recipes for healthy living

Tag: chocolate

Dark Chocolate Prune Tart


I make lots of chocolate cakes & tarts and while there is no way to make them completely healthy and caloriefree (is that a word?) I try make sure I have done a workout first and also used really good quality ingredients. If you keep the cocoa solids content high then the resulting chewy chocolaty tart will be worth it. Made with a mix of gluten free flour and almond or hazelnut flour gives a delicious pastry. This tart will feed quite a lot and a small piece is enough with a dollop of cream on the side..unless you are my other half and a small piece is not enough at all 🙂

200gr gluten free plain flour
100gr almond flour or ground hazlenuts
200gr butter
pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

600ml cream
300gr dark chocolate (at least 70%) use drops or chop a bar into small pieces
5 egg yolks
75gr butter
50gr coconut palm sugar or dark brown sugar
100gr prunes chopped and pitted
1 tbsp cocoa

Oven at 180C
Whizz flours and butter in a food processor
Add vanilla extract, water and whizz until it comes together – not too wet
Tip out, gently knead and wrap in cling and chill for at least 30 minutes
Roll out and line a 28cm tart tin. Prick the base and chill again before cooking
Line with grease-proof and fill with pastry beans and bake for about 20 minutes
Remove the beans and paper and bake for about 5 more minutes until golden brown and crisp
Melt the chocolate with the butter and sugar over a bain-marie
Stir until smooth and set aside to cool a bit
Whisk the eggs and add some of the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
Then add remaining chocolate mixture and stir gently until incorporated.
Stir in the prunes and pour over the tart base
Bake for about 20 minutes until just set
Let cool and dust with the cocoa powder.

Chocolate Sable Biscuits …. Not your average biscuit



Its Lent and my daughter has given up jellies and her will power is admirable. Even when others are eating jellies around her, she remembers her promise. She asked her Dad to give up chocolate with her but I’m not sure how that is going as there was a box of these in the press last week and now the’re all gone…..

I’m not that surprised really, they are delicious and as a bonus really easy to make, can be cut and cooked from frozen in 13 minutes so are really handy to keep in the freezer and works equally well with gluten free flour. Throw in some chopped nuts instead of chocolate drops and they will also be lovely. I adapted this from a published recipe, reducing the sugar and using gluten free flour. Really easy to make, really delicious – just don’t eat them all!

Chocolate biscuits – recipe adapted from Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Sable Biscuits

Makes about 25
175gr all-purpose gluten free flour
30gr good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
150gr unsalted butter, room temperature
80gr light brown sugar
20gr granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur del sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150gr good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips

Oven at 170C
Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
Beat the butter until soft and creamy.
Add sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more until light and creamy
Pour in the dry ingredients and gently pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time.
Mix just until the flour disappears into the dough – work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t worry if the dough looks a little crumbly.
Add the chocolate and mix gently incorporate.
Turn the dough out, gather it together and divide it in half.
Shape each piece into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for a few hours.
(The dough will keep in the fridge for about 3 days or just pop into the freezer. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick
Place on a lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.
Bake for 12 minutes or an extra minute if frozen.
Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Christmas Chocolate Bark


When I was growing up the purple Cadbury’s wrapper was an iconic symbol of chocolate. My mum’s best friend Auntie Bernadette used to call over and we always knew she would bring a big bag of chocolate bars. Seeing as there were 6 of us, this wasn’t a regular event. There was always a race to get to the bag early in the queue otherwise there was a danger of being left with the Cadbury’s fruit and nut – something you definitely wanted to avoid. I don’t think I knew any kid who liked fruit and nut in chocolate. If you were unlucky in this old style version of hunger games, you had to pick out the nuts and fruit in order to have a decent bit of chocolate.

I have changed since then and regularly combine the two. Here are my two favourite kinds of chocolate bark recipes – although I have noticed Eva has a preference for picking out pieces with more marshmallows.

Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruit and Nuts
200gr semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 80% but you may prefer less bitter)
100Gr less bitter chocolate say 53%, chopped
4oz chopped mixed nuts (I used pecans almonds hazlenuts walnuts)
4oz mixed dried fruits – I prepare more cranberries in my mix – chopped if there are any large pieces.

