Category: Chocolate

Half term baking the Roald Dahl way.

The best books to bake with ….

Roald Dahl’s Completely Revolting Recipes and other tasty treats

Roald Dahl's Completely Revolting Recipes

Nish Nobblers

Beau is a HUGE Roald Dahl fan. We have read his books at bedtime countless times, so when she was given this fantastic cook book for Christmas by Nanny Ali she was absolutely thrilled. She took it to bed with her, copied the drawings in her home made books and literally drove me mad to make something from it from Boxing day onwards!  We made the Nishnobblers which are from the book ‘The Giraffe the Pelly and me’, just before New Years Eve. They didn’t last a day!

The book

Nishnobblers

When a book is called ‘Roald Dahl’s Completely revolting recipes and other tasty treats you know to expect some quite spectacular recipes. Each one is inspired by one of his books and has some fab illustrations by Quentin Blake (I love his quirky drawings) along side.

Some of our favourite recipes include…

  • Crispy wasp stings on a piece of buttered toast – from James and the giant peach- They’re Coconutty cinnamon bites to you and me.


  • Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake – from Matilda – remember that bit in the book where Bruce has to eat the whole chocolate cake infront of The Trunchbull? Well I think I could eat this one. It looks amazing.


  • Georges Marvelous medicine chicken soup – from Georges marvelous medicine (of course) Thick and filling soup. (sounds like Jewish Penicillin to me)


  • Hornets stewed in tar– from James and the giant peach. Coloured caramel with bits in. Should be horrible but actually sounds quite appealing!


  • Hot ice cream for cold days – Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Yes this is ice cream that is hot. Brilliant!


  • Grobswichy cake – from The BFG which is a pecan, cinnamon type cake


  • It’s also worth mentioning ‘A plate of soil with engine oil -from James and the giant peach.  I can’t tell you how gross the photo of this looks. It really does  look like a plate of engine oil dribbling into the mouth of the little boy- Yuck! But on closer inspection you see it’s actually a chocolate cake and sounds delicious- if you close your eyes and ignore the detailed  illustration first!
Engine oil- Yuck!

The book contains 50 original recipes and is packed with snippets from the story books as well as a photo glossary and useful measuring information at the front. Each recipe has a chefs hat scale to let you know how much adult input is needed. One hat = ‘easy peasy’ , three hats ‘tricky but tasty’.

One of my favourite parts of the Roald Dahl reading books is the bit at the end where you get to find out loads of interesting facts about the man himself. I love it when we get to that bit. It’s like you know a little bit of him that no one else knows. Like he’s your friend. This book is no different with Roald Dahl’s fab foodie facts. I’m not going to spoil it for you, you have to get the book yourself!
In all this is a great book for kids of all ages. It’s fun to look at and read as much as it is to bake with it.

So on to the recipe. The lovely people at The Road Dahl Foundation (www.roalddahlfoundation.org) have given me permission to share one of the recipes from the book with you and as we have already made the Nishnobblers – which were a huge success judging by the chocolate chops my girls had after eating them, here’s the recipe below.

Nishnobbler recipe

You will need

Pyrex bowl
saucepan
sheets of bubblewrap
7cm pastry cutter
pastry brush

100g good quality dark chocolate
100g good quality white chocolate

Makes around 6

What you need to do

Nishnobblers are made from tempered chocolate. Tempering is when you mix melted and solid chocolate together to make it shinier and more manageable. It is an indispensable skill to have in life and you learn how to do it right here! Once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be able to create masterful chocolate constructions to rival Willy Wonka’s.

Weigh the chocolate without eating any.

Melt 70g of the dark chocolate in a pyrex bowl on a defrost setting in the microwave or over a saucepan of simmering water. When it is melted stir the unmelted 30g into it until the whole lot is smooth.

Melting chocolate

Paint over the bubble wrap with the melted chocolate.

Paint the chocolate Mmmm   

Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Temper the white chocolate in the same way (N.B white chocolate melts faster than dark chocolate, so you may want to let it cool a little before you start painting.)

