Sunday, 29 May 2011

We Should Cocoa - The Roulade Round Up

Chele's laptop has most unfortunately decided it didn't want to play recently, leaving her computer-less and unable to blog or do this month's round-up. She apologises profusely and you get me instead.

When I heard roulades and Swiss rolls were the challenge for this month's We Should Cocoa, my heart didn't sing, it sank - I've not had much success with the rolling process so far. Luckily, many of you rose to the challenge and some even relished it. It was the first experience many had of rolling so thank you to all who participated - 20 in total. Some stunning results were achieved and I am truly impressed. Chele and I seemed to have faired less well than most with mine being a complete disaster. However, I shall endeavour to put this behind me and get on with admiring the results. You might expect that these rolls would all be a chocolate sponge with cream or buttercream, but oh no, with the creativity I have come to expect now, there are many interesting interpretations of a roulade - you will not get bored checking these posts out.

Look out for the next We Should Cocoa challenge which I will be posting on 1 June. So here's the round-up in the order that they came in:

A first timer, Aida of Sniff & Snort got us off to a cracking start with this amazing multi layered roulade of dark chocolate, meringue, ganache, cream and raspberries - We Should Loco, or The Sound of Silence. I would have happily eaten each of these layers separately, I can barely imagine what eating a whole slice is like.

Meringue was also used by Suelle of Mainly Baking, but this time as the main event. She made this perfectly rolled and dairy free Hazelnut Meringue Roulade with Chocolate Olive Oil Mouse Filling.

And another perfect roll from Snowy of Cookbooks Galore, putting me completely to shame. This time we have a classic brown and white Chocolate Roulade.

Something rather different from Kath of the Ordinary Cook. She's used ice cream in a retro relive the 70s moment with her Chocolate and Mint Arctic Roll.

Uncharacteristically as she is not known for her sweet tooth, MangoCheeks of Allotment 2 Kitchen entered into the spirit of chocolateyness and made this lovely looking White Chocolate Banoffee Roulade using her own banoffee curd.

Here's my very own rolling disaster turned into a new form. I give you Liskeard Mess.

Chele of Chocolate Teapot wasn't too happy with her Chocolate and Strawberry Roulade. It looked pretty good to me and sounded delicious, but I had to laugh as she was the hard task mistress who chose this challenge.

Carly of Tart to Heart also chose bananas as one of her flavourings, but with a more unusual one to accompany it. She made a well rolled and delicious sounding Malted Chocolate Banana Roulade.

Another first timer, Kate of Kate's Cakes and Bakes put some practice in, then came up with a perfect roll. She has used amaretto and amaretti biscuits in her Chocolate and Amaretti Swiss Roll - yum!

Mel of Sharky Oven Gloves had me salivating at her mention of rum soaked raisins which was her star ingredient in Chocolate and Rum-Raisin Roulade.

White chocolate seems to have been a popular choice this month. Phil of As Strong As Soup has paired this up with hazelnuts in his perfectly rolled and delicious sounding Hazelnut and White Chocolate Roulade.

A different filling again from C of Cake, Crumbs and Cooking. She chose a classic pairing of cherries and chocolate in her Chocolate Roulade with Black Forest Buttercream and despite her worries produced a very good roll.

I was very taken with this striking Tiger Swiss Roll produced by Hannah of Corner Cottage Bakery. Orange curd was her unique ingredient and it was very well rolled too.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade came from Miss Cake Baker of What I Baked This Weekend giving us yet another flavour combination. Meringue, cream, raspberries and chocolate all rolled up in one delightful piece.

Aveen of Baking Obsessively did another near perfect roll - really I'm beginning to get a complex! She used vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam in her Chocolate Swiss Roll.

Baking Addict of The More Than Occasional Baker has come up with another delectable filling. Her Chocolate Swiss Roll with Peanut Butter Filling was another successful roll and it was her first attempt too.

First timer Nic of Daydream About Food has made an Oreo and Pecan Roulade using a well rolled coffee flavoured meringue filled with crushed oreos.

Sarah of Maison Cupcake has revisited an old friend with her perfectly rolled Chocolate Passionfruit Roulade and reflected on her blogging history whilst she was at it.

