Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blueberry Chocolate Cakes

How do you make an amazing blueberry cake even more delicious? Add some chocolate. I suppose this isn't some hidden magic trick tho, as chocolate makes almost everything better! The squeeze of lemon juice at the end gives a hint of tangy zing (serves 4).

INGREDIENTS
Olive oil spray
2 x 125g punnets blueberries (see note)
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
50g (1/3 cup) self-raising flour
40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs skim milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray four 150ml-capacity non-stick muffin pans with olive oil spray to lightly grease. Combine half the blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Divide evenly among the prepared pans.

Sift the combined flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the milk, egg, oil, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar, and stir until just combined.

Spoon the flour mixture evenly over the blueberry mixture in the pans and smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Use a serrated knife to trim the tops of the cake so they will sit flat. Turn onto a baking tray.

Meanwhile, place the water and remaining sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Add the remaining blueberries and cook, tossing, for 1 minute or until the syrup just starts to change colour. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Divide the cakes among serving plates. Top with blueberries and spoon over a little of the syrup. Serve with cream freiche.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Banoffee Pies

Banoffee pies are an English pastry dessert made from bananas, cream, toffee and boiled condensed milk (aka dulce de leche). Now this is purely preference, but Banoffee is perhaps the most satisfying dessert you can finish a meal with. Banana, caramel and biscuit. Add chocolate and you've got a great combo!

INGREDIENTS
250g dark chocolate digestive biscuits
180g unsalted butter
1 tbs cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
1/2 firmly packed cup (100g) brown sugar
395g can condensed milk
75g dark chocolate, melted
1 tbs golden syrup
300ml thickened cream
2 small bananas, sliced

PREPARATION
Finely crumb biscuits in a food processor. Melt 80g butter and add to crumbs with cocoa. Process to combine. Press into six 10cm loose-bottomed tart pans. Chill for 20 minutes until bases are firm.

Place sugar and remaining butter in a pan over low heat, stirring, until butter has melted. Add condensed milk and stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until mixture is a thick, golden caramel. Remove from heat, then add chocolate and golden syrup, stirring to combine. Fill tart shells with caramel mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour to set.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. When ready to serve, place tarts on plates, top with sliced banana and whipped cream, then dust with cocoa.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Steamed Chocolate Pudding and Black Forest Sauce

An old-fashioned steamed pudding is hard to beat. Dripping with dark chocolate and cherry sauce, this delicious recipe makes lovely moist chocolate pudding that serves 4.

INGREDIENTS
115g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
85g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs cocoa powder
30g almond meal
1 tbs milk
200g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into squares
160ml (2/3 cup) thickened cream
Thick cream, to serve
670g can pitted cherries
1 tbs arrowroot
2 tbs brandy

PREPARATION
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the baking powder, flour and cocoa together & add to mixture with almond meal and milk, stir until well combined. Spoon into a 1 litre buttered pudding basin, cover with a layer of foil and tie with kitchen string to secure. Place in a saucepan and add enough water to come halfway up side of pudding basin. Steam for 1 1/2 hours.
Make a chocolate sauce by addding the chocolate and cream and place over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Or heat in a microwave, uncovered, on Medium-High/650watts/70%, stirring every minute, for 2-3 minutes or until melted and smooth.

To make the black forest sauce, place cherries and their juices in a saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Combine arrowroot with brandy until smooth, then add to cherries and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve with cherry sauce, chocolate sauce and a dollop of cream.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Fondue

You can adjust the amount of Cointreau in the recipe to suit your tastes as needed, 1/4 of a cup is a good starting point. Reduce this amount if you want a less liquored flavoured dessert, or increase it (a little!) to make it more "adult". You can also swap the Cointreau with Baileys if preferred. If you have any leftover fondue sauce, put it the fridge over night to make a soft fudge. This chocolate dessert recipe serves four.

