Well, today is Valentines’s Day and to really show the love, you’ve got to have something chocolatey and decidedly decadent. More importantly today marks the 9th anniversary of this blog. As some of you will know, it started life as Chocolate Log Blog and was a means for me to explore one of my great loves – the world of chocolate. This chocolate peanut butter ice cream sundae seems like a fitting celebration.
We may not be having the best summer ever here in Cornwall, but we have had a few warm and sunny days. We even had a whole week where it was actually way too hot. When it’s that hot, all I want to eat is cool foods and ices. I headed for the freezer, but when I got there, the freezer was bare – of ice cream anyway. To avoid another Mother Hubbard moment, I converted a large bag of cheap seasonal plums into these rose plum yoghurt ice lollies.
Who doesn’t like a drop of Baileys? I know I certainly do. I blame my grandfather. It was one of his favourite tipples which he took particular care to introduce to me at an early age. CT’s rather keen on it too as are many others judging by the 2,300 glasses that are consumed every minute of every day. But it’s not just a nice drink made with a blend of Irish whiskey, fresh cream, vanilla and chocolate essences, oh no. It’s also rather good as a cooking ingredient.
When Kavey suggested teaming up this month with her Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. For my birthday last year, CT gave me the most luscious chocolate book by Rick and Michael Mast. I spend a considerable amount of time salivating over the pictures in Mast Brothers chocolate: a family cookbook and planning what I’m going to make from it; strangely not very much so far. One of the pictures I found particularly striking was the Frozen Chocolate Pops and now I had no more excuses not to make them.
This month Dashing Dom has joined forces with Krazy Kavey in a chilling combination of Random Recipes and Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream. Now that Autumn has descended on us rather earlier than expected, ice-cream is no longer top of my list of desired desserts. However, ice-cream and frozen desserts are what we’ve been tasked to make, so I gritted my teeth and went to interrogate Eat Your Books. This is my preferred method of selecting my books for these Random Recipe occasions.
This time I limited the search to my chocolate books, which I was somewhat surprised to see has reached the grand total of seventeen. Ultimate: the Green and Black’s New Collection was the book randomly selected. I haven’t looked at this tome in such a long time that I was pleased to renew my acquaintance. It turns out it contains quite a few ice-cream recipes as well as a recipe for chocolate parfait – a frozen dessert which I’ve never made before. I decided to make half the quantity as I didn’t have much space in the freezer; this meant I needed about 60g of dark chocolate. Now it just so happens that I had 70g of dark lavender chocolate lying about; I’d found this too strong and soapy to eat on its own, so it was awaiting just such an occasion as this. Lavender chocolate works wonderfully well when incorporated into other recipes, I reckon. The parfait recipe included coffee, but as I was adding lavender, I omitted this.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Lavender Parfait
- Whipped 150g double cream to soft peaks using hand beaters.
- Separated two large eggs, putting the yolks into a bowl and the whites into the fridge for some future use.
- Warmed 75 ml water in a small pan and dissolved 60g golden caster sugar in it.
- Notched up the heat and boiled the syrup for 2 minutes, then turned the heat off.
- Added 70g chopped dark lavender chocolate (72%) and left to melt.
- Beat the egg yolks with the hand held beaters, then slowly poured in the chocolate syrup beating all the while. Carried on beating until the mixture was almost cool.
- Beat in 1 dessertspoon of cognac, then folded in the whipped cream.
- Divided the mixture between four ramekin dishes and placed in the freezer.
To be honest I’m not terribly sure what the difference between a parfait and ice-cream is technically, but it’s a very good way of making a no-churn frozen dessert. It was velvety smooth and not a shard of ice crystal could be detected. It’s very rich and truly decadent, but the soupçon of lavender keeps it tasting fresh and prevents it from cloying on the palate as some creamy confections can do. The cognac gave a welcome hint of sophistication and brought out the other flavours. This is a perfect use for lavender chocolate and a brilliant make ahead dessert I can now knock up for future dinner parties.
A healthy dose of cognac makes this dessert crazy enough for me, so I am entering it into Baking with Spirit over at Cake of the Week where Janine has asked us to all go crazy.
I’m also sending this off to Lucy’s #CookBlogShare over at Supergolden Bakes.
When Mõvenpick asked their fifteen favourite bloggers (of which I’m one!) to create a sundae using their ice-cream, perhaps unsurprisingly my thoughts jumped to chocolate. I was planning on an All Chocolate Sundae project using dark and white chocolate ice-cream, chocolate brownies and chocolate sauce. However, the plan was hijacked by these blackcurrants. Adding cassis to champagne makes for a Kir Royale, so I reasoned that adding blackcurrants to my chocolate sundae would not only enhance it, but make it fit for a monarch – a Chocolate Sundae Royale, no less.
Mõvenpick ice cream takes me straight back to Switzerland where I was a teenage au pair. Country bumpkin that I was, I found the ice-cream parlour serving Mõvenpick sundaes to be amazingly glamourous. My introduction consisted of a magnificent affair with 15 balls of differently flavoured ice-cream – I remember it well. So when I was sent two tubs of their ice-cream, two sundae glasses and matching spoons, I was all set to relive my dissolute youth. I chose Swiss Chocolate which not only tasted of rich dark chocolate but also contained generous amounts of Swiss chocolate shavings; I paired it with a contrasting creamy White Chocolate containing chunks of white chocolate. Both were way too tasty and the leftovers didn’t hang around in our freezer for very long. These two, along with eight other flavours, can be purchased in 900g tubs from Ocado.
