It’s World Chocolate Day, and while here at SK Foods we make a whole host of delicious savoury snacks, we just can’t resist a sweet treat!
Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food and the first thing we reach for when we’re stressed, when life has taken a turn for the worse and or need cheering up. There is also a claim that it’s a great aphrodisiac as it contains the same chemical that your brain creates when you’re falling in love!
For those who still need convincing, chocolate can have some surprising health benefits. Dark chocolate, that is to say with a high cocoa content, is packed with beneficial minerals with some studies showing, in moderation, it can be good for the heart, brain and even your skin!
It was the Mayans of Central America who are believed to have been the first to discover cocoa, as early as 900 AD. They learned that the beans inside the cocoa pods could be harvested and made into a liquid that became a treasured Mayan treat. In 1502, Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas. When he returned to Spain, he brought some cocoa beans back to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella but it wasn’t until 1528 when explorer Hernan Cortes learnt how to turn the beans into chocolate that the Europeans’ love affair with the sweet treat started.
Whether you prefer white, milk or dark chocolate there is a recipe to suit you. From melting down the kids’ Easter eggs to make crispy cakes to mastering the perfect ganache – the world of culinary chocolate is filled with delicious possibilities.
In recent years, it has become fashionable to follow the Italian tradition of using the sweet in savoury dishes. In Italy they’ve been adding it to pasta dishes and using it as a thickening agent for centuries.
But before you start throwing your favourite family size bar in with the Sunday roast –beware! In savoury dishes, chocolate shouldn’t be the star of the show. Its role is more subtle, pulling all the other flavours together and adding depth. So don’t get carried away and use too much or your dish will become a bitter, cloying mess. Try using it in savoury dishes that include sweet spices like vanilla and cinnamon or add chilies and other spicy ingredients to balance out its luxurious qualities.
Well enough already; on to the recipes. Here is a selection of recipes from the SK kitchen, it’s safe to say we love our chocolate!
Crispy chocolate, mousse and raspberry and buttermilk ice cream
1.Raspberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream
- 450g Fresh raspberries (freeze until solid retain 10 similar in size for garnish)
- 140mls of buttermilk
- Icing sugar to taste roughly 50g
In food processor blitz the raspberries, buttermilk and icing sugar till smooth.
You need to be quick, decant into a container and freeze for a minimum of four hours.
- 200g Dark chocolate 50% min coco solids
- 100g blitzed frosted flakes (blitzed to crumb not a powder)
Have ready a flat metal tray or swiss roll tin lined with Clingfilm making sure the Clingfilm is tight and flat.
Gently melt the chocolate in the microwave giving it 10 second bursts stirring every time. Fold in the frosted flakes then spread as thinly as possible on the tray. Chill for a couple of minutes to set slightly and then cut using a pizza slice, 10cm squares or use a round cutter. Chill until hard.
- 150g good quality plain chocolate
- 80ml milk
- 240ml double cream whipped
- 1 leaf of bronze gelatine soaked in cold water
- 25mls of a spirit (Jack Daniels, vodka and amaretto all work well)
Bring the milk to the boil then add the gelatine and spirit. Pour onto chocolate mix well until smooth, set aside to cool.
In a bowl gently mix a 1/3 of the cream into the mix to loosen then fold in the rest. Decant in to a container to make easy enough to spoon out. Chill for a minimum of two hours.
To build create a stack – alternate 3 layers of crispy chocolate, mousse and ice cream and retained fresh raspberries.
Use a hot spoon or ice cream scoop to scoop out the mousse and ice cream.
- 1Pint of whole milk
- 2 tbs choco syrup
- 100g dark chocolate melted
- 300g vanilla ice cream
- 300g choc ice cream (keep some extra for serving)
- 100g of marshmallows
- 285ml double cream
- Tsp vanilla essence
Take a teaspoon and dip into the melted chocolate with the back of the spoon place inside the serving glasses (you can use anything but we used kilner jars) and smear the chocolate all around the jar place these in the fridge to set.Place the marshmallows on a heat proof mat, the bigger the better just for handling, take a blow torch and gently toast the marshmallows until golden brown. You could do this under a hot grill.Take the glasses out the fridge and scoop a good spoonful of choc ice cream in the glasses place the milkshake over this and fill ¾ take the cream in a piping bag and fill the glasses to the top add the toasted marshmallows and sprinkles.
Take the double cream and the vanilla and whip until stiff then set aside.
In a blender add the vanilla and choc ice cream, choc syrup milk and the melted chocolate and blitz for 2 to3minutes.