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Chocolate chatter

Easter isn’t complete without indulging in chocolate. Ready, set, feast!

Just Teddy’s Chocolate ganache tart
This is one of the first recipes that graced the counters when Just Teddy opened at the market in downtown Johannesburg. Although the recipe calls for dark chocolate, you can substitute milk chocolate, or a combination if you prefer it.
You’ll need: For the pastry – 200g flour; 100g Callebaut cocoa powder; 100g icing sugar; 100g butter; 2 eggs
For the filling – 300ml cream; 30g unsalted butter; 300g Callebaut dark chocolate buttons; Callebaut cocoa powder for dusting
How to:
For the pastry: Sift flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl. Cream the icing sugar and butter together in another bowl. Add the flour and the eggs to the butter mixture, alternating, to form a pastry.
Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm tart ring with the pastry, trimming any excess off the edges and place in the fridge to chill again.
Remove the chilled pastry and place in the oven, blind bake the shell for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Heat the cream and butter together until melted.
Add the chocolate buttons, stir to melt chocolate and form a ganache. Pour ganache into the cooled tart shell and allow to cool.
Dust with cocoa powder and decorate as desired.

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Just Teddy – Petals from Paris cookbook will turn even the most reluctant bakers among us into master bakers (okay that may be a small exaggeration, but you get the idea – you will want to bake). Think Unpretentious Coloured Cupcakes, Macarons, Persian Love Cake to Madeleines … a must for any home baker. R650 for a custom, limited edition book jacket or R550 without a book jacket from justteddy.shop

Avo chocolate brownies
You’ll need: 1 large or 2 medium, ripe avocados (skin and pit removed); ½ cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave syrup; ¼ cup brown sugar; 2 large eggs; 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; ½ teaspoon baking soda; ½ cup plain flour; ½ cup cocoa powder; ½ teaspoon salt or a pinch of sea salt; ½ cup chocolate chips or cocoa nibs
How to:
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a lightly greased 23cm baking dish.
In a food processor, add the avocado, maple syrup, and sugar. Blend well. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well so that all the ingredients are blended. Make sure to scrape down the sides.
Slowly add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and stir well.
Turn off the processor and remove the blade. Stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula.
Spread the batter into the baking dish evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done. Test the middle of the batter with a knife or toothpick to ensure it is fully baked and that no batter sticks to the knife or toothpick.
Remove from heat and let cool before cutting into squares.
Head over to avocado.co.za for more avo recipe inspo.

In this delectable combination of Prince Albert Figs, dates and dark chocolate, you can actually feel the crunch of the fig pips under your teeth. These chocolate tumbles are a great treat to add to a cheese platter or a picnic. Healthier snacking does not come better than this! R75 from winstonandjulia.co.za

As if we need any more convincing to indulge in all things chocolate! In Chocolate by Katelyn Williams, you will find a wicked assortment of dark, milk and white chocolate … the eating kind, the dipping kind, the drinking kind and the spreading kind; fruity thrills; crunchy treats; fancy, creamy, nostalgic and naughty recipes; effortless favourites like no-bake brownies and more and SOS tips to rescue your cravings – minimum ingredients, maximum results. Chocolate will deepen everything you think you know about one of life’s most enduring pleasures. R419, exclusivebooks.co.za

Fun facts:
• It takes about 400 cacao beans to make half a kilogram of chocolate!
• The first chocolate treat was hot chocolate.
• The first chocolate bar was created by Fry and Sons, a British shop, in 1847. The shop combined cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sugar to form a mostly solid type of treat.
• Nutella was invented during World War II by an Italian pastry maker who mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his cocoa supply.

Chocolate roulade
By Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Samantha Davis
You’ll need: 3 large eggs, separated; 175g caster sugar; 1 tsp cornflour; finely grated zest of 1 large orange; 200g unsweetened chestnut purée; 15g cocoa powder, sifted; 2 pinches cream of tartar
For the filling – 2 level tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted; 5 level tablespoons icing sugar, sifted; pinch ground cardamom; 300ml double cream, lightly whipped; 75g extra bitter chocolate, melted
How to:
Preheat oven to 200ºC and line a 30cm x 23cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper then brush with melted butter.
Place egg yolks in a food mixer with 125g of the caster sugar and orange zest and whisk until thick and pale. Whisk in chestnut purée and fold in cocoa powder and cornflour. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add 50g of caster sugar and whisk lightly so the meringue is soft, not stiff.
Fold the two mixtures together and spoon into the Swiss roll tray. Bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, then turn out onto baking paper sprinkled with caster sugar and peel off the lining paper.
In a bowl, add the cream and fold in the melted chocolate. Add the cocoa powder, icing sugar and ground cardamom and mix. Spread the cream mixture evenly onto the cake and then start to roll up the cake starting with one of the short edges and rolling tightly using the paper to help. Leave in the fridge for an hour. Drizzle with melted chocolate, sprinkle over icing sugar and decorate with cherries.

