Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chocolate Eruption

Anybody who knows me knows that I have a weakness for chocolate. It's funny cause my love for chocolate started only a few years ago. There's something about eating chocolate that hits you in all the right places. It's no wonder it's the first thing many of reach for when we need our spirits lifted. If you've never had premium chocolate like Lindt or Callebaut then you can't really say that you've had chocolate and a true chocolate lover would know this.

I remember the day I fell in love with Lindt chocolate. I would always pass it in the aisles cause I felt that I could just never pay that much money for a bar of chocolate. One day I was felt like rewarding myself with something good so I decided to go ahead and buy one. I chose the plain milk chocolate bar(no particular reason). I still remember thinking I can't believe I'm spent so much money whey I could have spent so much less for my then favourite chocolate.

I took my first bite and then I paused, I had just experienced something new with chocolate. The chocolate was light, smooth, creamy and velvety, everything a good chocolate should be.

I have decided to share to treats with you just in time for the cooler weather. When preparing your favourite chocolate desserts or cakes don't use chocolate that you wouldn't normally eat. Good chocolate = Good desserts.

Molten Chocolate Cakes

There's something about soft gooey chocolate that makes you go weak in the knees. These small decadent cakes are sure to have that effect on you. These cakes are best served warm with your favourite ice-cream or fresh whipped cream or maybe both. They are easy to prepare and bake in no time and that is what I love about them.
If you love chocolate you will enjoy making and eating these.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
226 g (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, melted
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Whipped Cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream (or your favourite vanilla or chocolate ice-cream), if desired.

Chocolate Fountains

Chocolate fountains are all the craze right now. You will find them at weddings, parties or maybe you have one at home. What I like about them is that anyone can enjoy them cause there'll always be something for somebody. Some enjoy it with fruit or nuts, others biscuit and some with marshmallows. Whatever you choose you know you will enjoy it cause what could be better than a never ending flow of chocolate. Most people enjoy it with fruit, nuts, biscuits, or marshmallows. I prefer pouring some of the chocolate into a bowl and dipping some of my favourit nuts. That way I don't eat too much cause the nuts fill me up fast. For times when I'm watching my waistline I prefer to go with fruits like strawberries, oranges or bananas. When I'm tired of fruits and nuts I always reach for marshmallows another favourite of mines.

I love marshmallows and I love that I can make them on my own. If you've never made marshmallows before don't be afraid to try. They are so easy to make and you only need a handful of ingredients. I have decided to share a recipe that I have from Michael Smith, one of my favourite chefs from BBC Food.

Homemade Marshmallows

Timing Hints: Marshmallows can be made a week in advance and refrigerated.

4 gelatin packages
1 1/2 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup of corn syrup
1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin powder over 1/2 cup of the water. Place the sugar and the remaining one-cup of the water in a pot and heat until warm to the touch. Add the gelatin mixture to the warm syrup and stir until fully melted.

Pour the gelatin syrup mixture into the bowl of a large stand mixer ( I use a large bowl and a hand mixer) fitted with a whip. Add the corn syrup (glucose syrup) and vanilla and begin beating at high speed. You may find it useful to cover the bowl with plastic wrap while it beats to keep down the splatter.

Continue beating until the mixture cools, increases in volume, and forms soft peaks. Working quickly before the mixture fully sets in the bowl transfer to either a standard hotel pan (rectangular baking tray or pyrex) dusted with powdered sugar for later cutting into cubes or transfer to a piping bag fitted with a straight tip and pipe mounds onto a non stick surface such as a silpat mat dusted with powdered sugar.

  • Unfortunately here in S. Africa we don't have corn syrup but you could use glucose syrup. You can find it in a shop that supplies baking ingredients.

  • Use a large bowl as the mixture will increase in volume and you the last thing you need is marshmallow all over your floor and walls.

  • You can smooth the top surface of the marshmallows by placing a greased piece of wax paper over the entire top surface and smoothing it out with your hands.

