Chilli chocolate truffles

Eek!  This is my late entry to this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge, hosted this month by Choclette. She came up with the great idea of combining chocolate with chilli this month. I was up for the challenge but unfortunately time ran away with me.  So at the very last hour I made these.  They are very moreish.  At first bite they taste like a normal chocolate but then it hits you with a great big spicy kick.

These particular truffles have a secret ingredient.  Should I tell you? Oh, go on then.

My mum bought these for us when she was on holiday earlier this year.  They are a little pod of espresso with added cocoa.  You drink the contents with the attached straw and after that you whir around like the Tasmanian Devil for the next ten minutes. They are fab! Unfortunately they don’t seem to be available in the UK, so if you want to add the espresso element, which is there to boost the chocolate flavour of these truffles then just add 20ml of strong espresso.

I had various theories about how to get the chilli flavour – dried or fresh?  Minced or sliced? Should there be a bite of actual chilli in there? In the end I decided that I should use fresh and infuse the cream with slices of said chilli, seeds et al, and then sieve these out.  I thought it would need to infuse for an hour or so.  Let me tell you here and now it doesn’t!  Thankfully I checked after five minutes and that was enough to give the cream a sufficient chilli kick ( read definitely enough, any longer and it will blow your head off).

100g good quality 70% chocolate
200ml double cream
1 red chilli, sliced with seeds
20ml espresso
chocolate flakes for rolling ( I used chilli flavoured chocolate flakes)


Place the sliced chilli and seeds with the cream into a pan and heat until just below boiling point.  In the meantime chop the chocolate finely, you can do this by whizzing it in a food processor, should you have one. Remove the cream from the heat and let it infuse.  Try it after a few minutes and if it seems to have enough of a chilli kick then sieve the cream over a basin to remove the chilli.  Return the cream to the pan and briefly heat just to warm through.  Add the chopped chocolate and the espresso and stir gently until smooth.  Place this in a bowl in the fridge to firm up.  Take teaspoonfuls and roll into chocolate flakes or cocoa powder.

The beauty of this ganache is that it also makes a mighty fine and warming hot chocolate for bedtime.

Just heat a cup of milk in a pan until warm.  Add a tablespoon of the ganache or about three of the truffles and whisk until well combined.  Heat to the desired temperature and enjoy.

Thank you Choclette, and I am sorry for being so rubbish at organising myself.



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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


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


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.


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Chocolate orange marble cake

I have been craving something chocolatey and orangey for a few days now.  I can’t explain this craving beyond I often crave something choc orangey, or indeed choc coffee-y or choc cherry-y.  You get the picture.

Anyway, we have been invited to the neighbours for a curry night tonight so I thought I should take something sweet along with us. I thought about choc orange cupcakes or choc orange biscuits, but then thought about marble cake and decided that this was the way to go.

Marble cake holds good memories for me.  My mum often made it when we were children, especially for birthdays.  She would colour it like a rainbow using red, green and blue food colouring. That’s a tough birthday cake to beat in my view.

To make it extra special I have covered it with ganache, as this makes it more suitable for dessert it seems to me, but this cake is good just plain and unadorned.

200g softened butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
100ml milk
the zest and juice of 1 orange
300g plain white flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 1½ tbsp warm water

For the ganache:
80g good quality chocolate
80ml double cream

Grease and line a loaf tin that measures 21cm x 11cm x 6cm.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the zest and juice of the orange and beat again to combine.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the milk and beat again.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold in gently until well combined.

Spoon half of the mixture into another bowl and then add the cocoa and water mixture  to this half and fold well.

Then spoon blobs of each mixture alternately into the loaf tin and carefully level the top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or on the middle shelf of the baking oven of the Four-Oven Aga for 45-50 minutes until firm on top and a skewer comes out clean.  Place the tin onto a wire rack and leave the cake in the tin for ten minutes and then turn out of the tin and onto the wire rack until completely cool.

To make the ganache, break the chocolate into a bowl and pour the cream into a small saucepan.  Heat the cream to just under boiling point and then pour onto the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.  Spoon over the top of the cake.

I hope the neighbours like it.  Fingers crossed. I liked that piece I sliced off for the picture, I hope they don’t mind the missing slice.

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Chocolate roulade, with a touch of the Black Forest

This was another of my contributions to my Dad’s birthday pudding bonanza.  It’s a flourless creation, which means that my gluten-intolerant sister can enjoy it.  I really like Black Forest gâteau, and anything with cherries and cherry brandy in it is always a big hit with me.  So I opted to add these, but you could add Marron Glaces for a chestnutty treat or just opt for the simpler (but nearly as delicious) chocolate and cream combo.

When I rolled it, I had as usual added far too much filling and it all oozed out.  But, actually I like it this way, it makes it look a lot more decadent and that can never be a bad thing, surely?

For the roulade (recipe from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course):

6 eggs, separated
150g (5oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) cocoa powder

A swiss roll tin (a shallow sided tray) measuring 29cm x 18cm, greased and lined with baking parchment.

Whisk the egg yolks until they begin to thicken, then add the sugar and whisk again until the mixture thickens a little more, but you don’t want it to be too thick.  Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined.  In a very clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they make soft peaks.  Add one-third of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture to loosen the mixture and then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, retaining as much air as possible. Carefully pour this mixture into the tin and lift the tin to spread the mixture evenly.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or on the middle shelf of the Aga’s Baking Oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the cake is springy to touch. Leave it in the cake tin to cool.

Make the chocolate ganache:

225g (8oz) good quality dark chocolate
225ml double cream
Cherry Brandy (to taste, I tend to put a good swig in, I know that isn’t very scientific, but keep on tasting until it suits you)

Chop the chocolate finely and place in a shallow and long dish. Heat the cream in a saucepan until just under boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to melt for a few moments.  Stir gently until well combined and then add the cherry brandy to taste.

Softly whip 200ml of double cream and drain a can of cherries.

Place a fresh piece of baking parchment on the worktop, it should be a little bigger than the cake.  Dust this with cocoa powder and turn the cake onto it.  Peel off the baking parchment from the bottom of the cake.  Spread the chocolate ganache over and then dot with the cherries.

Spread the softly whipped cream on top and then taking hold of one the shorter edges of baking parchment use this to roll the cake over to make a log.  If the filling oozes out, don’t worry just use a knife to spread it back onto the ends of the roulade.  If the cake cracks then that’s a bonus part of its appeal.

Enjoy in thick slices.

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Chocolate banoffee cup

We had friends for dinner last night and I needed a dessert.  I was going to do a rum chocolate cup, but then I spotted the bananas in the fruit bowl and couldn’t resist a banoffee pie, but I had no biscuits to crumble and I couldn’t be bothered with making pastry, so this was it – a combination of banoffee pie and the chocolate cup that I was going to make.  Very yummy it was too, although you probably wouldn’t want to eat two, it is decadently rich. The chocolate ganache sets in the fridge so when you dip your spoon in you get the combination of a hardish chocolate and a silky smooth caramel.  Mr OC described it as tasting like a Mars should taste.

Please notice that lovely evening sunshine we had yesterday – oh joy, the light is returning!

To make 6 cups

2 bananas, sliced thinly
2-3 tbsp rum (optional)
400g dulce de leche (otherwise known as Carnation Caramel)
150g 70% chocolate
300ml double cream


Divide the banana between the 6 cups or glasses and pour a splash of rum over each.  Mix the dulce de leche in a bowl until smooth and then spoon over the bananas.  Chop the chocolate finely.  Scald the cream in a pan over a medium heat.  Remove the cream from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth.  Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

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