Tag Archive for Chocolate

Chocolate Bread

Chocolate bread. All the chocolate flavour, without the sometimes cloying richness and heaviness of cake. It came out a bit crumbly, plain it was slightly too dry, but with a dab of butter it was delicious. I think a smear of cream cheese would be nice as well, or some jam (cherry would be especially nice). Or you could use some of it for french toast, or bread pudding. I left out the chocolate chips and nuts, but will make this recipe again with them in.

ChocolateBread2

Chocolate Bread
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

180 ml milk, tepid
1 packet dry yeast (7 g)
75 g sugar
55 g butter
85 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (boosts the chocolate flavour)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
280 g flour (preferably bread flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
90 g chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)
70 g toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add one tablespoon sugar, then set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the instant coffee (if using), the egg, vanilla, and sea salt.
Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted butter and chocolate, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until well-incorporated. Mix vigorously with a flexible spatula for 5 minutes, or use a mixer for this. The dough will seem quite moist and sticky.
Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Butter a 23 cm loaf pan.
Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts, if using. Then use a spatula to fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for about thirty seconds, then transfer it to the buttered pan, pressing a bit to spread it to the corners. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Ten minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it feels done and sounds hollow when you tap it. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Cream Truffles

I always wondered what was inside those truffles. Not the ganache ones, I already had a recipe for those. But the ones with the creamy, white filling. And now I know!
They are wonderfully creamy, luxurious and smooth. And not difficult to make, only the dipping-in-chocolate step is a bit tricky. I successfully tempered the chocolate, I’m very proud of that because it was the first time trying, but when I dipped the truffles, they melted a bit while the chocolate already got hard, which made them a bit rough-looking. So after a while I gave up and dusted the rest with some cocoa, a perfectly fine solution. Both versions were very delicious.
They are nicest when you eat them immediately, but you can store them in the fridge for one day. I haven’t tried, but expect they can be frozen quite well.

Chocolate Cream Truffles

Chocolate Cream Truffles (depending on size – about 32)

200 ml cream
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g butter, room temperature
about 300 g chocolate
cocoa powder

Mix cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a small pan and place on low heat, to dissolve the sugar. Do not let the mixture boil! Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Use an electrical mixer to cream the butter. Slowly pour the cream-mixture onto the butter, while mixing. If it looks curdled, just keep mixing, it will come together.
Scoop into a piping bag. Pipe small mounts on trays lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden.
Melt the chocolate (temper if you want). Drop the truffles in and fish out with a spatula/fork, or stick a cocktail stick in the truffles and swirl them through the chocolate. Place back on the tray, dust with cocoa and leave to harden.

Chocolate Mousse

Everyone loves a good chocolate mousse. Well, there are some people that don’t like chocolate, but it’s a minority. This version is really indulgent, the small portions are perfect to satisfy your need for chocolate but not feel to heavy after eating it. It is a grown-up version, using dark sugar, only a small amount of sugar and a hint of coffee.

Chcoolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse (4 glasses/ramekins)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

100 g chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
30 g butter
2 egg yolks
1 shot dark, strong espresso
2 egg whites
1.5 tbsp sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate.
Beat the egg yolks until nearly white and thick.
Gently stir the beaten yolks into the butter and chocolate, then stir in the coffee.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar while whipping, keep whipping until the sugar has dissolved.
Add 1/3 of the egg white to the chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the next third, fold in. Then add the last third and fold in very carefully. Keep mixing until the white streaks have disappeared, but not longer than that, or you will loose all the air.
Put the mousse in glasses, cups or ramekins and place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Caramel Brownies

I don’t get the whole obsession over salted caramel. I’ve tried it, but I just don’t like it, although I do like the combination of sweet and savoury (currant buns and old cheese, anyone?). But after seeing al those caramel baked goods, I fancied having some not-salty caramel brownies for myself.

A word of advice: I thought my brownies were not cooked yet, so I baked them a bit longer. Not weird at all, usually things take a bit longer in my oven. But, this time I was wrong, they weren’t oozy and gooey, but quite firm. Still delicious, but I would prefer the runny and soft variant. So even when you think they are not cooked and look quite puddly, just take them out.

Caramel Brownie

Caramel Brownies
From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup sugar
60 g butter
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt tiny pinch of salt
3 tbsp cream

85 g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
115 g butter
200 g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
85 g flour

Set a silicone baking form on a heat-proof surface.
Melt your sugar in a saucepan on medium heat, I like to add a drop of water but you can do it without. Cook until it has a copper colour. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Stir in cream and salt and return to the stove over medium heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melt again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.
Pour into the silicone baking form, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to your freezer. Freeze until solidified (20-40 minutes, depending on your freezer).
When your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies. Heat oven to 175C and line an 20×20 cm baking pan with baking paper.
In a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together. Take from the heat and stir until smooth and fully melted. Whisk in sugar. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Fold in the flour.
When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 2 cm squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly and cut into squares. If you put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, it will be much easier to slice neat squares.

