Is there anything better for a baking fiend than getting a 2.5 kg bag of chocolate for Christmas? I think there is – when the bag in question is Lindt couverture and is accompanied by a chocolate recipe book (or two). Continue reading
Have you ever had that sinking feeling moment when you realise you’ve left out an ingredient from a recipe? It’s usually after the cake etc has been in the oven for a few minutes and you start to clean up the counter and spy that ingredient you took out/bought for the recipe and don’t remember using. Yeah, that feeling. Then you go through the thought process…. faaarrkkk – can I fix this? Will it make a huge difference if I leave it? Will anyone notice? Continue reading
School starts again tomorrow (boo) and to see off the last day of holidays, with the sun shining, we couldn’t resist taking off for a walk around the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. The air was so clear and the water so still. OK, it was hardly 10°C, but it felt pretty nice outside.
Afterwards, we felt we deserved a nice treat, so we went to San Churro Chocolateria the shrine to Spanish chocolate.
It was pretty busy, but the service was nice and friendly. No surprise we ordered the specialty of the house – churros.
Lovely deep fried Spanish doughnuts dusted in icing sugar and cinnamon. We had ours served with white chocolate and dulce de leche.
As my son said: This place would be in heaven. I tend to agree!
Salted caramel Tim Tam tart
This recipe for a salted caramel Tim Tam tart is inspired by the inspirational limited edition salted caramel Tim Tam.
This recipe calls for 6 salted caramel Tim Tams. They come in mini packs of 5 biscuits, so you will need two packets to make this recipe… (you’re welcome). Continue reading
….aka the mega flourless chocolate brownie meringue cake. I was inspired to make this as a summery dessert for a gluten-free friend, who thankfully is not shy of chocolate. This cake is rich, but remarkably light, with a crisp outer and slightly chewy centre. The cream filling makes the cake go down so smoothly and the raspberry cuts the rich intensity of the chocolate. Ideally make and assemble a day ahead, so the cream and raspberries can meld into the meringue. The cake is much easier to slice for serving when it is allowed to come to room temperature and it tastes so much better too than straight from the fridge.
Chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry torte
- 200 g unsalted butter, chopped
- 200 g dark chocolate (I use 70% Lindt)
- 150 g hazelnut meal
- 4 eggs, separated
- 225 g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 300 ml thickened cream (35% fat)
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 punnet fresh raspberries (200 g approximately)
- Icing sugar to dust
- Pre-heat oven to 160 °C (140 °C fan-forced).
- Lightly grease two 18 cm round loose-bottomed cake pans and line with baking paper.
- Melt butter and chocolate in bowl over simmering water (or in microwave – using low power), stirring often until melted and smooth.
- Remove chocolate from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and half the caster sugar until pale and thickened.
- In a separate bowl (or using a stand mixed with the whisk attachment), whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue whisking while slowly adding the remaining caster sugar until the meringue is thick and glossy and all the sugar is dissolved.
- Slowly add chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture and thoroughly mix to combine. Fold in the hazelnut meal and a pinch of salt.
- Gently fold in the egg white mixture, being careful not to over mix.
- Pour mixture into prepared tins and bake for 40 minutes until the top is firm and a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in their pans
- Carefully remove cakes from pans and place on a wire rack.
- Whip cream with icing sugar until sugar is dissolved and cream has stiffened (it should hold a shape when the whisk is removed).
- On a serving plate, place one cake top side down and layer with half the cream.
- Add a layer of raspberries and top with the remainder of the cream.
- Place other cake on top (top side up) and dust liberally with icing sugar.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Allow to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.
Many years ago when I was a student, I was lucky enough to win a travel scholarship to attend a conference in San Diego in the US. Before flying out on our return to Australia, my travelling companion and I had a couple of days in San Francisco; a beautiful city full of eucalyptus trees and budgies and a climate remarkably like Sydney’s. On our ‘must do’ list was a trip to the district of Haight-Ashbury where our excessive second-hand clothes purchases meant off-loading important conference material to meet our luggage limits (had to get rid of the US currency you see….).
Chocolate Chat – Murray River Pink Salt & Caramel Drops
This 70g pack of loveliness cost $9.50 from Coles. Very expensive, so I was expecting big things.
There is a new section in my local supermarket. It is stocked with the weird and wonderful, such as products from Canada, Iran and Scotland; including Persian spun sugar and Dr Pepper soda (trust me, this is an uncommon sight in Australia). Then a few local treats, probably from small/new companies. The packaging on this chocolate caught my eye and I was sold on ‘chocolate, salt and caramel’. I did gasp when I saw the price at the checkout, but I am not a quitter when it comes to chocolate. The packaging is intriguing. Simple recycled-looking cardboard with a tag cloud of happy-lovey words that begged for the chocolate to be shared. I don’t like sharing nice sweet things, so I hoarded this until I had a night alone. Fortunately, it had two individually-wrapped blocks inside, so one I ate, the other I stashed for another time.
The ingredients list milk chocolate with 33.5% cocoa, vanilla, and Murray pink salt among others. It reeked of quality ingredients. Handmade in South Australia.
Unbelievably creamy and smooth. First bite is a slightly sharp tang of the salt, with a bit of salt crunch, then intense smooth sweetness of the caramel and milky chocolate, and then more sweet, so much sweet. I badly wanted this to be more interesting. Maybe if the caramel was a different texture to the chocolate? I dunno. I needed a glass of water after this.
Would I buy it again? Well, maybe not this flavour, I can get a salty sugar hit for a lot less. But there were others there that definitely caught my eye – was it raspberry and white chocolate? I wanted to find out some more on-line, but their listed web site is ‘under construction’ and their Facebook page has only been up since August and has no content.
One to watch.