Archive of ‘Chocolate’ category

Gluten-free chocolate almond torte

One of my friends had a Christmas lunch this week (the benefits of having a public holiday the week before Christmas) and my contribution was gluten-free chocolate almond torte. I am not sure why I have never posted this torte, as this is my go to recipe. If I am asked to bring a dessert and I want wow factor then this is it! This is probably the first gluten-free torte/cake that I made and I have absolutely no idea where I saw the original recipe. I apologise to whoever you are, but I thank you!

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Ingredients

  • 200 grams butter
  • 180 grams dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • ½ cup boiling water

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 22cm round spring form cake tin.

Place instant coffee and water in a jug and stir to dissolve.

Melt butter, chocolate, cocoa power and coffee in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until melted abut 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.

Beat eggs yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until thick (about 5 minutes).

Beat eggs whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Add chocolate mixture and almond flour to the egg yolk mixture and stir to combine.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold in half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Add the rest of the egg whites.

Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan. Dust with extra cocoa powder.

I always serve with berries but some cream would not go amiss here either.

The centre of this has a delightfully rich, fudgy texture. I have been known to add a chocolate glaze, but only serve that to committed chocolate lovers as is possibly a little over the top. People do not realise that this is a gluten-free recipe, and it goes down extremely well and rather quickly! It did beat out the Pavlova and homemade ice cream as favourite dessert at lunch… not that I am competitive at all when it comes to baking of course!

 

 

 

 

Gluten-free chocolate coconut macaroons

It has been so hot lately (above usual temperatures for Johannesburg) that baking has been a slight challenge, basically because my “vintage” gas oven also doubles as a furnace. Not optimal in 35 degrees plus! But with macaroons being so quick to make and bake, the quest was on for a chocolate macaroon variation, and thanks to Martha Stewart, the gluten-free chocolate coconut macaroon search did not take long. You can find the original recipe here.

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Ingredients

  • 115 grams semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Break chocolate into small pieces, and then transfer to a medium heatproof bowl.

Set the bowl with chocolate over a pan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted. Let this cool slightly. Pour the melted chocolate into a large bowl; add the cocoa, sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Mix with your hands until well combined.

Dampen clean hands with cold water. Mound about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into a loose haystack shape, and transfer to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, arranging macaroons 1 inch apart.

Bake until just firm to the touch but still soft in the middle, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack. Store in airtight containers at room temperature, up to 3 days.

The first batch of these macaroons mysteriously disappeared before a photo could be taken (yes, they were eaten). The second batch lasted only slightly longer. If you are a chocolate person then these macaroons are for you. Thanks Martha, I owe you one!

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Gluten-free double chocolate brownies

So episode two of the South African Bake Off has passed and this week’s inspiration is the tray bake, which to me means brownies. Not sure if I would attempt a wildlife scene or spaza shop made entirely with gluten free biscuits (and to be honest, plain biscuits are not really my thing). And brandy snaps… well never eaten one. So the tray bake it is, enter page 105 of “Flourless” and gluten-free double chocolate brownies.

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Ingredients (makes 16 brownies)

  • 140 grams semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup/155 grams unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ cups/250grams light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup/50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 20-by-20-cm square tin with foil, then lightly grease the foil with vegetable oil.

In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl; add the brown sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Spread the batter in the pan, smooth with a rubber spatula.

Bake until the brownies are dry on top and almost firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 1 hour.

Gently lift the foil out from the pan after cooling to remove the brownies. Place on a cutting board and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to fully set the brownies. Remove from the fridge and, using a serrated knife, cut into 16 brownies. Serve at room temperature.

The note with the recipe says to let the brownies sit after baking, even overnight, as the longer they sit the firmer they become. After a little nibbling after one hour (I have little restraint when it comes to such matters), two hours and then overnight, I must concur that they do need to be left to rest for quite a while as they become a great deal easier to cut. These brownies are rather decadent, very fudgy, very rich, but very worth it.

(Following each week’s episode of the Great South African Bake Off, I am making a recipe from the fab recipe book “Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis, inspired by one of the tasks the bakers are set. The next episode focuses on meringue bakes which means macarons #challenge).

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Gluten-free chocolate soufflé cupcakes

So the Great South African Bake-Off is upon us (finally, technical issues aside). Obviously no one can replace Paul Hollywood, and I am not yet as committed to this series as I am to the British version, but it is early days still. I decided that I must bake an item every week inspired by the South African Bake Off, and that the recipe has to come from this fabulous new book “Flourless” (more on the book later). So let us begin on page 66 with gluten-free chocolate soufflé cupcakes.

