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Chocolate Festive Recipes

Who does not like to indulge in chocolate during the festive holidays. Here are 3 simple recipes for you chocolholics out there.

Recipe 1 Chocolate bark or shards are a great sweet treat to make for those with a sweet tooth or you can use it to decorate a cake or desert and it looks really professional especially as you can decorate it however you like , release your inner Jackson PolloxA cheap , simple no cooking recipe that looks really festive and can be healthy or not as you choose. I was reminded of this by Mary Berry on her recent TV series . You can also use it to decorate a cake with the spectacular shards or give it to friends and family as an edible gift. You can add whatever naughty or nice toppings that you like.

Take 2 large bars of your favourite chocolate - dark, milk or white, break them into small pieces and melt them either - in a heat proof bowl above some simmering hot water ( beware the bowl does not touch the water) a ban marie. Or in the microwave on 30 second time increments. Once the chocolate has melted then pour it out into a layer onto a lined baking sheet Spread it out with an off set spatula to about 1/4 inch thick.Leave to cool at room temperature andwhilst it is still relatively warm then add the toppings of your choice, If you are using dried fruit be sure that it is bite size . I used dried cranberries, dried apricots and dried mango cut into smaller pieces on top. of the milk chocolate bark. On the dark chocolate I scattered a mix of dried fruit and on the white chocolate , popcorn, cranberries , dried mango pieces, and mini marshmallows.... we have a sweet tooth here at Longmead. You can mix it up with different toppings : dried fruit, chopped nuts, popcorn, mini marshmallows , smarties etc. Leave to cool at room temperature or put in fridge to speed up the cooling process.Enjoy making and eating it.

Recipe 2 Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake is also not difficult to make and is great to make as an alternate to traditional Christmas fruit cake as you can bake itlast minute, it has both fruit and chocolate so is ideal for everyone's tastes.

Ingredients

  • 350gm pitted prunes chopped small
  • 250gn raisins
  • 125 gm currants
  • 50 gm candied orange peel ( I replaced this with dried cranberries)
  • 175gm soft unsalted butter
  • 175gm dark brown muscavado sugar
  • 175 millitres runny honey
  • 125mills Tia Maria
  • 2-3 oranges zest and juice
  • 1tspn mixed spice
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 150gm plain flour sifted
  • 75gm ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda

Preheat the oven to gas mark 2 , 150C 130C Fan , 300F

Line the sides and bottom of an 8 inch round cake tin with double layer of greased proof paper
Put all the dried fruit, butter , sugar, honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zest, spice and cocoa powder into a large saucepan and gently heat ,and stir until it starts to boil. . Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down for at least 30 minutes or longer. I made my mixture the day before. to marinade for extra flavour.
Once it has cooled then add the beaten eggs, and the rest of the dry ingredients ( flour, ground almonds, bicarb and baking soda) and stir to combine
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for between 1 and 3/4 - 2 hours ( depends ion your oven) . The top of the cake should feel firm but if you check the middle it will still be moist and a bit gooey.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for approx 30 -60 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave til completely cooled.
If you are not going to eat it within 24 hours then wrap it in baking parchment paper and silver foil and place in an airtight container. Since it is rich fruit cake it willlast up to 2 -3 weeks ( as long as you keep it wrapped and stored in an container)
To decorate you can either make a chocolate ganacahe icing for chocolate overload or the traditional Christmas cake topping of marzipan and white fondant icing I have chosen the later. I think it looks more festive than the chocolate icing and I find the chocolate on chocolate very rich.

Recipe 3Christmas Pudding Cookies from Jane's Pattesiere These are delicious triple chocolate Christmas pudding cookies with milk and dark chocolate chunks and white chocolate icing disguised as Christmas puddingsThey are easy to make and fun to do with children as they can help make and decorate the cookies.

Ingredients

  • 125 gm unsalted butter/baking margarine
  • 100gm light brown sugar
  • 100gm white sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 25gm cocoa powder
  • 225gm plain flour
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn bicarb of soda
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 150gm milk chocolate chips
  • 150gm dark chocolate chips
  • dipping chocolate 300gm whie chocolate chips
  • Holly and berry sugar decorations
  • Makes between 14 -16 cookies ( depending upon size)

Method

Preheat oven to 180C/160CFan/375F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper
Use a hand or stand mixer to creamboth the light and brown sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.
Mix in the vanilla and egg until completely combined.
Add in the rest of the dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder and Bicarb, salt and cocoa powder) until the mixture combines into a thick paste / dough is formed.
Spoon in and stir the Chocolate chips into the dough, don't overwork at this stage.
Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to place even sized biscuits onto the baking sheets and ensure they are spaced out so there is room for them to spread when they bake.
Bake in the oven for between 10 -12 minutes- they will spread and look crinkly on the top. Remove and leave to cool.
Once the cookies have cooled, then melt the white chocolate chips in either the microwave in increments or in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering hot water.
Dip eachabout a 1/4 of the cookie in the melted white chocolate and ensure you coat both sides wellso
Leave on a clean baking sheet to cool or place them in the fridge.
Once semi cooled then add the sugar holly decorations so they stick.
Leave to cool completely . Store in an air tight container for up o 5 days. But if you any thing like me they wont last this long.
Enjoy your festive Baking and remember its the chefs prerogative to lick the bowl and try out the bakes before anyone else!