Wednesday, October 31, 2012

tunnel of fudge cake.


A tunnel of fudge cake, to me, is like an underbaked chocolate bundt cake. The outsides, the parts of the cake in direct contact with the pan, bakes faster and sets up quicker than the middle, and you pull it out from the oven at just the right time to maintain the textural difference. When the cake cools, the semi-baked middle firms up into a dense ring of chocolate in the cake, hence the tunnel of fudge.

Unfortunately, my cake had a molten middle rather than a fudgy middle. Needless to say, I pulled my cake out too early so I was taking the underbaked concept a little too far. This happened because my oven's time display was spoilt- only half a number is visible and the digits in the tens place cannot be seen at all. I forgot to keep time manually of how long the cake has been baking, so I had to use visual cues to determine the doneness of the cake.

When I checked on it, it was pulling away from the edges of the pan slightly and the top crust was set. The centre parts were still squidgy but I figured that they would continue to bake a little more to the perfect doneness while the cake cooled. Well, I figured wrongly, and I got a minor shock when I sliced the cake only to see chocolate ooze out like black blood. Sorry, perhaps not the most tasteful description but it's all in the name of Halloween, yeah?

I contemplated baking the already cut slices of cake again so that the middles wouldn't be so liquidy but I was afraid that the extra baking would dry out the outer parts of the cake. In the end, I decided to just go for it and thank goodness not only did the outsides not dry out, the center baked up to a more acceptable consistency. Plus, I could eat the cake while all warm and crusty, since it was already sliced.

I wished I had pulled off the cake right from the start. I loved the flavour, the texture, the idea of this cake. The only thing missing was aesthetic appeal. I need to get that dang oven fixed before it causes (indirectly) more mishaps!


Tunnel of Fudge Cake
adapted from Annie's Eats

Instead of using the following method to prepare the pan, I just used a baking spray. Also, I omitted the glaze that is included in the original recipe so if you're interested in it, click on the link.
To prepare the pan:
1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:
1/2 cup boiling water
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted to remove any lumps
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp salt
5 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk the cocoa powder and melted butter together in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to evenly coat the inside of a 12 cup bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt in another bowl. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup and beat lightly.

Cream the sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg mixture gradually while beating, until just combined. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the pan. Cool the cake in its pan for 1 1/2 hours before unmolding, and let it cool completely, about 2 more hours.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

browned butter m&m and raisin cookies.


Following my success from a chocolate chip skillet cookie recipe, I vowed to remake it in its original handheld form. I pottered about the kitchen, acting according to the recipe's instructions. Nothing unusual. I eventually reached the step where I had to add in my chocolate chips, but as I was about to liberally empty out the bag's contents, I stopped. I twisted the mouth of the bag shut and snapped a rubber band around it. Then, I made my way to the fridge, yanked open my chocolate compartment, deposited the rejected bag of chocolate chips and withdrew... a bag of M&Ms. As I was about to shut the door, I noticed a pack of raisins. I got that out too.

So instead of chocolate chips, I had M&Ms and raisins. I thought... what a brilliant idea.


I love the splashes of colour the M&Ms add to the otherwise monotonous earthy colour of the cookies but the downside is that the chocolate does not flow freely. M&Ms are simply not designed to melt smoothly. The raisins in these cookies are a wonderful addition. I have a soft spot for chocolate and raisins together and this is no exception. Just when the cookie is getting too rich and buttery, the raisins' sweetness is such a refreshing change.

I underbaked the cookies to attain a moist, hopefully chewy interior but I didn't manage to get the chewy quality. Perhaps the cookies have too little butter or too much flour? I distinctly remember a wonderfully toothsome chocolate chip cookie I made too way back- I need to dig up that recipe again.


Browned Butter M&M and Raisin Cookies
makes 24

1 stick butter, melted and browned
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup M&Ms
1/2 cup raisins

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Combine the browned butter, sugars and vanilla in a bowl. Add the egg and mix to incorporate. Add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Add the M&Ms and raisins. Portion the dough into 24 balls, place them on a prepared baking sheet, flatten them and then chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Bake cookies for about 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and center is still pale and soft.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

cocoa banana loaf.