Cutting it very fine indeed, The KitchenMaid did a good job of rolling her roulade - she even boasted it was easy! Rum soaked raspberries featured in Marion's Chocolate Roulade - her sister's recipe.

A technology hicccup meant we didn't get this Kiss Me With Tongues Chocolate Roulade entry in from Bartelmy of the Krav Vegan until after I'd posted the round-up. A perfect roll with biscuits, peanut butter and cherries.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Strawberry Fol-de-Rol - Random Recipes 4

Really, I don't believe it! Rolling a sponge into an elegant roulade seems to be beyond me, but this month I seem doomed to try again and again. It was time for Dom's Random Recipe challenge and this month I thought he'd let me off easily with his Just Deserts - getting us to choose a recipe from one of our "sweet" cook books. I numbered my chocolate books 1 to 9 (including the one I still have out from the library) and got CT to pick a number and then, with his eyes shut, pick a page from the selected book. Initially, I was quite pleased. he picked For Chocolate Lovers by the Tanner Brothers, a book I'd bought quite some time ago but hadn't yet used. The recipe sounded good too, Chocolate marquise. But then I took a closer look - oh no - it was a roulade and following on so closely from this month's We Should Cocoa roulade challenge too. OK, deep breath, I'd learnt a lesson from the last time, I'd better just get on with it and follow the instructions in the book.

The recipe was for a rich chocolate sponge filled with raspberry coulis, raspberries and cream. Raspberries aren't yet in season here in the UK and I wasn't going to start buying imported ones from Spain. Hummm, now strawberries ought to be available? Yes - my local greengrocer didn't let me down, Cornish strawberries were in - hoorah. I also had a jar of strawberry jam in the cupboard which I could use instead of the raspberry coulis. So this is what I did, using half of the quantities stated in the book:
  • Separated the whites and yolks of 3 duck eggs into two bowls.
  • Whisked the whites until peaks formed, then added 50g caster sugar and whisked again until stiff.
  • Beat the yolks with 75g caster sugar until the mixture was thick and pale.
  • Stirred in the eggs whites carefully.
  • Folded in 15g arrowroot (recipe stated cornflour) and 50g cocoa sifted together.
  • Spread the mixture into a 20cm x 30cm Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper and baked for 10 mins at 180C until risen and firm to the touch.
  • Turned out onto a damp tea towel and removed the baking paper.
  • Left to cool slightly.
  • Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the sponge.
  • Spread a 150ml of whipped double cream (done whilst waiting for cake to bake) over the jam.
  • Placed quartered strawberries from a punnet (having reserved the 4 biggest ones for decoration and eating later) over the cream.
  • Tried to carefully roll the whole thing up and guess what? Disaster struck again. Not as bad as last time; at least it didn't break up completely but it was more of a fold than a roll or as CT says fol-de-rol.
  • Dusted cocoa over the top.
So, once again, my roulade wasn't actually a roulade; this time, I suspect, it was too thick rather than too thin. Then I managed to lose one of the precious strawberries whilst I was photographing the result - it fell down the back of our wall and into the neighbour's garden never to be seen again. This didn't improve my mood. However, peace and harmony were restored when we tried a slice later that evening. We were both in gastronomic ecstasy thanks to this lovely marquise. The sponge was rich and the filling was both tart and creamy - a fantastic combination which worked as well as a layer cake as it might have done as a roulade. Unless anyone else comes up with further plans to humiliate me, I shall be sticking to Liskeard Mess in future or maybe Fol-de-Rol.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Chocolate & Lime Curd Mascarpone Tarts

