I just wanted to apologise for disappearing for a little while but I have a really good excuse – I’ve landed a job, a foodie job. Since the summer, I’ve been working as a chocolatier at Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, where we spend every day elbow deep in incredible chocolate making handmade truffles and bars for Paul’s four beautiful London shops. If you’re a fan of chocolate (and let’s face it, who isn’t) follow Paul on Instagram, @paul_andrew_young, for endless pics of his gorgeous creations.
Needless to say what with Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter being our busiest times, chocolate has taken over quite a bit but don’t worry, I’m still utterly in love with baking and as of this week will be back on track with a weekly bake to share as well as videos, photos and all sorts of foodie inspiration. What else? Oh yes, I have a new favourite food blog that I can’t recommend highly enough called Fork and Mouth – you’ll want to try every single recipe, I promise. So pleased to be back in BloggingLand again and thanks for your continued support guys, really appreciate it.
First of all, this is a not an homage to the Crunchie. It’s more like what happens when a Crunchie takes a trip to the dark side, rolls around in all manner of sexy toppings and turns up at the end of a dinner party, just in time to be served with the coffee. That type of thing. This is all because when I make caramel I take it pretty dark, cooking it past the golden stage until it turns a deep, burnt amber. This smokes up the sweetness of the honeycomb making it the perfect partner to dark chocolate and a sprinkling of something sharp, salty or sour.
Apparently, there are those that walk among us who don’t like mince pies. I know, Kanye cray, right? I love them, they are Christmas as far as I’m concerned – fruity, fragrant, flaky little friends that turn up every December, spreading festive cheer. That said, on top of my usual batch this year, I thought I’d try something altogether more French in an attempt to convert the haters. Inspired by a mince pie truffle that I devoured the other week, my chocolate mince pies are made with an orange sweet pastry, a traditional mincemeat filling and topped with swirls of milk chocolate ganache. Ooh la la!
I seem to remember from my uni days that revising for exams requires three things; self-discipline, a decent soundtrack and sustenance. It was with this in the mind that I set about making a batch of Nigel Slater’s chocolate and hazelnut cookies before curling up in a chair to confront the reams of pastry recipes and baking trivia currently fighting it out for space in my brain box. These cookies are perfect. They have the power to comfort, encourage, delight and boost a flagging spirit, whether you’re being beaten by the books or simply wishing the rain away.