Chocolate, Pistachio and Almond Biscotti

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

These cheerful biscotti make a deliciously light treat at the end of a meal. Traditionally taken with coffee, Donna Hay has the idea of serving them with gently steamed milk infused with mood-lifting spices like cinnamon and star anise.

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Makes : 50

Ingredients:
300g plain wholewheat flour, sifted
35g cocoa, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
175g brown sugar
80g blanched almonds
45g unsalted shelled pistachios
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml milk

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF. Place the wholewheat flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Add the brown sugar, blanched almonds and shelled pistachios and mix well. Add the eggs and milk then mix until a firm dough forms (this may take some time).

Step Two : Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide the mixture in half and shape into two logs. Place on two baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool.

Step Three : Reduce the oven to 140oC / 275oF. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into thin slices and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Rich Chocolate Mint Whip

Serves : 4
Prep time : 15 mins, plus chilling time

This scrummy dessert can be made with orange zest instead of the peppermint.

Ingredients:
7oz (200g) milk chocolate
7oz (200g) white chocolate
9oz (250g) fromage frais
2 drops peppermint flavouring
3 egg whites
Mint leaves, to decorate

Step One : Melt 6oz (175g) of the milk chocolate and 6oz (175g) of the white chocolate separately over pans of simmering water. Grate the remaining chocolate and set aside. Remove the chocolate from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Divide the fromage frais in half and stir one half into each bowl of chocolate then beat well.

Step Two : Add peppermint essence to the white chocolate mixture. Whisk the egg whites until they just hold their shape. Stir a spoonful into each bowl to lighten the mixture. Divide the remaining egg white between the two mixtures and fold in.

Step Three : Place alternate spoonfuls of the mixtures in four tall glasses. Or if you want to serve six, put it in six ramekins.

Step Four : Decorate with remaining grated chocolate and mint leaves. Place in fridge to set.

Tip: For a lower calorie pud, replace the full fat fromage frais with a low fat version.

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Chocolate Seed Soldiers

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

These seed soldiers are excellent allies in the war against afternoon slumps. Practically jumming with energy, they will deliver a cargo of essential minerals to service your mojo alongside battery-boosting B vitamins. Goji berries are rich in iron, protein and vitamins C, E and A.

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Makes 20 generous servings

Ingredients:
1 cup (100g) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup (105g) milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (180g) cashew nut butter
1/2 cup (80g) raisins
1/2 cup (65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup (not honey)
3 tblsp raw Cacao Nibs
2 tblsp goji berries , plus extra to decorate
Up to 1 tblsp Tamari or raw coconut aminos
130g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

Step One : In a food processor (a fork and a temper will also work), combine everything except the dark chocolate and decorative goji berries. Spread it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin – the perfect size is 20 x 25cm, a little larger than the usual 20 x 20 cm square brownie tin. Place another piece of parchment on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with your fingers. Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top parchment. Chill in the fridge.

Step Two : Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate in a bain-marie – a pot of simmering water, 2 1/2 cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise be. The contents of the bowl will gently melt from the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

Step Three : Smother the chilled base in melted chocolate and parachute a couple of goji berries on top for colour. Refrigerate overnight. I doubt you’ll need an alarm clock to wake you in the morning.

Turkish Delight Chocolate Mousse

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (September 2015) and taken from In the Mood for Healthy Food by Jo Pratt.

This rose-scented mousse is rich and creamy, yet far healthier than standard chocolate mousse. Instead of cream, Avocados are used, which give a thick, creamy texture and also make this dessert dairy-free, much lower in saturated fat and loaded with antioxidants and omegas. As for the chocolate, providing you use a high cocoa solid chocolate (such as 70 per cent), you’ll consume less sugar, and more antioxidants, iron and magnesium than other types of chocolate. I think that makes this delicious dessert guilt-free!

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
75g dark, bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 egg whites
3 tblsp agave syrup
1 ripe small-medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 tsp rosewater, plus extra to taste
1 tblsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
A pinch of dried rose petals, optional

 

Step One : Gently melt the chocolate either in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or on a low heat in the microwave. Once melted, leave to cool to room temperature.

Step Two : In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the agave syrup and continue whisking until they form firm peaks.

Step Three : Blend the avocado and rosewater with a hand-blender until completely smooth, then mix into the chocolate. If the avocado isn’t smooth enough, you can pass it through a sieve or fine mesh strainer using a spatula to remove any lumps. Mix in one spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the rest.

Step Four : Spoon the mousse into glasses or dishes. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, then scatter with chopped pistachios and rose petals, and serve.