Darcey's turn with the white chocolate    Melting the white chocolate

Spread it over the dark chocolate. Chill for 15 minutes.

Smear it on Darcey! Looking good already!

Carefully peel the bubble wrap away from the chocolate.

Peel off the bubblewrap

Cut it in to rounds with the pastry cutter.

Beau cut out the discs

At this point I would suggest that mums and dad’s eat the left over chocolate that didn’t make it into a round. They’re delicious!Nishnobblers

Chocolate chops
I think Darcey enjoyed the Nishnobblers!

enjoy! 

Extra Chocolatey Christmas Pudding Cookies

The perfect Christmas cookie gift

My good friend Kathryn is popping over today with gifts for the girls. She is one of my oldest friends and always buys them a gift for Christmas. She’s so generous. We always buy her a birthday present (her birthday is in January – it’s one of those funny set ups) but I thought it would be lovely to give her some home made Christmas cookies as a little treat when she comes for lunch today. I know she loves chocolate. I mean who doesn’t? I decided to make extra chocolatey cookies and give them a Christmas touch. These cookies are pretty quick and easy to make, but they do need to be left over night to harden.  

Ingredients

Makes around 30 biscuits (enough to give and to ‘test’)

  • 200g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 egg – at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • Green and red sugar paste for the holly

To make the biscuits

  • Heat your oven to 160° and line a baking sheet with baking paper.Put all the ingredients into the bowl
  • Place all the ingredients into a bowl in one go and mix until just blended, then use your hands to form a soft dough.
  • This mixture is quite sticky so it needs to chill in the fridge for at least an hour or you’ll end up with a sticky mess! Wrap the dough in cling film first so it doesn’t dry out.Wrap and chill the dough
  • When you are ready to roll out the dough, take a little out of the fridge at a time so it doesn’t get too warm and handle it as little as possible. Also, try not to use too much flour when rolling out as it will remain on the baked biscuits. I used a 2 ½ inch circle cutter to create the round cookies and used spacers to ensure each cookie was the same size. Pop them in the oven for 12 minutes or when the edges start to go darker.Cut out the circle cookies
  • Leave to cool completely on a wire rack once baked.Leave the cookies to cool off

To decorate the chocolate cookies

  • Roll out a small amount of green icing and use a holly leaf cutter (available at Cake craft world.com or hobbycraft shops) to cut out 1, 2 or 3 leaves for each cookie. Set aside to dry a little, then roll out tiny balls of red sugarpaste. When you have enough press the bottom of the leaves together to secure. Add the berries to the base. If they don’t stick use a tiny amount of water or edible glue to position them.Cut out holly and roll the berries
  • Set aside to dry for 10 minutes or so, so you‘ll be able to handle them when you want to put them on the cookies. It’s a good idea to place some baking paper on the plate so the sugarpaste doesn’t get stuck.The holly
  • For the top of the Christmas pudding melt the white chocolate in the microwave in a non metallic bowl. I blast it for 30 seconds at a time so it doesn’t burn. Stir between each session till there are no lumps. I have a new toy (more on that next week) it’s a Lekue decopen which is a silicon icing tool. It’s perfect for holding hot melted chocolate without burning your hands and allows me to control where I ‘ice’. You can easily use a plastic icing bag with a nozzle though. If you don’t have either you could use a small spoon but it might take a bit of patience to do it that way!  Create an outline of the dribbling icing at the top of each pudding  then fill in the space with the chocolate.Melt the chocolateAdd the white chocolate topping
  • You can simply add the holly at this stage as the cookies look really cute. But for a ‘death by chocolate cookie’ melt the dark chocolate and create the bottom half of the pudding in the same way as the top. Then add the holly and leave to dry overnightReady to serve

Top tip: When adding the melted chocolate remember that it has a tendency to run so don’t ‘ice’ too close to the edge of the cookie or it will dribble off the side of the cookie and you won’t want to give it as a gift – you’ll have to eat it yourself!!! Wrapped up cookies

Enjoy!