  • Instead of dusting the tray you can grease it and roll the cut marshmallow into toasted coconut. I would use this for with the chocolate fountain though cause the coconut might clog it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

I spent the whole day in the kitchen on Saturday baking a few of my favourite desserts. These included Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart and a decadent chocolate cake layered with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mousse and then draped in chocolate ganache. I forgot to buy flour for the cake so I used a cake mix that I had in the cupboard (very disappointing). I really enjoyed the peppermint crisp fridge tart a South African favourite and a big hit in my family. I don't need a recipe for this one cause I've been making it for years. For those of you South Africans who don't have the recipe (shame on you) I have decided to post it.

Here is the recipe:

500ml fresh cream or any other whipping cream
1 can Caramel Treat
3 bars of Peppermint Crisp Chocolate (grated or chopped into small pieces)
1 pack Tennis Biscuits
Peppermint extract (optional)

  1. Whip cream until stiff
  2. Gently fold in the caramel and two thirds of the peppermint crisp chocolate to combine.
    Add a few drops of peppermint extract if you like a stronger peppermint flavour. I add just 2 or three cause I don't like it to be too over powering.
  3. Layer tennis biscuits at the bottom of a square or rectangular dish about the size of an oven tray. (Use a smaller dish if you want the dessert to be thicker)
  4. Spoon the cream mixture over the tennis biscuits.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over to garnish.
  6. Leave in the fridge to set for a few hours.
Grab a plate and a few friends and enjoy!


Some people like to use 250ml cream but I find that the dessert is too rich and sweet for me. If you don't like you desserts rich then you can also use a light whipping cream.

Tennis Biscuits

The tennis biscuits can be replaced with any digestive biscuits. I like to put all my tennis biscuits at the bottom of the dessert but you can also layer it alternating a layer of biscuits and a layer of the cream finishing off with a cream layer. For this you might need another packet of tennis biscits. I also like to crush my biscuits and add a little melted butter to form a "crust" at the botton of the dessert. Anyway you make it is still going to be delicious.

Caramel Treat

Known to others as Dulce de Leche

If you can't get your hands on Caramel treat then you can make your own using condensed milk. Place an unopend can of condensed milk (375g) in a pot. Cover with water and boil for 3 hours topping with hot water whenever necessary. I also like to turn the can over every 30 minutes to ensure that the milk cooks evenly. You would need to be extra careful to prevent burns. Turn off the stove after 3 hours and leave the tin to cool completely in the pot before opening.

Peppermint Crisp Chocolate

Rumour has it that Nestle only distributes Peppermint Crisp chocolate in South Africa and Australia.If you can't get your hands on peppermint crisp chocolate use any other chocolate with mint toffee pieces (mint cracknel) could be used.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies that warm the heart

It's been a long long time since I've made these but I still remember the warm fuzzy feeling I got after eating one of these out of the oven. Having been the first chocolate chip cookie recipe that I'd sampled I swore then and there that it will be the last. Crisp around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre, I had to practically chain my hands to keep myself from going back for more. I ate so much I could feel my hips expanding in a "Nutty Professor" kind of way. Nonetheless they were calories well spent. I'm gonna dig deep into the coffers to find this recipe cause I am really starting to crave these. Hopefully I'll be able to post the recipe so that you too can experience them (not for the faint hearted).

All Things Sweet

Anyone who knows me knows me for my semi-sweet tooth. I say semi because I don't always go gaga over sweet stuff but I have to have my weekly fix. I am a reformed chocaholic but still love to indulge in chocolates occassionaly. Most of what I make or most of what I eat (desserts) has to include chocolate cause then it's just too boring for me. I decided to start this blog so that I can share and indulge, with anyone who would cut their meals in half (or maybe entirely) to leave room for dessert, my love for all things sweet.

This weekend I will be making a few of my favourite treats - and yes they do include chocolate - which I will be sure to share with you. Mmmm I can't wait.