Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

It’s pear season!  Ok – yes, it’s pretty much always pear season.  Thought I’d share this slightly outdated post from our housewarming party that happened…last February.

I’m not a big candy person, despite my sweet tooth.  But there is a dark chocolate pear & almond bar made by Whole Foods Market that I have been crazy about for years.  The mild acidity of the pear really balances the rich and bitter dark chocolate, while the crunch of the slivered almonds adds some great texture.  I’m craving it as we speak!  I always see so many great recipes out there that are perfect for serving hot out of the oven, but I usually bringing desserts  over to other people’s places.  With us hosting, I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to serve a freshly-made dessert.  I came across this recipe on good ol’ Smitten Kitchen and it really reminded me of the Whole Foods chocolate bar I love so much.  Here’s the recipe as adapted from Smitten Kitchen!


  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, at room-temperature (room temp is important!)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3 pears, peeled, in a small dice (I used ripe anjou pears)
  • 3/4 C bittersweet chocolate chunks (60% – on the brink of dark!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs (leftovers from the kale salad ingredients?) and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. (In a professional Kitchen Aid, it takes at least five minutes; on a home machine, it will take nine minutes to get sufficient volume)
  4. While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (to prevent splatters outside the pan) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). Be sure to keep an eye on it.  It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the flame but keep in a warm spot.
  5. With the mixer still on, add the sugar in a slow steady stream to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
  6. Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn the mixture down to stir, and add the flour mixture and brown butter. Add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.

    Fold the Batter
    Fold the Batter
  7. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes, or til a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and serve warm!

    Place Chopped Goodies On Top of Batter
    Place Chopped Goodies On Top of Batter

This cake was STUPIDLY delicious.  It is not, however, a cake I would recommend making while you’re entertaining a lot of people after all.  It requires a lot of attention, and there’s nothing really other than dry prep (pre-measuring all of your dry ingredients) that you can do ahead.  It’s also not a cake that is great for taking somewhere as you want to serve it warm while the chocolate is still gooey.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake
Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

I’d definitely make this again.  However, I’d time it so that I’m throwing it in the oven when guests arrive since the bake time is long.  That way, we still benefit from a freshly baked cake!

Martha Stewart’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

I’m several months backlogged on posts (literally still trying to catch up on Christmas baking), but here’s a little something from February…

I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve made them before, but they’re always too sweet for my taste, and they tend to be redundant after a while.  Feeling intrigued by the “Ad Hoc at Home” Chocolate Chip Cookies I made last December in Seattle which used two kinds of dark chocolate, I decided to give it a go again with my own taste buds in mind.

I like cookies the same way I like brownies – slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  I found a recipe for Martha Stewart’s “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies”, and decided to give it a whirl for Valentine’s Day.  I added a wee bit more salt than what Martha’s recipe called for, and also added a cup of pecans which complimented the chocolate and cookie dough nicely.  I also used two different levels of dark chocolate, rather than the combo of milk and dark that Martha recommended.

Here’s my take on Martha’s recipe:


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (53% dark)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (65% dark or higher)
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Mix in dry mixture just until incorporated; fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough

3.  Drop dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in 2 rounded tablespoons, leaving 2 inches around each cookie (trust me – they will spread). Refrigerate 1 hour – this is necessary for the chewy outcome of the cookies!

Ready for the Oven
Ready for the Oven

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, 17 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Martha Stewart's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist
Martha Stewart’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

This is definitely my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I love the crispy outside and chewy center, with the rich dark chocolate chips.  It’s definitely not too sweet, but not bitter at all since it still uses relatively low levels of dark chocolate.

MS Cake Stand Showcasing My MS Choc Chip Cookies!

Thank you again, Melo, for my cake stand!