Top: Chocolate bouchons, bottom: Gingersnaps
I decided to do some holiday baking for about 20 of my real estate clients, primarily those who lived in doorman buildings where I could drop off the baked goods. I nixed cupcakes in favor of more "durable" fare: Thomas Keller's Chocolate Bouchons and gingersnaps. I packaged them in brown bakery boxes with grosgain ribbon and a gift tag.
from Bouchon by Thomas Keller (Artisan Books)
Makes 12 servings
Butter and flour for the timbale molds
3 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 tablespoons (12 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and just slightly warm
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Equatoriale (55%), chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour twelve timbale molds. Set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain tip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick: It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate). Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds; then lift off the molds. (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.)
To serve: Invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners' sugar. Serve with ice cream, if desired.
On melted butter: this made all the difference!
On piping the batter: I used a melon scoop since I didn't have a pastry bag handy, worked just as well.
On the timbale molds: I bought mine from JB Prince on the phone and sent my Christmas elf to collect it. :) Don't remove the molds prematurely or the bouchons may collapse (I lost 2 batches to my impatience).