Spanish Hot Chocolate – Chocolate Caliente

Check out this indulgent creamy Spanish Hot Chocolate for during the Winter months.

Full Credit for photography and recipe to Vicky and Ruth of May I have that Recipe

Alfajores de Chocolate (Argentine Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)

Alfajores de Chocolate

This chocolate recipe was inspired by Alfajores from Argentina and the author Maria has created Chocolate Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies or as Maria may affectionately call them, Alfajores de Chocolate.  These delicious cookies are sandwiched together with Dulce de Leche and coated in a delicious chocolate that will simply melt in your mouth.

Dulce de leche is a South American confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from the Maillard reaction of the product, changing flavor and color.  The recipe for Dulce de leche can be found HERE.

For a converter, simply go HERE.

Full credit for this recipe and photography goes to the lovely Maria del Mar Sacasa who is a food stylist, recipe developer and writer who can be found at Serious Eats.  To find out more about Maria, visit her website HERE.

Ingredients for the Cookies

  • 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for shaping dough
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 2 (13.4-ounce) cans dulce de leche (See recipe HERE)

For the Coating:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Method

  1. For the Cookies: In small bowl, combine brandy, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter, sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add honey and coffee mixture and beat just until combined, scraping sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
  3. Sift flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt over butter mixture and combine with rubber spatula until dough comes together. Press plastic wrap directly onto dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Once chilled, lightly coat fingers with flour and scoop 1-tablespoon portions of dough onto prepared baking sheets and pat down to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter (thickness will be about 1/4 inch).
  6. Bake cookies—one sheet at a time—until cookies are set and appear dry on the surface, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer sheets to cooling rack and cool cookies until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies directly to cooling rack and cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  7.  For the Filling: Once cooled, spread half the cookies with 1 heaping tablespoon dulce de leche. Cover with remaining cookies.
  8. For the Coating: Melt semisweet and bittersweet chocolate and shortening in large metal bowl set over pot of simmering water (bottom of bowl should not make contact with surface of water). Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is smooth and melted. Alternatively, combine chocolate and shortening in large bowl and microwave 1 to 2 minutes until mixture is smooth, stopping microwave every 20 seconds to stir.
  9. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Carefully drop one sandwich cookie into the melted chocolate. With soup spoons, gently turn cookie to coat. Transfer cookie to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cookies.
  11.  Transfer cookies to refrigerator and chill until set, 15 to 30 minutes.

Makes 18 sandwich cookies

 

Desfrutar!

Dark Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Espresso-Chocolate Sauce

Dark Chocolate Souffle Cakes with Espresso Chocolate Sauce

Who doesn’t love the bittersweet combination of chocolate and coffee?  This rich dark chocolate souffle cake is self saucing with an espresso chocolate sauce.  Easy to make and a great addition to your next dinner party menu or a perfect treat for your family!

For a converter, simply click HERE.

Ingredients

Softened butter and granulated sugar for the ramekins

For the espresso-chocolate sauce you will need the following:

  1. 1 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder
  2. 8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  3. 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unnsalted butter, cut into eight  pieces
  4. Table salt

For the souffle cakes you will need the following ingredients:

  1. 2 Tbs. unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  2. 2 large eggs, separated
  3. 1 large egg white
  4. 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  5. 3 Tbs. granulated sugar

Put a metal or Pyrex pie plate or cake pan in the freezer to chill. Lightly butter six 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups. Coat with sugar and tap out the excess.

 

Method for making the Sauce:

1. In a small bowl, combine the espresso powder with 2 Tbs. warm water and stir to dissolve.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl set in or over a skillet of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently, until smooth. Add two pinches of salt, stir, and remove from the heat. Transfer 5 Tbs. of the chocolate mixture to the espresso and stir to blend. (Set the remaining melted chocolate aside.)

3. Use a spatula to scrape the espresso mixture into a puddle on the chilled pie plate or cake pan and return to the freezer until firm, about 10  minutes. When the espresso-chocolate mixture is firm, use a teaspoon to scrape it into six rough balls. Keep the balls on the plate and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

How to make the soufflé cakes:

1. Reheat the remaining chocolate mixture by setting its bowl in or over the skillet of hot water.  When it’s warm, remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and the 2 egg yolks.

2. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed in a stand mixer (or on high speed with a hand-held mixer) until the whites mound gently. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat until the whites form medium-stiff peaks when you lift the beaters; the tips should curl over but still look moist, glossy, and flexible. With a rubber spatula, fold about one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten it. Scrape the remaining whites into the bowl and gently fold in until blended, taking care not to deflate the whites.

3. Take the chocolate balls out of the refrigerator and put one ball in the center of each ramekin. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins and level the tops gently with the back of a spoon.

4. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; heat the oven to 400°F.  Put the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake until the soufflé cakes are puffed and possibly a little cracked on top (a toothpick inserted in the center will meet no resistance and emerge mostly clean—the tip will be wet from the sauce at the bottom), 11 to 14 min.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

 

Tips for making this recipe ahead of time

The assembled, unbaked soufflé cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to two days. They do not need to come to room temperature before baking, but baking time will be one or two minutes longer.

 

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

 

Enjoy!

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!

If you need a converter simply click HERE.

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!

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Who doesn’t love chocolate and hazelnut together?  This flourless cake takes advantage of these two flavors and creates a mouth watering cake that is absolutely decadent.