Single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie

I’m not really trustworthy around chocolate chip cookies. I am a healthy eater and usually have enough self-control to not over-eat, but chocolate chip cookies are the exception to the rule. I just cannot stop after one cookie. The solution: I don’t buy the cookies, so I cannot eat them. But, some days you just need something soothing and comforting and chocolaty…. Buying cookies then ensures you eat them all. Baking something (kinda) healthy isn’t a solution either, because you want it now, and not after the time it makes to mix up a batter and bake it. The solution: make a single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie. It is fast to make, indulgent, oozing with chocolate, deliciously chewy, and will calm down your cravings.

Single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie (1 cookie)
From Yummy magazine

1,5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
2 tsp milk
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chocolate chips (plain, milk or white)

Mix sugar and brown sugar. Add milk, vanilla and salt, mix again. Add flour, mix until just incorporated. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Form into a cookie on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on medium for 1 minute, then check for doneness. Continue cooking in 10 second intervals until desired consistency is achieved. The exact time you need to cook the cookie for is highly dependant on your microwave, it took mine almost 2 minutes before I had a nice, chewy cookie. The cookie will continue to cook a little further when you take it from the microwave. It will also be very, very hot, so leave to cool for a bit before eating.

German chocolate cake

Cakes (and other desserts) made with chocolate are almost always very heavy and dense, while fruit-based desserts tend to be lighter. But I don’t think that is necessary. This cake is a perfect example for that, it is very light, fluffy, moist, almost as if you are eating clouds, but still has a good chocolate flavour. I served the cake sliced without any accompaniments, which was perfect for the occasion… something special, but not over the top. It doesn’t need any accompaniment to become tasty, it holds itself well on its own. A small plate or napkin is certainly necessary to catch crumbs, bits and pieces, because it is such a delicate cake. Therefore I’m not sure if it would work to fill the cake, or that it would collapse completely. The cake does keep quite well, even after 2 days it is still very moist and delicious.
What this cake has to do with Germany, I don’t know. I’ve been a lot in Germany, but never came across a cake like this. It probably evolved in some way, or is just called German for mysterious reasons (just like Dutch apple pie that isn’t Dutch at all).

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake (1 cake)
Adapted from “Wedding cake art and design: a professional approach – Toba Garrett”

55 g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
60 ml boiling water
115 g butter, softened
225 g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
140 g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
120 ml buttermilk
Oil and flour for the tin

Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and flour the cake tin.
Break up the chocolate in small chunks and place in a bowl. Add the boiling water and let sit until the chocolate is molten, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, mix in. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add the chocolate while mixing.
Mix cake flour, salt and baking soda together (sieve when lumpy). Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix until just incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, mix again until just incorporated. Repeat with 1/3 flour mixture, remaining 1/2 buttermilk and remaining 1/3 flour mixture. Take care not to over-mix.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks. Mix 1/3 of the whipped egg white with the batter, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg white.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Dutch food: Stroopwafelarretjescake

Why would you make something with dry, plain and boring biscuits if you can make it with rich, caramelly, flavoursome stroopwafels? Arretjescake is a traditional Dutch treat, originally made with biscuits, sugar, fat for deep-frying (either beef fat or something plant-based) and cocoa powder, although the exact ingredients are different according to the region, and the same kind of cakes are made in other countries as well. It is not a cake in the traditional sense of the word, and it has to firm in the fridge instead of being baked. It became popular in the Netherlands after the recipe was in a promotional booklet from an oil/fat/margarine factory. The “Nederlandsche Oliefabrieken (NOF) Calvé-Delft” used the booklet, made in comic book style and figuring Arretje Nof as the main character, to promote the use of their products (hence the name of the cake).

I had to search quite a bit for a recipe, because I wanted one that used real chocolate for taste. I also wanted it to contain no eggs, because I was to serve it to a company with some kids present (which can’t safely eat raw eggs, just as pregnant woman, the elderly and immunocompromised people cannot). I also did not want to use beef fat because I was not sure if there would be any vegetarians present, and I dislike the use of margarine-like products so I did not want to use plant-based hard fat for deep-frying as well. But to keep it authentic I wanted to use some kind of hard fat, so I used extra virgin coconut oil. It worked great and gave the whole thing a tiny, mild flavour of coconut. I loved this, and haven’t heard from anyone that didn’t like it, but when you are an intense coconut hater I can imagine that even this tiny bit of coconut flavour is too much. Futhermore I chose a recipe that did not use extra sugar, because using stroopwafels instead of biscuits makes it already sweeter than it would normally be.

It is definitely best to serve this cake in tiny portions because it is so rich, and either directly from the fridge or only about 15 minutes left on room temperature, because it tends to melt quite fast. The fast melting can be a nuisance, but also makes it extra tasty because it makes the cake extra melt-in-the-mouth. Because of the liquid in the chocolate mixture, the stroopwafels get softer and almost melt into the chocolate mixture, and the sweet and creamy chocolate and the caramelly stroopwafels combine perfectly. If you want to make this in advance, you can. Just make sure you cover it well and keep it in the fridge, it should last for a few days.

