This year I welcomed a new sister-in-law into my family-- my brother and Janejai were married in NYC in October!
For Christmas, they sent me a lovely crate of cheeses-- way more than I could eat by myself!
So a wine & cheese night was definitely seemed in order... and chocolate is the perfect accompaniment for that!
I invited a few friends over one dark, cold winter night to indulge themselves in fancy cheeses and other delectables including pate, olives, fruit, and a flourless chocolate cake.
and we had fun creating our own descriptions of the cheese... which we thought we better than the descriptions that came with them. Who wouldn't want to eat a cheese that makes you feel like you're rolling around naked in mousse (Delice des Cremiers), mud oozing between your toes (Chabichou), diving into mashed potatoes wearing a yellow polka dot bikini (Basqu d'Argental), or walking into a cow barn with fresh milk running down your body (Blue d'Auvergne)...
To add a little sweetness to the evening, I whipped up my standby flourless chocolate cake to serve with the spread. I love this recipe since it's only 5 ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, quick to make, and always a crowd-pleaser. And gluten-free.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 ounces fine-quality chocolate (not unsweetened)-- I usually us 2/3 cups of Ghirardelli chocolate chips
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In a double boiler on the stove, melt the butter and chocolate.
Remove from the heat and add the sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder. Pour and spread evenly into a an 8-inch round pan lined with parchment paper (this makes it easy to remove after it comes out of the oven; alternatively, you can grease the pan and dust with cocoa power, but really-- the parchment paper is the way to go...).
Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes (I always test to see if a toothpick comes out clean).
It's an easy cake to decorate by sprinkling some powdered sugar over it, but I like to use a bit of butter cream frosting to doodle on top...
But there's also all sorts of fun ways to decorate this cake for any occasion...