Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Chocolate and Brown Sugar Teacakes.

This has got to be one of the loveliest and most satisfying things I have made recently. After a few fails and kitchen tantrums, maybe it wasn't wise to embark upon a recipe of three parts; one being meringue, but my goodness I am sooooo glad I did.

When you're having 'stressy, not paying proper attention, having a bit of a paddy' times in the the kitchen, the only thing you can really do to fix it is to step away and do that big exaggerated breathing thing...you know, iiiiiiiiiin through the nose, ouuuuuuuut through the mouth like you're blowing out your birthday candles, accompanied by over the top birdy arms just to emphasie the point, to yourself mainly. Like when you see Claudia Winkleman (I LOVE HER I LOVE HER I LOVE HER) throw around a lemon meringue pie so it basically ends up looking like it's already been digested, you just want to shake (and hug, realllly squeeze) her and say calllllm doooown. That's when all your actions become more considered, methodical and therefore more likely a success.

That is what this recipe made me do. I knew I couldn't wing it on a hope and a prayer but had to plodplodplod. And I did, and it worked, and they are delicious and the meringue is probably the most beautiful thing to have come out of my kitchen, all mother of pearly and shimmery and do you know, EXACTLY like the marshmalloweyness inside a Tunnock's teacake. Magic.

So if you need to press the reset button on your kitchen endeavors  or maybe just on life, may I suggest you make these. Or maybe you just want to eat a darn good biscuit...make these. Perhaps you want to eat marshmallow with a spoon...definitely make these. With Love and Cake.

Chocolate and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes.
Adapted from a Jamie Magazine recipe.

A few notes:
  • Weirdly, the recipe I adapted from asks for half an egg for the biscuit dough...I wrote my recipe as such so as not to confuse matters but I actually used an egg white as I was defrosting some for the meringue, but I think you could also happily use an egg yolk if you have some them over from the separating eggs for the meringue.
  • The easiest and more aesthetically pleasing way to put the marshmallow meringue on the biscuits is with a piping bag...if you don't have one, first, think about getting one if you bake in anyway regularly and second, I'm sure spooning on the meringue will be on ok substitute  maybe dip your spoon in boiling water at regular intervals to prevent sticking.
  • If you don't have brown sugar, feel free to use caster instead...I had the opposite problem and only had brown.

Makes about 40
You will need

2 x baking sheets, lines with greaseproof paper

For the biscuits
110g butter, at room temperature
110g soft brown sugar
1/2 a beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
30g cocoa
icing sugar, for dusting

For the marshmallow meringue
275g soft brown sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the chocolate topping
100g dark chocolate
20g butter

  • So first we make the biscuits. Beat the butter and sugar until pale coffee coloured.
  • Whisk in the half beaten egg (see notes) and the vanilla extract, then stir in the flour and cocoa until combined to a dough...it will look like it will never mix together but be persistent and you will get a dough eventually.
  • Divide the mixture in half and wrap each half in clingfilm. Leave to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Dust a clean surface with plenty of icing sugar and roll out one of the halves of dough to about 5mm thick.
  • Cut out biscuits using a 5cm round or crinkled cutter, and place them on a baking sheet. Gather up all the excess dough, re-roll and cut out, until it's all used up.
  • Do the same with the other half of the dough.
  • Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes, swapping the trays around so they both get a turn at the hotter, top of the oven.
  • Leave the biscuits to firm up and cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  • Now it's time to make the marshmallowey topping. Put the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of water in a large heatproof bowl.
  • Whisk with an electric hand whisk for a minute or two until a bit fluffed up and pale.
  • Put the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and whiskwhiskwhisk for around 10 minutes, until the mixture is superdooper shiny and voluptuous.
  • Fit the icing bag, either with a 1cm plain nozzle, or go nozzle-less so you can pipe thickly and cleanly.
  • Fill the piping bag with some of the meringue mixture and pipe swirls onto of the biscuits; aiming for around 3-4cm high...don't worry about scrimping on the meringue so you can cover all the biscuits, there's plenty to go around.
  • Set the biscuits aside to set a bit while you make the topping. Melt the chocolate with the butter until smooth and shiny, and set aside to firm up a bit for 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle the chocolate over the top each of each of the biscuits and let it drizzle down the sides.
  • SO YUM.

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