CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER WHOOPIE PIES
250ml brown sugar
5ml vanilla extract
125ml cocoa powder
500ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
125ml peanut butter
375ml sifted icing sugar
30 to 40ml milk
Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Sift the cocoa, flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. It should form a stiff batter.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain 1cm nozzle. Pipe blobs on to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Space the blobs apart to allow room for slight spreading. Bake at 180°C for 7 to 10 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove and cool.
Sandwich 2 sections together with the peanut butter filling.
FILLING: Cream together the butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar and enough milk to make a stiff icing.
Pipe on to one half of the whoopie pie and top with another.
If desired, sift over a little cocoa powder.
WHITE CHOCOLATE CRÈME BRULEE
1 vanilla pod, split
100g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
6 egg yolks
60ml castor sugar
extra castor sugar for topping
Put the cream and the vanilla pod into a pot and heat to just under boiling point. Add the chocolate and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod.
Beat the egg yolks and castor sugar until thick and pale. Gradually pour on the cream and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture into 8 ramekins.
Place the ramekins into a deep roasting pan and pour boiling water halfway up the sides. Bake at 160°C for 20 to 30 minutes until just set. Remove and chill well.
Just before serving sprinkle the tops of the pudding with a thin layer of castor sugar and melt with a blow torch or place under a heated grill for a few minutes. Serve immediately.
BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes 20 to 24 large cookies
250g butter, softened
5ml vanilla essence
5ml baking powder
250ml chocolate chips
melted white chocolate for drizzling
Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add to the creamed mixture. Mix to form a dough that is soft but not sticky. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Flatten slightly. Space well apart to allow room for spreading. Bake at 180°C for 10 to 15 minutes until firm to the touch.
Remove and cool. Drizzle with melted white chocolate if desired.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TART
Makes 8 small tarts
50g lightly roasted hazelnuts
200g digestive biscuits
100g butter, melted
300g dark chocolate, chopped
125ml chocolate hazelnut spread
Put the nuts into a food processor and chop finely. Add the biscuits and process until fine crumbs are formed. Remove from the processor and put them into a bowl.
Add the melted butter and mix well. Divide the mixture between 8 small loose-bottom tart pans and press in firmly. Put them in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Bring the cream to the boil and pour it on to the chocolate. Mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate spread and mix until smooth.
Divide the mixture between the tart cases and refrigerate until set.
Decorate with fruit and chopped nuts if desired.
CHOCOLATE MINT SELF-SAUCING PUDDING
Serves 4 to 6
250ml self-raising flour
30ml cocoa powder
125ml brown sugar
80g butter, melted
200g slab of peppermint crisp chocolate
180ml brown sugar
310ml boiling water
whipped cream for serving
Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add the sugar. Combine the butter, milk and egg in a jug and mix well. Add to the flour mixture and mix until smooth.
Crush the peppermint crisp bar. Reserve some for decoration and stir the rest into the batter.
Spread the batter into a deep, greased 2 litre ovenproof baking dish.
Combine the sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle over the pudding. Slowly pour the boiling water over the back of a spoon on to the pudding.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 30 to 40 minutes until the pudding is set on top and has a lovely sauce at the bottom.
Remove and serve warm with whipped cream and sprinkled with some of the reserved peppermint crisp. - The Star