Chocolate Obsession

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WORDS Brendon D’Souza (a.k.a. The Smiling Chef)

Gluttony. Stuffing your face. Pigging-out. Complete indulgence in your favourite food. I must confess I am definitely a glutton from time-to-time. I have been known to devour entire wheels of Camembert cheese; washing it down with a well-deserved glass of red.

(From left to right) Chocolate Fudge Brownies; Chocolate Trifle; Mini Chocolate and Passion Fruit Cakes

Chocolate Fudge Brownies (Medium Difficulty)

My mother always says that when she was pregnant with me she would get these intense cravings for chocolate. So naturally I grew to become a chocolate fiend. You should never leave me home alone with a box of chocolates. In fact, as I write this my desk is laced with colourful wrappers from a box of Cadbury Favourites.

This month I have a decadent chocolate brownie recipe that is bound to satisfy your cravings. It’s also versatile because you can use the brownie as a base for a range of dishes. I call it ‘constructive gluttony’. The thing with chocolate dishes though is that quality equals flavour, so try buying chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids. Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g dark (70% cocoa solids) cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 300g raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g plain flour

You will need:

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Silicon spatula
  • Square baking tin
  • Baking paper

Method:

  1. Line the baking tin with a piece of baking paper. Pre-heat your oven to 180 °C.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir and continue this process in 30-second bursts until the chocolate has melted. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour the mix into the large bowl. Add the sugar, cocoa, eggs, vanilla and flour and stir to combine. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The brownie will be soft.
  4. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in the tin, then cut into squares. Serve.

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Chocolate Trifle (Easy Peasy)

This tasty trifle is based on one of my favourite classics, the Black Forest torte. Sadly, this recipe only makes a single serving but I’m sure that you can do the math and figure out the quantity required to satisfy even the biggest chocolate fanatic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of chocolate brownie (see recipe 2)
  • 1 tsp cherry liqueur
  • 1 jar of Morello cherries
  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • Thick vanilla custard
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder to garnish

You will need:

  • Serving glass(es)
  • Teaspoons
  • Knife
  • Chopping board

Method:

  1. Place the chocolate brownie in the bottom of a serving glass and drizzle the cherry liqueur over the top. Allow the liquid to soak into the brownie.
  2. Remove 4 or 5 cherries from the jar of Morello cherries and place them on the brownie. Wash and dry strawberries. Select one, remove the stem and chop into cubes. Place strawberry on top of brownie.
  3. Top with 2 tablespoons of custard to cover the brownie and fruit. Place in the fridge for at least three hours to allow flavours to combine.
  4. When ready to serve top with spoonfuls of whipped cream and garnish with the chocolate shavings or cocoa powder.

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Mini Chocolate and Passion Fruit Cakes (Chocolate Challenge)

I recently made a larger version of this cake for my Mum’s 50th birthday and it worked wonders. The passion fruit curd cuts perfectly through the richness of the chocolate. For this recipe, it is important not to cut your brownie into square pieces. Instead use a 5cm round cookie-cutter to cut circles from the brownie. You should end up with nine circles, which is enough to make three cakes. The quality of the chocolate is vital to this dish’s success. You won’t regret it, so get the good stuff.

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate brownie cutouts
  • 200g dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 600mL bottle thickened cream
  • Store-bought passion fruit curd.
  • Cocoa powder

You will need:

  • Baking paper
  • Baking tray
  • Teaspoons
  • Palette knife or butter knife
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Mixing bowl
  • Piping bag

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Make chocolate ganache by placing the chocolate and 150mL cream in the microwave-safe bowl and mix. Microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir and continue this process in 30-second bursts till the chocolate has melted. Stir to combine. Allow the ganache to cool completely.
  3. When the ganache has cooled reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture. Then carefully transfer the rest to piping bag.
  4. Mix 5 tablespoons of passion fruit curd with 2 tablespoons of thickened cream.
  5. You are now ready to assemble the cake. Place a brownie circle onto the baking tray. Pipe a ring of chocolate ganache around the border of the circle. Fill the centre of this ring with a tablespoon of passion fruit curd mixture. Top with the second brownie circle and repeat the process to make a three-tiered cake. Repeat to make the two other cakes.
  6. Warm up the remaining ganache in the microwave on medium. It should be fairly runny. Carefully drizzle the ganache over the top of each cake and place the cakes in the fridge to set.
  7. Dust with cocoa powder to serve. Enjoy with a glass of passion fruit-infused sparkling white wine.

Happy cooking and keep smiling :)