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Chocolate Crunchies

My friend asked me to watch her boys for a while today. While her older son and Big Kid played together, I asked her younger son and Little Guy if they wanted to make some ‘cookies’. They were surprisingly enthusiastic! I already had a recipe in mind, a non-bake recipe from a children’s cookbook.

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This Ladybird book is from my childhood – it’s probably older than me – and I had ‘salvaged’ it from a pile of old books in my mother’s home and brought it to Canada for my children.

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The ingredients are simple: butter, cocoa powder, sugar, golden syrup and cornflakes.

The butter, cocoa powder, sugar and golden syrup are melted together and poured over the cornflakes.

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Mix the melted mixture and the cornflakes together.

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“Is this done?” “Not yet.”

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And mix till well combined. Add more cornflakes if the mixture is too wet.

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Spoon a tablespoonful into paper cases.

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And that’s it. Give your friend a high-five for a job well done!

Chocolate Crunchies

25g sugar (I used 20g but still found it sweet)
25g cocoa
2 cups Rice Krispies or Cornflakes
50g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
Paper cases

Put the cereal in a mixing bowl. Place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small pan and heat over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the ingredients have melted together. Remove from heat. Add cocoa to pan and mix well.

Pour melted mixture into mixing bowl and stir gently until cereal is coated. Place a tablespoonful into each paper case, then leave them in a cool place to set. (I put them in the refrigerator.)

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

I was hesitating about posting this week’s French Fridays with Dorie (FFWD) recipe because it didn’t turn out well for me. It tasted great, the double chocolate mousse cake – chocolatey and luscious – but didn’t look so pretty. The top lifted up and cracked. I’m not sure what caused that to happen but I know I had over beaten the egg whites. It broke up into lumps when I folded it into the chocolate batter.

This mousse cake was made in four stages. First, one third of the mousse was baked as the base and chilled. Second, the remainder of the mousse mixture is scraped over the base and chilled again. The cake can be served at this stage after refrigeration. Third, the cake is baked again until the top is puffed. The cake can also be served at this stage. Fourth, the cake is cooled to room temperature after baking and chilled again. Dorie said each layer has a different texture but I really couldn’t taste it. I could only taste two textures – the thin, soft layer that has lifted off the cake, and the soft and velvety mousse base.

This cake deserves a second try but I didn’t have the time this week to do it. I’m also afraid of failing again! Anyway, have a look at the successful versions of this cake baked by other FFWD members here.

Next week’s recipe: Chicken B’stilla

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Baking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

My friend, Mariko, whom I haven’t seen in more than a year, came over to visit yesterday with her family. It was great catching up with her and seeing her family again. I know Mariko has a weakness for food that’s sweet and salty so this chocolate-crunched caramel tart was the perfect thing to bake for her. It’s a chocolate tart with a bottom layer of peanuts enrobed in caramel.

You can get the recipe for the tart crust here. I made the tart crust by hand and rolled it out in my pie crust maker as I find it difficult to press the dough into the pan.

You can get the recipe for the tart here. Dorie said the tart should be served the day it is made so I did everything the night before except pour the ganache over the tart. I kept the tart at room temperature overnight. The next day, I warmed the ganache and finished assembling the tart. The recipe says to refrigerate the assembled tart for no longer than 30 minutes and then keep it at room temperature until serving time so that the caramel layer is soft and stretchy and the chocolate smooth. However, my ganache did not set in 30 minutes. I put it back in the refrigerator longer but it still did not set up firmly when I cut into it later. The chocolate layer drooped all over and covered the sides of the slice of tart. I stored the leftover tart in the refrigerator overnight and took it out the next morning and let it come to room temperature before cutting a slice. The ganache has set but it still pulls away with the knife.  You can see in the photo the chocolate layer drooping at the tip of the slice.

The tart tastes good though; crunchy peanuts, soft caramel and melt-on-your-tongue smooth chocolate, all on a buttery crust. If I were to make this tart again, I would finish assembling the tart the night before, store it in the refrigerator and serve it the next day at room temperature. I will also use regular salted roasted peanuts in place of honey-roasted peanuts so there will be more ‘salty’ in the tart. Mariko thinks the tart is very nice and even took some home. That should be enough to tell me the tart was a success. :)

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I haven’t been baking baking since school started although I was itching to. All I had managed to do was put my Dorie Greenspan baking book on the kitchen counter. Last night when I finally had time to bake this, my hands were almost shaking from the excitement!

These are buttery shortbread cookies but they have a strong coffee flavor; not for non-fans of coffee. The chocolate brings some sweetness to the taste. Needless to say, they are perfect with coffee. One neat technique which Dorie teaches in this recipe is to roll out the dough in a zipper-lock bag. After doing that, you seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator to chill. For easier handling, I slid a thin, flexible chopping board under the bag (not the one in the picture.)

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
(from Baking: From My Home to Yours)

Makes 32 cookies

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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Cream Cheese Crater Cupcakes

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I had half a block of cream cheese leftover in my refrigerator and this recipe, from the June 2010 issue of Canadian Living, is perfect for using it up. The chocolate cupcake is moist and dark while the cream cheese filling is soft and tangy. They’re great for bringing to parties as there’s no messy frosting and they look good on a platter.

Cream Cheese Crater Cupcakes

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Posted by on September 5, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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