Friday, January 18, 2013

National Cheese Lovers Day: Chocolate Truffle Cake

January 20 is National Cheese Lovers Day, and I immediately thought of my friend mystery writer Avery Aames, who writes the Cheese Shop Mystery series. And what goes better with cheese than chocolate?! So I asked Avery for a guest post. Lots of recipes to try and a day or so two to make them before 'the holiday'!

AVERY AAMES writes the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series. As DARYL WOOD GERBER, she writes A Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie. Set on the coast of California, it debuts July 2013. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Macavity, and other awards. As an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Visit Avery or Daryl at


“Life is great; cheese makes it better.” ~ Avery Aames


No one told me that when I became a writer, in addition to spending time in my writing office, I would be spending a lot of time in a different office…the kitchen. I spent years writing novels at a desk, in the library, in coffee shops, but I never had an inkling that, for much of my time, I would wind up cooking in the kitchen. I baked as a girl. I catered at one point in my life and I waitressed in restaurants and worked in camp kitchens, but not once did I consider becoming a professional cook.

And yet here I am. I write A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY series, so cooking has become a large part of my research. Why? Because I include recipes in my books. In addition, to promote my novels, I blog with a bunch of authors every week on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for writers who love to cook up crime. For my weekly posts and books, I do a lot of research and test recipes. Ooh, do I love research. I’ve visited cheese shops in numerous states. I’ve tasted over a hundred different cheeses in the past couple of years (ever since I started writing the series)--cheeses like Tuscan Tartufo, Brebis d’Argental, Abbaye de Belloc, Hook’s Cheddar, Beecher’s Flagship, and more. Thanks to all the cheese tasting, I’m adding cheese to tons of recipes. As a downside to being a chef, because I taste test more, I have to exercise more, which becomes a vicious cycle, similar to a rat caught in a maze…probably goes along with the cheese theme, right? LOL

I’ve made lots of recipes with chocolate and cheese. Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles and Chocolate (with cheese) fondue. Of late, I’ve been making lots of recipes with Brie because the next Cheese Shop Mystery out is TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE, coming in February. I haven’t made anything chocolate-y with Brie, yet. In the book, I share a Brie Blueberry Ice Cream that is to die for! If you have a Brie Chocolate recipe, I hope you’ll share it with me. In the meantime, let me offer this morsel. Because this blog is called Dying for Chocolate…it’s all chocolate. I don’t know about you, but I love a good dose of chocolate while I’m working. I sampled this cake at Ruth’s Chris (a steak house) and I fell in love!! Talk about taste testing. I had to taste over and over…

Chocolate Truffle Cake
Inspired by Ruth’s Chris
Tweaked by me (no flour!!)

2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup applesauce
2 oz. flavored liquid of your choice (cordials, coffee, etc.) * I used espresso
2 lbs. dark, milk or mixed chocolate, chopped (5 CUPS) * I used half dark, half semi-sweet
6 eggs (whisked)

Preheat the oven to 300ยบ. Brush a 10" spring-form pan with butter, line the bottom with buttered parchment and wrap the pan in foil in case of any leaks. [MINE DIDN’T LEAK AT ALL BUT IT’S A GOOD PRECAUTION.]

In a saucepan, bring the half-and-half, sugar, applesauce, and coffee JUST to a boil. Place the chocolate into a mixing bowl. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate.

Let sit for a few minutes. [It will melt nicely.]

Mix at low speed for two minutes.

Add the eggs in all at once and mix thirty seconds, until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared spring-form pan. Bake until the cake is “set” - about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. The cake will still look wet and slightly loose in the very center, but the edges will be set, slightly puffed and have small cracks. [looks like a cheesecake – I cooked mine one hour then turned off the oven and let it set for another 20 minutes]

Allow cake to cool on a rack (this takes about 2 full hours), then chill for 6 hours or overnight before removing pan sides.

Half Recipe for 6” springform pan 

1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 oz. espresso (2 tablespoons)
1 lbs. dark chocolate chips (approx.. 2 ¾ cup chips)
3 eggs whisked

COOK ONLY 45 MINUTES FOR “MINI” CAKE, let rest 10 minutes in oven, remove cool as before.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don’t happen to have half-and-half on hand, I found out you can use regular milk plus 1 tablespoon of butter to create half-and-half. I haven’t tried it, but it’s a good thing to know. ☺

Question of the day: 
What’s your snack of choice while reading or working? 

Two commenters will win an autographed copy of YOUR CHOICE of A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY. The Long Quiche Goodbye, Lost and Fondue, Clobbered by Camembert or To Brie or not To Brie (coming February). So make sure we have your email. Good luck.

And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter on my website so you’ll be entered in the launch contest for To Brie or not To Brie.
Say cheese!


cyn209 said...

my snack of choice for ANYTHING??? CHIPS!!!!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!! said...

Lookin' good Janet! the choco truffle cake looks awesome, send it to me and I'll decorate it haha! just kidding, must try it, looks very easy to make and gluten free so yay!

I would have to say my favorite snack right now is the Genmai bar from Jade chocolates :)

Love you and happy new year! xoxo

What's Baking?? said...

beautiful, shiny and luscious coffee cake..i a BIG fan of choc as well.

Libby Dodd said...

Anything chocolate!

Jan said...

My favorite to snack on is chocolate pomegranates!

Norma Huss said...

Right now, since I'm on a post-holiday diet, my snack of choice is 5 bites of cheese. (A stick of string chees is 5 (big) bites.)

Avery Aames a.k.a. Daryl Wood Gerber said...

So nice to hear from you all! Chips, yes. Chocolate chips? Yes! Cheese - five bites? Not sure I could stop at five bites, Norma. :)

Best to all.

Avery aka Daryl

NoraA said...

Chocolate is a major food group, so I even love chocolate dipped pretzels.

And on a more normal note (yes I can do normal) I'm planning a 3 cheese and veggie omelet as a surprise breakfast for my better half.


Tempewytch said...

Hmm mine I have to say is actually cheese on crackers - almost any cheese (apart from Blue Stilton and Morbier *shrug*)

Dru said...

Twizzlers...this way your hands don't dirty the book pages or e-reader.

Janet Rudolph said...

good, Dru...

Avery Aames a.k.a. Daryl Wood Gerber said...

Nora, enjoy a normal breakfast! Chocolate pretzels are a food group, I'm pretty sure.

Dru, Twizzlers! Very cute. They can simply be slung into the mouth and sucked for at least ten chapters, right? :)

Tempewytch, I enjoy cheese on crackers, too. I do happen to like Stilton and Morbier. But not as much as I like Cheddar and Manchego! :)

Hugs to all.

Avery aka Daryl

Vickie said...

Chocolate and peanut butter!!!! YUM!!! Thanks for a chance to win your book!

Avery Aames a.k.a. Daryl Wood Gerber said...

Vickie, you seem to like what many others do. I made the most fabulous chocolate peanut butter candies this Christmas. The recipe is going in the first of my next series, A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY, title: Final Sentence!



ANNETTE said...

Cheese sticks, love them and they fill me up - just enough.

Avery Aames a.k.a. Daryl Wood Gerber said...

Annette, cheese sticks. I love them, too. Wish they were made from more exquisite cheeses. I have been known to slice really fine cheese to take on trips. Great for airplanes. Cheese room temperature - perfect!