Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants – The Quick Recipe Way

The wonderful people at HARTS OF STUR recently sent me a set of 2 ramekins from the new QUICK RECIPE range of cookware. I had never heard of this range before so I was curious to see what was so special about them. I was so impressed, I just have to tell you about them.

The Quick Recipe range includes lidded casserole dishes, various sized and shaped roasters, and these ramekins. Each item in the range also includes recipes created specifically for that item, so that the ingredient quantities are the exact amount you need. What makes these different from any other though is that the recipes are obtained by scanning a QR code which is on the bottom of each item!

Most people nowadays have a smartphone, whether it is the latest top branded one or a cheaper version. It really doesn’t matter. If you have an iPhone, you can just hover your camera over the code. If you have an Android phone (as I do) you will need to install a QR code reader app first. There are so many to choose from on the Google Play Store, at no cost. Then you just open the app and scan the code. When you have scanned the code, a pop up will allow you to access the relevant Quick Recipe page on their website, taking you directly to the recipes designed for your item. No more having to keep recipes in folders, or scouring the internet for inspiration. Simply scan, check you have the ingredients, and bake! I really think this is a fantastic idea, especially for busy people who don’t get much time to search for recipes. Here’s a little video showing you how they work: http://youtu.be/PQS2BLhqjbM

The ramekins (and the rest of the range) are made from fully vitrified porcelain, making them freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. They have a pretty herringbone style design on the outside which looks so stylish that they are perfect to go straight from oven to table. They are very strong and you can tell they are really good quality.

I decided to scan the code and see what recipes I could make in my ramekins. Although the others looked amazing, I absolutely love Baileys so was excited to see a recipe for Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants. I checked the ingredient checklist and was happy to see I could tick them all off (yes you can actually tick them off on the list). The recipe tells you how long you will need to get the preparation done (in this case 25 minutes), and how long it will take to cook (10 minutes). I like that detail, as it lets you ensure you have enough time before you begin. So many times I have found a recipe but the preparation has taken so long I’ve barely had enough time to get it all done. This takes the guesswork out of that. There is also a handy video to watch on each recipe showing you how to make them, so you know you are doing it correctly.  It actually took me less than the 25 minutes so in less than half an hour I had 2 piping hot desserts which were sheer indulgence.

The outside was a beautiful chocolate sponge and the middle was molten chocolate with a heavenly Baileys taste. It is one of those desserts that you just can’t help but close your eyes as you take the first mouthful so you can just enjoy the flavour and gooey texture. If you are making a romantic meal for someone, THIS is definitely the dessert you need.

I have discovered over time that not all ramekins are the same size, so a recipe that might be good for some ramekins might not be good for others. It is good to know that the recipes found by scanning the code are EXACTLY right for these. As you can see from the above photo, the fondants rose to fit the ramekins absolutely perfectly. No overflow, no gap at the top. That is what sets this range apart from any others.

I also love the fact that the recipes are for 2 ramekins. Obviously if you buy 2 sets you just double the quantities. So many times though I have wanted to make a scrumptious dessert for me and my partner, while my son has wanted something completely different. I have found wonderful sounding recipes but they are all for 4, 6 or even 8 ramekins. So you think that’s ok, I’ll just halve the ingredients. And then you see the dreaded egg quantity. For example, the recipe needs 3 eggs for a 4 ramekin dessert. Straight away that recipe has to be abandoned as you obviously can’t halve an egg. These Quick Recipes take all the hassle out of converting recipes to make just two. They really are perfect for busy lifestyles.

If you would like to buy these ramekins they cost just £6.95 and are available HERE from Harts of Stur.

Welcome to 21st century baking 🙂

 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the ramekins at no cost in exchange for a review. This in no way affects my opinions. I will not ever recommend products or services I don’t personally like, so if I put a review on my blog, it means I really genuinely like the product. All views are my own honest opinions. 

 

 

2…4…6…Ate! Easy Shortbread Hearts, Baked with Love

2017-02-17-12-26-36

As many of you will know, my mother sadly passed away when I was still a child. It wasn’t just my mother that died that day, it was also a whole host of experiences that many people take for granted. I’d never get to tell her about my first boyfriend, or go wedding dress shopping with her, or hand a precious grandchild to her to hold for a while. Those things fill me with sadness, but strangely enough the one thing I never got chance to do but really wish I had was to bake something for her. When my son makes or bakes something for me, it fills my heart with so much joy and pride, and I wish I could have done that for her. The look of pure satisfaction and happiness on my son’s face as he watches my face light up… well that’s a look that will stay with me forever.

I always loved baking and loved making things at school in Home Economics, as it was then called. Those lessons taught me so much. How to make shortcrust pastry, how to make a Victoria sponge. The methods and quantities used always stick in my head. One thing I was taught which I remember well was shortbread. The easiest shortbread ever to remember. In those days (the 1980s) we measured ingredients in ounces not grams, and for shortbread my teacher used to write on the board “2-4-6-Ate”. Easiest ingredient quantities ever, right? It stood for 2 ounces of sugar, 4 of butter, 6 of flour, and that would make them good enough to eat. It is such a simple recipe, my 9 year old son knows it by heart too, and he makes scrumptious shortbread!

