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Cover: Loco for cocoa

30Sep 12

Chocolate Bar Biscuit Cake

Take a moment to think about melting Mars, Twix and Whisper bars together to make a cake – now does that sound tempting or what? Chocolate bar biscuit cake does just that, then combines with marshmallows, chopped nuts and raisins to make a totally rich treat that you can slice like a biscuit. It’s another no-bake cake, so once again the test is in waiting for what you’ve just created to set overnight in the fridge. Feel free to experiment with your own favourite chocolate bars in this recipe. What you’re aiming for is that lovely combination of smooth and rich chocolate, studded with crunch. I like the caramel twist that the Mars and Twix bars bring to this outrageously rich dessert. There’s nothing posh about it, but there sure is plenty of pleasure.  Talking of chocolate pleasure, have you ever had a go at making a chocolate martini cocktail? […]

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30Jul 12

Flake-y Fruit and Nut Slice

So called because it contains Flake bars…. Mmmmmm – yummy! Flaky fruit and nut slice is a crumbly and crunchy treat for the whole family. This is a modified version of a recipe that I found long ago.  It gives you something really easy to do with those Flake bars that we all love!  Cooking this cake slowly results in a beautifully moist texture which holds together the crumble and crunch of the other ingredients.  I normally let it cool and eat it cold as a cake slice – but you could also try it warm with a dollop of ice cream or single cream.  To play with the flavour some more, try adding a couple of tablespoons of rum to the mix!  If you do this, you may need to add a tiny bit more flour so that this mixture is not too wet before it goes into the […]

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26Jul 12

Intense Little Chocolate Pots

Dip into heaven with these Intense Little Chocolate Pots… They are a great dessert to make the night before a special meal and leave to set in the fridge. You can make them on the same day you wan to eat them, of course, but be sure to allow yourself a good couple of hours for setting and chilling the chocolate. The servings are small, very rich, and will complete a celebration meal perfectly alongside a glass of pink champagne. This is one I tend to do when there’s a grown-up’s birthday in the family; or to round off an evening meal with a little romance. Don’t forget the candles and the music! Intense little chocolate pots are also beautiful served with soft amaretti biscuits or these hard Italian Biscotti Di Prato. For yummy variations to this recipe, try using Lindt intense orange chocolate, a good dark mint chocolate, or […]

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24Jul 12

Crunchy Chocolate Button Cake

Delectably rich, with the crunch of biscuit, and the hidden surprise of milk chocolate buttons… Here’s the second no-bake featured cake recipe I want to share with you.  Crunchy chocolate button cake is a great treat to create with children.  It’s really quick to prepare, but takes a minimum of 4 hrs to set.  In fact, it’s better chilled overnight, and even better the day after that as it begins to harden further – but do you think it will actually last that long before your hungry gobblers devour it all? (I also suggest trying this No-bake Anzac slice.) Ingredients: 150g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces 150g good quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces 2 tbsp milk 130g digestive biscuits 130g unsalted butter 1 packet of milk chocolate buttons (standard size pack) Preparation Guidelines: Grease a 17-20cm cake dish, and line with baking parchment. In a large heavy-based […]

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20Jul 12

Chocolate Gingerbread Animals

  Chocolate is my passion, and my niece loves it too, so we often find ourselves playing with it together when she comes round for the day, even when she visits with her mum and dad. We girls get busy in the kitchen, leaving mum and dad to relax together a while – a much welcome break for them; and loads of fun for us! Here’s one of our favourites; chocolate gingerbread animals. We make animals because they are the shapes we happened to find on a shopping trip together. But we also have heart, circle and square cutters – and you can make this recipe into gingerbread people too and decorate them with icing, chocolate and smarties if you like. (Also try this sugar-free gingerbread recipe.) We had a family gathering recently with my parents, brothers, sisters and of course my little niece, and we rustled these up. My […]

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18Jul 12

Divine Chocolate Éclairs

I call them that because, well, chocolate éclairs are always amazing – but home-made ones, they are simply divine.  So for all of you chocoholics who like your chocolate with lashings of cream, this one is for you.  You’ll love these divine chocolate éclairs. Ingredients: For the bun pastry 50g butter, unsalted 60g plain flour 150ml water 2 eggs For the topping and filling 295ml double cream 1 ½ tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp icing sugar 155g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces 15g butter, unsalted Preparation Guidelines: Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Take a large baking tray, lightly grease it all over with a butter pat and sprinkle the surface with a little water from your fingertips.  Sift the flour onto a clean sheet of paper or baking parchment. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, stirring in the water.  When the butter has melted, […]

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15Jul 12

Little Chocolate Macaroons

Melty and crispy… what a combination! These little chocolate macaroons get baked in our house every so often.  Sometimes we devour the lot in one go, and sometimes I manage to save some in an airtight container to share with friends on coffee mornings – which is usually the motive for making them in the first place.  They are a perfect coffee compliment, and they contain a chocolate-coated coffee bean in the centre. These chocolate macaroons are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.  Your friends will be delighted to share them with you.  If you can’t find the coated coffee beans, use a whole blanched almond as a substitute. For an evening variation for the grown-ups, serve a couple of macaroons in a pretty bowl, drizzled over with almond liqueur or the Italian liqueur Disaronno; or spoon a little liqueur cream onto the side.  Here’s another idea; […]

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13Jul 12

Lime and Chocolate Creams

A refreshing pud for the early summer. Lime and chocolate creams are best served really well chilled from the fridge, and this dessert takes less than 10 minutes to prepare! Make the little pots of yumsciousness a little in advance, and then whip them out for a sophisticated, yet devilishly simple, round off to an evening of entertaining. You’ll make use of both the juice and the zest of the limes to create a lovely citrus burst. We sometimes make lime and chocolate creams just for the two of us on a sunny afternoon; we make two big glasses and leave them to chill – this is pretty decadent I know. Then in the evening we take one out onto the terrace with a couple of spoons as the sun sets and share it together with a super chilled glass of cava. If we catch the neighbours in the garden, […]

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09Jul 12

Fruity Milk Chocolate Florentines

As the name suggests, florentines originated in the Italian city of Florence. The Italians make excellent desserts in the Tuscany region, including Biscotti de Prato. Florentines are fragile, fruity sensations that are often made with dark chocolate, but I prefer them with milk chocolate.  The trickiest bit of the process is getting a good round shape to your biscuit, so I think it’s best to be relaxed about that, and enjoy the biscuits a little uneven around the edges.  They’ll still taste just as wonderful!  You can enjoy fruity milk chocolate florentines as a rather special biscuit snack; or dress them up for after-dinner with creams, sauces and liqueurs, for a rich or romantic dessert. Ingredients: 150g good quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces 60g unsalted butter 30g glacé cherries 55g caster sugar 2 tbsp double cream 30g sultanas or raisins 55g flaked almonds 20g candied peel mix 2tsbp plain […]

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07Jul 12

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake is a classic cake for afternoon tea with friends and family.  If you have a pretty tea set, this is the perfect moment to get it out of the cupboards and use it.  Invite the grandparents round and enjoy a family gathering in good old-fashioned style. (Also try this Marvellous Marble Cake.) Ingredients: 200g butter 4 eggs 250g caster sugar 4g salt 200g self-raising flour 1tsp and 3 drops of vanilla essence 30g cocoa powder Preparation Guidelines: Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a 28cm long, oven-proof, glass plum cake dish with a little butter. Melt the butter very gently over a low heat.  Take it off the heat as soon as it is melted.  Stir it and leave it to one side. Separate the egg whites and yolks into 2 different bowls.  Put the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar […]

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