If you follow any of my social media accounts then you probably know that I went on a little trip to Lille in France a few weeks ago. Lille has some fantastic restaurants (my main motivation for going) and it’s also home to these little […]
Nothing shows just how much you care about someone more than letting them indulge in these delectable little bites of rich chocolatey goodness, rather than just scoffing the lot yourself.
I’d forgotten just how delicious the combination of sweet chocolate, bitter coffee and fragrant cardamom is until I was looking back through some of my older posts and I came across my recipe for little pot au chocolate using the same flavours.
It works really well in these fudgy little two bite treats too. These are very rich and moist but not quite as dense as my usual brownies, which means that you can eat a few more of them in one sitting!
makes plenty to share
150g chocolate (I like a 50/50 mix of milk and dark)
25g really, really strong espresso
125g soft dark brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
90g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
100g chocolate chips and a little extra milk chocolate to decorate(optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and line a 13″ x 9″ tray with foil before lightly greasing it with butter.
Using a double boiler or in a microwave, melt together 150g chocolate and the butter then stir in the espresso before setting it aside to cool.
Whisk together the eggs, both types of sugar and the salt until they are fairly pale and very fluffy. This may take a few minutes, even in a stand mixer. Gently stir the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar, being careful not to knock out too much of the air.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cardamom and baking powder into the batter, all together to ensure that they are well blended and then fold them in. Finally fold in the chocolate chips if you’re using them.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and give it a little shake to level it off. Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, by which time the top should have formed a nice crust and it should still be a little soft underneath. Leave the brownie to cool completely in the tin before lifting it out the tin with the foil, drizzling with a little chocolate decoration and cutting into bite-size pieces.
These will keep for several days in an airtight container (unless, like me, you have zero will power!)
The time has come for Mr Colonial Cravings annual office festive hoopla. I’m not sure they refer to it like this but I think that maybe they should start.
To say thank you for the hours of photographing food that he puts in (my hands are just too shaky to take a decent picture) I’ve made him something extra special.
I’ve combined his favourite Italian treat with something festive from their Austrian neighbours. Gingerbread! And it is so good! If you like gingerbread lattes then you’re going to love this. Seriously, this tastes amazing. Layers of richly spiced sponge soaked in boozy coffee, sandwiched together with thick zabaglione cream. Christmas dessert heaven…
You can bake the sponge ahead of time because it keeps really well, and also if it is a tiny bit stale then it tends to soak up the coffee better. Winning all round!
If you don’t have a spring-form cake tin, of just don’t want to serve the tiramisu like this, then you can of course just build up the layers in a serving dish, trifle-style. Either works well for this.
Half the quantity of gingerbread from my gingerbread latte cupcakes, baked in a spring-form pan for about 35 minutes at 180°c.
300ml strong brewed coffee
3 tbsp sugar
50ml brandy/dark rum (feel free to use more if you like it really boozy)
1 tbsp coffee liqueur (optional)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla paste
225g mascarpone (room temperature)
200ml double cream
dark chocolate to serve
Trim away the very top of the cake, to expose the crumb and slice the sponge in half horizontally. Set aside.
Mix one tablespoon of the sugar with the coffee, brandy/rum and coffee liqueur (if using) and let the coffee cool a bit.
Place the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl with the egg yolks and vanilla and place it over a pan of simmering water. Whip the yolks until they are pale and fluffy and have at least doubled in volume. Remove them from the heat and let it cool for a minute or two before beating the mascarpone into it.
Put the cream in another bowl and whip it until it becomes thick and fluffy. Use a large metal spoon to fold the cream into the egg yolk/mascarpone mixture.
To assemble the tiramisu place a layer of the sponge back into the springform pan that you baked it in. Brush the surface of it with the coffee mixture. You need it to be saturated but not so soggy that it loses all integrity.
Spread half of the creamy filling mixture evenly over the sponge and then carefully place the second layer on top. Brush this with coffee too, again making sure that it is well moistened but not drenched. Don’t worry, you won’t need all of the coffee mixture. Cover this with the remaining cream mixture and smooth off the surface. Put the tiramisu in the fridge to firm up for a couple of hours.
Dust the top of the tiramisu with some grated dark chocolate (I like to be fairly liberal with it) and run a palate knife around the edge of the tin before releasing the catch and removing the sides of the tin. Carefully transfer the tiramisu to a serving plate. Enjoy!
A great alternative to traditional Christmas cake, especially for parties, these offer a more subtle take on festive flavours.
I’ve based these on the classic Starbucks holiday drink (in spite of the fact that I am very anti-Starbucks. I’d rather support smaller businesses) and they do taste surprisingly similar to it.
I haven’t used any black treacle or molasses in the sponge because I wanted them to be lighter than traditional gingerbread or parkin so they have more of a golden colour too. Feel free to adjust the spices to suit your own taste, you could even get away with adding a splash of spiced rum and if you’re a real coffee fiend then the frosting will easily take a little extra coffee in it.
makes about 18
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp hot water
125g dark brown sugar
175g golden syrup
100ml warm milk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
275g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground allspice
350g icing sugar
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
Begin by preheating the oven to 180°c and lining your cupcake tins with suitably festive wrappers. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the hot water and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy before beating in the eggs and then the syrup.
Stir in the warm milk, vanilla paste and the bicarbonate of soda mixture. Sift all of the dry ingredients into this wet mixture and stir it all together. Beat it for a few minutes with an electric mixer to make it as light as possible.
Spoon the sponge batter into the cupcake wrappers, so that they are about 1/2-3/4 full. Bake for around 20 minutes, until they are well risen, golden on top and your kitchen smells like Christmas.
Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack whilst you make the frosting.
Warm the milk or cream a little and dissolve the coffee powder in it. Set aside to cool a bit. Beat the butter until soft and then stir the icing sugar into it along with the vanilla paste and the coffee-cream. Continue to beat until you have a light fluffy frosting. Pipe onto the cooled gingerbread sponges and decorate with a little dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon or festive sprinkles.
We recently took advantage of a rare sunny weekend and drove to Chincoteague Island. Coming from Cornwall, nothing lifts my spirits like a trip to see the sea! Whilst we were there, in a brief gap between stuffing our faces with seafood, I visited the […]