INGREDIENTS:
300ml thickened cream
1/4 cup Cointreau liqueur
300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
Fresh fruit, such as strawberries, oranges, banana, raspberries & kiwis to serve
250g packet marshmallows

PREPARATION:
Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Stir in Cointreau.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate. Stir with a metal spoon until melted and smooth. Pour into a warm bowl or small ceramic fondue.

Serve chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Cake

This delicious chocolate cake is a chocoholics dream dessert, so soft and moist. The dark chocolate in this recipe really makes it fantastic, and if you use 70% dark it becomes very very rich - you can tone this down a little bit by mixing half dairy milk chocolate with half dark chocolate if preferred; it is a riiich dessert!

Keep tasting the coffee mascarpone and added more icing sugar as needed if it is too bitter to your taste. If you dont have chocolate sorbet to serve alongside the cake, vanilla bean or good chocolate ice-cream works just as well. Be careful not to exceed the baking time, as 12 minutes really is all thats needed. This is a sumptious cake that people will ask you to make again.

INGREDIENTS:
500g dark chocolate
4 eggs
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs plain flour, sifted
2 tbs golden syrup
125g unsalted butter
Melted chocolate, to decorate
Chocolate sorbet, to serve
200g mascarpone cheese
2 tbs instant coffee
2 tbs pure icing sugar

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm round spring-form cake pan with non-stick baking paper.

Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or use an electric hand beater and beat on high for 10 minutes until very thick and pale. Gently fold in the flour then fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Pour into the cake pan and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove collar from cake pan and transfer the cake to the fridge for 1 hour to cool (this step is important as it sets the middle of the cake).

For the coffee mascarpone, dissolve coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and set aside to cool. Beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and coffee in a bowl until stiff.

To make the chocolate leaf, brush non-toxic leaves with the melted chocolate. When cool, peel the leaf off.

Slice the cake and serve with a dollop of coffee mascarpone, a chocolate leaf on top and a scoop of sorbet or ice-cream on the side.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mint Chocolate Parfait Glasses

A hint of mint in this simple chocolate dessert makes this ice-cold chocolate treat extra refreshing, and it really is so easy and lightening quick to prepare. Great if you need to throw something together quickly. This recipe makes 4 servings, you can double it if needed for more guests.


INGREDIENTS:
1 x 100g pkt Chocolate Meringues, coarsely crushed
8 scoops chocolate ice-cream
1 x Hard Setting Chocolate Mint Topping, to serve
2 x 35g pkts Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars, crumbled, to serve

PREPARATION:
Divide the meringue among eight 250ml (1-cup) capacity serving glasses. Divide the ice-cream among the glasses. Drizzle the chocolate topping and top with crushed Peppermint Crisps. Serve.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

This is one of the easiest cheesecake recipes yet simple and delicious. To add a choco-orange twist to this recipe, use orange juice instead of water and add some finely grated orange peel that you can put on top.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 envelope (.25 oz.) unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup water
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, melted and cooled
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

PREPARATION:

1. Make the crust by mixing the graham cracker crumbs, sugar & butter together in ungreased 9-inch springform pan; press firmly onto bottom.

2. Sprinkle over water in small saucepan; let stand for 1 minute. Warm over low heat, stirring constantly, just until gelatine dissolves. Remove from heat.

3. Beat the cream cheese & melted chocolate in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk. Stir in gelatine mixture; fold in whipped cream. Pour into the prepared pan.

4. Refrigerate for about 3 hours or until set. Run knife around edge of cheesecake; remove side of springform pan.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings

I know it sounds strange, but the recipe is really good. Apple pastries are one of my favorite desserts. When I saw the recipe for this one, which included adding a small can of Mountain Dew I had to try it. These are very quick and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS:
2 large apples (Granny Smith or Gala are good)
2 (10 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough tubes
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can Mountain Dew

PREPARATION:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Core each apple and cut into eight wedges each. Separate dough into triangles. Roll apple wedge into dough, starting at small end; pinch to seal and place in baking dish.

