Chocolate chips: An American delight
Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. Forget motherhood and apple pie. The one thing almost all Americans regard favorably is chocolate chips. I pay close attention to any recipe that includes them, I know it has at least one thing going for it. So, the chips in this recipe drew me to it. But, after making the cake several times, I’ve found that its list of assets goes well beyond them. It is easy to prepare, has a nice texture, and the inclusion of both sour cream and heavy cream makes it unusually moist. It is a casual little thing – you can transport it anywhere and serve it almost anytime of the day, right out of the pan. You can also freeze it-just wrap it airtight.Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.Chocolate Chip Casual Cake(Adjusted for altitudes between approximately 8,000 and 10,000 feet. If you live above 10,000 feet, add two more tablespoons of flour.)Make in an 8X8 inch square baking pan.
Ingredients1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon of baking powder3/4 teaspoon of salt1/8 teaspoon of baking soda1/2 cup of unsalted butter (one stick)1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar2 teaspoons of vanilla2 large eggs1 1/4 cups of semisweet chocolate chips1/2 cup of sour cream- light or regular
2 tablespoons of heavy cream Chocolate Glaze (optional)3 ounces unsweetened chocolate3 tablespoons unsalted butter1/4 cup of heavy cream or milk1 teaspoon of vanilla1 1/4-2 cups of powdered sugarPreheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the middle position. Line an 8×8 baking pan with Reynold’s Release non-stick aluminum foil or grease and flour the pan generously (I use a flour-vegetable oil spray and spread it with a paper towel).Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Remove about two tablespoons of this flour mixture and, in another bowl, toss it with the chocolate chips. This will prevent the chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake.With an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is very fluffy and light. Take your time with this and scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Gradually add the granulated and light brown sugars and the vanilla and combine thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.Alternate additions of the flour and the sour cream in three stages, starting and ending with flour. Gently mix in the heavy cream and, finally, the chocolate chip-flour mixture.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing and leveling the top.Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Remove the cake and cool it completely.To make the optional glaze: Chop the chocolate, cut up the butter and melt the two together in a medium bowl in a microwave or double boiler. To melt in a microwave: Heat at low (I use #3) temperature for about 45 seconds, stir, heat again for about 30 seconds, stir, continue this until the mixture is almost completely melted, but a few lumps remain. Stir until totally melted and smooth. Heat the cream or milk in the microwave until slightly warm, add it and the vanilla to the chocolate and stir until completely combined. Beat in the powdered sugar, about a quarter cup at a time, until the glaze is the right consistency (thick but pourable). Beat thoroughly, so the sugar is absorbed completely and the glaze is smooth and shiny.Drizzle the glaze decoratively over the cake (either in the pan or removed, whichever you prefer) and let it set before serving. The inspiration for this cake comes from one in “Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook”.Contact Vera Dawson with your baking questions and comments about this column at firstname.lastname@example.org
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