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Chocolate, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Toast

April 27, 2013

Chocolate, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Toast

This morning while I was emailing Arjun some shops to go to in Barcelona to bring back olive oil and chorizo, I got distracted by blogs filled with photos of padrón peppers and patatas bravas. But what really stuck in my head was something I hadn’t tried in Barcelona before: chocolate with salt and olive oil. A little more digging revealed a popular dessert at Tapas 24: Xcolat with olive oil and salt. That’s a project for another day, but today, I needed something quick to get a taste of all those flavours together, and the perfect solution lay in Ferran Adrià Family Meal Cookbook.

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BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Chocolate Chocolate Cake

April 5, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Cake

Everybody must have a good chocolate cake recipe. Everybody. The kind that you scribble down in your notebook, the kind you memorise, the kind your friends keep asking you to make over and over again. And I think, that with this recipe, I’ve found one I love and can see myself going back to, time after time.

It’s not like I’ve not made good chocolate cakes before, but nothing made me save the recipe or go and scream from the rooftop about it (the internet being my rooftop). But this cake? I’ll categorise this one as a great cake. It has a fantastic, moist crumb. And the ganache, silky with full fat cream. At first it might seem a bit runny, but let it rest a bit and you’ll have a lovely spreadable consistency. If you want a thin shiny coat of ganache, simply make half of the ganache and pour it over the cake when it’s still a bit still runny. And if you’re planning on making a thick ganache icing – because that’s clearly the way to go – pour over a third of the icing to lock the crumb in so that icing the cake will be a breeze.

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BAKING cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 5, 2011

Chocolate chip cookies are the kind of snack you should always have around the house. It makes people happy. And more so, when you dot them with chocolate chips right before baking.

When I discovered the thrills of baking, chocolate chip cookies were amongst the first things I tried. And I tried a lot of them. Let’s just say that they were versatile in their functions ranging from being a frisbee substitute to bird food.

The chocolate chip recipe I used in the past is lovely and wonderfully crispy around the edges, but a tad greasy. The NYTimes one entrails just way too much of a wait. I want a cookie, and I want it right now. Just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything, I tried the recipe, and I think I’m okay with sticking to simpler recipes like this one. Although, I do enjoy the tip from NYT about sprinkling some sea salt on the cookie right before baking. It pleasantly cuts the sweetness.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is the famous Nestle Toll House cookie recipe that came with a strong endorsement from a friend. And when I looked up the ingredients, it turned out to be very similar to the chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve been using; difference being that I used baking powder instead of baking soda and made tiny variations in measurements.

Chocolate chip cookie tips:

  • Refrigerate the cookie dough for 20 minutes if you don’t want a cookie that spreads out too much.
  • Chocolate chips are engineered to stay firm despite the oven heat. Use feves/callets of dark chocolate instead if the tiny choco chips for chocolate that oozes in your mouth.
  • Cookie structure: For a rustic, irregular look (like the kind in the photo), scoop the dough on the baking sheet with an ice cream scoop, or two spoons. For more uniform cookies, roll it into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. Flatten it a little with two fingers.
  • This recipe works beautifully even when halved.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yield: 4 dozen


270g flour
1 tsp baking soda
200g butter (add a tsp of salt to the flour if using unsalted butter)
150g caster sugar
150g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
350g chocolate chips


  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat butter, both the sugars and vanilla in large mixer bowl.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  4. Stir in flour mixture, followed by most of the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop the cookie dough on a baking sheet, leave an inch’s space between cookies. Dot with remaining chocolate chips
  6. Bake in preheated 175°C/350°F oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Gianduja Roulade

March 25, 2011

That’s just fancy talk for rich hazelnut chocolate ganache rolled into a hazelnut sheet cake rich with chocolate and more hazelnuts.

As you’ve probably noticed, there is a lot of chocolate being eaten in the Purple Foodie household. And this time, with a bag of fresh hazelnuts at hand, I had to put together one of the world’s greatest food pairings: chocolate + hazelnut.

I made the hazelnut ganache from scratch – which means I toasted the hazelnuts, ground it to a paste, and then mixed it with dark chocolate and cream. If the cake didn’t bake in 8 minutes, I’m pretty sure I’d have licked the bowl of ganache clean.

If you’re not particularly inclined on making the ganache from scratch, you could make the ganache with Nutella. Will work just as well.

Gianduja Roulade Recipe

Adapted from: Pure Dessert (USA | UK | India)
Equipment: A 12×16 inch or 11×17 inch baking sheets with rimmed edges, or two 9×9 inch baking pans, or jelly roll pans.

