Milk and Cookies


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Milk and Cookies | is fantastic, and biscuits are great, but sometimes choosing between the two is just too tricky and all you want is a glorious mix of the two. Many moons ago when I worked one day a week in retail for cake money I had a favourite treat. A pick me up if you will, a reward for dealing with angry customers and motivational tactic for my team; Ben’s Cookies. If you’re lucky enough to have enjoyed these, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t then you’re missing out, but luckily they deliver online. Larger dollops of cookie dough are piled high before being cooked for a relatively short period of time on a higher temperature than normal. Large chocolate chips are stirred into the dough, and extra ones are pushed into the dollops for good measure, after all, you can never have too many chocolate chips. Solid on the outside, but fantastically gooey and cakey on the inside. The thinner chewy cookie has it’s place, but these are top of the cookie chain in my eyes. They’re also guaranteed to turn me into the cookie monster, so large batches are required if anyone ever wants to try one.

The Results

They’re not quite there yet, a little crumbly for my liking but they’re not far off. I was all out of plain gluten free flour when I started this little experiment, and I never have been a fan of pre-mixed self raising. The difference between the two is that one has had Xanthan Gum added, and the other doesn’t. The reason I prefer to work with plain is that I can retain full control over how much Xathan I add – too much and you have a batter and not a cake mix, too little and you have more of a baked pancake. Next time I try and refine this recipe I’ll make sure I have plenty of plain flour in the house.

The Recipe

Milk and Cookies |

150G unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown muscovado sugar
60g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milk (or as much as you need)
1 large egg
225g Doves Farm self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g plain chocolate chips (or however many you fancy)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C Fan and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Whilst the sugar and butter are creaming, sieve the flour and salt two or three times in a large bowl and put to one side.
4. Once the sugar and butter are done, gently add in the egg, vanilla and maple syrup. If the mixture looks like its starting to separate, add a spoonful of flour.
5. Gently fold in the flour once the egg is fully combined. Fold in one third at a time, and add in a little milk between each addition. Gluten free flour needs more moisture than normal flour, so add as much or as little milk as your mix needs, but remember that you’re aiming for a dough and not a cake batter.
6. Fold in most of the chocolate chips before spooning out thick dollops onto your pre-prepared baking trays. The cookies will spread in the oven so make sure there’s plenty of space between the dollops for spreading.
7. Push your left over chocolate chips into the cookie mix before popping in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Leave the cookies to cool on the trays before transferring to a wire cooling rack – or alternatively straight to your waiting “taste testers”. If they’re still around once cooled, kick it old school and serve with milk (and in my case coffee).

Pistachio Perfect


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Okay, that last post was a little bit wordy and a little bit soppy. What can I say, I had a moment. A moment I happened to share with the internet. Okay, so the one before it was a bit philosophical and thinky as well. Urgh, it’s been a weird 6 months or so, alright?!

Here’s my favourite gangster dog to make up for it:

Gotta love the internet sometimes. It’s short, it’s sweet and it’s freaking awesome. Sometimes, I kinda wish baking was too. As much as a I love coating my kitchen in butter, flour and sugar before spending hours cleaning it (and myself up) sometimes I just don’t have the time to do it.

Pistachio Perfect | stage right, Honeybuns. If the gluten free among you haven’t come across Honeybuns, you’re missing out. Not all of their recipes turn out quite how I’d want them to, but this one is a keeper; it’s gluten free, it’s dairy fee and it only has 3 ingredients. If you don’t like pistachios, you’re kinda buggered though. Sorry. (I’m not really, they’re awesome. Unless you’re allergic to them. In which case, sorry.)

With just 3 ingredients, there’s not much you can do with them that’s going to take a heap of time. What’s even better is they just take a few minutes to bake. Something I learnt the hard way when I burnt the first batch I made. I LOOKED AWAY FOR TWO MINUTES! TWO MINUTES I TELL YOU!

