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Is there a better way to wrap up a semester than with lots and lots of dessert?

On Friday, my friend Tara and I headed to the UMass Bake Shop for Chocolate 101, a three-hour cooking workshop offered to students free of charge. We'd seen a poster advertising the class in the dining hall way back in October, and decided to give it a try. When we got there, Chef Simon Stevenson led our small group in a discussion about chocolate, explaining where it comes from, how it's made, and its different grades and qualities. We got to sample types ranging from milk chocolate to semi-sweet and dark, and then it was time to start cooking.

We divided into groups of three to make chocolate ganache, the filling for our homemade chocolate truffles. During the afternoon, the chef and his team did most of the prep work, measuring out the chocolate and other ingredients, and setting up stations for us with bowls and mixers. Mostly, our job was to pour, stir, and decorate, so there was really no experience required. (Plus, cooking without dishwashing is basically a dream come true.) After the ganache, we got mixing bowls to put together the batter for chocolate lava cakes and pour it into individual molds. We also dipped strawberries in dark and white chocolate to give them a "tuxedo" look. 

By the end of the afternoon, we'd made truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, and lava cakes, and each of us got a box to take it all home. With three days left before I move out for the semester, I've still got ten truffles and two chocolate cakes in my fridge, and I'm determined not to waste them! Dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, maybe? 

I can't believe it took me so long to sign up for a cooking class. After two and a half years at UMass, I'm still blown away by all the stuff that's going on here. Pay attention, or you'll miss it! There are so many opportunities, classes, clubs, workshops, and social events, but on such a big campus, you have to make an effort to find the ones you like.

I definitely reccomend Campus Pulse and the Events Calendar for finding out about cool events. And don't forget to see the events that your Facebook friends are rsvp-ing to! Since I'm studying abroad in the spring, it's starting to hit me that the next time I'm back at UMass, I'll be a senior! There's still so much to see and do and I'm starting to hear the clock ticking. 

Molten Lava Cake (from UMass Bakeshop)

1 lb 65% chocolate
1 lb heavy cream

1. Bring heavy cream to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, mixing until smooth.
3. Pour into small molds and freeze. This will be the chocolate center for the lava cakes.

400g eggs
133g egg yolks
183g sugar
333g 65% chocolate
333g butter
83 grams cake flour, sifted

1. Whip eggs and egg yolks together until full volume, and slowly add the sugar.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together.
3. Add the melted butter and chocolate to the egg mixture, then add flour. 
4. Scoop the mixture into greased ramekins about 3/4 full. Push a frozen chocolate center into each ramekin, and top with more cake batter. 
5. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes, and serve immediately. 

 

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