Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

makes 4 cakes

1/2 cup (4-ounces) unsalted butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

2 extra large eggs

2 extra large egg yolks

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 450º F.  Butter and flour four (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups; set aside.

In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the vanilla and espresso powder.

In a separate medium bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt until thickened and pale, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour the chocolate mixture along with the flour into the egg mixture and mix until incorporated.  Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until the tops and the sides of the cakes are firm, but the center is still soft, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest for one minute.  Invert the cakes onto serving plates, let stand for 10 seconds, then un-mold. Serve immediately.  (Cakes can be prepared several hours or up to one day in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before baking.)  Enjoy! 

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