The combination of avocado and chocolate is my no means a new one. It is seen as a fruit in many parts of the world and treated as such, with chocolate sauce often smothering it. However, it’s a completely new combination to me. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time now, but was finally spurred on by Louise’s recipe for chocolate mousse that she posted earlier this month.
Back in January when I saw the We Should Cocoa entry from Carol Anne’s Kitchen for chocolate and coconut granola, I bookmarked it straight away. As usual with these things it has sat neglected in my bookmarks folder along with many much older items. The spur I needed came in the form of this month’s Breakfast Club, founded and hosted by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. The theme is Fairtrade. Now I know fairtrade is not all about chocolate, but chocolate was one of the very first things to be given the fairtrade label and it is this wonderful substance I associate most with Fairtrade. So time to trawl through my bookmarks where I was very sure I had a chocolate granola recipe!
As is my wont, I adapted the recipe quite considerably. First off, I had bought a bar of Divine’s fairtrade 85% dark chocolate specifically for the purpose of this challenge. When I read the recipe however, it was cocoa that was used. Well blow that, mine was going to contain a bar of real live chocolate. As this was for breakfast I wanted something healthy – to me healthy means NO SUGAR. So instead of using sugar, I used a mixture of date syrup, agave syrup and honey. OK I know chocolate has sugar in, but there is very little in an 85% bar, so I let that one go.
Anyway, this is how I did it:
- Put 250g of rolled oats into a bowl.
- Added 30g sesame seeds, 20g sunflower seeds, 60g apricot kernels, 30g goji berries, 50g coconut chips, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt).
- In a pan warmed 40ml date syrup, 40ml agave syrup, 1 flat tbsp honey and 50ml walnut infused rapeseed oil.
- Added 50g of 85% dark chocolate (Divine) and stirred until melted.
- Poured this into the bowl of dry ingredients and mixed until everything was evenly coated.
- Spread this onto a large baking tray and baked for 50 mins at 125C, turning the mixture a couple of times during the process.
- Left to cool
- Stirred in 50g of chopped 85% dark chocolate (Divine). What I wanted to achieve here was to add the chocolate at a point where it would melt a little and clump with the granola mixture, but not so much that it melted completely. I didn’t manage it, so the chocolate remained unmelded.
The aroma of chocolate, coconut and roasting seeds emanating from the kitchen whilst this was cooking was mouthwatering and it scented the whole house wonderfully. Of course, I couldn’t wait until breakfast the next day to try some, so out came a bowl, spoon and milk and in went the granola. It was delicious and not too sweet; crunchy with the kind of texture which encouraged you to chew and enjoy the diverse flavours. I don’t think it will last long.
Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la ….. and all that. I chose dates for the December challenge because they seemed suitably festive, but oh what to make? Should I stuff madjool dates with walnuts and dip them in chocolate, make a cake, biscuits, cupcakes or those wonderful date slices I’ve been coveting since first seeing them on Suelle’s blog? I know, I’ll make all of those – hmmmm. Reality set in and I realised I had very few non working days before Christmas and rather too much to do. So, I’ve gone for a cake and if I have time I might have a go at some of the others.
Again, it was a cake I’d seen on Mainly Baking that inspired this one, Dan Lepard’s Hazenut Prune Cake. I was initially going to substitute the dates for the prunes and try and follow the recipe to the letter. As it happened, I had some walnuts that really needed using up, so it turned into something different again. I substituted the nutmeg for mace and added some orange for an extra festive note. The mix itself, I found rather too dry, so I also added some orange juice. Having made some candied orange peel, which I will blog about at some future date, I had quite a bit of orange syrup going free to a good home – a good home was found. And finally, I wanted to make the cake more chocolatey, it is after all a chocolate challenge – a datey chocolate ganache found its way onto the top of the cake. So once again, my version bares little resemblance to the original, but it’s the inspiration that counts. I’ll stop this stream of consciousness now and get on with the recipe.