The Result

Really tasty little pistachio biscuits. My tastebuds were a little under the weather when I made these, but I have been assured by my trusty taste tester that they were nice. Well, that, or he just felt like eating half the batch for the sake of it.

The Recipe

Ingredients edited100g Pistachios
20g Light brown sugar
3-4 tsp honey

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/355F/Gas mark 4
Pistachio filtered & 7 edited2. The pistachios need to be toasted, so place them on a baking tray (it’s easier to keep hold of them all if you have a baking tray with sides) and pop them in the oven for 5 minutes or so. Make sure they don’t burn, if they do the biscuits will taste burnt. Once toasted, set to one side to cool.
3. Once cooled, put the pistachios, sugar and 3 teaspoons of the honey into a food processor and blitz.
4. Depending on how much oil has come out of the nuts, you may or may not need to add the rest of the honey. The dough needs to be sticky enough and malleable enough to roll into balls.
Balls filtered & edited5. Roll the dough into balls and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Honeybuns reckon you can get 20 balls out of this mix, I only managed to get about 15.
6. Flatten the balls out so that they turn into discs and are about 5mm thick. Make sure there is space for the biscuits to spread out, and pop them in the oven for 5-6 minutes. You’ll know that they’re done when they start to go a little golden on the top, don’t look away for too long though as they will turn very quickly and will burn from the edges inwards!
7. Take them out and leave them to cool, before consuming. Or sharing, but mainly consuming.

A Sentimental Rosey Day


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Every saturday morning I attempt to be good; I drag myself out of bed at a time that shouldn’t be recognised on a Saturday, force myself to put on my gym kit and stumble down to the gym so that Steve, my long suffering trainer, puts me through my paces.

The theory is, that when the hour is over I will be up, awake and ready to make the most of my weekend. In reality, I return home completely unaware of my journey, shower and either join my boyfriend watching TV in bed, or collapse into a big squishy sofa.

Last weekend, however, was a gloriously bright and crisp morning. The type of morning that, no matter how tired you are, you stop and pay attention; the seasons have changed, the air smells different and the temperature has shifted.

A Saturday stroll

When I stopped to pay attention to my surroundings I saw what, to me, was a heart warming scene. Walking a few paces in front of me was an elderly couple, shrunken with age, holding hands and out for a Saturday morning stroll. She was slightly shorter than he, he was carrying her handbag, and both were wearing long Barber coats as weather beaten as their owners. No matter which direction they moved in they moved together, never letting go of one another, even if it meant stretching really far to reach the crossing.

Call me sentimental, but I found this kind of heart warming, and it made me realise something; what life really comes down to is the people you have in it. When shit hits the fan, the people who will get you through it are you your friends and family – not your job. In 50, 60 years time when life forces you to slow down, it will be the loved ones you’ve surrounded yourself with throughout the years who will keep you company and share those Saturday morning strolls with you. A job is job. It may help you to live comfortably, indulge in luxuries and take up expensive hobbies (like baking), but it won’t keep you company in your retirement and it sure as hell won’t think twice about your stress levels when it increases your workload even more. Deep down I’ve always known this, but I think I think I needed a bit of a reminder.

What on earth, you might ask, has this got to do with baking. Well as a result of my somewhat sentimental moment, I came home from the gym with a burning desire to make an old favourite of mine – Rose cupcakes.

The Results

Rose flavoured cupcakes

This is my adaptation of a Primrose Bakery recipe and always goes down well, even with those who are skeptical of floral or fragrant cake. The result is some deliciously light and fragrant cupcakes.

The Recipe

Ingredients110g unsalted butter at room temperature
225g caster sugar, preferably golden
2 large eggs, free range or organic
275g gluten free plain self raising flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon good quality rosewater
120ml semi skimmed milk at room temperature

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line your desired muffin tray (at least a 12 hole).