Gianduja Ingredients

100g hazelnuts, toasted
100g dark chocolate
100g icing sugar
200g light cream (I use 25% fat)

Toast the hazelnuts in at 175°C/350°F, until they are fragrant and light brown. Let them cool a little before transferring it to a mixer for grind to a paste starting with half the sugar, and then adding the rest of the sugar until it’s a homogenous paste. Transfer this paste to a bowl and then add the chocolate. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate-hazelnut mixture. Stir till all the chocolate has melted and then refrigerate until ready to do.

Hazelnut Cake Ingredients

50g hazelnuts, toasted
2 tbsp flour
180g dark chocolate
100g butter
4 eggs, seperated
130g caster sugar
cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
  2. Pulse the nuts with the flour in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and then stir in the egg yolks and half the sugar (1/3rd cup).
  4. In another bowl whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then slowly add the remaining sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in about a 1/4th of the whites into the egg mixture. Then scrape all of the egg mixture into the bowl, sprinkle with the flour and hazelnut mixture and fold it in.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pans. I preferred making mine into smaller roulades, so I divided the batter into two 9 inch square pans.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.Now, finally when the cake has cooled, invert it on a sheet of foil and then spread it with the gianduja paste. Start rolling it with the help of the foil. There will be cracks, but it gets less severe as it thickens to one cake.
  8. Refrigerate for a while before slicing, to have neat slices. Dust with cocoa powder to serve.
BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Chocolate Brownie

March 2, 2011

Chocolate Brownies
Rich. Chocolate. Brownies.

I bet you’re smiling already.

I haven’t met a person who didn’t get happy at the very thought of brownies. You don’t need me to tell you that they’re made with dark chocolate, heaps of cocoa, and are supremely addictive. Just the fact that they’re brownies gives them a ticket to your bookmark folder.

These brownies are Nigel Slater’s rather modestly titled ‘My Very Good Chocolate Brownies’ from his book the Kitchen Diaries. I’ve had this book for a while, but didn’t bake from it until today. Every time I pulled it out, I’d get distracted by his conversational commentary, and the baking took a backseat. These also popularly known as 24-carat brownies, simply because there are no nuts or flavourings of any kind, just pure muddy brownies.

Chocolate Brownies

My verdict: I’d expected a shiny crust, but I didn’t get that, and they left me greasy-fingered, but not in a bad way. They taste even better after a day. But then, I think that all brownies do. Gooey, with a brittle crust, they are rather dark with all that cocoa powder.

I do love the brownies from Baked, but I think my brownie preference is changing. I can’t decide if I like the gooey kind or the cakey kind. Not the kind that’s cakey, dry, and rubbery with a million air pockets like the kind you get in most pastry shops in the city, just the kind that is cakey owing to being lighter in texture. Maybe you can help me by pointing me to your favourite brownie recipe?

Chocolate Brownies

Muddy Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Adapted from: Kitchen Diaries, Nigel Slater (USA | UK | India)
Yield: 16 big pieces.


200g dark chocolate
60g flour
60g cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
250g butter
300g caster sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk

9 inch/23cm square baking tin


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the chocolate over simmering water. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs.
  5. Stir in the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated, and then finally, fold in the flour, making sure that you don’t over mix the batter.
  6. Pour it into the pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Test with a skewer- it should come out sticky with brownie clumped up in places, and not look like smooth, raw batter. If still underdone, switch off the oven, and pop it back in for another five minutes. Anything more than that will ruin it, because brownies continue to cook in all that trapped heat even after they’re pulled out of the oven.
  7. Let it cool for at least an hour to get well defined pieces, or dive in with your spoon if patience isn’t one of your strongest points.
BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Taking Snickers to the Next Level

February 26, 2011

Better than Snickers Squares

Buttery shortbread. Caramelised cashews. Dulce de leche. 70% dark chocolate.

Each, delicious on its own. But can you imagine what it’d be like when they all came together, layered one on top of another on top of another on top of another? You cannot. Even if you know the distinct taste of each of them, you cannot. Because what you’re going to taste when you bite into a bar of this layered goodness, is going to beat the sum of the parts. Like me, you will be left wondering why you didn’t double the recipe.

But you are lucky. You’ve already been warned.

Every now and then, I sit down and thumb through my cookbooks. Gawk at the beautiful photos, stick post-it notes, leave bookmarks between pages, and diligently note down in my planner the recipes I’m going to try that month. This recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book (my baking bible) is one such recipe.

While the original recipe calls for peanuts, I used cashews because I like them a lot more. I also toasted them a little before caramelizing, to have a well-rounded, nutty flavour coming through. It’s important to use chocolate with high cacao content so that it balances the sugary sweet dulce de leche.

Want to still take it up a notch? Serve it with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Recipe for Homemade Snickers from scratch (with cashews!)

