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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Spiderpig's Munchies - January 21st 2014, 01:50 PM

Over a period of time I hope to post some really good munchings. These are easy to make. Motivation comes when one has a cookie craving, but buying is put off when rain is belting down outside. This is when I'll raid Mum's kitchen to bake my own. And then eat.

All these recipe are easy-peasy to make and taste absolutely scrummy. Feel free to post your own, or comment.

Handy Cooking Conversion Site

Note: All images are not Hotlinked, but saved to my sister's image holder.

Roasted Cocoa Cookies's
recipe and photographic images are by Dan Lepard of The Guardian.co.uk national newspaper.

"Roasting your cocoa brings out the dark side of your chocolate cookies" Dan Lepard says. "By roasting flours, grains and starches in the oven you can create a much more complex flavour in your baking without having to overload the ingredients you use. Wholegrain flour and rolled oats, if roasted on a tray in the oven until they turn a few shades darker, take on a slight nutty flavour and deepen the colour of the crumb. The same holds true for cocoa." Well yum yum - this morning I made these cookies and my only regret was not doubling the ingredients to make more.

Roasted cocoa cookies recipe makes 20 cookies

25g cocoa
60g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate
225g dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg
125g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Line a baking tray with nonstick paper and heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4. Spread the cocoa on the tray in a layer roughly ½ cm thick then bake.

In the first 5 minutes the cocoa will oxidise and darken slightly, but you actually want to go much darker than that. I bake mine for about 25 minutes in a fan oven until it turns a very dark brown without burning. But if it starts to colour very quickly then you can take it out after 5 minutes if you like.

Different cocoa brands will bake faster or slower, so check every five minutes till you get the roast colour that suits you. Then remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate and pour into a mixing bowl (Dan just uses the microwave).

3. Stir in the sugar then the vanilla, egg, cocoa, flour and soda. Leave for at least an hour to cool and firm slightly (or store in the refrigerator for up to a week) before using.

4. Take spoonfuls of the dough, about 30g, roll them into balls and place on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper. Press the balls slightly flat then bake at 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 for about 15 minutes until they've spread and taken on a rich blackish brown colour. Remove from the oven and leave to set slightly before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

Konditor & Cook's Chocolate Fridge Cake

HINT: To make this recipe more appealing to children, why not replace 100g of dark chocolate with milk chocolate?

Makes: 10 large, very rich slices
Preparation time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 4 hours

Extra hint - treble the quantity!!!

125g (4 and a half oz) unsalted butter
75g (3oz) golden syrup
200g (7oz) 72% Cooks' Chocolate, broken into pieces. Note here: Best use Lindt or Green&Black's because it's far better
1 egg
50g (2oz) digestive biscuits
50g (2oz) whole walnuts
50g (2oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) glacé cherries, reserving a few for decoration

Line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and set aside.

Melt the butter and syrup together in a small saucepan over a gentle heat until they begin to boil.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water, then mix thoroughly with the butter and golden syrup.

Pasteurise the egg by beating it slowly and continuously into the hot chocolate mixture.

Break up the biscuits into large chunks; remember, they will be broken further when mixed, so don't make them too small.

Add the walnuts, sultanas and most of the cherries.

Pour the chocolate mixture on to the dry ingredients and mix together with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Press the mixture into the tin and decorate with reserved glacé cherries.

Leave to set in the fridge for about 4 hours. Remove from the fridge, peel off the paper and cut into slices or cubes.
Serve chilled.

Reference: Expected Things

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - January 21st 2014, 07:07 PM

Great recipes, I will try these. Thanks for posting

I'm here if anyone wants to talk, I'm always here. Feel free to VM or PM me
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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - January 22nd 2014, 06:43 PM

I bookmarked the recipe, that looks amazing.

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - January 22nd 2014, 10:19 PM

Well, I made a 2nd batch of those Roasted Cocoa Cookies, but added crystallized ginger. Dark chocolate always partners crystallized ginger, so why not cocoa ones? The ginger really improved the flavour.

Really, it's all about what is available in your kitchen cupboard. And improvising. During a baking day last autumn I ran out of unsalted butter when mum decided to use it to make cream with. So instead, I used salted which tasted just as good. For cocoa I used Van Houten's which has a lovely burnt sienna brown colour to it only the cocoa powder doesn't have any bitterness to it like cheaper brands do, though any high quality unsweetened cocoa works just fine.