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Ingredients

  • 170 grams dark chocolate
  • 6 tbsp/85 grams unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tbsp/50grams granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Dark chocolate frosting

  • ½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 115 grams chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup/100 grams confectioners (icing) sugar

Directions

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until fully melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm (alternatively I used a double boiler).

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in the chocolate, salt and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until medium-firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three additions, folding until no white streaks remain.

Divide the batter among the cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. Bake until the tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean, with some moist crumbs attached, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, then add the melted chocolate, Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, until well blended. When ready, spread each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting.

The verdict? These are just great and the frosting alone is rather wonderful. In the original recipe the cupcakes are topped with salted caramel buttercream. I thought it might be a little too rich (even for me) and so I switched to the dark chocolate frosting… but the salted caramel buttercream is just shrieking out to be made! I actually want to try and bake these cupcakes in mini spring form tins, as I think they could form part of an impressive individual chocolate trio dinner party dessert, if it works of course (#maketime).

And to the book “Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis. What attracted me to this book is that every recipe is naturally gluten-free, using eggs, nut flours and other gluten-free ingredients. Nothing is made with gluten-free flour (which I prefer not to bake with), and apart from the odd recipe with oats (I cannot tolerate oats, gluten-free certified or not), every page is a recipe that needs to be, and shall be, baked.

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Martha Stewart’s gluten-free chocolate torte

I seem to have a growing obsession with Martha Stewart, not quite as consuming as the Great British Bake Off but growing none the less! In the midst of my torte quest I came across a Martha Stewart gluten-free chocolate torte recipe, and I thought if it is good enough for Martha then it is good enough for me. The directions may seem long, and this recipe has the added twist of cooking in a bain-marie, but it is worth it in the end. The original recipe includes peppermint extract which I have excluded as I am not a huge fan, but you can find the original recipe here.

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Ingredients

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (around 226 grams)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (8 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Freshly whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

Set a roasting pan on lowest rack of oven. Fill pan halfway with water. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Coat a 9-by-4 1/4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper large enough to cover bottom and to hang over long sides of loaf pan. Place in loaf pan; coat with cooking spray.

Put chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring, until melted. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

Put heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

Put eggs and sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until tripled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently fold half of the chocolate mixture into egg mixture until almost incorporated; fold in remaining chocolate mixture. Fold in reserved whipped cream. Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Set loaf pan in roasting pan. Bake until chocolate loses its sheen and appears set when loaf pan is jiggled, about 25 minutes.

Carefully transfer roasting pan to a heatproof surface. Remove loaf pan from water bath; let cool completely on a rack.

Pulling up on parchment, remove torte from pan; transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Using an offset spatula, gently loosen torte from parchment and then invert onto a serving platter. Torte can be made up to two days in advance.

Using a sieve, lightly dust torte with cocoa. Serve with whipped cream if desired. I also served this with some strawberries and blackberries.

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The recipe does say this serves 8, but with my chocolate loving friends it would not quite have stretched to 8, possibly 6. I would have needed to bake 2, and the teeny size of my original 70’s gas oven meant I could not fit a bain-marie large enough for 2 loaf tins, so it became more of a taste test for 2. The verdict – this does have a very light and moist texture and therefore does not come across as overly rich. I kept this in the fridge for 2 days and it was just as delicious as on baking day.

 

 

Gluten-free coconut macaroons with chocolate

I have to admit that I am not 100% sure where I found this recipe. I am a habitual recipe scribbler when I come across something that I like, and these gluten-free coconut macaroons fall into that category. The chocolate decoration should probably be a little less Jackson Pollock esque, but hey, whatever you feel like in the moment will work especially when it comes to chocolate!

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips*
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla until well combined (this takes some work but keep going until it is completely mixed together).

Use a spoon to scoop out the mixture and form small rounds. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the macaroons are crisp.

Allow macaroons to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Melt the chocolate chips and oil together in a double boiler. Drizzle over the cooled macaroons.

*Usually I use “safe” dark chocolate that I chop into small pieces, but for convenience   I used Staffords choc chips as they are marked gluten-free.

