Tag: Chocolate

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

If you’re in the UK right now you’ll be aware that it’s really hot, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon! Whilst I’m all for a sunny day or two, I’m actually one of those weirdos who love storms and the rain, so I can’t wait for this heat wave to move on and for a good storm to come rolling in. In the meantime though it’s ice cream and shorts all the way! My favourite ice cream has to be a good mint choc chip. The kind that’s refreshing, tickles the tongue and has big, bittersweet nuggets of chocolate floating through it. Unfortunately where I live they don’t sell mint choc chip (shock horror!) The only place that I found something resembling mint ice cream was in the Aldi near where I work, and whilst I’m a normally big Aldi fan, their mint choc chip ice cream could do with some serious tlc. So, desperate times call for desperate measures, time to make my own!

Loads of people say they hate mint choc chip as a flavour because it reminds them of toothpaste, but to me that’s really glass-half-empty kind of thinking. To me toothpaste tastes of mint ice cream! A bit weird, I know, but it makes some sense. By using fresh mint in this ice cream the whole thing tastes a lot more deep and rounded than the shop bought stuff. You get a really strong, authentic mint flavour and none of the synthetic, weak mint you come across in cheap ice cream. If you’re one of the above people who hates mint ice cream you can easily make this vanilla or plain choc chip by just not infusing the milk with the mint. You can also vary how much chocolate goes in depending on your preference. Personally I like a mixture of flakes and hearty chunks, but you can chop the chocolate however you want to suit your style.

Recipe

Makes 1 tub

Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Ingredients

  • 215g Dark chocolate
  • 450ml Whole milk
  • 250ml Double cream
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 30g Fresh mint
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • Ice cream cones to serve (optional)
  • Flakes and sprinkle to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Then put them into a container and leave in the freezer until needed.
  2. Pop the milk, cream, vanilla and mint into a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature and leave to simmer/infuse for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile put the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk together until pale and smooth.
  5. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve to remove the mint, then pour the warm milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly to combine.
  6. Then pour this mixture back into the pan and place over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
  7. When the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  8. Once the mixture is at room temperature pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, working to the device’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker see note below.
  9. When the ice cream is ready, add the chocolate chunks to the ice cream and mix them through. Then pour the ice cream into a freezer-proof tub, smooth over and leave in the freezer to freeze completely.
  10. Once frozen serve with sprinkles and flakes in cones or in bowls!

 

Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, add the chocolate chunks to the ice cream mix and stir them in. Then pour the mixture into a freezer-proof tub with a lid and leave in the freezer for 2 hours. Every 10-15 minutes take the ice cream out and give it a stir. This will help with the crystal formation and will make the ice cream smooth as it sets. After the two hours leave the ice cream to set completely in the freezer.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Neapolitan Brownie Cheesecake

Neapolitan Brownie Cheesecake

My parent’s are aiming to walk the South West Coastal Path over the next few years and so last week we were all on holiday to kick-start the journey. As we were walking loads, we were in Devon, and it was insanely hot, it goes without saying that we ate a tonne of ice cream. So in homage to all of that I decided to do an ice-cream themed bake for Father’s day.

In truth, I’m more of a mint choc chip girl than Neapolitan, but I thought that the classic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry layer thing was too good to not use for this. I also finished my Art Foundation course the other day (silent whoop!) and so after that I treated myself to a brownie cheesecake thing from Tescos. I’ve seen brownies being used in cheesecakes for years but that was the first time I tried it myself, and boy was it good. So rather than having a biscuit base for this one I made a fudgy brownie, and dare I say it I think it’s better than a biscuit base. It’s chewy, rich, and is way easier to transport/slice into as you don’t have crumbs flying everywhere!

This one has a few elements to it, but it’s all very easy to put together when broken down. For the swirls on the top I used strawberry jam which worked way better than I thought it would! If you’d prefer something sharper for the topping you could use marmalade, raspberry jam or boil up equal parts fruit and sugar to make a thick puree.