Some time ago now I bought four little tart cases which I've been wanting to bake with, but somehow haven't managed until a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I made the lime and ginger curd though, I knew I wanted to use it in a tart with chocolate pastry to contrast with that beautiful yellow. But how to do it? Just the lime curd on its own would be too intense. It needed toning down and mascarpone seemed like the right thing to do it with. CityHippyFarmGirl has been trying to get me to use mascarpone for a while now and I've certainly been inspired by her use of it - she even makes her own. So the big question was, did I put a layer of mascarpone at the bottom and top it with the curd or did I mix the two together? Visually, the tarts would have looked better topped by the curd, but taste wise, I thought it would work better mixed. So this is what I did:
  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 70g castor sugar.
  • Mixed in 175g plain flour, 60g semolina, 20g cocoa and a pinch of salt.
  • Bought it together with my hands and kneaded briefly until all ingredients were incorporated.
  • Rolled out on a flour service to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut four circles from a small saucer and pressed these into 4 9 cm buttered tart tins with push up bottoms.
  • Trimmed the edges with a knife.
  • Bought all the scraps together and rolled out again to the same thickness, then cut out into heart shaped biscuits which I placed on a lined baking tray.
  • Baked tarts and biscuits at 180C for 10 minutes.
  • Left to cool.
  • Mixed 250g mascarpone with 4 tbsp of lime curd.
  • Divided the mixture between the tart cases.
  • Blobbed some lime curd over the surface in an, ahem, arty sort of way.
  • Scattered a little grated chocolate over the tops - using my new grater.
The mascarpone lime curd filling was delicious - I could quite easily have eaten the bowlful that I'd made, thankfully I managed to restrain myself. I'm glad I did, because as I'd imagined, it paired extremely well with the chocolate shortbread and was truly delicious. It wasn't as intensely sherbety as the lime curd buttercream I made, but the flavour was still zingy.

CT, who had no idea what these were before tasting them, identified the crust as shortbread straight away. He likes shortbread. He thought the lime was riding the crest of the creaminess and it tasted like real lime too. The contrast of texture & flavour was superlative and it made him want to roll it around in his mouth again and again with his eyes closed. To conclude, he thought it was a superior cheesecake and was pleased to get to eat a whole one all by himself, even if it was rather small.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Chocolate Shortbread Hearts

Back along, in return for a product placement, I received a voucher from CSN to spend at their online store. It wasn't for a particularly large amount, but I decided to treat myself to a couple of things that I would never normally buy. This set of cutters were one of the items I bought. Other than a standard set of three round cutters in varying sizes and a gingerbread man, I don't have any fun ones suitable for biscuits. It was the teapot in the set that won me over.

The cutters are sturdy and well made, which is just as well as they retail at nearly £11. The shapes and colours are fun, suggesting a tea party, with cake slice, cupcake (that's the round one apparently) and teapot. The resulting biscuits are quite large though, so not for the faint hearted. I rather feel that my decorating skills might be put to the test at some point.

I was making some chocolate shortbread to line a couple of tart cases so thought I'd make some extra dough in order to try out one of my new cutters. However, I was feeling in a loving mood the day I made it, so it was the hearts I used rather than the teapot. The recipe for these will follow along with the tarts, but suffice it to say, the hearts were tasty and kept well.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Chocolate Victoria Sandwich with Lime Curd Buttercream

 Well it doesn't look as though Blogger is going to bring back my lost post, so nearly one week on, I've decided to just clench my teeth and rewrite it.  Once again, I apologise for all the comments that were lost on this one and several of my other posts when Blogger went down.

Remember those wonderful sunny days littered with bank holidays that seem like a distant dream now? On one of those we staged our alternative to the Royal Wedding. Forget the thronging crowds of Pall Mall, we opted for a moorland walk followed by tea and cake. A Victoria Sandwich seemed appropriate, but one with a twist: a chocolate Victoria Sandwich hosting a generous layer of lime curd buttercream. I used Nigella's recipe, substituting the cornflour with cocoa and using yogurt instead of milk. Once again, I was lucky enough to have acquired a goose egg, so this went into the mix too. Inspiration for the buttercream came from Little Bear Cakery with her lemon curd version. I of course used my lime and ginger curd.

