Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami

250g dark chocolate, chopped
250g biscuits, something like ginger biscuits, finger biscuits, Marie biscuits or digestives
100g soft butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
30ml vanilla
30ml cocoa powder
75g almond nuts, chopped
75g pecan nuts, chopped
50g pistachio nuts, chopped
30ml icing sugar, sifted, to decorate
twine, to decorate

Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over simmering water and allow to melt until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
Bash the biscuits in a plastic bag but keep it chunky.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together.
Gradually, and one by one, add the eggs – do not worry if it looks as though it has curdled at this stage.
Add the vanilla and mix until blended.
Sift the cocoa powder into the cooled chocolate and mix through.
Now add the chocolate to the egg mixture and mix through on low speed.
Take the bowl from the mixer and add the crushed biscuits and all of the nuts. Mix well.
Refrigerate the mixture (in the bowl is fine) for about 30 minutes.
Cover your working surface with plastic wrap.
Roll the mixture into a log shape with your hands until it resembles a fat salami, about 30cm long.
Cover the log with the plastic wrap and roll it, as if it were a rolling pin, to create a smooth cylinder.
Twist the ends and make a knot.
Refrigerate the log for at least 6 hours.
Take the salami out of the fridge and lay it on baking paper.
Rub some icing sugar over and tie with string to give it an authentic look.
Slice into discs to serve.

Chocolate Parfait with Fresh Berries

Chocolate Parfait with Fresh Berries

A parfait is a cream-based, frozen dessert. The difference between and ice cream and parfait is that an ice cream has air whipped into it while it freezes and a parfait has air whipped into it and only then is it frozen!! It is a bit of a cheffy dessert but follow the instructions closely and you are guaranteed a very popular dessert!!

160g dark chocolate, chopped (I use DeVilliers chocolate that has a 70% cocoa solid content!!)
6 egg yolks (make meringue/pavlova with the whites)
250g caster sugar
30ml cocoa powder
400ml double cream

300g fresh berries
30ml icing sugar

Prepare a 20cm x 11cm loaf tin by lining it with baking paper.
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow the chocolate to melt completely.
Take it from the heat and set aside to cool slightly but leave the saucepan of water at a very low simmer.
Add the egg yolks and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat together until combined.
Pour the egg mixture into the cooled melted chocolate and put the bowl back over the saucepan with simmering water.
This is the tricky part: Beat the mixture with an electric whisk for 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved completely and you are left with a very thick mixture. You have to keep beating the mixture or the egg will cook or even worse, the chocolate will seize!! Dont despair….if you whisk continuously the mixture will be fine.
Remove from the heat and sift in the cocoa powder. Fold in with a metal spoon.
Pour the cream into a clean mixing bowl and whip to soft peaks.
Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture in three batches.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
Remove the parfait from the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it. Turn it out onto a serving platter, remove the paper and heap the berries on top.
Sift with icing sugar to serve.

Chocolate Brownie Biscuits

Chocolate Brownie Biscuits

These biscuits have a crackly crust and a heavenly chewy, fudge centre and will become one of your favourite chocolate treats! Make sure to bake these with a good quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.

220g dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used coffee flavoured chocolate, you don’t have to but do make sure that your chocolate has at least 70% cocoa solids)
90ml butter, melted
190ml brown sugar
62ml white sugar
2 eggs
190ml flour
60ml cocoa powder, sifted
10ml espresso coffee powder
1,2ml salt

Preheat your oven to 180℃ and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
Add the chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir every now and then until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has amalgamated. Take the bowl from the heat and set aside.
Add the eggs, brown sugar and white sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat the mixture together at high speed for 3 – 4 minutes.
Turn the mixer speed down to low and pour in the chocolate mixture with the machine running.
Add the flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl and stir together until well mixed.
Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and add the dry ingredients. Fold through with a spatula.
Spoon about 15ml of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving room for the biscuits to spread.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Cool the biscuits on the baking sheet before storing/serving.

Chocolate Bread

If you long for slightly warm pain au chocolat directly from a Paris pâtisserie, long no more! This chocolate bread offers real competition! If you battle to understand the finishing instructions, go to my instagram account (karen_claassen) or my YouTube channel, for a demonstration video.

300ml milk

30ml butter

10g instant yeast

80ml sugar

a pinch of salt

850ml cake flour

2 egg yolks

350g chocolate spread

2 egg whites

Put a small saucepan onto the heat and warm the milk in it.

Stir the butter into the milk so that it can melt.

