Featuring 32 % Valrhona Dulcey Blond chocolate
For a reason I struggle to put my thumb on, gingerbread has always had a nostalgic childhood motif attached to it. I think it’s because I have memories of my Grandmother baking tooth-breakingly crunchy ginger biscuits (that unfortunately could only be softened once dunked in a cup of her instant Ricoffy. Bless her heart.)
Or… it could be that I was brought up with bulging bookcases of classic children’s literaure and Nursery Rhymes. Remember Hansel and Gretel? Or how about, “Run, run, run as fast as you can; You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man“?
Whatever the explanation, it’s always nice to be transported – if only by the vehicle of food, to those carefree, fairy-tale filled years. Sometimes life can be overwhelming and strange. Very strange. But chocolate cupcakes, Rice Crispie marshmallow bars and gingerbread will always be a stir of a wooden spoon away.
This recipe isn’t a traditional gingerbread, mainly because it has the addition of pears and chocolate (what!). I was given a sample of the recently launched Valrhona 32% Dulcey Blond chocolate by the generous folks at Wild Peacock and thought my gingerbread crusade was a perfect opportunity to put it to good use. Interestingly and, like most notable dishes in the food world, it was actually created by accident when a French pastry chef left white chocolate in a bain marie for 10 hours. Thus, giving it a rich, toasted shortbread, caramel butterscotch character.
All I can say is, the flavour profile worked wonders with the pear and ginger. Try it!
Pear and chocolate studded gingerbread
2 cups flour – sieved
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbs molasses
1.5 Tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pears – chopped
3/4 cup chopped Valrhona Dulcey chocolate (or any chocolate of your choice)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs – beaten
Preheat to 180°C. Grease a standard -size loaf tin. Sieve the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the honey, molasses, coconut oil and eggs.Add the buttermilk
Stir the mixture slowly into the dry ingredients and combine to form a stiff but moist batter. Gently fold in the chocolate and pears.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 – 45 mins. If the top starts to burn, cover with a piece of tinfoil until cooked all the way through. Test by inserting a skewer. It should come out clean.
Serve warm with salted butter or just on it’s own.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Cape Town experienced its first real hot day on Saturday. In fact my twitter feed was crammed with nothing but pics of knobbly white knee’s, sand and patches of blurry blue background. OKAAYYY PEOPLE! We get it, you’re at the beach!! Sadly, I was stuck inside the whole day working but I did manage to take a break at about 6pm when the sun was starting to dip.
A walk along the promenade seemed to be the perfect way to get some blood flowing through the legs and being outside enabled me to enjoy the sound of families laughing, children playing and the general mellow, unhurried atmosphere that comes with a gorgeous day in Cape Town.
The main reason I left the house however, was to satisfy a very deep craving for (my favourite!) frozen Yoghurt. I was thinking of just popping into the Shell Select store and grabbing some Marcel’s but I always feel SO ripped off when I buy a small little 270ml tub for R17-ish !!!! I mean, really?!
I decided rather to head to Woolworths where the tubs are a bit cheaper- think R12. The chocolate flavour TOTALLY hit the spot and I can see that these “froyo” tubs are going to make themselves a comfy little spot inside my freezer this summer! Oh yes.
In one word: DELICIOUS!
This gorgeous, moist, airy, not-too-sweet, Guinness-enhanced cupcake recipe was given to my mom by Libby,an American friend of ours who has recently made South Africa her home.
My dear mother (who is of Irish decent), insisted that my life would not be the same if I didn’t whip up a batch.
Have you heard the saying “mother knows best”? Well, it appears to be true and I must say these little kolwyntjies are amazing!
Go, on… crank up that oven and start breaking the eggs!
-Hey, I’m not your mom… but you will still thank me 😉
Adapted from this recipe
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup plain yoghurt
¾ cup Guinness
2 tsp Vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup cake flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbs butter, melted
250g cream cheese
4 Tbs butter
4 cups icing sugar
½ t vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C.
2. Fill a cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Set aside
3. Melt butter and set aside
4. Whisk together eggs and yoghurt and add the Guinness
5. Sift dry ingredients together- flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda in a separate bowl
6. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir well to combine
7. Add the melted butter and mix well
8. Pour batter into cupcake papers to ¾ full
9. Place pan on centre rack of oven allowing to bake for approx 25mins.
10. When cupcakes are cooked through, remove from the pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool before icing
- combine the cream cheese and butter until well creamed. Add vanilla
- sift icing sugar and gradually add to cream cheese. Use immediately or refrigerate if preparing in advance
I have always been a fan of Vida e Caffe. Mostly because of the mini Lindt chocolates that they give you with your order!
Their coffee is not bad, although I will say that I have had far better, but on my convenience scale, they sit quite far up. If I am rushing anywhere and know that my body will NOT function without a shot of caffeine .. I know that heading to a Vida will be a painless exercise.
Stop. Park. In. Out. coffee+Lindt. Happy:)
I’m not sure what gave me the idea but I have decided that my little “initiative” for May is therefore to share by coffee experience and give my prized Lindt to the car guard that looks after my car (while I so shamelessly arrive back brandishing an R18.00-R20.00 cup of joe.) It’s the least I can do right? I mean who doesn’t like chocolate?!
It might make his day. I know it would make mine! But then, that’s just me.