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Cover: Loco for cocoa

Recipes with raisins

30Sep 12

Chocolate Bar Biscuit Cake

Chocolate Bar Biscuit CakeTake 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?

Chocolate Bar Biscuit Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
I like the caramel twist that the Mars and Twix bars bring to this outrageously rich dessert.
Ingredients
  • 2 Twix bars, cut into very small pieces
  • 5 king size Mars bars
  • 50g marshmallows
  • 2 Whisper bars
  • 130g butter
  • 1 packet of digestive biscuits
  • 65g raisins
  • 65g chopped almonds or hazelnuts
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter, the Mars bars, the whisper bars and the marshmallows very slowly together in a large pan over a very low heat.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits into a large clean food bag and crush them with a rolling pin to a very fine texture.
  3. Grease a cake or bread tin and coat the bottom and sides with some of the digestive biscuit crumbs.
  4. In a clean bowl, mix the remaining digestive biscuits together with the Twix pieces.
  5. Mix the eggs into the melted chocolate and marshmallow mix and take it off the heat. Add the biscuit and Twix mix to the melted mix, along with the raisins and chopped nuts, until well-combined.
  6. Transfer the mixture into the cake tin with a spatula and chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. When ready to serve, cut the cake into wedges with a sharp knife.
Notes
Requires overnight chilling time

 

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30Jul 12

Flake-y Fruit and Nut Slice

Flaky Fruit and Nut SliceSo 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 oven.

If you have friends coming to stay, especially if they have children – this is a good cake to make together in the kitchen one rainy day.  Just be sure the kids are OK with the nut pieces first; then get stuck in to some fun food creation together. (Also try this pear and hazelnut mess with chocolate shavings recipe.)

Flaky Fruit and Nut Slice
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
So called because it contains Flake bars…. Mmmmmm – yummy! Flaky fruit and nut slice is a crumbly and crunchy treat for the whole family.
Ingredients
  • 230g softened butter or margarine
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 3 Flake chocolate bars
  • 145g hazelnuts, chopped into random sized pieces
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 150g raisins
  • 75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • Icing sugar and cinnamon powder for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
  2. Lightly grease and then line a cake tin.
  3. Chop the flake into pieces about 1.5cm long, and put to one side.
  4. Mix the sugar and butter together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  5. Combine in the cocoa powder.
  6. Separate off half of the flake pieces, 50g of the broken hazelnuts and 50g of the dark chocolate. Keep them to one side for now. Add the remaining quantities of all 3 to the mixing bowl and stir in.
  7. Add in the raisins and the apricots and mix gently.
  8. Spoon the mixture out into the prepared cake tin, and then scatter the nuts and the chocolate that you had kept to one side, over the top.
  9. Pop the cake mixture in the oven and bake for around 2 hrs, testing that the cake is cooked with a skewer or sharp knife that should come clean out of the mixture.
  10. Once ready, remove the cake from the oven and let it sit to cool in the cake tin.
  11. Once cool, dust with icing sugar and cinnamon powder and serve with a hot cup of tea and some good conversation.

 

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31May 12

Chocolate Triangle Cake

Chocolate Triangle CakeThe Mayans were amazing and sophisticated people. They learnt how to cultivate cocoa trees, and they developed ways of fermenting and roasting the beans so that they could be consumed. At the same time the Roman Empire was peaking, the Mayans were building their huge pyramids.

 

So here’s a recipe inspired by those incredible Mayan Pyramids.  To create the unique shape of this chocolate triangle cake, the mixture is poured and set into a tilted cake tin.  I have used almonds and raisins in this recipe but you can substitute any dried fruit or nuts you like; for example hazelnuts, mixed nuts, dried apricots, de-stoned prunes, dates, or glacé cherries to name a few.

Ingredients:

  • 300g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100-150g good dark chocolate
  • 170g digestive biscuits, broken into roughly shaped pieces
  • 125g raisins
  • 100ml evaporated milk
  • 100g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 100g white chocolate

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Take an 18cm square cake tin and line the base and 3 upright sides with clingfilm, leaving one side without film.
  2. Pour the evaporated milk into a heavy-bottom pan, add the milk chocolate and on a low heat, gradually melt and stir the mixture together.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool, but not to set.
  3. Stir in the nuts, raisins, and biscuit pieces.
  4. Place the cake tin at a 45 degree angle by propping it up on one side with a box.  It should sit with the unlined side of the tin being the side that is propped up, and therefore raised above the level of work surface. Transfer the cake mixture to the propped up tin, smooth the top surface and leave until it is firm.  At this stage you can put the tin into the fridge to set the cake completely.
  5. Once thoroughly set, remove the cake from the fridge, turn out of the tin and peel off the clingfilm.  If any bits of biscuit sit above the level of the chocolate mixture, you can slice these off so that the cake will sit flat on a serving plate.
  6. Melt the dark chocolate and spread it in a very thin layer over the top sides of the pyramid.
  7. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle in a decorative pattern for presentation.

Time:  20 minutes to prepare plus cooling and setting

Cocoa Treats: 10 servings

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12Apr 12

Chocolate Fool’s Fudge with Almonds

Chocolate Fudge with almonds
Bite-size slices of crunchy fudgy heaven…

So called fool’s fudge because it is not made in the traditional way with all of the traditional ingredients.  It’s easier to make and will magically form just the right consistency, without you having to worry about it coming out too hard, or even too soft.  As with other no-bake sweet treats, the only demanding bit about making it is the time you have to wait for it to set before reaching those fingers into the fridge! (Also try these choc-cherry fudge slices.)

Chocolate fool’s fudge with almonds is great for parties and weekend treats.  Once sliced, you can wrap it up in parchment paper, tie it with pretty ribbons and give it to your friends as a ‘happy today’ treat to make them smile on any old day, or for birthday and Christmas presents.

Ingredients:

  • 175g good quality 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 175g good quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 395ml condensed milk (one can)
  • A small pinch of fine salt grains
  • 30g butter
  • 75g raisins
  • 75g whole almonds
  • 1tsp almond essence

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. In a large heavy-based saucepan, mix the butter, chocolate, and condensed milk together; gently heating them until the butter and chocolate have melted.  Add the salt and the almond essence, and then stir everything together really well.  Leave to cool a while, but do not let the mixture begin to set.
  2. Meanwhile, put the almonds into a clean sandwich bag.  Lay the bag on a wooden chopping board, and use a rolling pin to split the almonds into smaller pieces within the bag.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, stir the almond pieces and raisins in using a wooden spoon.
  4. Spoon the fudge mix out into a 23-25cm square foil tray using a spatula, levelling the top.
  5. Chill the mixture in the fridge until it is set, at least overnight.  In the morning, slice the fudge in its tray into bite-size chunks.

Note:  In my opinion, the texture continues to improve over a couple of days – but I suggest that you start enjoying it the morning after you’ve made it.  You can tuck into it sooner, as long as it is set.  The texture will be softer but the flavour equally as yummy.

Time: 15 minutes to prepare plus cooling and setting time

Cocoa Treats: 50 – 60 bite-size pieces

 

 

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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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