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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

We all love chocolate cake in our house and especially a cake with lots of buttercream and ganache! So we were very happy to try this recipe out this weekend. It also made the perfect pudding for our friends who came over for lunch on Sunday, both the grown ups and kids loved it. Click here to see how we got on.

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Each Christmas there’s always one recipe that stands out above the rest and this year it’s these blondies. Super gooey, nutty and a wonderful caramel flavour make these blondies really special. I cut the recipe out of Olive magazine last year as I didn’t get round to trying it, so it was top of my list this year. Click here to see the recipe.

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We have been super busy baking at home this week! So this is the first of my Christmas baking blogs, hopefully plenty more to come. I tried to pick recipes this year that the girls could help with to keep us busy at home. These were really good fun to make and look very cool too. Click here for the recipe.

The recipe was from November’s Sainsbury’s magazine – mince pie tiffin bites. We all love rocky road in our house, so this festive version will definitely be a favourite. Here is the recipe:

Mince Pie Tiffin Bites

100g skin on almonds

85g glacé cherries, quatered

55g dried cranberries

2 tbsp brandy or orange juice

125g butter

100g golden syrup

20g cocoa

Zest of 1 orange

150g dark chocolate

275g mince pies (roughly 5)

For the topping:

200g milk chocolate

3 tbsp double cream

16 chocolate covered pretzles

8 red glacier cherries

Small amount of white and black fondant for the eyes

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (180 fan). Toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes then leave to cool.
  • Put the cherries, cranberries and brandy in a small bowl and leave to soak.
  • Line a 7” round tin with baking paper
  • Put the butter, syrup, cocoa, orange zest and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and remove from the heat, leave to melt fully.
  • Stir in the brandied fruits, toasted almonds and broken up minced pies. Tip into the lined tin, spread out and allow to cool, then chill for an hour in the fridge till set.
  • Place the chocolate and cream for the topping in a heat proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, leave to melt, then remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Pour over the tiffin and smooth out. Allow to set.
  • Remove the tiffin from the tin and using a hot knife slice into 8 portions.
  • Melt a small amount of milk chocolate and lightly dip the top of the glacier cherry into the chocolate then stick it to the point of the slice of tiffin. Take 2 pretzels and drip the underneath of each in a small amount of chocolate and stick to the outsides of each slice of tiffin for the antlers.
  • roll out the white and black fondant and cut circles for the eyes. Using a paint brush, brush a small amount of chocolate on the back of each eye and secure in place.

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This years bake off final really was super exciting and I was so happy for Peter to win, he thoroughly deserved it! Emily enjoyed it so much this year too and was quite sad this week when she realised there was no bake off to watch when she got home from school. But we still have one technical to do at some point as we never got round to making the eclairs. But for now I am looking forward to doing some Christmas baking! So here’s the last technical challenge and they certainly saved a good one till last! Click here to see how we got on.

Prue’s recipe for the walnut whirls can be found here. The girls helped make the biscuits and the ganache, then the rest was down to me. Unfortunately my ganache didn’t really firm up, even after several hours in the fridge, so when I piped it I ended up with a puddle on the top of each biscuit. I ended up putting it in the freezer and managed to squish it into roughly the right shape on top of each biscuit. Luckily my marshmallow hadn’t set too much in the piping bag so I was still able to pip around the outside of the ganache.

Covering them with chocolate was pretty messy! The recipe made about 3 times the amount, so I just kept remelting the chocolate to cover the rest and we had plenty of left over marshmallow too. They were super yummy, probably my favourite technical along with the doughnuts! We’ve had so much fun again this year and really enjoyed trying a few things that we wouldn’t normally attempt. Now time for some Christmas baking!

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We were all very excited for chocolate week on the GBBO, its got to be one of our favourite things to bake with in our house. And even better, the babka was a perfect treat for breakfast at the weekend. So on Friday when Emily finished school, we headed home and made the chocolate fill and the dough. Click here to see how we got on.

Once the chocolate filling was made and cooling down in the fridge, we make the dough, it was very sticky, but I kept the mixer running and amazingly it all came together to make a super soft lovely dough. Once done, I rolled it out and Emily helped sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top, before I rolled it up, cut it and plaited it. It was actually relatively easy to do.

I then left it to prove, but even after 3 hours there was barely any change and I was running out of time before going to bed, so I just bake it anyway. Luckily it rose a bit, not as much as I had hoped, but when we cut into it for breakfast on Saturday morning it was beautifully soft and light and the chocolate filling was so super rich and sugary, we all loved it!

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Emily was very excited again this week to watch the bake off when she got back from school on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and couldn’t wait for Saturday morning to make the technical challenge. Coconut macaroons are one of Rich’s favourites, so he was pretty happy too! Click here to see how we got on this week.

Luckily we had all the ingredients and even had some frozen mango which I cooked with some lime juice and zest to make a purée. The recipe for the macaroons can be found here. I used desiccated coconut instead of coconut flakes as that’s all I had, but they seemed to work ok. The mixture was far too hard to pipe for the mango curd filled ones, may be due to the desiccated coconut absorbing some of the moisture, but I shaped them into little nest shapes with a teaspoon and my finger instead. 

We had a few problems with Chloe eating the chunks of chocolate before we managed to put them in the centre of the coconut mixture as captured in the photo and then picking at the coconut mixture too! Cheeky monkey! 
The final macaroons were a decent size and we enjoyed trying them with a cup of tea on Saturday afternoon! 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just love making and decorating Christmas cakes, so as a Christmas pressie this year for our friends Matt and Beckie and their 2 kids I decided to make them a cake again! While we were away with them in the Peak District I was looking at pictures of Christmas cakes on Pinterest and Freddie and Ellie loved all the penguin ones, so I thought that’s what I would do. I found a few designs and picked my favourite bits to design this cake. Click here to see some more photos and info on decorating it.

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PC177229.JPGOne of Rich’s favourite treats is rocky road, we even had the bottom tier of our wedding cake made from rocky road! So making a Christmas version would definitely be popular in our house. I cut this recipe out of Olive Magazine last Christmas but never got round to making it, so this year when I was looking through my recipes I added this one to the list. Click here to give this a go.

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I wanted to do something different for our Christmas cake this year, so decided on a big Father Christmas! I found a lovely design on Pinterest and thought I would give it a go, Emily is very excited about Father Christmas this year so I thought it was perfect. This year I am breaking from some of the traditional recipes I usually make, so the Christmas cake is a new one from October’s Sainsbury’s Magazine – clementine and chocolate, can’t wait to try it! Click here to see the recipe and more pics of the cake.

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Before we start all our Christmas baking I thought I would quickly upload some photos of the cake that Emily made for Rich for his Birthday this year. We all love watching the Great British Bake Off and also enjoy watching An Extra Slice. Rich’s absolute favourite bit is when they show photos of things that other people have had a go at baking, in particular the famous hedgehog cakes. So for his Birthday this year I thought we could make him a hedgehog cake and I would let Emily decorate it all by herself! I was secretly hoping it would be very funny leaving a 4 year old to do it! Click here to see how Emily got on.

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