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Dark chocolate tartlets

Much has been said about chocolate.


I’m pretty sure wars have been fought over it.


A box of it is what life is like. (Yes Forrest, I agree.)


It melts at body temperature, which is one reason why we are so completely under its spell.



It’s a proven weapon against Dementors, and I have a feeling it would work equally well against werewolves.


Chocolate fixes things. When I’m having a bad day, 90% of the time, chocolate can make me feel about 75% better almost instantly.


(Okay that was too much math. I feel a bit dizzy.)


I think chocolate is in the same family of things as puppy kisses, mommy hugs, and lazy Saturdays. It brings the kind of happiness that makes you close with eyes with a sigh. It makes you feel like everything is right. Even if it’s just for a while.


In my opinion, the BEST way to eat chocolate (other than straight from a packet) is as ganache.


I’m always looking for ways to eat chocolate ganache in non-crazy manner. Seriously, it’s dangerous when there’s a bowl of silky, dark chocolate ganache around. You could look the other way for 2 minutes and I would have inhaled it.


So I try to be grownup and use the ganache as a cake filling. (Smart, right?)
I sometimes drizzle it over cupcakes. (Genius, I know.)
And then I also roll it into truffles. (Whaaa? You love me? I love you too.)


Always thinking of new ways to transfer ganache from the bowl to my mouth, I decided to try tartlets!


A crisp, slightly salty, pastry shell would be the perfect vehicle for the deliciously chocolately ganache.


I didn’t want to do a butter pastry, since I was already getting my gazillion calories from the tub of ganache.


I decided to try pastry with Canola oil instead- a MUCH healthier alternative and so much quicker than working with butter.


The results were super. The pastry was just right- crumbly and soft, with a touch of salt. It was the perfect foil to the sinful, sweet ganache poured into it.



Chocolate win!



Dark chocolate tartlets


Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 15-25 mins
Makes: 6-7 tartlets or 1 large tart


Ingredients:


250 g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
125 ml Canola oil (I used Hudson), plus extra for greasing
50 ml cold milk
1 egg, beaten


For the chocolate ganache


500 g good-quality dark chocolate
1 tbsp milk
200 ml cream
2 tbsp Cointreau (or any other liqueur of your choice), optional
sugar flowers to decorate, optional


Method:


For the pastry


1. Preheat the oven to 240º C. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Add the oil and milk and stir vigorously with a fork to combine everything. Then use to your hands to bring the dough together. This will happen quite easily (it’s not a sticky dough) so be careful not to overwork it.
3. Grease small tart tins or one large tart tin (with removable base/s) with oil. Divide the dough and place in the tart tins. Work the dough into and all around the base and sides of the tin using your fingers. Try to keep it in as even a layer as possible.
4. Cover the tins with a piece of baking parchment and top with baking beans. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes (small tarts) and 15 minutes (large tart).
5. Remove the parchment and beans. Make a few holes on the base of the pastry with a fork, brush with egg wash, and bake for another 3 minutes (small tarts) and 5 minutes (large tart). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.


For the chocolate ganache and assembling


1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate with the milk. Remove and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, heat the cream over low heat, stirring. Add the Cointreau and stir well. Remove from the heat and pour into the chocolate mixture. Stir well until you have a shiny ganache.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 180º C. Pour the filling into each tart, and pop back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove and cool, before decorating with a sugar flower and placing in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to set.




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Say hello to another Lord of the Rings dessert.


It’ll be easier, because unlike the last one, this one actually has recognizable eyes! :)


From the second movie of The Lord of the Rings trilogy- The Two Towers, here is my rendition of an Ent.



What is an Ent?


Very simply- a talking, walking, Middle-earth inhabiting tree.


Here’s an Ent from the movie.



Mine’s cuter, right?


The best part is this tart doesn’t taste like tree at all.
It’s quite yummy actually.



I’m assuming not all of you are going to drop everything you’re doing and run off to make a tart that looks like an old tree. So I’ll give you a brief version of the recipe. Just holler in the comments below if you want anything explained in more detail.


I made my basic pie crust.
Topped it with a coffee-cream filling.
Over that went a semi-solid ganache that I shaped into a generic tree bark.



I used brown icing for the eyes and used a fork for some texture over the ganache.


I also made chocolate leaves!
This is easier than you think.


I melted white chocolate and coloured it green. Then I washed some real leaves and coated the reverse side with the green melted chocolate.
After about an hour in the fridge, I simply peeled off the real leaf and was left with gorgeous, bright green, white chocolate leaves.



I think the chocolate leaves will look rather smashing on cupcakes. What do you think?



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So Whoopie pies and Truffles won the vote! I made both, but first- the Truffles.

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These are SO easy to make and SO good to eat, it’s dangerous.

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My friend ate one and told me it was the best thing I’ve ever made.

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If you have chocolate and cream and liqueur at home, make this NOW.

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(Also, if you have all those things at home I think we can be best friends. So say hi , won’t ya?) :)

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All you need to do is make a ganache. (Ganache is one of those words you want to keep saying, coz it makes you feel fancy :))

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Ganache= Chocolate + cream (+ Drambuie in this case)

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Please use the best chocolate you can find. I always use dark chocolate. The better the chocolate, the richer and more wonderful your truffles will turn out.

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The ganache is rolled out into small chocolate balls and coated with cocoa powder.

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And there you have it. Truffles.

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Make some now!

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Drambuie dark chocolate truffles

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Prep time: 20 mins, plus chilling
Cook time: 5 mins
Makes: 20

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Ingredients:

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225 g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
120 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp Drambuie
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder

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Method:

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1. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over a low heat. When it starts to simmer, add the Drambuie and stir well. Keep stirring and pushing the cream down the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. This is your ganache. Leave to cool, and then refrigerate for two hours.
2. Line a plate with parchment paper. Scoop out one tablespoon of ganache at a time and roll into a ball between your palms. Place on the paper. You will have to work quickly here because the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate.
3. Chill again for 5-6 hours. Remove and roll in cocoa powder. Bite into one and tell me how good it is! :)

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Note: If you don’t have any liqueur at home, you could just use vanilla extract instead. All other liquers work really well: try Baileys or Kahlua also. If you don’t like the bitter taste of the cocoa on the outside, substitute with desiccated coconut or finely chopped almonds.

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Here’s a picture of my fuzzy, cuddly puppy before you leave. Don’t you want to just eat him up? :)

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