- - - - -

Continued.... another easy and delish cookie recipe called:

Coffee, hazelnut and chocolate cookies

Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for The Guardian.co.uk

Great with coffee at the end of a meal – or anytime, really. They keep very well in an airtight tin for a week or so. Makes about 34 cookies.

80g hazelnuts
300g plain flour, plus a little more for dusting
200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp ground coffee
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg whites, separated
180g caster sugar, or vanilla sugar
2 tbsp demerara sugar

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the hazelnuts on a tray and bake until just turning golden, about eight minutes – if the nuts are unblanched, give them a bit longer until the skins are slightly blackened. Remove, and leave the oven on. Wrap the nuts in a clean tea towel, leave for a minute or two, then rub vigorously to remove the skins.

In a food processor, blitz the flour, half the chocolate, coffee, cocoa, bicarb and salt until very fine and well combined. Tip into a bowl and add the remaining chocolate and nuts.

In another bowl, whisk the whole eggs, one egg white and the caster sugar until very light and creamy.

Fold the egg and sugar mix into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently for a minute or so, until you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into 20cm/8 inch sausages.

Line two baking trays with parchment and place the sausages on the trays – leave space between them because they'll spread when cooking.

Press them gently to flatten them a bit. Lightly beat the remaining egg white and brush over the sausages.

Sprinkle with the demerara sugar, and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a rack until just cool enough to handle.

Cut into 1.5cm-thick slices with a serrated knife, put them back on the trays and bake for eight to 10 minutes more, until dried out. Put them on a wire rack to cool completely.

- - - - -

Another recipe by Dan Lepard for The Guardian.co.uk
Orange Choc Chip Butter Cookies

Very moreish, easy to make and take no time at all.

350g plain flour
½ tsp salt
150g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, slightly softened
Finely grated zest of 5 oranges (or 2 tsp good orange extract)
200g chocolate chips (or a block cut into rough chunks)

Put the flour, salt, icing sugar, butter and zest in a bowl and rub together into a smooth, soft dough. (This will take some time if you do it with your hands and, yes, a food processor will make everything easier, but each to their own.)

Add the chocolate, work it through quickly until evenly mixed in, then divide the dough in two and roll each half into a cylinder. Wrap each one in nonstick paper or cling-film and freeze until you want to bake (they'll keep for up to a month).

To bake, heat the oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted)/335F/gas mark 3.

Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper.

Take the dough out of the freezer, let it soften slightly for five to 10 minutes, just enough so it slices but stays firm, then cut out 0.75-1cm discs. (I find a serrated knife works best for this, used like a saw to cut though the chocolate chips, but work with whatever you prefer.)

If the chips shatter a little, just press them back into the top of the dough discs. Sit the biscuits on the tray 2-3cm apart and bake for 25 minutes, until lightly coloured and crisp. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

- - - - -

Note: If you have an allergy to peanuts, skip thise recipe please!

Here's another cookie recipe, but these are bigger, and don't get much better than:

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Recipe and photo from: http://www.cpbgallery.com/

Handy Cooking Conversion Site: http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking/#subs

One of the greatest things about this recipe is they make up fast and are very easy to make.

Recipe makes 8. 8 Bigguns

Recipe tips:

• You’ll need to whip the eggs into submission. With my dinky hand mixer, I had to beat the egg mixture for nearly 10 minutes instead of 5 as the recipe instructed.
• These cookies are nice and soft if you take them out early enough. Fifteen minutes should be about perfect. They’ll look under-baked but they’ll firm up a lot once cool.
• Make sure that whatever peanut butter you use is one that you really love. Since you’re just adding a small amount of butter, sugar and salt to it, it’s the primary ingredient in the filling.
• (The author) used 3 oz of bittersweet chocolate in the dough because she was a little low on milk chocolate, but they’re great either way!

