Tag Archives: Chocolate

Perfect Summer Garden Baking

You know what? I’m having an awesome summer. Don’t buy into this ‘but it won’t stop raining‘ chat. All this wet weather is perfect for a bumper crop of courgettes and you simply can’t miss them. It’s like walking onto the set of Day of the Triffids every time we’re in the supermarket. We’re simply swimming in them!

But, if I’m really honest, there are only so many savory things you can do with a courgette before the boredom sets in. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but we very much like a sugary treat. Then again, it’s summer, so we need to look our best right? Luckily, I discovered some amazing recipes at Smitten Kitchen, who helped inspire this treat. So here’s an attempt at taking what’s in abundance, that’s courgettes, and making them into a sweet and healthy(ish) treat.

 

The great thing about a courgette is that you can treat it a bit like carrots in a carrot cake. It’s makes the cake mixture soft, sweet and allows you to use less sugar. Stick with me here, they may sound odd but they’re flipping amazing. However, as I mentioned earlier we’re sweet food people, so I’ve added chocolate chips. Feel free to add walnuts instead. I won’t judge you for leaning to a healthier approach, in fact I applaud you.

What you’ll need (makes around 6 – 8 muffins)
260g of grated courgette
3 eggs
350g cups of brown granulated sugar
260g plain flour
135g wholemeal flour
150g olive oil
150g  plain yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
150g chocolate chips (keep some chips spare for decoration)

  

Beat the eggs for a couple of minutes by hand before individually adding the oil, yoghurt, sugar and vanilla essence until combined. Then stir in your grated courgette. In a separate bowl, combine all your dry ingredients together and add to your wet mixture. Then combine everything until it’s well mixed. You don’t want to overwork it too much, just enough to get it all combined. Turn your oven up to gas mark 4 or 180°C.

 

Line a baking tin with muffin cases, or use squares of baking paper like I used here. Add your muffin mixture and finish off with a chocolate button on the top of each one. It will melt into the middle and give you an amazing gooey treat when you bite into it. If you like a crunch to your muffin, then sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool, make a cup of tea and enjoy your healthy(ish) courgette muffins.

Valentine Tart

Ah Valentine’s day, all filled with rose tinted smooch. I have this thing about it…no wait, that’s not technically true, I have a lot of things – like the one about not liking heart shaped balloons or being pressured into buying a single red rose at dinner. But for today, let’s put that aside and just pretend this is my favourite day of the year, next to Christmas of course.

I have to apologise in advance, but the truth is I find  packing as much romance into just one day a year slightly daunting. I have a mate called Dave, he’s brilliant at this stuff. Dave proposed to his wife jumping out of plane with her name written in the daisy fields below. I tripped over a pebble on the beach and fluffed my lines. So I needed a fail safe Valentine pudding. Something that ticks all boxes and makes me look like a Valentine hero. I settle on a rich and velvety chocolate tart.

The traditional recipe calls for a shortcrust tart shell. If that’s your thing, then by all means go for it. Instead, I’ve made this with a buttery gingersnap biscuit base. Ginger it turns out is an aphrodisiac, which sounds perfect right?

What you need

Base
225g ginger snap biscuits
60g melted butter, unsalted

Filling
140g butter, unsalted
150g best quality cooking chocolate. 70% cocoa solids
8 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
small pinch of salt
4 eggs
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
3 heaped tablespoons créme fraíche

Making the base
Preheat the oven up to 180 degrees.  In a food processor finely grind all your biscuits, then gradually add your melted butter and blitz until combined. Press your crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of your tart pan. Press firmly and place in the oven. It really should only take 12 minutes, but depends on your oven, so only keep it in there until it’s slightly coloured. Remove and leave to cool while you get on with your filling.

Making the tart
Place the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt slowly, stirring occasionally until well mixed in. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together until light and well creamed, then add the golden syrup and créme fraíche. Stir in your chocolate mixture and combine it all together with a spatula. Finally pour it into you’re gingersnap base and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. You’ll need the oven to be 150 degrees and it will form a beautiful crust on top.

Eating the tart
Carefully remove the chocolate tart from the oven and allow to cool for at least 45 minutes. Don’t freak out when the skin cracks and it starts to shrink a little bit. This is meant to happen. Then cut a generous slice and serve with a dollop of créme fraíche and impress the missus. I think I’m onto a winner here.

Yummy Chocolate Oreo Cup Cakes

Whilst Chris is definitely the Chef in this partnership, I want my forte to be Baking. So I have challenged myself to bake at least 1 new recipe a month. This is my first; Yummy Chocolate Oreo Cup Cakes. I was inspired by a recipe on goodtoknow, and put my own spin on it. I have to admit they tasted quite good!

Ingredients (makes 12)
For the chocolate cupcakes:

  • 100g plain flower
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼tsp of vanilla extract

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 600g icing sugar sifted
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 100ml whole milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) gas 3.
  2. Put flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing mixer with paddle attachment. Mix together until you have a sandy consistency. I don’t own a mixer, but managed to mix the ingredients with my hands, it produced the same results.
  3. Whisk milk, egg and vanilla in a jug. Slowly pour half into the mixture, beat to combine and then turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps. Again, if like me you don’t own a mixer you can use a wooden mixing spoon. You just need to be ready for a sore arm…
  4. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and pour in the remaining mixture. Continue to mix for a couple of mins. Do not over mix.
  5. Spoon mixture into the 12 cases and cook for 20 mins.
  6. For the chocolate buttercream: Beat icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a free-standing mixer on a medium speed. Turn down to a low speed and add milk gradually, once mixed turn up to a high speed again and beat for approx 5 mins and mixture is light and fluffy. This was a bit harder to achieve by hand, but through sheer determination I ended up with some gorgeous, and am proud to say, fluffy  buttercream icing.
  7. Use a piping bag and metal nozzle to pipe onto top of cooled cupcakes.
  8. Decorate with double chocolate Oreo’s or with whatever you fancy.