Recipe

Serves 12

Time: 1 hour, plus chilling

Ingredients

For the Brownie

  • 230g Caster sugar
  • 100ml Vegetable oil
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • 55g Cocoa powder
  • 90g Plain flour

For the Cheesecake

  • 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 550g Cream cheese
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 250ml Double cream

For the Topping

  • 2 tbsp Strawberry jam
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 4 Small fresh strawberries, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tbsp Chocolate sprinkles

Method

  1. Begin by making the brownie. Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C. Grease and line a 9-inch cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar and oil into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk these in to make a smooth mix. Add the cocoa and whisk it in carefully, it will explode out of the bowl a lot! Finally, add the flour and whisk it in to make a smooth batter.
  3. Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes so that a crust has formed and the middle is goey but baked through. Leave to cool in the tin.
  4. Now make the cheesecake layer. Put the vanilla and cream cheese into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add the icing sugar and double cream and then whisk again until the mixture is lump-free and beginning to thicken.
  5. Once the brownie is completely cooled pour the cheesecake mix on top and smooth it over with a spatula.
  6. Spoon the strawberry jam into a small bowl and beat it with a small spoon to break it up and make it slightly runny. Spoon blobs of the jam onto the cheesecake and then mix it around with a knife a little to get a swirl effect.
  7. Put the whole cheesecake into the freezer for 1 hour, and then leave in the fridge for another 3 hours, or better still over night to set.
  8. When ready start prepping the topping. Pour the double cream into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle. Pipe rosettes of the cream around the edge of the cheesecake.
  9. Quarter the strawberries and then push them into the gaps between the cream rosettes. Finish with some of the sprinkles and serve chilled!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Chocolate Ginger Chequerboard Cake

Chocolate Ginger Chequerboard Cake

Here comes the return of the chequerboard cake. I know I made one of these a while ago, but trust me, this one’s even better! The other day it was my godmother’s birthday so I made her this for the occasion – a four layer, chocolate and ginger chequerboard cake. Making really big, elegant cakes is one of my favourite things, but as they’re often for special occasions you want them to look perfect, and over the years I’ve found that these are really one of those things that you just need to practise in order to make really well. As a result I’ve constantly straddled the line between having slightly messy cakes and having way too much cake in my life. Therefore when the occasion comes round to make cakes for other people I leap at the opportunity, as it’s great practise and also a great way of showing someone how much they mean to you!

Most of the photos I have of the chequerboard inside this one are pretty dark and weirdly lit from this light-filled bottle next to it, but it still shows a little of what it’d look like when it’s cut into. A great thing about these kinda cakes is that they look really impressive as they are, and then when they’re cut into they have this surprise pattern inside, so you’ll get a lot of ooos and ahhhhhs! This one is also the first cake I’ve ever managed to get with really smooth icing. I’ve finally developed a good icing recipe which is the perfect consistency and will set really well. This means that with two layers of icing, a crumb coat and a finish coat, you can get a really professional finish!

The two cakes in this are also so insanely moist that they practically melt in the mouth and are packed full of flavour. Chocolate and ginger are two of my favourite cake flavours, so for me when they’re slotted in together the result is insane! Chequerboard cakes can be made with pretty much any combo of flavours though, as long as they go well together and have contrasting enough colours to make the pattern stand out. If chocolate and ginger isn’t your thing I’d recommend chocolate and vanilla, almond and raspberry, mint and chocolate, or anything else that takes your fancy.

Recipe

Serves 15

Time: 3 hours, plus chilling and baking time

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake

  • 180g Unsalted butter
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 240g Plain flour
  • 280g Caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarb
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 142ml Greek yoghurt
  • 142ml Milk

For the ginger cake

  • 140g Butter
  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarb
  • 5 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 140g Light brown sugar
  • 290g Golden syrup
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Large egg

For the chocolate ginger icing

  • 300g Unsalted butter
  • 600g Icing sugar
  • 150g Dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ½ tsp Ground ginger

