Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls

Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls

 

A very light meringue dessert, with chocolate and cream, that tastes heavenly. This is really easy to make and looks impressive.

 

Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls
Prepares: 12 meringues
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 170g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp coffee extract
  • 3 tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped (or walnuts)

  • For the filling
  • 70g (2½ oz) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 20g (¾ oz) butter (1½ tbsp)
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) double/heavy cream (1 cup)

  • To serve
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)


  1. Method
  2. For the meringue
  3. Preheat oven to a cool setting, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)

  4. Toast the hazelnuts by heating in a pan over a medium–low heat until just turning colour and you can begin to smell the nuts. Watch them carefully as they can burn very quickly. Set aside to cool.

  5. Now whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then slowly add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Drizzle over the coffee extract and whisk again until mixed in. The meringue should form stiff peaks and be glossy.

  6. Carefully fold in the nuts.

  7. Line two baking trays/sheets with baking paper. Dab a little meringue in each corner of the trays/sheets to hold the linings in place. Then swirl spoonfuls of meringue onto the paper. The mixture will make approximately 24 meringues (you want an even number). Do not try piping the meringue as the nuts will clog the tip! Now bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry and lift freely from the paper. Turn off the oven and, if you have time, leave them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Otherwise transfer the trays/sheets onto a wire cooling rack and leave the meringues to cool. When they are cool, remove from the paper..

  8. For the filling
  9. Melt the butter slowly with half the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the chocolate, stirring until it has melted. Beat with a wooden spoon and, when it is smooth, coat the flat surface of 12 meringues.

  10. Now whip the cream until stiff and spread it to sandwich together a chocolate-coated meringue and a plain meringue.

  11. To serve
  12. Cocoa powder can be sifted lightly over the top of each meringue to decorate.

Updated: March 18, 2019

Chocolate Brandy Slices

Chocolate Brandy Slices

 

A very decadent chocolate dessert to serve with a special dinner. This velvety brandy enriched chocolate slice is filled with cherries, walnuts, and crushed biscuits.

 

Chocolate Brandy Slices
Prepares: 6 slices
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1–2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 10 digestive biscuits
  • 115g (4 oz) good quality, plain/dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 1 egg
  • 85g (1½ oz) caster sugar/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 40g (1½ oz) glacé cherries (¼ cup)
  • 40g (1½ oz) walnut halves (⅓ cup)
  • 2 tbsp brandy

  • You will also need a rectangular mould about 22 x 11cm (8½ x 4¼ inches), a small loaf tin/pan is ideal.


  1. Method
  2. Line the mould with a piece of cling film/wrap, long enough so it extends over the edges.

  3. Now put the digestive biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush coarsely with a rolling pin. Set aside.

  4. Next rinse the cherries and leave to dry.

  5. Then break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a pan along with the butter. Melt over a very low heat, stirring frequently. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat.

  6. In a small bowl, beat the egg and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat this into the melted chocolate and butter until the mixture is smooth.

  7. Halve the cherries and reserve 6 halves.

  8. Now reserve 6 walnut halves and chop the remainder.

  9. Fold the cherries, chopped walnuts, crushed biscuits, and brandy into the chocolate mixture.

  10. Spoon this into the prepared mould and decorate the top with the reserved cherries and walnut halves.

  11. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours to become firm and then remove 30 minutes before serving to allow to come up to room temperature.

  12. To serve, remove from the mould by using the edges of the cling wrap/film to help lift it out. Then cut into 6 slices.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Oats and chocolate chips added to a basic cookie recipe have made these one of our favourite cookies for many years.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prepares: 42 cookies
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10–12 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 225g (8 oz) plain flour/all-purpose flour (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda/baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 340g (12 oz) plain chocolate chips/semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) porridge oats/quick cooking rolled oats (1¼ cups)

  • You will also need large baking trays/cookie sheets, ungreased.


  1. Method
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar for 2–3 minutes until really creamy, Then beat in the eggs and the vanilla.

  4. Sift the flour into a separate bowl and add the soda, salt, and cinnamon. Then gradually stir into the creamed mixture until completely combined.

  5. Next, stir in the oats and then carefully stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

  6. Drop by tablespoons onto the baking trays/cookie trays, spacing well apart, and bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave for 1 minute. Then, using a palette knife, place on wire racks to cool.