Yeild: 16 squares
1 cup / 120g. flour
1/4th cup / 50g. caster sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2cup / 100g. butter
1 large egg yolk, beaten
Filling (caramelised nuts + dulce de leche)
1/3rd cup / 67g caster sugar
3 tbsp water
150g / 5 oz. roasted salted cashews (or peanuts, if you like)
1 – 1½ cups dulce de leche (making your own is SO easy)
7oz. / 200g dark chocolate
2 oz/ 60g butter
  1. Butter an 8 inch square pan and preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
  2. To make the shortcrust: mix all the dry ingredients of the shortcrust together, then add in the pieces of cold butter and combine together until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour the yolk over the mixture and bring the dough together, until it clumps to form a ball.
  3. Press the dough into the baking pan and prick the dough with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges. Let it cool completely before filling.
  4. For the filling: Have a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat ready on the side. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves and begins to colour slightly. Toss the cashews and keep stirring to coat the nuts. Once it’s an amber colour, turn it out on the silpat and spread it to single layer. Cool the nuts to room temperature, and then break it up to smaller pieces for the filling. Keep some for sprinkling on the finished squares (but my dad gobbled them all down thinking they were leftovers). Once cool mix together the dulce de leche with the candied nuts and spread on the cooled shortbread.
  5. For the chocolate topping: Melt the chocolate and butter together and pour it over the dulce de leche filling. Smoothen with a spatula. Refrigerate for 3 hours before slicing. It’s hard, but you gotta do it for those perfect squares.
  6. At the end of the long three hour wait, cut it into 16 squares and wolf down.
BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Chocolate Chip Muffins

July 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Mufins

I had a sudden chocolate craving yesterday and that gave me the perfect reason to break into my new bag of dark chocolate. I needed something that was very chocolatey (naturally), that would be put together real fast and that was new to experiment with. Thumbing through my books, a lot of the cakes looked pretty elaborate. The time between picking the recipe and putting a piece of chocolate goodness in my mouth was a lot more than  I could handle.

And then I found the perfect recipe for the day – chocolate chip muffins in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The photograph of the muffins looked too good to pass up. And since they were muffins, I didn’t have to bother with making a ganache for the icing. Plus they looked wonderfully moist for a muffin, and naturally so because the recipe has more butter than muffin recipes usually have. I’m not complaining.

I tossed everything together in a jiffy (that’s why the lack of in-process photographs) and in twenty minutes I had warm, super moist muffins, oozing with melted dark chocolate chunks. Bliss.

Chocolate Chip Mufins

Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Adapted from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (such a cute book!) (USAUK | India)

Yield: 12 muffins


  • An interesting point worth nothing is that the method is somewhat a cross between a cake and a muffin – it begins with creaming the eggs and sugar together, much like we do in cakes. It even calls for adding the dry and the wet ingredients alternately like a lot of the cake recipes on this blog. As for the muffin angle – it includes stirring in the butter right in the end.
  • The muffin’s pretty dense, so you can safely fill the muffin cups more than 2/3rd full.


2 eggs
1 cup / 200g sugar
1/4th tsp vanilla extract
1 cup / 120g flour
6 tbsp / 36g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2/3rd cup / 160ml milk
1 stick + 3 tbsp / 150g butter, melted
4 oz. / 115g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Muffin tray


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs together until thoroughly mixed and pale in colour, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately into the egg mixture, until just incorporated. Start and end with flour.
  4. Stir in the melted butter and fold in the dark chocolate until evenly dispersed.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray lined with paper liners and bake for about 15-17 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Eat warm!
BAKING cookies

Hazelnut Shortbread

June 25, 2010

Hazelnut Shortbread

Given the number of hazelnut recipes I have littered around this place, it’s amply clear that I have a weak spot for these nuts. Give me anything with hazelnuts, and you’re golden in my books. Have you stood around your oven when roasting hazelnuts? It smells like nothing else. Now imagine this smell captured in a bottle. A bottle of pure hazelnut goodness in the form of hazelnut oil.

When I first got a bottle of it, I couldn’t stop sniffing it on and off. It’s good to refrigerate nut oils so that you don’t have to worry about it going rancid (for that matter, you should refrigerate nuts as well, especially if you live in a warmer climate). Hazelnut oil, is a delicate (read: low smoking point) aromatic oil, so it’s best to use it in recipes that don’t require you to heat the oil.  It’s makes for a very popular salad dressing. But add a splash of it on hot pasta, and you’ve got something fantastic. I’ve been thinking of the most flavourful and effective ways to use hazelnut oil (this stuff is expensive!) and I’d love to know how you use your hazelnut oil.