This is what I did:
  • Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 225g vanilla sugar (granulated) until pale & fluffy.
  • Beat in 1 goose egg (3 to 4 hens eggs).
  • Sifted in 200g flour (50g wholemeal spelt & 150g white), 25g cocoa, 1 rounded tsp baking powder and a pinch of bicarb of soda.
  • Stirred in 1 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt
  • Spooned into two 22cm sandwich moulds and baked for 25 minutes at 180C until risen and firm to the touch.
  • Left to cool for 10 minutes then turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  • Creamed 40g of unsalted butter with 80g icing sugar until very light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 heaped tbsp of lime & ginger curd.
  • Spread this over one of the cakes and put the other on top.
  • Sprinkled with caster sugar.
Once again we enjoyed tea, scones and cake in a lovely Cornish moorland garden. Having worked up an appetite, the cake vanished rapidly amid appreciative comments. The cake cut well; it was moist and very tasty but the star of the show was the buttercream. It was so delicious, it tasted just like lemon sherbets - why don't they have lime sherbets I wonder?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sea Dog

I'd been given a bar of dark chocolate some time ago - Montezuma's Sea Dog. I loved the colour of the packaging and the idea of the unusual flavour - lime and sea salt. I kept it safe and sound wondering if I should cook with it or just savour it in its entire choclolatiness. Then I forgot about it. Working from home recently and feeling like chocolate was very much in order, I had a rummage around and found it. Well, no more thoughts of cooking with it, it was destined for immediate consumption.

Montezuma's have been making organic chocolate for the past 11 years. Started by husband and wife team, Helen and Simon Pattinson they have grown from their first small shop in Brighton to selling their products around the UK and online. I have tried a number of their bars over the years, some I've really enjoyed and others not so much.

Sea Dog (71%) - Ecuadorian cocoa solids, sugar, vanilla, sea salt, lime oil.
Even though I'm not an especial lover of dark chocolate, I wolfed the entire 100g bar and enjoyed every square of it. It smelt deliciously of chocolate, but with a faint whiff of lime. It was delicious; smooth, subtly salty with just the right amount of lime. The salt came and went at irregular intervals, which I really liked and the lime was not overpowering. In fact a pleasant salty limey tang was left in my mouth long after the chocolate had disappeared. Interestingly, this bar contains no lecithin - something I'm always being told is essential to make good quality chocolate. My major quibble with this bar, is that it doesn't appear to be organic. I had assumed that all their chocolate was, but that is obviously not the case.
9/10

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Liskeard Mess - We Should Cocoa 9

After waiting for Blogger to fulfil its promise of restoring all posts and comments lost on Thursday, I've decided to move on and just hope they manage it at some point. So apologies to any of you who had left comments which have now disappeared. Hopefully, that was a temporary blip that won't be repeated.

Oh my, oh my. There is no use trying to hide it, this was meant to be a roulade - a chocolate and lime curd roulade! My attempt at rolling the sponge was an unmitigated disaster. It was my turn for a sinking heart when I found out what Chele had chosen for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge - to make a Swiss roll type cake. These are not my forte by any means. Out of the three roulades I've made, I have been slowly improving, but I seem to have regressed with this one: this is the worst I've done yet and just when I wanted to impress most too. There were a number of factors that contributed to the mess, chief amongst them being my limited patience. However, I think I undercooked the sponge a little and I just didn't make enough of the mixture to fill the tin properly. I was trying to make a sponge that wasn't too thick and therefore easier to roll - ha!

Luckily, where this has failed on the all important visual factor, it succeeded hugely on the even more important one of taste. Forget this as cake, it was a delicious and decadent dessert which CT and I mmmmd and ahhhd our way through with silly expressions of pleasure on our faces.

You may not want to emulate me here, but this is how I did it.
  • Melted 50g 70% dark chocolate over a bowl of hot water with 1 tbsp of lime juice.
  • Removed from the heat and left to cool.
  • Beat 2 duck egg yolks with 60g caster sugar until the mixture was pale, thick and custard like.
  • Sifted in 1/2 tsp ground ginger and stirred carefully.
  • Stirred in the melted chocolate - also carefully.
  • Whisked the 2 duck egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  • Folded in 1/3 at a time.
  • Spread onto a 20cm x 29cm Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper and baked for 10 mins at 180C (2 minutes more would have given a firmer sponge I reckon).
  • Removed from oven and immediately turned onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with caster sugar.
  • Rolled this up whilst hot and left to cool (the theory being this would form it into some sort of roll shape that would lesson the cracking when rolled later).
  • Mixed 125g of mascarpone with 2 tbsp of lime & ginger curd.
  • Unrolled baking paper to find my sponge was in bits - oh b*****.
  • Too disheartened to make the attempt again, I had a quick change of plan.
  • Divided the bits up into 4 and layered them with the mascarpone filling to form a vague likeness to a roulade.
Next time I make a flourless sponge to fit this tin, I will use 3 eggs, 75g of chocolate and 80-90g sugar.