If you're a sucker for chocolate and banana, the next step from baking a banana bread with chocolate chips is to bake a chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips.


I'm not that crazy about the chocolate-banana thing but I've yet to bake anything at all from the Banana section of Baking by Flavour, a cookbook I recently acquired.


It could be the not-overly-ripe bananas I used or something- somehow this bread is just not that outstanding. There's too much chocolate and too little bananas. Its plus points lie in its compact crumb and addictive chocolate oomph.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

chocolate blackout cake.


If you're familiar with blackout cakes, I bet you would think that this blackout cake has something missing, which is the signature outer covering of chocolate cake crumbs. So just how my cake became "naked"? Well... because I did something stupid- miscalculating the amount of flour. Instead of 1 1/2 cups, I only used 1 cup. Without adequate structure, the cake couldn't rise as much and was very short. There was no way I could divide the squat cake into 4 layers so I sliced it into 3. That meant that I had no extra cake for the decoration.


That wasn't such a big deal. The larger problem with using lesser flour than specified meant that the cake baked up fudgy and underbaked, no matter how long I baked it for, like a brownie yet not quite. It looks as dense as a brownie but it's actually spongier and lighter. It also has a mushy texture which may or may not be a bad thing. Reminds me of this chocolate cake I made before. Together with the pudding though, this cake had a really monotonous texture. I was wishing for a layer of oreo cookie crust halfway through my slice of cake.


The pudding was nice though. I did cut down the sugar a bit and it was bittersweet and rich. I had a bit leftover so I kept it in a separate small bowl and once I dug into it I couldn't stop. Pudding is a little difficult to frost with because of its stodgy consistency but I feel that it is a great alternative to traditional butter-laden frostings. Pudding also does not have that grainy texture that is so hard to get rid of in frostings that contain icing sugar, which means most frostings. Having said that, there is a melt in your mouth texture that only butter-based frostings have. The only type of frosting I've come across so far that combines the best of both worlds is the boiled milk frosting. I love it.


Chocolate Blackout Cake
makes an 8 inch cake
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

For the pudding, I reduced the sugar to 1 cup and replaced the half-and-half with whole milk. It is still plenty rich.

For the chocolate pudding:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pudding: Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half and whole milk in a large saucepan. Set on medium heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until it melts and mixture begins to bubble. Stir in the vanilla and transfer the pudding into a large bowl. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold. The pudding is best made the day before.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare 2 8 inch cake pans.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick in center comes out mostly clean, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool cake layers completely.

To assemble the cake: Slice each cake layer into half horizontally. Crush one layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Fill and frost the remaining three layers of cake. Press cake crumbs into the sides of the cake and on the top of the cake.

Monday, October 22, 2012

heart in a cupcake.


This is too cute an idea to ignore so I simply had to try it out.


I cut out hearts from an extra layer of strawberry cake I had frozen and mixed up a vanilla cake batter from scratch. I wanted to use a chocolate cake batter but I was afraid that the heart shaped cake pieces wouldn't stand in such a watery consistency. The vanilla cake batter recipe I used is the one from hummingbird bakery, which I made before. The last time I mentioned that the crumb was too dry but after making it this time, it wasn't. In fact, it was extremely moist. I think it's because the butter was too cold when I mixed it into the flour the previous time.


However, like last time, the recipe didn't make 12 cupcakes. I managed to churn out only 11, and each cupcake portion actually had less batter than the stipulated amount because of the extra cake pieces I stuck in. So without the cut out cake pieces, I may have only been able to bake 8 or 9 cupcakes. I wonder why the discrepancy. Others seem to have no problem with the yield. Perhaps it's because my baking powder is not fresh enough? I may need to experiment again.


Surprisingly, the heart shaped cake pieces didn't dry out even though the top parts were exposed to direct oven heat. The batter was supposed to cover the exposed area but as I mentioned, I think there must be something wrong with the baking powder. There's not much harm done but you don't get the full surprise effect. On the bright side, at least it's easy to know where to slice the cupcake into half!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

chocolate peanut butter surprise cookies.


