Tag Archives: chocolate

Nutella fairy cakes

These have been in my mind for quite a while. I have been thinking about how Nutella might taste in the middle of a fairy cake and what would happen to its consistency. I can tell the seasons from a jar of Nutella.  In the winter it is almost impossible to spoon out of the jar, the cold of the cupboard has set it hard.  In the summer it becomes oily and hard to keep on the knife as it is lifted out of the jar.

Well, these little cakes were made when the Nutella is of perfect consistency, on a mild spring day, when the sky is an almost azure ( I am in England after all and we don’t often get an azure sky) and the temperature is that wonderful warm on your back but don’t reach for the sun screen warm. The Nutella stayed soft in the centre of the cakes making for a lovely bite of gooeyness.  This also means that there is no need for frosting – perfect.
Makes 12

110g light soft brown sugar
110g softened butter
120g self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder added)
20g good quality cocoa
2 eggs
Nutella or hazelnut chocolate spread, about 6 teaspoons

Method

Place all of the ingredients, except for the Nutella, in a large bowl and whisk well until all is combined.

Place a scant teaspoonful of the mixture into a fairy cake (mini muffin) case in a patty (mini muffin) tin.  Place  half a teaspoonful of Nutella on top.  Cover with another scant teaspoonful of cake batter.  Repeat with the remaining eleven.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the baking oven of the Aga for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch of a light finger.

Place on a wire rack to cool.

Lime and chocolate cheesecake

This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is hosted by Chele over at Chocolate Teapot and she decided that lime would be this month’s magic ingredient.  I had lots of ideas, including a lime flavoured chocolate cake with lime buttercream, (which sounds so delicious I think I might just make it yet), but yesterday was my turn to make Sunday lunch and I fancied making a cheesecake. I used a similar recipe to the successful cherry cheesecake Mr OC made not so long ago, but added plenty of grated rind and juice of lime.  The chocolate has taken a bit of a back seat just making a cameo appearance in the crust and a light grating on the top.  The reason for this is that my folks are not big fans of chocolate (how I manage to be their daughter I am not sure!).  But the presence of chocolate just about shines through.

This time I cooked the crumb base, but it is not really necessary.  I did it this time because I used Hob Nobs and I thought the oats might make a sort of flapjack base.  I was right.

This cheesecake is zingy and refreshing and makes a lovely end to a roast dinner.  You could say it is a light dessert, but that is then counteracted if you follow it up with a serving of apple crumble and then a serving of crème caramel – oops!  Oh well, it was a Sunday.

200g chocolate coated biscuits ( I used chocolate Hob Nobs)
100g butter, softened

400g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g icing sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
300ml double cream

To decorate – the finely grated rind of 1 lime and some finely grated chocolate

Method

Place the biscuits into a food processor and whizz until crumbs.  Add the butter and whizz again until well mixed. (If you don’t have a food processor then place the biscuits into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin or a can.  Melt the butter in a small pan and add the biscuit crumbs and mix well. )

Press the crumbs into a 20cm springform tin, making sure they are well pressed down.  Now you can leave it like this or you can bake it in a preheated oven at 180 °c, gas mark 4 for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.  Leave to go cold.

In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, icing  sugar and the rind and juice of 2 limes.  In another bowl lightly whip the double cream and then combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Spread this over the crumb base, levelling with a palette knife.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  When you are ready to serve grate over the rind of one more lime and a chunk of chocolate.

Chocolate hazelnut cupcake with coffee buttercream

I think I could benefit from a cupcake decorating course 🙂

I made these the other day to have in the park on the walk home from school to celebrate the change in the weather we seem to have had in the last week or so.  Spring may actually have sprung.  Of course, though, because we had planned a picnic the English weather let us know that we were fools and the sun didn’t peek out of the clouds once.  It was a fairly cold picnic!  Oh well, the cupcakes were good.

I made these in muffin tins so that they are a fair-sized cupcake. You don’t see fairy cakes about much these days.  A fairy cake sized cake is sometimes exactly right to fill a hole.  So feel free to make these smaller.  If you are making them muffin sized they will make 12, so smaller might make 16- 20 I would say.

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
100g whole hazelnuts
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
25g good quality cocoa
2 tsp baking powder

For the frosting
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
3 tsp cool strong coffee, made from 3 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in  4 tsps of just boiled water
2 tbsp double cream

Method

Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for about 4 minutes until they are lightly toasted.  Be careful, they soon burn. Pour them onto a clean tea towel and rub gently.  Most of the skins will come off, but leave some on as they add a good flavour.  Turn the oven down to 180°c, gas mark 4.

Put the hazelnuts into a food processor and whizz until they are large crumbs.  This adds a nice crunchiness to the cupcake.

Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk until fluffy and pale.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well with each addition. Gently stir in the hazelnuts.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over and fold in gently.

Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin cases in a muffin tin. They should be about three-quarters full. If you are using fairy cases then use a teaspoon to fill them three-quarters full.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 20 – 25 minutes for the muffin sized cakes or 10-15 minutes for the fairy cake size.  They should look firm and feel springy to a gentle touch.

Leave them to cool in the tin for a minute or two and then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a bowl until soft, add the icing sugar and stir in gently at first.  If you beat it straight in you will end up with a fine layer of icing sugar dust all over the kitchen.  When it is starting to clump together start to whisk it until it is fluffy. Add the coffee and beat again. Add the cream and beat until all is combined.  Pipe over the cupcakes more artistically then I can manage.

 

Earl Grey Kisses

Are you ready for a tale of woe?

This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge was hosted by Choclette and she came up with the fantastic idea of creating something with chocolate and tea.  Now straight away the thought struck me that Earl Grey truffles would be a lovely thing.  Except I had no Earl Grey in the house.

The days of February passed in a dash and I suddenly found myself in the middle of half term, at home with two busy children and still no Earl Grey.  Several trips to the shops later and still no Earl Grey.  It was the final day of the challenge and I managed to remember to buy Earl Grey, but then a cough came on and I ran out of energy and time.

Anyway, Sunday morning arrived and I thought I would make the truffles for eating after dinner.  I made them but the ganache split. I was making dinner for ten so the truffle mixture stayed in the fridge.  Monday morning and the split ganache was saved with the addition  of a bit more cream, but then I was busy and when I took the ganache out of the fridge it had set solid and there was no way any truffles could be formed.  The split ganache had returned with a fury it seems.

So today I reheated the ganache and yes it is well and truly split.  No truffles will be made from this. But in that ganache is 100g of chocolate and 200ml of cream.  I was not about to waste it.  The little one is off from nursery with a cough of her own but wanted to make cookies.  So here they are, cookies made with the ganache and filled with the ganache.

I will try to make the truffles again as the mixture tasted lovely.  These cookies are tasty but the delicate Earl Grey taste is lost amongst the biscuityness of it all.  But the ganache has at least been saved.

For the ganache:

100g best quality dark chocolate, chopped finely
200ml double cream
4 heaped tsp Earl Grey loose tea

Method

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the tea leaves.  Heat until just under boiling point. Take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for  15 minutes. Place the chopped chocolate into a shallow bowl.  Strain the cream through a sieve into a jug, reheat gently and pour over the chocolate.  Leave to melt for a minute or so and then stir gently until the mixture is smooth.  If you successfully manage this without it splitting and becoming granular then you should be able to place it in the fridge for an hour or so and then roll into truffles.

For the cookies:

100g butter, softened
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbsps of the Earl Grey chocolate ganache
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a splash of milk if necessary

Method

Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until well combined.  Add the ganache and stir to mix.  Sieve over the flour and baking powder and stir until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough.  You may need a splash of milk to help it come together.

Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and flatten into discs and place onto greased baking trays (you will need two).  Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the Baking Oven of the Aga for 8-12 minutes until they look dry and feel firm.  Leave to cool on the tin for a couple of minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sandwich two of the biscuits together using the Earl Grey chocolate ganache.

 

Rocky Road Slice

It is Cake Sale Day at the little one’s nursery today to raise money for the nursery. So my contribution is this Rocky Road Slice and an awful admission, which I will tell you about at the end of this post.

I have completely made this recipe up this morning so I don’t know if it should really be called Rocky Road at all.  To be honest it’s not something I would choose to eat myself, it is overly sweet for my tastes, but I think the children will like it.

I have used what I have in my cupboards so feel free to use whatever you have in yours.  Replace the cranberries with sultanas or raisins if you like, use another biscuit rather than digestives – you get the idea.

50g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
25g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
25g mini marshmallows
50g dried cranberries
4 digestive biscuits (Graham Crackers), crumbled
25g Rice Crispies (puffed rice cereal)

30g milk chocolate for drizzling over the top (optional)

Method

Melt the dark and milk chocolate, butter and syrup together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir well to combine  and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.

Line a 20cm square tin with clingfilm and pour the mixture in.  Level the top, pressing down well.  Melt the milk chocolate, if you are using it, and drizzle over the top. Place in the fridge to set.  Mine took about 1½ hours this morning.

Cut into squares.

