Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Moist, dense, and foolproof, this cake includes a mix of cocoa and chocolate chips for fudgy flavor. You can vary the intensity by adjusting the amount of chocolate chips, but don’t pass up the silky caramel sauce.
For her version of the layered pie, blogger Naomi Robinson grinds up Oreos for the crust and adds a dark chocolate pudding filling. The recipe comes from her September, 2017 book, Baker’s Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets (Running Press; $28).
Brownies are perfection when combined with peanut-butter-cup/chocolate-swirl ice cream (often called Moose Tracks), but feel free to swap it out for your favorite flavor. Chilling the brownies overnight will make it easier to cut them neatly; they’ll also keep their shape nicely if you cut them in half.
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Elaine Johnson
7 of44Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Elaine Johnson
Single-Girl Melty Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
L.A.-based blogger Joy Wilson says, “I’m a single girl. That means I don’t have to feed anyone but myself...I can have chocolate...for dinner.” This version of a standout recipe in her Joy the Baker Cookbook ($20) adds peanut butter or bourbon, two of Joy’s favorite flavors.
The starting point for this cookie was a recipe that reader Colette Tihista-Longin of Great Falls, Montana, found in a recipe collection at a yard sale. “I adapted it to include caramel and sea salt. It’s a hit every year at our cookie exchange.” Despite the cookie’s name, a wooden spoon makes a neater depression than your thumb will.
The marvelous merger of orange and chocolate gets even better when you pair blood oranges’ raspberry nuances with dark chocolate and a little Campari for complexity. The herbal, slightly bitter liqueur also helps keep the sorbet from getting icy.
"I call these the ‘backache’ cookies because I always make a double batch, sitting hunched over at the table,” says Fran Pepoon of Roseville, California. She has been baking these chocolate cookies, which have a subtle hit of orange and vanilla, every Christmas for 30 years, adapting them over time from a recipe given to her by a friend. Two tips: The cookies tend to stick and spread, so be sure to use a nonstick baking-sheet liner or parchment, and don’t bake more than 12 cookies on each sheet.
The ingredients sound bodacious—in addition to bittersweet chocolate, there are two kinds of chile, cinnamon, and tequila—yet these little milkshakes taste refined and smooth. They are dangerously easy to drink.
We developed these little cakes to give as gifts, but they are so good you just might want to whip up a batch for home. They get intense flavor from the espresso, of course, but also three kinds of chocolate.
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Adeena Sussman
28 of44Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Adeena Sussman
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
If you can manage to wait, chief baking officer Arnold Eric Wong of Raison d’Être bakery in South San Francisco recommends serving his moist brownies a day after baking because they develop an even fudgier texture and mintier flavor.
We did our best to make this cake taste like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and we have succeeded. The cake itself is flavored with peanut butter and graced with a layer of creamy peanut butter frosting; then we’ve frosted the whole cake with rich chocolate and topped it with peanuts…and chunks of the candy that inspired us in the first place.
Choosing between favorite chocolate desserts is almost like choosing among children. This one has a big fan base among our staff for its dark chocolate cookie crust and layer of homemade Nutella-type spread that's beneath the creamy mousse filling.