Melt butter in saucepan and add sugar and cinnamon, pour over dumplings. Pour Mountain dew around sides and down the middle of the pan, but not over the dumplings. You do not use the whole can, probably half. Bake 35 to 45 minutes and let them sit 10 minutes before serving.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Apricot Clafouti

This dessert is really quick, easy, versatile & delicious. Creme fraiche gives this fruity custard-like French dessert an authentic flavour, however you can use sour cream instead of creme fraiche. For cherry & almond clafouti, replace the apricot with drained canned cherries. Sprinkle with flaked almonds before baking. Try other variations using different fruit as it comes in season! Preparation time 5 - 10 minutes, serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:
Melted butter, to grease
1 x 425g ctn apricot halves in syrup, drained
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1 tbs plain flour
1 x 200g ctn creme fraiche
60ml (1/4 cup) pouring cream
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush four 250ml (1-cup) capacity shallow ovenproof dishes with butter to lightly grease. Place on a baking tray.
Divide the apricot evenly among the prepared dishes.
Combine the sugar and flour in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the creme fraiche. Add the cream, egg and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
Pour the cream mixture among the dishes. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until just set and golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Serve.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cafe Latte Lamingtons with Strawberry

Lamingtons are a sponge cake (or, more traditionally, butter cake) in the shape of a cube, coated in a layer of traditionally chocolate icing then desiccated coconut. They are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream and/or strawberry jam between, and are commonly found in Australasian outlets such as cafes, lunch bars, bakeries, and supermarkets. This quick dessert recipe is a true Aussie classic. Preparation time 15 minutes, serves 6.

INGREDIENTS:
300ml thickened cream
1 tbs coffee liqueur (such as Tia Maria)
1 tbs icing sugar
6 Woolworths Chocolate Lamingtons, halved horizontally
115g (1/3 cup) strawberry jam
Dark chocolate curls, to serve

PREPARATION:
Place the cream, liqueur and icing sugar in a medium bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until firm peaks form. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cream mixture.

Spread the cut side of the lamington bases with the jam. Spoon or pipe the cream mixture over the jam. Top with the remaining lamington. Divide among serving plates. Top with the reserved cream mixture and chocolate curls to serve.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Espresso Cherry Trifle

If you really want to impress a dinner party, use this recipe with a good Brazilian yellow bourbon coffee! However, "regular" espresso will work just as well. Marsala is a fortified Italian wine available from liquor stores. You could use dry sherry, Tia Maria liqueur, Kahlua liqueur or brandy instead. Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons marsala
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 cup strong espresso coffee, cooled slightly
4 mini jam sponge rolls, cut into 5mm-thick slices
50g good-quality dark chocolate, grated
1/2 cup thick vanilla custard
425g can black pitted
cherries, drained

PREAARATION:
Combine marsala, sugar and coffee in a jug. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Divide the sponge slices between four 400ml-capacity whisky glasses. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the coffee mixture. Drizzle remaining coffee mixture over the sponge slices.

Top with half the chocolate, and all the custard and cherries. Drizzle with the reserved coffee mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and serve.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quick Custard Pie

There are few things as delicious as a custard pie; using a pre-made pie case speeds this recipe up immensely.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup Sugar
2 T Flour
1/2 T Salt
3 Eggs
3 cup Milk
1/4 T Nutmeg
9" unbaked pie shell

PREPARATION:
Combine sugar, flour, salt and eggs and mix until smooth. Heat milk to boiling point. Add 1 cup hot milk to egg mixture. Pour this into the remaining hot milk. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle nutmeg over top.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-60 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Iced Espresso

For espresso lovers, here is a quick dessert to enjoy. This is also known as Affogato, a more luxuriant version we have covered here. As a variation to this coffee dessert, pour 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur over ice-cream in glass. Top with espresso. Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup ground espresso coffee beans
2 cups boiling water
white sugar, to taste
2 litres vanilla ice-cream

PREPARATION:
Place coffee in a plunger. Pour over boiling water. Stir and stand for 3 minutes. Plunge coffee and transfer to a heatproof jug. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place chilled coffee and 8 scoops ice-cream in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Spoon 1 small scoop remaining ice-cream into each serving glass. Pour over blended espresso. Serve.