The cake was rich and squidgy and tasted divine. The creaminess of the mascarpone filling and the tartness of the lime were like yin and yang - creating a heavenly harmony and the ginger formed a subtle backdrop to the main event.

This creation was so delicious, I've decided to name it after my home town, Liskeard. Eton Mess is certainly yummy but why shouldn't a modest market town in Cornwall have its very own culinary delight? Next time I'll serve it in a glass - it might look better that way. After an unpromising start, I feel I've snatched a worthy victory from the jaws of disaster.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Lime & Ginger Curd

I know this isn't strictly about chocolate. Actually this isn't about chocolate at all, but it did come about because of our We Should Cocoa chocolate challenge and it will be featuring in a couple of chocolate recipes to come. The lime challenge gave me so many ideas and as ususal with these things, my list of recipes to make has grown even longer. Phil from As Strong As Soup made lime curd as part of his entry and Chele over at Chocolate Teapot has also recently made it. I so liked the idea of making lime curd that I was determined to do so and worry about what to do with it afterwards. In the end I adapted a recipe for Lime and Ginger Curd that I found in one of the books I'd borrowed from the library, Seasonal Preserves by Joanna Farrow.
  • Grated the zest of three well scrubbed limes and blended in a food processor with 150g granulated sugar. The theory behind this was to make the sugar green and give some colour to the final product. It did make the sugar a lovely pastel green, but as you can see from the pictures did not make much of a difference to the curd. An unnecessary step which I wouldn't bother repeating if I made this again.
  • Put the sugar in a bowl and placed over a pan of gently simmering water with the juice squeezed from the three limes. Stirred until the sugar had dissolved.
  • Added 25gz grated ginger (washed but not peeled) and 50g unsalted butter. Left until butter had melted.
  • Whisked in 2 duck eggs then stirred the mixture for rather longer than the 15 minutes stated in the book - about 25 mins, until it had thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Poured mixture through a sieve, pressing the contents through with a spoon to remove all lumps and bits of grated ginger.
  • Poured into sterilised jars. Left to cool then stored in the fridge.
The colour might lead one to think this was lemon curd rather than lime, but I was thrilled with the gorgeous yellow that I can only assume came from the duck eggs. As for the taste, it was as delicious as I'd hoped, smooth, rich, very limey with just a hint of ginger. I think I might just be making this again.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Grating Chocolate After a Fairy Flutters By

The Fairy Hobmother has been flitting here and flitting there and turning up in all sorts of unexpected places, although it has to be said these are mostly (and maybe exclusively) food blogs. Following on from a comment I left on Nic's blog Cherrapeno, this fairy, aka Ian of Appliances Online visited me recently. I had wished for a new nut or spice grinder. In the end I got something rather different from what I'd originally intended, but I'm really pleased with it.

It is a hand mill  for grinding, grating and slicing nuts, vegetables or chocolate. Guess what the first thing I used it for was? I really like the fact it is simple and easy to use and that I'm not reliant on electricity for everything. It's particularly good for grating chocolate as I find trying to hold a piece if chocolate whilst grating it leads to lots of melted chocolate all over my hands - not necessarily a bad thing of course, but not the most efficient way of getting either melted chocolate or grated chocolate. My one complaint is catching the gratings; much of the chocolate spilled onto the work surface rather than the saucer I'd placed to collect them. Next time I shall try it with a bowl. You'll find out what I wanted that grated chocolate for in a later post.

