Tag Archives: Chocolate

Posher Than A Ginger Nut.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ginger-nut…but when offering up a ‘Thank You’ to your hosts thrusting a packet of McVities into their hands doesn’t quite have the same impact as placing down a tray of freshly baked ginger cupcakes.

Although the recipe seems a little strange – it’s basically a cinnamon batter with several handfuls of preserved ginger thrown in before baking – it worked a charm and swapping out the frosting for some chocolate ganache and crystallised ginger just classed them up a little!!!

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Cupcake batter recipe (shown below) taken from : The Hummingbird Bakery, Cupcakes and Muffins.

Chocolate ganache: One small pot of double cream and one bar of plain chocolate heated gently until the chocolate has fully melted. Dollop on cooled cupcakes and allow to set.

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Chocolate Avocado Delight.

I confess, for as long as I can remember I’ve never been a fan of the avocado, I’m ashamed to say I can’t even think of a time when I tried one, yet I’ve always avoided them. Until, that is, the lovely Miss K made a salad (riddled with avocado) to go with one of our joint-effort teas…so, given that I’m 23 and therefore expected to handle new foods with a little more composure and a little less persuasion compared to the days of childhood, I bit the bullet and gave it a chew. Not bad. What was all the fuss about?!

Since that moment, I’ve shyed away no more. Hence, when I stumbled across the following recipe I leapt at the opportunity to combine the avocado with my greatest love, desserts. The result was a huge success; a more tasty, creamy, healthy chocolate angel delight without the need for any added E-numbers!

I’ve made it several times since without a wobble – you can’t help but fall back on those shove-them-all-in concoctions! Not to mention, avocados have “35% more potassium than bananas. They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K” [Wiki]. Although, I must stress the importance of using unquestionably ripe avocados for an unquestionably good result…

1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend.

2. Shovel it in.

Recipe taken from Warm Vanilla Sugar.

Ingredients
2 Avocado [ripe]
1cup of Coconut milk [light]
4tbsps Cocoa powder
4tbsps Honey
2tsps Vanilla extract

Chocolate Apricot Cookies.

Cookies are a greedy cooks best friend – you can bake them quick and eat them quicker. So, on with an other batch of cookies with the aim of giving them away at a pace rapid enough to prevent me doubling in weight…

Considering these were very much a last-minute improvisation, the outcome was very well received. A fudgy, chewy cookie, with the apricots offering an interesting twist – not to mention one(ish) of your five-a-day!

The trick of this recipe is to have faith! Take them out of the oven after 10mins, they’ll probably look crispy on the top and under-done in the middle but after being left to cool they will have the perfect consistency and that’s a promise.

1. Toast the hazelnuts in a pan before crushing coarsely.

2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie while creaming together the butter and sugar.

3. Add the eggs (unfortunately I only had two whites and one yolk) and vanilla extract to the creamed butter and sugar, before stirring in the flour.

4. Combine the cookie mixture with the melted chocolate, soaked apricots and crushed hazelnuts. Try not to over mix.

5. Dollop the mixture on to grease proof paper [I baked these on a Sunday, therefore aesthetics can be ignored – my rule and I’m sticking to it – if you desire perfectly circular cookies I’m afraid you’ll just have to go else where].

 6. Bake at 180°C for [10-12mins] before enjoying with a cuppa!

Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater.

Ingredients
75g Butter
225g Light muscovado sugar
200g Dark chocolate
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
2handfuls of hazelnuts
1handful of Apricots [dried, chopped]
2glugs of Apricot brandy [to soak the apricots in]

Chocolate Passion [Fruit] Torte.

Heston Blumenthal intrigues me, I definitely wouldn’t say no to indulging in the tasting menu at his restaurant, The Fat Duck. This menu consists of things such as snail porridge, “sound of the sea” (served with an iPod for accompanying sounds), mock turtle soup and many other weird and wonderful creations. He’s a huge fan of dry ice and several other techniques which make his cooking far from doable in the home. However, a recent TV series attempted to bring some of his techniques down to earth. His chocolate gateaux stole my imagination…

From as young as I can remember, chocolate torte has been a treat and one of my favourites – my parents used to hold parties on New Years Day and in the summer, during which each family would bring something for the table, the result was, without fail, a feast to rival no other. One family could always be relied upon to bring a chocolate torte, The Mills’. It got devoured promptly and I had to wait 6 or so months for the next to appear within my reach. But now I’m 23, the kitchen’s all my own and, to my delight, chocolate torte isn’t beyond my skill set.

