Tag Archives: cook off

Sunday Cook Off: Sticky Chocolate Brownies

This week I made some brownies on a whim, I had a craving for some sort of cake and wanted something easy so I went to my recipe bookshelf and got cooking. This recipe is from The Chocolate Box, I haven’t got a photo because there are none left – but hey, everyone knows what a brownie looks like, right?

100g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
75g dark brown sugar
125g dark chocolate
1 tbsp syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp either chocolate or vanilla essence (I used lots of vanilla, as always)
100g plain flour
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

1. Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm square tin. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

2. Place butter, sugars, dark chocolate and syrup in a large heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring until mixture is smooth and blended. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

3. Beat together eggs and essence in a jug. Whisk it into the cooling mixture.

4. Sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and fold gently into the chocolate mixture using a metal spoon.

5. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 25 -30 mins. Remove from the oven when the edges are becoming crisp and coming away from the tin, and when the middle looks just set.

Leave to cool in the tin. When completely cool, cut into squares.

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Sunday Cook Off: Ferrero Rocher Torte

This week’s Sunday Cook Off is slightly different, as I haven’t actually made the recipe below yet. But it is the closest approximation that I can find to a heavenly dessert that I tried this week, it’s a bit complicated but hopefully delicious in the end. This slice of amazingness is a Waitrose own brand concoction that I happened upon when faced with an array of unappealing fruity desserts. In my book, if it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert.

The inspiration for this week can be found here (and wait until it’s on offer like I did, because no supermarket should charge £10 for a mass-produced cake, no matter how good it is): http://www.waitrose.com/shop/ProductView-10317-10001-154693-Waitrose+S%2Fchoc+chocolate+%26+hazelnut+tort

If you fancy making your own, and I will be once I’ve finished chomping my way through the one above, then look below for the recipe, or go here: http://www.fabulousfoods.com/articles/952429/chocolate-hazelnut-torte-recipe



1 cup caster sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon bicarb

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup boiling water

Nutty syrup:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon nut extract or flavoring

Hazelnut Praline:

  • 1/4 pound shelled and skinned hazelnuts
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups icing sugar


1. Preheat oven to 180*C and prepare a 9 inch cake tin

2. To make the cake portion, mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add egg, milk, oil and vanilla and beat until well combined.
3. Stir in the boiling water and pour the batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 30-35 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Allow to cool in tin for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack. Once cooled completely, put it into the freezer until stiff, then slice it in half horizontally.
6. To make the syrup, combine sugar and water in a saucepan, bringing it to the boil until the sugar has dissolved.
7. Simmer for 5 mins, remove from heat, and add extract. Stir, then allow to cool.

8. To make the praline, liberally coat a baking pan with vegetable oil, place the hazelnuts on it in a single layer, and set it aside.
9. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and cook until the mixture turns amber.
10. Immediately pour the syrup over the hazelnuts, let it cool completely, and break it into small pieces. Then put them into ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer them to a food processor and mix until finely ground.

11. To make the frosting, in a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer and then pour it over the chocolate chips and let it sit for a few minutes. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
12. Place the pan in a bowl of ice water, stirring constantly until cooled. Then gradually beat in the powdered sugar and whip until smooth, thick and fluffy.

13. To assemble everything, brush half of the syrup evenly over one half of the cake. Then spread about a third of the frosting onto the top of that half and sprinkle it with half of the praline.
14. Place the other half of the cake layer on top, brush it with the rest of the syrup, and spread the remaining frosting along the top and sides. Press the remaining praline into the frosting on the sides and sprinkle some on top if you’re feeling fanciful. Chill for a bit before serving.

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Sunday Cook Off: Italian Hot Chocolate with a Whipped Cream Heart

So. Very. Yummy.

This week I fancied something different but not too time consuming, so I shamelessly plundered this website: http://www.bellalimento.com/2012/01/11/how-to-make-italian-hot-chocolate  My photography skills are not half as good as the previous blogger, but that’s my fault for getting too caught up in the cooking and eating to worry about natural light and all of that bollocks.

As a Mother’s Day treat, I made a dinner of chicken shish kebabs and roasted vegetable couscous, with garlic pitta and houmous on the side. I’ve grown up eating pretty safe foods, roast dinners (which I hate) and lasagne – all brilliantly cooked by my mummy dearest, but not too exciting all the same. So I decided to push the envelope and surprise her, and she always has some sort of diet going on so it would only be fair to make a small, light dessert to go with such a large dinner…ahem. I am most definitely a feeder.

So just in case you can’t be bothered to click on the above link, here’s the recipe for the hot chocolate below:

4 ounces chocolate

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch/4 teaspoons of flour if you can’t find corn starch for love nor money, a la me.

1. Into a saucepan over LOW heat add chocolate and a smidge of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.

2. Slowly add remaining milk until it’s well combined. Add sugar. Mix to combine. Whisk in corn starch.

3. Continue cooking over LOW heat until it becomes thick, creamy and coats the back of the wooden spoon.

**I ended up making this twice, because the mixture became a lumpy mess after I added the flour, so I tried again sans the white powdery stuff. I’ve kept it in the recipe just in case you have better luck with it. In hindsight, I probably should’ve sifted it, or maybe corn starch reacts differently (my internet sources told me that flour was a good subsitute, and if the internet says it, it must be true).

To make the whipped cream hearts (also taken from the above website), then you do this:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract-as always, I used considerably more
1/4 cup sugar
1. Place cream, vanilla and sugar into your mixing bowl. Using whisk attachment mix until stiff peaks form.

2. Transfer whipped cream to a shallow baking dish. Smooth cream as much as possible. Place dish into freezer until firm.

3. Using a heart cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes.

4. Place hearts into hot chocolate, they’ll melt pretty quickly so don’t fanny about.


And to finish….gobble up every last drop.

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Sunday Cook Off: Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Didn't quite manage to get a picture before tucking in


This week I made Chocolate Ripple Teabread, taken from a Cadburys chocolate recipe book that I’ve had for years. At the moment I’ve got my eye on one of my signature dishes, a Chocolate Marble Cheesecake – but that’s for another week.


200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter/margarine, softened

1 tsp ground mixed spice

175g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence (as always, I used more)

225g self-raising flour

1/2 (half) tsp baking powder

100g milk chocolate, chopped (to decorate)

1. Prepare a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. Put the chocolate (not the stuff for decoration) in a heatproof bowl, place over a pan of gently simmer water and leave until melted. Stir in 25g of the butter and the spice.

2. Place the remaining butter, the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence in a bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into the tin. Spread one-third of the chocolate mixture over the cake mixture. Repeat the layering of the cake mixture and chocolate sauce, finishing with a layer of cake mixture [how many times can mixture be used in a sentence?!]. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate.

3. Bake in a preheated over, 180*C (350*F) for 1 1/4 hours or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. **I found that, after 45 mins, my cake was well done and starting to burn, I’ve no idea where they got an hour and a quarter from, but when I make this again I’ll probably put it in for 40 mins max.** Leave in the tin for 10 mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4. Gobble.

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