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Cover: Loco for cocoa

Recipes with cocoa

06Apr 12

Chocolate Easter Nest Torte Part 2

Chocolate Easter Nest Torte 

 

Here’s the 2nd part of the Chocolate Eater Nest Torte recipe which covers instructions on making the moussey torte topping, and the pretty nest-style decoration for the top of the cake.  There’s a lot of work involved overall, but it’s fun, and the result is truly worth it!

Ingredients:

For the torte topping

  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp powdered gelatine
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 200g good dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml whipping cream

For the decoration

  • 150g good milk chocolate, roughly sliced
  • 1-2 packs of mini chocolate eggs

Preparation Guidelines:

For the torte topping:

  1. Dissolve the gelatine in the water and leave to soften.  Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a clean bowl, and mix together with the sugar, cornflour and a splash of milk.  Make a custard by heating the remaining milk in a saucepan, bringing it just to the boil, then whisking it in well to the egg yolk mixture, returning it to the saucepan and cooking it gently until thickened, stirring constantly and not overheating.  Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the gelatine, dissolving it. Add the chocolate and let sit until melted in, and then stir well.  Transfer the mix to a bowl, cut and lay a piece of greaseproof paper over the surface to prevent a skin, leave to cool until just starting to thicken, and remove the paper.
  2. Whip the cream firm and work into the chocolate mix.  Spoon the mixture on top of the chocolate sponge (part 1), inside the chocolate casing (part 1), levelling the surface, then chill in the fridge for 1-2 hrs until set.  You can then remove the paper strip from around the chocolate casing.

For the decoration:

3. Roughly slice the milk chocolate into long, thin shards.  Scatter them gently in a nest shape on top of the torte and fill the nest with the mini eggs.

Time: 2 hrs plus cooling and chilling time for the whole cake making process, including part 1

Cocoa Treats: 12 servings

Note: For more spring cake ideas, try this Easter cake with orange and marzipan.

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29Mar 12

Grandma’s Chocolate Tiffin

Grandma's TiffinThe word ‘tiffin’ is a 19th century word inherited from the colonial days of the Raj. It’s a loosely Indian term meaning a light snack or lunch, or referring to any light meal. It also has some relation to an old English term, ‘tiffing’, which meant ‘to take a sip’. Tiffin as we now know it today, came about when with the typical light British ‘afternoon tea’, merged with the Indian custom of taking a slightly more filling snack between meals. In some parts of India and Nepal it still means an in-between-meals snack. In Mumbai it means a packed lunch, and there are even dedicated people (sometimes called ‘tiffin wallahs’) whose job it is to deliver tiffin in boxes to workers and schoolchildren during the day.

My favourite kind of tiffin is my Grandma’s recipe – a rich, chocolate, biscuit and fruit crunch.  Grandma’s Chocolate Tiffin is one of those comfort foods that take me back to all those ‘feel-good’, happy childhood memories that I never want to lose. It’s great fun to make with, and for, children, and it’s so simple.

Ingredients:

  • 115g butter or margarine
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 60g shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 60g raisins
  • 60g of white chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 20g drinking chocolate or cocoa powder
  • 150g good quality milk chocolate (or dark chocolate if you prefer)
  • 225g rich tea biscuits

Preparation Guidelines

  1. Grease a shallow tin (medium sized, 8” x 10” approx).
  2. Break biscuits into small pieces.
  3. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan with the sugar and syrup.
  4. Add the drinking chocolate, coconut and raisins. NB – you could substitute chopped walnuts or other nuts for the coconut if you prefer, or leave out altogether. It’s just the same with the raisins if you find them too sweet.  Whatever you choose, it will be de-licious – the chocolate will make sure of that – so play around!
  5. Bring just to the boil then remove from heat and stir in the biscuit pieces and white chocolate.
  6. Spread the mix in the shallow pre-greased tin and leave to cool.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl. NB – it’s best to melt the chocolate either in a bowl over a pan of hot water, or in a small microwave-proof bowl in the microwave for a just few seconds; it melts very quickly so keep a close eye on it.
  8. Spread the melted chocolate over the biscuit mix and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  9. Cut when cold.

