Three differently coloured and flavoured biscuit doughs are used here to great effect. Simple to make, these vanilla, matcha and chocolate Christmas butter biscuits are also very easy to eat.
A healthier and not too sweet take on chocolate chip cookies with an intriguing green tea flavour. I give you this recipe for matcha spelt chocolate chip cookies.
If you fancy the idea of a matcha hot chocolate, you probably want to go for a white chocolate one. That’s what I’ve done here so that it retains it’s beautiful vibrant green colour. Matcha provides the perfect foil for all that sweetness.
Have you eaten matcha marmalade cakes before? No? They’re well worth trying. These little bites are flavoured with healthy green tea powder and marmalade. They’re not only delicious but also quick and simple to make.
Tea tasting and blending is a veritable art form. Find out how the masters at Twinings do it in their tea masterclass. You’ll also find a review of Twinings redbush tea and a recipe for a salted caramel chocolate tea cocktail.
Chocolate may be my number one passion, but there is nothing quite so refreshing as a good cup of tea. For me, the best cuppa involves loose leaf tea and plenty of room for the leaves to swirl around, expand and infuse. Read on for my review of the IngenuiTEA teapot along with a whole load of Adagio loose leaf teas.
Time for tea? Or did I mean time for chocolate? In this household it’s both. We drink a lot of tea of varying sorts and we drink quite a bit of chocolate too. Our chocolate usually comes in the form of a teaspoon of cocoa in a mug of hot water. Occasionally we add a splash of milk. Sometimes though it’s fun to splash out and have what most people think of as hot chocolate – chocolate made with milk. Enthusiastic as we are for these drinks, I was delighted to be sent some drinking chocolate, some chocolate tea and a whisk to review.
Canton Chocolate Tea
This tea came in a very elegant white tin from the Canton Tea Company and was well packed in a sturdy white box. I really liked the signature crane which I found to be particularly apt as well as attractive. The tea is a loose leaved black tea with added cocoa nibs and vanilla pod and weighs in at 50g. It is actually a blend of two fine Chinese black teas: Bai Lin Gong Fu and Yunnan Black. I’m not normally a fan of black tea, preferring green, white or rooibos, but I was keen to try this one due to the cocoa content. Gosh and golly, I was in for a real treat. On opening the tin a strong aroma of chocolate wafted out. This was followed by a fruity note and then finally the tea came through.
Neither CT or I like our tea particularly strong, so I brewed a pot of tea for two with one heaped teaspoon, rather than the recommended two to three flat teaspoons per mug. I steeped it for the stated two minutes with water that was just off the boil. This gave us a perfect cup of tea which was full of flavour, well rounded and really quite moreish. It wasn’t in the least bit bitter and tasted simultaneously of chocolate, tea and plum. When I later read the tasting notes on the tin I was surprised to see that plum was one of the flavours mentioned, along with cocoa of course. We both failed, however, to notice the caramel sweetness that was also described.
One of the benefits of using good quality tea leaves is that you can use them again and sometimes again and again and still enjoy a really good cup of tea. We had two good brews out of our one heaped teaspoon, so I suspect more would be achieved if the full amount was used. For a black tea I would give this one ten out of ten. A 50g bag costs £7.50 and is available from the Canton Tea Co. online shop.
If you’re going to have a “proper” hot chocolate, you may as well go the whole hog and have one made with pieces of real chocolate. It wasn’t until I received two different brands of drinking chocolate to review at the same time, however, that I realised that different hot chocolates lend themselves to different ways of preparation and serving.
Hans Sloane Drinking Chocolate
As soon as CT saw the name Hans Sloane, he approved. Not only was he a fellow botanist, but CT spent some months mowing the lawns in the London square that bears Sloane’s name. In fact, Hans Sloane was a 17th century chocolate pioneer, discovering it when he lived in Jamaica where the locals drank it with water and eggs. It was he that tried mixing it with milk so that it became the drink we know and love so well today. I was sent two two 270g packets of chocolate beads and indeed the variably sized, shiny pieces had a bead like quality. I was really excited to read on the packets that either milk or water could be used. I’ve been meaning to try making hot chocolate with water for a very long time, but somehow never seem to get around to it. This gave me the prompt I needed.