Do leave a comment here stating your wish and you never know, it just might be granted and the Fairy Hobmother could be visiting you. Good Luck.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Willie's Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake & Goose Eggs

After writing my post on duck eggs nearly two years ago and seeing the picture of a goose egg there, I've been yearning to get my hands on one ever since. Goose eggs are meant to be even better than duck eggs for baking. Well, I couldn't quite believe it when I went to get my duck eggs from our local weekly produce market the other week. Right next to the duck eggs was a basket of three goose eggs. I bought one immediately. I'd only been gone about a minute when I turned around and raced back again to buy the other two. Who knew how long it might be before I'd be able to get my hands on another one? I'd been told goose eggs make particularly good fried eggs and scrambled eggs. Well it seemed a shame to scramble my first ever eggs, so we had one each, fried for breakfast that Saturday. They were enormous (see above comparison with duck egg) and virtually covered the whole plate. They also kept us going down at the plot for a good many hours.

So what was I going to use my remaining egg for? I'd been wanting to make Willie's famous cloud forest chocolate cake ever since I first saw it, but was waiting for the right occasion. Well really, what could be more special than baking with a goose egg? Willie's Chocolate Factory Cookbook was thus unearthed and I proceeded to melt his Venezuelan Black 100% cocoa. As the egg, although large wasn't quite worth 6 chicken eggs and as I only had 160g of the cocoa, I made a smaller cake than the stated one and had to estimate the quantities. This is what I did:
  • Grated 10g off the block of 100% cocoa.
  • Melted the remaining 150g over a pan of hot water with 210g unsalted butter and left to cool a little.
  • Whisked  1 goose egg (about 4 duck eggs or 5 hens eggs) with 40g light muscovado and 120g vanilla sugar (granulated) until thick and doubled in volume.
  • Poured the chocolate down the side of the bowl so as not to knock the air out of the egg mixture then proceeded to fold in as gently as I could.
  • Folded in 80g ground almonds.
  • Poured into a 22cm cake mould and baked at 170C for 30 mins.
  • Left to cool, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool further.
  • Placed onto a cake stand and scattered over the grated cocoa (which then proceeded to melt as I hadn't left the cake quite long enough to cool).
This had such a powerful chocolate smell whilst cooking, it made my stomach rumble even though I'd only just had lunch. Although the cake was meant to be iced, I thought it would be quite rich enough as it was - and it was! It was rich, dense, truffley and gorgeous. CT reckoned it was an adult only experience. The taste and aroma of chocolate was very strong. The texture was mousse like and more like a brownie than a cake. It wasn't in the least bit sweet and had a robust underlying bitterness that was a bit like beer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Truffle Easter Eggs

I know these are a little late in the day, but this is the last of my Easter Platter posts and really they don't have to be Easter eggs at all. I think they'd be great given as a gift on any occasion - especially if you've mastered the art of tempering chocolate. Having seen, this post, I was going to attempt making my own Easter eggs this year rather than buying them. Having looked at the recipe a little closer, however, I was undecided - I really can't get my head around US measurements and what did two packages of Graham crackers equate to anyway? So, when I had some cake left over from trimming the Battenberg, I decided to use that as the base for a filling instead.
  • Creamed about 1oz butter with about 1/2 oz caster sugar.
  • Beat in 1 dsp rhubarb liqueur.
  • Added about 5oz cake crumbs and mixed until all thoroughly combined.
  • Took walnut sized pieces and rolled between the palms of my hands forming them into some semblance of an egg shape - I made 15.
  • Put the pieces onto a tray lined with baking paper and placed in the freezer for 1/2 an hour. 
  • Melted 100g 72% cook's chocolate (G&B) over a pan of hot water. Removed from the heat and added a further 50g. This was in an attempt to temper the chocolate - ha ha (I will get this cracked this year, I will).
  • Dipped the eggs into the chocolate and put back on the baking paper to set. As the eggs were frozen, this didn't take long.
  • Decorated with mini sugar stars before the chocolate had set.
My usual aversion to faffing about came into play, so my chocolate eggs did not look in the least professional. I was, however, pleased that I had made the attempt. Most people I know prefer home made over commercial offerings and these certainly looked home made!

