Lick and mix

Chocolate Week starts tomorrow (chocolateweek.co.uk). That’s our excuse. Stand by your bowls and ready, steady, stir

Recipes and photographs Alastair Hendy

Visit Alastair’s online store at aghendy.com.

Food: lick and mix

Chocolate orange & brazil nut slice

 

MAKES 1 TRAYBAKE

 

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter plus extra for the tin

180g dark chocolate about 70 per cent cocoa

3 medium eggs

260g soft light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract finely grated

zest of 1 large orange

100g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

65g candied orange peel chopped

100g brazil nuts

ON TOP

200g dark chocolate about

70 per cent cocoa

150g unsalted butter

2 tsp golden syrup

50g brazil nuts sliced

double cream to serve

Method

1 Butter a baking tin or traybake tin measuring about 30cm x 20cm x 3cm and line the base and sides with baking paper.

2 Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest until thick and creamy, pour over the chocolate mixture and fold in.

3 Preheat the oven to 160 C/140 C fan/gas 3. Sift the flour and cocoa into the chocolate mixture, add the candied orange peel and nuts, and fold everything together. Transfer to the prepared tin, making sure the mixture goes right into the corners. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be crusty with a slight wobble underneath. Allow to cool completely.

4 Close to the time of eating, melt the 200g chocolate for the topping as above. Stir in the butter and, once fully combined, stir in the golden syrup. Allow to cool and thicken for a minute. Spread the mixture over the baked chocolate slice and sprinkle with the sliced nuts. Serve with double cream.

Food: lick and mix

Chocolate espresso mousse with coffee liqueur cream

 

SERVES 8

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate minimum 80 per cent cocoa

4 eggs separated

2 tbsp extra-strong brewed coffee chilled

ON TOP

40g icing sugar

3 tbsp extra-strong brewed coffee chilled

4 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria liqueur

200ml double cream well chilled

Method

1 Break up the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just-simmering water, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove the bowl and leave to cool a little. Beat the egg yolks and the 2 tbsp of coffee into the chocolate.

2 Using an electric whisk, beat the whites until stiff. Fold a big spoonful thoroughly into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the rest. Spoon the mousse mixture into 8 individual glasses or dishes and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

3 Close to the time of eating, make the flavoured cream. Tip the icing sugar into a large bowl and whisk in the 3 tbsp coffee and the liqueur. While still whisking, slowly pour in the cream and continue to whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks. Spoon the cream on top of the set mousses. These can be returned to the fridge but don’t keep them waiting too long as the liqueur can separate.

EXTRA FLOURISHES If wished, spoon over some warmed caramel and sprinkle over some chopped nuts. For homemade caramel, put 240g light muscovado sugar into a saucepan and add 1 tbsp water. Heat until the sugar has fully dissolved and caramelised and the mixture is bubbling. Slowly beat in 160g butter, a little at a time, then stir in 1 tsp sea salt flakes and 8 tbsp double cream.

Food: lick and mix

Chocka mocha layer cake with whipped caramel & mascarpone cream

 

MAKES 1 X 19CM CAKE

 

Ingredients

 

CAKE

200g butter cut into small pieces plus extra for the tin

200g dark chocolate about 70 per cent cocoa

1 tbsp good-quality instant coffee mixed with

120ml water 3 medium eggs

2 tbsp buttermilk

100g self-raising flour

100g plain flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

300g golden caster sugar

25g cocoa powder

CARAMEL CREAM

150g golden caster sugar

75g soft light brown sugar

70g butter

375ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

250ml mascarpone

Method

1 Butter and line the base of a spring-form cake tin measuring about 19cm diameter x 7cm deep. Preheat the oven to 160 C/140C fan/gas 3.

2 Break the chocolate into a pan and add the butter. Pour in the instant coffee mixture and warm through over a low heat until just melted and combined. Beat the eggs in a bowl until slightly thickened, then stir in the buttermilk. Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.

3 Pour the melted chocolate mixture from the pan into the flour mixture, followed by the egg mixture, and stir until everything is mixed and smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the sponge horizontally into three discs.

4 For the caramel, melt the caster sugar gently in a small pan until it starts to caramelise, then leave a little longer until it starts to turn a ruby red colour, taking care not to let it burn. Remove from the heat, whisk in the brown sugar and butter, then 75ml of the cream in a thin stream. Return to the heat and bring to a foamy boil for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until combined and smooth with all the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

5 When ready to assemble the cake, whip the remaining 300ml double cream with the vanilla extract and liqueur to soft peaks, then fold in the mascarpone and the cooled caramel. Spread each layer with caramel cream and sandwich together. OP TIO N AL FI NIS HES If wished, decorate with a dusting of cocoa or grated chocolate. You could also make some extra caramel, gently warm it and drizzle it over the top, allowing it to trickle down the sides.

Food: lick and mix

Melt-in-themiddle chocolate & hazelnut pudding

 

SERVES 4

Ingredients

100g hazelnuts

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

40g cocoa powder

150g butter softened plus extra for the dish

120g golden caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1 x 100g bar dark chocolate (70-80 per cent cocoa)

double cream to serve

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan/gas 6. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for about 8 minutes or until they smell lightly toasted. Once cool, grind to fine crumbs. Combine the ground nuts with the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder.

2 Lightly butter a deep pie dish or similar about 1.5 litre capacity. Reduce the oven to 180 C/160 C fan/gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and the flour mixture, and continue beating until everything is well combined. If the mixture is too thick to fall off the back of a spoon, stir in 1 tbsp water to loosen it.

3 Spoon half the mixture into the prepared pie dish. Lay the whole chocolate bar on top, spoon over the remaining mixture and level the top. Bake on a middle shelf for 25-30 minutes. Serve with double cream.

Food: lick and mix

White chocolate & peanut butter shortbread

 

MAKES 1 LARGE SQUARE FOR SLICING SHORTBREAD BASE

Ingredients

125g softened butter plus extra for the baking sheet

60g golden caster sugar

1 large egg yolk pinch of salt

185g plain flour plus extra for rolling

ON TOP

50g white chocolate

150ml double cream

150g smooth peanut butter

50g golden caster sugar

75g cream cheese

large handful salted peanuts

Method

1 Have ready a flat baking sheet (not a tray with a lip) about 30cm x 30cm. For the shortbread base, beat together the butter, sugar, egg yolk and salt until combined, then sift and add the flour, and work to a smooth dough. If the dough is a little sticky, dust it with more flour and work it in. Form the dough into a rough ball (it is quite short so if it crumbles just push it back together). Flatten the dough slightly, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

2 Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Butter the baking sheet and roll the dough out straight on to it so that the dough covers the surface. Because the shortbread is crumbly you will not be able to lift or turn it: flour the rolling pin as necessary and push any breaks in the shortbread back together. Trim the edges and corners as desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until just cooked and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

3 For the topping, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Beat in the peanut butter, sugar and cream cheese. Spread the topping over the baked shortbread base, sprinkle with salted peanuts and chill until ready to serve. Cut into slices the size of your choice (you should get about 9-12).