 

Gluten-free chocolate mousse cake

We recently spent the weekend with friends at the Vaal. Such a tranquil spot and almost immediately after arriving one starts to feel relaxed (maybe it’s the sunset cruise with obligatory drink in hand). I was tasked with dessert (something transportable, easy to assemble, chocolate of course). I came across this chocolate mousse cake with figs – easy to adapt to gluten-free and looks rather impressive at the same time. I took the recipe from For the Love of Baking by Sarah Dall. Enter the gluten-free chocolate mousse cake. Apologies for the quick photo taken below.

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Ingredients

  • 50 grams crushed hazelnuts
  • 200 grams dark chocolate digestive biscuits
  • 45 ml butter
  • 15 ml golden syrup
  • 4 jumbo eggs
  • 275 grams dark chocolate
  • 75 ml cream
  • 40 grams castor sugar

Directions

Lightly grease and line the base of a 25cm spring form cake pan.

Toast the crushed hazelnuts in a frying pan over medium heat, turning the nuts frequently and being careful not to burn them.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor. Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in the biscuits and nuts. Press the biscuit mixture over the base of the cake pan and refrigerate until needed.

Separate the eggs. Melt the chocolate and cream together in a glass bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir briefly to combine, and leave to cool slightly. Mix in the egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until thick, then add the sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Spoon this on top of the biscuit base and refrigerate overnight.

Decorate the cake with fresh figs (in season) and serve with whipped cream.

This dessert is rich and decadent and is not for the faint hearted. I am generally pretty hardcore when it comes to desserts, but even I thought wow could I eat another slice of this right now (yes ok maybe I would have!). But it is good, and a fellow uber chocolate lover made sure that there was nothing left which always makes me think job well done.

A few shots from the Vaal

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And how beautiful it looks in Summer

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Gluten-free hazelnut cake

Fresh Earth is one of the best places to spend some time milling around on a Saturday. They have a range of local and imported gluten-free products, plus they produce their own gluten-free bread, cakes and biscuits in their gluten-free bakery. They also have a restaurant with a gluten-free and vegetarian menu. And Fresh Earth is one of the few places I trust to produce 100% gluten-free. This gluten-free hazelnut cake is one of their recipes – find the original here.

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Ingredients

  • 35 grams cacao powder
  • 80ml hot water
  • 150 grams dark eating chocolate, melted
  • 150 grams butter, melted
  • 295 grams brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 100 grams hazelnuts, finely ground
  • 4 organic eggs, separated
  • 25 grams cacao powder, extra

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Grease a deep 20cm round cake tine and line with baking paper.

Blend cacao powder with water in a large bowl until smooth.

Stir in melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg yolks.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until at soft peak stage.

Fold into chocolate mixture in two batches.

Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for one hour.

Dust with extra cacao powder. Serve with cream or ice cream and fresh gooseberries, or use what fruit takes your fancy!

Visit Fresh Earth at 103 Komatie Road, Emmarentia, JHB.

Chocolate avocado mousse

There are a quite a lot of recipes bouncing around at the moment for chocolate avocado mousse. All the taste but a vegetarian healthier option. And it’s gluten-free. Chocolate and avocado does sound like a slight odd mix, but after having an avocado shake in a Vietnamese restaurant in Shanghai (as one does), I was up for the challenge of using avocado in its non-traditional form. I found this recipe here. And the shake? Well it was pretty good.

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Ingredients

  • Flesh of 2 firm ripe avocado, chopped
  • 125 gram dark chocolate broken into pieces (good quality high % cocoa) *for dairy free, ensure you use dairy-free chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream

Directions

Melt chocolate in a double boiler: place chocolate in a glass bowl to melt over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or else it will risk the chocolate burning or becoming grainy) and stir with a wooden spoon occasionally, until chocolate has melted.

Puree avocado, coconut cream, honey and melted chocolate together until smooth. Spoon into serving glasses and chill in fridge for 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

Serve garnished with chocolate shavings and berries as desired.

This is not the sexiest dessert to make. Melting chocolate and butter together is sexy. Avocado and coconut cream in a processor not so sexy! But this recipe is simple and easy to put together with a quick chill time. The ingredients only made enough for the 2 small glasses in the picture so you would need quite a quantity of avocado to make enough when having people round for dinner. So the verdict? It tastes like a chocolate pudding, is quite rich and it does work. If you (like me) choose your “once in a blue moon treat” dessert to be deliciously sinful then save yourself for the good stuff. But if you are looking for something to satisfy that sweet tooth that does not come with a run round the block, then this is the way to go, plus the health benefits that come with the avocado and no dairy make this a very virtuous dessert. So you can have your pudding and eat it!