  7. You may need to bake the cookies in two batches if you don't have enough baking trays/cookie sheets to use all the mixture. Leave the trays/sheets to cool down before spooning on the remaining mixture.

Updated: October 13, 2018

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

Frozen Strawberry Sundae

 

These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.

 

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)

  • *This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box. Use the following for a substitution for the ingredients to make the base in England:

  • 115g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.

  • For the filling
  • 280g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds

  • You will also need a 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking tin at least 5cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.

  • Note
  • Once the base and filling have been left to freeze, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24cm (9½ in) square tin.


  1. Method
  2. Cut two sheets of baking parchment larger than the baking tin so that they can be laid across one another and overhang the edges of the tin on all sides. Press well into the corners of the tin.

  3. For the base
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs. Now spread evenly in the tin, pressing well into the corners. Freeze while making the filling.

  5. For the filling
  6. Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little.

  7. Now slice the strawberries and put into a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  8. Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.

  9. Purée the strawberries until smooth, then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended. Then spoon evenly over the chocolate base in the tin and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

  10. Frozen Strawberry Sundae


  11. For the topping
  12. Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  13. Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.

  14. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.). Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate to the bowl. Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.

  15. To finish
  16. Top each square just before serving.

  17. Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.

  18. Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares. Drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Updated: August 8, 2018

Chocolate Dipped Fingers

Chocolate Dipped Fingers

 

These butter biscuits just melt in the mouth and the chocolate dipped ends will appeal to those chocolate lovers in the family.

 

Chocolate Dipped Fingers
Prepares: 30 biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 55g (2 oz) icing/powdered sugar (½ cup)
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 140g (5 oz) plain/semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces

  • You will also need a piping bag fitted with a 12.5mm (½ inch) star-shaped nozzle


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  3. Measure the butter in a large bowl and sift in the sugar. Beat vigorously until soft and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.

  4. Now gradually add the sifted flour, mixing to make a soft dough.

  5. Spoon into the piping bag and pipe 6.5cm (2½ inch) lengths onto baking trays/cookie sheets, cutting the dough off at the nozzle with a small knife. The dough should yield about 30 biscuits.

  6. Bake for 18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes. Now, using a palette knife, carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool. They will be very delicate until they have cooled completely.

  7. Next place a basin over a pan of just-simmering water and add half the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and then add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is of a smooth consistency. This makes for a lovely shiny chocolate coating.

  8. Place kitchen paper beneath the wire racks to catch any chocolate drips. Then dip each end of the biscuits in the melted chocolate (you may not need all the chocolate). Return them to the wire racks and leave until the chocolate has set.

  9. Store in an airtight container.

Updated August 8, 2018

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas

 

These individual pavlovas are a mix of vanilla and chocolate meringue which is then covered in whipped cream, topped with fresh raspberries and dusted with cocoa.

 

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas
Prepares: 4 pavlovas
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 7g (¼ oz) cocoa powder (1 tbsp)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 14g (½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ tbsp)
  • 115g (4 oz) raspberries (1 cup)

  • You will also need a large baking sheet/tray lined with baking parchment.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).

  3. Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Then gradually add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition until stiff. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy.

  4. Using a metal spoon, spoon a third of the meringue into another bowl and sift over 2 teaspoons of the cocoa powder. Gently fold the cocoa into the meringue.

  5. Spoon the cocoa meringue over the white meringue and then, using the metal spoon, fold together once to create a rippled effect.

  6. Now put a little dab of meringue on the four corners of the baking sheet/tray and top with the baking parchment. (This will help the lining stay in place.) Spoon the meringue into four mounds on the baking parchment and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, until the meringue is crisp on the outside and peels away easily from the parchment. Cool on a wire rack.

  7. Whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form and spoon over the meringues. Top with the raspberries and then dust with the reserved cocoa powder using a small sieve.

Updated: July 23, 2018

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

 

For chocoholics in the family, this is a delectable chocolate cake. The chocolate flavoured sponge is very light and and the chocolate icing is a little fudgy and is used as a filling too. Of course, you have to finish it off with more chocolate, and slivers of chocolate are used decorate the top. The only non-chocolate addition is apricot jam that is used before adding the icing and this makes it more moist.

 

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake
Prepares: About 10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp very hot water
  • 225g (8 oz) self-raising flour/self-rising flour (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 225g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)

  • For the filling, icing and decoration
  • 140g (5 oz) butter (½ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1¼ sticks)
  • 280g (2½ oz) cocoa powder (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 340g (12 oz) icing/powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • 6 tbsp apricot glaze or apricot jam
  • good quality plain/dark chocolate for the decoration

  • You will also need 2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased.


