Procrastination Chocolate Tarts

So. I’m meant to be writing my dissertation. And revising. For my exams (I have four exams in one week, I’m sorry, what?) But I can’t get motivated. I really can’t.

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So, instead, I’m spending all my time looking through cookbooks, you know, to motivate myself.  And doing a lot of daydreaming. Dreaming of a time when exams are ooooover and essays are no more and days are hot and long and I can stop wearing a scarf in my actual house.

And dreaming of chocolate.

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And then cooking chocolate. As I’m sure you can tell, revision is going greeeeaaaaaat.

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Queen of Sheba Chocolate Tart  (recipe adapted from  Great British Bake Off: How to Bake:)

100g dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, broken up
2 tbsp strong coffee
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
pinch each of salt and cream of tartar
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
65g plain flour

To make the sponge, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the coffee, and melt over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water.

Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly  until the butter looks creamy. Gradually beat in 100g sugar, (save the 2 tbsp for the egg whites), and continue beating until the mixture looks very pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and continue whisking until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted out. Whisk in the 2 tbsp sugar and continue whisking for another minute or until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. (Don’t make the mistake I did of attempting this by hand- ouch!)

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Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the butter and sugar mixture followed by the ground almonds and almond extract. Fold in one-quarter of the egg whites.

When completely incorporated sift half the flour onto the mixture. Add half of the remaining egg whites and gently fold in. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined small round cake tin and spread evenly. (I made four small tarts, instead of one big one). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and be careful not to overcook –  the centre should still be just moist.

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For the icing:
100g dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, broken up
1 tbsp strong coffee
100g unsalted butter

To make the icing, melt the chocolate with the coffee. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the butter a little at a time to make a smooth, glossy icing. Leave to cool, stirring frequently, until thick enough to spread.

Spread the chocolate icing evenly over the top and around the sides. Leave until almost set.

To decorate, I melted some chocolate, spread it on a baking sheet and let it set, then broke it up into shards and arranged them on top of the tarts.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and cocoa powder and enjoy!

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xxR

Chocolate and Chilli Cupcakes, inspired by Mexico

I just got back from Mexico. It was amazing- the weather was perfect, the people were lovely and the food! The food was to die for. (Mexican has always been my favourite)

The thing about Mexican food is how spicy everything is. Okay, not spicy like ah thats too spicy get me some water and yoghurt spicy. SPICE-y. They use so many different spices in their food that there is such a huge depth of flavour to every mouthful.

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I have a feeling that the whole chilli/chocolate combination was first used by the Mayans, and mainly in savoury food, but it has, as I’m sure you know, taken off. Chilli and chocolate are everywhere!

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So these are my homage to Mehico, and all things spicy and delicious.

Chilli and Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing

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4 ounces of butter

4 ounces of sugar (I used 2 ounces of caster and 2 of brown, mainly because I didn’t have enough caster, but they tasted great, so maybe brown sugar is the way to go?)

2 eggs

4 ounces of flour

1 ounce of cocoa powder

50g melted chocolate

4 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of chilli powder

Beat together butter and sugar, then add eggs and mix until well combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa and powder and mix well.

In a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Add this to the mixture

Pour in the milk and stir in. Finally, add the chilli- go slow and keep tasting it to make sure you don’t waaaay over do it! (Also a great excuse to lick the spoon- a lot!)

Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and bake at 180 degree for 15 minutes.

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For the icing: (I was going to make Ganache Icing to go on top, but when I looked in the fridge I realised that I didn’t have enough cream, soooo… I had to modify my original plan, however this icing tasted pretty great. Have you noticed that me not having the ingredients I need is turning into a bit of a trend?)

100g chocolate

75ml milk

110g butter

150g icing sugar

Heat the milk and a small knob of the butter in a saucepan until it is nearly boiling- but not quite! Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and you have a silky smooth mixture.

Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the remaining butter and icing sugar until you have what is almost a buttercream icing but less soft. Pour the chocolate mixture in, which will soften the icing and make it pliable and easy to work with.

Spoon onto the cupcakes and spread. It will be quite runny, so tread carefully- but it ends up looking really shiny and very appealing!

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xxR

Creme Egg (inspired) Cupcakes

Yes, I know Easter’s been and gone, and the whole chocolate egg thing probably seems a bit passe by now. Trust me, I’m just as sick of chocolate as the next person.

However, it was all the Creme Eggs that have been filling the shops for months that inspired this recipe.

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What is it about the Creme Egg that people love so much? The chocolate is just standard chocolate, and yes, the inside is tasty deliciousness, but I think that what is actually so wonderful about these indulgent treats is the surprise- the first time you bite into one, you have no idea what to expect.

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The same can (sort of) be said for these cupcakes. Filled with icing and gooey caramel, they (sort of) look like a Creme Egg, (sort of) taste like a Creme Egg, and the chocolate outside is (sort of) similar to a Creme Egg.

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Okay, they aren’t THAT much like Creme Eggs. But they are just as delish! (Plus, come on, we’re all a bit sick of eggs by now, aren’t we?!)

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Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

For the cupcakes, I used my most basic, go to chocolate cake recipe:

6 ounces of butter

6 ounces of sugar

3 eggs

6 ounces of self raising flour

1 ounce of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.

Sift in the flour and cocoa and mix until combined. Add milk.

Spoon into cupcake cases and bake in a 180 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cakes have risen and a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle.

For the caramel:

Put 5 tablespoons of caster sugar into a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water and cook on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and then until the caramel has thickened and turned a brownish colour. Add a knob of butter to the caramel to keep it creamy and thick.

For the icing:

140g butter

280g icing sugar

Beat the sugar into the butter, until it is smooth. Add a drop of milk if you need to to loosen the mixture.

Cut a hole in the top of each cupcake, making a sort of lid. Pour in a teaspoon of caramel and a teaspoon of icing. Place the tops back on (you may need to cut off some excess so they fit well).

Cover the top of each cake with icing and decorate as you wish.

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xxR