Hetty chatters…

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Category: Treats & Snacks

Chocolate Mousse and Orange Shortbread Hearts

To put it most simply, this dessert received an almost record number of ‘mmmmmmmmmmm’s from everyone, prepared ahead of time, effortless to both make and serve, and tastes just so…mmmmm.
This is perfect for when you are having guests over. I am a believer in getting the best tastes in the simplest ways, after all, we are busy people, things to do, people to see, baking needs to be efficient , and as much as I love endless hours in the kitchen (and I really really do!) you don’t always have the time. This is a good effective bake, needs very little washing up through minimal bowl usage, and so it really isn’t daunting in the slightest.

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Ingredients for the Mousse

200g good quality dark chocolate
4 large free range eggs, separated
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Whipped vanilla cream to serve (add vanilla seeds to double cream and whip to make your own)

Method

Melt the chocolate gently, and in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, add the sugar, and continue to whip into stiff peaks whilst waiting for the chocolate. Next, remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the egg yolks one at a time, at first it looks like it will seize, but it doesn’t, have faith. Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the chocolate, and fold gently with a metal spoon, this will help to soften the mixture, then add the rest of the egg whites in 3 batches, again folding gently so not to remove the air. Spoon the mixture into your chosen vessel and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Top with the cream and prepare to serve!

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Happy little pudding lovers! Ben has a spot on his nose to match his jumper…

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It was hard to keep Alice’s pudding still to take a picture, I ate mine too quickly so had to borrow hers to show you the mousse…

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Yep, this was the only state that I could photograph my own pudding in!

 

Ingredients for the Shortbread

125g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
50g ground rice
The zest of 6 satsumas, or 3 oranges, think generous here, you want lots of lovely flavour.

Method
Cream together the butter and sugar, then tip in the flour and ground rice, rub with your fingertips like you are making a crumble, so that it becomes very well mixed. Then, combine the breadcrumbs and kneed gently to form a good pliable but stiff dough. Either roll and shape, or push into your moulds.  It is best here to chill for half an hour, but if you impatient like me you will survive if you put it straight in the oven.

Bake at 180 degrees C for about 15 minutes. If you can, get the shortbread out the oven whilst it has barely  any colouring, they will still feel quite soft, but this is the best way to get a nice crumbly biscuit with just enough of a bite.  Transfer to a cooling rack once you can push them out of the moulds, and dust liberally with caster sugar. They keep well in an airtight container, but ours never make it to needing to keep…

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I loooove silicone moulds now, I am officially a total convert! Lakeland, you are a haven!

Enjoy everyone.

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Christmas Foody Ideas #1 Almond Praline

Arhhhhhhhhhh this stuff is amazing, I know its super simple but that makes it all the more fun, I decided the only thing I like more than almond praline are Macarons, quite fitting as they both have lots of almonds in, so I suppose I must thank the humble almond for my favorite sweet treats.

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Warnings need to be iterated before we start:
1.Don’t use a pan you like, go for one which you don’t really like at all, cleaning up after caramelized sugar is not a fun thing.
2. Melted sugar is hotter than the sun, don’t think you can sneak a warm caramel almond, you can’t, the burn on my first finger and thumb demonstrate this.
3. It is addictive,  insanely moreish, and I feel really sick because I’ve eaten probably nearly half a batch, and am now not sure what to do with my sugary sickly slightly self-pitying state.

My kitchen looks a bit like an experimentation lab at the moment, alas, recipes are finalized  and a baking marathon is in order to get my Christmas hampers finished, which now means a blogging marathon to tell as many people as I can about it.

Good news also, my camera is going to be replaced, the one with the leaky battery, so some time in the not so distant future, non-fuzzy photos should be hitting my little internet space!

Recipe, just two things:

Equal measures of plain almonds and granulated sugar

Method

I wouldn’t do more than 200g of each at a time, because you must NOT stir the mix, just shake gently if anything to get any sugar from round the sides. (why you can’t stir melting sugar is one of life’s great mysteries to me?!) Go for a low/mid heat, and just watch your sugar caramelize, when its all melted, the almonds will start to make a popping sound, once you’ve heard a few of those noises, you’re good to go, so just pour your mix onto a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to set. Then chop up and bag up.

Don’t they just look like little auburn jewels? They taste like them too.

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This is great just as a treat, or pulsed in a blender and sprinkled over hot chocolates, ice cream or puddings.  You could make a little label to tell your recipient what might be nice.

Submerse your pan, when finished, in to a sink full of hot water, eventually all the sugar will dissolve off if you leave it an hour or so.

And just for a change, here is what I am listening too, to help keep the myself calm in the midst of a warm christmassy-smelling mist of toasted almonds and caramel. I’ll crack onto the Christmas tunes later in the day.

Enjoyenjoyenjoy!

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