For the filling

  • 300ml Double cream
  • 25g Icing sugar
  • ½ tbsp Vanilla bean paste

For the chocolate drip

  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 75ml Double cream

To Decorate

  • Crystallised ginger
  • Anything else you like (biscuits, sparklers, candles, chocolates etc.)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line four 7.5 inch cake tins.
  2. First make the chocolate cake. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  3. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, bicarb and cocoa together.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the egg and yoghurt. Add this mixture and the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, along with 100ml boiling water. Whisk quickly until combined and then pour this into two of the lined tins.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean once inserted. Leave the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks and leaving to cool.
  6. Now make the ginger cake. Put the butter, flour, bicarb and spices into a large bowl. Cut the butter up into the flour with a round-bladed knife. When you can’t cut the chunks of butter any smaller go in with your hands and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Shake the bowl from side to side every so often to get the bigger lumps of butter coming to the top, and rub these in until the whole mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  7. Then put the sugar, syrup and milk into a small pan and heat whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then stop stirring and bring the mixture up to the boil.
  8. Crack the egg into the flour mix. Then pour the syrup into the flour mix, a little at a time, whisking in between additions.
  9. When fully combined pour the mix into the lined tins and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take out of the tin and leave to cool on wire racks.
  10. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream icing. Beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Then add the melted dark chocolate and ground ginger, and mix until fully combined. Spoon the icing into a piping bag, fitted with a round nozzle.
  11. To prepare the filling put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla into a bowl and gently whisk until it just holds it’s shape. Then spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and leave in the fridge until needed.
  12. Now start assembling. Lay your cakes out on a board and compare the heights of them. They should all be the same, but if they’re not use a serrated knife to level them so they’re all the same thickness. This will mean that the rings will be the same height as they cakes they’re put into in the next step.
  13. Take a 5 and 2.5 inch smooth, round cookie cutter. Then in all four cakes cut out a circle from the centre with the 5 inch cutter, and then take the 2.5 inch cutter and cut a circle out of the 5 inch piece.
  14. Take the middle ring out of each cake and swap it into a cake of the other type (so the chocolate rings will go into the ginger cakes and visa versa).
  15. Take your icing and put a little on the cake board or plate you’re going to be presenting on, this will stop the cake from sliding around. Then put one of the cakes that has two rings of chocolate and one of ginger and put it in the centre of the cake. Pipe 1/3 of the cream in the pipping bag over the top and smooth it over with a palette knife.
  16. Then put one of the cakes which has two ginger rings and one chocolate on top and repeat with the cream and the other layers of cake, but with the final layer of cake don’t top with cream.
  17. Now make the crumb coat of icing. This is the first layer which aims to trap the crumbs and stop them from getting into your final icing finish. Take your chocolate icing and spoon 1/2 of it over the top of the cake. Then use a palette knife to gently work the icing around the sides of the cake. Smooth the icing as best you can so that it’s even, but don’t worry about it looking too finished at this stage. Then put it in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
  18. When set, take the cake out again and repeat with the icing, this time making sure that the finish is super smooth and glossy. (A palette knife and turn table is really helpful for this!) Keep any excess icing for later and leave the cake in the fridge until needed.
  19. Now make the chocolate drip icing. Chop the chocolate finely and put it into a bowl. Then put the cream into a pan and heat gently. When the cream just starts to boil take it off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir to combine and to help melt the chocolate. Then leave it for a couple of minutes so that it thickens up enough to be pourable but not runny.
  20. Pour the drip icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Then gently pipe around the top edge of the cake, letting uneven drips roll down the cake.
  21. Take the excess icing from earlier and put it into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle. Pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake so that the join of the chocolate drips to the icing is hidden.
  22. Top with the crystallised ginger and any other decorations you want (e.g ginger biscuits, candles or sparklers). Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Mini Hazelnut, Cherry, and Chocolate Pavlovas

Mini Hazelnut, Cherry, and Chocolate Pavlovas

My main issue with cooking, besides the endless washing up, is that I constantly have leftovers in pots around the kitchen. Consequentially, what I cook next is often influenced by what’s leftover, which doesn’t make for very interesting blog posts. In particular I always seem to end up with spare egg whites floating around which I feel compelled to do something with on the same day they’re separated, before they go off or become too runny. When I was making the ice cream for my hazelnut cake post (I made these a long time ago, I haven’t kept the egg whites in m’ fridge for all this time!) I had some egg whites leftover so I decided to whip them up into some hazelnut meringue nests to work with.

Luckily meringues last for a good while in a solid air-tight tin, so once I’d made them I could tuck them away until I’d worked out what to do with them. So when I realised we had some whipped cream and poached cherries in the fridge I had my answer – mini hazelnut, cherry and chocolate pavalovas. These are perfect little desserts which can be prepped well in advance, and then put together at the last minute. You can also switch in any kind of soft fruit you like to fit the seasonal fruits available.

(Meringues are kinda my default go-to for leftover egg whites, but I’ve got a list of other ways to use them up at the end of my chocolate fondants post if you’re interested!)