Rich Dark (53%) – this was indeed rich and dark, also thick and unctuous with a creamy mouthfeel. Even made with only water it tastes like an indulgence. Mind you it is suggested that three tablespoons are used per 200ml of liquid. When I weighed this, it came to a whopping 60g – no wonder it was rich. I was truly wowed by this chocolate and reckon that water is the way to go.
Natural Honey (32%) – milk chocolate blended with honey, there was no doubting the flavour. Having had such success using the water with the Rich Dark beads, I decided to try it with the Natural Honey beads too. Again, this was rich, flavoursome and very sweet and it needed no other accompaniment. Yes it’s sweet, but then that’s what you expect of honey and it is, nevertheless delicious. As a beekeeper, CT’s approval just kept rising.
The chocolate comes in four other flavours which I’d be very willing to try: Smooth Milk, Grenada 60%, Madagascar 67% and Ecuador 70%. The packs are available in Waitrose and Tesco with a RRP of £4.99.
Brown Bear Original Hot Chocolate
These dark chocolate flakes were quite different and came in a 350g tub. The cocoa content was slightly higher than the Hans Sloane, being 55% and on opening a rich chocolate aroma rose up to fill my senses in a most delightful way. The directions here were for three heaped teaspoons per 200ml of milk, which was considerably less than the aforementioned brand and only weighed 25g. This of course means the chocolate goes a lot further, but won’t be as rich. This being the case, I thought it lent itself to being made the traditional way, with milk; indeed, this was the only direction given. It made for a very nice cup of milky hot chocolate.
The tub stated that you could have a magical hot chocolate experience by topping with whipped cream, marshmallows and a generous sprinkling of chocolate flakes. I tried that out too – it would have been churlish not to. I used some of the Brown Bear flakes to sprinkle over the top which saved a bit of time and a lot of mess not having to flake the chocolate myself. Unsurprisingly, this worked very well. It was completely over the top, but so worth it.
For comparison, we also tried making this with hot water. Although pleasant, we found it a bit thin. To be fair, the quantities given in the directions varied between the two brands. This one used a lot less chocolate so the comparison was not exactly fair.
Recently launched, just in time for Easter, this is available £6.99 from the Brown Bear online shop.
Nova Multi-Quell Whisk
As I had been sent a manual hand held whisk to review from G3 Direct, I thought it would be good to try it out with my hot chocolate drinks. The Nova whisk is a little unusual in that you push down on the handle repeatedly to turn the head. This requires less effort than a balloon whisk and is meant to be helpful for those with wrist mobility problems or carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’d like to see it in action, head to the video provided by G3 Direct. The handle comes in various shades, but sadly not red. I opted for a vibrant green instead, although I was also quite tempted by the orange.
I whisked the hot chocolates rather than stirring them and also used it to whip up the cream. I have to say, since I first used it, I’ve abandoned all other whisks when it comes to whipping up double cream. It’s a dream to use requiring little effort and making less mess than a balloon or electric whisk.
Funnily enough, I saw a demo at the Big Cake Show where the whisk was used to froth semi-skimmed milk – in a matter of seconds it seemed. I don’t drink semi-skimmed, so tried this on some whole milk. It did froth up, but collapsed almost immediately, so my dreams of adding an attractive frothy top to my drinks didn’t last very long.
With thanks to the Canton Tea Co, Story Pr, Brown Bear and G3 Direct for the above mentioned products. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
I have long been an admirer of the stunning bundt creations to be seen over at Dolly Bakes. Being averse to tins for storage reasons as well as sticking ones, I’ve been on the look out for a silicone bundt-type mould to use. I’ve not found anything suitable – until now that is. Lékué do an amazing range of silicone bakeware and it looks to be better quality than some I’ve come across. Recently I received a few items from them to try out. You can see how I got on with the bread maker in a previous post. The bundt-like mould they sent, however, was the very first thing I tried. I was a little nervous and quite excited.
