Death by Chocolate

These death by chocolate squares are so rich and luxurious that they are a real treat the be taken in moderation.  With the option of cutting into brownie-sized pieces (then one at a time it is) or bite-sized chunks they are perfect for the even the most fussy chocolate-lover.  The roasted almond base gives them a nutty flavour which breaks up the rich chocolate appeal and by using 70% cocoa solids as your chocolate of choice you can easily create an indulgent chocolate treat designed to last for days but enjoyed for longer.  There are a couple of features which make this recipe both interesting and memorable from the bakers point of view – for one thing the lack of flour and high egg content.  But after the first bite it’s not hard to see why these are the perfect indulgence for chocolate-lovers.

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Ingredients

  • 210g butter
  • 270g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 90g ground almonds

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 150g dark chocolate chopped
  • 75g butter
  • 60ml semi-skimmed milk

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  To prepare grease and line a rectangular brownie tin with grease proof paper.
  2. In a large baking bowl over the saucepan of simmering water place the butter, chopped dark chocolate and caster sugar.  Stir every five minutes until a smooth and a rich chocolaty mixture has been reached.
  3. Whilst the sugar, butter and chocolate are melting, in another bowl gently whisk the five eggs until well broken up.

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  4. When the chocolate mixture has melted add the whisked eggs and stir in with a wooden spoon before stirring in the roasted ground almonds.
  5. Pour the mix into the lined baking tray and set into the pre-heated oven to cook for 25-40 minutes until set and firm to the touch in the middle.  When cooked removed from the oven and allow to cool for one hour.
  6. To make the smooth glaze add the dark chocolate, butter, semi-skimmed milk and chopped almonds to a clean mixing bowl and place over a pan of simmering water, stir frequently to ensure that the mix becomes well combined.  When completely melted pour over the cooled chocolate and almond bake – make sure it’s completely cool before adding the glaze guys.
  7. Smooth over the glaze with the back of a metal spoon so that an even layer is created and take portions of 2-3 halved almonds to decorated.  Space these evenly depending on how many squares you would like to cut your bake into.

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I recommend cutting it into either eight large squares (pictured) or smaller bite-sized chunks for those who like to nibble more than one at a time.

 

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Protein Bean Risotto

I love this recipe because it’s turned out to be so versatile – it’s perfect for hubby and baby with only a few extra pulses on the blender needed for the latter.  Not only is it tasty but it’s packed with protein-rich ingredients and is filled with flavour too.  There’s a few ingredients in this which I’ll be honest I’ve never cooked with before, but I’m in the process of raising my daughter on a vegetarian diet so I’ve had to branch out a little.  In essence this recipe is rich in goodness for everyone, so get stuck in!

Serves: 4 adult portions or 6 baby meals

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 230g Cannelloni Beans
  • 160g Sweetcorn
  • 275g Wholegrain Brown Rice
  • 75g Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 150g Edame Soya Beans
  • 400g Chopped Tomatoes
  • 75g grated medium cheddar
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • Generous Pinch of Basil

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Racing towards risotto…

  1. In a saucepan of boiling water, simmer the rice for 10-12 minutes until soft and thick, pour into a sieve to drain out the water and set aside.
  2. In another saucepan add the 400g of chopped tomatoes, feel free to use a tin of chopped tomatoes for ease.  Add the drained sweetcorn and cannelloni beans and heat for five minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
  3. When these veggies are welled mixed, add the edame soya beans, baby spinach and cheddar, stir well and allow the vegetable sauce to simmer before adding the drained rice.
  4. Season with the black pepper and basil before adding to a food processor.  Pulse on and off for five minutes until you reach that perfect consistency.

If you are preparing meals for a little one under toddler age then it can be an idea to pulse the recipe a little longer and skip out the black pepper.  Remember this dish is perfect for freezing if you want to prepare it in advance for the week ahead – your little ones will love the flavour and it’s super healthy.

Chocolate Wholenut Brownies

These chocolate hazelnut brownies pack a chocolatey punch, I make them to share around the family and they never last long – they’re something different taste-wise, with a crunchy biscuit texture outside and a soft and supple brownie centre.  The nuts on the inside give this side of the brownie a wholesome bite.  Ultimately they satisfy the biscuit, brownie and chocolate cravings all in one.  They’re a delicious bake and are stylishly different.

Serves: 12 Brownies

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Baking Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 325g Caster Sugar with Stevia
  • 130g Self-Raising Flour
  • 200g Dark Chocolate
  • 170g Butter
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • 75g Mixed Nuts

 Where to begin…

1 Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 12″x8″ baking tray with baking paper.

2 In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water place the dark chocolate and the butter and allow to melt together, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.

3. Separately crack the eggs into a dish and whisk well, set aside until the butter and dark chocolate have melted. When it has melted add the eggs into this mixture and whisk well.

4. Gently fold in the flour and add the nuts until an even consistency is reached throughout the mixture.  Pour into the baking tray and place on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 45minutes.

 

Remove from the baking tray in the greaseproof layer when the brownies are cooled and cut into twelve small squares.

Chocolate Layer Loaf

This delicious chocolate layer loaf is really more cake than bread.  With a mix of sponge, almonds and rolled oats its definitely designed to be a filling treat which fuels the mind and body.  With a tempting cocoa top-layer its unique appearance makes its an intriguing lunch time snack which is perfect for the lunchbox.

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Ingredients

  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g Self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 2tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 40g halved roasted almonds
  • 45g rolled porridge oats

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Getting Stuck In!

