Tag Archives: Chocolate

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Is the muffin just an ugly cupcake? Well according to T-Shirt makers in 2008, yes they are. Of course the muffin did gain a rather unsavoury reputation just by association with the rather popular “muffin top” saying when referring to a rather inflated midriff.

American muffins, not to be mistaken for their much older English yeasted bread like counterparts, date back to the 19th century. Muffins were in fact quick breads baked in tins with the aid of a chemical leavener. Before the introduction of baking powder pearlash, a refined potash, was used as the raising agent. The pearlash reacted with the acidity of ingredients such as buttermilk to produce carbon dioxide bubbles in the mixture causing the baking product to rise. Potash comes from ashes and lye so I guess it is no wonder that while the pearlash did indeed make a great rising agent it also left a bitter aftertaste in baking.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Recipe

Slightly adapted from Jo Seagar Bakes.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 300gms plain flour
  • 160gm caster sugar
  • 4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 100gm melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 130gm white chocolate bits.

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Spray muffin pans with oil and line with baking paper.

Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla essence.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Add chocolate chips and frozen raspberries, mix until combined. Note: to obtain a nice light muffin be careful not to overwork the ingredients.

Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin pans and bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool enough so that muffins are still warm, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Best served warm.

RAspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Mint Chocolate Macarons

 

While there may be some debate on where the macaron originally came from, a popular, and by far my favourite, version is that it was introduced to France in the 16th century from Italy when Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France. I can just imagine her rocking up to the palace with her Italian pastry chefs in tow looking down her nose at the courtiers and announcing I bring you “the macaron”…. ok possibly that is only the way it happened in my imagination!

Macarons are one of those things that strike fear into the heart of many a baker and I can say from experience that they definitely take practice and the old saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is certainly apt in this case.  This is by far the best attempt I have made at the macaron and it has come about by trial and a lot of error…. I mean practice.

Recipe

Adapted from Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marechal.

Makes 20 filled macarons

Note: you will require a sugar thermometer for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 200gm almond meal
  • 200gm pure icing sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 200gm caster sugar
  • 2 x 80gm egg white
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • mint green food colouring gel
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • 100gm dark chocolate
  • 50gm pure cream.

Method

Place almond meal and icing sugar in food processor and process for 3-5 minutes. Sieve mixture into a mixing bowl and set aside for later use.

Bring water and sugar to boil in a saucepan. At the same time place 80gm of egg white in stand mixer and on a slow speed whisk to soft peaks.

Once your water and sugar temperature has reached 105°C increase the speed of the mixer and beat until the egg whites have reached firm peaks.

Once the temperature of the water and sugar has reached 115°C remove the sugar from the heat and gently pour into the egg whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk at a medium speed. Be careful to pour sugar down the side of the bowl so you don’t hit the whisk. Continue to whisk for 10 minutes to allow mixture to cool.

In the meantime, combine the almond mixture with the remaining 80gm egg white and mix to combine.

Add in peppermint extract to almond mixture.

Add a small amount of gel colour to the almond mixture and mix, add more colour if required. Note: the colour will turn out lighter once you mix in the meringue so you do need to go darker than you want the finished colour to be.

Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture to the almond mixture and fold in until fully combined with a spatula, this will loosen the mixture. Add the remaining meringue and gently fold in until all the colour and mix is evenly combined – at this point be careful to not knock air out of the mix.

Pipe even rounds onto a tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

Leave macarons to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and allow to cool completely before peeling macarons off the paper.

To make ganache bring cream to the boil, pour over chopped chocolate and mix with a spatula until melted and completely smooth. Cool in the fridge until at piping consistency.

Place ganache in a piping bag and pipe onto one side of the shell. Join macarons together.

 

 

Spiced Chocolate Pots-de-Creme

I often supplement my cookbook buying habit by getting books from my local library. It’s also a good way to try out some recipes before outlaying a lot of hard earned money on a cook book that you only use once. I was lucky enough to discover that my local library had a copy of “The Paris Pastry Club” which had been on my ‘to buy’ list for a while. Written by Fanny Zanotti a Pastry Chef who has previously worked with Pierre Herme and Heston Blumenthal this book is full of delicious recipes that made it extremely hard to pick what to make first.

After much debate I settled on the ‘Spicy Chocolate Pots-de-Crème’, which turned out to be a fabulous introduction to this book. The recipe was simple to follow and produced a silky smooth chocolatey dessert.

Whether you like this dessert without adaptations will depend on your chilli tolerance levels. The recipe calls for one teaspoon of hot chilli powder, but I found this to be too strong. While I loved the spice flavour combination in this dessert I found the overwhelming chilli after burn in my throat spoilt this dessert for me. However, the chili lovers in our group loved the amount of chilli and gave this dessert a big thumbs up.

I’m looking forward to delving into this book further and trying some more of the delicious looking recipes.

Recipe

Recipe adapted from “Paris Pastry Club” by Fanny Zanotti.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 240gm pure cream
  • 100gm full cream milk
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder (NB: adjust to your preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod, scraped
  • 4 egg yolks.
  • 20gm caster sugar
  • 100gm dark chocolate, finely chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Pour the cream, milk, star anise, cardamom pods, chilli, cinnamon and vanilla pod and seeds into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Once boiled remove from heat, cover with lid and allow the spices to infuse for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl.

Boil a kettle of water.

Once the milk mixture has been infused pour into the egg and sugar mix using a sieve to strain out the larger spices.

Add the chocolate and mix until chocolate has melted.

Pour the mixture evenly into 4 ramekins.

Place the baking tray and pour the boiled water into the tray until it reaches halfway up the ramekin.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just set and slightly wobbly in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Place in fridge and chill for two hours or overnight.