Allow the milk to come to a temperature where you can comfortably keep your finger in it without feeling it is hot.

Sprinkle the yeast onto the milk and give it a good stir. Set aside for 5 minutes or so.

Add the sugar, salt and flour to a large mixing bowl.

Add the yeast mixture as well as the egg yolks and mix to form a rough dough.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to stand until doubled in volume.

Preheat your oven to 180℃.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into four equal pieces.

Roll the first portion of dough into a circle – I like to measure my circle with the loose-bottom of a 22cm cake tin. This is a real help in getting all the circles/discs to the same size.

Transfer this dough circle onto your prepared baking sheet and spread a third of the chocolate spread as evenly as you can over the dough.

Repeat this process with the other three portions of dough.

Once the last dough circle has been placed onto the stack, you are ready to cut and shape your bread. If you have difficulty in following this process, go to my instagram account or my YouTube channel for demonstration video.

Finishing instructions:

Imagine a 5cm diameter circle as the centrepiece of your dough circles – DO NOT cut through this circle.

Now, if the dough circles were a clock, make an incision from the centre circle on 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

Half each of the four triangles you have so that you are left with 8 pieces.

Lastly, cut through each of the 8 pieces to end up with 16.

Now lift two pieces that are next to each other, one in each hand, and make two twists in opposite directions. Carefully place these pieces down. Keep going until all of the bread pieces have been twisted and your have a beautifully patterned bread.

Cover the bread with a clean tea towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Whisk the two egg whites with a fork and glaze the bread with it.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.

Serve slightly warm.

French Chocolate Tart (Tart au Chocolat)

French Chocolate Tart (Tart au Chocolat)

250g cake flour
100g butter, cubed
100g icing sugar, sifted
a pinch of salt
1-2 eggs

Crème au chocolat:
170g dark chocolate, chopped
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
25g sugar
170ml + 170ml cream
5ml vanilla

For the pastry:
Add the flour, butter and icing sugar to a food processor and process until the mixture is the size of peas.
Whisk the eggs together and with the engine running, add a few drops of the egg at a time until the mixture JUST comes together.
Fold and push the pastry together with the heel of your hand until it is smooth.
Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and spray a 22cm flan tin/loose bottom tart tin with cooking spray.
Roll the pastry out to a 3mm thickness and line the bottom and sides of the baking tin.
Prick the bottom with the tines of a fork and bake blind – lined with baking paper and baking beans – for 20 minutes.
Remove the paper and beans and bake the shell for another 15 minutes.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and allow to cool.

For the filling:
Turn your oven down to 160℃.
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water and allow to melt completely.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Add the whole egg, the egg yolk, sugar and 170ml cream to a mixing bowl and whisk together.
Pour the other 170ml cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat.
Remove the cream as soon as it boils and wait one minute.
Pour half the cream in a very, very thin stream onto the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Pour slowly, whisk quickly!!
Now pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over a very low heat.
Whisk the mixture until it thickens and has the consistency of custard.
Pour the mixture over the melted chocolate, add the vanilla and stir with a spatula until combined.
Scrape into the tart shell and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Viennese Sachertorte

Viennese Sachertorte

It has been said that a Viennese Sachertorte is a cake worth fighting over….! Hopefully without the fighting, you will bake this labour of love and indulge in the best chocolate cake in the world! Traditionally the cake is served with Chantilly cream on the side so that every bite may be dipped into the cream before eating. If you want a higher cake like the one in my photographs, bake the cake twice – the apricot and chocolate glaze is sufficient to cover a higher/larger cake.

125g dark chocolate, chopped
125g butter, room temperature
110g icing sugar, sifted
6 eggs, separated
5ml vanilla
50g granulated sugar
130g flour

Apricot glaze:
300g apricot jam
15ml dark rum

Chocolate glaze:
220g sugar
125ml water
200g dark chocolate, chopped

Place an oven rack in the centre of your oven and preheat to 180℃.
Lightly butter 22cm springform tin with butter and line the bottom with a round of baking paper. Dust the sides of the tin with flour and tap out the excess.
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt.
Remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate often until tepid but still fluid.
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
Turn the mixer to low speed and beat in the icing sugar.
Set the mixer back on medium-high and beat until light in colour and texture. (about 2 minutes)
Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Now beat in the chocolate and vanilla with the machine running.
Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Add the egg whites and granulated sugar to a mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat.
Stir about a fourth of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
Now fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible whisps of whites.
Sift half the flour over and fold in with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread it evenly.
Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove the sides of the tin and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Remove the baking paper.
Re-invert the cake on another rack to turn it right side up and leave to cool completely.

