The Craft Fantastic have not one but two stalls at this! One selling delicious cakes, chocolates and cookies and the other selling a whole heap of paper goodies. It’s all for a good cause so if you’re around Northampton August 31st then please stop by and see us.
Simple to make and tasty. Kind of like making truffles; coat the moulds, make the filling (in this case, coffee mixed with sugar and heated, then poured over chopped choc and mixed till smooth) then pour into the set cases. When the filling is set and the top coat put on, smoosh a walnut half on.
Note that we need one, but now everyone has the perfect excuse to buy and eat chocolate. It’s National Chocolate Week! It’s even listed on a website of National Awareness Days. Which means it’s important.
You can visit the Chocolate Week website here for any events happening in your area- there are some good ones!
If you’re feeling in an adventurous mood, why not check out some chocolaty recipes? I’ve picked out some of my favourites to inspire you:
Chilli Hot Chocolate
A really simple thing to do and totally delicious! Just heat chilli with the milk, so it infuses and you get a nice kick. Here’s a good simple recipe from Waitrose that can easily be adapted to taste.
Chocolate Fridge Cake
I remember making this a lot at Uni! Melt chocolate, mix with stuff, bung it in the fridge. Job done. Try this one out for size; again, it’s very easy to adapt.
A hot, sticky September afternoon is perhaps not the best time to try making these, but I’d got it into my head that I wanted to try. So I did. I know these aren’t proper Florentines, but I couldn’t think what else to call them!
I started by tracing some circles on a sheet of baking paper. I used what I thought was a suitably sized cookie cutter:
This went onto a baking tray. I melted some chocolate and used my teeny ladle to scoop it inside the circles. If you’re careful, you should be able to dollop in a nice circle- let it stop about half a centimeter from the edge of the circle. Doing it this way meant there was room for the mixture to spread a little when I gently ‘dropped’ the tray a few times onto the work surface, to get rid of the air bubbles.
I was worried about putting too much on, but I think I got it about right! They were thin, but still substantial enough to be satisfying to bite into.
After they’d set a little but the chocolate was still nice and soft, I sprinkled on a nice mix of dried fruit and seeds. I found a little bag in Asda that had a good mix of tiny seeds, bigger seeds and different coloured dried fruits:
I left these to set in the fridge; I’d let to say it was until they were nice and firm, but I’m afraid we just couldn’t resist and tried them while they were still a little melty!
“What shall I call those things I just made?” I asked my husband. “Oreo Wonderfuls” said he. Ok then. Since I can’t think of anything to call them, Oreo Wonderfuls it is.
I started thinking about making these after watching Lorraine Pascale make her cheaty cake pops, where she combined Oreos and chocolate spread. After a quick browse on the internet, I found lots of similar “recipes” that used cream cheese instead of the chocolate spread. This seemed like a far better idea, as we use the light version cream cheese in our house and can thus pretend that these aren’t actually that bad for you.
Basically, all you need is:
And you’re good to go. You’ll need roughly twice the weight of Oreos as you do cream cheese. I used 8 oz Oreos and 4 oz cream cheese, which made 20 bite sized balls.
Put your Oreos in a food processor, blender, or bag if you don’t have either of those. It helps if you take the cookies apart first. Pulse (or bash with a rolling-pin, if you have them in a bag!) until you have fine crumbs.
And the cream cheese and blend together until you have a nice even gooey lump of deliciousness.
Put a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray or similar. Roll the mixture into little balls the size of your choosing and place them on the tray, then pop this in the freezer for a while to firm up.
While they’re in there, you can start melting your chocolate- I find it easiest to do in the microwave, but a double-boiler works too of course. You need to get it as runny as you can, but keep heating in small amounts and stirring, so you don’t over heat the chocolate.
Once it’s ready, you can start dipping! I just used a spoon and dropped the cookie ball into the chocolate, rolled it a bit then took it out- they’ll need to go back on the baking paper covered tray, by the way, so keep it handy.
When they’re all coated, you’ll need to stick them in the fridge for a while to set. If you’re feeling fancy, once they’ve been dipped you can cover them in nuts/sprinkles etc. to make them look even more exciting. Personally, I quite like the rough-coating look, so I left mine be:
These are so easy and so delicious, I think I’ll be making them quite a lot.
While we were in Florida, I picked up a whole new load of candy making stuff- mostly Wilton. Actually, I think all of it was Wilton!
I got peanut butter flavour and dark chocolate candy melts, a new candy mould, some squeezy bottle things, and some decorating brushes. Making peanut butter cups meant I got to use EVERYTHING.
The squeezy bottle things say you can half fill them with Candy Melts, then place the bottle in a bowl of hot water until they melt. Well yeah, sure, that sounds simple enough. Except the bottles are still light and half full of air, so the just float- you end up having to hold the bottle in the water! And then, (because you’re trying to keep it so the water can’t get in) all the melted candy is at the bottom, and it takes aaages to work its way to the nozzle when you’re ready to start, by which time it’s cooled a bit and is reluctant to come out. Bah. Bah!!
I squidged a little melted dark chocolate into the bottom on the mould and then used the little brush to make sure the sides were covered. This bit was a lot easier to do with the brush, however because the choc had cooled a bit, by the time I’d done half a dozen cups the brush was basically a stick with a lump of chocolate on. But I got there. Guess which one I did last:
While these were cooling, I got on with melting the peanut butter candy filling. After the first attempt, I modified my method slightly, and left the bottle to rest like this:
It still took a while, but at least I could leave it where it was for a bit. You do have to keep sqidging the bottle a bit to make sure it’s melting right the way through.
Anyway, onto filling the cups. This took a lot longer than the old dolloping-in-with-a-spoon method, and in the end I gave up and reverted back to my old ways- which were quicker, but a heck of a lot messier!
Phew. Nearly done. After the filling had set, I smoothed more melted chocolate over the base to seal, and once that had set they were done and ready to be turned out into pretty little cases: