I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who doesn't like chocolate - though if I had the slightest sense of their disdain I'd probably keep a distance. This is a smashing little book, one you'd use when you have that urgent craving for something chocolatey, intense and gratifying.
Husband and wife team Simon and Helen Pattinson quit their city jobs as lawyers and travelled to South America. It was there they found a deep inspiration to set up their own chocolate factory, and that's precisely what they did.
The recipes in this book are appealing. There's a wide range from chocolatey nibbles, chocolate bakes and even savoury chocolate dishes. It's certainly inspired.
Marbled Three-Nut ‘Get-Going’ Bars
prep 50 minutes, plus 25 minutes baking, plus 1 hour chilling V makes loads
120g unsalted, unroasted nuts (pecans, peanuts and cashew nuts)
- 50g dried apricots
- 50g sultanas
- 100g porridge oats
- 25g bran flakes, gently broken up
- 25g crisped rice cereal
- 1 teaspoon black treacle or molasses syrup
- 250ml condensed milk
For the Topping
- 150g very dark chocolate, minimum 73 per cent cocoa solids
- 75g white chocolate
- Baking tray measuring 5 x 20 x 20cm
- Bain-marie or heatproof bowl
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Roast your peanuts, pecan and cashew nuts on a baking tray for 5 minutes. When roasting these little beauties, keep an eye on them and ensure they are golden and not burnt! Leave to cool.
Take the cooled nuts and the apricots and chop them roughly so they are about the same size. Mix together with the sultanas, oats, bran flakes and crisped rice.
Next is the sticky bit that our three little girls love to help with. Line a 20 x 20cm baking tray with parchment paper. Gently heat the molasses and the condensed milk until warm and fully blended, and then add the fruit and nut mix. Put this mixture into the baking tray and press down reasonably firmly with a tablespoon.
Bake the base mixture for 20–25 minutes until it is golden and not burnt. Leave to cool.
Get the chocolate topping ready by melting the dark and white chocolate separately in a bain-marie or a heatproof bowl over a pan of water that boiled 5 minutes earlier and is now off the heat and cooling. Stir occasionally until smooth. This stops the chocolate burning.
Once the base mixture is cool, carefully turn over the tray and turn out the solid mix on to a board or cooling rack.
Pour the dark chocolate on top of the base mixture and then add the white chocolate. Spread the topping with a palette knife to give a generous marbled chocolate top. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour and then chop into suitable sized bars.
Montezuma’s Chocolate Cookbook by Simon and Helen Pattinson. Kyle Books, £16.99.