For the apricot glaze:
Melt the jam in a saucepan over medium heat, add the rum and pass through a sieve.
Set aside to cool slightly.

Trim the top of the cake to make it level. (Optional)
Cut the cake horizontally into 2 equal layers.
Brush the top of one cake layer with a third of the apricot glaze.
Place the second layer on top and brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze.
Allow to cool until the glaze is set/less sticky. Half an hour in the refrigerator should be sufficient.

For the chocolate glaze:
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan.
Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add the chocolate, remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate has melted and you are left with a smooth, glossy glaze.|Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour the slightly warm chocolate glaze over the cake. Take care to cover the entire cake and the sides.
Allow to cool and set completely – 2 hours minimum.
Trim away any hardened glaze on the bottom of the cake and transfer it to a serving plate.
Serve each slice of sachertorte with a generous dollop of cream so that each bite may be dipped in the cream before eating.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

200g chocolate biscuits
55g brown sugar
100g butter, melted

120g chocolate, chopped
900g cream cheese, room temperature
15ml cocoa powder, sifted
375ml sugar
10ml vanilla
4 eggs
375ml cream
60ml icing sugar, sifted

Chocolate Ganache:
320g chocolate, chopped
300g cream

For the base:
Place the biscuits in a food processor and process to a fine crumb.
Spoon the biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and melted butter.
Mix together until it resembles wet sand.
Spoon the mixture into a 23cm loose-bottom cake tin and press evenly over the base.
Place in the refrigerator.

For the mousse-cheesecake:
Preheat your oven to 150℃.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt until completely smooth.
Add the cream cheese, chocolate, cocoa powder and sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until incorporated.
Add the vanilla and eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside.
Add the cream to another mixing bowl and sift the icing sugar into the bowl.
Whisk until the cream develops a mousse-y texture and soft peaks form.
Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture – do this in 3-4 batches. Fold until just incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cake tin with the biscuit base. Smooth the top and give the cake tin a jiggle to let out any air bubbles.
Place the cake tin soon top of a sheet of aluminium foil and fold the foil up the sides on the outside of the tin. Place the cake tin into a roasting pan and fill the pan with 2,5cm of hot water.
Bake the cake for 70 minutes. Check and refill the water in the roasting tin every 20 or so during baking.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and immediately run a sharp knife around the outside of the cake to release it from the tin.
Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before removing the tin ring.

For the ganache:
Add the cream to a small saucepan and warm it.
Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
Set the cheesecake on a wire cooling rack, inside a baking sheet and pour the ganache over the cake.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Soufflé

Chocolate Soufflé

This recipe makes 6 individual soufflés.

50g butter, melted
140g chocolate, chopped
30ml sour cream
10ml vanilla
4 eggs, separated
2 egg whites
a pinch of cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
45ml sugar

Preheat your oven to 200℃.
Place 6 ramekins on a baking sheet, brush the insides evenly with the melted butter and dust with some sugar, making sure you cover the bottom and sides of each ramekin. Set aside.
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt.
Take the bowl from the heat, add the sour cream and stir through.
Add the vanilla and stir through.
Now add the egg yolks, one at a time and stir to combine. Set aside.
Add the 4 + 2 egg whites to a clean mixing bowl, sprinkle the cream of tartar and salt over and whisk until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar a teaspoonful at a time while whisking continuously.
Fold a third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate with a metal spoon.
Now add the rest and gently for into the chocolate mixture. Do not over mix but do get rid of white streaks in the mixture.
Fill each ramekin. Gently run your thumb around the inside of the ramekin to create a small well.
Bake the soufflés for 12 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Condensed Milk Brownies

Condensed Milk Brownies

1 x 385g can of condensed milk
60g butter, softened
190ml sugar
10ml vanilla
2 eggs
125ml flour
125ml cocoa powder, sifted
1,2ml salt
80g dark chocolate, finely chopped
80g dark chocolate, chopped
a handful of pistachio nuts

Preheat your oven to 180℃ and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking paper.
Add the condensed milk, butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream together with a hand-held mixer, until smooth.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix for another minute.
Now add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix again on low speed.
Add the chopped chocolate and stir through with a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the baking tin.
Add the 80g chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water and allow to melt.
Drizzle the chocolate over the brownies and sprinkle the pistachio nuts on top.
Slice and serve.