A rich decadent three layered chocolate cashew pie for a special occasion. It’s a biscuit crust, filled with dark chocolate ganache and topped off with a creamy confection of cashew nut butter, cream cheese and whipped cream.
Although I prefer less rather than more sugar in my confectionary, there is no doubt about it, I have a sweet tooth – a sweet tooth combined with a love of chocolate. And I am not alone it seems. According to the Belgian chocolate company Callebaut, two out of three people are more likely to choose a chocolate dessert over a non-chocolate one.
These simple no-bake chocolate peanut butter crispies are given additional bursts of flavour by adding peanut butter and a little honey. Such salty and sweet crunchy bites of delight.
Rebecca over at Bake n Quilt is hosting We Should Cocoa this month and has chosen the ingredient marshmallow to get us all thinking. With the hot and steamy weather continuing here in the UK, this is a good choice; there is no baking required in making marshmallows and plenty of simple no bake recipes to use them in too.
A luscious, boozy, not-too-sweet, no-bake, dark chocolate tiffin. This chocolate Amaretto biscuit cake is simple to assemble but guaranteed to please. Perfect for dessert, afternoon tea or snacking.
Well, that temptress Tango Like Raindrops from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, made this chocolate biscuit cake for We Should Cocoa last month and I just couldn’t resist. If you haven’t seen the mango round-up yet, do take a look.
I have seen the recipe many a time in my copy of Green and Black’s Unwrapped, but was always put off by the use of a raw egg. However, when I thought about it, I realised the egg should be pasteurised by the heat of the chocolate mixture and indeed when I read the recipe properly, that is exactly what it says. I decided to use cranberries and ginger rather than cherries and add a little Amaretto to the mix. I also used my newly created dandelion honey rather than golden syrup. Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe!
This is how I made
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- Melted 125g unsalted butter in a medium size pan over low heat with 3 tbsp dandelion honey and 200g dark chocolate (G&B 70%).
- Beat in a medium egg until well incorporated.
- Added a slug of Amaretto
- Added 100g of roughly broken digestive biscuits (should have been 50g, but I do like digestives in tiffin).
- Stirred in 50g whole walnuts, 50g raisins, 25g died cranberries and 25g crystallised ginger.
- Poured into a lined 20 cm sq tin and placed in the fridge to set for three hours.
- Cut into 16 squares.
This should come with a serious health warning: it is very addictive and if you have as little willpower as I do, a locked fridge might be a good idea. Despite it’s deliciousness, it was messy to eat with a very soft texture which melted all over our hands. I’m glad I’ve finally tried making tiffin with an egg, but I think I will stick to my firmer and egg fee version in the future.
Coconut oil seems to be the new superfood that everyone is raving about. I have been using it now for many years, mostly as a skin moisturiser and eaten in its raw state spread on toast. Occasionally I’ve used it for making raw chocolates or cooking savoury dishes. However, it was not until The Groovy Food Company sent me some of their organic virgin coconut oil to try did I think about using it in baking. Ahh, now that got the brain cells firing. But as soon as the many possibilities started to emerge, I changed my mind; I decided I wanted keep it in its raw state. Something quick and delicious that was truly healthy and 100% organic was in order – not something I achieve very often.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so can easily be used as a spread or body butter. It melts very quickly and has a high heat threshold making it ideal for stir fries in particular. It contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are a healthy fat quickly transformed by the body into energy and are not stored as body fat. For maximum benefit, coconut oil is best used in its cold pressed state. It is said to help reduce abdominal obesity and protect against insulin resistance thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It is also said to benefit digestive disorders and boost the bodies immune system due to the high percentage of lauric acid contained. Used on the face and body, it acts as a good moisturiser and has many purported benefits including protection from UV radiation from the sun.
On opening the jar, a powerful aroma of coconut was released and I couldn’t resist tasting some. It was both sweet and unmistakably coconutty which is more than can be said of some I’ve tried.
I was also sent a bottle of The Groovy Food Company’s organic premium agave nectar, which is often used as a low Gi sugar substitute. I am an occasional user of agave nectar, but this gave me an opportunity to try it out in a few more things. I tried it out in my matcha smoothies as a substitute for the honey and it worked very well, proving a lot easier to handle than honey as it less viscous.
So, what I wanted to make was a healthy version of that children’s classic rice crispy cakes. My first task was to find some sugar free crunchy cereal, not something I thought was going to be particularly difficult. So I was truly shocked when I went to my local Co-operative, only to find they sold no sugar free cereal at all except for oats. I trekked off to our local health food shop and found the last bag of unsweetened cereal they had in stock – luckily it was puffed rice, which is what I’d been hoping for.
This is how I made:
Vegan Chocolate Puffs
- Melted 1 heaped tbsp cold pressed coconut oil in a pan over low heat.
- Added 50g 100% cocoa chocolate.
- Stirred in 1 tbsp cashew nut butter (any nut butter would be good, but that was the one I had to hand).
- Added 3 tbsp agave nectar, 1 tsp raw cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract (homemade) and a pinch of Himalayan pink rock salt.
- Stirred until smooth, then removed from heat.
- Weighed 100g 100% puffed rice into a bowl, then poured over the chocolate mixture and stirred until all of the rice was coated.