Sentimental Rosey Day | Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and bicarb in one large mixing bowl. Make sure they’re well mixed before sieving at least 2 times.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until its pale and smooth.

4. Once the mix is pale and smooth start adding the eggs slowly and one at a time, mixing between each addition.

5. Gradually mix the rose water with the milk and taste test as you go. If you need more, add more. The first time I made these cupcakes I used really average rosewater from my local supermarket and it was really weak. I ended up adding nearly three times the quantity this recipe called for just to get some kind of flavour. By the time I got round to trying again recently I’d upgraded my rosewater and I needed exactly half a teaspoon.

6. Fold in a third of the flour until fully combined, and then fold in the rosewater milk. Keep folding in in thirds until all your ingredients are combined.

7. Fill each of your cupcake cases about two thirds full and put them in the oven for 25 minutes. Once done, they should have filled the cases fully and will be a light golden brown.

8. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool in their tins for 10-15 mins before removing and leaving to cool on a wire rack.

9. Ice the cupcakes once cool using icing of your choice. I stuck with the rose theme and went with rosewater.

Madeleines and Memory


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Madelenies and Memory | colleague asked me what I got up to last weekend and I replied, “I experimented with Madeleines”. My colleague looked at me, slightly confused, and said “aren’t Madeleines small french school girls, raised by nuns?”. Once we’d clarified that I was *not* experimenting with small French school girls, and was in fact referring to the small French cake variety of Madeleines, we were good to discuss cake.

The Madeleines I was talking about are small, and they are French, but they’re also cake based. Traditionally Madeleines are made in a scallop shaped tray and are small buttery sponge cakes. I’ve never made these before, so when my sisters called me and asked if I wanted to go over to my parents house to play, I thought “what a perfect excuse to buy a madeleine tray!”.

Madelenies and Memory |

Having never made these before, I was under the impression it would be relatively easy to crack the gluten free version in an afternoon. Possibly slightly too cavalier, especially given that gluten free shortbread took me 3 months…!

Madelenies and Memory | I work on the recipe, I was going to leave you with a little bit of the history of the Madeleine, obviously with some obligatory photographs of cake. As is often the case though (trust me, I have a history degree), there are many different version of the story of the simple Madeleine. So rather than regale you with potentially fictional tales of young French filles who fall in love with pastry chefs, charm disgraced kings and bake for needy peasants – I will leave you with a little something from Proust.

“And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. … And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea.”

Memory is a funny thing; the brain is full of complex webs of neurons and synapses, and one little knock can easily sever links to past experiences. To record life’s continued experiences, older memories are “archived”, brought back by all forms of sensual experiences. Personally, I have always found food and taste (intrinsically linked with smell) to be a great awakener of even the most dormant memories. Food really is for the soul, so feed it well and create the best of memories.

Proust, Marcel, Swann’s Way, p.32-33


Strawberries and Cream Shortbread


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Strawberries and Cream | other weekend started off so well, there was cake making, there was blog writing and there was coffee drinking and all of it was good. I’m not kidding, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of this writing malarkey. One glorious Saturday afternoon later and I had a concise, witty, blog post. Less than 24 hours later, I had a computer that had gone foetal. One week, and a good few G&Ts later and my computer is back in the game (thanks Nick). My super witty blog post? Well, I don’t think the G&Ts helped my ability to bring that one back. Aside from some localised computing issues, two fantastically British events took place the other weekend; Glastonbury music festival, and Wimbledon tennis championship. Okay, so technically the British Grand Prix also took place, but I’m less fussed about that one. If I wanted to see a bunch of men drive round in circles, I’d just go and have a sit down by a roundabout. And yes, I know, Wimbledon is over now as well. So it turns out I have a seasonal laptop that struggles with heat and doesn’t like to work weekends – much like its owner. But I re-wrote this post so I’m damn well going to post it! Shockingly, having had one of the worst starts to summer, and it being traditional that both Glastonbury and Wimbledon are rainy, it was a beautifully sunny weekend. To distract and convince myself that actually, I didn’t really want to be at either event, I thought I’d make something fantastically British, but with a Coco Rosey twist. It’s summer, it’s sunny, it’s Wimbledon and what could be more perfect than Strawberries and Cream. Obviously though, an entire post about putting some strawberries in a bowl with some cream would be a little dull. Strawberries and Cream Shortbread |, I’ve been experimenting with using essential oils in my baking and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the strawberry extract by flavouring caramel. Now, there’s one other thing that goes perfectly with caramel and that’s shortbread. And voila, strawberries and cream caramel shortbread. Baking with essential oils is great fun, but there are a couple of things you should bear in mind. Make sure that you are using food grade essential oils, and use sparingly. Unless you’re working with a particularly delicate flavour, you’re only going to need a couple of drops to flavour an entire batch.

