Tag Archives: yummy

Chocolate Sponge Mousse Cake Dessert

6 Jan

Hello all!

Happy New Year! After a hectic two months of serious exam stressing and Christmas food gorging, I’m back with a beauty of a recipe – my chocolate mousse cake dessert. This happened as somewhat of an accident when I was making an eggless chocolate sponge for my nephew Jack’s first birthday… It turned out nicely and JUST as I was lifting it out of the tin… SPLAT. The sponge cracked in half and it was no longer usable for the main event – his birthday cake – so I decided to give this dessert a go. It’s not by any means light, so January dieters LOOK AWAY NOW! It is a bowl full of rich, chocolatey, spongy, mousse-y goodness and it instantly became a firm favourite in the Hornibrook household!

It consists of chocolate sponge in various layers that have been drenched in chocolate ganache sauce, piped full to the brim with chocolate mousse and topped off with some whipped cream and toasted almonds for a nutty crunch. What’s not to love?!

See the recipe below – Diet starts February……….

Ingredients

For the sponge (I made an eggless sponge, however you can make a sponge including eggs by following the recipe to my Easter chocolate cake sponge recipe, by clicking here)

For the Sponge

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 40g butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate chips (I use Callebeaut)

For the Chocolate ganache sauce 

  • 75ml cream
  • 120g mix of milk/dark chocolate chips (I usually use half and half of each)

For the Mousse (Nigella Lawson’s instant mousse)

  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 50g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate chips (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 60ml hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)
  • 300ml cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly

  • 200ml Cream, whipped & in a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle
  • Handful of toasted slivered almonds (Pecans would work great aswell)

Method

Sponge – use an 8 or 9 inch round cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven 180 C / Gas 4. Grease your tin with butter and line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Mix the bicarb with 1 tablespoon of milk then add to the flour and cocoa powder mixture. Melt the butter with 100g of the chocolate chips.
  3. Add the sugar along with the remaining milk, oil, golden syrup, melted butter/chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat with a fork or hand whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining 100g of chocolate chips now. Transfer to the prepared cake tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the centre of the cake is not fully cooked then leave the cake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, but cover the top of the cake with tin foil so it doesn’t burn. Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool.

NOTE: While the sponge is cooking, make the chocolate sauce next so it is cool by the time you are assembling..

Chocolate ganache sauce

  1. Warm the cream in the microwave in short bu rsts of 30 secs or alternatively on the hob in a dish over a sauce pan of hot water (Bain marie).
  2. Add the chocolate buttons and return the microwave in further 30 sec bursts, stirring in between until sauce forms. Alternatively, add buttons to dish on top of sauce pan and stir until chips are melted. Set aside to cool.

Mousse 

  1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth mixture.
  4. I added a tablespoon of ganache to the mousse and marbled it through for extra chocolatey goodness…

Assembly

  1. I used a large crystal trifle dish to assemble the dessert in. You can really assemble it in any type of dish you’d like but I loved how it looked in this dish.
  2. Slice up the cooled sponge into thin wedges. Drizzle the dish base generously with chocolate sauce. Layer sponge pieces on top and drizzle more choc sauce over them.
  3. Scoop in a layer of mousse then repeat the sponge/chocolate sauce layers until the dish is full (last layer should be mousse).
  4. Leave enough sauce to dot around the top in large splodges, and then marble with a toothpick for the pretty marbled effect.
  5. Pipe whipped cream around the edges and scatter the toasted almonds. Ready to serve and eat as much to your heart’s desire ;).

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Salted Caramel, Pecan and Chocolate Cookies! Oooh…

14 Feb

Happy V-day peeps!

These unbelievably good cookies would be the ideal dessert or treat for your loved ones on this romantic day! Now believe me when I say this is hands down the best cookie recipe I’ve ever used. I know in one of my first ever post, I said the very same thing about Nigella’s version of the typical ‘American style’ cookie, but I was wrong. Boy, was I WRONG! I came across this recipe on about the 75784th page of google search for ‘the perfect cookie recipe’. It has chew, crunch, a softie interior and is the closest taste-wise to the famous Marks and Spencers cookies which the world loves so dearly! I decided to make these cookies as I had a bunch of Salted caramels left and nothing to do with them. Alas, the Salted caramel, pecan and chocolate cookie was born! The original recipe is just plain chocolate chip, so for this recipe I slightly cut back on the amount of chocolate as I was adding the caramels and pecans also. However if you do want to do plain chocolate chips, I would add an extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Dessert suggestions…. try two of these cookies sandwiched together between vanilla ice cream or serve drizzled with some extra toasted pecans, chocolate sauce and ice cream for a rich but fabulous dessert!