Perhaps this is the reincarnation of Reese's peanut butter cups in cookie form. Yet, not quite.

The chocolate dough is not purely chocolaty but has an addition of a modest amount of peanut butter to attain a harmonious chocolate-peanut butter blend. You taste the chocolate first, and then the peanut butter sneaks up and alerts you of its presence, but doesn't punch you in the face.


The peanut butter filling is not like Reese's filling in texture but it certainly looked like it did in its pre-baked state. My peanut butter dough was crumbly and dry (I think its because of my brand of peanut butter), and I had to add a splash of milk to moisten it into a malleable state. After baking, it had a strange slight chew to it. It definitely does taste like the middle of a peanut butter cup though.

After the peanut butter filling is enveloped in the chocolate dough, the whole ball of dough gets rolled in sugar. It provides a really nice texture contrast even though it makes the cookie sweet. I say skip the sugar bath and eat it fresh while the outsides are still crunchy if you want the textural element to the cookies, or use coarse sugar so that you can use less while providing sufficient crunch.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
adapted from here
makes 24

The changes I made to the original recipe are to add chocolate chips to the chocolate dough and salt to the peanut butter filling so that it resembles a Reese's peanut butter cup filling. Also, if you're rolling the cookies in sugar, you can probably get away with cutting down the sugars in the dough by a third if you don't want an overly sweet cookie.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar + more for rolling
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

Cream the butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter together. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Stir in the flour mixture until incorporated. Divide the chocolate dough into 24 portions.

In another bowl, mix the powdered sugar, pinch of salt and remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter until the mixture comes together. Add a touch a milk if it's too crumbly. Divide the peanut butter filling into 24 portions and roll them each into a ball.

Take a portion of chocolate dough, flatten it and wrap it around a peanut butter ball. Form the cookie into a ball and roll it in the extra granulated sugar. Place the cookie onto the prepared baking sheet and press to flatten to about a 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake for about 7 to 9 minutes or until the surface looks dry and cracked.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

kit kat cake.


This cake should be renamed as the Kit Kat Guzzler Cake. It's insane how many sticks of kit kat I needed to surround this cake- and there are still gaps in between! I thought I had more than enough, since I was making a small cake but wow how wrong I was. I used a total of 18 individual sticks for a mere 5 inch cake, which wasn't enough.


For the cake itself, I used a strawberry boxed cake mix, not because I was pressed for time but because I wanted to try making a cake not from scratch. I've never used a premix anything before this I swear. But after tasting it, I wished I hadn't used the boxed stuff. Not only was the strawberry flavour absolutely not prominent, the texture was crumbly, making it hard to slice and a mess too. Bleh what a waste of my decorating efforts. No matter how beautiful a cake is, it has to taste good too to be a good cake.


In the middle of the two layers, I sandwiched a smear of dark chocolate buttercream and a thick homemade strawberry jam of sorts based on a tart filling I'd made before. I love the combination of strawberries and chocolate, which was the inspiration for the flavour combination of this cake. (But my impetus for making the cake was to decorate it as such.) The buttercream is pretty good- not too gritty from the icing sugar and nearly had a flawlessly smooth and silky texture. It has a good consistency to frost and even pipe. Needless to say, it was a breeze working with this recipe.


Given a choice, I wouldn't top this cake with M&Ms. I expected them to decolourise, which they did, but I didn't mind as long as I got decent photos of the cake out first, but I didn't realize that they would lose their crispness upon prolonged refrigeration. I decorated the cake M&Ms and all about 10 hours before I ate it, so when I did, the shells of the M&Ms had long became soft. Plus, have I mentioned that they bleed, a lot? Not very appetizing. Never decorating a cake with M&Ms again. Nuh-uh. At least not if I'm going to expose it to moisture for a long period of time.


I wonder what I can use in place of them. Maybe hershey's kisses, peanut butter cups... The downside is that they lack sprightly colours though. Marshmallows? Any ideas?


