Easy Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache | Pinky's Pantry
Chocolate Ganache is used as a filling, a frosting, or a glaze for cakes and pastries. It’s very easy to prepare. This recipe is wonderful made with a good quality chocolate like Scharffenberger chocolate, but it’s just as good made with chocolate chips.

Make sure the chopping board, bowl, and utensils you use are completely dry because water will cause the chocolate to seize when it’s melted. Also when working with ganache, bear in mind that while it’s warm, it’s liquid and pourable, but it thickens and firms as it cools. If you need to soften it, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and stir.

EASY CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 8 ozs. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
  1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, heat cream and butter until it just comes to a simmer.
  3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  4. Slowly stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Don’t whisk vigorously. You don’t want to whip air into it.

NOTE:

  • This recipe makes enough ganache to cover one 9-inch cake.
  • The ganache may be made up to 1 week ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before using.

Chocolate Cobbler

Chocolate Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry
A cobbler is an old-fashioned American dessert that’s been around since the 1800’s. It’s traditionally made with fruit, like peaches or blackberries, that are baked in their juices and topped with a cakey or biscuit-like dough. There are different variations on how the topping is made depending on where you’re from.

A chocolate cobbler breaks from tradition in that it isn’t made with fruit, but as far as making it goes, it’s just as easy to put together as any fruit cobbler and it’s every bit as delicious! Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s absolutely to die for. Whenever I make this, it disappears almost as soon as it comes out of the oven!
Chocolate Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry

CHOCOLATE COBBLER

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk

For the Chocolate Layer:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsps. cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place the 2 sticks of butter into a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish and put in the oven to melt.
  3. While butter is melting, stir together 1¼ cups sugar, flour, vanilla and milk in a bowl.
  4. Pour the batter over the melted butter. Do not stir!
  5. In another bowl, mix the 1 cup sugar and cocoa powder together, and sprinkle on top of the batter. Again, do not stir!
  6. Pour the boiling water on top of everything. Resist the urge to stir! Just don’t do it!
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until you have a nice golden brown crust on top.
  8. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Halloween Fondant Ghosts

Fondant Ghost1 | Pinky's Pantry
To add to the treats I was making for the kids this Halloween, I decided to make some fondant ghosts. You can make your own homemade fondant like I did, or buy ready-made fondant. Obviously, homemade marshmallow fondant tastes a hundred times better than the store bought kind, but it can be a pain to make so it’s entirely up to you. The ghost bodies underneath the fondant are made by stacking chocolate candies that you “glue” together with melted chocolate chips. Whether you choose to make your own fondant or buy the ready-made kind, assembling these ghosts is definitely easy and fun to do! They look adorable on your Halloween table, too.

HALLOWEEN FONDANT GHOSTS

  • 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or you can buy ready-made white fondant)
  • 1 bag Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 box Whoppers malted milk balls
  • 2-3 tbsp. chocolate chips, to use as “glue”
  • powdered sugar or cornstarch, for dusting
  • 1 tube of black ready-to-use decorating icing
  1. Heat chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted.
  2. Smear a little melted chocolate on top of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and press a second cup on top of it. This is your ghost’s body.
    Fondant Ghost2 | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Next, smear a little dollop of melted chocolate on a Whopper and press it onto your peanut butter cup stack. This is your ghost’s head.
  4. Knead the fondant till it’s soft and pliable.
  5. Dust work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch.
  6. Pull off a piece of fondant and cover the rest with a damp towel. I like to work with fondant in small batches to keep the big piece of fondant from drying out.
    Fondant Ghost3| Pinky's Pantry
  7. Roll out the piece of fondant you pulled to a little less than a quarter inch thick.
  8. Cut out 4½-inch circles from the fondant.
    Fondant Ghost4 | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Break off another piece of fondant, roll, and cut out more circles.
  10. Repeat till you have the number of circles you need for however many ghosts you’re making.
  11. Drape a fondant circle over a chocolate stack, arranging it so it drapes in nice folds.
    Fondant Ghost5 | Pinky's Pantry
  12. Pipe two eyes with black decorating icing. If desired, you could add an “O” shaped mouth as well.
    Fondant Ghost6 | Pinky's Pantry
  13. These ghosts can be served as is, or use them as cupcake toppers or to decorate a cake.
    Fondant Ghost7 | Pinky's Pantry

Mom’s Chocolate Icing

Chocolate Icing | Pinky's Pantry
This is my Mom’s chocolate frosting recipe and it’s the best one ever! It takes a little time to make because it’s cooked slowly over medium to low heat until it’s thickened to a spreadable consistency, but trust me, it’s well worth the wait. It’s rich and glossy and absolutely delicious.

Mom always said it was best to use a thick, heavy-bottom pan for this frosting so the milk wouldn’t burn easily. She always reached for her orange Le Creuset cast iron saucepan when she made it. I don’t have a cast iron saucepan so I just use a regular pot and keep stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively, you could cook this over a double boiler.

