Sunday, 10 March 2013
I think if you ask most women you will find that the one thing that is very dear to their heart is chocolate. Oh, I know there are some exceptions to the rule, but in this house, for this woman . . . chocolate anything plucks the strings of my chocolate loving heart.
Here, today . . . for Mother's Day are some of my all time favourite Chocolate Desserts. From the simple to the sublime . . . Happy Mother's Day to all my UK Friends!
Makes 24 squares
These are fabulous. The three textures . . . crisp shortbread base, gooey caramel centre and the crisp chocolate shell on top make for a decadently moreish bar. Bet you can't eat just one!!
For the Shortbread Base:
9 ounces flour
3 ounces caster sugar
6 ounces butter, cut into bits
For the Caramel:
4 ounces butter
4 ounces soft light brown sugar
2 - 397g tins of sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate topping:
7 ounces good quality plain chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Butter a 13 by 9 inch swiss roll tin. Set aside.
Weigh the flour, sugar and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture until it forms a dough. Press this into the base of the prepared tin, smoothing out evenly. Prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes, until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.
To make the caramel, place all the caramel ingredients into a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil, still stirring, then reduce the heat to low and cook very gently for about 5 minutes or so until the mixture has thickened slightly. Do not stop stirring as the mixture will catch and burn if you don't keep it moving. Remove from the heat and pour over the cooled shortbread base. Allow to cool completely.
To make the chocolate topping, break the chocolate into pieces and place into a bowl that you have set over simmering water. (Don't allow the bowl to touch the water) Melt completely, stirring occasionally. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars to serve.
Note - you can vary the chocolate topping by melting about 3 ounces of each, dark, milk and white chocolate separately. Drop by dollops onto the top of the caramel and lightly swirl together to cover. Leave to set before cutting.
*Chocolate Cola Cake*
A deliciously moist chocolate cake with a chocolate cola buttercream icing. Serve with a tasty chocolate sauce and some mini marshmallows for an extra special treat.
For the cake:
250g butter (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
250g self raising flour (1 3/4 cup)
300g golden caster sugar (11/2 cup)
3 heaped TBS cocoa powder, sifted
generous pinch of baking soda
200ml of cola drink (slightly more than 3/4 cup)
75ml milk (1/4 cup)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream icing:
60g butter, softened (4 1/2 TBS)
200g icing sugar, sifted (1 1/2 cups approx.)
2 to 3 TBS cocoa powder, sifted
2 TBS cola drink
For the sauce:
4 ounces heavy cream (1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
70g caster sugar (1/3 cup)
60g dark brown sugar, firmly packed (1/3 cup)
60g sifted cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
To serve: Mini marshmallows
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter a 9 inch loose bottomed round cake pan. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda together in a large bowl. Melt the butter and cola together. Add to the dry ingredients along with the milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix gently bur thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Beat together all the ingredients together for the icing until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cooled cake.
To make the sauce, melt the butter and sugars together until they no longer feel grainy. Whisk in the cream and heat through. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.
Cut the cake into slices to serve. Sprinkle with some marshmallows and spoon some of the chocolate sauce over top.
*Chocolate Chunk Muffins*
Makes 8 muffins
Lovely big and moist muffins, chock full of delicious chunks of chocolate. Mmm . . . mmm . . . good!
180g of plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
150g of caster sugar (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
80ml of vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
1 large free range egg
80ml of milk (1/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 ounces of good quality chocolate cut into chunks (1 1/2 cup)
(I favour Green and Black's Organic Dark Milk chocolate myself)
Preheat oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners. (Fill the remaining cups 1/4 with water to help prevent the pan from scorching). Set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. Whisk together the oil, egg, milk and vanilla. Add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened, without overmixing. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Using an ice cream scoop, place one scoop into each lined cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Delicious warm or cold!
*Sea Salt Chocolate Snaps*
Makes 8 to 10 snaps
Sweet, rich, salty, crunchy . . . there isn't a sense these don't tingle!
100g (3 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate (You want a good quality one
with at least 70% cocoa solids. I used Lindt)
a good handful of shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
a handful of raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
7 or 8 cubes of candied ginger, roughly chopped
a handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped
flakes of sea salt
Break the chocolate up and place it into a bowl. Place the bowl over simmering water, without allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Leave alone without stirring for about 8 minutes. Halfway through the melting time, push the unmelted chocolate down into the melted parts. Turn out the heat and just let sit until it is all melted.
Line a large baking sheet with some non stick baking paper. Spoon out little disc shapes of the melted chocolate onto the paper, spreading it out thinly with the bottom of the spoon. While the chocolate is still warm, scatter the chopped nuts and fruits in combination over the chocolate. (Pistachio and cranberries are nice. Macadamia and cranberries are also nice. Macadamia and ginger is lovely as well.) Sprinkle a little sea salt over each.
Place the tray in the refrigerator to chill for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully lift from the paper and serve.
*Flourless Chocolate Cake*
Makes one 9 inch cake
There are a lot of versions of this floating around. This is the one I use. When I cheffed at the Manor, this was the one my boss always requested.
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped into bits
4 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into bits (you want one that is at least 60% cocoa solids.)
8 ounces butter (1 cup)
9 ounces of caster sugar (about 1 1/4 cups)
6 large free range eggs, separated
Sifted icing sugar to serve
Preheat your oven to 170*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. You will need a 9 inch springform pan. Remove the bottom and then place a large square of parchment paper over this bit. Replace the ring around the bottom and clamp on, making sure that the parchment paper is clamped in place. Butter the paper lined bottom of the pan and the sides. Set aside on a baking tray.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl placed over a pan simmering water, without allowing the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir as it melts, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Remove from the pan and whisk in the sugar. Pour into a larger bowl and beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating constantly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff using clean beaters. Fold these into the chocolate mixture, carefully to combine, working gently and not whisking. (You want to keep the mixture airy.) Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. The cake will rise dramatically and fall drastically when it is removed from the oven. That is ok. It's supposed to happen. Allow to cool to room temperature on the countertop then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours before removing the sides of the springform pan.
Dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges to serve.
*Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups*
Makes about 24 huge cookies
Double the pleasure. Double chocolate chip cookies, filled with a milk chocolate centre. Decadently scrummilicious!
220g of butter, at room temperature
201g of soft light brown sugar (1 cup packed)
191g of granulated sugar (1 cup)
2 large free range eggs
1 TBS pure vanilla
500g of plain flour (3 1/2 cups)
1 tsp fine seasalt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
10 ounces of pure chocolate chips, semi sweet (1 1/2 cups)
4 ounces milk chocolate chips (1/2 cup), melted
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Lightly grease two medium size nonstick muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, salt and soda. Stir in the flour until well mixed. Stir in the semi sweet chocolate chips.
Using about 1 dessertspoon measure for each roll the dough into balls. Flatten half of them and place into the prepared muffin tins. Top each with about 1 tsp of the melted milk chocolate chips, taking care to keep it in the middle. Take another ball of dough, flatten it and place it over the melted chocolate and press around the edges lightly to seal the chocolate in. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the muffin tins halfway through the baking time. They should be lightly browned on the edges and set. Immediately upon removal from the oven run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen. Allow to cool completely in the muffin tins before popping out. Store in an airtight container.
Note: To serve as a dessert cup, lightly reheat the number of cookies you want in the microwave for a few seconds. Place each on a plate. Top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle with some chocolate syrup. If you have homemade so much the better!!
I have a fantastic chocolate sauce recipe here. It's the best!
*Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bread Pudding*
Serves 12 (I have successfully cut this down to a third of a recipe)
Three little words . . . deliciously decadently MOREISH! May I add Nom Nom!!
For the Bread:
1 (1 pound) loaf of brioche or French bread cut into 3/4 inch cubes
(About 7 cups, or 455g)
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted (57g)
For the Custard:
3 large free range eggs
3 cups of half and half (675ml of a mixture of half cream and half milk)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (95g)
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar, packed (100g)
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cookie Dough:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (57g)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (48g)
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar, packed (100g)
1 TBS half and half or cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour (99g)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (180g, I used Green & Blacks milk chocolate, chopped)
Pre-heat your oven to 200*C./400*F/ gas mark 6. Toss the bread cubes with the melted butter and spread them out onto a couple of large rimmed baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.
Place the bread cubes into a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. Whisk together all of the custard ingredients. Pour this over the bread. Let stand for 30 minutes, giving it a turn every so often so that the bread absorbs the custard evenly.
Cream together the butter and sugars for the cookie dough until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and cream. Mix in the flour and salt until incorporated. The dough should come together in large clumps. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Crumble half of the cookie dough over the bread in the dish and gently fold together until the dough is covered with custard and evenly distributed. Crumble the remaining dough over top.
Bake the pudding for 1 hour, or until the top is puffed and golden brown and a silver knife inserted near the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from the Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis
*Fudge Walnut Brownies*
I wish I had a pound for every time I have made brownies in my life and for every new brownie recipe I have tried! I’d be a rich woman! This is my old standard that I return to every time. Moist and delicious with full on chocolate flavour, these are everything a good brownie should be! You can leave the nuts out if you wish, or you can add chocolate chips instead. They then become double chocolate fudge brownies!
8 ounces (1 cup) butter
140g (1 cup) plain flour
4 ounces good quality bitter chocolate
4 large free range eggs
400g (2 cups) sugar
1 TBS vanilla essence (YES 1TBS)
60g (1/2 cup) cup walnut halves, broken into pieces
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Grease and flour the bottom of an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Tap out any extra flour.
Melt the butter along with the chocolate over low heat in a large pot. Allow to cool, then stir in the sugar, eggs (one at a time) vanilla, flour and salt, mixing with a wooden spoon and being careful not to over mix, no more than 50 strokes!
Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out a little wet if you want fudgy brownies. Bake until it comes out cleaner if you want cake type brownies, about 40 to 45 minutes for the fudgy ones. Let cool a bit before cutting into squares.
*Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Torte*
Peanut Butter and Chocolate are a marriage made in heaven. This is a tasty, moist brownie pie, just stogged full of peanut butter cookie dough. Oh so scrummy. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to serve if you dare!
For the Brownie part:
3 ounces continental style dark chocolate (at least 70%cocoa solids)
3 ounces butter (1/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
2 large free range eggs
1 TBS vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
12 ounces of sugar (1 1/3 cup approx.)
6.5 ounces plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough part:
8 ounces creamy peanut butter (1 cup)
2 ounces caster sugar (1/4 cup)
2.5 ounces soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup)
4 TBS butter, melted
2 TBS plain flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 large free range egg, beaten
Vanilla Bean Ice cream to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 inch round baking tin and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the brownie batter. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan, stirring until smooth and amalgamated. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour. Set aside.
Cream together the peanut butter and sugars for the cookie dough part. Stir in the beaten egg, butter and vanilla. Stir in the flour.
Drop the peanut butter batter into the prepared pan in mounds spaced somewhat apart. Drop the brownie batter in between the peanut butter mounds. Drag a knife through to swirl the batters together somewhat and then smooth the top over.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until completely set and shiny on top. Allow to cool completely before slicing into wedges to serve. A scoop of vanilla ice cream goes very well!
I am still feeling really, really blah . . . I have no appetite and no energy. I sure hope that I start feeling better soon. This is no fun . . .