The ever-inspiring Elizabeth is hosting We Should Cocoa this month over at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. She has chosen chocolate ice cream and toppings recipes – you can do either or both. Ice-cream in July is becoming a bit of a tradition. Do have a look at the July 2013 We Should Cocoa ice-cream round up. Well I knew I was going to be getting some chocolate ice-cream, so I needed to come up with something particularly good for a topping.
CT gave me a most wonderful book for my birthday, Mast Brothers Chocolate: a family cookbook by Rick & Michael Mast. The book is full of dark and luscious recipes along with stories of their bean to bar chocolate making adventures. A recipe for hot caramel fudge sauce caught my eye and I knew that was the one I wanted to use for my sundae and my entry to We Should Cocoa.
Chocolate Caramel Sauce
- Melted ¼ a cup of golden caster sugar in a pan over medium heat, then allowed to simmer for a couple of minutes until it turned a bronzy colour. Removed from the heat.
- Meanwhile heated ½ cup of double cream in a separate pan with ½ tsp of vanilla extract until hot.
- Poured the cream into the caramel and stirred hard until all was smooth.
- Added 100g chopped 70% dark chocolate and stirred until melted.
- At this point my caramel ganache separated out, so I heated a ¼ cup of cream and poured this in, stirring carefully. Thankfully this worked and I had a thick but beautifully smooth and shiny warm chocolate caramel sauce.
- Simmered 150g blackcurrants with 75 ml water for about ten minutes to soften the fruit.
- Pressed the mixture through a sieve, extracting as much juice as possible. Threw the remaining pulp in the compost.
- Stirred in 1 tbsp of icing sugar.
Pride comes before a fall, but I think this might be one of the best sundaes I’ve ever eaten – maybe because I had it for breakfast! Not normally one for sweet foods in the morning, I reckon this was my most decadent breakfast ever. My excuse was simple: I had to make it early in the morning whilst the light was best for photographic purposes and before the house heated up too much. Different layers, textures, tastes and temperatures made a sundae surprise to keep us guessing – we were never quite sure what was coming in the next mouthful. Blackcurrant was an inspired addition; it had a punchy piquancy and the tart fruit cut through the richness of the chocolate and cream. A slug of cassis could easily be added to the blackcurrant sauce to make this even more decadent than it already is.
This Chocolate Sundae Royale is my entry to the Mõvenpick Ice Cream Blogger Competition. The creator of the favoured recipe wins a two-hour masterclass with the Langham’s head pastry chef, Cherish Finden, followed by afternoon tea for two at the Palm Court. Fingers crossed.
You can see some of the other entries here:
- Coffee Walnut Banana Ice-cream Sundae
- Cashew and Pineapple Sundae
- Lemon and Blackcurrant Sundae
- White Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae with Summer Berries and Fudge Sauce
- White Chocolate and Berry Sundae
Appropriately enough given the hot weather, this month’s Family Foodies event is Chill Out, Baby, making my sundae eminently suitable (although it might be best to omit the optional cassis). It is hosted this time by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash and is hosted alternately with Lou of Eat Your Veg.
This month’s Blogger Scream for Ice Cream over at Kavey Eats is all about holidays. Well, the Swiss sundaes that inspired this were not exactly holiday related – I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard as I did when I was an au pair. My entry is, however, travel related, so I hope it counts.
- 2 blackcurrant brownies – quartered
- 6 small scoops white chocolate ice-cream
- 4 small scoops Swiss chocolate ice-cream
- ½ cup hot caramel fudge sauce (see above)
- ¼ cup blackcurrant sauce (with an optional slug of added cassis for extra decadence)
Here is another recipe I’ve been meaning to write up for a very long time. Our redcurrants aren’t quite ready to make this ice-cream yet – assuming the birds don’t get there before us! But we do still have some left in the freezer from last year – amazing isn’t it?
Last month on Valentine’s Day, I received a surprise tray of stone fruit from Beautiful Country Beautiful Fruit – I felt the love. These colourful, juicy ripe and ready to eat plums and nectarines were most welcome after the months of excessive grey, rain and cold we’ve been experiencing this winter. They tasted of warmth and sunshine. With summer very much in mind and wanting to show off the fabulous purple of the plums, ice-cream was the first thing that sprang to mind. Just like cherries, I find that almonds go particularly well with plums, so I decided to use some amaretto liqueur in the mix along with a few amaretti biscuits for a touch of additional luxury.
The ice cream turned out just as I’d hoped. The fruit gave a welcome splash of tartness, cutting through the sweet cream and the flavour of both fruit and almond was well to the fore; the additional crunch from the biscuits gave added interest.
I am submitting this to #RecipeOfTheWeek over at A Mummy Too
I’m entering this into Dead Easy Desserts over at Maison Cupcake where any preparation has to be achieved within 30 mins. Despite cooking plums and melting chocolate, this is a simple dessert that can easily be achieved in this time if the chocolate is melting whilst the plums are cooking. You could even melt the chocolate over the cooking plums.
- 500g purple plums (6 large ones) – washed and stoned
- 2 tbsp Amaretto
- 200ml Condensed milk
- 600ml Double cream
- 80g White chocolate
- 7 amaretti biscuits
- Chop the plums and place in a pan with the 2 tbsp water. Simmer until soft (about 10 mins). Leave to cool. Add Amaretto & blend to a puree.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over hot water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir in 100g of the condensed milk.
- Whip the double cream until soft peaks form, taking care not to over whip. Add the rest of the condensed milk and whip again to ensure peaks remain.
- Add the white chocolate and stir in.
- Crush 5 amaretti biscuits and stir in.
- Fold in the fruit mixture to create a ripple effect. Spoon into a 2 x 1 litre freezer containers. Crush an amaretti biscuit over each batch. Cover and freeze.
Yield: 2 litres