MOM’S CHOCOLATE ICING

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  1. Using a wire whisk, mix together sugar, cocoa powder and evaporated milk in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with the whisk.
  4. When chocolate mixture just begins to boil, pour one-third of it into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks and mix well. This tempers the yolks which keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs.
  5. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and combine with the rest of the chocolate mixture.
  6. Return to flame and add butter.
  7. Keep cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes back to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, stirring till mixture reaches spreading consistency.
  9. Cool completely before frosting cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the frosting, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

 

Mom’s Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake

Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake | Pinky's Pantry
When I was growing up in the Philippines, there was a bakeshop called Cookie Monster Bake Shop. They were famous for their delicious chocolate cake. The moist and tender cake wasn’t overly sweet, but it was the perfect base for the yema-like filling inside it and the rich chocolate frosting that covered it. My Mom tried to imitate their cake and came up with this recipe which tastes almost exactly like Cookie Monster’s. Mom would fill it with her coffee-scented mocha filling, and frost it with her silky chocolate icing. Our family called this Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake, but I honestly think my Mom’s version was better than the bake shop’s.

I hope you don’t mind the odd format. Out of nostalgia, I decided to type out the recipe the same way my Mom had it written in her old, stain-spattered recipe notebook. Read it all the way to the end before starting so you can gather all your ingredients together.

MOM’S COOKIE MONSTER CHOCOLATE CAKE

1. Grease bottom and sides of two 9×13 rectangular baking pans. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper.

2. Sift into a large bowl and mix together well:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

3. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ stick margarine
  • ¾ cup canola oil

4. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Add, but don’t mix till all ingredients are in:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (mashed in small bowl to remove lumps)
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla

6. Blend thoroughly and pour into prepared pans.

7. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool. Carefully peel off parchment paper.

8. When cakes are completely cool, fill with Mom’s Mocha Filling and frost with Mom’s Chocolate Icing.

MOM’S MOCHA FILLING

1. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan and using a wire whisk, whisk together:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 can evaporated milk

2. Place saucepan over low heat and add:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine

3. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. This burns fast so watch carefully!

4. Keep cooking till mixture begins to bubble; then let boil for 3-5 minutes, all the while stirring slowly and continuously with the wire whisk.

5. Remove from fire and allow to cool completely before using. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the filling, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

MOM’S CHOCOLATE ICING

1. Using a wire whisk, mix together in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder
  • 2 cans evaporated milk

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

3. In a small bowl, beat:

  • 6 egg yolks

4. When chocolate mixture just begins to boil, pour one-third of it into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks and mix well. This tempers the yolks which keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs.

5. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and combine with the rest of the chocolate mixture.

6. Return to flame and add:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

7. Keep cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes back to a boil.

8. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, stirring till mixture reaches spreading consistency.

9. Cool completely before frosting cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the frosting, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

Chocoflan Cake

Chocoflan Cake | Pinky's Pantry
Growing up in the Philippines, we ate Leche Flan Cake all the time. Filipino Leche Flan Cake is a rectangular sponge cake with a thin layer of flan on top of it. It was a special treat and one that we kids loved. There was a canteen at my Lolo’s (grandpa’s) office that sold it for a few cents a serving.

I had never heard of “Chocoflan” Cake until I came to the United States. It’s apparently a Mexican favorite and is just like Filipino Leche Flan Cake only made with chocolate cake and with a much thicker layer of flan. It’s also baked in a bundt pan instead of a rectangular cake pan.

When I originally learned to make Chocoflan Cake years ago, you poured cajeta sauce over the cake before serving. I didn’t like that very much. I thought the cajeta sauce was way too sweet and had a flavor I didn’t particularly care for, so I dropped that step. We also used whole milk in the flan but I like the richness imparted by evaporated milk much better. One day I thought, “what if I add some dulce de leche as a surprise layer in the dessert?” That idea turned out to be a big hit with my kids so I’ve done it that way ever since.

I have to warn you, whenever I make this cake, the dulce de leche layer never ends up in the same place! Sometimes it ends up right at the top of the cake, sometimes it sits in the center between the flan and the cake, sometimes it’s thicker on one side than on the other, sometimes it’s all pooled on one side with nothing on the other! I have tried numerous times to make it end up consistently at the top of the cake to no avail. I finally gave up. Who cares? The point is, the cake is to die for and the little surprise bites of dulce de leche are absolutely scrumptious! You’ve really got to try this recipe. I promise it’s worth every bite!
Chocoflan Cake | Pinky's Pantry
Chocoflan Cake | Pinky's Pantry