Stroopwafelarretjescake

Stroopwafelarretjescake
Inspired on a recipe from Dr. Oetker 1000 Die besten Backrezepte

100 g dark chocolate
200 g milk chocolate
75 g coconut oil
100 g cream
8 g (1 packet) vanilla sugar
400 g (1 packet) stroopwafels

Prepare a muffin tin (20×26) or a cake tin (25×11) by lining it with cling film. Use a muffin tin when you want to serve the arretjescake in small squares (as I did), use a cake tin when you want to serve it in slices.
Chop both chocolates and place it with the coconut oil and the cream in a heat-proof bowl. Place this above a pan with boiling water to melt everything au bain marie. Stir occasionally and take from the heat when molten. Add the sugar and mix well.
Start by placing a layer of stroopwafels in the tin. Cut them according to the size of your tin, I used 2 stroopwafels cut in halve and a whole one placed in the middle. Alternatively you can use mini-stroopwafels or chop up the stroopwafels and place a layer of this in the bottom of the tin. Pour over a thin layer of the chocolate mixture. Place another layer of stroopwafels, then again pour a thin layer of chocolate on top. Repeat until you’ve used up both the stroopwafels and the chocolate mixture.
Place the stroopwafelarretjescake for at least 5 hours in the fridge, but preferably overnight. Use the cling film to release it from the tin after cooling, cut with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I really don’t like overripe bananas. A banana should have a yellow skin with a little green at the tip, or I will not eat it. If I’m putting them in a smoothie, it is acceptable that they have a few brown spots. But any darker than that, and I will not eat them in any way, period. Until I found this recipe. Even though I find banana bread revolting (just like everything that is prepared with banana), because it has that sweet, sickly, yucky taste of over-ripe bananas, it kept intriguing me. Wouldn’t the dark chocolate counterbalance the banana? So when I had too much over-ripe bananas (my husband would not finish eating them in time before they would be really to far gone to be edible) I figured I should give this recipe a try. And I was very happy that I did, because this banana bread is delicious! My husband thought so too, and most other people that tasted it also found it very tasty. There were some people that though the banana flavour was a bit subtle, but I thought it was perfect, it was there but it was not overpowering. The chocolate is definitely the main flavour, and the bread is lovely moist (that is why it keeps quite well).

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 very ripe bananas (for a heaped cup mashed banana)
115 g butter
145 g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 packet vanilla sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
125 g flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
170 g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease a loaf pan.
Mash the bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients, or add immediately without sieving if your cocoa powder is not lumpy. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (or with some molten chocolate on it). Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The banana bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature wrapped in foil.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Again an originally Italian pastry, and again it doesn’t really resemble the original. Real biscotti (also called cantucci/cantuccini) are almost rock-hard cookies (because they are twice baked) and have to be dunked in something (coffee, liqueur) to make them edible. That is not really my cup of tea, although I do like the shape and flavour of them. That is why I used this recipe, which makes a slightly softer variety of biscotti (because of the added butter). The trade-off is that these biscotti will get stale after a few days, while the real biscotti can be kept for weeks (airtight stored).

Chocolate Biscotti

Double chocolate biscotti (18 cookies)

60 g dark chocolate
60 g butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100 g chocolate chips or a chopped up chocolate bar (milk or dark)

Preheat the oven to 175C. Melt the chocolate and the butter. Add the egg, sugar and vanilla extract, mix for 2 minutes. Fold in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, it should be a barely mixed, soft but not sticky dough. Fold the chocolate chips through. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Dump the dough on top and form it into a log of 9 x 23 cm. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, then slice in 1.5 cm slices. Reduce the oven temperature to 135C. Bake the slices 20 minutes on one side, then turn over and bake 20 minutes on the other side. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Serve immediately when cold, or store airtight.

Sweet cream cheese dip

Recipe for a light, but still very indulgent dessert, easy to make and with lots of variations possible. I like to use philadelphia light for this, since it tastes just like the full fat variant, but still packs a lot less calories. Other light cream cheeses tend to taste bland, acidic and watery, which doesn’t work in a dessert that should be creamy and indulgent. I like to use brown sugar as sweetener because of the caramelly flavour it gives, but the recipe would work equally well with honey. If you have other delicious ideas for mix-ins and dippers, please leave a comment.

Cream cheese dip (1 person)

3 tbsp light cream cheese
1 tbsp brown sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
a mix-in (for example a pinch of cinnamon, 20 gram small bits of chocolate (any kind you like), tsp of cocoa powder, few drops coffee extract*, tbsp of chopped nuts (any kind you like), etc)
a dipper (for example thin slices of apple or pear, grapes, biscuits (for example lady fingers), dried fruit, meringues, etc)

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Stir through the mix-in. Serve immediately together with the dippers.

*you can make coffee extract yourself very easily. Make very strong coffee or espresso, pour it into a sauce pan, place on low heat and leave to evaporate the water slowly. The coffee should not boil, because it makes the coffee bitter. You end up with an almost syruppy liquid, not palatable on its own, but capable of flavouring large amounts. I also use it for flavouring buttercream.