Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Nuts

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Nuts

This absolutely delicious dessert has a buttery shortbread tart crust and is filled with a rich, dark chocolate and garnished with salty sweet caramelized nuts of your choice and sea salt.  Such a fantastic combination of flavors!

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Tart Base

4 oz (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt
4-1/2 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour

Method for Tart Base

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, zest, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. If the dough seems too soft to work with, let it sit for a few minutes to firm up. Press the dough into a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Start with the sides, making them about 1/4 inch thick, and then press the remaining dough evenly over the bottom, pressing well into the corners. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or chill until ready to bake (you can make the crust up to 3 days ahead).

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Put the pan on a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, checking after about 15 minutes to see if the dough has puffed. Press the dough down with the back of a fork and prick a few times if necessary.

Tart Filling

1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbs granulated sugar
Pinch table salt
7 oz semisweet chocolate (up to 64% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Method for Tart Filling

In a small saucepan bring the half-and-half, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Off the heat, add the chocolate and stir with a whisk until completely melted and smooth. Cover to keep warm.

Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. When the crust is done, lower the oven temperature to 300°F. Pour the filling into the hot crust. Return the tart (still on the baking sheet) to the oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges but still jiggles a little in the center when you nudge the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Caramelized Nuts

1/2 cup salted nuts of your choice (for example: peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts etc)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt

Method for Caramelized Nuts

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Microwave the nuts on high for 1 minute so they will be warm when you add them to the caramel.  Alternatively, heat them in 200°F oven while you make the caramel.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a heavy 3-quart saucepan.  Pour the sugar and salt in the center of the pan and pat it down just until evenly moistened (there should be clear water all around the sugar). Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 4 minutes. Uncover and cook without stirring until the syrup begins to color slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, swirling the pot gently if the syrup colors unevenly.

When the caramel is a pale to medium yellow, less than 1 minute more, add the warm nuts. With a heatproof silicone spatula, stir gently and slowly to coat the nuts with caramel. Continue to cook until a bead of caramel dribbled onto a white plate is reddish amber, about 1-1/2 minutes more. Immediately scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it as thin as you can before it hardens. When the caramel is slightly cooled but still warm, slide the foil with the caramel nuts into a zip-top plastic bag and seal the bag.  Cool completely.  Chop or crush.

To Serve

Serve at room temperature or slightly cool.  Garnish each slice with crushed salted caramelized nuts along with a light sprinkling of flaky sea salt or fleur de sel.

The tart is best on the day it’s made but may be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.  Once the tart is completely chilled, cover it, but make sure no plastic wrap touches the surface by first putting the tart pan in a larger cake pan. Or cover the tart with an overturned plate.

Serves 12-14

Full credit for this wonderful recipe goes to Alice Medrich and photography by Scott Phillips.

Bon Appetit!

Chocolate Chunky Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunky Fudge Cookies

This fabulously delicious recipe for Chocolate Chunky Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies is filled with swirls of peanut butter and melted chunky chocolate pieces which will melt in your mouth with each bite.  They are also easy enough to prepare so kids would have an absolute ball making them.  Perfect with cold or hot beverages, as a lunchbox snack or just to reward yourself with something divinely decadent.

This is a slight adaptation of the original recipe.  Although, you can find the original recipe and photography by the lovely Jenny here at Picky Palate.  Be sure to check in and see what else Jenny has on the menu and her new Cookbook!

Tip:  If you would prefer a Gluten Free version, try substituting the plain flour with your Gluten Free flour.  There are many on the market nowdays to choose from.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup smooth (or crunchy) peanut butter
  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) butter softened (I prefer unsalted butter for this recipe)
  • 1 cup raw granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used Plain Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks (I used 2 x Green’s Organic Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch Processed Cocoa)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line a large greased baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Place peanut butter into the freezer until firm, approx 30 minutes.

3.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined.   Add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla, beating until well combined.

4.  Place the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.

5.  Add to wet ingredients along with cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks, slowly mixing until just combined.

6.  Drop dollops of frozen peanut butter into dough and turn mixer on for just a few turns of the mixer to get swirls of peanut butter through the dough.

7.  Put approximately 1 tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking tray, approx an inch apart from each other.

8.  Bake for 14 to 16 minutes until cooked through.

9.  Allow to cool on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie

Check out this Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie recipe that really hits the spot!  Chocolate and Peanut Butter are a match made in heaven for the sweet vs salty flavors and this little recipe is one to impress.  Perfect for morning or afternoon tea, lunchbox treats or just to indulge yourself with something sweet, these are divine!  The original recipe is by the very creative Michelle Southan of Taste and photography by Ben Dearnley.  This recipe has been adapted from the original one by substituting with an alternate peanut butter and using organic dark chocolate along with dutch processed cocoa.

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 150g dark organic chocolate, coarsely chopped (or plain dark chocolate see original recipe)
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 2 tbs dutch processed cocoa powder (or standard cocoa powder see original recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g (3/4 cup) smooth peanut butter (or crunchy peanut butter see original recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C / 320F (Fan Forced). Brush a 16 x 26cm or 6″ x 10″(base measurement) slab pan with melted butter to grease.  Line base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water. Use a metal spoon to stir until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
  3. Combine the sugar, flour and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add chocolate mixture and eggs and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Spoon peanut butter over brownie mixture and use a round-bladed knife to create swirls.
  4. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.  (Optional:  Serve with a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream)

 

Michelle Southan’s recipes are always delicious and all I can say is … Enjoy either a slight variation or a fabulous original!

 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Recipe

This delicious Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie can be made low fat with low sugar or if you decide to be a little naughty … you can make the smoothie on full cream milk and use honey for your sweetener.  Either way, it’s sure to be a big hit not only because it’s a healthy alternative to the usual smoothie you buy at the store, but because it’s so big on taste that kids and adults alike LOVE IT!  This fabulous little recipe makes a great protein treat on a warm day.

You will find this recipe at a fantastic food blog called Hot Polka Dot which is the cutest name for a blog (in my opinion!) along with her beautiful photography (especially the polka dot cloth!)  Be sure to check out Lindsey’s other recipes.  They’re amazing! (So is the photography!)

Enjoy … Cheers!