american-classic-cake-with-pecans-and-maple-syrup

Jumbo Coffee Pecan Tarts

For my son’s birthday party last fall, one of the desserts I made was a pecan pie. It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts ever, but I don’t make it often. Pecans are rather pricey, for one, and also… I can’t just have one slice. I can’t really just have two, either. If I was really in the mood for it, I could probably eat a third of the pie in one sitting without even blinking an eye. It’s bad, I know.

But this was my son’s birthday, and I knew that if there were guests at the party, I would not be able to indulge as I normally would from the comfort of my own kitchen. I would have to share. So pecan pie made the list of desserts.

So it was the night before the party. My gorgeous pie was in the oven and the timer had just gone off. I put my oven mitts on and I went to check the jiggliness of the center. I opened the door, reached in to grab the pie, and took my eye off it for a split second.

chocolate-cupcake-with-almonds

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes & Cocoa Powder Philosophy

Can I be honest for a second?

I hate using cocoa powder in my baking.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se. Especially not if you use a good kind. But I just don’t like it. It’s not just a flavor-er, but it’s also a thickener. And it’s notoriously and problematically lumpy. And it’s messy. I don’t know if it’s just me or if this happens to everyone, but whenever I use cocoa powder, I get it all over my counter and my mixer and my hands and my clothes and my floor… It doesn’t happen with flour or powdered sugar. Just cocoa.

But I digress…

I always keep some on hand. And it’s always always always Ghiradelli because it’s my favorite brand of any chocolate to use. I just think that it is generally overrated. Even if it takes an an extra step (which, in all honesty, takes less than two minutes, but whatever…), I would much prefer to melt down some good quality chocolate and mix it into whatever batter I’m preparing. The difference is magnificent. Cakes are richer and silkier. Frostings are more luscious. But the deliciousness and the decadence is amplified

There are instances, of course, where cocoa powder would still be preferred. Red Velvet, for example, is not meant to be super dark and chocolatey. It’s supposed to have just a hint of chocolate flavor with buttermilk being the star. And that’s great. But when chocolate is meant to be remembered, then I feel like it needs to be the real deal.