So, down to business…I swapped in the shortbread base and loved the idea of infusing the cream with passion fruit, but I’m sorry Heston, the popping candy wasn’t a good shout and I’m not splashing out on a paint gun purely to coat my creations in a fine chocolate shell. I will just have to cross my fingers and hope my guests don’t hold it against me. [They didn’t].

1. Blitz up the shortbread biscuits and mix in the melted butter, before pressing into a small cake tin and placing in the oven [160°C] until just browning. Allow to  cool.

2. While melting the chocolate in a bain-marie with the salt, warm through the cream with the pulp of the passion fruit in another pan (without allowing it to boil).

3. When the chocolate’s fully melted and the cream has been near simmering for a good few minutes, sieve out the passion fruit pulp, and  combine gently.

4. Stir in the fresh custard before pouring the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base and allowing to chill.

5. Serve up at room temperature. (I sprinkled with edible glitter, although the picture doesn’t really do it justice). It was demolished in 24hours, a new record, even for the chocolate torte of my small-town memories!

Recipe adapted from How to Cook Like Heston.

Ingredients
200g Shortbread biscuits
30g Unsalted butter [melted]
——–
300g Whipping cream
1Pinch Salt
6 Passion fruits [pulped]
100g Custard [fresh]
200g Dark chocolate
50g Milk chocolate

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Baking is the ultimate wind-down, it’s so therapeutic: sieving, creaming, mixing, rolling and cleaning up, just in time for the baked goodies to be sat on a cooling rack, blissfully unaware of their impending consumption.

Unfortunately, it’s not often that I can justify consuming batch after batch of cookies, cakes and crumbles, nor is my will power great enough not to eat them if they’re there. The solution: peanut butter cookies. I’m not the hugest fan of peanut butter, in fact it’s much like tea and coffee in my home – stocked in my cupboards for the pleasure of guests and not my own. However, they go down well with a few friends of mine so they leave my reach quick-sharp, which is just what the waist-line appreciates sometimes.

My plan back fired a little, these are by far the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made, the crunch of the nut pieces, the soft dough and the dark chocolate makes them pretty moreish. Furthermore, they smell amazing – two down and no-one knows they exist yet, this could be dangerous…

 It’s Sunday, there’s no need for aesthetic perfection!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients
1.25 cups Plain flour
0.75 tsp Baking soda
0.5 tsp Baking powder
0.25 tsp Salt
0.5 cups Unsalted butter
1 cup Crunchy peanut butter
0.75 cups Sugar
0.5 cups Light brown sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
100g Dark chocolate [chunks]

1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Cream together the peanut butter, butter and sugars.
3. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the peanut butter mix.
4. Mix the dark chocolate chunks in with the wet mix before adding the dry mix bit by bit.
5. Combine to make a consistent batter.
6. Roll small balls of cookie dough in sugar before placing on grease proof paper ready for baking [remember to leave room for the dough to spread out in the oven].
7. I pushed down a couple of times with a fork on each ball before baking at 180°C [10mins], until they just starting to brown.
8. Allow to cool.
9. Enjoy.

The Best People In Life…

…are those that leave you with cake.

Boozy Chocolate Mousse.

The best kind of chocolate mousse there is ; )

This recipe was simple-as and gained several nods of approval. I’m keeping tight hold of the recipe, it’s perfect for all those dinner parties where you want to make something in advance and forget about it.

1. Melt chocolate with a knob of butter in a bain marie.

2. Add egg yolks and ammareto.

3. Fold in egg whites, beaten by a glamorous assistant (optional).

4. Poor into dishes and refrigerate. Serve (with the garnish of your choice) at room temperature.

Ingredients:
210g Dark Chocolate
1 Knob of butter
4 Eggs, separated
7tbs Disaronno (amaretto)