For a converter, simply click here.

Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g butter, chopped
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
  • double cream, to serve

Chocolate Icing:

  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup pure cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.

  2. Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until thick and creamy. Add chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Add hazelnut meal. Beat to combine.

  4. Place eggwhites in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, stir one-third of eggwhites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining eggwhite through chocolate mixture.

  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

  6. Make Chocolate icing: Place chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Spread over top and side of cake. Stand for 10 minutes or until icing has set. Serve with cream.

To check out the original recipe by Liz Macri and photography by Mark O’Meara simply click here.

Spoil yourself!

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!

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Oh my!  Check out this Triple Chocolate Cheesecake that not only looks absolutely amazing, but tastes even better!  This is one of those perfect desserts that people go “wow”over at dinner parties.   You could even change it around and decorate it as a Birthday Cheesecake which is what I did the first time I made it.  I originally found this gorgeous recipe over at Taste and looked around for the creative mystery person who put this one together, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find a name.  If you happen to know the person, I’d love to find out who it was so I can list their name on here as this is one cake that deserves a lot of credit!  It is absolutely divine.

I adapted a few things in this recipe as I couldn’t find the same ingredients as the original recipe mentioned.  Yes,  there is a LOT OF CHOCOLATE in this recipe.  You’ll love it!

If you need a measurement converter (like I usually do) this is the one I use here.

Ingredients

  • 300g plain chocolate biscuits (I used any sort of plain chocolate biscuit/cookie that I could find in the supermarket – it’ll work just fine.)
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 x 200g pkt Cadbury white chocolate baking block, coarsely chopped  (Or Nestle White Milk Chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) boiling water
  • 3 teaspoons gelatine powder  (This was the hardest thing to find in the supermarket!)
  • 3 x 250g pkts cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
  • 300ml ctn thickened full cream
  • 1 x 200g pkt Cadbury MILK chocolate baking block, coarsely chopped (I used a block of plain old Cadbury Milk Chocolate for this one)
  • 1 x 200g pkt Cadbury DARK chocolate baking block, coarsely chopped (I used Green’s Organic Dark Chocolate for this one)
  • 100g Cadbury white chocolate melts
  • 250g punnet strawberries, washed, dried (I used raspberries to decorate on top of my cheesecake as they were in season)
  1. Grease and line the base and side of a 23cm (base measurement) springform pan.
  2. Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press mixture firmly over the base and side of the pan. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  3. Place the Cadbury white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts. Remove from heat.
  4. Place the boiling water in a small heatproof glass. Sprinkle over the gelatine. Stir until gelatine dissolves.
  5. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the cream and beat until smooth. Add the gelatine mixture and stir until well combined. Add one-third of the cream cheese mixture to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes or until the surface is set.
  6. Meanwhile, place the Cadbury milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts. Add half the remaining cream cheese mixture to the chocolate and stir to combine. Pour over the white-chocolate mixture and smooth the surface. Return to the freezer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, place the Cadbury dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts. Add to the remaining cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Pour over the milk chocolate layer and smooth the surface. Place in the fridge for 3 hours or until set.
  8. Meanwhile, line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the Cadbury white chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Dip a strawberry into the melted chocolate to lightly coat. Transfer to the lined tray. Repeat with remaining chocolate and strawberries. Set aside for 30 minutes to set.
  9. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Top with chocolate dipped strawberries to serve (or whatever fruit is in season in your area!)

 

Bon Appetit!

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!

 

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

Check out this Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe.  Made with organic dark chocolate and hazelnut meal, each heavenly bite will melt in your mouth.  I originally found this recipe by Katrina Woodman of Taste, although I have adapted the original recipe to make this cake with the particular flavors that I prefer.  The overall balance of chocolate and hazelnut flavor is perfection.  Photo by Mark O’Meara.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (OR 2 to 3 shots of espresso)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 180g dark chocolate, chopped (I use an Organic Dark Chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal (ground almonds) OR I prefer to use Hazelnut Meal (I find Hazelnut & Chocolate make a perfect pair for flavor)
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Double cream and strawberries, to serve (or see Chocolate Sauce Recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm round (base) spring-form cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.
  2. Place coffee powder and boiling water in a heatproof jug. Stir to dissolve. Place butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and combined. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes or until thick. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (see Cooking class, below).
  4. Add chocolate mixture and almond meal to egg yolk mixture. Stir to combine. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold half the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Repeat with remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool cake completely in pan. Dust with cocoa.   The original recipe suggests to serve with cream and strawberries but I like to serve with a chocolate sauce (Yeah, I’m a sweet tooth!).  I use this Chocolate Sauce Recipe.

Simple Chocolate Sauce

Simple Chocolate Sauce Recipe

This is an essential little Chocolate Sauce recipe to have in your recipe collection.  I think everyone has one of these recipes in their collection and they’re usually only two ingredients and this one is easy to prepare and tastes delicious!  Original Recipe by Valli Little and Photo by Ben Dearnley.

You will need 

  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped (I use organic)
  • 200ml pure cream (pouring cream)

Place the chocolate into a bowl, then pour the cream into a pan over medium heat and bring to just below the boiling point.  Pour over your chocolate then stir until the mixture is smooth.  To make more or less of this sauce, simply adjust the amount of your ingredients.

Enjoy!