Hazelnut Shortbread

Today, I used them in shortbread cookies. Thought it’s not absolutely necessary to use the hazelnut oil, I indulged. I used a recipe from Bon Apetit that’s backed by excellent reviews, and it did not disappoint. I went ahead and added a tablespoon of cacao nibs to it and loved the extra crunch in the shortbread. Say you don’t want this with a dollop of Nutella?

Hazelnut Shortbread Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious

1 cup / 120g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 tbsp hazelnut oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup / 50g finely ground toasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon hazelnut-vanilla extract (make your own!)

  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and cacao nibs in medium bowl to blend.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Bring the dough together and shape it into a log, much like how you would for biscotti. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat to 325°F/160°C and line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  5. Cut the log into 1/4th inch thick slices (a little thinner or thicker doesn’t matter, just make sure they are all of the same thickness).
  6. Bake cookies until light golden brown around edges, about 15-17 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool cookies completely.
  7. Dollop each shortbread with a little bit of Nutella right before serving!
BAKING breads

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

May 28, 2010

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

Rejoice yeast-o-phobes! I have found the perfect recipe to convert you.

I am one anxious person when I’ve to make bread. I’m never sure if a new recipe I try will work out. Will it rise? Will it get a nice brown crust? Will it smell too yeasty (answer to this: I used to think mixing instant yeast with warm water to start the fermenting would be a good idea, turns out, it does the same job when added to the flour, just a lot less stinky dough).

Babkas originated in Eastern Europe and in several Jewish settlements, though in my mind they were popularised on Seinfeld (The Dinner Party). Jerry and Elaine miss out on the last wonderful chocolate babka, and have to settle for a cinnamon babka. Chocolate vs cinnamon – that’s a tough spot to be in, isn’t it? To eliminate this predicament once and for all, and in honour of this wonderful Seinfeld episode, I decided to make “Jerry and Elaine’s Chocolate Cinnamon Babka”.

The chocolate cinnamon babka recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday looked too good to be true, so just as a precaution, I halved the recipe. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t because this was so soft and chocolatey and delicious. (I’ve given the full recipe here).

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

So why is this recipe so good?  Glad you asked. This chocolate cinnamon babka starts with all the familiar things of making a cake that puts you at ease instantly… cream the butter and the sugar together, add the egg yolks one at a time and then the flour… See? And before you know it, you’ve added the yeast mixed into milk and the dough has beautifully come together! A golden yellow dough (read rich dough full of butter, eggs and sugar!) results and you’re half way through making your bread.

Now you just have to let it rest for about 2 hours (or you can refrigerate it overnight, just make sure to pull it out 2 hours before you want to bake it).  Next, roll it out and spread it with dark chocolate and cinnamon. Roll it. Twist it. Bake it!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

And of course, the flavour possibilities with this bread are endless: cinnamon sugar, white chocolate vanilla and (I’m thinking we might get some of the caramelised white chocolate goodness that David Lebovitz raves about), Nutella (!), chocolate with sliced almonds, pistachios, etc. and maybe even some fruits – fresh as well as dried?

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka Recipe

Adapted from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday (OMG, I love this book!) (USA | UK | India)

Makes 1 really large loaf or two medium sized loaves.

2 tbsp / 19g instant yeast
3/4th cup / 170g lukewarm milk
6 tbsp / 85 butter
6 tbsp / 85g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
3 ½ cup / 425g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups / 225g dark chocolate, coarsely grated
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/4th cup / 55g butter
  1. Whisk the yeast into lukewarm milk and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.
  3. Add the yolks to the bowl, one at a time, mixing constantly for 30 seconds between each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix until it all comes together.
  5. Now mix in the milk + yeast mixture and let it mix until it forms a soft dough.
  6. Knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes. You will have a soft, supple and golden dough.
  7. Let this rise for about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight, making sure to remove it from the fridge two hours before baking.
  8. For the filling: mix the chocolate, butter and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  9. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a sheet with a thickness of 1/8th to 1/4th inch. Make sure to keep it dusted well with flour at all times, else it might stick.
  10. Spread the chocolate mixture over it.
  11. Roll the sheet of dough and then pinch the seams to seal it. Roll it to a length of about 24 inches. Either you can keep it this big if you’d like a big loaf, or cut it into half for two medium loaves.
  12. For the gorgeous twisty shape, cut the log down the middle lengthwise, making sure to keep the top end attached. Twist over each other to get the braided look.
  13. Now you need to let if prove for another 2 hours, but I skipped this step because I overlooked it. Turns out, you too can totally skip it, if you’re short on time.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and bake for 15-20 minutes for medium sized and 20-25 minutes for the large loaf.
  15. The babka tends to brown quickly because of the high(er) sugar content, but you shouldn’t worry. It tastes fab!
  16. Cool for an hour (painful) or eat it right away (delightful!)
  17. The bread stays good for 2-3 days in an airtight box.