Before we begin I’ll just clarify that the only thing remotely Christmas puddingy about this treat is the look (and perhaps the stem ginger and cinnamon should you choose to add it in). Anyway, let’s commence.
Any cake that starts like this…
… can only be a triumph. So simple. Popcorn (could obviously use rice crispies or cornflakes), raisins, cranberries, smashed up ginger nuts, marshmallows, stem ginger and syrup, some ground cinnamon, oh, and lots of melted chocolate. Of course, this is the type of recipe which will happily accommodate swaps and changes of ingredients and quantities, just make sure you have enough melted chocolate to bind them all together. Basically, mix all the dry ingredients together along with the syrup from the stem ginger if you so wish, then pour on the melted choc.
Line a pudding bowl with scrunched up greaseproof paper and press the mixture in. I had so much mixture I did a large bowl and a small one too.
Leave to set in the fridge overnight. Once set, lift or of the bowl and peel off the paper.
Melt some white chocolate and pour over the top, before decorating with sons raisins and cranberries.
Cut into wedges to serve. This is what mine looked like inside…
I have never tempered chocolate before… Until tonight, when I made over 80 hot chocolates on sticks for favours at a Christmas Craft Cafe I’ve organised for this coming Saturday. I’m not sure what possessed me to do it in such vast quantities. I guess I like a challenge. My husband thinks I’m off my rocker, and I think he might be right. I would not advise doing it on the scale I did. I used 50 100g bars of dark chocolate. The tempering technique I used is on the BBC Good Food website.
The idea of a hot chocolate stick is that you swirl it into a mug of hot milk, to create an indulgent and delicious treat.
Apart from the tempering, the process is so straightforward. Basically, pouring melted chocolate into moulds, sticking a stick in it and topping it with mini marshmallows. Here are some pics, including ones from the tempering process.
Lay your moulds out
Melt in a bain-marie
For tempering dark chocolate the temp needs to get to about 55oC before lowering the temperature by seeding.
Hubby trying to lower the temp! Outside, in the UK on a December evening!
It took longer than we expected!
Heating the mixture up again using the seeding technique.
We’ve all seen those beautiful chocolate slabs adorned with luscious dried fruits, crunchy nuts, sweets and sometimes even gold leaf, but tempting as they are I resent paying upwards of £15 for them when I could knock one up myself for half the price, and in little over ten minutes. Plus there’s the added bonus that I can gleefully boast to the recipient that “I made it myself”! Here’s how easy it is:
Buy the best quality chocolate you can as it will set better after melting. I used a bar each of white, milk and dark Green & Black’s.
Melt each chocolate separately in a bain-marie, stiring occasionally. Meanwhile put a piece of greaseproof paper on a tray or baking sheet.
Once the choc is melted pour the dark on one side of the tray in a rough line, then the milk on the other side of the tray so it’s opposite the dark, then pour the white in the middle to fill the gap between milk and dark. Use a skewer to swirl the chocolates into each other to create a pretty pattern and start your adornment process. I used cranberries, sour cherries, raisins, nuts and gold sugar (turns out Sainsbury’s don’t stock gold leaf!).
Leave to set, then peel off the greaseproof paper, wrap in cellophane and tie a ribbon round it. There you have it, chocolatier style chocolate for half the price. Perfect for Christmas, but this one is for a certain someone’s special birthday…