I first came across Chocolate by Miss Witt when visiting CT’s mother in Lymington on the edge of the New Forest. You can read all about it on my Unexpected Find in the Forest post. Suffice it to say, that I’m not likely to miss an opportunity to pay a visit to her pop-up-shop at Lymington’s weekly market if the occasion arises. And arise it did last Saturday.
Miss Witt is a true artisan chocolateier and makes an intriguing range of handmade chocolates. Unusually, she eschews cream and butter for the virtues of spring water, yes, her chocolates are all made with water ganache.
It was a bitterly cold day and Miss Witt was well wrapped. CT managed to polish of a fair few of the tasters as we chatted. My attention, however, was focused on hearing of the latest developments in the world of New Forest chocolates. A number of stores in Lymington are now stocking her products. I came away clutching a collection of chocolate goodies to try in the warmth of my own home.
Astonishingly, this blog is five years old today. To celebrate, rather than a St Valentine’s Day Massacre, I’ve engineered something all together more festive.
The simple truth is, that despite the many, many things I’ve baked and prepared over the past five years, I’ve hardly scratched the surface of chocolate cookery. This is a good thing, I reckon, because, unlike Valentine’s Day ephemera, chocolate will never ever lose its appeal. Drawing on the collective brilliance of contributors to We Should Cocoa, the many excellent food blogs and chocolate cookbooks, my own creations and adaptations, there is not a chance that I will run out of things to make in the next five or even fifty years.
Another year on and I and my Chocolate Log Blog have notched up a few more achievements. I was chuffed to bits to reach #3 in the Foodies100 Top Twenty UK Food Blogs for 2013. Not only that I was also in their Top Twenty Food Bloggers on Twitter too. I didn’t think things could get any better, but it turned out they absolutely did. The January edition of Cornwall Today featured Chocolate Log Blog as one of the best five Cornish blogs – wow and I didn’t even bribe them with cake. You can see the article on the author’s site at Saffron Bunny. I had another recipe published, this time in the Plymouth Herald, maybe not quite as prestigious as the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, but still very pleasing.
Two big events stood out: I baked an astonishing number of things both for a grand party and a market stall. It was a lot of hard work, but very satisfying to see it all disappear with complimentary comments all round. I continue to attend Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club whenever I am able and try to take part in as many blog challenges as I can. This past year has seen a prodigious proliferation of these, so I’m amazed to have done as many as I have. Living in remote Cornwall, I don’t get out very often, but I did manage to make it up to Cheltenham to meet some of my food blogging chums in June last year. We’ve also had a few events down in this part of the world where I’ve got to meet-up with bloggers old and new. The trip to Riverford was a particularly good one and the chocolate workshop with Nicky Grant was a real pleasure. Cornwall has food festivals aplenty, but scattered as they are, I don’t get to many of them. Having heard from Fiona of London Unattached just how good the Boscastle one was, I made it there last year for the first time. She was right, it was a great festival with plenty to see and do and the setting is lovely. I had the added bonus of meeting up with her as well as Nat from the HungryHinny.
So to celebrate Chocolate Log Blog’s Birthday as well as Valentine’s Day and give CT something to munch on (he has offered both me and my blog invaluable support after all), I have made these little chocolate cakes – dark and lush as befits this day of love. The cake recipe I adapted from one in Treat Petite by Fiona Pearce, a newly published book I shall be reviewing shortly. The whipped dark chocolate ganache, however, I made up myself from some leftover chocolate sauce I’d made for another recipe (soon to be appearing on the blog).
Just in time to make these and as a wonderful Valentine’s gift, I received a lovely bundle of chocolate goodies and hearts from Dr Oetker, including some heart-shaped marshmallows which were fun. Fancy decorating has never been my strong point, but for this special occasion, I thought I’d pull out the stops and pipe the ganache on top of the cakes, using my new Lékué silicone decomax (review to follow in an upcoming post).
I also received this gorgeous Valentine’s gift from Eden’s Gourmet Apples, which was a lovely surprise and disappeared rather quicker than it probably should have done. The apple was crisp and tart which was a great foil for the sweet caramel and chocolate.
This is how I made:
Mini Chocolate Valentine’s Hearts with Whipped Chocolate Ganache
- Melted 60g dark 70% chocolate in a pan over low heat with 160ml strong black coffee. Stirred until smooth, then removed from the heat.
- Creamed 90g unsalted butter together with 225g dark brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs (use large hen eggs), one at a time.
- Sifted in 100g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), ¾ tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 40g ground almonds.
- Stirred until just incorporated.
- Spooned into 24 mini cupcake moulds filling them to about ¾ full. Spooned the rest into 4 full-sized cupcake cases.
- Baked at 180°C for about 15 minutes until well risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Left to cool in the moulds for a couple of minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- About ¾ batch of chocolate sauce which had been left in the fridge and had set – 200g double cream, 150g 85% dark chocolate and 2 tbsp maple syrup all melted together.
- Whipped this up with 2 tbsp of strong black coffee until light and moussy.
- Spooned this into the Lékué piping container and using a large star nozzle piped blobs onto the cooled cakes.
- Decorated with various hearts
The cakes are rich, moist and very chocolatey. The small elegant bite-sized cakes are easy to eat and with no inhibiting cases to dispose of make for perfect finger food. CT has given them his seal of approval by downing several in quick succession and declaring them better than any bunch of roses.
Thanks go, as always, to you my readers and fellow food bloggers. I would most certainly not have had the fortitude to have continued without your support, participation and comments.
As an extra chocolatey treat, I have picked ten super scrumptious chocolatey posts from other UK bloggers to hopefully inspire you over at Foodies 100 – Ten at Ten: the chocolate edition.
I am sharing this with Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and her Valentine’s Day baking inspiration blog hop.
Chocolate is quite rightly the theme for this month’s Tea Time Treats over at Lavender and Lovage. This is a monthly event to load a tea table with more goodies than it can possible manage. Karen’s partner in crime is Jane over at The Hedge Combers.
http://hedgecombers.com/I am submitting these to the No Waste Food Challenge as I had some leftover chocolate sauce that needed using up. It would, er, obviously, have gone to waste if I hadn’t used it up in this recipe 😉 Normally hosted at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, this month Fiona of London Unattached is taking the reigns.
I am also submitting these cakes to Credit Crunch Munch for the same reason as above plus I omitted the cupcake cases and saved a few pennies by so doing. I was really quite pleased with their naked appearance. This challenge is hosted by Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours, but is guest hosted this month by Angela over at the wonderful My Golden Pear.
Well, I maybe posting this a little later than intended, but it now coincides with my 500th blog post, which turns out to be very apt timing indeed. Read on.