Time:    15-20 mins

Cocoa Treats:    around 20 pieces

 

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23Mar 12

Mocha Slushy Punch

Mocha Slushy Punch

In my opinion, Christopher Columbus’ most important discovery was chocolate. OK, he had to discover the Americas to find it, and that was great too, but chocolate was the best thing he ever did. Before then, it was the dark and secretive preserve of the Central Americans and one of their gods in particular, Quetzalcoatl, who is usually represented as a serpent-like figure with plumes. The ancient guardians of chocolate (or ‘xocolatl’, as it was known) revered it as a source of strength and wealth – and how right they were! It is both energy-giving and worth masses on the stock market! It has evolved into a vastly more sophisticated and varied product than Columbus could have dreamed, especially while he was drinking the bitter watery concoction that passed for drinking chocolate in those days! Columbus is known to have drunk chocolate, but it was his compatriot, Hernan Cortez who brought it back to Europe in the early 16th century. I bet they would have loved to have sampled my Mocha Slushy Punch.

Try this as a dessert idea after a filling dinner when you think there won’t be much room for heavy pudding – it goes down a treat!  I use Baileys, but you could just as easily use whisky or rum for a delicious alternative. You could also create some great non-alcoholic versions or use a similar recipe for a cool iced mocha.

Ingredients

  • 1L of freshly brewed coffee, well chilled
  • 1 small pot whipping cream (200ml)
  • 1L tub choc ice cream
  • 60ml Baileys
  • Chocolate syrup to drizzle on top

Preparation guidelines:

  1. Make the coffee in advance and put in the fridge to chill.
  2. Whip the cream until really firm.
  3. Put the chilled coffee into a big bowl.
  4. Add around half of the ice cream and mix in until slushy.
  5. Add your Baileys or other drink/flavouring.
  6. Mix in the rest of the ice cream, pour into tall glasses, add the whipped cream and sprinkle with the chocolate flakes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Note:  Serve immediately in tall glasses with long spoons. Keep super-chilled if it’s going to be more than 5 mins before you serve, to preserve the slushy texture.

Time:    10 mins plus a couple of hours to chill the fresh coffee

Cocoa Treats:    4 generous servings

 

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14Feb 12

Totally Chilled Chocolate Truffles

Chilled Chocolate TrufflesThese Totally Chilled Chocolate Truffles look wonderful, taste wonderful, melt in the mouth and take no time at all to make. OK, you can buy chocolate truffles in the shops – but these will be better, and make your guests go WOW! This recipe makes a small bowl of attractive little truffles (about 24) ideal for a small party. You can also make them into slices to accompany your morning coffee. If you want more, just double up the quantity, and always serve straight from the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 120g good quality milk chocolate
  • 120ml of double cream
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 small tsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 dtsp icing sugar (optional)
  • Coating – a couple of tablespoons of either cocoa powder or drinking chocolate for rolling

Preparation Guidlines:

To make the ganache (chocolate and cream mix)
1. Heat your cream to near boiling point.
2. While it’s heating, break the chocolate into small pieces in a heatproof bowl (warm for a few seconds in the microwave if cold).
3. Let the cream cool a little then pour over the chocolate and stir until melted.
4. Add in the cocoa powder and the icing sugar for a sweeter fudgier texture. (You can leave these out if you like a really smooth ganache.)
5. Add the butter a bit at a time, and continuing to stir gently so as not to create bubbles.
6. Cover and cool in the fridge overnight, or for a minimum of a few hours.

To serve:
1. When you are ready, or about an hour before you serve, take small teaspoonfuls of the chilled mix, form into balls and roll in your preferred dusting powder – cocoa will develop the rich flavour, drinking chocolate will sweeten the truffles a little.
2. Put the finished truffles straight back into the fridge on the serving dish you want to use – ready to hand to your guests.

Note: Any truffles that don’t get gobbled immediately will keep for a couple of days in a container in the fridge, but they probably won’t last that long!

Time: 20 mins to prepare plus overnight chill in fridge
Cocoa Treats: 20-24 small truffles – a small dishful

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