sea salt organic milk chocolate artisan bar

rococo

Rococo is a british chocolate company founded by Chantal Coady with shops in London and in Chester. She was awarded Chocolatier Of The Year 2012 and her bars, pralines, caramels and truffles, as well as her packaging, have won awards. Rococo owns a cocoa farm (part of the Grenada Chocolate Company) which provides the organic Trinitario cocoa beans for her chocolates.

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This bar was the Winner of the Academy of Chocolate Gold Award 2011.

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This is another one of my favourite salty milk chocolates, even though the saltiness here is also more restrained than what I usually prefer. Rococo adds Halen Môn Anglesey sea salt to this chocolate – a salt made from seawater taken only from around Anglesey. The chocolate has a long, smooth melt without any grittiness or discernible salt grains. It has a hint of malt and vanilla, and the amount of salt is not overpowering. It is a great salted chocolate bar, not too salty, not too sweet, perfect for those who prefer only a hint of salt.

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Ingredients: organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk powder, organic cocoa mass, Halen Môn Anglesey sea salt, emulsifier: soya lecithin, organic vanilla beans. Contains 37% min organic cocoa solids, 18% min organic milk solids.

Zutaten: Bio Rohrzucker, Bio Kakaobutter, Bio Vollmilchpulver, Bio Kakaomasse, Halen Môn Anglesey Meersalz, Emulgator: Sojalecithin. 37% mind. Bio Kakaomasse, 18% mind. Bio Milchpulver.

This bar is available at Rococo and various other online stores. I bought it online from xocoatl, a shop in Wiesbaden. Price approx. €5,90.

Images by Axel Lambrette

blonde chocolate and sea salt

the chocolate society

The Chocolate Society was formed in 1991 by three chocolate enthusiasts. After 20 years the company was sold and then encountered some financial difficulties in 2009 and was then again sold to two new owners. These new owners, Duncan and Alasdair Garnsworthy (who has been trained by French chocolate makers Valrhona), decided to move the business forward by returning to its roots and now make fresh chocolates in small batches. Their small factory is situated in Somerset (UK) and they produce a range of luxury chocolate products, including fresh chocolate truffles, caramels, pralines, honeycomb, bars and more.

Since I am also partial to white chocolate, a friend recommended this bar. It is a “blonde” chocolate with Halen Môn Sea Salt. 

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Blonde chocolate is a type of chocolate made by caramelising butter in the chocolate making process. The result is a sweet and creamy chocolate, similar to a white chocolate, but with a caramel flavour and colour. Without the salt it resembles a caramac bar, but much creamier and denser. Although the bar also contains vanilla, the buttery caramel flavour is much more prominent.  The amount of salt is satisfying and it complements this sweet caramel chocolate perfectly. Definitely one of my favourite bars.

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Ingredients: blonde chocolate (min 32% cocoa solids, pure cocoa butter): cocoa butter, sugar, whole milk powder, dried skimmed milk, whey, butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla extract, Halen Môn Sea Salt.

Zutaten: Weiße Schokolade (min 32% Kakaomasse, reine Kakaobutter): Kakaobutter, Zucker, Vollmilchpulver, Magermilchpulver, Molke, Butter, Emulgator (Soyalecithin), natürliches Vanille-Extrakt, Halen Môn Meersalz.

I bought this bar from The Chocolate Society’s online store. Price approx. € 5,60.

Images by Axel Lambrette

traditional english scones

So this is the fourth scone recipe I’m trying while on my perfect (and easy) scone recipe quest. I adapted it from Beth Eaglescliffe home baking recipes and I think they’re quite good, in fact they are currently holding second place.

When I went through the many scone recipes online, I repeatedly encountered the “self-raising” flour problem. I’ve never seen self-raising flour in stores here and for the ultimate scones recipe that I posted in June I just winged it, but this time I thought I should do some research. Check the tips page on how to make self-raising flour.

This is how I winged it before: 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt for 1 3/4 cup (225g) flour

For this recipe I used the Bread, Cakes and Ale conversion and added 25g of baking powder to 475g of plain flour.

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traditional english scones
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
dough:
  • 4 cups (500 g) self-raising flour - I used 3 cups & 12 tablespoons (475g) all purpose flour and 2 tablespoons & ½ teaspoon (25g) baking powder
  • 4½ tablespoons (55g) caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100g) butter
  • 11 oz (300ml) milk
glaze:
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet and dust with a little flour.
  3. Place the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter in small pieces and rub the butter into the flour so you get little cornflake – sized pieces.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and gradually add the milk, then fold the milk into the dry mixture gently with a wooden spoon, try not to beat the air out of the dough.
  6. Place the dough onto the floured work surface and shape it by patting it gently into a one inch thick sheet.
  7. Using a 2 inch / 5cm diameter cookie cutter cut out scone from your dough sheet.
  8. Beat the egg with a splash of milk.
  9. Put the scones on the greased baking sheet and brush each one with the egg glaze, then bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Check them after 10 minutes to see if they have risen and are golden on top, if not, leave to bake for 2 or 4 more minutes.
  11. Place the scones in a towel on a wire rack to cool.

 

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crumbly scones

A few weeks ago I asked my friend J to pick the next scone recipe and she chose Baked’s maple walnut scones. That recipe unfortunately requires maple extract, another ingredient that is probably impossible to find in Germany (I didn’t even bother looking, since vanilla extract disappeared from our shelves recently), so I gave up and chose this recipe:  Jamie Oliver’s crumbliest scones. I adapted it just slightly and I think they turned out quite great, for now the hold the first place in my scone quest!