  1. Method
  2. For the sponge
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  4. Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl and leave to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. (Either use a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer.) Add the butter, sugar, and eggs. Then drizzle the cooled cocoa mixture over the top. Beat for 2 minutes until creamy.

  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 35–40 minutes. The cakes should have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and will spring back when lightly pressed with a forefinger.

  7. Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove, peeling off the lining, and cool on a wire rack.

  8. For the filling, icing and decoration
  9. Place the chocolate for the decoration in the refrigerator to become cold as it will be easier to work with.

  10. Now for the filling and icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

  11. Put the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt over a low heat. As soon as it has melted, mix in the cocoa powder and cook over a very low heat for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Add the icing/powdered sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating well between each addition. You may not need all the sugar. Just add enough to make a coating consistency.

  12. Leave to cool a little while preparing the apricot glaze.

  13. You can buy apricot glaze in a jar in the U.K. which is ready to use, so just warm through about 6 tablespoons. In Canada, not being able to find apricot glaze, I use apricot jam. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 6 tablespoons of apricot jam to thin it a little, and gently heat to warm through. The jam will now be of a consistency to pass through a sieve to remove any pieces of fruit.

  14. Invert one of the sponge layers and place on a serving plate. Using a palette knife, carefully coat the top with about a quarter of the glaze, then top with two good tablespoonfuls of the icing. Spread evenly over the jam.

  15. Place the second cake on top and gently press down. Spread the sides and top with the remaining glaze using just enough to coat. Then spread the remaining icing over the whole cake.

  16. Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and, over a plate, pull a potato peeler along the long smooth edge. This will make tiny slivers of chocolate. You will need about 28g (1 oz). Scatter these on top of the cake to decorate.

Updated July 22, 2018

Banana and Maple Syrup Sundaes

Banana and Maple Syrup Sundaes

 

For these delicious sundaes, banana slices are coated in maple syrup, mixed with vanilla ice cream and crushed meringue shells, then topped with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate, a cherry and a wafer.

 

Banana and Maple Syrup Sundaes
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes, or 25 minutes if making the meringues
  • Cooking time, if making meringues: 1hr 15mins

  • Ingredients
  • For the sundaes
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 small meringue nests, roughly crushed*
  • 8 small scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 150m (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 1 tbsp grated plain/dark chocolate
  • 4 glacé cherries
  • 4 fan wafers (U.K. only). I have been unable to locate anything similar in Canada

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any leftover meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.

  • For the meringues
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), white only
  • 55g (2 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)

  • You will also need 4 sundae glasses.


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)

  4. Whisk the egg white in a grease-free bowl until stiff. Then gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.

  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 3 mounds of meringue onto the baking paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringues should now lift easily from the paper. If you have time, leave them to dry out in the oven for a further hour with the oven off, which will ensure the meringues are crisp all the way through.

  7. For the sundaes
  8. Slice the bananas into a bowl. Then add the maple syrup and stir to coat the banana slices.

  9. Crush the meringues.

  10. Whip the cream until stiff.

  11. Divide the banana slices, ice cream, and meringue pieces between the four sundae glasses, layering as you go.

  12. Top each sundae with a spoonful of the whipped cream.

  13. Now sprinkle the chocolate over the top, then decorate with a glacé cherry and a fan wafer.

  14. Serve immediately.

Updated: June 22, 2018

Chocolate Choux Buns

I recently made some chocolate choux buns and, whilst making the choux pastry, I decided to try whisking the eggs into the melted butter mixture using an electric hand whisk. I had picked up on the fact that this is supposed to incorporate air into the mixture as you are whisking in the eggs, resulting in a lighter pastry.

 

Having had success with these choux buns, I will now use this method when making the pastry for the religieuses and so I have amended the method for making the choux pastry in that recipe to show this (see here).

 

I like trying new ways of doing things. They don’t always work but this one certainly did.

 

Chocolate Choux Buns

 

Choux buns filled with a sweet, vanilla cream and topped with a thick coating of chocolate – what could be more heavenly?

