If there’s one thing that all countries can agree on—it’s that chocolate makes for a exquisite ingredient in a rich dessert recipe. See how different parts of the world have made the classic chocolate flavor distinctly their own.
Italian Chocolate Biscotti
The Biscotti, meaning twice-baked, is a subtly-sweet and crisp dessert biscuit from Italy. These biscuits pair perfectly with a steaming hot cup of coffee.
SERVINGS: 50-60 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar and vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, and then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet evenly spaced apart.
- Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes until the dough feels firm to the touch.
- Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.
Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, and then cooled until the chocolate hardens.
Any party or gathering in Brazil is guaranteed to be garnished with these super simple, yet deliciously addicting fudge balls coined Brigadeiros meaning the candy.
1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened) plus extra to grease plate and hands
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate vermicelli or good quality chocolate sprinkles
- Whisk the condensed milk and cocoa powder together until obtaining a homogeneous mixture (without lumps of cocoa powder). Then, stir in the butter.
- Cook in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium-low to medium heat (large burner), stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to peel away or show the bottom of the pan when you scrape it with your wood spoon (about 5-8 minutes). The chocolate fudge mixture should be thick enough to show you the bottom of the pan for a couple of seconds before the mixture levels out again.
- When chocolate fudge is ready, remove from stove top, mix in the vanilla extract and spread mixture onto a greased plate.
- Let cool to room temperature before starting to roll them into balls with greased hands. Use a 1/2 (or 1) tablespoon as measurement. Then, dredge gently in the chocolate vermicelli until totally covered, and place into paper bonbon cups.
These chocolate fudge balls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. The mixture can be also stored, covered well, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, brought to room temperature and rolled into balls.
German Black Forest Cake
This rich, chocolate-cherry dessert is not named after the Black Forest mountain range, but rather the specialty liquor made from tart cherries in that area in Germany.
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (20 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch, round, cake pans; cover bottoms with waxed paper.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges and remove to racks to cool completely.
- Drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Combine reserved juice, cherries, 1 cup sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool before using.
- Combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar in a chilled medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
- With long serrated knife, split each cake layer horizontally in half. Tear one split layer into crumbs; set aside. Reserve 1 1/2 cups frosting for decorating cake; set aside. Gently brush loose crumbs off top and side of each cake layer with pastry brush or hands. To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting and top with 3/4 cup cherry topping. Top with second cake layer and repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer. Frost side of cake. Pat reserved crumbs onto frosting on side of cake. Spoon reserved frosting into pastry bag fitted with star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping onto top of cake.