Flourless Chocolate Cake and Managing Expectations!

The holidays are a crazy- busy time for all of us. I find that as I get older, I try to say no to some things, so that the things I do end up doing, have meaning. However, in the middle of all of this season, I have lots of clients and holiday parties, and other classes. Managing expectations is important. 

I like having a few really good, go-to recipes for various occasions. This flourless chocolate cake cannot be beat. It is great for friends with a gluten allergy - and so easy, you can whip one up in minutes. I share this with you in the hopes to take a smidge of stress off of your dessert plates. 

Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake – SO EASY and DELICIOUS!


1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chips)

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

1⁄8-teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons espresso powder (oh so good- but optional)

3 large eggs

1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


1-cup semisweet chocolate (or chips)

1⁄2-cup heavy cream

1⁄4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly grease an 8" round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of pan (I sprayed the whole pan with flour Pam).

 To make cake: heat the chocolate and butter in microwave, stirring until mixture is melted and smooth.

Add the sugar, salt and espresso powder.

Add eggs, beating briefly until smooth.

Add cocoa powder and mix just to combine.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust.

Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan, and turn it out onto a serving plate.

 Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.


Heat chocolate and cream in microwave, stirring until chocolate melting and mixture is completely smooth.

Spoon glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit.

Garnish with toasted almonds if desired.

Allow glaze to set for several hours before serving cake.

The Time is Now - for Umbria, and here is why you should join me!

I could not be happier with the inquiries that I am getting about my trip/journey to Umbria. I do plan to make this a yearly, if not bi-yearly adventure (specifically to Umbria, we will also go to France and Spain and ...) -  but first, Umbria! 

I have found that there is never a "good or great" time to do anything, really. For most of us, we have work, many of us have kids, other family commitments, school, groups we belong to, committee meetings, races, and "life". However, if you really think about it, 5-7 days is only a small snapshot of an entire year. I also think that the benefits of the region, the cooking lessons, the wine, the olive oil, the landscapes, and the people of Umbria, are sincerely and seriously, good for one's mind and heart and soul. 

My friend said to me last night "I really want to do this, but how can I do this?"  I asked the questions that would absolutely preclude her from coming, "Do you have the money to do this?" &  "Do you have a life or death appointment or commitment?" &  "Can you get the time off of work?". She said she had the money, she has 8 weeks vacation (after 10 years, saved up, extra vacation), and she has things that she would have to reschedule, but nothing really that important that it cannot be moved. Aha! I said, "the only thing stopping you, is you.".

I don't say that sarcastically. I had many years where I let many things stop me. But....the last 24 months of my life have taught me, again, that there is no time like the present. I had a good friend die. My stepmom suffered an aneurysm, another friend got breast cancer, etc. Life is messy and hard.  I actually vacillated back and forth about dates, and excuses as to why I should put it off. How will I make a real brochure if I don't go? How will Lorena and I plan out subsequent trios if we are always on FaceTime? How will i establish deeper relationships, and my knowledge of the area, if I don't go soon...or now. So, I worked out the dates with Richard (my fabulosuly supportive husband) - and bought the ticket and started to advertise. 

I am passionate about this place in the world because it is truly magical. I cannot quite convey the feeling of looking out onto the vinyards or cooking in a kitchen that sits in a 16th Century House. I cannot quite make you feel the feeling of walking down the middle of the street to taste frehsly made ricotta. I can't tell you that eating lunch -- while sitting in front of a church that has been there for centuries, does not change you. It changed me. My appreciatiation for history grew deeper. My desire to learn more about ingredients, and sourcing, and time honored traditions of certain techniques became uber important to me. TIME - the gift of giving ones time, and spending time, and not rushing time, hit home with me. I still get busy and run out of time, but not in the way I did before my days in Italy -- and San Gemini. 

I hope a few more of you will join my on my first Culinary Adventure. I look forward to the ones that have already claimed space to the next one. I hope to cook with you in San Gemini - as you will never be the same after cooking with Lorena. Email me today @ cookingwithabbygray@gmail.com or call me @ (617) 997-5822. October 10-18th is the timeframe, but you could shorten it to October 10-15/16 and i can pro-rate the trip. Carpe Diem! 

Why should you join me in Umbria this Fall?

Ciao Friends!  Cooking with Abby is heading to Umbria!

I have been advertising my first culinary adventure for awhile now - and I am getting lots of interest in my trip(s). I am happy about that, of course, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to further explain why I am doing them...as I get asked that question, a lot!  Italy is my first destination and the South of France will be my second. I want to also go to Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Cuba, Mexico....and lots of other places too.  We will head wherever I can find interesting chefs, good and healthy ingredients, yummy wine and spirits, gorgeous land, and wonderfully warm and welcoming people. My adventures are for the foodie souls. 

My first trip is to Italy because I want to take people to my dear friend's cooking school in Umbria - and to experience Umbria in a way that is hard to explain. Our hearts and souls connect with places - and as a chef and a lover of all things delicious, Umbria sets my soul on fire!  The people, the fresh ingredients, the recipes, the people (did i say that already?!), the wine, the olive oil, & the restaurants are only a few things that make this trip worth taking. Can you imagine cooking with a wonderful Italian Chef for three days in her 16th Century Flat?  We will tour vineyards and orchards, visit Roma (+ 5 Culinary Destinations there and dinner in Trastevere (neighborhood in Rome), and eat at local restaurants in Umbria that will have you begging for more. The week of October 10-18, 2016, promises to be full of good people, good food, good wine...and life changing experiences. I mean that! Italy and her people will invade your heart and you will come back more appreciative of those you love, the food you create, the wine you drink. I also learned to appreciate TIME more seriously on my first trip to Umbria -- the value of an experience, and the need to feed my soul regularly. Cooking, traveling, tasting, drinking, learning - and experiencing these things in Italy, is a journey worth taking. 

We will create food journals and collect recipes and learn about wine and olive oil, etc. as part of the experience(s).  We will also create food memories that will change how you cook and how you think about feeding yourself and your family. I never stop learning. I never stop practicing. There is always something to gain by visiting another culture.  

Join me. We have some spots left. Call me @ (617) 997-5822 or email me @: cookingwithabbygray@gmail.com -- Carpe Diem!