 

Chocolate Choux Buns
Prepares: 8 choux buns
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the choux buns
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, cut into cubes (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 70g (2½ oz) plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), lightly beaten

  • For the filling
  • 480ml (16 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp caster/white sugar

  • Topping
  • 100g (3½ oz) plain/dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter, cut into cubes (3 tbsp)


  1. Method
  2. For the choux buns
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) (gas 7)

  4. First sift the flour onto a piece of kitchen paper.

  5. Place the butter in a heavy-based pan along with 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) of water. Heat the mixture over a gentle heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Now bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then immediately remove from the heat and quickly tip in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

  6. Now cook the mixture over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a soft ball, about 2 minutes. The mixture will also dry out a little at this stage. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and leave until it feels cool to the touch, about 15 minutes.

  7. Next, using an electric whisk, gradually add the eggs, whisking well between each addition. Not all the egg may be needed. Just add enough until the mixture is smooth and shiny and forms a soft peak. (Using an electric whisk will allow air to be incorporated into the mixture as the eggs are added.) 


  8. Sprinkle or spray a little water over the baking sheet. (When in the oven the water will create steam which will help puff up the mixture.) Put eight large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.

  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5). Cook for a further 20 minutes or until the buns are well risen and golden brown. (Don’t open the door of the oven during the first 20 minutes of cooking.) Remove the choux buns and turn off the oven.

  10. Pierce a small hole into each bun with a skewer or make a small cut with the tip of a knife, which will allow steam to escape, then return to the oven for 5 minutes to dry out.

  11. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Then cut in half and remove any uncooked pastry. They are then ready to be filled.

  12. Topping
  13. Put the butter and half the chocolate in a heavy-based pan and melt over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the remaining chocolate, and stir until it has melted and the mixture is of a smooth consistency. Set to one side to cool.

  14. For the filling
  15. Whisk the cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until stiff.

  16. Cut the buns in half and fill with the cream mixture.

  17. To finish
  18. Once the chocolate is cool, thickly coat the top of each bun.

  19. Note
  20. These are best eaten within a few hours after they have been filled. Once filled with the cream mixture, the pastry will tend to soften.

Updated: November 16, 2017

Bourbon Biscuits

Bourbon Biscuits

 

This truly describes the Bourbon biscuit – chocolate butter cream sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits. For chocolate lovers – this recipe is just that.

 

Bourbon Biscuits
Prepares: 18 biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Chilling time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the biscuits
  • 250g (9 oz) plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust (1¾ cups)
  • 115g (4 oz) chilled butter, cut into small cubes (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (or liquid honey, if unavailable)
  • 55g (2 oz) cocoa powder (½ cup)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 3 tbsp milk

  • For the filling
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, softened (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) icing/powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 14g (½ oz) cocoa powder (2 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • Large baking tray


  1. Method
  2. For the biscuits
  3. Sift the flour into a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients. Beat everything together until they start to clump together. A food mixer or processor makes this very easy to do.

  4. Tip from the bowl onto the work surface and knead to bring the dough together into a ball.

  5. Mark a rectangle, 23 × 30.5cm (9 × 12 ins) on a sheet of baking parchment. Turn the sheet over and this will give a guide when rolling out the dough.

  6. Place the dough in the centre of the rectangle and roll out to the markings, dusting the rolling pin with flour as needed. Neaten up the edges so there is a clean rectangle shape of the right size.

  7. Cut the dough lengthways into three equal strips, 7.5cm (3 ins) each, but keep the strips together. The easiest way to do this accurately is by using a clear ruler. The ruler can also be used as a guide to cut the dough.

  8. Now cut across the strips 2.5cm (1 inch) apart in the same way, keeping the rectangle intact.

  9. Using a small skewer, make 5 dots, spaced evenly apart, down each long side of the biscuits to resemble the traditional Bourbon.

  10. Bourbon Biscuits

  11. Carefully lift the parchment onto the baking tray and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

  12. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  13. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut through each biscuit to make sure all the cuts are separate. Leave on the tray to cool completely.

  14. For the filling
  15. Sift the icing sugar/powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and add the softened butter. Beat together until combined. It will be a fairly thick butter cream.

  16. Now turn over half the biscuits on the tray and divide the buttercream evenly between each one. This can be done neatly using a piping bag or spread on using a small palette knife.

  17. Sandwich the biscuits together and store in an airtight container.

 

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

 

Soft chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a creamy chocolate filling. They are very light and really do melt in the mouth.