2 1/2 cups (15 oz) milk chocolate chips
4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium, microwaveable bowl, melt together 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp butter on medium power until almost melted, about 1 1/2 minutes; stir just until smooth.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla at high speed until thickened and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate at medium speed; whisk in the flour mixture. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough until firm enough to scoop, but still soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Onto each prepared pan, drop rounded Tbsps of dough 2 inches apart. Bake, switching and rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cookies appear bubbly and still soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

4. In a medium bowl, beat together the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and the peanut butter. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt; beat until fluffy. On the flat side of each of 8 cookies, spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the peanut butter mixture; sandwich with the remaining cookies.

- - - - -

My version of peanut butter chocolate sandwich biscuits

Slightly salty peanut butter is a great foil for creamy chocolate ganache. Makes about 24 filled biscuits. The ganache is just divine.

For the biscuits
240g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
180g butter
140g smooth peanut butter
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling
100ml double cream (in the US this cream will be known as 'Heavy Cream').
200g dark chocolate
30g butter, softened

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beat until smooth, then stir in the flour until well combined. Pat into a disc, wrap in food-safe clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour or two to firm up, as this is quite a soft dough.

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Line three or four baking sheets with parchment (you may need to bake these in batches). Lightly dust a work surface with flour, divide the dough in two and roll each piece to about 4-5mm thick. Cut into circles with a 5cm plain biscuit cutter. Place on the baking sheets about 2cm apart, and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are slightly darkened. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the ganache.

In a small pan, gently heat the cream until bubbles appear at the edges. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a bowl. Pour the hot cream over, stirring to blend, then add the butter a bit at a time, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Leave to thicken slightly, then pipe or spread the ganache on to half the biscuits, and sandwich together.

- - - - -
To be continued

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - January 28th 2014, 09:34 AM


Jam Thumbprint Biscuits are just too good not to miss!

Recipe and image from The Guardian.co.uk (not Hotlinked). Recipe by Australian Master Baker Dan Lepard.

Some of the easiest, prettiest biscuits of all. Makes about 24 biscuits.

225g unsalted butter at room temperature
225g caster or vanilla sugar
Finely grated zest from 1 medium-sized, unwaxed lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp milk
280g plain flour, sifted with a good pinch of salt
About 6 tbsp jam

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Next beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the milk.

Gently fold in half the flour, stir gently, then add the rest – don't overwork it or the biscuits will be tough.
Gather the soft dough together gently with your hands until you have a smooth ball.
Wrap in clingfilm, chill for 30 minutes, then roll into 2.5cm balls.
Place these on the baking sheets about 2.5cm apart.
Use your thumb to push a deep little well in the centre of each ball – this is quite a sticky dough, so dip your thumb in water first.
Put a quarter of a tablespoon of jam in each indentation.

Bake until firm to touch and golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool completely.


Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

Recipe and image (not Hotlinked) from Smells like home. http://www.smells-like-home.com

Deep and rich in chocolate flavor (the recipe does call for 16oz of semisweet chocolate, after all), they are swoon-worthy cookies. They mimic the original thick and chewys with slightly crispy edges and soft and chewy centers…and are impossible to resist. In terms of the size of these cookies, I found that a heaping 2 tbsp (1 3/4 inch) scoop of dough yielded a much better looking cookie than a leveled off scoop of the same size but really, the size of these cookies makes no difference. As long as you’ve got a glass of ice cold milk to go with these delights, you can’t go wrong.


2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 oz) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water until completely melted and smooth; remove from the heat. (Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, mixing thoroughly in between, until melted and smooth.) In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle the instant espresso powder over the egg mixture and set aside to allow the granules to dissolve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds.
Mix in the sugars until well combined, about 45 seconds – the mixture will look granular.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds.
Add the chocolate to the bowl in a steady stream and continue beating until combined, about 40 seconds.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, being careful not to overbeat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a 1 ¾-inch cookie dough scoop, spacing the dough balls about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just began to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes then transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Cool the baking sheets before baking more batches with the remaining dough.

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 9th 2014, 10:36 AM

Make Chocolate Cake in 5 minutes using just one bowl
This is so easy it's unbelievably delicious!

A great choc cake recipe from Life Hacker

The folks over at Serious Eats devised a delicious microwave cake you can make in a single bowl so you don't dirty too many dishes. Then you just microwave that bowl for five minutes and you have a fudge-filled chocolate cake. The ingredients go something like this:

3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) cocoa, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup warm water

Take a 1 1/2 quart shallow microwave safe dish, mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet ones, mix it all up, and then microwave for five minutes. When the time is up, you've got cake!

