I had forgotten about chocolate bark and how cool it is. It would make a great teacher gift and is oh so easy. It would make a great gift for anyone who like chocolate really.
Good old Whittaker’s chocolate is my choice. My most recent and favourite bark has been topped with my current favourite Something To Crow About Muesli – Cashew Sour Cherry and Chia Gluten Free Cereal.
One bar and a cup of muesli made enough bark to generously fill a dinner plate. This is one of those recipes that you can really make your own and impress people.
See the full method here.
Last week I received on of those emails that makes any day better, an invitation from Zomato to attend a Wellington event. This invitation was to a tour of Wellington Chocolate Factory. I am not going to repeat the tour and tell you much information , if you are in Wellington you need to go yourself and if not, go when you visit. Even if you just pop in for a hot chocolate and have a look around, it is well worth the trip. The hot chocolate alone will blow your mind as will the chocolate scented air.
On our tour we got to hear the lovely Rochelle express her passion for what they are doing at the Wellington Chocolate Factory and why. Wellington Chocolate Factory is about very good quality organic chocolate which has been ethically made. They support the people in the process from bean to bar. It would be very easy to sit , nod, look trendy and think – that is pretty cool. It isn’t just cool, it is amazing. To get the full picture and to fully understand their commitment, have a read of their blog –
At the end of the tour we got to try a section of the chocolates and savour the pieces. Tasting a small piece at a time gave me chance to really taste the flavours. Different beans have different flavours depending upon their origin. I had forgotten how much I love good quality chocolate in small amounts as opposed to the off shelf cheap bars that magically vanish without a thought.
I had a great evening a loved the tour. One thing that struck me was if small producers like Wellington Chocolate Factory do not go to that extra effort to use cocoa beans of differing varieties the world could end up with just two types of cocoa bean. Imagine just two types of wine with no variation! No thanks.
Wherever you are in the world, but ethically farmed chocolate and give the fame a chance to keep traditions alive and be paid a fair wage. Support local businesses who are going that extra mile to make a difference.
At the end of the evening we were given the choice of bars to take home. I came home with the not yet released Anzac Bar, keep an eye out for it, it is very good. It was a hard choice to make but I couldn’t resist going with the new bar.
Thank you Zomato and Wellington Chocolate Factory.
Look at this wonderful photo, Miss Muffin (nearly 12yrs) took it. She has a keen interest in photography and has a far better eye than me. She is also coming along nicely with her kitchen skills and is still making the odd meal. She doesn’t want me to blog every one so I have respected that. These cookies need a mention though, these were so good that I could have eaten far too many. That is not like me, I am not a food binger. I had to get Mr Muffin to hide them from me as they were part of my baking for his work along with the Cherry Turnovers. You have been warned.
The original recipe can be found on Wellness Mamma.
Gluten Free Ground Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies- Muffinmum.com
2 cups ground almond
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup/115g of melted butter (can use the same amount of melted coconut oil)
1 large egg lightly whisked
1 cup dark chocolate chips (we used Whittaker’s 70% Dark Ghana)
Heat oven to 180c.
Line 2 cookie sheets with grease proof paper.
Mix ground almonds, castor sugar, baking soda and pinch of salt.
Add melted butter and stir until it forms a dough.
Then add egg and stir in, should become slacker.
Stir in chocolate chips until well mixed.
Make into balls that are roughly tablespoon size,
Place on prepared cookie sheet leaving a space of roughly 4cm.
Bake until tops are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and leave on the sheet to cool enough to touch.
When cool remove to a wire rack.
I have followed Pana Chocolate ( @pana_chocolate ) on Twitter for a good while now. I must admit that the photos of the packaging and the word cherry peaked my interest in trying the chocolate. Also, the idea of raw chocolate puzzled me and I didn’t have this taste in my flavour file inside my head (i’m not the only one who has this file am I )? I realised this needed to be rectified.
Luckily on Saturday I needed to pop into Commonsense Organics and I had the light bulb moment that they sell Pana Chocolate. For a Saturday night in I needed a treat, as I am off the booze, a bar of fairly expensive chocolate could be justified. I went straight for the Sour Cherry and Vanilla.
I must be honest here and say, I had a few moments of regret after my purchase.The bar looked so little for the price tag and I made a few jokes about being full after it and really over indulging myself. I did keep looking at the pretty packet though.
When I opened the chocolate and ate the first square, my regrets were instantly gone. The best way I can think to describe this bar is like a very excellent dessert at very excellent restaurant, rather like a god chocolate torte. Every square was enjoyed and none was shared. The bar was more than big enough and it left me feeling very happy and a little bit healthy.
I look forward to trying the next flavour on my list which currently reads like this-
Pana Orange Raw Chocolate
Pana Mint Raw Chocolate
Pana Raw Fig and Wild Orange Chocolate
(This is not a sponsored post, it was just very good and worth blogging about).
Excuse the photo, I am practising and want a record to see how I improve and I actually rather like it.
Miss Muffin has a bring a plate lunch at school tomorrow. I know this phrase doesn’t cross cultures, it means you take a plate of food to share with a crowd. As it is coming up to Christmas we decided to do something different and Candy Cane Bark was chosen. There are pictures of this all over Pinterest and it is easy, very easy. It looks really good and has made enough to share with a class of kids, My head is now thinking of what other mixes I could do, my pick would be dried cherry and pistachio with dark chocolate.
Candy Cane Bark- Muffinmum.com
250g bar of milk chocolate
250g bar of white chocolate
150g packet of candy canes (around 10)
Line a baking tin with baking paper , we used a 34cm x 24cm
Put unwrapped canes in a bag and break up using a hammer
Break the milk chocolate up into a glass bowl, place over a saucepan of boiling water (not touching bowl) and gently melt, stirring occasionally
Plop onto the centre of the lined tin and move the tin around so it spreads, I used a spatular to help
Repeat with the white and plop that on top of the milk
Use the end of a spoon to create swirls
Scatter candy cane pieces over the top
Chill on side until cool and then refrigerate for1 1/2 hours, break into pieces
So, I got twitter hacked. It was a nasty hack, they claimed I was giving diet tips, how dare they? I did feel loved when I got tweets from people laughing and exclaiming they knew it could never have been from me. Phew. To celebrate the recognition I made an old favourite I had forgotten about, good old self saucing chocolate pudding. I am @muffinmum in twitter land.
Old Fashioned Self-saucing Chocolate Pudding
Preheat oven 180 degrees C
50 g butter
1 cup self-raising flour
¾ cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 ¾ cup hot water
I cook this in a fairly large glass dish (Pyrex) and melt the butter in the vessel.
I then sieve the SR flour, cocoa and caster sugar over the butter, add the milk and vanilla and give it a good stir.
Mix the brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle over the other mix.
Pour the hot water gently over the surface.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the middle is set and sauce oozing.