The Results

Strawberries and Cream Shortbread | what I set out to achieve – strawberry flavoured caramel! The caramel was particularly sweet, and I would suggest that you could probably scale back the recipe depending on the size of your traybake tin. Mine is 35cm x 25cm. I’m not going to lie, there was A LOT of shortbread.

The Recipe

Ingredients edit type300g Caster sugar 300ml Whipping Cream 20g Light brown sugar 20g Butter 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract 5-6 drops Strawberry oil – good quality food grade 1. Place the sugar in a pan in over a medium heat and leave it alone to melt. One of the golden rules of making caramel – don’t stir it. Seriously. Stop looking at it longingly and leave it alone. Once the sugar has started to melt around the edges, you can swirl it, but NO STIRRING! Strawberries and Cream Shortbread | When the sugar has fully melted and the caramel has reached a lovely amber colour, add half of the cream. Be careful at this point as it’s going to bubble up and his at you – a lot. 3. Add the sugar and vanilla when it’s started to settle down and swirl again, before adding the remaining cream. 4. At this point the caramel can seem kinda lumpy, and this is to do with the temperature of the cream you’re adding. If it’s super cold, you’re going to cool the caramel it comes into contact with first, very quickly. This is easily fixed, keep the caramel on a low heat and keep swirling until it’s smooth again. Okay, if you really feel the need to you can do a bit of gentle stirring. 5. Add the butter and swirl until it’s melted.6. Add 5-6 drops of strawberry extract and swirl to mix in. I would say “add to taste” but whatever you do, DO NOT TRY AND TASTE HOT CARAMEL. It ends badly and with burns. The strength of the flavour will also depend on the quality of the oil you’re using. You should be able to smell the strawberry flavour after adding just a couple of drops, so judge by smell.7. Pour the caramel on top of a tray of shortbread, tilting the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the shortbread. Leave it to cool and then cover with melted white chocolate. Strawberries and Cream Shortbread | and Cream Shortbread | ‘Sad Mac’ picture courtesy of mac life

Friand Fantastic


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In my world, courtesy of Small Street Espresso, Friday’s have become Friand Friday. Okay, so sometimes it’s also Friand Tuesday, or Wednesday, but you get my drift. My impromptu long weekend threw a bit of a spanner in the works (shh, okay so I also had a Friand Thursday) when it came to my Friday tradition, so I thought I’d recreate the magic.

Day 2: Fun with Friands

With the Friday tradition already out the window, Friands were my Saturday challenge. I know what you’re thinking, this girl’s used the word Friand 5 times in the last 5 sentences, but what on earth is a bloody Friand?! Well. Friands are a deliciously light little cake, originating from France but often associated with the Aussies. According to modern sources “Friand” translates from French to mean sausage roll or fond (adj). Personally, I prefer the slightly older (1839) translation from Boyer’s French Dictionary of dainty or delicate.Friand Fantastic |

Traditionally, friands are little bite size cakes and are made using primarily almonds, egg whites and icing sugar. I flavoured mine with fresh raspberries. Again, I took my recipe inspiration from a number of recipes online, putting my own twist on it.