For my first ever bundt, I thought I’d create an orange and chocolate marbled affair with an orange glacé icing. There were no clues as to the quantities needed for the mould, so I had to guess. I thought I was making a generous amount of cake mix, but it barely covered the bottom. As it turned out, this was fine and produced a perfectly sized cake which still looked good. The second time I used it, I upped the quantities, but it still didn’t make a full size cake. I sprayed the mould with oil just to be on the safe side – I really didn’t want it getting stuck. I needn’t have worried, it came out like a dream.
Despite my nerves, I was really happy with the result of my first ever bundt-shaped cake. It really looked quite striking. The almonds, orange juice and yogurt kept the cake nicely moist and the flavours were clear and fresh and worked beautifully in combination. The Lékué bundt-like mould was so easy to use too: it was sturdy enough to stand up in the oven on its own without losing shape; I had no problems turning the cake out (and the second time I didn’t spray it) and it was easy to wash. Perfect. I can see this getting a lot of use.
A few days later, we had some good news to celebrate and invited some friends around for tea. So impressed was I with my orange and chocolate bundt-like cake, that I decided to make another one. Only this time I added more ingredients and accompanied it with a third flavour – matcha. This was an even prettier cake than the first. It was bigger and had three contrasting colours rather than two; once cut the interesting swirling patterns were revealed and some of the slices were spectacular. No one piece was the same. CT likened it to a metamorphic rock, maybe not marble but it was certainly very “gneiss”, he quipped. The cake was just as delicious as the first and the texture was equally good. Now what ingredients, I wonder, am I going to include in my third bundt-like cake?
My method for the second cake was exactly the same as the first except I had three different mixtures rather than two. See below for the printed recipe for the first cake. The quantities for the second were as follows:
- 240g unsalted butter
- 260g caster sugar (again I used cardamom sugar)
- 4 large eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 230g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 organic orange – zest and juice
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 scant tbsp matcha powder
Not only are these bundts completely made from scratch but the recipes are my own. With just a little bit of pride, I am thus sending them off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.
As you can probably tell, I have a new found passion for bundt cakes, so I am sending these off to the very first Love Cake Challenge with Ness over at JibberJabberUK who has chosen the February theme of Baking with Passion.
As already stated, I’ve rather fallen in love with these cakes, so although they weren’t made for Valentine’s Day as such I think they fit into the general love theme for February, so I’m sending this off to Dolly Bakes for her Calendar Cakes – Oh L’amour.
CT is quite keen on these bundt cakes too, so it is possible the next flavour might be a mocha one and he might get it for a special Valentine’s Day treat. As such I am submitting these to Lets Cook Sweet Treats for Valentine with Nayna over at Simply Food.
Both of these cakes were made for loved ones, so I am also entering it into the Four Seasons Food challenge with Anneli Delicieux and Lou at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is not surprisingly Food From The Heart.
Finally, I think, I’m linking this up to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
Oops, there is another one. Victoria over at A Kick at the Pantry Door has chosen Orange as this month’s Feel Good Food, so really I have no choice but to enter 😉
Thanks to Lékué for sending me the bundt mould to try out. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
- 180g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar as the flavour works well with both chocolate and orange)
- 175g flour (I used half wholemeal, half white)
- 75g ground almonds
- scant 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1 organic orange – zest & juice
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp yogurt (I used honey yogurt)
- 50g icing sugar
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-12 slices
If you’re a shortbread fan, you’ll find a whole plethora of ideas for white chocolate shortbread biscuits in this post. They are all delicious and the variations are endless. If you like the idea of lemon, orange, coffee or matcha flavours, we’ve got you covered.
Sweetly spiced little fairy cakes made with milk chocolate, chai masala tea and spices. Transform these egg-free chai masala chocolate cakes into fifteen cupcakes if you require something a little larger.