Although bark doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, this rustic looking sweet treat is quick and easy to make and can be customised to any occasion. It is the ultimate home made gift! In its simplest form, it is a thin sheet of chocolate studded with anything from candy to nuts, dried fruit, seeds and even spices. The chocolate is then broken up into uneven pieces or shards. It is called “bark” because it resembles tree bark.
Continue reading Easter Chocolate Bark
These cigars will be popular with young and old! The recipe can easily be doubled to ensure that there is enough.
Continue reading Chocolate, Date & Almond Cigars
150 ml olive oil (plus more for greasing)
50 g good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
125 ml boiling water
10 ml vanilla extract
150 g ground almonds or almond meal
2.5 ml bicarb of soda
1 ml salt
200 g castor sugar
3 large eggs
- Preheat your oven to 170 ° C and grease a 22 or 23 cm springform tin with a little olive oil and line the base with baking paper.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
- In another smallish bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
- Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or other mixing bowl and electric hand mixer) and beat for about 3 minutes until you have a pale, aerated and thickened cream.
- Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the grounds almonds or almond meal.
- Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin.
- Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.
Makes: 8 to 12 slices.
Replace the almond meal with 200 ml cake flour.
The Italian word, stracciatella, means “little shreds” and describes the chocolate incorporated into ice cream. You achieve this by slowly drizzling melted chocolate into the ice cream just before it is finished churning. As the melted, slightly warm chocolate hits the frozen ice cream, it immediately sets and hardens into small little flakes. It sounds complicated, but it is easy and straight-forward.
300 ml milk
125 ml/100 gsugar
pinch of sea salt
250 ml heavy cream, chilled
6 large egg yolks
125 ml high-quality extra virgin olive oil
100 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
30 ml coconut oil
- Combine the whole milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk together the egg yolks in a large separate bowl and set aside.
- Place the milk mixture over medium-low heat and heat until just barely beginning to simmer.
- Remove from the heat and slowly temper the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking continuously as you pour.
- Return the ice cream base to the saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Place the heavy cream in a large, clean bowl or container (that can easily be set over an ice bath for cooling).
- Once the ice cream base is thick, pour it through a fine-meshed sieve over the cream. Whisk mixture together.
- Slowly whisk the olive oil into the ice cream base–pouring the oil in a thin stream with your other hand as you whisk.
- Place the mixture over an ice bath, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the base has cooled.
- Place ice cream base in an airtight container and set in the refrigerator until it has completely chilled.
- Churn ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler and stir in the coconut oil.
- In the last few minutes of churning, drizzle the chocolate mixture in a thin stream into the ice cream as it is churning.
- Place the ice cream in an airtight container, cover the surface of the ice cream lightly with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Freeze the ice cream for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, or until firm enough to scoop.
- Serve straight out of the container, or alternatively, you can drizzle the ice cream with a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt!
Also known as Souffle Cheesecake, this delightful cake is a cross between a cheesecake and a sponge cake. This quick and easy version is delicous with only 3 ingredients, but this simple cake lends itself to a variety of flavours. See the suggested variations below.
6 large eggs, separated
250 g white chocolate
1 x 250 g cream cheese or creamed cottage cheese
icing sugar, sifted
- Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC. Have a 22 cm spring form cake tin ready.
- Cut a circle the size of the bottom of the spring form cake tin. out of baking paper and place it in the tin. Spray itwith non-stick cooking spray.
- Cut a collar out of baking paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Place the collar in the tin. Set the tin aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler on the stove. When melted, stir until smooth. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer to the firm peak stage.
- Add the cream cheese to the melted chocolate and mix well.
- Add the egg yolks and mix well.
- Add one-third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture and mix well.
- Add the rest of the egg whites and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin.
- Place the cake tin in a roasting pan or ovenproof dish and pour boiling water halfway up the side of the cake tin. I have had success without the water bath as well!
- Please the pan or dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Lower the temperature of the oven to 160ºC and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Switch the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cake tin from the oven and set it aside to cool.
- Remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and invert the cake onto a cake platter.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.
- Substitute the white chocolate for milk or dark chocolate. This cake can be turned into a banting-friendly cake if 85% or 90% dark chocolate is used.
- Add flavourings such as finely chopped lemon zest, coffee or vanilla extract. You can even add used ground coffee (i.e. the coffee that you usually chuck in the bin!)
- Drizzle the cake with melted white or dark chocolate or a combination of both!
I used a 25 cm spring form cake, which rendered a very flat cake. I recommend baking it in a 22 cm spring form pan lined with baking paper in the bottom and a collar along the sides or a 30 cm quiche dish (see 2nd photo).
This ring cake has a velvety texture and incredibly interesting and pleasing flavour – one of the best variations of a chocolate cake and a good way to use bananas that have become a bit too ripe to enjoy as is. The cake is good when just made but the flavour improves if it is kept sealed and refrigerated for a day or two. This cake is certainly fair to bake – it uses 8 Fairtrade certified ingredients!
Serves: 10 to 12
100 g butter or margarine, slightly softened
2 medium-large ripe All Good bananas (Fair Trade certified)
2 large eggs
60 ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
250 ml all-purpose flour
30 ml Organic Desiccated Coconut (Fair Trade certified)
175 ml Organic Cane Sugar (Fair Trade certified)
2.5 ml bicarbonate of soda
60 ml Organic Baking Cocoa (Fair Trade certified)
1 ml Organic Cinnamon Powder (Fair Trade certified)
5 ml vanilla essence or vanilla paste (Fair Trade certified)
± 80 g Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana Chocolate (Fair Trade certified)
60 ml Caffe L’Affare Organic coffee (Fair Trade certified)
5 ml vanilla essence or paste (Fair Trade certified)
Organic desiccated coconut, lightly toasted (Fair Trade certified)
Organic dried banana chips (Fair Trade certified)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a fluted ring tin (± 24 cm diameter) well with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process 1 minute. Scrape the sides once and process 2 minutes more or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Spoon the mixture in the tin, smooth the top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a metal skewer comes out clean if inserted.
- Cool in the tin for at least 5 minutes, loosen carefully and turn out. Allow to cool completely.
- Place the chocolate squares, coffee and vanilla into a small bowl and microwave on medium low for 2 minutes or until softened if tested with the tip of a teaspoon.
- Stir to combine and pour ans spread the chocolate glaze over the cake.
- Decorate with banana chips and toasted coconut as preferred. Serve or refrigerate in an airtight container.
The Fair Trade ingredients can be substituted with similar ingredients.