These scones are made with milk and eggs, while the cream scones are made with heavy cream and the ultimate scones are made with buttermilk.

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crumbly scones
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 16
Ingredients
  • 11 tablespoons (150g) cold butter
  • 4 cups (500g) self-raising flour (I used regular flour + 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 heaped teaspoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (L)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Put the butter, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl and rub the butter into the flour so you get little cornflake – sized pieces.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dough, add the eggs and milk, and stir it with a spatula.
  3. Move the dough around as little as possible.
  4. Sprinkle with flour, cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400° F / 200° C.
  6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1 inch / 2 - 3cm thick.
  7. With a 2½ inch / 6cm round cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out circles from the dough and place them on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden.

 

I don’t have a regular round cookie cutter (maybe I’ll go out and buy one now before I forget again) so I used a slightly serrated cookie cutter, which gave these scones a funny shape, but these scones are really great, not too sweet, so clotted cream and jam go extremely well with them!

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lime cheesecake

For one of my friend’s birthday I made his favourite – chocolate espresso cheesecake – and because I still had some limes laying around I went ahead and made a lime cheesecake too. Since the chocolate espresso cheesecake was a gift I didn’t want to cut into it to take a picture, so all I have is a picture of the lime cheesecake. I’ll post the chocolate espresso cheesecake some other time.

One of the toughest things to find in Germany, online or otherwise, are graham crackers, which I think are just perfect (actually essential) for the crusts. Whenever any of my friends travel to the US I ask them to bring back graham crackers, if they have any spare space in their suitcases. If I don’t have any graham crackers left, I usually make the crust with a mix of plain butter cookies and McVities Digestive cookies (or biscuits if you’re British).

I used two pans – the smaller one was for the chocolate espresso cheesecake. It is so rich, you can only eat minute slices.

lime

And for the fun of it I tried one with and one without parchment paper, after all you can remove the side of the pan easily, but since my last “greased pan debacle” I think I’ll go with parchment paper wherever possible.

lime cheesecake
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 9
Ingredients
crust:
  • 8 tablespoons (120g) butter
  • 3 cups (250g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup (32g) sugar
cheesecake:
  • 1½ cups (360g) full fat cream cheese
  • 3½ oz (100ml) cream double or sour cream
  • 2 eggs (L)
  • 1 yolk (L)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated zest of a lime
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
Instructions
crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C.
  2. Melt butter and add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and firmly press the crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch (22cm) cake pan.
  3. Bake until the crust is fragrant and are golden for about 5 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
cheesecake:
  1. Wash the lime and grate the skin using a fine grater or a zester. Place the zest together with the cream cheese, sugar and lime juice in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Then slowly add the sour cream until it is a smooth paste.
  3. Spread this mixture on the biscuit base and bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes.
  4. Crack open the oven door and let the cake sit in the oven for one hour.

 

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lime and orange poppy seed cake

One of my friends is a vegan and she loves poppy seed, so when I saw this recipe I thought I should bake it for her. This is adapted from allotment2kitchen’s Vegan Lemon and Orange Poppy seed Cake recipe.

 

lime and orange poppy seed cake
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups & 4 tablespoons (230g) plain flour
  • 12 tablespoons (150g) golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz (225ml) water
  • ½ cup (140ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 4½ oz (125ml) freshly pressed orange juice
  • 12 tablespoons (100g) poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 355° F / 180 ° C
  2. Grease and flour a 10 inch / 26cm bundt pan.
  3. In a big bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and zest and mix until well combined.
  5. Then gently and evenly fold in the poppy seeds.
  6. Carefully pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes.

 

I know the cake looks somewhat strange, but it truly tasted really great. I think this is the first vegan cake I made that I actually liked.

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malted chocolate chip blondies

I actually really want to start baking at least one thing from each of my cookbooks, but I come across so many interesting recipes online, that I can rarely decide which recipe to try first! This recipe posted by Brown Eyed Baker actually was the perfect solution – it’s a recipe from a book that I own too, Baked’s “New Frontiers in Baking” cookbook. I think there’s only one recipe I’ve tried so far from this beautiful book (but many, many times) their upstate cheesecake – so I guess it’s really time to try something else.

So the first thing I did was go out to buy dark brown sugar at the Asian/African supermarket around the corner. They didn’t have any. But they always have malted milk powder, another thing that’s not easy to find in Berlin. Then I went to look for Maltesers (or Whoppers, if you’re in the US) at the one place I had bought them a couple of times over the last year, just to find that they don’t carry them anymore. I bought the next best thing – a bar of malted chocolate by Ovomaltine.

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When I got home a friend called to ask me if I knew where she could buy pure vanilla extract, her usual place wasn’t selling it anymore. So there you have it – three things that are not easy to find in Germany. By the way soft brown sugar and graham crackers are also virtually impossible to find! So if you have any hints, please let me know!

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malted chocolate chip blondies
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 2⅓ (290g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 14 tablespoons (200g) butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups (350g) soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (L)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bar Ovomaltine chocolate, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 by 13 inch (22 x 28cm) baking pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder.
  4. In another bowl cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and beat again until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  7. Then add the chopped chocolate and beat for maybe 10 seconds.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

 

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