Flourless chocolate espresso cake

It’s been nearly 6 weeks since I made this flourless chocolate espresso cake, the recipe thanks to the marvellous Martha Stewart. I had a friend’s birthday around Easter and I thought it would be the perfect time to try this recipe and throw on some chocolate speckled eggs whilst I was at it. Which I did. And then the world, fatigue and the general thrills of the auto-immune life got in the way, and now I find myself at the end of May… so before the month completely comes to an end let us discuss this cake and the chocolate glaze that comes with it!

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces/170 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped (ideally 70%)
6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extra

For the glaze

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Invert the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (so the cake will slide easily onto the serving plate) and line with a parchment round and butter the parchment.
Melt butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth, in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
Beat together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add espresso powder and salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and melted chocolate mixture; beat about 1 minute more.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture in 3 batches. Transfer batter to pan and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For the glaze, combine the chocolate, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Bring cream, sugar, espresso powder, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar and espresso powder are dissolved. Pour over chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Serve alongside the cake.

In the spirit of the holidays, I may have gotten a little carried away and flung not just the eggs but everything chocolate related at the cake. So I decorated it with chocolate eggs, flake, chocolate buttons and even some honeycomb (all gluten-free of course). And then we had the chocolate glaze on the side. But guess what? There was none left, so thanks to Martha! This takes a bit of effort with the additional step of the glaze, but it is worth it.

P.S Did I ever mention that I like chocolate! 🙂

 

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Easter chocolate bark

 

I spent the whole weekend telling myself that I would not make Easter chocolate bark…chocolate eggs on top of chocolate is that really necessary I thought? But then I kept seeing this one picture online that just kept following me (you know how it is) and yesterday afternoon I relented. I realise Easter is now over, but if you have some eggs left lying around then this might be what you need to do; just in case you did not eat enough chocolate this past weekend!

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Ingredients

  • 150 grams dark chocolate
  • 150 grams white chocolate
  • 100grams speckled eggs

Directions
Melt the chocolate separately. Pour the dark chocolate onto a baking sheet, then add the white chocolate and swirl together.
Place your eggs in a zip lock bag and smash away.
Add smashed eggs to chocolate and place in the fridge to set.

This is ridiculously easy to make and really rather good to eat.
I think that making this bark, or any type of bark, is really a great idea. It looks really impressive yet takes minutes to make, and as I have said before, you can control your ingredients and make sure that everything really is gluten-free!

Gluten-free chocolate pistachio fudge

I have a huge pile of cookbooks, with a slight skew towards baking and gluten-free of course. But nowadays there are so many other sources of recipes that daily I am distracted by some fantastic idea that comes across my screen. The struggle is real and my “to bake” list just gets longer and longer… this recipe appeared in my Facebook feed (I think) and I thought yes time to make fudge. This recipe is Nigella’s gluten-free chocolate pistachio fudge. And it’s oh so good!

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Ingredients (makes 64 pieces of rich fudge)

  • 350 grams dark chocolate (chopped, minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
  • 30 grams butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 grams pistachios

Directions
Put the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt in a heavy-based pan on a low heat, and stir to melt.
Put the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.
Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.
Pour this mixture into a foil tray size 23cm smoothing the top.
Let the fudge cool, and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into small pieces approx. 3x 2.25cm. Once cut, it can be kept in the freezer – no need to thaw just eat straight away.

Note: I could not find pistachios so I used a mix of macadamia and cashew nuts.

“Rich” is most definitely the correct word to use; but it is very good, and so very easy to make.  And you get to take out your latent aggression with a rolling pin on some unsuspecting nuts, so win win all round really.

You can find the original recipe here

Gluten-free chocolate zucchini bread

Zucchini is a huge favourite of mine in any way shape or form, so gluten-free chocolate zucchini bread was oh so tempting to try. I found this recipe in The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook by Erica Kerwien.

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So the recipe notes say this can be baked in a loaf tin as bread, a square baking tin to make cake squares or a muffin pan to have cupcakes. I made the bread, had it for brunch, and thought of it in the same way one eats French toast or a chocolate croissant (not that I personally have eaten these, the joy of being of being a coeliac since the age of 1 and living in South Africa). So I had some jam, some nut butter and banana and even some blueberries. I believe everything is better with blueberries, and now with blueberries and zucchini, how good can this be?

 Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (200grams) grated or finely shredded zucchini
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil or unsalted butter or ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (106grams) maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) coconut flour
  • ¼ cup (20 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.Grease the baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides with coconut flour.
Using a food processor or mixer blend together the zucchini, eggs, oil, maple syrup and vanilla. A food processor will further break up the zucchini so you won’t see it in the baked bread (unless like me you love zucchini and feel no need to hide it).
Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt to the mixture and stir well until blended. Let the batter sit for a few minutes.
Mix in the chocolate chip sand pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool and serve.

Notes: some of the bread’s sweetness comes from the sweetened chocolate chips but if you don’t want to add them it is still sweet on its own. If you find it’s not sweet enough you can add another tablespoon of maple syrup or honey, a teaspoon of coconut sugar or a drop of liquid stevia.