Rarely do I cook full meals – I’m more of a sweets kinda girl – but with friends back in town I thought this was the perfect excuse to get together, celebrate, and use them as guinea pigs make them lots of yummy things. With just a couple of hours till dinner, I got a request for everything to be dairy free. Dairy free and gluten free? No biggie. I’m always happy to cater for the digestively challenged.

The Result

SingleCakes that didn’t last long. I’m not kidding, they barely lasted long enough to serve as pudding and they definitely did not last long enough for there to be any spares to drop in to Small Street. Sorry guys!

Also, a lot of egg yolks, six to be precise. This is probably a good thing because I REALLY want to make these again solely for my own selfish purposes, but I refuse to until I find a good used for the left over egg yolks.

The Recipe

Friands175g Tomor hard block margarine, melted and cooled
100g ground almonds
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
210g icing sugar
70g Doves GF plain flour
1 tsp GF baking powder
½ tsp Xantha Gum
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Fresh raspberries – however many you want to stick in the top!

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/160˚C fan/375˚F

2. Line a bun tin with cupcake cases

3. Put everything into a mixing bowl and stir until just combined, making sure there are no lumps.

4. Spoon the mixture out into the cases until they’re about half full and bake for about 25 minutes until golden on top and you can stick a skewer into them and it come out clean.

5. Leave to cool, then consume and make sure you have friends round to stop you consuming the whole batch.


Elderflower Cordial


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Elderflower Cordial |

The other day, after a particularly stressful day, I found myself panicking. Not just panicking over something little, or something that had happened that day. Not even panicking over something fairly big that I could control. No, I was panicking about the state of the global financial system, convinced that “Enron MK II” was imminent. Avoiding a discourse on the state of the world’s finances, this is ridiculous. Also, a clear sign I need a holiday and sooner than that week in the sun in July that I’ve been counting down to. Cue, impromptu long weekend.

Day 1: Day trip to the Country

Elderflower Cordial | Cordial | only was my breakdown was perfectly timed with a good friend coming back into town, but this good friend also needed a ride down to Shepton Mallet – a little place that combines two major elements of the west country: cider and the moneyed middle/upper classes. On one side of the road you have the Mulberry factory shop and Kilver Court outlet emporium, and on the other you have the Babysham Factory and the Blackthorn Cider Mill. This particular sunny day, we were there for the left side of the road – the shopping. On the drive back, we passed hedgerow after hedgerow filled with lovely Elderflower so we thought, why not stop in a lay-by on busy country lane and dice with death in the name of making Elderflower cordial?! It is, after all, “summer” and we do, after all, live in the West Country. It would be rude not to, right?

The internet is jam packed with recipes for all sorts of Elderflower Cordial, each one being a slight variation of the previous. So I went with an amalgamation of recipes, based on what I actually had in my kitchen. The first stumbling block was that all of the recipes seemed to quantify Elderflower in terms of the number of Elderflower heads. Turns out, the lay-by variety don’t seem to grow in nice even size heads. So I sought a little advice from with this guy at Gordons, and just decided to use the whole bunch.

The Result

Elderflower Cordial | refreshing. So perhaps our rough guess of “that’ll be enough, right?” was a little lacking and we could have done with a little bit more elderflower. But what we ended up with was a delightfully light, slightly citrusy cordial. Of course, being who we are, we conveniently timed this experiment with World Gin Day and made our version of English Garden cocktails, with mint, lime, elderflower cordial, apple juice and gin.

I also ended up with a VERY sticky kitchen.

The Recipe

Makes approximately 2.5 litres

20 elderflower heads (okay, probably better described as a bowlful of blossoms)
1.8 kg of caster sugar (yep, you read that right)
1.2 litres of boiling water
4 un-waxed lemons
2 un-waxed oranges
50g citric acid (small box from a chemist)

Elderflower Cordial |

1. Before you do anything else, make sure you inspect the elderflower heads for bugs. If you don’t, you’ll end up making cordial with a few extra friends like this guy. The man from Gordons advised that the stalks can give the cordial a slightly more bitter flavour, so I cut the blossoms off and gave them a good rinse.

