Some lunches are best eaten specifically following a brisk, snowy hike, when the nerves in your legs are twitching and your cheeks are still numbed by the fresh Sierra chill: beef stew, chicken pot pie, kale and turkey meatballs in a rich, garlicky broth...
Followed, of course, by a homey dessert:
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake adapted from Baking Illustrated by the editors of Cooks Illustrated magazine
This recipe is simple, but you will dirty many bowls! As the cake bakes, the liquid will sink- grabbing the cocoa mixture as it does- thus forming a pool of sauce at the bottom of the pan.
1 c coffee plus 1/2 c water, room temp
2/3 Dutch-processed cocoa, divided
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 c granulated sugar, divided
6 tbl unsalted butter
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c AP flour
2 tsp b.powder
1 tbl vanilla
1/3 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 lg egg yolk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8" square glass or ceramic baking pan.
In a bowl set over barely simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate and 1/3 c of cocoa. Whisk until smooth, then cool to room temp. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine coffee with water. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine 1/3 c cocoa, 1/3 c granulated sugar, and the brown sugar with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
In yet another small bowl, whisk the flour together with the b.powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar (2/3 c) with the milk, vanilla, egg yolk, and salt. Whisk together, then add the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour mixture, whisking until the batter is evenly moistened. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly to the sides and corners.
Evenly sprinkle all of the cocoa mixture over the batter, covering the entire surface; gently pour the coffee mixture on top.
Bake until the cake is puffed and bubbling and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the dish (35-35 minutes)- do not overbake!
Cool on a wire rack for about thirty minutes before spooning into serving bowls- any sooner and the sauce will be too thin. When warm, this cake screams to be served with vanilla ice cream (but I also like to eat it straight from the refrigerator, when the fudge sauce has turned pudding-like and luscious).