Easy Chocolate Dessert Recipes
Easy Chocolate Dessert Recipes – Chocolate is a fruit and as such is an essential part of a balanced diet. It of course comes in the first place from the cocoa bean. The story of chocolate as we know it begins with the discovery of the Americas in 1492. The Aztecs used chocolate, but the chocolate they drank was bitter.
When Christopher Columbus returned to Spain among his treasures he had a few small, brown beans, but it was Hernando Cortez who realized the commercial possibilities of the new discovery. He sweetened it with sugar cane and later others realized it might taste better if heated – cocoa or drinking chocolate was born. I t would not be until 1847 that solid ‘eating chocolate’ was first produced by an English company and 1876 before milk was added.
When choosing chocolate for desserts choose a dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content – well over 60% is best. Milk chocolate may have about 55% . Such good chocolate should give a sharp crack when broken. I f you need to melt chocolate do it slowly, preferably in a double boiler, as otherwise it is very easy to burn it. Cooking chocolate or couverture is tempered before use to give a beautiful smooth finish.
Chocolate Cranberry Pie
This uses chocolate wafer crumbs. An easy way to make these is to place the biscuits in a plastic bag. Tie the top tight and then crush the biscuits. You can use a rolling pin, bash with anything heavy or beat against something hard. You can o f course do it quickly in a food processor, but this bag method saves on the washing up.
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated or castor sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 to 6 tablespoons, low fat spread, melted
- Mix all together and use as a base in a spring form cake tin. Bake at 350F, 180 C, Gas 4 for about 12 minutes.
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1 packet ( I teaspoon) of unflavored gelatin
- 12oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- Pinch of salt
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First, soften the gelatin crystals in four tablespoons of the juice. This takes at least 10 minutes. Using a saucepan, bring to a boil the remaining cranberry juice and the lemon juice, cranberries, sugar, lemon peel and salt. Stir continuously until the mixture boils, then simmer for a futher five minutes. The cranberries should be cooked but still keep their berry shape. Strain the juice into a bowl and add the softened gelatin mixture to this hot juice. Stir well. Replace the cranberries back into the juice and chill for at least eight hours or more. The mixture should be slightly thickened. You will add this topping to your chocolate cranberry pie recipe last, after the other parts are assembled.
- 8 oz (250 grams) Mascarpone Cheese, fromage frais or Quark
- 1/2 cup powdered / icing sugar
- 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix all together and use to fill the cooled pie crust. Cover with the cranberry mix. Serve cold.
Variations – cherries, red currants, chopped mango, mandarins or other fruit of your choice could substitute for cranberries. You could use apple or grape juice in place of the cranberry juice. You could make the crust and topping the day before and then assemble when ready to serve.
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Choc Chip Pancakes for 4
Originally devised as a breakfast dish these become much more sophisticated if served filled with exotic fruit and coconut strips. Melt more chocolate and mix with a little cream to make a sauce.
- 1 ¼ cup o fall purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- 4 tablespoons melted low fat spread
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your griddle or skillet. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix together liquid ingredients and then beat these into the dry mixture until smooth. I t is best if the mixture is left for at least 20 minutes to allow the flour grains to be penetrated by the liquid. Mix in the chocolate chips. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto hot griddle. Cook until the bubbles that form on top begin to pop, before turning, then cook a minute more. Serve immediately or keep warm until required. They can also be frozen – pack between sheets of grease proof paper.