- Creamed together 100g unsalted butter with 100g dark muscovado sugar and 1 heaped tbsp of golden syrup until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs, one after the other and the zest of 1 orange.
- Sifted in 125g flour (100g wholemeal, 25g white), 1 tsp baking powder, a pinch of bicarb of soda, 1/2 tsp ground mace and 1 tbsp cocoa.
- Stirred in the juice of 1 orange.
- Mixed n 300g chopped dates and 100g chopped walnuts.
- Spooned into a 23cm silicone mould and smoothed the top down.
- Baked at 180C for 35 minutes.
- Whilst cake was hot, poured over 3-4 tbsp of orange syrup left over from making candied orange peel, then left to cool.
- Melted 100g chocolate (50g milk & 50g Maya Gold), 25g unsalted butter, 2 tbsp date syrup and 1 tbsp orange syrup.
- Stirred until smooth(ish) – couldn’t actually get the milk to melt properly so don’t look too closely as there are a few lumps 😉
- Spread over the top of the cake.
- Decorated with candied orange peel.
PS – this cake was not only moist and very tasty but kept well for weeks.
An extra large birthday cake was needed recently for a combined birthday and house warming celebration. I was so impressed with the sponge that I made for the Chocolate Mocha Layer Cake earlier on this year, that I was determined to make it once again. It is also quite a large cake. The dilemma was what to sandwich and top it with. As I was a bit unsure of the audience involved, I thought a general crowd pleaser would be the best option, so chocolate fudge icing it had to be. This is what I did:
- Melted 200g 70% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 170g unsalted butter with 350g soft brown sugar until my arm was incapable of beating any more and the mixture was light and creamy.
- Beat in the chocolate.
- Beat in eggs yolks from 3 large eggs (reserving the whites for later use).
- Sifted in 370g flour (20g quinoa, 175g wholemeal, 175g white), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Stirred in 250g Greek yogurt and 250g water.
- Whisked eggs whites until soft peaks formed then folded into the batter with a metal spoon.
- Divided between two 22cm cake thingies and baked at 180C for 30 mins.
- Melted 100g 70% dark chocolate and 100g 35% milk chocolate with 30g unsalted butter then stirred until smooth.
- Put 50ml water, 2 tbsp golden syrup and 1 tbsp cocoa in a pan. Gently heated and stirred until mixture was smooth.
- Stirred this into the chocolate together with 100ml double cream.
- Left to cool completely then used half of the mixture to sandwich the two cakes together and spreading the remainder on top.
- Decorated with little gold stars.
For once nothing went wrong with this cake and with four bars of chocolate in it, I was mightily relieved. It turned out as good as I could have wished for – in fact I was particularly proud of this one. The cake disappeared as soon as it was cut into and I only just managed to save a couple of pieces for the host and hostess – it obviously wasn’t big enough after all. Luckily, a friend saved me a bit of her slice or I would not have been able to verify that it was indeed as good as it looked.
I always find cooking vegan cakes a challenge as I am rather wedded to my butter and eggs and now yogurt. I was surprised to find, however, that I enjoyed the vegan cake I made last year for my annual birthday cake ritual at work.
- Melted 100g bar 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 4.5oz unsalted butter with 4.50z light muscovado sugar & grated zest of 1 orange.
- Beat in chocolate.
- Beat in 3 medium size eggs, one by one.
- Sieved in 6oz flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt & 1/2 white spelt) with 2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.
- Stirred in juice from same orange with a couple of tbsp of water as it was quite a stiff mixture.
- Stirred in 3oz natural glace cherries – halved and 2oz of walnuts – roughly chopped.
- Spooned mixture into a 21cm cake thingy and baked at 180C (gas 4) for 30 mins.
- Turned out onto rack and left to cool.
- Rolled out 8oz natural almond marzipan into a round to fit top of cake.
- Melted 100g bar of 70% dark chocolate with 1/2 oz butter and two tbsp of date syrup.
- Stirred this until smooth then covered cake with the marzipan and then the marzipan with the chocolate mixture.
- Decorated with 12 toasted walnut halves.