Saturday, February 28, 2009

adding the fizz

we are currently experimenting with adding a bit of fizz to our 'gin and tonic' chocolate bar. this has been a long standing ambition to get a subtle sparkle into the bars to recreate the bubbles of the tonic. many previous experiments (including sherbert, popping candy etc) have created too much of a novelty effect and affected the taste. then lo and behold we have discovered that a finely ground powder of dried persian limes adds a sweet and sour lime flavour with a delicious tingling sensation.  fine tuning is currently underway but expect to see these newly honed bars on the shelves in the next couple of months.

Monday, February 23, 2009

chocolate discs

these are easy to make and fun to do with children. if you don't have any, borrow one for an afternoon and impress their mum or dad when you hand them back complete with homemade, stylishly finished chocolates...

slowly melt some good quality chocolate in a bowl over a pot of warm water. i prefer dark chocolate but these become even more impressive with one bowl of dark and one of milk.

line some small baking trays or plastic lids with grease proof paper. prepare some toppings in little bowls. we used chopped nuts, chopped apricots and sunflower seeds but you can go more adventurous with sesame seeds, cardamoms, figs, ground star anise or more frivolous with sprinkles or crushed smarties.

when the chocolate has melted, all take a teaspoon of chocolate and start playing! spoon out small, thin disc shapes onto the greaseproof paper using gentle circles with the back of your spoon to spread the chocolate. sprinkle on toppings. work quickly and when each tray is full, pop them in the freezer for a couple of minutes to guarantee a good crisp temper and shine. use up the bottom of the bowls of chocolate by swirling and squiggling your spoon. try and write your name.

take the chocolate out the freezer and that's it! eat them, share them, keep them to have every morning with a good strong coffee.

i made some tiny discs topped with freshly grated lemon zest to go round the edge of a lemon cheesecake and used some of my experimental chocolate squiggles in the middle. sorry i don't have a photo. it looked great.