chocolate

Cherry chocolate truffles

cherry chocolate truffles

I absolutely love the combination of cherry and chocolate.  There is a very good chocolate shop, The Chocolate Gourmet, in Shrewsbury and Ludlow and whenever I am in either town I can’t resist a visit.  I always get both varieties of their cherry chocolates, 3 of each, and then I squirrel them away in the crockery cupboard so that I can treat myself surreptitiously when I am on my own in the kitchen.  It is the little things in life that make us happy..

These truffles were inspired by the fact that I had a packet of sour cherries and a bottle of cherry brandy in the cupboard so I thought I would give them a go. They are very lovely, the problem now is that I have 16 truffles in the fridge that will need to be eaten in the next week.  Life is sometimes so hard.

150ml double cream
75g 70% cocoa chocolate
50g dried sour cherries
3 tbsp cherry brandy
2-3 tbsp good quality cocoa

Method

Place the cherries into a bowl and cover with the 3 tbsp of cherry brandy and leave to soak whilst you prepare the truffle mixture.

Chop the chocolate finely and place into a large shallow dish.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan until almost boiling point and then pour the cream over the chopped chocolate.  Stir very gently until the chocolate is melted and the cream and chocolate are combined.  Add the cherries and the brandy.  Stir to combine. Place the mixture into the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

Spread the cocoa onto a plate.  Take a teaspoonful of the mixture and shape into a sort of craggy ball with another teaspoon by passing the mixture between the two spoons.  Drop into the cocoa and turn until covered.  Place  onto a plate and repeat the process with the rest of the mixture. I ended up with 16 truffles from this amount.

Keep in the fridge and eat within a week.

They make very good presents to take to friends.

Get printable version

Cherry chocolate truffles Read More »

Chocolate chip cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Inspired by Choclette on her Chocolate Log Blog, I thought I would try to adapt the recipe I often use for chocolate chip cookies.  The original recipe has lots of sugar in and makes a very sweet biscuit.  By cutting down the amount of sugar from 175g to 125g and using 100g wholemeal flour with 50g of plain flour, instead of the original 150g plain flour, it makes a much more interesting biscuit.  It is still sweet, but not cloying and the wholemeal flour gives it a much more interesting texture.  The bonus of course is that it also makes a healthier cookie and as I get asked at least once a week if we can make a batch of cookies this is a big bonus.

Makes about 12 large cookies

125g (5oz) butter
125g (5oz) light brown soft unrefined sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (4oz) wholemeal flour
50g (2oz) plain white flour
½ tsp baking powder
100g 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat.  Put the sugar into a bowl and pour the butter over and mix well. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix well.  Fold in the flours and the baking powder.  Add the chocolate and mix until combined.  Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto baking sheets lined with baking parchment.  Place in the preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, gas mark 4) for 8-10 minutes until golden.  Leave on the tray for five minutes and then place onto a rack to cool.

These are very nice when they are still warm and the chocolate is still melted, but they are also very nice the next day.

Get printable version

Chocolate chip cookies Read More »

Chocolate, oat and almond biscuits

choc oat cookie

These are really good substantial biscuits with big chunks of chocolate.  They are easy to make and quick to cook, so a batch can be made in half an hour.  I have invented this recipe to suit people who cannot tolerate flour in their diet, they do contain oats though so if these are a no-no too you could just up the amount of ground almonds that you use to 7 oz (200g) instead of the mixture of oats and almonds.  Doing this will mean that the cookies won’t have such a satisfying texture but I am sure they will be just as good.

I am always in search of the perfect chocolate biscuit recipe, some are just too sweet, but not these they are just lovely and chocolatey and crunchy.

Makes about 15 biscuits

4oz (110g) softened butter
40z (110g) dark soft brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4oz (110g) ground almonds
3oz (75g) porridge oats
1 oz (25g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
4oz (110g) chopped chocolate (dark, milk or white or a mixture, whichever floats your boat)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°c (gas mark 4, 350°f) and grease two baking sheets with a smear of butter.

Cream the softened butter and sugar together by beating either with an electric whisk or with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again until well combined.  Add the ground almonds, porridge oats, cocoa and baking powder and mix well.  Add the chopped chocolate and stir until combined.

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the greased baking sheets, leaving room between for the biscuits to spread.  Place the trays into the centre of the oven and bake for about 12-14 mins until the mixture looks set.  Leave the biscuits on the trays for 10 minutes and then place onto a cake rack and leave to cool.

Make a cup of tea, sit down and enjoy!

Get printable version

Chocolate, oat and almond biscuits Read More »

Chocolate cake – gluten free

choc cake

My sister is gluten intolerant so whenever she is coming to our house we try to bear this in mind.  She was expected at the party at the weekend and as there were other chocolate cakes available I thought it only fair to prepare one that she could eat.  The chocolate cake is one of Nigella’s recipes and is absolutely delicious.  I bought her Feast book (2006, Chatto & Windus) after my very good friend Annalin served us Nigella’s Espresso Martinis at a gathering at her house last Christmas. The martinis are unbelievably good.  However, I don’t think the martini recipe is in Feast after all, but there is a whole chapter called the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame which has more than made up for that disappointment. The chocolate cake below is Nigella’s Chocolate Orange Cake, which is moist, orangey and gorgeous.  I topped it with some cupcake frosting that I had left over after making Peggy Porschen’s cupcakes from the October 2009 edition of the Sainsbury’s magazine. The combination of cake and frosting is very good and as a result of my sister forgetting about the party I had the terrible situation where I was left with cake to finish up…

For the chocolate cake:
2 oranges, weighing about 375g in total
200g ground almonds
250g golden caster sugar
50g good quality cocoa
1 heaped tsp baking powder (make sure this is gluten free!)
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 eggs
Method
You will need a 20 cm cake tin, buttered and lined.
If you can plan ahead then it is wise to start this the day before you want to make the cake as you need to place the oranges in a pan, cover with water and bring to a simmer and then simmer for two hours until soft.  You then need time for the oranges to cool.

Once the oranges are cool, cut in half and remove any pips.  Place the oranges in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Don’t overdo as it is nice to find little chunks of orange in the cake and you are going to be using the blade with the rest of the ingredients. Add all of the remaining ingredients and pulse again until just combined.

Scrape this into the cake tin and level the surface. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, gas mark 4) for 45 mins – 1 hour until it’s springy to the touch and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Leave it to cool completely in the tin.  You could leave it undecorated and it will last for days, but I have to say with the chocolate frosting it is even more of a winner.

finished choc cake

Chocolate cake – gluten free Read More »

Chocolate frosting

This chocolate butter frosting was used to decorate the chocolate cake I made in the post above and it is really delicious and very rich.  It is taken from the feature about cupcakes by Peggy Porschen in the October 2009 Sainsbury’s Magazine.

It is important that the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature, so try to remember to take them out of the fridge a few hours before you want to make the frosting.

50g cream cheese
25g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
50g good quality dark chocolate ( at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped small or grated
50 ml single cream

Method

Beat the cream cheese and the butter together until well combined and then beat in the sieved icing sugar.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan to simmering point.  Place the chopped or grated chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate.  Stir gently until the chocolate has melted.  Leave to cool for a few minutes.

Add the chocolate mixture to the butter mixture and stir well to combine.  Leave it to cool until it’s a spreadable consistency and then using a palette knife spread over the top of your cake.

Serve the cake in big slices and enjoy every mouthful.

Chocolate frosting Read More »