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Five ways with chocolate

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Chocolate—what would we do without you? Here are five suggestions on how to get creative with this much-loved food.

As we settle into mid-winter, the recipes get richer and cosier—and what better ingredient to get creative with than chocolate?

Here are five suggestions!

Hot Chocolate with Maple Syrup

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 L milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • White marshmallows, whipped cream and cocoa, to serve

METHOD

Place the chocolate, milk, vanilla and maple syrup in a small saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted.

Continue to heat for 2 minutes or until hot. Divide the mixture between four 250ml cups and finish with a dollop of cream, cocoa and marshmallows.

Serves 4

Adapted from an original recipe by Donna Hay

Nigella’s Double Choc Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 50g white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (cold from the fridge)
  • 350g dark chocolate chips

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water.

Sift the cocoa, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Using a freestanding mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the melted chocolate and slowly mix together. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then stir in the dry ingredients. Finish the mixture by adding the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 12 mounds and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper about 6cm apart—do not flatten.

Cook for 18 minutes, testing with a skewer to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter.

Cool slightly on the baking tray for 4-5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 cookies, depending on how big you like them!

Adapted from an original recipe by Nigella Lawson.

Double Brownie

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1⅓ cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped

METHOD

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.

Place the flour, cocoa, both sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Add the chocolate and stir to combine.

Spread the mixture evenly into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the brownie is set—it’s better to undercook than overcook the brownie so you get the gooey effect. Yum.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before slicing into squares and serving warm, or allow to cool completely in the tin.

Serve with a dollop of cream and a dusting of cocoa.

Makes 16

Adapted from an original recipe by Donna Hay

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 200g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

METHOD

Preheat oven to 170C and line four muffin trays with cupcake liners.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the hot water and cocoa until smooth. Add the cold water and whisk until evenly combined.

Using a freestanding mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add half the flour and half the cocoa mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until smooth.

Repeat this process with the remaining mixtures and beat until thoroughly combined—do not overbeat, as this will toughen the mixture.

Spoon mixture into cupcake liners and fill approximately three-quarters full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before icing.

Makes about 30 muffin-sized cupcakes

Ganache icing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 400g dark chocolate, chopped

METHOD

Bring cream to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the boiling cream over.

Leave for about 1 minute to soften. Carefully stir the ganache until the mixture is glossy.

Let the ganache cool to room temperature and then apply to the cupcakes with a small spatula or place in a piping bag with a star tip and ice using a swirl effect.

Makes enough icing for 24 cupcakes

Adapted from an original recipe from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook

STYLING Belinda Neame

PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Bean

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