Notes: Make sure to use a microwave safe dish. Cooking time may vary between microwaves. Check after about 4 minutes by carefully tapping dish—cake is done with it's just set with the slightest jiggle. Take care as cake will be hot. This cake is best served warm.

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 10th 2014, 02:27 AM

These look so delicious. Must try!
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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 11th 2014, 02:59 PM

That 5 minute cake job is great with creme fraiche, yogurt or cream. Or go pig it with all three. Just be careful when eating - it's HOT!

My next little piggy is called "Brain Food" which mum gave me the recipe of and is very easy to make. A cereal-based bar of such sweet yumminess, you could be grazing on it all day!. It's slow-burn energy, perfect for academic concentration and leaving that nice satisfied feeling of having eaten something great.

Note: If you have an allergy to peanuts, don't make it, don't eat it.

Brain Food.

Original recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for the Guardian.

Makes 16

4 oz / 125g unsalted butter
5 oz / 150g soft brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
4 oz / 125g no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter
2 1/2 oz / 75g honey, plus a little more to finish
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
7 oz / 200g porridge oats (not jumbo)
5 oz / 150g dried fruit, such as raisins, sultanas and chopped apricots, prunes or dates, either singly or in combination.
5 oz / 150g mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, linseed and sesame

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Grease and line a baking tin, about 8 inches / 20cm square.

Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey and grated citrus zests in a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.

Stir the oats, dried fruit and three-quarters of the seeds into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture out evenly in the baking tin, smoothing the top as you go.

Scatter the remaining seeds over the surface and trickle with a little more honey. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden in the centre and golden-brown at the edges.

Leave to cool completely in the tin (be patient – it cuts much better when cold), then turn out and cut into squares with a sharp knife. These bars will keep for 5-7 days in an airtight tin.

- - - - -

A superb chocolate brownie recipe by Nigel Slater.

To convert Metric to Imperial use Cooking Conversion Online

No nuts, no flavourings, just a 24-carat brownie as dense and fudgy as Glastonbury mud. Whatever else you add is up to you. Serves 12, but they're very moreish and sensational with ice cold milk straight from the fridge.

300g golden caster sugar
250g butter
250g chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
3 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
60g flour
60g finest quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

You will need a baking tin, about 23cm x 23cm, preferably non-stick, or a small roasting tin.

Set the oven at 180°C/Gas 4. Line the bottom of the baking tin with baking parchment. Put the sugar and butter into the bowl of a food mixer and beat for several minutes till white and fluffy. You can do it by hand if you wish, but you need to keep going until the mixture is really soft and creamy.

Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces, set 50g of it aside and melt the rest in a bowl suspended over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. As soon as the chocolate has melted remove it from the heat. Chop the remaining 50g into gravel-sized pieces.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix in a pinch of salt. With the food mixer running slowly, introduce the beaten egg a little at a time, speeding up in between additions.

Remove the bowl from the mixer to the work surface, then mix in the melted and the chopped chocolate with a large metal spoon.

Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa, gently and firmly, without knocking any of the air out (a stainless steel spoon is best for this, not a wooden one). Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 30 minutes.

The top will have risen slightly and the cake will appear slightly softer in the middle than around the edges.

Pierce the centre of the cake with a fork - it should come out sticky, but not with raw mixture attached to it. If it does, then return the brownie to the oven for three more minutes. It is worth remembering that it will solidify a little on cooling, so if it appears a bit wet, don't worry.

- - - - -

And for Valentines Day, Chocolate Ganache Tart

Image by Colin Campbell for the Guardian.
Recipe by Nigel Slater

This beautiful chocolate ganache tart is much easier to make than it looks. This recipe is much like a giant chocolate truffle. It takes no time to prepare, and can be put together the day before. Served with plenty of double cream and some seasonal berries, it makes a sinfully good pudding. I suggest buying a few more raspberries to enjoy on the side.

Serves 8 very comfortably

175 g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
565 ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
285 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) preferably Valrhona, roughly grated or chopped into small pieces.

Preheat the oven to 120C / 250F / Gas Mark . Grease a 28cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until they have tripled in volume and look light and fluffy.

Heat the cream and the vanilla pod in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water).

When the cream is hot, scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream. (The pod may be washed and dried later to be put into 1 Kg sugar to easily make vanilla sugar in 2 week's time). Next, add the chocolate stirring with a wooden spoon until melted.

Carefully fold half the chocolate mixture into the eggs to keep the light, fluffy texture. Then fold this mixture back into the remaining chocolate.

Pour into the tin and place on a baking sheet in the oven for 1 hour.

If the tart starts to rise, the oven is too hot. It should remain level throughout cooking. When it is cooked, it will look a little puffed up, soft and slightly wobbly. Like an overweight woman on waking. Lol. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Once set, it will slice beautifully.

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 11th 2014, 11:48 PM

Whoa, that chocolate tart looks absolutely delicious.

You should rename this thread to "Deliciousness".
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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 15th 2014, 11:48 AM

Yes I think "Deliciousness" would make a wonderful new title.

Now see this chocolate dementia.
Note: This recipe contains alcohol, so first check with your parents before making it.

It's Nigel Slater's Chocolate Praline Truffle Cake which receives my Grand Pig Award of 5 pigs for utter deliciousness!

A cake for serious chocolate fans only. I serve this in extremely thin slices. The cake needs something to offset its extraordinary richness. Fresh raspberries work beautifully.

Makes about 8-10 slices.

For the praline
hazelnuts 100g, shelled and skinned
caster sugar 80g

For the truffle

dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids) 350g
double cream 170ml
butter 85g
cognac or rum or Frangelico a little

You will also need

a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper or clingfilm, and a baking sheet, lightly oiled

To make the praline, put the shelled nuts in a shallow pan and toast over a moderate heat until they are fragrant and a deep, golden brown. (If your hazelnuts still have their brown skins on, rub the nuts vigorously in a tea towel until the skins flake off, then toast the nuts once more.)

Put the sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan (it will burn in a thin one), place over a low to moderate heat and allow the sugar to melt and slowly turn toffee coloured. This is not the time to be distracted. An occasional stir or shake is useful, but too much will prevent it from melting and cause the caramel to crystalise. Stir in the toasted nuts, leaving them to cook in the caramel for 1 minute.

Lightly oil a baking tray. You can use groundnut oil, but I prefer hazelnut oil if there is some around. Tip the praline mixture on to the tray and leave to cool. Should any of the caramel have stuck stubbornly to the pan it can be removed with a little boiling water.

To make the truffle mixture, snap the chocolate into pieces and melt in a small bowl resting on top of a pan of simmering water. Stir just once or twice, no more. The base of the bowl should not touch the water. As soon as the chocolate has melted, switch off the heat. Gently stir in 2 tablespoons of hot water and leave be.

Scrape the praline off the tray, put into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. You could use a food processor if you prefer, but take care not to crush too finely. It should be the size of coarse gravel rather than fine grit. Uneven-sized lumps add to the interest.

Whip the cream till it will stand in soft folds rather than stiff peaks.

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon till soft and light then stir into the melted chocolate until the butter is melted. Fold in the cream and crushed praline.

Now is the time to add the cognac, rum or Frangelico. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and smooth flat. Leave overnight in the fridge to set. (If you are impatient, you can probably get away with 3 or 4 hours.)

When the cake has set, slide a warm knife down the sides of the tin and unmould on to a serving dish. Serve in thin slices with fresh raspberries.

Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries 11 is an absolute bargain at £12 reduced from £30. IT's a big thick book with delicious recipes in, printed on high quality art paper. The food photos are marvellous! I'm going to buy it for a self-gift.

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 16th 2014, 11:19 AM

Great recipes, they all look really nice

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Re: Spiderpig's Munchies - February 17th 2014, 10:05 AM

Awwe, thank you! But these recipes are so easy to do because they are set out in the correct order by the author, so it makes for much easier prep. All we need do is set out the ingredients likewise. And basically, that is how I learnt to cook: By watching Mum. What they appreciate most after our munchings is that we clean as we go. Clean kitchen worktops = Happy Mum.

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