Recipe

Serves 6

Time: 1 hour, plus baking

Ingredients

For the Daquoise

  • 100g Chopped hazelnuts
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 9g Cornflour
  • 2 Large egg whites
  • Pinch salt

For the Cherries

  • 200g Frozen cherries
  • 4 tbsp Kirsch
  • 1 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon

For the Filling

  • 300ml Whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste

To Decorate

  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • A few sprigs of mint

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Begin by making the daquoise. Put the hazelnuts into a small roasting tin and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until just starting to colour. (This is an important step as it’ll massively increase the flavour of the nuts).
  3. Leave to cool and then mix with 75g of the sugar and the cornflour. Set to one side for later.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 150˚C for the meringues. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Take a round object with a diameter of roughly 5cm and draw round it onto the sheets of baking paper to act as a guide for piping later. You should get about 3 onto each sheet. Turn these sheets over so that the pencil line is on the other side of the paper to that which you’ll pipe on.
  5. Take a super clean metal or glass bowl and put the egg whites into it.
  6. Add the salt and then whisk with an electric hand whisk (or a stand-free mixer) until it forms soft peaks (can just hold it’s shape).
  7. Continue whisking and add the other 125g caster sugar, one 1 tbsp at a time until it’s all incorporated.
  8. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes glossy and forms a stiff peak.
  9. Then take a large, stiff spatula and gently fold the hazelnuts into the meringue. From here you’ll need to work quickly as the oils in the nuts will start to deflate the meringue.
  10. Take a piping bag with a round nozzle and fill it with the meringue. Then pipe onto the lined baking trays. Start at the middle of one of your circles and when you get to the edge pipe upwards in a circle round the edge to build the meringues into little nests. Do the same for each circle.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until crisp to the touch but not starting to brown. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool in the ovens.
  12. Now prep the filling. Put the cherries into a pan and heat gently until they simmer in their juice and are soft. Then add the kirsch, sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine and then leave to simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the cherries from the heat and leave to cool in the juices.
  13. Then take 3/4 of the chocolate and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Take a pastry/paintbrush and paint the inside of the meringues with it. This will add some flavour and will also stop the cream from making the meringue soggy. Leave to set.
  14. Meanwhile make the cream filling. Put the whipping cream and vanilla into a bowl and whisk until it just holds its shape.
  15. When the chocolate is set spoon the cream into the meringues. Take the cherries and scoop them out of the juice – save this juice for later! Dry the cherries slightly on some kitchen roll and then distribute them between the meringues, about 3 on each.
  16. Take a vegetable peeler and run it along the edge of the rest of the chocolate over the meringues to get little sprinkles on them. Garnish with fresh mint and serve with the rest of the cherry juice!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Chocolate, Orange, and Chilli Bread

Chocolate, Orange, and Chilli Bread

 I haven’t made bread in waaay too long so I thought that it was time I entered back into that world again – and since it’s chocolate month, it’s chocolate bread! Though rather than a ‘chocolate, orange and chilli bread’,  as I’ve called it, it’s probably better to think of this as an orange bread with chocolate chips and a gentle wave of chilli heat after it’s eaten. I love a bit of heat in the background of any bake, but I’m not a fan of blow-your-head-off heat, so the amount of paprika in this is just enough to prickle the tongue. But of course if you like your food really hot you can increase the quantity of paprika going in, put in 3 tsp for a moderate warmth, and 4 1/2 tsp for a strong heat!

By using really rich, dark chocolate it also means that the loaf, whilst sweet and enriched, feels as though it borders the line between sweet and savoury. This makes the whole thing really moreish, and with a bit of butter it goes down really well with a good cup of coffee.

Recipe

Makes 1

Time: 45 minutes, plus proving and baking time

Ingredients

  • 350ml Milk
  • 80g Sugar
  • 16g Yeast
  • 12g Salt
  • 700g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 ½ tsp Paprika
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 100g Butter
  • 3 Oranges, zest only
  • 200g Dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Put the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Meanwhile put the sugar, yeast, salt, flour, and paprika into a large bowl and mix together.
  3. Add one of the eggs, butter, zest and ¾ of milk to the dry ingredients. Mix everything together and then slowly add the rest of the milk until you get a sticky dough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add the chopped chocolate knead for another few minutes to incorporate it.
  5. Lightly oil a bowl and tip the dough into it. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds to get rid of the air bubbles. Then tuck the dough under itself to make a loaf-shape with a tight surface. Place onto a lined baking tray, cover loosely with clingfilm and leave to rise for another hour.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Take a sharp knife and score the top of the loaf with three confident slices. This will help shape the bread as it rises.
  8. Take the other egg, crack it into a bowl and beat it with a fork. Then take this beaten egg and brush the top of the loaf with it to glaze. Then put the bread into the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom. Serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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