If you haven't made it to Thomas Keller's 3 week-old Beverly Hills bistro yet, or are waiting for the swank bar downstairs to open (next Friday) to make the trek, you may perhaps be in need of a chocolate bouchon fix. Happily Bouchon pastry chef Scott Wheatfill has provided us with the recipe for just such an occasion. You've got the weekend. Get out your Valrhona Equatoriale 55%.

The little cakes, a staple at Yountville's Bouchon bakery, are currently on the dessert menu at the bistro, where they're dusted with a bit of powdered sugar and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bouchons are so named for their cork-like shape, bouchon being French for cork. (Keller's restaurants are not cork-shaped, but you get the idea.) Baked in little molds, bouchons resemble seriously rich brownies, made even richer by the melted chunks of chocolate embedded within the batter. Williams-Sonoma, which sells bouchon molds, also conveniently sells a bouchon mix. And while I'm sure it's absolutely wonderful, there's nothing like baking something yourself. Come on, it may be Keller's version of a brownie, but it's still a brownie. Make an extra batch and give them as holiday gifts. If they make it out of your kitchen. These, seen here on the restaurant's cute paper menus, barely lasted for the picture. You're welcome. (Recipe after the jump.)

Chocolate Bouchons

From: Bouchon, by Thomas Keller and Jeffrey Cerciello with Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman.

Makes: 12 chocolate bouchons

Note: Bouchon uses 2-ounce fleximolds and serves smaller bouchons. This recipe calls for 3-ounce (2-to 2 1/2-inch-diameter) timbale molds for larger cakes.

butter and flour for the molds

3 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) all purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

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 for dusting

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 timbale molds.

Set aside.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.

3. 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.)

4. Put the molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain tip, 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.

5. To serve, invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners' sugar. Or serve with ice cream.

LA Weekly