Now for my awful admission.  My other contribution will be Double Chocolate Cookies made from a box mix – I know, shock horror.  Believe me, I am struggling with this myself.  I was given a box of it and I was in a quandary as to what I should do.  I have promised myself that I will try not to waste any food, so putting it in the bin was out of the question.  Then I worried that I may be becoming an awful food snob. I looked at the ingredients – flour, light brown sugar, sugar,(yes, sugar is listed twice), fat reduced cocoa powder, natural flavouring and raising agent.  I was reassured by this list, this is what I would normally put into cookies, so they can’t be too bad.  I just had to contribute the butter and egg yolk.

Anyway, I made them and they are OK, they don’t taste as good as if I had got out the flour, sugar and cocoa out of the cupboard.   There seems to be a lot more sugar in these than I would have put in and I think the cocoa is poor quality.  So, there you have it, my verdict is that these ready to bake kits might be OK if it gets someone baking that wouldn’t otherwise touch it with a barge pole.  But, you can definitely make tastier biscuits if you select the best ingredients and the right ratio of sugar.

All in all, I don’t know if it is an awful admission or if I have just become a terrible food snob, but a famous brand of cookie mix did not go in the bin and the cookies will be taken to  the cake sale.  I might just anonymise the plate though :).

Stem Ginger Truffles

At Christmas Mr OC buys me a big box of chocolates – he knows how to keep me sweet.  He normally asks for mainly cherry chocolates – you see, he definitely knows how to keep me sweet.  This year the chocolate shop ignored his request. This was initially a bit disappointing as there was only one cherry chocolate in the box – horrors!  But as it turned out it was a good thing as I got to try every chocolate in their selection and a particular favourite was the chocolate coated crystalized ginger.

I knew I had to make some and soon.  I have a jar of stem ginger in syrup in the cupboard, so I decided to use this as the flavouring in my truffle recipe. I made them yesterday as a present for Mr OC.  They aren’t as beautiful as a shop bought truffle, but they are very tasty. One tip though – don’t leave them by a warm radiator before you give them to the lucky recipient, this only leads to disaster.  They are best kept in the fridge.  Oh well, lesson learned.

Makes about 20 truffles.

100g best quality dark chocolate
200ml double cream

60g stem ginger in syrup, chopped finely
25g caster sugar or cocoa powder to coat the truffle

Method

Break the chocolate into small pieces or whizz to rubble in a food processor and place into a bowl.  Pour the cream into a small pan and heat to just below boiling point.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave for a minute and then stir until smooth.  Place in the fridge for about two hours until the mixture is thick enough to roll into truffles.  Add the chopped ginger to the mixture and stir well.

Now, you can roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into small balls like I did yesterday, or you can shape them roughly into ball shapes using two spoons.  I think I like the rough and ready look a little better.  Take a look at my Cherry Truffles and see what you think.

Then coat the truffle in caster sugar or cocoa or even chopped nuts, whatever takes your fancy.  Store in the fridge and enjoy regularly.

Choclette recently made some gorgeous looking Ginger Chocolates so pop over and take a look at her lovely recipe.

Mocha Hazelnut Cake

I have times when I crave a coffee cake.  I usually turn to the classic coffee and walnut in such times of need.  But I have also been coveting the notion of an Italian Hazelnut Cake.  I think it was Rachel’s blog where I first saw this, or it may have been Michele’s, or even Tracy’s.  That is the trouble when you read so many wonderful blogs, it can cause no end of trouble when you try to find a recipe that you loved.

Fortunately for me Rachel Allen does an Italian Hazelnut Cake in her book, Bake, and so with a bit of tweaking I had the perfect Coffee and Hazelnut Cake, and because it’s me I couldn’t resist adding some chocolate and turning it into a Mocha Hazelnut Cake.

I urge you to try this, it manages to be incredibly light and incredibly moist at the same time.  The coffee shines through but doesn’t diminish the wonderful hazelnut flavour and the chocolate adds a wonderful depth.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

As I have added both coffee and hazelnuts to the original recipe, it can’t really be called an Italian Hazelnut Cake, but it can be called a Shropshire Mocha Hazelnut Cake.

200g hazelnuts, with their skins still on preferably
50g good quality chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp instant coffee powder, mixed with 2 tsp of hot water
100g softened butter
5 eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
pinch of salt

Method

Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Place the hazelnuts, chocolate and baking powder in a food processor and whizz into fine crumbs.  Add the butter and whizz again until just mixed.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until the mixture has the texture of a mousse and the whisk leaves a trail when lifted out.

Add the coffee and the hazelnut mixture and beat until combined.

In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and the pinch of salt together until stiff. Then add one-third of the egg whites to the other ingredients and stir well to combine and lighten the mixture.  Add the remaining egg whites in two batches, folding in carefully to retain as much air in the mixture as possible.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170°c, gas mark 3, or with the oven rack on the lowest set of runners in the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 1 hour or until the cake is firm on top and a skewer will come out clean when it is inserted into the cake.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.