 

Double Chocolate Melting Moments
Prepares: 16 filled biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–14 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the biscuit
  • 170g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g (5 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)

  • For the filling
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, softened (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking sheets
  • large piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle


  1. Method
  2. For the biscuit
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  4. Take two pieces of baking parchment and cut to fit the baking sheets. Mark one side of each piece of parchment with sixteen 4.5cm (1.75 in) lines, spaced evenly apart. (This will give a good guide when piping the biscuit mixture.)

  5. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

  6. Then sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in until completely combined.

  7. Dab a small amount of mixture on each corner of the baking sheets and place the baking parchment to fit making sure the marked side is facing down on the sheets. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe 32 lengths as marked on the pieces of baking parchment.

  8. Bake for 12–14 minutes until they are just starting to become darker around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to become cold on the baking sheets, then remove with a palette knife to a cooling rack.

  9. For the filling
  10. While the biscuits are cooling make the filling.

  11. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cold water, then beat until it is smooth and creamy.

  12. Turn 16 of the biscuits over and using a teaspoon divide the filling between them. (This way it is easier to see if the mixture is evenly divided before spreading.) Then using a small palette knife, carefully spread the filling over the biscuits. Now sandwich together with the remaining halves.

 

Indulgent Chocolate Easter Cake

Indulgent Chocolate Easter Cake

 

For the chocoholic. A light chocolate sponge with a fudgy chocolate filling, topped with a chocolate ganache, sprinkled with three types of chocolate and topped, of course, with chocolate eggs.

 

Indulgent Chocolate Easter Cake
 
  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Standing time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the cake
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, melted (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick) plus extra for greasing
  • 140g (5 oz) caster sugar/superfine sugar (⅔ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 4 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 115g (4 oz) self-raising flour/self rising flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 14g (½ oz) cocoa powder (2 tbsp)

  • For the filling
  • 50g (1¾ oz) plain chocolate/semi-sweet chocolate (7 pieces), finely chopped
  • 70g (2½ oz) butter, softened (¼ cup + 1 tbsp, or ⅝ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) cream cheese (¼ cup)
  • 85g (3 oz) icing/confectioner’s sugar, sifted (¾ cup)

  • For the icing
  • 100g (3½ oz) good dark chocolate (minimum of 50% cocoa solids), finely chopped*
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)

  • For the decoration
  • 14g (½ oz) good dark chocolate*
  • 14g (½ oz) milk chocolate*
  • 14g (½ oz) white chocolate*
  • a few gold foil or coloured chocolate mini eggs

  • *I love to use Lindt

  • Indulgent Chocolate Easter Cake


  • Equipment
  • A 20.5cm (8 inch) round cake tin, buttered and lined with parchment around the sides and on the bottom


  1. Method
  2. For the cake
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas mark 4)

  4. Gently melt the butter in a pan, then set to one side to cool slightly.

  5. Measure the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk using an electric hand mixer or food mixer at high speed until the mixture is pale, mousse-like and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is lifted from the mixture. 


  6. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl.

  7. Stir the vanilla essence. into the cooled butter.

  8. Carefully fold half the flour into the egg mixture, then gently pour half the cooled butter around the edge of the mixture and fold in. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

  9. Bake for 40 minutes until well risen and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and cool on a wire rack.

  10. For the filling
  11. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Remove the bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

  12. In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until it is really soft. Then add the butter and beat until well combined and creamy. A food mixer does this really well. Beat in the icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cooled chocolate. Don’t over beat the mixture at this stage or it will become stiff. It should be a fudgy consistency.

  13. Cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together with the filling. Return the cake to the wire rack.

  14. For the icing
  15. Melt the butter and half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir gently until combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir gently until it has melted and the icing is smooth. Leave to cool.

  16. Put a plate under the cake on the wire rack and pour the icing over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Completely cover the sides by spooning a little chocolate round the top rim of the cake so it runs down the sides to fill in any gaps. Any chocolate that has dripped onto the plate below the rack can be reused for this.

  17. Leave for at least 30 minutes to set.

  18. For the decoration
  19. To make the chocolate swirls, grate the dark chocolate onto a saucer using a swivel potato peeler. If the chocolate is hard, soften it a little by putting it in the microwave on defrost for 10 seconds. Repeat with the milk and white chocolate on separate saucers.

  20. Sprinkle all three types of chocolate swirls over the top of the icing to decorate.

  21. To finish, carefully place a few chocolate eggs on the top.

Updated: March 25, 2017