Late spring is the part of the year when time speeds up for me. Girlfriend’s school is busy with testing and final projects and parties. The PTA is wrapping up one year and preparing for another. I start to look at various camps for Girlfriend, which usually means I have to take the dregs of what’s leftover from all the parents who got it together to plan these things in February. (I will admit that I just can’t think about summer in February–and I can’t get myself to sign Girlfriend up for swimming lessons when I’m freezing. But I digress).
This is also the time of year when the food scene switches over from winter activities to summer activities. Farmer’s markets re-open, the first BBQs of the season are planned, and I plant seeds and starts in my little veggie garden. As I have mentioned before, I am also a founding member (and webmaster) of the terrific group, Canning Across America. If you don’t know it, Canning Across America, the brain child of Kim O’Donnel, is an ad-hoc group devoted to promoting canning and food preserving. It started last year and was enthusiastically embraced by people all over the country (and beyond). It’s been such an amazing and convivial group to be part of. And this time of year is when our work starts to get busy.
We had our first planning meeting of the season this past Monday. It was so nice to get together with these enthusiastic people and start talking about one of my favorite activities–canning. One of these days I have to do a post on canning. I can a lot of fruits and veggies every summer and it is so satisfying to use the resulting goods in my baking and food preparation throughout the year.
As you may have guessed, I always bring treats to our meetings. The treat I brought this time was chocolate bouchons. My pal Tara, of the lovely site Tea and Cookies and author of the new book, The Butcher and the Vegetarian, had emailed me the day before and asked where the bouchon recipe on my site was because she couldn’t find it. I was so glad she asked because it reminded me that I had totally forgotten to post a recipe. I’ve been making these ever since last summer, when I go my silicon bouchon mold. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy word: bouchon is just French for “cork.” The reason these are called bouchons is that they look like corks. For all intents and purposes, they are dense chocolate brownie bites. And they are good! If you don’t have a special bouchon mold, you can always use a regular or mini cupcake pan.
This recipe is something of a hallmark recipe for chef Thomas Keller, whose recipe I adapted. He published it in his cookbook, Bouchon, and also in What’s Cooking: A Cookbook for Kids. Keller is one of my cooking idols and I am so happy that he worked on this kid cookbook–he even did the forward for the book. A line of his from the book that I love is: “go on, put on your apron and pick up a spatula. Let’s head to the kitchen, and, as my friend Chef Jacques Pepin always says, ‘Happy Cooking!'”
Chocolate Bouchons, Gluten-Free
-adapted from What’s Cooking: A Cookbook for Kids
Special Equipment Needed
–bouchon mold, or a mini or regular cupcake pan
Note: This recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C (6 oz; 170 g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (7.25 oz; 206 g) white rice flour
1 C (4.25 oz; 121 g) tapioca flour
1 C (5.75 oz; 163 g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the bouchons)
3/4 C (110g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 C (90g) cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp kosher salt (the big-grained kind)
3 large or extra large eggs
3/4 C plus 2 TBL (200g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 sticks (1 1/2 C, 340g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
6 oz (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use the mini-chocolate chips)
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If using muffin pans, grease and flour with extra melted butter and tapioca flour. No need to grease and flour the silicon bouchon mold.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and granulated sugar with the mixer on medium speed until batter is very pale in color–about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla.
With mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the melted butter alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a spoon to combine.
Fill each bouchon cup about 7/8 full, or each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes–or until a toothpick comes out clean but not dry.
Carefully transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack to cool completely. They will be a bit delicate and will have a tendency to settle down a bit. Try not to cool them on their sides–it will alter there shape.
When cool, dust the tops with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
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