If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may well have noticed that my recipes tend to be a little chocolate heavy (it is my vice- I can’t help it). With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to team up with quality chocolate makers Willie’s Cacao to create a few recipes using different ‘single estate’ bars. By doing this I want to show how different beans create different flavours in chocolate, which in turn taste best when paired with specific ingredients and foods- as with grapes in fine wines.
Willie Harcourt Cooze, founder of Willie’s Cacao, focuses on ‘single estate’ cacao; what this means is that each bar is made from beans grown in one very carefully selected location (whether that be Peru, Venezuela or Cuba etc), instead of beans of various origins going into the same chocolate. The company work in this way to highlight how growing beans in varying climates and soils result in contrasting flavoured bars.
Having experimented with three of their chocolates, I have created three recipes in which the taste of the specific cacao is (hopefully) highlighted by my choice of flavour pairings. This experimentation has made me realise how important it is to do your research when it comes to chocolate (and any ingredients really), as these bakes have a great depth of flavour I have never achieved before with chocolate based baking.
My first recipe is for these orange blossom and chocolate melting moments. For these I used the Colombian Los Llanos single estate bar- it has fruity and floral notes so really works with the orange centre. They are made up of two buttery chocolate biscuits, a delicious chocolate ganache and an orange blossom and fresh zest buttercream.
INGREDIENTS (makes 8-10 sandwich biscuits)
For the biscuits: 175g soft butter, 60g icing sugar, 60g corn flour, 20g cocoa, 150g plain flour
For the ganache: 50g 70% Colombian Los Llanos chocolate (or another good quality dark chocolate), 50g double cream
For the orange blossom centre: zest 1 orange, 1tsp orange blossom extract, 65g soft butter, 150g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 160c (fan) and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
For the biscuits, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in the cornflour, cocoa and plain flour then very briefly mix until smooth and combined. The less handling the biscuits have, the more buttery and crumbly they will be.
Once the dough is combined, take 1tbsp pieces and roll into balls, then line onto the prepared trays (with a little space between each). When all the dough has been used, press down on the balls with the back of a fork to create the line pattern. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Once chilled, bake for 10-12 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the fillings. For the ganache, grate the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream until almost bubbling then pour over the chocolate. Leave to melt for a couple of minutes then stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
For the orange buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy then add the zest and extract. Stir to combine.
Fill two piping bags- one with the ganache and the other with the buttercream.
Once the biscuits are cool pipe a ring of ganache around the outer edge then fill the centre with the orange buttercream. Place another biscuit on top to create a sandwich and repeat the process until all the biscuits have been used up.
I hope you like these biscuits and find cacao as interesting as I do. Look out for two more chocolate recipes this week and do give them a try, I’m really pleased with the results!