They key to using the zucchini is to remove any excess moisture so place the zucchini in a towel and squeeze.

So the verdict… hmmm I am not sure if I would make this again . I enjoyed it with all the toppings but not so much by itself. I think it could be more to do with the coconut flour (although such a small amount) than the zucchini, or maybe it wasn’t sweet enough for me. But it was nice. Enough said.

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

As usual I had some wonderful gluten-free meals in Australia over the holidays, and I was particularly inspired by one. At Nood Cafe in Leederville, Perth the full menu is gluten-free which, for obvious reasons, is very exciting. If I lived in Perth I would be there every other day (my other favourite place is in the same street so all just too marvellous for words)… if only I actually lived in this city!

Below from Nood Cafe we have toast toppers with avocado pesto and beetroot hummus with dukkah. And so begins my obsession with beetroot hummus…

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I searched for a simple recipe in order to replicate this wonderfulness at home. This is by Devon O’Brien, you can find the original here.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce/425g can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed
  • 8 ounces/225g roasted beetroot, coarsely chopped and patted dry
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions
Combine chickpeas, beetroot, tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt in a food processor.
Puree until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Eat and enjoy.

Yes it’s that easy. Happy days.

You can visit www.nood.net.au and see what you are missing out on!

And just for fun, below is toast toppers with natural peanut butter with strawberries (they were out of chia jam), and salted caramel with banana. Sounds nice doesn’t it?

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The best basic gluten-free macaroon recipe

Happy 2017. I am starting my new year with an old favourite of mine. I have previously posted a couple of gluten-free macaroon recipes, but this one really is the simplest out there that I have found. Quick to do if you suddenly need to supply something sweet (or you just feel the need to bake… it happens). The beauty is that you can tweak this standard recipe to suit your own tastes – I have added cranberries and macadamias and of course a little dark chocolate drizzle.

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Ingredients
3 cups shredded coconut
4 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Additional
½ cup cranberries chopped
½ cup macadamias chopped
Dark chocolate for drizzling

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk until the whites and sugar are completely combined and the mixture is frothy.
Pour the coconut over the egg white mixture and stir until the coconut is evenly moistened.
Add in the nuts and cranberries if using and stir to combine.
With wet hands to prevent sticking, shape the coconut mixture into small balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and space them an inch or so apart on a baking sheet (the wet hands make this job a lot easier).
Bake the macaroons until golden; about 15-20 minutes (check them after 15 minutes).
Let the macaroons cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over the cooled macaroons.
The macaroons can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Easy!

You can find the original recipe from thekitchn.com here.

Chocolate Mendiants

So I have learnt to temper chocolate and have made Mendiants! According to the source of all knowledge (Wikipedia), “a Mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders”. The ingredients used refer to the colours of monastic robes; traditionally dried figs for the Franciscans, almond for Carmelites, raisins for the Dominicans and hazelnut for the Augustinians. The Mendiants relied on donations or charity to live and hence the meaning of the word being beggars.

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Apparently, you don’t have to temper the chocolate if the Mendiants are going to be eaten quickly (and they will) but in the interests of research I have gone the traditional tempered chocolate route.

Directions

There are, as with most things in life, different directions on how to temper chocolate. The directions below are from Serious Eats.

Use a high-quality chocolate but do not use chocolate chips. Chop your chocolate into chip-sized pieces and melt about half of it in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Once it’s melted, check the temperature. For dark chocolate you want around 115°F. Remove it from the saucepan and wipe the moisture off the bottom of the bowl. Water is the enemy here!

Stir the melted chocolate with a spatula. Stir, stir and stir some more. As you stir, add the rest of the chopped chocolate bit by bit—add some, let it melt, add some more. And keep stirring! The more it’s agitated, the nicer and shinier it will be. For dark chocolate, you want to get it down to about 90°F. This will take you about 15 minutes, give or take depending on how much you’re tempering, and how warm the chocolate was to begin with.

Once the chocolate is close to the desired temperature you’ll want to test it. Take a metal knife or spoon and dip it in the chocolate, then stick that in the fridge (1 to 2 minutes for dark). If the test comes out of the fridge totally set up—not tacky to the touch, a little glossy, not streaky or blotchy—then you just tempered chocolate.

(Just a note: In some other directions you put the final chocolate back onto the heat and raise the temperature another couple of degrees. The temperatures also vary by a degree or two … who am I to say what is correct).

Spoon the melted chocolate as disks onto baking paper and decorate with your chosen delights. I might need to work on making my disks a little more uniform, but the trick of using the cupcake liners would work here, I was just trying to be authentic! I have stayed with my favourite toppings dried cranberries, salted macadamias, pistachios and roasted coconut, so not quite the original Mendiant ingredients but all rather good! Leave at room temperature to set and then store in a container at room temperature – do not refrigerate.

So why temper chocolate? It’s a science and it gives your chocolate a great sheen and snap. The chocolate will be firm at room temperature, and can be stored at room temperature, so it’s good for chocolate decorations and dipped chocolate, fruit etc. Is it needed really here? Maybe not, but you can only be impressed with yourself when you do temper chocolate!