2. Zest the lemons and the oranges, and slice the left over fruit, and place in a bowl with the elderflower blossom

3. Heat the sugar and water in a pan to make a syrup.

4. Pour the syrup over the elderflower, sliced fruit and zest

5. Add the citric acid, stir, cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours.

6. Pour the liquid through a muslin cloth to strain

7. Funnel your cordial into clean jars with a spring clip seal, screw top lid or cork.

Rude Awakenings


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It can generally be taken as read that I’m busy. All of the time. And then also all of the times in between. If you took the time to read I love cake firstly, THANKS, secondly, you should know that as much as I’d like it to be, baking/cooking/kitchen experimenting is not my full time job. You know I work in the big bad corporate world, but what exactly do I do? Now that would be telling. What I can tell you though is that it is finance related. See, you’re bored already!

In addition to this crazy grown up job that I have I also have a few regular baking gigs (which I love). This week I have also had some serious beef with my iron levels (perhaps I should eat more beef?) when I had to cut out iron supplements in the name of a “true” blood test. So bad I seriously considered using the multi-faith room as a nap room. Napping is a faith right?

So why tell you all of this all over again? Well, I write when I can. I love writing, and apparently I’m not half bad at it, but I write when I have a spare moment and am not comatose. More often than not, there is something caffeinated near by which is obviously positioned next to the cake. The only reason I’m writing this is because I have a spare couple of hours on a train and the girl next to me had the audacity to wake me up 10 whole minutes before her stop (she had the aisle seat, but whatevs) perhaps she wanted a hug goodbye? What can I say; I’m awful at goodbyes.
Rude Awakenings | train journeys, however, are rare. I have a ton of exciting ideas planned for experiments, projects and posts, but you may have to bear with me while I write them up. What I can tell you though is that it will involve vodka, gin, cinchona bark, chocolate, cake, games with new toys, and some fun with icing – not necessarily all at once or in that order.

So watch this space, summer may not be sunny, but it is sure as hell going to be exciting in my kitchen.


Lychee Liqueur Truffles


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Yep, this is my third post in a row on chocolate. I’ve caught some kind of chocolate bug and I’m not apologising for it, except potentially to my pancreas and my personal trainer (sorry Steve).

A month or so ago I caught up with Ally from Of Cake and Science and she told me about a fantastic new shop in Bath – Independent Spirit – who had given her some rum to make rum truffles with. The truffles turned out brilliantly and you can read about them here. Of course, later that day I had to check this place out for myself and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Lychee Liqueur Truffles | there, I picked up a bottle of the most deliciously fragrant lychee liqueur. No matter what time of day it is, or what state you’re in, this stuff smells amazing and I cannot wait for summer when I plan to do LOTS of experimenting with this stuff in summer cocktails.

Obviously though, I had to see what it was like in truffles. The short answer? IT’S GOOD.

If you’re making chocolates at home with fresh ingredients then alcohol will be one of the only things you’re going to put into your chocolates that will act as a preservative. Not that they’re likely to be sticking around for very long.

Lychee Liqueur Truffles | first time I made these truffles I stuck with just using the lychee liqueur, adding it to the ganache right at the end after I’d mixed the cream with the chocolate. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t add actual alcohol to chocolate ganache, but that instead you should us alcohol essence. This is rubbish. It’s absolutely fine to use actual alcohol, it’s just going to take a little longer for the ganache to set and there may be a higher chance of it splitting. But that’s fine, you’re going to use a hand blender to blend the ganache anyway so splitting isn’t an issue.