Luckily, my mother, for whom the majority of these were destined, was very impressed and thought them utterly delicious. CT also got in on the act. He too thought they were delicious and were the best Easter eggs he had. With a nice crisp chocolate shell and melt in the mouth innards, these were just like a real egg he thought. Not designed for an instant sugar hit, these were slow food to be savoured carefully and enjoyed at length. The bitter dark chocolate was a good foil to the softer sweeter filling.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

We Should Cocoa - The Marzipan Round Up

Well it seems with marzipan, you either love it or hate it and many of you hated it. I'm beginning to think that Chele and I are playing good cop, bad cop, with Chele definitely being the good cop. Luckily, some of you out there love marzipan as much as I do - what a relief - and although entries to this month's We Should Cocoa challenge were slow in coming forward, there was a sudden rush at the end, so I'm pleased to report there is more than just my entry this month - 17 in total. Again, there is a diverse range of offerings and a lot of creative talent - it's not all simnel cake by any means, in fact there isn't a single one. Many even made their own marzipan. Thank you to all who took part. I shall be be in my usual quandary, wondering which one to make first.

Chele will be posting the next We Should Cocoa challenge on 1 May 2011 on the Chocolate Teapot - I'm sure she'll come up with something that more of you will find appealing.

Victoria of The District Chocoholic got things off to an amazing start with her Triple Chocolate Macarons. Not only are these perfectly formed, a skill I have yet to acquire, but they sound just the sort of thing I would love to tuck into.

This Marzipan, Chocolate and Cherry Ice-cream, made by Hannah of Corner Cottage Bakery would have been perfect for the lovely Easter weather many of us enjoyed.

A fellow marzipan enthusiast, Aveen of Baking Obsessively, made a lovely Chocolate Battenburg, even making the flowers that decorated the top.

With Easter just around the corner, Suelle of Mainly Baking made some gorgeous Easter Marzipan Biscuits shaped to form nests complete with eggs. Welcome back Suelle, we missed you last month.

Carl of Llynlines, with true love very much in mind, made these Hidden Hearts Muffins. Only he knew the marzipan hidden in the middle was in the shape of a heart.

In a daring bid for something different, Kath of The Ordinary Cook, not only made her own marzipan but made it with pistachios rather than almonds to give a gorgeous green stripe through her Pistachio Marzipan and Chocolate Cake.

For something different again, Hannah of Home Baked made these rather stylish marzipan pastries. I have to disagree with her choice of name though - Pastries for Cheats ;-)

Really, I wasn't copying Aveen. I'd had the idea of doing a Battenburg for quite some time and had wanted to use matcha and chocolate to make a good contrast of colours and flavours with this Chocolate & Matcha Battenberg.

Carly of Tart to Heart created a real Easter extravaganza with her Marzipan Chocolate-Strawberry Torte - luscious layers of shortbread, chocolate sponge, strawberry mousse, vanilla buttercream and marzipan.

With great heroism, Miss Cake Baker of What I Baked This Weekend decided she would take this opportunity to see if she could overcome her aversion to Marzipan. It didn't work, but she came up with a great looking cake which I'm very sure I would have liked - Spanish Vanilla Cake.

It took Michele of Food Football and a Baby a while to figure out how to use both chocolate and marzipan in one dish, but she eventually came up with these delicious Coconut, Chocolate and Marzipan Macaroons.

As a fan of both brownies and marzipan I would find these Apricot-Mocha Brownie Marzipan Bars very hard to resist. Maya of Foddiva's Kitchen has done a wonderful job of putting these together with a lovely contrast of colours as well as flavours.

Poor Chele of Chocolate Teapot, her heart really wasn't in this one - she hates marzipan. But as it was a challenge she gave it her best shot. Her Easter Simnel Brownie look and sound totally delicious to me, but Chele was not impressed and into the bin they went.

Another variation on marzipan, Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe made a vegan version using no eggs. Her Marzipan Choc Chip Cookies sound very moreish.

Biscuits for Easter were also made by Mel of Sharky Oven Gloves. She took some needed time out from her dissertation to make these Easter Chocolate and Marzipan Biscuits, making her own marzipan eggs for good measure.

Kali of The Krav Vegan made these beautifully decorated vegan cupcakes. Off With Her Cupcakes included another version of home made vegan marzipan.

This Easiest Chocolate Cake in the World from Dom of Belleau Kitchen is sure to become a firm favourite in the tea rooms he is now baking for. With the fabulous decorations he has added, it doesn't look easy to me, but it does look good.

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