Friday, October 12, 2007

Chocolate-nut Wedges

Chocolate Nut Wedges

Chocolate Nut Wedges

I met a fellow Pittsburgh blogger for coffee at Enrico's Tazza D'oro yesterday. Antonio, a very friendly barista, made me the best double macchiato i've ever had in Pittsburgh (possibly ever.) His foam technique is really solid.

I really appreciate a good cup of coffee. I never know what to say when a barista asks me how much milk I want on my macchiato. I especially hate it when the beverage i'm handed is just a shot of espresso with some milk dumped in.

Anyway, one topic of conversation was boxed cake mix. I don't think box mix is -that- convenient, especially considering that many people doctor their box mix with other ingredients. I'm not saying you're not allowed to enjoy box cake; If you are simply intimidated by baking, there are many simple, delicious, and forgiving recipes you can try.

These chocolate-nut wedges from The Weekend Baker can be made in half an hour, possibly less. The prep time is especially fast if you use a food scale. All the dry ingredients get thrown together. The wet ingredients are piled on top and mixed in. The resulting treat is something in between cake and a brownie.

Because this recipe is so simple, your finished product will only be as your ingredients. I used some leftover valrhona cocoa powder and chinese cassia cinnamon from Penzey's Spices. I used mini chocolate chips so they'd be better distributed and I chose pecans because I love them combined with cinnamon.

The cake may seem underbaked when you pull it out of the oven, but it will harden up as it cools. Believe me- if you wait until the whole cake is solid and tests completely done, it will be way overcooked. These wedges taste much better when they've fully cooled. Right out of the oven the texture is a little off, and the flavor of cinnamon isn't as pronounced.

This might not be the best treat you ever eat, but for something that takes a half hour it's delicious. Some days I need a recipe that doesn't take three hours and make a mess of the kitchen.

Chocolate-nut Wedges
adapted from The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge
3/4 cup (99g) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (170g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (57g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1/3 cup (73ml) canola or corn oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (57g) chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans) no need to toast

1. Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350/180C degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9in(22.75cm) pie plate.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Mix together the oil and eggs with a fork until just blended. Pour the liquid over the flour mix and mix with a rubber spatula until well blended. Scrape into the prepared pie plate and spread evenly (the batter will be quite thick.) Scatter the chopped nuts over the top.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few gooey pieces clinging to it, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let cool. Cut the pie into 8 wedges.

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