Tip : If you want to try something other than rosewater to flavour the mousse, you could add: grated zest of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a few drops of coconut extract or a pinch of ground cardamom seeds.

Chocolate Beef Chilli with Jalapeno And Cheese Scones

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna published in Psychologies Magazine (February 2019)chocolate beef chilli with jalapeno and cheese scones

Ingredients for the Chilli :
50g salted butter
300g minced beef
1 small white onion or shallot, finely chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 small dried chillies, chopped
100g smoked bacon lardons
100g fully cured, ready-to-eat chorizo, diced
150ml red wine
400g can cherry tomatoes
300ml water
1 tblsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped fresh or dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp tomato ketchup
50g dark chocolate, grated
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

For the scones :
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tblsp baking powder
Pinch of fine sea salt
50g salted butter, chilled and cubed
125g Dubliner cheese, grated
2 jalapeno chillies, finely chopped
125-150ml milk or buttermilk

Serves : 6

Step One : Place a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and add half the butter. Once melted, add the minced beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Step Two : Add the remaining butter to the casserole dish, stir in the onion or shallot, ginger and garlic and cook for two minutes, then stir in the cumin, cinnamon and dried chillies and cook for a further minute. Add the bacon lardons and chorizo and cook, stirring for about three minutes until lovely and crispy.

Step Three : Return the beef to the pan and stir well. Pour in the red wine and cook for two minutes more. Then add the tomatoes, measured water, sugar, oregano, bay leaves and ketchup. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat for two hours.

Step Four : While the chilli is cooking, make the jalapeno and cheese scones. Preheat the oven to 200oC , gas mark 6, and dust a baking tray with flour. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in half the grated cheese, followed by half the jalapenos, then gradually mix in enough milk with a fork to make a soft dough.

Step Five : Roll out the dough on a floured work surface into a round, 1 cm deep. Cut into six wedges, place on the floured baking tray and sprinkle the remaining cheese and jalapenos on top. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Step Six : Remove the lid of the casserole and stir in the chocolate and kidney beans, then simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Serve with the jalapeno and cheese scones.

Raspberry and Rose Chocolate Wafers

Recipe taken from Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 irresistible homemade presents for every occasion by Annie Rigg and courtesy of Easy Living Magazine.

Makes about 24 wafers

A box of thse chocolate wafers would make an ideal gift for mums – they are easy enough for little hands to make as the only cooking required is to melt the chocolate. Freeze-dried raspberries are available online or from good health food shops. As an alternative you could top the chocolate wafers with candied stem ginger or chopped dried fruit and nuts.

Raspberry and Rose Chocolate wafersIngredients:-
150g (5oz) best-quality dark chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
150g (5oz) best-quality white chocolate
3-4 tblsp freeze-dried raspberry crispies (around 25g / ¾ oz)
3-4 tblsp crystallized rose petals
3-4 tblsp pink sugared rose chips or sugar sprinkles

Step One : Line two large baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Step Two : Break the dark and white chocolate into pieces and melt separately in heatproof bowls set over pans of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, remove from the heat and cool slightly. Spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of melted chocolate on to the prepared baking sheets, spreading the chocolate into discs with the back of the spoon. Scatter with the raspberry crispies, rose petals and rose chips or sugar sprinkles.

Step Three : Set aside to cool and harden completely before removing from the parchment with a palette knife.

Step Four : Stored in an airtight container, these will keep for four to five days.

Link to book containing recipe can be found here …

Devil’s Food Cake

Devils Food CakeServes: 8-10

Sponge Ingredients:-
140g (5oz) plain chocolate
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) milk
2 tblsp cocoa powder
140g (5oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
140g (5oz) ligh Muscovado sugar
3 eggs, separated
4 tblsp soured cream or crème fraiche
200g (7oz) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Frosting Ingredients:-
140g (5oz) plain chocolate
40g (1 ½ oz) cocoa powder
4 tblsp soured cream or crème fraiche
1 tblsp golden syrup
40g (1 ½ oz) unsalted butter
4 tblsp water
200g (7oz) icing sugar

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF / Gas Mark 3. Grease two 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.

Step Two : Break up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, add the milk and cocoa powder, then heat gently, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : In a large bowl beat the butter and Muscovado sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, then beat in the soured cream and the melted chocolate mixture.

Step Four : Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then fold in evenly. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff enough to hold firm peaks. Fold into the mixture lightly and evenly.

Step Five : Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins, smooth level and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Step Six : To make the frosting, put the chocolate, cocoa powder, soured cream, golden syrup, butter and water in a saucepan and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and sift in the sugar, stirring until smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken and hold its shape.

