Not only do our cars take longer to start in this bitter cold, but so do we. Hubby has been nursing a sore back since he last shoveled the driveway and I've been trying to control asthma symptoms exasperated by the unforgiving wind chill.
There's no two ways about it - winter is kicking our butts this year.
So, in true female fashion, I decided last week that I was just depressed enough to chop off most of my hair. There's something therapeutic about a new 'do, even if it isn't the most practical style for snowy times such as these. I can't explain it; emotionally driven haircuts are just part of being a woman.
Now that Christmas Time has passed and the glow of Valentine's Day has faded, there's the numbing realization that there are still months of cold ahead of us and nothing left to celebrate. Itchy winter skin has set in and snow that was once so fluffy and pure is now slushy mud on the undercarriages of our cars.
And so I'm feeling sluggish, drinking way too much cocoa and daydreaming about warm sand between my toes as I hack away at the ice on my windshield each morning.
How to survive The Winter Blahs? Netflix. Dinners with friends. Hand cream. Tissues with lotion. And molten chocolate cakes.
These cakes are a play on the lava cakes that have become
staples on restaurant chain dessert menus. The "lava" on the
inside is a little more fudgey and less runny than its restaurant
brethren , but is still every bit as rich and satisfying.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for the muffin pan)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus more for the muffin pan)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces dark Baker's chocolate, melted
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter 6 cups of a standard muffin/cupcake pan*. Dust with granulated sugar and gently tap out excess.
Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated with the butter/sugar mixture.
Drop the mixer to low speed and add the flour and salt, beating until just combined. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla seeds and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat.
Spoon the batter evenly into the 6 muffin cups.* Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. The cakes are ready to pull from the oven when the tops no longer jiggle when tapped lightly. Make sure to let them sit in the pan for the full 10 minutes once out of the oven - you want them to set so they don't fall apart when you pull them from the pan.
Use a rubber spatula to gently loosen the cakes from the pan, then place a plate or cutting board over them and flip the pan upside down to get the cakes out. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Store the cakes in a Tupperware at room temperature for up to 2 days. To reheat, place one cake at a time on a plate in the microwave and heat for 20-30 seconds. The lava will cook and become cakey upon reheating but it will still taste great!
* Note: I recommend filling just the 6 muffin cups but if you decide you want to stretch the batter to 7 cups, reduce the cooking time by 1 minute. Be careful of overcooking or there will be no gooey center!