  1. To prepare lightly grease and line a 450g loaf tin and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and margarine together in a large mixing bowl until a light and fluffy consistency is achieved.
  2. Whisk in the vanilla essence and gradually add the eggs, whisking well after each addition and carefully fold in the flour with a wooden spoon – ensuring not too much air is let into the mix.
  3. Divide the mix in half and place one half in a separate bowl.  Gently mix in the cocoa powder to one portion of separated mix and stir gently with a wooden spoon.
  4. Place the vanilla mixture into the lined baking tin and smooth the top.  Spread the chocolate mix over the vanilla layer.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until springy and firm to the touch When removing from the oven leave to cool in the tin on a cooling tray for 30-60 minutes before removing and finely slicing to serve.

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Serving with cold custard can make this lunch box treat the perfect dinner dessert too!  Simply heat gently on a heatproof dish in the oven for 5-10 minutes before pouring hot or cold custard on top.  If you are thinking of serving up that perfect gift, why not wrap your loaf (sliced into 12 thin pieces) in some decorative tissue paper before serving.  I promise this won’t be a treat which goes unappreciated!

Cheesy Spinach Mash

Load your little one up on both their dairy and their protein with this simple but scrummy recipe for cheesy spinach mash.  My little girl loves this and I think it tastes amazing too.  Using simple wholesome organic veggies you get a real mix of flavours jump through.  It’s freezable and super easy to adapt for all age groups…for example you can simply add wholegrain penne pasta for older kids and adults and blend it down to suit everyone.  Adapting this means you can make up a batch of this recipe for the week ahead, perfect for busy families in a hurry.  Enjoy guys!

Ingredients

  • 350g Sweet Potato, Chopped
  • 350g Butternut squash, Diced
  • 60g baby spinach
  • 75g medium cheddar
  • Knob of butter

Directions

  1. Prepare a pan of boiling water and place the sweet potato and butternut squash in with the baby spinach. Allow to simmer for about 10-12minutes until soft.
  2. Weigh out the cheese and combine with the knob of butter.
  3. Spoon the veggies in even portions into a food processor and blend down to a smooth mash, add the cheese and butter throughout when you blend to allow it to evenly melt through the mash.
  4. When that perfect consistency is formed, take the mash out and serve in large bowls as a side dish to your main meal, or if making for your little one divide into small containers to cool.

Snowy Hazelnut Bites

These are one of my go-to products when I’m searching for a gift on-the-go.  Yes they are tasty to make for the family but they don’t last long as they’re light and sweet, the hazelnuts are an amazing added ingredient too because they add a bit of density to each bite.  They’re gorgeous but it you are whipping these up for the family, you might want to make extra.

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Bakes: 22 Bites

Make: In 15 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes

Challenge: Easy

Ingredients

  • 70g organic dark chocolate
  • 70g milk chocolate
  • 70g white chocolate
  • 50g crushed hazelnuts
  • 200g crisped rice cereal

To Make

  1. Break the chocolate up in three separate bowls. Place each bowl over a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes until melted.
  2. Mix the crushed hazelnut and cereals together and split equally three ways between each bowl of melted chocolate and stir well.
  3. Using a desert and teaspoon place small spoonfuls onto separate baking trays, spaced well apart. Lightly sprinkle some icing sugar over the top and allow to cool for one hour in the fridge before serving.

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Chocolate Decadence

These are ooeeyy, gooey, messy and tasty.  It’s pretty much the best way to describe them.  Apologies if you’re on a health-kick and can’t resist.  They are pretty amazing and pretty low-cost to whip up.  Oh so much chocolate, oh so much bite.  Yeah they’re pretty perfect.  Enjoy this one guys…for chocolate-lovers everywhere.

Bakes: 12 Slices

Make: In 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Plain flour
  • 25g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 150g Unsalted Butter, softened & diced
  • 75g Icing Sugar

Topping

  • 200g White Chocolate
  • 150g Milk Chocolate
  • A dusting of icing sugar

Get baking…!

1. Preheat the oven to 180C & grease a shallow baking tin

2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder and butter together, add the icing sugar to the mixture after.

3. Add the mixture to the baking tin and press down using the back of a spoon, bake for 25mins.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool whilst melting the white chocolate in a bowl, pour over the top of the bake and allow to cool in the fridge for 30mins.

5. Repeat with the milk chocolate and drizzle over. Sprinkle two-three dustings of icing sugar over the top and allow to cool in the fridge for a further hour.

6. Cut evenly into 12 squares & serve.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Safe to say these divert from the healthy option, in fact they’re the perfect example of what a pure indulgence is meant to be.  However if you want to be creative they actually make the perfect gift!  Gift box, tissue paper and this recipe serve you well for most occasions and it’s a lot more perosnalised that anything you can buy.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 175g butter
  • 40g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs; lightly beaten
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 5ml/1/2 tsp. Natural Vanilla Extract
  • 55g Self-raising flour

For the Frosting

  • 115g plain (dark) chocolate
  • 30g butter
  • 15-20ml sour cream

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease an 8” shallow cake tin; optionally line with greased baking paper.
  2. Place the butter and cocoa powder into a heated pan and melt together, stirring occasionally before setting the bowl aside and allow the mixture to cool.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl before stirring in the cooled cocoa mixture.
  4. Sift over the self-raising flour and fold into the mixture using a metal spoon.
  5. Pour into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven for to cook for 30-35minutes. Remove from the oven when cooked – the mixture will remain quite wet but will dry when cooling.
  6. To make the frosting melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Beat in the sour cream (if using) until the frosting is smooth and glossy.  Leave the mixture to cool slightly for 5-10minutes and then spread over the top of the brownies – allow to set before slicing into 12 pieces.