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23 December, 2011

double chocolate and hazelnut cream (lethal) cake

I was baking this for a charity bake at my workplace. Again, this is a quick win if you are looking for something speedy for the Christmas. It is never too late :)

Ingredients:
250g digestive biscuits
100g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate (60% cocoa content)
200g milk chocolate
200g hazelnut cream
0,5l double cream

Pre-heat the oven for 180°C.

In a blender blitz the biscuits and the butter together and transfer the crumble into a 24 cm cake tin. Press it down evenly with your hand and make sure that you make an edge on the side as well. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (max) and let it cool.
In a bain marie melt the two chocolates (the temperature of the chocolate should not be over 60°C) and when molten fold in the hazelnut cream and the vanilla. Let it cool and gently stir occasionally.
When both the biscuit base and the chocolates are cool, then you can start whipping the cream. Beat until it  holds shape. When done, gently fold in the chocolate with a spatula and pour over the base.
Keep in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or until it sets.
I decorated my cake with chocolate pralines but that's only optional! :)

Top Tip: if you are not sure that the chocolate cream is going to set, then you can try adding some gelatin powder into the whipping cream, which helps the cream to set firm and nice :)
oozing

13 December, 2011

Speculoos

When I was doing my first university degree I won a scholarship to Belgium. I was studying at daytime, attending classes and writing my thesis and at nights well, I was studying the night life of Leuven with my fellow students...:)
Now you may ask how my post is related to my studies? Well, these little biscuits are the very specialty of Belgium (and the Netherlands) and traditionally are eaten on or around St. Nicholas day in December but these days Speculoos is given to you in every single household, cafe, restaurant to accompany your daily coffee or cappuccino :)
So, I was very happy to find this recipe on the internet at the website of Chocolate&Zucchini as I was able to recreate the biscuits of  my student life in Belgium and bring back good memories to myself.
If you have some time till Christmas even, then they can quickly and easily be done by then!
hearts
Ingredients:
500 g all purpose flour
150-160g butter (on room temperature)
1 whole egg
280 - 300g muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
1,5 tsp allspice (or ground cinnamon and ground cloves, 1 tsp each)
1 tsp ground ginger (optional)

Turn on the oven and preheat to 170°C degrees.


In a food processor or by hand, mix the butter, sugar, spices and eggs. If you're using a food processor, transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl now, as the rest has to be done by hand. Add the flour in batches, and knead the dough until it comes together and gets greasy and brown.
Divide the dough in two. Chill for 15-20 minutes if you find the dough very sticky.
Roll out on of your doughs between two layers of clingfilm until it is about half a centimeter. Use a cookie cutter or if your are a pro then use a speculoos mold :)*

Bake the speculoos for 12-15 minutes (the biscuits still have to be a little bit soft in the center when taken out of the oven). Cool and store in a metal box!

Easy Christmas :)
Merry Christmas!



* this is how a traditional speculoos mold looks like:

(source: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/recipe-roundup/cookie-molds-5-recipes-135164)