In the days following Christmas, there are lots of recipe ideas for the food leftovers knocking about. So we thought we’d offer the same service after Easter. You know, for all that chocolate that you’ve not eaten. Are we being a bit optimistic that you’ve got chocolate leftovers?!
This is a lovely, simple recipe. The cake is perfect as an indulgent afternoon coffee accompaniment – or dinner party dessert.
It incorporates readily available ingredients and can be rustled up in a few hours – with time between stages to get on with other jobs if required.
The cake delivers everything that you might expect from a chocolate fudge tart – it’s intense, rich and smooth on the palate. A small amount of salt flakes add a delicious, subtle contrast to the sweetness. There’s flexibility regarding the chocolate that you incorporate depending upon your personal taste or budget. You also have the option to add a bit of booze if you like. Rum, brandy, Cointreau, amaretto, Kahlua – maybe a bit of whisky. Perhaps you’ve got some of those left over from Christmas (or is that wishful thinking again?). Wherever you get the ingredients from, make sure to give it a try.
- 150g/5¼oz Hob-nobs
- 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 45g/1½oz light brown sugar
- ¼tsp table salt
- 80g/2¾oz salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 1 x 400g/14oz tin condensed milk caramel*
- 375g/12¼oz dark chocolate
- 150g/5¼oz double cream
- Pinch of sea salt flakes
- Line the base of a 25cm round tart tin with greaseproof paper, grease the sides with some extra butter
- In a food processor, blitz the Hobnobs, cocoa powder, sugar and salt
- Add the butter and pulse a few times to incorporate
- Firmly press the crumb mixture into the tin, taking extra care with the sides and aiming for an equal thickness throughout
- Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer
- Bake the tart case at 200ºC/390ºF/Gas 6 for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Put all the ingredients (apart from the salt flakes) into a saucepan and gently warm over a low-medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy
- Pour the filling into the cooled tart case and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours
- Just before serving, sprinkle with the salt flakes
It’s been a while since I’ve made a batch of cookies or a round of shortbread. I’ve hit two birds with one stone with this salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread recipe from Alison Roman.
They’ve become so popular that she now simply refers to them as “The Cookies” – all her Instagram fans know what she’s talking about!
The recipe makes two ‘logs’. Cooking off one log at a time is enough for our 2-person household. The other log is now in the freezer, waiting for the first batch to be demolished.
Refrigerator cookies are so convenient. A quick ten or so minutes in the making, about the same amount of time in the oven, cook off as many as you want and no waste.
The recipe is very straightforward. However, there’s one step that needs to be followed to the letter. Chilling the logs in the fridge for 2 hours before cooking is the absolute minimum.
I whisked them out of the fridge a little too early as we wanted to catch some daylight for our photos. That’s why my cookies spread a little too much in the oven and the chocolate chunks didn’t hold their shape very well. The next batch will be super chilled!
They still tasted great – and that second log won’t be languishing in the freezer for long!
- 255g/9oz salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 100g/3½oz granulated sugar
- 50g/1¾oz light brown sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 295g/10⅓oz plain flour
- 170g/6oz dark chocolate, chopped (you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
- 1 large egg
- A few tablespoons Demerara sugar, turbinado etc for rolling
- A few pinches of flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed
- Add the flour and mix until just until combined
- Add the chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. The mixture will look crumbly
- Divide the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, cling film and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 5cm/2" in diameter
- Chill until totally firm - around 2 hours
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper
- Lightly beat the egg and open up your chilled cookies logs to brush it over the sides
- Sprinkle the coarse, brown sugar on the open paper or plastic wrap and roll the logs in it, coating them thoroughly
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 1cm/½" thick rounds. You'll hit some chocolate chunks, so saw gently, squeezing the cookie to keep it from breaking
- Arrange the slices on the lined baking sheets 2½cm/1" apart, then sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown
- Allow to cool slightly before transferring them to wire racks to cool
- The dough can made ahead and stored - tightly wrapped in cling film - for up to 1 week in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer. Baked cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days
We’ve been busy doing lots of Christmas-themed posts in the past couple of weeks. So much so that we need to give our own Christmas plans a little more attention maybe – especially on the Yuletide gift front.
We’ve just been sent a beautiful chocolate parcel by Hotel Chocolat and it got us thinking… chocolate has to be the best foolproof Christmas present ever. We’re don’t know the exact percentages involved, but surely there aren’t many people who don’t like a bit of chocolate! In fact, in all my years, I’ve only ever met one person that doesn’t like chocolates… and I think they were just in denial! You can be pretty confident that a present involving chocolate will be a big hit with most people.
The standard newsagent bar of chocolate is fine for everyday consumption however, at Christmas you want something just a little bit special – whether it be superior quality, creative flavours or festive themes & packaging. Fortunately, Hotel Chocolat has built it’s reputation on fulfilling all three.
Chocolate is the perfect gift idea for grown ups and for children. Kids especially like the fun shapes, novelty packaging, exciting flavours and quirky twists on a Christmas theme. The chocolate parcel stocking we received contains some lovely little treats including creamed caramel puddles, a sleigh team and Santa on a stick!
The kids’ section on the Hotel Chocolat website contains a myriad of chocolate-themed Santas, snowmen, robins, penguins, snowflakes, puddings and the like. We’re looking forward to trying our novelty reindeer/ we enjoyed sampling our novelty reindeer, but perhaps most grown ups will be looking towards more sophisticated options.
The classic champagne & chocolate springs to mind. A variety of choices are available on this front. There are other boozy options too including gin, Prosecco or even beer & chocolate collections. Or how about incorporating the chocolate into the drink itself with delicious salted caramel cocoa vodka?
There are things for the whole family to share – such as Christmas crackers, advent calendars and tree decorations. There are hampers too with something for everyone to enjoy. Some of the hampers and boxed collections are so attractive that they’d make a wonderful centrepiece display for those festive get together meals and parties.
The Hotel Chocolat website is a joy to browse – full of tempting choices for all occasions. Chocolate is wonderful gift for Christmas, however – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and anniversaries provide plenty of other chocolatey opportunities too!
This will be my final recipe celebrating Sourdough September – fitting really, that it’s a recipe for a dessert – sourdough coffee chocolate cake. I’ve lifted the instructions from one of my new favourite websites – King Arthur Flour. Their recipes quick-convert between Imperial, metric and US cups – a really useful feature!
As well as Sourdough September, this cake also honours International Coffee Day which happens each year on 1st October… and while I’m at it, why not honour Chocolate Week which runs from 9th-15th October. There… I’ve covered all the bases and no one was left out!
Another good thing about this recipe is that it calls for ripe sourdough or discard. I love using up leftovers! It also lists espresso powder as an ingredient; I ground some espresso beans on the finest setting and that worked perfectly.
The resulting sourdough coffee chocolate cake is HUGE – almost a kilo of icing alone! You may want to halve the recipe. The two of us will be eating a slice every day for a week… not that I’m complaining. It’s soft, moist, sweet and gorgeous!
There are three separate parts to the process; the cake, the icing and the drizzle. If you don’t think you’ll have enough time in a single day to do all three, you can break it up into stages across two or even three days.
This would be a great one to make as a celebration cake. You could even divide the batter into two tins and make a layer cake if you prefer.
- 240g/8½oz sourdough starter, ripe or discard
- 225g/8oz whole or evaporated milk
- 240g/8½oz plain flour
- 300g/10½oz granulated sugar
- 200g/7oz vegetable oil
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1tsp salt
- 1½tsp baking soda
- 65g/2⅓oz unsweetened cocoa
- 1tsp espresso powder (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 680g/24oz icing sugar
- 170g/6oz butter
- 115g/4oz plain yoghurt or buttermilk
- 1tbsp + 1½tsp espresso powder
- 15g/½oz hot water
- 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 15g/½oz milk
- 20g/¾oz golden syrup
- Combine the starter, milk and flour in a large mixing bowl
- Cover and rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Lightly grease a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13-inch) cake tin
- In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder - the mixture will be grainy
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter/flour/milk mixture, stirring until smooth. It will be gloopy at first; however, the batter will become smoother as you continue to beat gently
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
- Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool while you make the icing
- Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Set it aside
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buttermilk/yoghurt
- Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water, add to the pan, and bring the mixture just to a boil
- Immediately pour the simmering liquid over the icing sugar in the bowl, and beat until smooth
- Pour the warm icing over the cake. If you wait too long and the icing stiffens up, just spread it over the cake with an offset spatula
- Combine the chocolate pieces, milk and golden syrup in a microwave-safe container. Microwave until the chocolate softens, then stir until smooth (a couple of 10-second bursts)
- Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the icing
We’ve got a wonderful recipe for you this week – delicious peanut butter brownies. And there’s a bonus for some of our readers who have certain dietary requirements.