With Mother’s Day approaching I wanted to write a blog post of a recipe that would be easy enough for children to make, with supervision, to give to their Mums as a gorgeous little gift. Baked with love. A wonderful cookware and bakeware shop called The Little Cook Shop very kindly sent me a beautiful Eddingtons loose-based mini heart pan to try, and I decided this would be perfect for this recipe.

2017-02-13-11-08-10

The pan has 12 small heart-shaped cavities, and each has a removable base so you can get your bakes out so much easier. Push up from underneath and your bake just pops out. It is also non-stick for extra easiness. There is a scrumptious looking recipe on the back of the box to make strawberry and chocolate cheesecakes with this pan. I shall definitely be trying those at some point!!! This pan costs £9.99 and is well worth it at that price as the quality is fantastic. However, The Little Cook Shop have given me a code to pass on to you so you can have 10% off any order, making this pan just £8.99! I can’t recommend it highly enough. I will be using mine A LOT! It will be perfect for savoury bakes such as quiches as well as so many sweet bakes. Have a look around their website and enter the code CONFARREO10 at the checkout to redeem the discount offer. You can use it on anything you order, not just this pan.

Back to the recipe. I normally only really use unsalted butter in my baking, but I was taught that shortbread is best when made with salted butter. It also is best made with butter that is slightly softened but still cold. Too warm and it affects the texture. Too cold and it’s hard to mix in properly. This is where a fairly new butter in the shops is just perfect.

2017-02-17-12-33-43

The Softer Butter Co. has produced a delicious butter that tastes exactly as you’d expect from a quality 100% natural butter, but it has one big difference. It is, as the name suggests, softer! No need to leave this one out of the fridge for a while to soften up, it is the perfect softness straight from the fridge. If you want to try it yourself, you can find it in Morrisons and in some Tesco stores. It is perfect for this recipe as it is softer but still cold.

EASIEST SHORTBREAD EVER 2-4-6-ATE!

2 ounces of caster sugar

4 ounces of salted butter slightly softened, or the Softer Butter Co straight from the fridge

6 ounces of plain flour, sieved

a knob of butter, melted for greasing

extra caster sugar for sprinkling on after baking (optional)

  • Use a pastry brush to grease the heart cavities with melted butter.
  • Cream together the sugar and the butter, until pale and fluffy. You can do this with a wooden spoon or an electric hand whisk. Obviously the electric whisk is quicker, but children love mixing with spoons.
  • Tip the flour into the butter mixture, and use a wooden spoon to mix well until you have a fairly stiff paste/dough and everything is combined thoroughly.
  • Use your hands to gently press the mixture together and then divide into 12 equal sized balls, about the size of walnuts.
  • Place one ball into each greased heart cavity, and use your fingers to press them down until they fill the bottom of the cavities and are level. Use a fork to prick them all over, making sure you don’t go all the way through them.
  • 2017-02-17-12-15-29
  • Place the pan with the uncooked dough into the fridge. While it is chilling, turn your oven on to 170C or 150C if using a fan oven.
  • When the oven has reached the temperature, place the pan on to the middle shelf and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the shortbread with caster sugar, if using. Leave in the pan for 5-10 minutes.
  • Using a clean tea towel to protect your finger from getting burnt, push up each heart shortbread from underneath, and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. They will pop up so perfectly and cleanly.
  • 2017-02-17-12-24-33

You can keep them plain like this, and they will be delicious served with a cup of tea. They are perfectly crumbly and melt in the mouth.

2017-02-17-12-25-04

Or you can decorate them by dipping half in melted chocolate or icing, and sprinkling decorations on. I love the different ways you can present them so I decorated 4 with melted white chocolate and dried rose petals, 4 with melted ginger dark chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, and 4 with icing and sprinkles.

2017-02-17-12-28-22

Beech’s Fine Chocolates make 60g bars of various flavours of the most delicious chocolate, and I used their bars for the melted chocolate decoration on these hearts. Their chocolate tastes so luxurious and smooth. The white chocolate was so creamy and the ginger dark chocolate had a beautiful gentle warmth. Of course, you can use any chocolate, but these bars make the shortbread so indulgent. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave (being very careful not to burn it) or in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Dip each heart into the chocolate and then place back on the wire rack. Sprinkle with whatever decorations you fancy.

If using icing, mix a few drops of water into 2 ounces of icing sugar, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but runny enough to dip. Dip the shortbread into the icing and return to the wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles. I used the stunning Unicorn Sprinkletti available from Scrumptious Sprinkles. The colours in this are so feminine and magical, and the shapes are so pretty.

2017-02-17-12-30-03

My son said you could decorate them to show what you think of your mother. You love her so you make them heart shaped with this beautiful pan. Then if you think she’s pretty, you decorate with sprinkles or flowers. If she’s daft and nutty, you use chopped nuts. I asked him how he would decorate mine and he said with plenty of nuts! Charming!

I hope you enjoy baking these oh so easy treats. And if your children will be making them for Mother’s Day I’m sure there’ll be some very happy mums.

Don’t forget, if you head over to The Little Cook Shop you can buy anything you want and get a 10% discount if you use the code CONFARREO10 at the checkout. You could even pick up some presents for Mother’s Day there! If you particularly want to buy this gorgeous mini heart pan click HERE to go directly to it. Happy shopping and happy baking!

(EDIT 12/09/2018: The hearts pan is no longer available in this shop so I have removed the link for it. You can however use any loose-bottomed pan with 12 cavities for this recipe).