GBBO baker I might not be but that didn't stop me from reaming up which recipes I would have made in their place. That showstopper challenge of the chocolate cake would have been a dream. I could come with a million recipes in a flash. Chocolate is my home, my haven. There were some amazing ideas but I think my favourites were the secret squirrel cake and the raspberry chocolate cake thought the one with the modelled bear on top (christened Paul) deserves a special mention too. I noticed that at least one of the makers had made chocolates to decorate their cake with which is something I certainly would have done. Thornton's and the like is all very well but it is so much fun to make your own. One of my many ideas was a grasshopper cake i.e. based around chocolate and mint and these peppermint cream cups would have been ideal I reckon. Credit for the basis of the recipe goes to Chasing Delicious which I only adapted to make the filling minty. They may look a little big to go on top of a cake as decorations but my showstopper would have been big to accomodate my need to cram in as much chocolate as possible.
I rarely get to make chocolate myself because as I mentioned in my recent post for Almond Cake Pop Truffles, we don't need the encouragement to eat extras. My tastebuds say otherwise but that goodness they only rule my body 50% of the time. As you can see from the photos these are far from perfect which I am deciding to blame on two things. First, the base of the cups aren't level with the edges. I had intended to do them in the mini silicone cake cases I got with Baked and Delicious ages ago but after taking everything out of my baking boxes I couldn't find them so had to assume I'd left them at my uni house when I moved my stuff there. The next best thing was a 12 hole mini-muffin silicon tray from the same magazine. Second, if you thought those patchy bits you can see on the chocolates were evidence of a sugar bloom then you would be entirely right. I couldn't be bothered to temper the chocolate as it was a lovely Sunday morning during which I wanted to chill before my parents got back from Wales instead of watching a thermometer like a hawk to check my poor chocolate wasn't getting overheated. Seeing as the original recipe states that slow melting over a low heat works in place of tempering, I decided to give it a go. As you can see, I obviously didn't have it over a low enough heat. No matter the icing sugar looks quite pretty and hides most of my sins! I'm not claiming these are professionally made, hence my disclaimer in the title saying they are 'Homemade'. Personally I think the taste makes up for it. You get the almost healthy kick from the intense dark chocolate to balance out the creaminess of the fondant and butter filling coupled with a lingering freshness from the mint. Milk or white chocolate would be a wonderful alternative but I went with dark for the purpose of possibly incorporating these into a brownie recipe. Fat chance of that happening now seeing as they are nearly all gone. My mother and I have nothing to do with that. Ahem.
Before I leave you with the recipe after yet another stupidly long post, let me tell you that I am entering these into this months We Should Cocoa challenge where the theme is chocolates chosen my the current host, Elizabeth over at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. We Should Cocoa is the wonderful challenge from Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog which I greatly urge you to go have a look at. This month I aboslutely had to enter because I desperately wanted an excuse to make my own chocolates. There are so many things I wanted to try, some of which you can see if you check out my sweeties Pinterest board. The next time I want to try out one of these ideas, I'm going to use the excuse that they are to be used as cupcake toppers!
4oz dark chocolate (anything from Bournvile to 70% cocoa)
1oz softened butter
1dsp ish peppermint extract
1 heaped tsp icing sugar
Chop the chocolate into pieces, place in a bowl over a pan of just steaming (not simmering) water. Stir every so often then remove when melted and leave to cool to room temperature. Place a suitable 12 hole mould in the fridge to chill.
Once the chocolate doesn't feel warm to the touch, spoon a little into each hole in the mould, coating the base and sides, reserving some for the tops. You might find it more efficient to do two thinner coats so the chocolate doesn't keep pooling at the bottom of the holes.
Next, break the fondant into pieces and beat with an electric mixer to soften then mix in the mint extract and butter. You can adjust the amount of mint depending on your tastes and quality of the extract. Mine seemed quite weak but my mum really liked how much I put in. Keep mixing until the paste is pale and soft.
Divide the filling between the chocolate cups. I started spooning it in then wondered if it would be easier to pipe it in. Smooth any peaks down with finger dampened with water.
Cover the filling with the remaining chocolate and leave to set, either in the fridge if you aren't bothered about the sugar bloom or on the kitchen side.
Once set, gently remove from the mould and shave the excess chocolate off the bases to neaten/dust the tops with icing sugar if you wish. Try not to eat all of them in one go. At least offer someone else one.
Have fun experimenting with fillings!