I fridged the ganache over night before rolling, and I would recommend you dip your hands in cocoa powder before rolling as it will stop them getting too sticky and gluing your hands together. Although, I can think of worse things to glue your hands together with.

Lychee Liqueur Truffles | rolled, I coated the truffles in one layer of dark chocolate and two layers of white. I coat my truffles by hand, donning some rather sexy vinyl gloves to do so – you can get these from any catering supplier, medical store, cleaning store, but probably most easily available at Lakeland. If you’re going to dip your truffles in the chocolate, it will definitely be easier with an actual dipping utensil (or a fork) rather than just your hands.

The second time I made the truffles them I reduced the cream and replaced it with some raspberry puree that I’d reduced down. For decoration, I really wanted to dry out some raspberries in the oven and make raspberry powder. Sadly I didn’t have time so I dusted with ruby lustre dust and googled food dehydrators instead.

The Recipe:

Will make approximately 30 truffles, or less if they’re the size of golf balls

200g 60% dark chocolate
150ml whipping cream
75g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp Lychee Liqueur
A bowl of cocoa powder for rolling

Chocolate for coating – if you’re going to temper the chocolate I would melt at least 600g of each (you can use re-temper the excess again). If not then you will need approximately:
150g dark chocolate
300g white chocolate

  1. Gently heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan, stirring occasionally
  2. Whist your cream is heating, weigh out your chocolate into a heat proof bowl and break it up into small pieces.
  3. When all of the sugar has melted and the cream has just about reached simmering point, take the saucepan off the heat and pour on top of the chocolate.
  4. Whisk the chocolate and the cream together; the heat from the cream will gently melt the chocolate and they will come together. Add the liqueur and keep mixing.
  5. Once the chocolate has fully melted and you’ve got a pretty smooth looking mix in front of you, crack out the hand blender and blend. The hand blender will help to emulsify the mix, breaking down the crystals in the chocolate, and you should end up with a gloriously smooth ganache.
  6. Pour into a fridge friendly box and leave to cool on the side before leaving it in the fridge over night. If you’re in a rush, you can put the ganache in the freezer for an hour or so, just be careful you don’t leave it there too long.
  7. When you come to rolling, lay out some grease proof paper to put the rolled truffles on to. Dip your fingers in the cocoa powder before scooping out roughly a teaspoon of the ganache. Roll the ganache between the tips of your fingers; keep one hand completely flat and roll using the other hand.
  8. Melt your chocolate (temper if you’re tempering) and then coat your truffles; dip one hand in the chocolate and place the truffle onto this hand, then dip the other hand in the melted chocolate and gently pass the truffle between each hand until fully coated – make sure you leave no gaps uncoated.

Tempering Chocolate


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I am by no means an expert, but here is what I know.

Technical background

Chocolate has a crystal structure that needs to be respected; there are six different crystals in chocolate and each crystal forms at a different temperature. To make sure your chocolate is smooth, shiny, and breaks with a sharp snapping sound you need to make sure you have more of “crystal five” than any other crystal. The way you do this is by tempering the chocolate.

If you don’t temper your chocolate properly it will be streaky, dull in colour and fairly brittle. You may also find you end up with fat bloom or sugar bloom, where the fat and/or sugars separate and rise to the surface. Have you ever left a chocolate bar in your car and have come back to find that it’s melted, re-solidified with a bit of an odd streaky pattern of white swirls? That’s because when the chocolate melted, it came out of its tempered form.

The basics

In the words of Paul A. Young the definition of tempering is “the addition of hardening crystals into melted chocolate”. Essentially you need to fully melt a large amount of chocolate, cool it to a temperature at which lots of lovely crystal fives form, and then bring it back up to a working temperature.

There are a few different ways to temper depending on what resources you have available to you.