Kit Kat Cake
makes a 5 inch cake

The recipe for the strawberry filling is adapted from my fresh strawberry tart recipe while the chocolate buttercream is from Martha Stewart. Visit the link for instructions for the original quantity if needed.

Bake your favourite cake recipe in 2 pans and let the layers cool completely before proceeding.

For the strawberry filling:
1/4 pound of strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
juice of 1/8 of a lemon

For the chocolate buttercream:
1 1/5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/5 tbsp boiling water
100g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3/5 stick butter
1 3/5 tbsp icing sugar
pinch of salt

For decoration:
12 individual packs of kit kat (24 sticks)
M&Ms, as much as you need or any other kind of candy

For the strawberry filling: Crush the strawberries in a large saucepan and place the saucepan on medium high heat until the juices of the strawberries have leaked out and are bubbling. Let the juices keep boiling until they are slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and add a bit of water to it and stir to dissolve. Add the slurry to the strawberry mixture. Boil the strawberry filling until it has thickened. Cut the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let it cool and refrigerate it overnight before using so that it can thicken up properly.

For the chocolate buttercream: Stir together the cocoa powder and boiling water until the cocoa powder has dissolved and leave aside to cool. Cream the butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the cocoa powder slurry and melted chocolate and beat to combine. Use immediately or refrigerate to firm it up first before frosting.

Assembly: On the first layer of cake, spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream, then pile on the strawberry jam thickly. Coat the top and sides of the cake with more chocolate buttercream. Arrange the kit kat sticks around the cake. You don't have to leave a gap- in fact, I think it would look prettier without gaps- but you could if you don't have enough kit kats to go around. Make sure that the gaps aren't too huge though, or else the M&Ms will slide through them. Top the cake with showers of M&Ms. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours to let the buttercream firm up, or slice into the cake immediately to absolve any iffy M&M colour issues.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

rum buns.


Like I said, I'm pretty intent on baking my way through the entire chapter on rum in Lisa Yockelson's book Baking by Flavour. So with these rum buns, I'm nearly there.

While this recipe isn't the most rum-packed of recipes in this chapter, these buns have their merits too. I particularly like the idea of rolling in rum-soaked raisins with the cinnamon-sugar filling. Having said that, I do think the recipe would benefit from a few tweaks.


Firstly, the dough has spices incorporated, and while they may be a natural pairing with rum, spices in bread dough do not work very well for me. I like to taste the natural yeastiness of bread without all the spices interfering. Furthermore, something plain to cushion the cinnamon-sugar, rum-soaked raisins and rum icing would make the rum stand out better. Secondly, perhaps some brown sugar instead of white sugar would help to tone down the overall sweetness and create a nice caramelly filling.

For smothering on of the butter and sugar mixture, this recipe's instructions are a little different than usual. Firstly, you melt butter and stir in some vanilla extract to make a vanilla butter of sorts before brushing it onto the rolled out dough. Then, you let the dough with the melted butter brushed on stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you then spread softened butter and press in the sugar mixture as per usual. I don't know if the standing did help the dough to absorb the butter better. I think all the spices in the dough and rum overshadowed the small amount of vanilla. That step is a tad fussy.


I've noticed that most baking times for cinnamon rolls and their ilk are quite long, say 25 minutes and more? I baked my rolls in 10 minutes, and even then I think I could have pulled them out a few minutes before. I feel that there is really no need to bake some kinds of bread until they are golden brown because they would be dry by then. This rule probably applies to bread doughs with low sugar content and without any kind of egg wash. The lower the sugar content, the harder it is to brown. So if it browns, it means that you've most likely overcooked your bread. Of course, breads like brioche and challah with high sugar content brown easily so even if they do turn golden brown it doesn't mean that they are overbaked.


So in sum, these rum buns could be better, but they're not too bad, especially their butter-and-sugar concentrated middles! I hope other bread recipes in this book would turn out better though!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

rum pound cake.


