Everything’s better with chocolate!

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By: Avigail Goldberg

I’ve grown up with a passion for cooking, baking, and food innovation. I can’t say I have one particular food interest, as I love the creativity involved across all the food spectrums. Over the years I have established my own catering company from my Pretoria home called Abby’s Kitchen. I make a variety of home-made meals, do catering for events, and I run a cupcake business on the side. I am constantly trying to keep up with the ever-evolving food trends and I enjoy the challenge and creativity they bring. Chocolate is one of my passions; I find it is fun to work with and obviously totally delicious! Chocolate is versatile in its tastes and textures, making the options endless. I like to pair it with a variety of foods from chilli to chicken and play around with it in its solid and liquid forms. I enjoy following intricate, technical recipes, but do try to re-invent the concepts by cutting corners and creating something that looks like a masterpiece. My husband and kids serve as a great panel of willing judges who give honest feedback – needless to say, the chocolate dishes are always approved of! We enjoy entertaining at home so I have many opportunities to experiment with new recipes. I would like to share with you a few of the ideas I have been working on lately. The recipes here are dairy, but parev substitutes work just as well. Enjoy! For more info, call: 072 124 2540 or email: abbyskitchen.sa@gmail.com

Chocolate Pastry Dessert (Serves 6-8)

1 roll puff pastry

1 slab chocolate

1 egg (beaten)

Handful slivered almonds

Roll out the pastry flat. To assemble, follow the pictures below. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180c till golden brown. Slice and serve while warm.

Mini Choc duo Cheesecake (Makes 4)

Crust:

1 package Chocolate Biscuits

1/3 cup melted butter

Cheese Filling:

4 tubs (1kg) smooth cream cheese – softened

¾ cup sugar

6 eggs

White Chocolate Mixture:

200g white chocolate

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp corn starch

Dark Chocolate Mixture:

150g dark chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp instant coffee

Crust: Combine all ingredients in a mixer with steel blade until it crumbs. Press into the bottom of the mini spring-form pans.

Cheese Filling: Preheat oven to 140°C and place a deep pan of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. In a bowl, gently mix the cheese and sugar and then slowly add eggs in until smooth. Divide the batter equally between two bowls.

White Chocolate Mixture: heat the white chocolate and the cream until chocolate is melted. Fold it into one of the bowls with the cheese filling. Scoop out one cup of this mixture, add the corn starch and mix well till smooth and return it to the mixture and mix through.

Dark Chocolate Mixture: heat together the chocolate, cream, and coffee until the chocolate is melted. Add to the other bowl of cheese filling and mix to a smooth batter.

Transfer each of the chocolate mixtures to a jug (this makes pouring easier). Pour some dark mixture over the crust till it spreads to the edge of the pan. In the centre, slowly pour some white mixture until a ring of dark mixture is around the edge. Continue alternating mixtures until many rings have formed and the pan is ¾ full. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes then switch oven off until cooled completely. Refrigerate for up to 5 hours or overnight then gently release from pans and serve.

Quick chocolate fix

1/4 cup flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

3 tbsp oil

3 tbsp milk

2 tbsp chocolate chips

1 heaped tbsp chocolate spread and/or 1 tbsp peanut butter

In a small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together – except chocolate spread/peanut butter.

In a microwave-proof mug, pour half the batter in, now put the chocolate spread and/or peanut butter in and then top with the rest of the batter. Bake in microwave on high for 4 minutes.

S’Mores to Share (Serves 6)

2 cups chocolate chips

15 large marshmallows

1 box salted crackers

Arrange the chocolate chips in an oven-proof dish. On top, pack in the marshmallows tight and upright. Place under a hot grill for a few minutes until the chocolate is melted and the marshmallows toasted. Use the crackers as your ‘spoon’ and dig in!

Nutella-Filled Pancakes (Makes 12)

1 jar Nutella spread

1 ½ cups flour

3 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1¼ cups milk

3 tbsp melted butter

On greaseproof paper, spread 2 tbsp of Nutella into a thin 5cm circle. Make 12 circles and put them in the freezer to harden. Sift the dry ingredients together. In the centre, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk thoroughly. In a hot, greased frying pan, pour 1/8 cup of batter into the centre and wait 2-3 minutes. Once the pancake starts to bubble on top, place a hardened Nutella disc onto it. Pour another 1/8 cup of batter on top of the disc and flip the pancake over. Continue until the batter and discs are finished. Serve warm.

Chocolate Drip Cake

1¾ cup flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¾ cup cocoa

1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ cup oil

1 cup milk

1 cup water

Chocolate Icing:

250g softened butter

5 cups icing sugar

4 tbsp cocoa

15ml milk

Chocolate Drip:

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup chocolate chips

This is a one bowl cake!

Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Sift dry ingredients together. Add rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly to form a smooth batter. Divide the batter equally between two greased spring-form pans. Bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely and then release from the pans.

Icing: Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric beater till completely smooth. If it’s still too thick, add a drop of milk at a time and beat longer until it loosens. Carefully slice both cakes in half horizontally. Spread icing onto each layer of cake and stack them. With the remainder of the icing, spread it over the top and sides until it’s covered – it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Chocolate Drip: Heat the heavy cream in a pot until gently bubbling. Add the chocolate chips and make sure they are all covered with cream. Leave it to sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir slowly until fully combined and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes. Pour into a squeezy bottle for easy application.

Slowly squeeze the chocolate drip over the edge of the cake till drips form down the sides of the cake. Once you’ve gone round the cake, squeeze the remainder of the drip onto the centre of the top of the cake until the top is covered. Now go wild with any toppings you like – macaroons, chocolates, chocolate bark, cigars… The options are endless!

Chocolate Pretzel Tart

Crust:

4 cups salted pretzels – plus few extra for garnishing

1/3 cup melted butter

Filling:

½ cup butter

100 grams chocolate

3 eggs

1½ cups icing sugar

Crust: Crush the pretzels in a Magimix until crumbs form and add butter. Press into a greased tart dish.

Filling: Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Let it cool slightly and add the icing sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour over the crust and freeze. Once it is set, garnish with extra pretzels and serve.

Cookies & Milk Shots

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg

2¼ cup flour

½ cup chocolate chips-plus extra ½ cup

Pinch of salt

Milk

Beat the butter and both sugars. Add egg. Mix half of the flour till incorporated and then add the rest with the chocolate chips. Place in fridge to set. Place the dough into a cup mould. Alternatively you can use a standard muffin tin – place a ball of dough in each space and press down with the bottom of a shot glass to create a ‘cup’. Bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Melt the extra chocolate chips and coat the insides of each cup with a thin layer of chocolate – this will prevent the cookie from absorbing the milk. Once the chocolate has hardened, pour milk into the cups and enjoy. Cheers!

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