What’s so mouth-wateringly good about my cookies you say? Try them and see for yourself…

Makes 18-24 cookies

Ingredients (They’re in cup measurements as it’s an American recipe)

  • 2 cups + 2tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6oz butter (I use salted)
  • 1 + 1/2 cups light brown sugar (OR 1 cup white, 1/2 cup dark brown)
  • 2 eggs (I use Ogran egg substitute to make them egg free and it works fine)
  • 1 cup chocolate chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel chunks (broken up into quite small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans

Method

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients. IMPT: You must sieve the cornflour and bicarbonate of soda to avoid unpleasant lumps. Melt the butter in a separate dish.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs and extract, beating with a whisk until well mixed.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until fully incorporated with each other. Add the chocolate chips, salted caramel pieces and pecans and mix until just dispersed evenly through the dough.
  4. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Chill the dough for half to one hour. Using a tablespoon, place heaped spoons of mixture (I use an ice cream scoop, which gives large cookies) on to a lined with greaseproof paper rectangular tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size scoops of mixture you used, until cookies are golden but still moist in the centre.

TOP TIP: You can freeze the dough raw in portions for up to 3 months, to have cookies ready to go! simply take them out a few hours in advance of cooking, leaving them in the fridge so the dough is chilled when it goes in to the oven. Chilling the dough is the difference between a good and a great cookie!

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Hope you and your loved ones have a sweet Valentines!

-Rachel

Salted Caramel Toffees

14 Feb

Hello all!

This recipe is a prelude of what is to come…. Salted caramel, choocolate and pecan cookies (drool). The salty sweet chewiness of these sweets is ridiculously good. They are an ideal after dinner weekend treat or look great packaged in clear bags, tied with ribbon for a sweet gift!

Recipe is from the renowned David Lebovitz

Makes roughly 30-40 sweets, depending on how they are portioned

Ingredients

  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) cream – I use normal cream as it’s hard to find double cream where I live, but the recipe works better with double if you can get it
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder (I use Nielsen-Massey bean paste)
  • rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably Maldron
  • 160g (1/2 cup)  golden syrup (Or light corn syrup- also hard to buy in Ireland hence why I use golden syrup)
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 60 g (4 tbsp), salted butter, cubed, at room temperature

1. Line a swiss roll tin (23cm one) with parchment and grease the paper (I use a little flavourless oil)

2. Heat the cream with 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan with the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.

3. In a medium, heavy duty saucepan (I use a 4 litre one) heat golden syrup, or corn syrup with the sugar, and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir is as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.

4. Insert candy thermometer and cook until the syrup reaches 155ºC.

To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the saucepan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup, tilting the pan if necessary.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, until smooth.

5. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 127ºC.

6. Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter, until it’s melted and the mixture smooth.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt over the top. Set on a cool rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the greaseproof paper with the caramel, peel away the paper, and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles. ( I let mine set for longer, breaking it into shards but this was personal choice)

Storage: These caramels can be individually-wrapped in cellophane or parchment paper. Once cut/broken up they may stick together if not wrapped. Store in an air-tight container, and they’ll keep for about one month.

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Happy Baking!

-Rachel

Millionaire’s Shortbread with Salted Peanuts

26 Oct

Caramel, chocolate and shortbread in one? Yum. Add salted peanuts? You have something ridiculously tasty on your hands! I use Callebaut chocolate for the chocolate topping. I always use a good quality chocolate as it does truly does make a difference- that nasty cooking chocolate simply won’t cut the mustard! I leave mine to set in a cool room, until the chocolate is just set and then slice it in to squares. It’s a much messier/tricky process to do if you put it in to the fridge and the chocolate sets rock solid!