- Placed teaspoonfuls of the mixture into mini muffin cases and pressed the rest into two silicone moulds.
- Left in my cold kitchen to set, but would normally put them in the fridge.
|My attempt at a butterfly|
These were so damn delicious, I polished off rather more than I should have done as soon as I’d taken the photographs. They were light and crunchy and the chocolate coating had a lovely smooth mouth feel. They tasted sweet and chocolatey and the blend of cashew butter and coconut oil gave a nutty and fragrant quality redolent of the tropics.
Now I’m away to ponder exactly what bake I want to try with the coconut oil.
The Groovy Food Company products can be found at Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose amongst other places.
I’m entering these into Breakfast Club, founded by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and hosted this month by Gill of Tales Pigling Bland who has chosen rocket fuel as the theme with a view to help her run the London Marathon. I reckon these would make a very tasty rocket fuel for breakfast that isn’t going to sit heavily on the stomach, but would provide plenty of energy and nutrients.
Healthy raw chocolate truffles with a chewy texture that taste of chocolate and honey. You might know these as bliss balls or energy balls. In any case, they’re delicious, naturally vegan and very quick and easy to make.
It’s time for that most exciting of blog challenges Random Recipes again. This month, Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has taken us back to the beginning with his simple, but not necessarily easy, formula of picking a book randomly and then picking a random page number. With a hundred and one things to do, I was somewhat trepidacious as to what I might be landed with. As usual, CT did the honours and came up with Cox Cookies & Cake by Eric Lanlard. I used my new method of including all of my baking books as well as my chocolate ones: if I don’t get a chocolate recipe right away I just keep turning the pages until I come to the first one that includes chocolate. Well CT picked page 78 – fat-free jasmine & violet cupcakes. Hmmm, no chocolate there. Nothing on the next page either or the next one, nothing in fact until page 91 which was for chocolate icing. Well, much as I enjoy a good icing, I didn’t fancy just eating a bowl of that on its own. Hmmm, ah, light bulb moment!
|Let’s start from the very beginning|
|Although I baked the biscuits for the Tiffin, this is not required as any bought biscuits can easily be substituted.|
Whilst reviewing Honeybuns gluten free baking recently and pondering on what exactly I was going to make first, I spotted a new challenge. Sarah Maison Cupcake’s new Zero Baking Required made the decision for me: chocolate orange tiffin. Actually, it would be chocolate lemon tiffin as I had some lemon curd that I’d made a while ago and it needed using up. So to get Dom’s random recipe into the mix, it was a simple substitution of the Honeybun’s chocolate topping for Eric Lanlard’s one, or ahem, one based on Eric’s. His used single cream which I didn’t have, but I did have some double cream. I decided to make only half the quantity of tiffen stated in the book as it did seem rather generous and similarly half the quantity of icing. But first I had to make some custard creams.
This is how I made Gluten Free Chocolate Lemon Tiffin:
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a pan with 2.5 tbsp of golden syrup and half 1 scant tbsp of cocoa.
- Crushed 31 of the heart shaped custard biscuits I’d just made so lovingly with the end of a rolling pin.
- Poured in the melted butter mixture and stirred until all incorporated. At this point I was rather concerned that the mixture was way too dry and wouldn’t hold together. But I decided to trust the recipe and stick with it.
- Pressed this into the base of a 21 cm (8″) sq tin lined with baking paper.
- Placed in the fridge for 1/2 an hour to set.
- Creamed 25g unsalted butter with 100g icing sugar until incorporated.
- Beat in 2 heaped tbsp of home made lemon curd.
- Spread this over the biscuit base.
- Placed back in the fridge whilst getting on with the next stage.
- Heated 100ml double cream in a pan until just about boiling.
- Poured this over 125g chopped dark chocolate (25g G&B Maya Gold & 100g G&B 72%).
- Stirred in 25g unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp of orange flower water.
- Poured this over the lemon cream layer.
- Placed back in the fridge to set.
- Slid out of the tin and cut into 16 squares.
I was very glad I trusted the recipe, as the tiffin held together really well and cut beautifully. Even using half the amount, I still got 16 decent sized squares. Using double cream for the chocolate icing worked well, as it set more solidly than I suspect it would have done using single cream. These not only looked appealing, but were delicious too. They were not overly sweet, tasted of chocolate covered lemon sherbet and had a great contrast of textures and flavours – although the orange was rather lost to the lemon. The smooth chocolate, creamy zingy lemon and a really nice crunch from the biscuits worked very well. CT thought these looked very similar to millionaire’s shortbread but were far superior. The sweet cloying quality he associated with them was absent and he found them much more refreshing.
As this was the first time I’ve ever made my own biscuits for a refrigerator cake, I am also submitting these to Javelin Warrior’s Made With Love Mondays where everything must be made from scratch – even the lemon curd was my own.
Well I’m sure most of you will have heard of the French TV pastry chef Eric Lanlard and Baking Mad. Even I have heard of both him and the programme and I don’t have a television. The Baking Mad website is full of recipe ideas as well as tips, tricks and competitions. I was asked to choose a recipe from this site and make it – chocolate honeycomb squares it had to be.