 

Beau’s sleepover cake

How to make a simple sleepover cake

Beau was eight years old on Monday. Her birthday cakes have got more and more detailed and adventurous  as I have got more experienced and she has got older. When asked what cake she wanted this year she said

“ I want a two tier cake like a wedding cake with me sleeping on the top and my friends sleeping on the bottom of the cake” !!!!!!!

She was obviously having her first sleepover party.So we compromised. Beau’s main cake which we cut at her party, had her sleeping on a big bed and each of her friends had a separate mini ‘bed’ cake of their own, in which they were sleeping and could take home with them the next day.
The idea was to make all the cakes sit alongside each other so that it felt like one big cake.I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe (below) which is really chocolatey, super quick to make and super light and fluffy.

Two bowl chocolate cake recipe

Ingredients

3 tbsp hot water
3 tbsp cocoa powder
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
100g Self Raising Flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla essence

To make the chocolate cake

Grease two 18cm sandwich tins (I used 3 x the ingredients and 3  loaf tins for this cake). Line the bottoms with baking paper. Heat your oven to 180C, gas mark 4.

Sieve the cocoa powder into a bowl, then add the hot water and blend really well until there is  no dry powder left. Set to one side to cool.

In another bowl mix all rest of the ingredients together until well blended and then add the cocoa mixture and blend again.

Spoon the mixture into the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry. This cake rises a little so you can also test that it’s baked by pressing down on the top of the cake. If it springs back it’s ready. If it leaves a finger print or takes a while to rise up again it will need a little longer in the oven.


Chocolate buttercream

Ingredients to fill and cover a two bowl chocolate cake

75g soft butter
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp cocoa powder

How to make the buttercream

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl then blend until really light and fluffy. This makes enough to fill an 18cm cake and cover the top (and sides if you don’t use it too thick)

To make the sleepover cake

Cover your cake boards with sugarpaste. Use a patchwork cutter to create a pattern in the ‘carpet’. Leave to dry for at least a week. If you use it straight away it may dent when you touch it!

Cut the cake to size and add buttercream

I used three times the recipe to make three loaf sized chocolate cakes. One cake was used for the main bed and the other two were cut into rectangles for the smaller beds. Each cake was cut in half and had buttercream added to the centre.

 Cover each cake with chocoalte buttercream

It’s a good idea to bake the cakes in advance to decorating them. If it’s really, really fresh this cake will just crumble when you apply the buttercream.  24 hours after baking is a good time to decorate. Once the cake is iced it’s sealed so it will stay moist and fresh.
Add buttercream to the top and sides.

cover each 'bed' cake with white icingCover each cake with white sugarpaste then secure the cake in place on it’s cake board with a little royal icing. This creates the ‘sheet’ over the bed.

 Add the detailed trim to the bed

Use edgers to make strips of decorative sugarpaste and secure them along the bottom of the bed. Use Royal icing as glue.

Add details on the trim

Use a sugar craft tool, or the end of a paintbrush to give the valance more detail.

Add a pillow and a headMould a piece of white sugarpaste into a rectangular shape for the pillow. The heads are made from marzipan which has been coloured with a tiny bit of  food colour (paprika  is perfect for a skin tone). Use a very thin paintbrush to add the colouring of the eyes, eye brows mouth and cheeks. A tiny ball of marzipan is used to create a nose.

 Fake a body

Roll a sausage shaped piece of marzipan for the body. Taper it in at the end where the feet would be. Secure it to the bed.

Roll out a piece of coloured sugarpaste for the blanket. Leave it long enough that it will drape over the edges of the bed. Make sure each little lady is well tucked in up to her neck.

 Paint on the face and ice the hair

Colour royal icing to add the hair. Then all that’s left to do is add the names on each cake board and the ‘Happy Birthday’ on the largest cake board.

