Desserts for Daddy

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Desserts for Daddy

By Debby Maugans

Bake him a very personal gift; it’s OK for him eat it all, too! For husband or dad, you can bake a decadent treat for him to enjoy with complete abandon.  The good news is that with a small batch dessert comes automatic portion control – perfect when enough for one or two … is just enough.

These homemade classics have all the flavor you expect from a large layer cake or batch of cookies, but they are quicker and easier to make. Each recipe yields little more than a cup of batter, so pull out your small measuring cups and spoons, and find a deep 1- to 1 1/2-quart bowl for mixing.

Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Cake
Baby layer cakes are safely baked in cleaned out, label-free tomato or bean cans with the tops neatly removed.  Or you can make 4 cupcakes. To measure out the egg, lightly beat a whole egg in a small cup until it is almost foamy, then pour the egg into the measuring spoons.
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons well-beaten egg    
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablepoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease insides of two clean 14.5-ounce cans. Line bottoms of cans with rounds of parchment paper and set aside. Alternately, line 4 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk milk, egg, and vanilla in small bowl.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a wire-mesh sieve placed over a small, deep mixing bowl. Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Add butter and half of milk mixture; beat with a hand-held electric mixer at low speed until dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase speed to medium, and beat until batter is lightened and has increased in volume, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add remaining milk mixture, and beat until well blended, about 20 seconds.

Scrape batter into cans or muffin cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for cupcakes and 27 to 29 minutes for cakes.  Cool 15 minutes on wire rack. Loosen edges of cakes from cans using small sharp knife; invert cans and remove cakes.  Cool completely. Cut in half crosswise; frost between layers and on tops and sides of cakes or on tops of cupcakes. Makes 2 cakes or 4 cupcakes.

Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces premium quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces premium-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at medium power until glossy, 2 to 3 minutes; stir until smooth.  Let cool; whisk in sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Let stand until thick enough to spread. Makes 1 cup. 

Small-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon well-beaten egg or egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend.

Place butter and sugars in a small, deep mixing bowl; beat with a hand-held electric mixer on low speed until blended, about 20 seconds.  Add egg and vanilla;  reduce speed to medium, and beat until blended, about 10 seconds.  Stir in flour mixture with a wooden spoon; stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Spoon 8 equal mounds of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart.  Bake until cookies are golden brown, 12 to 13 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven, let cool on wire rack 15 minutes.  Carefully slide parchment paper onto rack and let cool completely.  Makes 8 cookies.

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