The Marble Slab method

Tempering Chocolate | is by far the most fun, but you do need a marble or granite slab to do this. Firstly you must melt your chocolate, making sure you melt it to its correct melting temperature (see chart below). Really, you shouldn’t use the microwave for this as the microwave melts from the inside out, so it will tend to melt different bits of chocolate at different speeds and you can over melt and burn chocolate REALLY easily. If you have a couple of hours, stick it in an ovenproof bowl and set your oven to the right temperature for the melting point of your chocolate. Make sure you know you’re the actual temperature of your oven though – mine is 10˚C hotter than it say it is and constantly changes (it likes to play games like that). Alternatively, put your chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water – the water cannot touch the bottom of the bowl and cannot boil. Make sure you always stir your melting chocolate.

Tempering Chocolate |, you’ve melted your chocolate; take it over to your marble slab and pour about two thirds to three quarters of it out on to the slab. Using a large palette knife, spread the chocolate out as far and as thinly as you can. Next, use a metal scraper (you can hit up a DIY store for one of these) and quickly scrape the chocolate back into a puddle in the middle of the slab. When doing this, use the palette knife to scrape the chocolate off your scraper each time you bring it back into the centre. Work your way all the way round until you’re back to having a puddle of chocolate in the middle. Repeat the spreading and scraping until the chocolate reaches the right crystalising temperature (again, see chart below).

Now scrape the chocolate off your slab and back into the bowl with the rest of your melted chocolate – at this point you really are adding hardening crystals into melted chocolate. Keep stirring until your chocolate reaches the right working temperature, and voila – you should have tempered chocolate, but make sure you test it as described below.

The Seeding method

Tempering | is a much easier and cleaner way to temper chocolate, especially if you are working with smaller amounts of chocolate. However, it does take a little longer.

Weigh out your chocolate and break it up into small pieces, but this time you want to separate about 2 thirds to 3 quarters of it BEFORE you melt it. Put the smaller portion of chocolate to one side and put the larger portion into a heatproof bowl and melt it to the correct melting temperature.

Once the chocolate has fully melted, take it off the heat and place it on a towel on the work surface. Be super careful that you don’t get any water droplets in the chocolate and will cause it to seize (water is not friends with chocolate). Stir in the solid chocolate you’d put to one side and keep stirring until it reaches the right crystalising temperature. With this method, you’re using the colder solid chocolate to bring the melted chocolate back down to its crystalising temperature. This is the bit that can take a while though – personal experience has told me 30-40 minutes. When the chocolate reaches the right crystalising temperature, place it back on the heat and slowly bring it back up to its working temperature.

Is it tempered yet?

To test if it is tempered, dip a clean palette knife or spoon into the melted chocolate and leave it to one side for a few minutes. If your chocolate is starting to look smooth and glossy within a couple of minutes and is brittle when fully set, then you have tempered chocolate. Whilst testing – make sure you keep stirring the chocolate to make sure it doesn’t cool down too much.

Dip a clean spoon into the chocolate and place it on your lip –  if it’s tempered it shouldn’t feel warm and it shouldn’t feel cold.

The temperatures

The temperatures you need to work to differ depending on the type of chocolate you’re working with:


Melting temp

Crystalising temp

Working temp


50˚ C

26-27˚ C

29-30˚ C


50 – 55˚ C

26-27˚ C

29-co˚ C


55˚ C

27-28˚ C

31-32˚ C

I got myself a pretty cool infrared thermometer gun to test my temperatures – it’s so much fun!

Tempering – some considerations

Tempering Chocolate | larger the quantity of chocolate you’re tempering, the easier.

Clean up as you go; chocolate is a PAIN to clean up and it is much easier done whilst it’s still melted. Whatever you do though, don’t get rid of the chocolate you’ve got left on the marble slab, scrape it up and put it to one side as it can be melted down and tempered again. Chocolate can be re-tempered four or so times, so there should be little wastage.

Keep your chocolate warm; if you let your tempered chocolate cool too much then it will stop being tempered. Stir frequently, or you can use a hairdryer/heat gun.

Importantly – have fun!