This peanut butter brownie recipe is taken from a cook book of low FODMAP dishes. FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols”. It’s a diet recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, functional bowel disorder, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Coeliac Disease. Don’t let the fact that you’ve got a healthy digestive tract make you think that this brownie’s not for you – it’s amazing!
Slightly crispy on the outside… soft, sweet, chewy and gooey on the inside. Eat it hot or cold… on its own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream.
- 175g/6oz of unsalted butter
- 200g/7oz dark chocolate
- 75g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
- 30g/1oz smooth peanut butter
- 3 eggs
- 175g/6oz of caster sugar
- ¼tsp of salt
- 50g/1¾oz self-raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
- Grease a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) brownie tin and line it with parchment paper
- Put the butter, chocolate and crunchy peanut butter into a heat-proof bowl on a saucepan of simmering water over low heat and warm until just melted
- In a separate, small saucepan, gently warm through the smooth peanut butter
- Put the eggs, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
- Using a rubber spatula, stir in the melted chocolate mixture and self-raising flour
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin
- Drizzle over the smooth peanut butter in 3-4 straight lines, then 'drag' through the peanut butter with a skewer or toothpick to create a marbled effect
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cake is just firm to the touch, but has a slightly fudgy texture
- Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then lift out the block onto a board using the lining paper and cut it into 6-9 squares
- Serve warm or cold, on its own or with a scoop of ice cream or pouring cream
Another week, another Cakes & Bakes chocolate recipe. But not just any old chocolate, but TRIPLE chocolate chip cookies!
These are truly blow the diet, straight up delectable. Chock-full (see what I did there?) of dark and white chocolate chips, cocoa powder and sugar.
If you’d prefer you can make tiddly little ones using teaspoons of cookie dough rather than dessertspoonfuls. That way, you’re only having a little morsel at a time. Me? I prefer my cookies soft, chewy and the size of frisbees!
Justin tends to prefer savoury snacks to sweet ones, but even he’s contributing to the rapid disappearance of this particular batch.
- 115g/4oz plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 75g/3oz butter, softened
- 75g/3oz golden caster sugar
- 75g/3oz soft brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips
- 100g/3½oz white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper
- In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt
- In another larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar (using an electric mixer is best)
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
- Add the flour mixture and beat well on a low speed
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in 70g of the dark chocolate chips and 70g of the white chocolate chips
- Drop dessertspoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheet and lightly press each with the back of a spoon. Space them 2½-5cm / 1-2 inches apart as they spread quite a bit in the cooking
- Dot the top of each cookie with 3 or so of the reserved dark & white chocolate chips pressing lightly into the dough
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the next batch. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used (My large baking tray took 3 batches to use up all of the dough)
- Store in an air-tight, lidded container for up to 3 days
Before I begin, I have to share that Justin thinks these marzipan chocolate brownies were the best brownies he’s ever eaten!
I’ve probably said this in the past, but Justin isn’t the biggest chocolate brownie fan in the world. If he was, I’d be making them every few days, because I adooooore them.
The addition of the ganache and marzipan layers give extra dimensions to the dark chocolate gooeyness.
Justin’s usual grumbles about brownies involve words like – stodgy, claggy or even dry. These additions seem to have banished all those worries!
And I followed this recipe simply as a way to use up left over home-made marzipan from last week’s Simnel cupcakes. What a great result – brownie harmony in the house!
The layers make very attractive slices too – very tempting – perfect for having on the counter of our combined vintage shop & café which we sometimes dream of!
Give them a go – I think you’ll love them!
- 175g/6oz butter
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 85g/3oz plain flour, sieved
- 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
- 75g/2½oz double cream
- 150g/5oz ground almonds
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- 2tsp almond extract
- 1 egg white
- 100g/32½oz dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin with parchment paper
- Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
- Stir to incorporate
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together well
- Mix in the chocolate mixture
- Fold in the flour and cocoa powder
- Pour the batter into the baking tin
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just baked
- Melt the dark chocolate and double cream together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
- Stir to incorporate
- Once the brownie layer has cooled, pour the ganache over and spread evenly. Allow to firm up before embarking on the next layer
- Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
- Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate whilst waiting for the ganache layer has firmed up
- Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out half of the marzipan to about ½cm thickness
- Cut to size to cover the 20cm/8-inch square brownie layer
- Any unused marzipan will keep - covered in cling film - for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
- Melt the dark chocolate and pour evenly over the marzipan. Allow to set completely before 'cutting off the crusts' and slicing into portions
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