CHOCOFLAN CAKE

  • 1 can dulce de leche (storebought or homemade)
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix, plus ingredients listed behind box to make it
  • 4 ozs. (½ box) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-oz. can condensed milk
  • 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  1. Prepare a water bath by placing a roasting pan half full of water into oven.
  2. Turn oven on to 350ºF to preheat.
  3. In a medium bowl, prepare flan by mixing together cream cheese, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and eggs until well blended.
  4. In another bowl, prepare chocolate cake mix according to package directions. I don’t bother using an electric mixer for this step. I just stir the batter together with a wire whisk or a wooden spoon.
  5. Spray a 12 to 15-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.
  6. Empty dulce de leche into a small glass bowl and heat in microwave for a minute to soften and make it pourable.
  7. Pour dulce de leche into bottom of bundt pan.
  8. Pour chocolate cake batter over dulce de leche in bundt pan.
  9. Slowly pour flan mixture over chocolate batter. Don’t worry if it sinks or causes the batter to separate in clumps.
  10. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover bundt pan tightly.
  11. Place pan into water bath in oven.
  12. Bake for 50 minutes. Do not uncover during baking.
  13. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature; then place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  14. Invert cake onto a large serving platter.
  15. If desired, stir a little milk or cream into some dulce de leche to thin it to a pouring consistency and drizzle over cake right before serving.

NOTE:  Chocoflan Cake is best prepared a day or two in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to serve.

Spanish Chocolaté

Spanish Chocolaté | Pinky's Pantry
Churros are a traditional and beloved Spanish snack. They are often served with little cups of chocolaté (pronounced cho-ko-lah-tay) for dunking. There are churrerias all over Spain where you can get churros con chocolaté. However, the Spanish chocolate drink is nothing like our American hot cocoa. Spanish chocolaté is thick and when I say it’s thick, I mean thick. But it’s rich and creamy and oh-so-delicious. It’s the perfect complement to the crispy churros.

Growing up in the Philippines where the Spanish influence is very strongly visible in our food, I always had hot chocolate prepared the Spanish way. My Mom would buy these chocolate tablets or tableas as they were commonly known which were made from locally grown cacao beans. The brand we used most often was Antonio Pueo Chocolate which was founded by a Spanish immigrant and has been manufactured in the Philippines since the early 20th century. It’s easy to find here in the States but if you can’t find it, you could substitute Mexican chocolate in a pinch. Pueo chocolate tableas come in two forms – pure cacao tablets which are wrapped in gold paper, and cacao-and-milk tablets which are wrapped in white paper. I prefer to use the gold-wrapped tablets, though the white ones work just as well.

In the Philippines, traditional chocolaté (or tsokolaté) is prepared by placing chocolate tableas in a pot with some water and then setting it on the stove to boil until the chocolate dissolves. The mixture is then transferred to an iron pitcher called a tsokolatera, after which milk and sugar are added, and then it is hand-beaten with a utensil called a batidor which is like a wooden stick with a carved knob at one end. You hold the handle of the batidor between your two palms and then rub your palms together back and forth causing the batidor to spin left and right. This is the hard part. You spin and spin and spin and spin some more until you’re sure your arms are going to fall off, but as you spin the batidor, the chocolaté froths up into a creamy, thick, slightly grainy concoction that smells divine and tastes like heaven. Some people like to add ground peanuts to their chocolaté which gives it a delicious nutty flavor.

I make my chocolaté the lazy man’s way which is definitely easier on your arms than using a batidor though you still have to whisk. No getting around that. But first I pulverize the tableas until they’re crushed into small pieces because they dissolve much faster that way. I also add a little cornstarch to my mixture which helps ratchet it up to the Spanish level of thickness.

SPANISH CHOCOLATÉ

  • 1 pack (7.4 ozs.) Antonio Pueo Chocolate Excellent (in the gold wrapper)
  • 3 cans evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk (you won’t use the whole can)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup milk or water
  1. Crush the chocolate tablets in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and pound them with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. It is not necessary to pulverize them to a powder. Just crush them into small pieces.
    Crushed Chocolaté | Pinky's Pantry
  2. Combine crushed chocolate and evaporated milk in a heavy-bottomed pot, stirring with a wire whisk to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. This can take some time so just be patient and keep whisking.
  4. Meanwhile, taste the mixture for sweetness. If you think it’s not sweet enough, whisk in ¼ cup condensed milk and taste again. I would start with ¼ cup and go from there. If you want it still sweeter, just add more condensed milk, little by little, till it reaches the sweetness you desire. I find that ¼ cup is plenty sweet for me, but if my daughter Bashful had her way, she’d pour the whole can of condensed milk in!
  5. Once chocolaté starts to boil, reduce fire to low, and whisk in cornstarch mixture.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until chocolaté is thick and smooth. If the chocolaté doesn’t seem to be thickening, raise the fire a little to bring the mixture up to a boil again. Don’t forget to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn!
    Spanish Chocolaté | Pinky's Pantry
  7. Pour into demitasse cups and serve with churros. We also love it with hot pan de sal or ensaimadas. Yum!

NOTE:  I have made this with both the pure cacao in the gold wrapper and the cacao with milk in the white wrapper using my same recipe. Both work fine. Even though the white-wrapped Pueo tablets already have milk in them, there’s no need to adjust the amount of evaporated milk you use. That being said, I like the pure cacao in the gold wrapper better. It has a much richer, bolder chocolate flavor.