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Festival chocolate

10 April 2015

iStock

COULD a Westerner's life be divided into seven ages by Easter eggs? First, there would be blissful ignorance; then wonder; and then disillusionment (as to provenance?). Then the ages of anxiety: about quantity (having enough); about getting spots; and about the eggs' girth-increasing properties (having too many?). And then the final age of disillusionment again - but this time with the quality.

If you have reached that seventh age, here are a few recipes for using melted chocolate. First, Chocolate cake.

125g (4½ oz) dark chocolate,  chopped

1 tablespoon of some leftover

strong coffee 

100g (4 oz) butter

100g (4 oz) caster sugar

100g (4 oz) ground almonds

3 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Line a 20cm (8-inch) cake tin - ideally one with a removable base. Melt the chocolate and coffee in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Stir in a little cocoa powder and/or liqueur to taste, if you like.) Add the butter and sugar, and stir till you have a smooth mixture. Cool slightly, and add the ground almonds and egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and slacken the chocolate mixture with a spoonful of the egg-white foam. Using a metal spoon, fold in the rest of the egg-white.

Bake the cake for up to an hour, till a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin, and decorate it with little Easter eggs.

Chocolate chip biscuits.

120g (4½ oz) plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

90g (3 oz) rolled oats

120g (4½ oz) grated coconut

120 g (4½ oz) brown sugar

100g (4 oz) broken Easter egg  pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla

125ml (5 fl. oz) olive oil

1 egg, lightly whisked

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Sift the flour into a bowl, and mix in the oats, coconut, sugar, and chocolate pieces. Make a well in the centre, and add the vanilla, olive oil, and egg. Mix again to make a biscuit dough. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on to the baking sheet, spreading them a little with the back of a fork. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes.

And here is a recipe for making Chocolate bars using up chocolate with other biscuits; small, soft sweets such as marshmallows; and nuts and raisins.

275g (9½ oz) chocolate

25g (1 oz) unsalted butter

50g (2 oz) marshmallows, cut into  dolly-mixture-sized pieces

50g (2 oz) shortbread biscuits,  chopped

100g (4 oz) nuts, chopped

25g (1 oz) raisins

Line a baking sheet with baking paper or cling film. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir the marshmallows, fruit, nuts, and biscuit pieces into the chocolate. Spread on to the sheet, and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until set hard.

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