While I was finishing this cake Beau and Darcey made some accessories that you would find in their bedroom. They made books, hats and a dolls house that opens up. Beau even made a train complete with track which they positioned all over the cakes.

In all the cake was a big success. I think all the guests liked it that they could take home their own Mini Me! Beau obviously had a great time as you can see below.

Enjoy!

Vanilla biscuits recipe – Chocolate style!

Basic vanilla biscuits / Cookies

Last night: Sunday, 7.30pm as Beau get’s out of the bath.

Beau: You said you would make biscuits for school for our biscuit tasting

Me: Yes I will. When is that?

Beau: Tomorrow!

Me: Tomorrow!!!!

Beau: Yes what will you make?

Me: Ahhhgghhh!

Beau studies a new topic each term and this time it’s chocolate. They are doing a biscuit tasting to see what different brands make and how they differ. As I had limited notice (let’s say 1 ½ hours, as Downtown Abby was going to be starting at 9pm) I had to think on my toes. “What do I have in the house-ingredients wise- that will suit?” I decided that you can’t go wrong with a vanilla biscuit and as I have recently discovered, these ones taste amazing with dark chocolate.

This is the recipe I always use when I ice biscuits as gifts, but with a chocolate topping on them they taste completely different and are very quick to make and decorate. Also melting chocolate and ‘drawing’ all over biscuits is really good fun.

Ingredients

Makes around 30 biscuits

  • 200g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 egg – at room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g dark chocolate

To make the biscuits

  1. Place the butter in a bowl. I had to cut mine up into small pieces so that I could warm it up quickly when I mixed it, but it’s best if it’s at room temperature.
  2. Add the sugar, flour, egg and vanilla essence
  3. Mix the ingredients by hand. I always mix biscuits by hand as the warmth from your hands means that it’s all being blended really well and for some reason they taste much better than when mixed with a machine. You can always start the mixing with a wooden spoon if you don’t like gloopy hands.
  4. Be careful not to overmix biscuit dough. It will not only become tough, but the biscuits will spread more when baked and we want them to keep their shape perfectly.
  5. Once it is nearly all blended I turn it out onto the worktop and knead it till it all holds together nicely.vanilla cookie
  6. Then wrap it cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30-60 minute. I was on a tight time scale last night so I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. The dough is much easier to handle once it’s been properly chilled. Mine was really soft and sticky so I just added a little more flour when rolling it out.vanilla cookie
  7. Use spacing sticks (available from cake decorating shops) to ensure that when you roll out your biscuits they are all the same thickness.vanilla cookie
  8. Cut out the letters then remove the excess first. This way you can pick up the biscuit without denting it.vanilla cookie
  9. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will stop the biscuits from spreading when they are baked.vanilla cookie
  10. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes at 160° or until the biscuits start to brown on the edges
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate

  1. Place long strips of cling film across your table. This is great as the chocolate makes a huge sticky mess and when you are finished you can simply lift it up and bin it.
  2. In a microwaveable bowl melt the chocolate. The easiest way to do this is to break it into small pieces and heat it up for 30 seconds at a time and stir in between. That way you can ensure that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  3. Place all the cooled biscuits on the cling film so that they are close together but not touching.vanilla cookie / vanilla biscuit
  4. To transfer the melted chocolate into a plastic icing bag place the bag inside a drinking glass and fold the edges over. Snip the bottom off when you are ready to go. The chocolate will dribble out from the moment you cut off the end of the icing bag so be ready to go.
  5. Decorate each biscuit in turn by adding the chocolate in a circular or zig zag action. Leave the chocolate to harden for 5 minutes then transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack to harden completely.chocolate biscuits / chocolate cookies
  6. Once dry and hard place the biscuits in a box or on a plate and enjoy.

These are a great biscuit to make as a gift. The first time we made them was for Beau’s friend Dixie’s 8th birthday a few weeks ago. We wrote her name and did a few dog shapes too. They always go down really well.

Enjoy!

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