I'm starting to think that... I like anything with rum in it. I've always loved pina coladas (even though I'm not supposed to drink it yet), and I practically fell in love with this rum-heavy dessert when I made it. Rum and raisin ice cream has been one of my favourite ice cream flavours since time immemorial, and I've always enjoyed unscrewing the cap off a bottle of rum to take a huge whiff of its contents.

I might just bake through the whole chapter on rum in Baking by Flavour.

Okay, it's not that big a chapter but it's still saying something.

There's butter rum cake, rum buns, pecan, rum and brown sugar keeping cake... Like, oh em gee?

If the rest of the recipes are as good as this cake, I will go insane with happiness. Or perhaps in a fit of drunkenness. There's something to be said for the use of spices in the cake. They seem little, but they amp up the flavour hugely, yet not overdoing it. The cake itself is thoroughly imbued with rum, although I can't tell if it comes from the cake or the glaze. No matter. I just know it tastes good.


The glaze- amazing. It forms this crunchy coating on the surface of the cake, and adds a ton of rum flavour. It can get a little sweet a first, but I didn't mind at all because of the texture I can get in return. In fact, I regretted not baking the cake in a tube pan to get more surface area. (I divided the recipe by 6 and baked it in a 2-cup capacity mini loaf pan.) Speaking of sweetness, I cut back on the sugar quite a bit and it still proved to be a little on the sweet side. Just a word of caution.

I had some rum-soaked raisins in the fridge so I threw those in too. Hence the funny blobs sticking out of the cake. I wished I had added some toasted pecans or walnuts too. The cake would be even more fabulous with that addition.



Rum Pound Cake
adapted from Baking by Flavour
makes a 10 inch tube cake

I feel that the cake is best eaten the day it is baked because the glaze will loose its crunchiness after a few hours.

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup butter
4 tbsp shortening
3 cups minus 2 tbsp sugar (I used 2 cups)
6 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

For the sugar-rum glaze:
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, grated nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves together.

Cream the butter and shortening until creamy. Add the sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Blend in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next. Stir in the extracts.

Alternately add the sifted flour mixture in 3 additions with the heavy cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Blend in the rum, then the coconut.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out mostly clean, with moist crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding.

For the glaze, combine the rum, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. The sugar does not need to dissolved. Brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the cake while it's still warm. Cool the cake completely before slicing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

chocolate chunkers.


Way back before I started this blog, I made these.

At that time, I wondered if they were cookies because honestly, these are not more than tons of mix-ins held together by gooey brownie-like batter. But after I took a bite, I didn't care. In fact, all I cared about was squirreling them away from the claws of anyone except me. It's strange how something so not cookie-like can taste so good as a cookie.

Perhaps it's the way the ingredients jived together. The milk and white chocolate contrasted against each other, not just in taste but also in colour. And they even provide an alternate dimension of sweetness against the bittersweet chocolate batter holding them together. The raisins in the cookies- genius. It was then I first realized how much I loved raisins and chocolate together. It's the new peanut butter and jelly. The pecans this time was a new thing for me. Back then, I used salted peanuts. Strangely, I preferred the pecans even though logically, salted peanuts seem like a better combination (peanut butter and chocolate anyone?). Another new thing I did this time was to throw in a few cubes of candied ginger. Because I can.

The recipe said that you would get 40 to 50 cookies. I made a quarter of it and got 8. That translates to a total of 32 if I'd made the full quantity. Ah well, close enough.


Chocolate Chunkers
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
makes 40 to 50

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1 cup moist, plump raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicon baking mats.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.

Melt the butter, coarsely chopped chocolates and salt over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. (I actually melted the chocolates and stirred in cold butter to make the mixture cool down faster. It is a great time saver, but it may make the chocolate mixture a bit stiff and harder to incorporate later on.)

Beat the eggs and sugars until pale and foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then add in the melted chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Add in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chunks, nuts and raisins, (scattering them evenly over the batter for easy even mixing).

Drop the generous tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheets with about an inch of space in between each mound. They won't spread much. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the surface looks a little dry but the interiors still soft.