Combine all but 30gr of the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt gently over a pot of simmering water.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until it is all melted. This is a simple method to give you a bit of a snap in your chocolate. (It isn’t quite perfect tempering but will work pretty well – always keep aside 10% of you amount of chocolate)
Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Pour the melted chocolate over the paper and spread out to form a rectangle not too thin.
Sprinkle the nuts and fruit over the chocolate.
Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in slabs and serve at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container.

And for the kids……
Chocolate Bark with Toasted Coconut and Marshmallows
Same as above but replace the fruit and nuts with
toasted Coconut chips and small marshmallows.

Gooey Chocolate Cake ….. Repeat Gooey

I have been struggling to post for a while, so little time so many recipes. typing this right now, I’m multitasking between email on the work laptop, a paella on the hob and loading up the photos from this delicious extra gooey chocolate cake.  (All this is by way of getting sympathy from those close to home!) Chocolate gets lots of brownie points in my house, gooey gets bows on top and since this also works for gluten free baking – I just couldn’t let another week go by without getting this out there.

Gooey Chocolate Cake
This is so easy, try not over bake and it will crack a little on top – it is all part of the delicious gooey character!

Serves 8
6oz butter
10oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped up- 72%
2.5oz cocoa powder
5 eggs
5oz castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Ganache
6oz bittersweet chocolate
4fl oz cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
Fresh fruit to serve

Oven at 180C 160 Fan
Grease and line a 9″ spring form pan
Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of gently simmering water
Let cool slightly before stirring in the cocoa and vanilla
Beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until they have tripled
Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg and pour into the tin
Bake for 30 minutes and check – it should just be barely set in the middle.
Bake for a further 5-10 minutes depending on how done it is and how hot your oven is
Cool in the pan for 30 minutes before releasing and tipping out onto a tray and cool completely

For the ganache, chop the chocolate, heat the cream to just under boiling, pour over the chocolate and keep stirring until it has melted completely. Add the vanilla, stir. Let it cool until it thickens slightly but is still pourable and spread over the cake,

Just before serving, place fruit onto the top of the cake, cut in wedges and serve.

Chocolate and Caramel Tarts

Chocolate and Caramel, a match made in heaven, add some berries for a delicious contrast and this makes a great dessert. Easy to make and even easier if you buy a good quality short crust pastry but you didn’t hear that from me. The only thing to watch about this recipe is the caramel, so if you have small kids about the house, make sure they stay well away from the hob when you are making it as it is lethally hot until the cream and butter have been added. Apart from that health warning, these look and taste delicious, are sure to up your reputation as a dessert queen and as a bonus, the ganache can be used as icing for a cake and the caramel works over ice cream or great with apple desserts – A real multi tasking recipe.

275 gm caster sugar
110 ml cream
135 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
20ml dark rum

100 gm unsalted butter
25g icing sugar
2 eggs
270g gluten free plain flour

Chocolate ganache
225g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids), finely chopped
200ml single cream
25gr butter

For the pastry tip the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor, add the butter and process until like fine breadcrumbs
Tip in the egg and process in bursts until it just comes together.
Add a tablespoon of icy cold water if it seems to be a bit dry.
Tip out onto a floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap in cling and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry to 3mm thick and line your mini tins with the pastry
Blind bake for about 8 minutes, remove weights and paper and bake for another 3-4 minutes or until pastry is golden.

For the caramel, Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves.
Then without stirring, bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until dark golden in colour, remove from heat and
carefully add the rum, cream, and .5 tsp sea salt (mixture will spit loads so mind your hands).
Return to heat and continue stirring until it is lovely and smooth, Stir in the butter and set aside until it cools enough to use.
When cool, Pour into the pastry cases and refrigerate any left overs for future use with ice cream.

For the ganache, put cream in a saucepan, bring just to the boil, tip over the chopped chocolate and butter and stir until melted.
Beat the chocolate mix until smooth and as it cools it will thicken.
Before it set, pour over the caramel tarts and chill until set.
Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving – delicious with raspberries.


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