So, here’s the recipe……

23 x 33cm (9″ x 13″) deep swiss roll tin (I think mine is 3/4 inch)

Greaseproof paper

Ingredients

Base

  • 12 oz (300g) soft salted butter & extra for greasing
  • 6 oz (175g) castor sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 12 oz (300g) sifted plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 6 oz (175g) corn flour
  • splash of water

Caramel

  • x 2 carnation condensed milk / caramel (I always buy the condensed milk and boil it myself as I find the pre cooked one slightly grainy)

Topping

  • 8 oz (225g) good quality chocolate buttons (I used Callebaut)
  • 250 g large pack roasted and salted peanuts (good quality ones, I used M & S brand)

Bring a large pot of water up to the boil and add the Condensed milk. Boil on a medium to high boil for at least an hour to an hour and a half. Make sure the water is always completely covering the tins- I always allow at least an inch of water above the tins. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. together butter and sugar with the beater attachment in a food processor or by hand until lightly creamed. Add flours and mix until just mixed as overworking it will result in tough shortbread. Add roughly a teaspoon of water after the dry and wet ingredients are mixed as it will be crumbly until you do so. NOTE: Don’t add the water when adding the flours as the corn flour will form hard lumps- a mistake I did once when I was rushing!

Grease the swiss roll tin and line with greaseproof paper. Press in the shortbread mix and flatten down (I just use my fingers to press it in). Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. (You may need to reduce the heat to 150 C if it’s getting too brown as it must cook for a long time in order to be crunchy) Leave to cool in the tin.

When the tins and shortbread base have completely cooled, open the tins and spread the caramel all over the base….(Of course it’s essential to have a taste of the caramel before it’s put on… just to make sure it’s not poisoned lol) Put the tin uncovered into the fridge while you melt the chocolate. I melt the buttons in a pyrex jug in the microwave for 30 second intervals but over a bain-marie is fine aswell. When it’s melted, take the tin out of the fridge and scatter the salted peanuts evenly over the caramel. Pour the chocolate on and spread in a flat layer. Place in a cool room and cut into squares (I get 16 medium sized ones) when the chocolate has just set. Leave to set further until the chocolate is hard and cut again. Serve and enjoy! Word of warning: I had to fend my family away from these beauties the second they were finished!

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Note: The photos show half plain half nutty millionaires shortbread as I had some fussy eaters to work around..

Happy Baking!

-Rachel

Perfect Chocolate Fondants

24 Jul
I had only made fondants once before I tried this recipe with the results being slightly disappointing. The recipe I had previously used produced a sponge like fondant and didn’t have much of a chocolatey kick as it called for half milk half dark chocolate (I’m a dark choccie fan 100%). I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe as it is so simple, but to say they tasted AMAZING is an understatement. I’m such a chocolate fiend, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this subject and in my eyes, this is the perfect recipe! It’s indulgent, so you wouldn’t be making it everyday. But make it for a special occasion such as making dinner for friends and your guests will be seriously impressed!
Adapted from the Masterchef Masterclass Cooking Book
Fondants
melted butter, for greasing
cocoa powder, for dusting
275g (9.5oz) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
225g (8oz) salted butter
400g (14oz) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 large free range eggs
200g (7oz) plain flour, sifted
8 metal 5fl oz pudding bowls or ramekins
1 tub Good quality vanilla ice cream (I used homemade that I’d made a few weeks back)
Icing sugar, to dust
Rasperries (optional)

Heat the oven to 180C. Brush the pudding moulds sparingly with melted butter, dust with cocoa powder and shake out the excess. Set aside. Melt the chocolate and butter gently in a saucepan.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar for roughly 5 minutes until pale and thick (figure of 8 should hold when the whisk is lifted) , then fold in the melted chocolate mixture which has now slightly cooled and the sifted flour until you have a smooth mixture.

Divide between the moulds – each one two thirds full. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 12 minutes exactly. Remove from the oven, run a knife round the edges, invert and tip out on to serving plates. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream and raspberries if you like. Finish it off with a light dusting of icing sugar.

And finally the best part…. plunge your spoon into the molten centre and revel in happiness when the liquid chocolate oozes out……………… mmmmmm

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Apologies for the poor quality photo, excited chocolate lover couldnt possibly wait 2 more minutes to find her camera………..instead taking an average quality one with her phone.

