Picnic Recipe: Chocolate Bouchons from Thomas Keller

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Are you looking for a good picnic dessert? How about little chocolate cakes just right for packing and eating al fresco? These are from Thomas Keller, who seems to like a good picnic. First we had a fried chicken recipe from one of his restaurants, and now these little chocolate cakes that would look adorable in in big paper cups tucked inside a picnic basket.

Read on for the recipe (and the meaning of the word bouchon)…

These small brownie like cakes are named for their shape, which resembles a cork (bouchon); they are very rich and chocolatey, baked with the chocolate chips in the batter, and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Bouchon uses 2-ounce Fleximolds and serves smaller bouchons. You can also use 3-ounce (2-to 2 1/2-inch-diameter) timbale molds for larger cakes.

Chocolate Bouchons (Bouchons Au Chocolat)

Butter and flour for the timbale molds
3 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1.5 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 tablespoons (12 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Equatoriale (55%) chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour twelve timbale molds. Set aside.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large blow if using a handheld mixer, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain trip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Place in the oven a bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick: It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate). Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds; then lift off the molds/ (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.)

To Serve:
Invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Thank you to Thomas Keller for this recipe. Have you read his current book, Under Pressure? He is doing a book signing for it in Las Vegas in June. Stay tuned; we’ll hopefully bring you a review of the book later this month.

(Image: Bouchon Bakery)