Tag Archives: Chocolate

That perfect brownie

18 Feb Perfect chocolate brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce

After a few failed attempts, I’ve finally, finally found that perfect brownie recipe.  It isn’t just me that keeps making massive mistakes (I hope not anyway) but rather I just needed to find a recipe that suited my taste.  And I’ve found it.

Perfect chocolate brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauceI’ve been posting regularly on my Food Wonders blog, and the successful brownie recipe has been proudly uploaded.  It’s so easy, only 5 ingredients: dark chocolate, unsalted butter, sugar, plain flour and eggs.

A good friend of mine pointed me in the right direction.  There is an amazing bakery here in London called the Hummingbird bakery.  They focus on American style baking and their red velvet cupcakes are to die for.  I actually never had their chocolate brownies before until now.

My husband’s absolutely favourite dessert is a warm fudgy chocolate brownie with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.  He doesn’t really care much for cakes and in general baked goods, as I’ve mentioned before.  However, if a chocolate brownie is on the menu then he simply cannot resist!

As it was Valentine’s day last week, I decided that I must make this dessert and try, yet another brownie recipe.  I think I was just as excited about these brownies tasting so amazing as my husband.  Finally, no more searching is required!

Please check out this recipe on my Food wonders blog and sign up for the monthly newsletter!  Cheers.

 

Searching for that perfect brownie

12 Apr

I’m into month 4 of my baking attempts and I have only attempted recipes which I thought were straight forward and I would be able to achieve.  I also thought that after a few months of experience, I would have learnt a thing or two and my baking skills would have improved.  Mmmm.

Brownies were on my list as an “easy recipe”.  I have just completed my second attempt which tasted amazing, but looked horrendous.  I haven’t taken a photo of them as they don’t look great at all.

But back to my first batch of brownies  that I tried on the weekend.  I used Nigella’s recipe.  Unfortunately, I forgot everything I learnt so far this year and with my cocky attempt, substituted ingredients and didn’t follow the measurements correctly.  Surely I’ve made this mistake often enough!  Apparently not.  They turned out to be very thin and quite dry.

So, I tried Anne Thornton’s recipe today, as I saw her bake them on the TV.  Unfortunately the first step, creating fudge, isn’t as easy as it looks on TV.  After 20 minutes of stirring, I didn’t get a ball of dough and just carried on.  Looking at other online comments, this isn’t an unusual problem.  These do taste absolutely amazing and really are quite fudgy.  Only issue is that they dried quite hard on top and the bottom stuck to the greaseproof paper, so they fell apart or broke in two.

So I will continue my search for the perfect brownie recipe, or rather, I have already found the perfect brownie recipe and just need to have another go at it.  And I thought making brownies would be very easy….

Easy Chocolate Cake

16 Feb

After the failed attempt at baking pastry, I decided to go back to basics for my next recipe.

 As I have mentioned previously, my bookcase is bulging with cookbooks and much to my partner’s disgust, I chose a recipe from the BBC food website instead.  Problem is that most cookbooks don’t have a basic chocolate cake recipe.  They all have fancy frosting or 4 layers or some other difficult technique and I wanted something very basic to start with.  So this simple chocolate cake is what I went for.

 And simple it was.  Just everything in a bowl, mix and bake.  This is the kind of baking I can do!  For the actual cake, I was really proud, as I didn’t change one single ingredient and I measured everything – which is a first for me!  Probably why it worked…..

It was really moist as well.  A fantastic cake recipe.

 225 gr plain flour
350 gr caster sugar
85 gr cocoa powder
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
2 eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 ml boiling water
 
For the chocolate ganache (icing / frosting)
200 gr chocolate (I used a mixture of dark & milk)
200 ml double cream

Turn oven on to 180 C / 350 F.  Grease & line two 20cm / 8 inch sandwich tins.  I just used butter and greaseproof paper.

Mix all cake ingredients, except the boiling water.  Whisk together and then slowly add in the boiling water.  The mixture will be very liquid.

Divide the mixture into the two tins and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.  Allow to cool.

For the ganache melt both the cream and chocolate together in a pot over a very low heat until the chocolate is melted.  Ensure it is mixed well and glossy.  Allow this to cool for a couple of hours until it’s become a spreadable consistency.  Once it had cooled somewhat, I actually put it into the refrigerator for a while.

Spread a good amount of the ganache over the top of both the cakes.  Place one on top of the other on a serving plate and cover the rest of the ganache over the entire cake using a palette knife.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Truffles: easy to make, hard to make pretty

23 Jan

I have successfully completed my first course, being truffles at “Cakes 4 Fun” in London, and it was great to learn from someone in the know.

The most notable thing as I walked into the classroom was the room’s temperature.  Being in the middle of winter in England and having the air-conditioner on is not ideal.  But apparently cold temperatures (and cold hands, which I don’t have) are ideal when dealing with chocolate.

I heard that making truffles is incredibly easy and after this class, I would have to agree.  However, trying to make them look pretty or attractive is much more of a challenge.  I think, however if you just made the insides, the ganache, and then rolled these in cocoa – the “attractiveness” probably wouldn’t be such an issue – but it’s the dipping into the chocolate and then trying to shake the truffle off the dipping tool (not easy) to avoid truffle “feet”.  Most of my truffles had feet, especially the final few when the chocolate started going hard.

I was quite chuffed to learn that the teacher, who has been making truffles for years, tempers / melts her chocolate in the microwave and I tried this for the first time, when making my (again, funny looking) chocolate squares a week ago.  So this must be the way to go.

Cream Ganache (lasts for 3 months)

90 g double cream
15 mls glucose syrup
180 g dark chocolate
(OR 200 g milk chocolate,
OR 220 g white chocolate)
 

Put the cream and the glucose (if you’re using the ganache straight away and don’t need it to keep for such a long time, omit the glucose) in a bowl and heat together until the cream begins to boil.  Once the cream begins to boil, pour it over the chocolate and mix until the cream and the chocolate emulsify, creating a thick liquid.  And that’s it!  Very, very easy.

Chocolate Truffles

chocolate ganache, cooled
flavours (alcohol, such as champagne or rum, cherries, orange flavouring, jam, etc)
chocolate, melted (microwave for 30 sec, stir, 30 sec, stir, etc)
chocolate sprinkles / flakes
 

With your chosen flavouring, mix a small amount into the ganache, so you can taste the flavouring but make sure it hasn’t changed the consistency much at all.  Transfer the ganache into a piping bag and pipe small balls onto greaseproof paper – and put into the fridge to cool for  about 10 minutes.

Using your (cool) hands, roll the ganache quickly into balls.  This can be put back into the fridge to cool again.

Then you can roll these into cocoa powder, dip into chocolate and decorate with sprinkles / flakes.  You can really be quite creative at this stage.  Enjoy!