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Now that I have got somewhat more comfortable with the process of making scones, I feel I have come a long way from the scone ‘phobia’ I suffered from my Home Eco days. At time, I find myself looking up for basic scones and on few occasions, even succumbing to trying out one for breakfast. The simple vanilla scone, from King Arthur Flour, may well be fabulous on its own but I wanted to see what the addition of coarsely chopped dark chocolate would do to the scone batter. After painstakingly chopping an entire bar of Lindt’s 70% cocoa, do not forget to set a few chunks aside that you can melt and drizzle over your baked scones for a bakery style finish.

DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK SCONES

For the Dough

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup milk

For the Topping

2 teaspoons liquid milk

2 tablespoons sparkling sugar

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Work in butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Stir in dark chocolate.

  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and fresh milk.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir it until all is moistened.

  • Dough should hold together. Line baking sheet with parchment without greasing.
  • Sprinkle a bit of flour atop parchment and scrape dough onto floured parchment.

  • Divide the dough into halves and round each half into a 6″ circle, about 3/4″ thick.
  • Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle them with coarse white sparkling sugar.

  • Using a knife that you have run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
  • Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them about 1/2″ apart.

  • Place scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown; the edges should not look unbaked.

  • Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve scones warm.
  • When completely cool, wrap in plastic. Store at room temperature for several days.

  • To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil.
  • Warm in preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes and serve them immediately.

Dark Chocolate Scones

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Almost like a Ferrero Rocher, these little hazelnut squares from The Australian Women’s Weekly will, without a doubt, remind you of the famous Italian candy from the very first mouthful. They are a bit labour intensive if you plan to make the hazelnut meal from scratch but you can easily save on time and energy by purchasing a sachet of ground hazelnuts from the nearest supermarket. Be sure to toast the store bought stuff for a couple of minutes in a preheated oven to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste before they go into your cake batter. The milk chocolate topping gives a characteristic Nutella feel to these mini bites but you can switch to dark chocolate, if you fancy a more intense cocoa flavour.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SQUARES

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g ground hazelnuts

20g all purpose flour

150g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease a 8 x 8-inch square baking pan and line base and sides with baking paper.

  • Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one by one.

  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and sifted flour. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Stand in pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare glaze by combining the chopped milk chocolate and oil.

  • Stir in a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water until chocolate mixture is smooth.

  • Spread the chocolate glaze over the slice with spatula, and gently tap pan on bench until glaze is smooth.

  • Refrigerate until chocolate glaze is set before cutting it with a sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts.

  • Store the hazelnut chocolate squares in a large air tight container for up to one week. Makes 16-20 pieces.

Hazelnut Chocolate Squares

Like so many people out there, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. And because it is Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary [since the release of its first book and the start of my love story with the series] I had to bake a cake to celebrate the event. A tall, heavenly chocolate cake with the magical goodness of everything that makes chocolate cake that special something it is to everyone who loves birthdays and cakes. As soon as I saw this lovely chocolate cake on Diamonds for Dessert, I had my heart set on recreating it from scratch with the delicate pink icing and lopsided birthday wish scrawled carelessly across in green. The whole thing cannot help reminding me of the scene where Hagrid comes over to announce to an 11-year old Harry that he is wizard about to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“Anyway — Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here — I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.” From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

Harry’s birthday cake is also the first cake from the magical world we get introduced to, well before we hear of Bettie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, and many other strange sweets muggles like us can only dream about. So if you’re having a Harry Potter themed party, this is the perfect cake to have on your table though you could as well bake them into cupcake format, decorate them with the ‘Happee Birthdae’ message and give them away as party favors along with a couple of Hagrid’s rock cakes. And the magic lives on…

HARRY POTTER’S BIRTHDAY CAKE

For the Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature

3/4 cup fresh full cream milk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup boiling water

For the Chocolate Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 to 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/6 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red and green food coloring

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Stir in eggs one at a time. Add milk, oil, and vanilla extract and mix. Now add the boiling water.

  • Spray two round 9-inch diameter baking pans with nonstick spray. Pour batter in the two pans.
  • Place pans in oven and bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • When the cakes are totally cooled, slice them into half so you end up with 4 circular cake layers.

  • For the chocolate frosting, mix cocoa and powdered sugar together. Cream butter till it is fluffy.
  • Mix in 1/3 of the cocoa/sugar mixture to the creamed butter. Slowly, add about 1/3 of the milk.

  • Repeat this until all the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk are combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • The frosting should be spreadable at this point. If it is not, add in more milk or sugar as needed.

  • For the vanilla frosting, cream butter. Mix in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and add 1/2 of the milk.
  • Repeat with other 1/2 of sugar and milk. Add vanilla extract. The frosting should be spreadable.

  • Now scoop out a portion of the frosting into a separate bowl, just enough for the frosting letters.
  • Add few drops of red food coloring to the remainder of the frosting and mix to get pink frosting.

  • In the other bowl, add green food coloring to get green frosting. Keep covered until ready to use.
  • To assemble, spread frosting on the first cake and smooth it out. Place another cake layer on top.

  • Dollop frosting and smooth. Repeat process with third layer of cake and top with final cake layer.
  • Press down to make sure it firmly sandwiched. Apply a crumb coat with the pink vanilla frosting.

  • Continue the crumb coat on the sides of the cake. Chill, then apply a second layer of pink frosting.
  • Place the green frosting in a piping bag and scrawl “Happee Birthdae Harry” on top of the cake.

Happy Birthday Harry!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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