The genuine article: Paul A Young says only real chocolate makes the best chocolate martini
The genuine article: Paul A Young says only real chocolate makes the best chocolate martini

National chocolate week 2017: Recipes from salted caramel brownies to vodka martinis

National Chocolate Week, a strong contender for the title of ‘most wonderful time of the year’, is nearly upon us, taking place from 9-15 October. Here are three decadent recipes to mark the occasion

Tuesday 10 October 2017 18:02
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The ultimate chocolate martini by Paul A Young

There are many versions of a chocolate martini, but how many are made with real chocolate? Most use flavoured syrups or liqueurs to add the chocolate flavour, but I believe that only real chocolate keeps the martini’s clean crisp taste; and if you like your martini extra dry, then the chocolate does not detract.

Serves 2

For the chocolate sauce

100g 70 per cent dark chocolate, broken into pieces
100g golden caster suga
r

For the cocktail

Cubed ice
4 x 25ml gin or vodka
2 x 25ml dry vermouth (Noilly Prat is my preference)
Cocoa powder, for dusting

To make the chocolate sauce, add 150ml water, the chocolate and the sugar to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place 2 large martini glasses in the freezer for 1 hour.

Half fill a cocktail shaker with cubed ice, then add 4 measures of the chocolate sauce and the other liquids and shake well. Strain into the frozen glasses, dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Extract from ‘Adventures with Chocolate’ by Paul A Young, published by Kyle Books, £14.99. Photography by Anders Schopnnemann

The goldmine brownie by Chloe Timms

This is the “Ohh, baby” of all my brownies; the one that has you tripping over your heels for a piece. The sign on my stall reads: “Get one and you’ll understand”, but to go into a little more detail, this is a truly seductive dark chocolate brownie, intensified with coffee and lit with cinnamon. Oh and yes, the canyons and rivers of caramel...

Serves 16

350g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
115g plain flour
1 tsp sea salt
200g cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
650g caster sugar
6 large free-range eggs
200g good quality dark chocolate chips
300g classic salted caramel sauce, chilled *

Preheat the oven to 170C (350F/Gas 4). Butter and line a 30 × 20cm (12 × 8 in) brownie pan with baking parchment. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa and espresso powders. Weigh out the sugar in another bowl and the chocolate chips in another.

Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Remove the from the heat and, using a rubber spatula, gently mix in the cocoa and espresso powders and stir to a smooth paste. Add the sugar in three stages, mixing thoroughly but gently to obtain a thick paste. Add the eggs two at a time, beating well but not vigorously so you incorporate as little air into the mix as possible. Fold through the flour and salt mix and then the chocolate chips, until thoroughly combined.

Pour two thirds of the brownie batter into the prepared brownie pan and smooth to form an even layer. Dollop the cold salted caramel over the top. The larger the dollops, the more extreme the pockets of caramel in the finished brownies – if they are smaller, you’ll get a more uniform layer. Working quickly before the mixture cools and seizes, ripple over the remaining third of the brownie batter to cover the entire surface of the previous layers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the middle. Leave to cool in the pan, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting. Brownies are best stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

* For the classic caramel sauce (makes 500g)

200ml double cream
¾ tsp sea salt
225g caster sugar
3 tbsp glucose syrup
4 tbsp water
65g salted butter

In a small saucepan, warm the cream and salt over a low heat until hot but not boiling, stirring often to avoid scorching. Alternatively, warm in the microwave in a suitable jug. Cover to keep warm while you make the caramel. Heat the sugar, glucose syrup and water to make a dark, wet caramel. Once the caramel is ready, remove from the heat and, being very careful, gradually add the warmed cream and salt. It will bubble and spit ferociously. Do not stir until the bubbles have died down. Add the butter and stir well. If you have lumps of caramel, return to a low heat and stir until the lumps have dissolved. If not using immediately, pour the sauce into sterilised jars while still hot. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Extract from Salted Caramel Dreams by Chloe Timms, published by Hardie Grant, £12.99. Photography by River Thompson

Crispy chocolate and salted peanut tart by Nadiya Hussain

This tart contains a surprising hidden ingredient: crisps. Crisps have become such a snacking essential (one that I certainly couldn't do without) that most people don't think to use them in cooking. But with their crunchy, salty deliciousness, they are great added to recipes for extra texture and taste, and here I use crushed salted crisps to create a tart base with a difference.

Serves 10-12

For the base

250g thick-cut salted crisps
100g butter
4 tbsp golden syrup

For the filling and topping

225g butter
375g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
3 eggs
3 egg yokes
150g caster sugar
25g roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan ovens/Gas 4), and grease a 23cm deep, loose-bottomed tart tin. Whiz the crisps to breadcrumb-size pieces in a food processor. Melt the butter in a small pan with the golden syrup. Tip the crisps into a bowl and stir in the melted butter and syrup.

Press the crisp mixture evenly into the base and sides of the tart tin. Line the case with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans. Place on an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, take out the paper and beans, and set aside.

Meanwhile make the filling. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), stirring now and then until completely melted and glossy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little while you prepare the eggs. Using an electric beater, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar till thickened and pale. This may take 3-4 minuets.

Pour the slightly cooled melted chocolate mixture over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking as you pour until completely combined. Stir in 75g of the chopped peanuts. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart shell and sprinkle the remaining chopped peanuts over the top.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until almost set but still with a very slight wobble. If the tart is still very wobbly, cook for a little longer, but check it every couple of minutes. Remove and leave to cool on a rack, still in the tin. Then transfer to the fridge for at least 4 hours. When cool, carefully remove the tart from the tin, cut into slices and serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Nadiya’s British Food Adventure by Nadiya Hussain published by Michael Joseph. All three dishes will be appearing at The Chocolate Show, 13-15 October at Olympia London. For tickets visit thechocolateshow.co.uk

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