A healthier alternative to regularly processed chocolates, Biomedcan’s CBD chocolates offer many health benefits. Think a decrease in anxiety, stress, depression, improved sleep, memory and focus, lowering high blood pressure, regulating the heart rhythm and the list continues. It is not addictive, gluten-free, free of artificial flavours and the dark chocolate is suitable for vegans. Choose between the milk or 70 per cent dark chocolate slabs. Around R129 each from biomedcan.co.za, takealot.com

Well-known food writer and TV personality at thefoodfox.com, Ilse van der Merwe’s Double Chocolate Brownies with smoked paprika & salt

You’ll need: 230g (almost 1 cup) butter; 375g (1 4/5 cup) sugar; 125g (1 cup) cocoa powder; 10ml (2 teaspoons) smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling; 2,5ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt; 5ml vanilla extract; 3 XL eggs; 100g (3/4 cup) cake flour; 100g (1 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped; 80g coffee flavoured dark chocolate (or plain dark chocolate); smoked salt, for sprinkling

How to:

Preheat the oven to 170°C and position the rack in the lower third of the oven. In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter (do not boil).

When completely melted, remove from the heat and add the sugar, cocoa powder, paprika and salt to the warm pot. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed, then add the vanilla and one egg at a time, mixing very well between the additions of each egg.

When the mixture is thick and glossy, stir in the flour (no need to sift) until no streaks remain, then keep stirring for exactly 40 strokes. Now stir in the chopped walnuts. Line a 30x20cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper, then transfer the brownie mixture into the lined tin, edging it evenly into all corners.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until the middle is risen but still very soft (it must look slightly under-baked), then remove from the oven to cool completely. For the top layer, break the chocolate into smaller blocks and melt in a small bowl in the microwave at 30 second increments until fully melted.

Pour over the brownies, then spread evenly all over. Sprinkle lightly with smoked salt flakes and some smoked paprika, then cut into bars/squares when the chocolate has firmed up. Enjoy with Roodeberg Classic Red Blend and store in an airtight container for up to five days.

How to store chocolate … by Kate Waller, The Chocolate Tier
“Chocolate should always be stored in a slightly cool, dry, dark place such as a pantry or cupboard less than 21 degrees Celsius to ensure the quality isn’t compromised. Now, most of you will start shouting now and ask me when any part of South Africa is consistently below 21 degrees? Even in Winter. In fact, a lot of you tell me how you prefer to keep it in the freezer. However… we do know that the fridge ruins chocolate, even in
a heatwave it is best not to keep your chocolate in a fridge. If the chocolate is uncovered, you will find it draws in all the smells and flavours from the other foods kept in the fridge. If you keep it in a sealed container, you may find condensation takes place and as any chocolate lover knows, water and chocolate are NOT the best of friends. In my opinion, there are only two places where chocolate should be stored. In your mouth.
In your tummy.”

Triple chocolate tart
You’ll need: ½ large packet (250g) Romany Creams; 1/3 cup butter, melted; 2 large slabs (150g each) Belgian dark chocolate; 500ml home-made chocolate mousse
For the chocolate mousse – 5 eggs, separated; 450ml cream; 240g Belgian chocolate; 170ml black coffee; 2 shots brandy; 4 x 10g Gelatin leaves; 20ml vanilla essence; 100g sifted cocoa powder; 100g castor sugar
Nice to have – Extra-large slab (150g) Belgian dark chocolate; 1 Tbsp milk; strawberries, for serving
How to:
For the chocolate mousse:
Separate the egg whites and yolks. Place egg whites into a large wide bowl suitable for whisking and set aside.
Measure out the cream into a deep bowl suitable for whisking. Whisk with the hand mixer until stiff peak, cover with cling wrap and keep in the fridge.
Make sure the coffee is hot, dissolve the gelatin leaves into the coffee. Add brandy and vanilla essence.
In a large flat bowl suitable for a double boiler, place the chocolate cocoa powder and coffee mixture into the bowl and allow the ingredients to melt gently over low heat stirring occasionally
Once everything is melted, smooth and looking glossy, remove from the heat immediately and stir in the egg yolks. Make sure you are stirring well.
Remove cream from the fridge. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks.
Fold in the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, folding gently to knock out all the air bubbles, then do the same with the egg white.
Place the mousse into your container of choice for setting. Allow at least two hours to set in the fridge.
For the rest of the tart:
Blitz biscuits in a food processor until finely crumbed. Add melted butter and blitz to combine.
Press crumb mixture into the base of a 22cm tart dish (even out using the back of a spoon).
Melt the two chocolate slabs in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water until smooth.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature – make sure it does not set again.
Mix your home-made mousse into the cooled chocolate. Spoon chocolate mixture into a tart dish, smoothing out with the back of a spoon.
Place in the fridge to set for about 30 – 40 minutes
Melt extra chocolate with milk and allow to cool slightly. Pour over chilled chocolate tart, spreading to cover the mousse completely.
Refrigerate tart again for at least 30 minutes so that the chocolate topping hardens.
Serve with strawberries if you like.
Good idea – Make individual no slice tarts in ramekins.

A triple chocolate tart calls for a bold wine. We’re drinking this Muratie Ben Prins Cape Vintage 2018. You’ll smell floral notes of violets and roses along with Christmas spice and plum pudding, and taste the deeply rich flavours of Kirsch-macerated black cherries and dark chocolate-enrobed hazelnuts, as well as undertones of truffles and tobacco. It’s a world class wine … buy one to enjoy with your chocolate tart, another to put aside for up to two decades. R295. Details: muratie.co.za/product/ben-prins-cape-vintage

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