Double Chocolate Truffle Slices
This recipe makes 14 delicious double chocolate truffle slices. Make it, bake it, love it!
125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
60g/2 1/2oz caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
175g/6oz plain flour, sifted
40g/1 1/2oz cocoa powder
Whipped cream, to serve
300ml/1/2 pint double cream
300g/11oz plain dark chocolate, chopped
25-40g/1-1 1/2oz unsalted butter, diced
50ml/2 fl oz brandy or liqueur
Icing sugar or cocoa powder for dusting
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5, 10 minutes before baking. To make the pastry, put the butter, sugar, and vanilla essence into a food processor and blend until creamy. Add the flour and cocoa powder and process until a soft dough forms. remove the dough, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
2) Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 38 x 15 cm/15 x 6 inches and use to line a rectangular loose-based flat tin, trim then chill in the fridge again for 1 hour.
3) Place a sheet of nonstick baking parchment and baking beans in the pastry case, then bake blind in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking parchment and beans and bake for 10 minutes more. Leave to cool completely.
4) Bring the cream to the boil. remove from the heat and the chocolate all at once, stirring until melted and smooth. Beat the butter, then stir in the brandy liqueur. Leave to cool slightly, then pour into the cooked pastry shell. Refrigerate until set.
5) Cut out 2.5 cm/1 inch strips of nonstick baking parchment and place over the tart in a crisscross pattern. Dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder.
6) Arrange chocolate leaves, caraque or curls around the edges of the tart. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Leave to soften at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Liqueurs that would also work well with this recipe include Tia Maria, Kahlua, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Creme de Menthe.
Chocolate Pecan Traybake
This simple recipe makes 12 delicious chocolate pecan traybakes. Ideal for snack time, lunchtime, or anytime!
75g/3oz icing sugar, sifted
175g/6oz plain flour
25g/1oz self-raising flour
25g/1oz cocoa powder
50g/2oz light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
125g/4oz pecan halves
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 10 minutes before baking. Lightly oil and line a 28 x 18 x 2.5 cm/11 x 7 x 1 inch cake tin with nonstick baking parchment. Bet the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift in the flours and cocoa powder and mix together to form a soft dough.
2) Press the mixture evenly over the base of the prepared tin. Prick all over with a fork, then bake on the shelf above the centre of the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
3) Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup, milk, and vanilla essence in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the eggs and pour over the base. Sprinkle with the nuts.
4) Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until dark golden brown, but still slightly soft. Leave to cool in the tin. When cool, carefully remove from the tin, then cut into 12 squares and serve. Store in an airtight container.
For consistent results always use solid block butter for baking, rather than spreadable types. Avoid low fat spreads, as these contain a large proportion of water, which gives disappointing results.
If you don’t like raisins, you can substitute walnuts or other nuts.
Chunky Chocolate Muffins
This easy to make recipe will make 7 delicious Chunky Chocolate Muffins or 12 smaller chocolate muffins. Enjoy them hot or cold!
50g/2oz plain dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50g/2oz light muscovado sugar
25g/1oz butter, melted
125ml/4fl oz milk, heated to room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
150g/5oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g/3oz white chocolate, chopped
2 tsp icing sugar (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 5 15 minutes before baking. Line a muffin or deep bun tin tray with 7 paper muffin cases, or oil the individual compartments well. Place the plain chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of very hot water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove the bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes.
2) Stir the sugar and butter into the melted chocolate, then the milk, vanilla essence and egg. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the chopped white chocolate, then using a metal spoon, fold together quickly, taking care not to overmix.
3) Divide the mixture between the paper cases, piling it up in the centre. Bake on the centre shelf of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch.
4) Lightly dust the tops of the muffins with icing sugar as soon as they come out of the oven, if desired. Leave the muffins in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
If you do not have a large muffin or deep bun tin, you can use an ordinary bun tin with cake cases, in which case the quantities given will make 10-12 smaller muffins.
Frozen Mississippi Mud Pie
This recipe will make a frozen Mississippi mud pie that serves 8, or of course 1 if you’re not into sharing!
Ginger Crumb Crust
24-26 gingernut biscuits, roughly crushed
100g/3 1/2oz butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground ginger
600ml/1 pint chocolate ice cream
600ml/1 pint coffee-flavoured ice cream
175g/6oz plain dark chocolate, chopped
50ml/2fl oz single cream
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g/2oz coarsely grated white and milk chocolate
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. To make the ginger crumb crust, place the roughly crushed biscuits with the melted butter, sugar and ginger in a food processor and blend together. Press into the sides and base of a 23cm/9inch loose based flan tin with the back of a spoon. Chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, then bake in the preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When fully cooled, freeze the base for 30 minutes.
2) Soften the ice creams at room temperature for about 25 minutes. Spoon the chocolate ice cream into the crumb crust, spreading it evenly over the base, then spoon the coffee ice cream, mounding it slightly in the centre. Return to the freezer to harden the ice cream.
3) For the topping, heat the dark chocolate with the cream, golden syrup and vanilla essence in a saucepan. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until cold but not set.
4) Spread the cooled chocolate mixture over the top of the frozen pie. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate and return to the freezer for 1 1/2 hours or until firm. Serve at room temperature.
Look out for ice cream that has added ingredients, such as chocolate chips, pieces of toffee, or rippled chocolate. If preferred you can add some berries or soft fruits, chopped nuts or small pieces of chopped white chocolate to both the chocolate and coffee ice cream.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe will make about 30 chocolate chip cookies, ideal to share with family, friends, and co-workers, or of course to keep just to yourself!
(Makes about 30)
140g/4 1/2oz butter
50g/2oz caster sugar
60g/2 1/2oz soft dark brown sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
125g/4oz plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g/5oz plain or milk chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 10 minutes before baking. Lightly butter 3-4 large baking sheets with 15g/1/2oz of the butter. Place the remaining butter and both sugars in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla essence and blend briefly or if you don’t have a food processor, cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl first, then beat in the egg and finally the vanilla essence.
2) If using a food processor, scrape out the mixture with a spatula and place the mixture into a large bowl. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together, then fold into the creamed mixture. When the mixture is blended thoroughly, stir in the chocolate chips.
3) Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart and bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
4) Leave to cool for a few seconds, then using a spatula, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. The cookies are best eaten when just cooked, but they can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
For light-textured, crumbly biscuits, do not over work the biscuit dough. Handle as little as possible and fold the ingredients together gently in a figure of 8 using a metal spoon or rubber spatula.
For an extra special treat, add an equal quantity of nuts to your chocolate chips!