauce pan over low heat, stir butter and chocolate together until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until thick. Slowly beat in cooled chocolate mixture.  Sift flour and cocoa into batter, beating just until combined.  Pour into ramekins.  Bake 10 minutes.

3. Remove cakes from oven and pour 1 Tbsp. caramel sauce into center of each, pushing cake aside with a spoon to make a small well.  Bake 5 more minutes; edges should feel firm.  Cool on a rack for three minutes, then loosen with a knife and invert onto serving plates.  Stir pecans into remaining sauce and drizzle over cakes.  Serve hot.  (These chill and reheat well.)

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