Perfect….Key Lime Pie

18 Jun

I’m not much of a pie person- but this pie is special.The filling is smooth and bursting with lime zest while the crust is crunchy and buttery rich- both of which work together extremely well. In my eyes, it is THE perfect key lime pie. Its easy and quick to prepare but also looks divine decorated with dollops of cream and thin slices of lime as I have done in the picture. I was recently asked to cater fingerfood and desserts for a party.. My first time getting paid for doing something I love! (sweet)

Recipe adapted from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery’ Book

Filling

8 egg yolks
2 397g tins of condensed milk
freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 5 limes (The recipe states no need for food colouring as the zest does the job, but I always add 3-4 drops of green for the extra kitsch touch) and an additional 1 lime, for decoration
200ml cream (single/double, whichever you can get)

Crust
500g digestive biscuits
200g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor (I do about four lots). Process until finely ground. Put the crumbs in a large mixing bowl, and pour the melted butter in, and stir. Press the mixture into the base and neatly up the side of the prepared pie dish, using a tablespoon to flatten and compress. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until deep golden and firm. Set aside to cool completely.

Turn the oven down to 150 degrees. Put the egg yolks, condensed milk and lime juice in a mixing bowl, and mix with a whisk until smooth (It will naturally thicken) Pour into the cold pie crust and bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Pull it out when it’s firm to the touch, and not at all wobbly. Leave to cool completely. (I made it the day before serving and chilled it in a cold room overnight)

Whip the cream until it reaches firm peaks and place ina piping bag with a star shaped nozzle attached. Slice the extra lime thinly. Pipe cream in any pattern you like around the pie and finish with lime slices. (The initial recipe states to use 450ml cream and cover the pie entirely but I prefer it this way. It’s just down to personal taste really) Remove from the tin, Slice and enjoy the tangy celebration about to unfold!!

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ImageAbove: The food I was asked to provide for a party: My first time catering for mula!

Left-right: Strawberry and raspberry roulade, Key Lime Pie, Sherry Trifle, Cucumber and Salmon Rillette with Dill, mini Roast Beef Yorkshire Puddings with Horseradish cream, Mini Goats Cheese and Homemade red onion relish tartlets, Another roulade.

ImageAbove: The dessert side of my catering venture.

Left-Right: Roulade, Trifle, Key Lime Pie, Almond Macaroons, Shortbread (Which I will be posting the recipe of soon, it is the PERFECT shortbread in my eyes)

CHURROS con chocolate

12 Jun

I’m in Spain on holidays at the moment so I feel this recipe apt! Churros are a not so secret guilty pleasure of mine: the crispy fried sugary dough with the not so sweet dark chocolate sauce tastes out of this world! I make a chocolate ganache type sauce to go with my churros which slightly differs to the traditional chocolate sauce the Spanish serve with theirs (it’s like a milky thick hot chocolate/custard). Recipe is from Thomasina Miers: Mexican Food Made Simple

Churro dough

90 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
125 grams plain flour
125 grams self-raising flour
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 litre sunflower oil (for frying)

Chocolate sauce

200 grams dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
50 grams milk chocolate (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons golden syrup
250ml single cream

Method

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
Make the chocolate sauce. Put all the chocolate in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the golden syrup and cream and heat over a low heat, stirring continuously, to melt the chocolate, being careful not to let it burn. Alternatively, heat with short bursts in the microwave, stirring between each burst.
Sift the flours with a good pinch of salt into a metal or heatproof bowl and make a well in the centre.
In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil and 450ml boiling water together, and pour into the well, beating it well with a fork to get rid of any lumps. The dough should be slightly soft and sticky to touch. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Fill a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with the sunflower oil – it should be about one-third full. Heat the oil to 170C or until a small piece of bread browns in less than 30 seconds.
Add the dough to a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and squeeze out churros directly into the hot oil, cutting them with a pair of scissors into the length you want. I personally prefer to make them about 1 1/2 inches long as i prefer them smaller. Be careful not to cook more than three at any one time, or they will all stick together. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. I have an aga at home and so i keep the completed churros hot by keeping them in the warm oven. This isn’t a necessary step. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Reheat the chocolate sauce and pour into little dishes for dipping with the churros.

Below: churros I got at a local food market

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Above: my homemade churros con chocolate