Step Seven : Split the cakes in half horizontally with a sharp knife to make four layers. Sandwich the cakes together with about a third of the frosting. Spread the remainder over the top and side of the cake swirling with a palette knife.

Tip: Use a metal, ceramic or glass bowl when whisking egg whites. Plastic bowls scratch easily, so may not be grease-free, and will prevent the whites from foaming.

Truffle Cheesecake

Light sponge with a rich chocolate and almond topping laced with rum for an extra special dessert.

Serves: 10

Prep time: 25 mins; Cook time: 1 hour

Base Ingredients:
1 egg;
1oz (25g) caster sugar
1oz (25g) plain flour, sifted;
Few drops vanilla essence

Topping Ingredients:
1 ½ lb (675g) cream cheese
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200g/7oz plain chocolate, melted
2 tblsp milk
5 tblsp dark rum
7oz (200g) carton fromage frais
2oz (50g) ground almonds
cocoa powder for dusting

Step One : Grease and line a 21cm/8 1/2 in spring clip tin.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 190oC / 375oF.

Step Three : Whisk egg and sugar together until mixture leaves a trail. Fold in the flour and vanilla essence. Pour into tin, spread evenly and bake for 10 minutes until golden and risen.

Step Four : Turn the sponge onto sugared paper. Wash, grease and re-line the base and sides of spring clip tin. Return sponge to tin. Lower oven to Mark 4 / 180oC / 350oF.

Step Five : Put cream cheese into a bowl and beat in caster sugar and eggs. Add the chocolate, milk, rum, fromage frais and almonds. Beat well and pour on top of sponge base. Bake for 45-50 minutes until set.

Step Six : Turn off oven and leave cheesecake to cool in oven for 2-3 hours.

Step Seven : Dust with cocoa before serving.

Tip: This rich cheesecake is delicious served slightly warm or at room temperature. It is best eaten within 24 hours and is not suitable for freezing.

Click on the book cover to find more cheesecake recipes …

Chocolate and Chestnut Cake

Cuts into 10-12 slices

Ingredients for the cake:
4 medium eggs separated
250g (8oz) caster sugar
90g (3oz) plain chocolate, grated
435g can chestnut puree.

Ingredients for the filling:
150ml (1/4 pint) double cream
30g (1oz) caster sugar
1 tbsp brandy, optional
Icing sugar, for dusting
two 20cm (8in) round sandwich tins, base lined with greaseproof paper

Step One : Set the oven to Gas 4/180oC/350oF.

Step Two : To make the cake: Whisk the egg yolks and the caster sugar together until thick and creamy. Fold in the chocolate and three-quarters of the chestnut puree.

Step Three : Whisk egg whites until stiff, then fold into the chocolate and chestnut mixture. Divide between the tins and level the surface.

Step Four : Bake the cakes in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins, until they are firm in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 mins before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.

Step Five : To make the filling: Lightly whip the cream and sugar together. Mix the brandy, if using, with the remaining chestnut puree, then fold the puree into the cream.

Step Six : Spread filling over one cake layer. Place the other on top. Dust with icing sugar.

Additional recipes for using Chestnuts can be found here …

Raw Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cups

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Summer 2017)

The heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate is always decadent, and the unprocessed versions of both ingredients are wonderfully nutritious, say Melissa Sharp and Lindsay Stark in Modern Baker: A New Way To Bake (Ebury Press, £26).  This is their take on the peanut butter cup – and they make fab individual desserts, too.

Makes 12 standard cups or 24 mini cups

For the Peanut Butter Base:-

200g peanut butter
180g pitted dates
100g oats
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp coconut oil

For the chocolate topping:-

100g coconut oil
30g raw cacao powder
2 tbsp date syrup

Step One: Grease 2 x 12 hole mini-muffin trays or a 12-hole standard muffin try with a neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil (not coconut oil as this will go solid and won’t prevent the mixture from sticking).

Step Two:  In a food processor, blend together all the peanut butter base ingredients until they come together in a smooth mass, with no lumps of date.

Step Three:  Divide the mixture evenly among the holes in the tray and press down firmly.  Place the tray in the freezer while you make the topping.

Step Four:  For the chocolate topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and warm over a gentle heat until the coconut oil is melted.  The date syrup can sink to the bottom, so make sure that you stir the mixture well.

Step Five:  Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mix and return the tray to the freezer for at least 1 hour.  These lovely cups keep really well in the freezer for up to a month, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Defrost for 1-2 hours in the fridge before eating.

Nutrition note:  Dates are rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre.  The humble peanut is often eclipsed these days by more ‘fashionable’ nuts, but it can punch its nutritional weight alongside all of them.