Monday, March 23, 2015

hot cross bun kugelhopf

Just before Passover arrives I get a hankering for hot cross buns. On Sunday I decided to make some hot cross buns but at the last minute decided to bake the mixture in a kugelhopf tin.

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I made the dough then realised I didn't have enough currants and sultanas in the cupboard so off to the shops I went. As the dough was already resting in the fridge I changed the technique a little by soaking the fruit first then adding the plumped fruit to the dough after it's first rise.

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As I'd not baked the kugelhopf version before I wasn't sure the best way to shape the dough. I did 2 layers, the first layer used a cylinder of dough. For the second layer I formed it into small buns. Next time I'd probably just use the cylinder method.

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Once the kugelhopf came out of the oven, I turned it out and returned it to the oven to crisp up a little before glazing the outside. A little dusting of icing sugar and the kugelhopf was camera ready.

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Here's the recipe for you, adapted from a Margaret Fulton Hot Cross Bun recipe. If you'd like to make regular hot cross buns, this recipe will make 8 buns. If you'd like to make a larger kugelhopf or 16 buns, just double all the ingredients and follow the instructions. 

For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Hot Cross Bun Kugelhopf

Ingredients
¼ cup mixed peel, sultanas and currants
boiling water
2 cups bread or plain flour
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
30g (1 oz) butter, softened, plus extra to serve
¼ cup caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet (1½ tsp) dried yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
100 mls lukewarm milk/water
extra milk, for glazing

Glaze
2 tbs warm water
1 tbs sugar
¼ tsp gelatine

To serve, icing sugar, butter and jam.

Method
Place dried fruit in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for an hour until the fruit is soft and plump. Drain off the water.

Sift the flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Using a dough hook or by hand, rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and yeast.

Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Combine the egg with the milk/water mix and gradually add to the flour mix to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic or mix in the stand mixer using the dough hook for 7 – 8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a clean, greased bowl. Turn over once so that top of dough is greased.

Cover bowl completely with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. At this stage you can put the covered dough in the fridge overnight, otherwise gently knead in the drained dried fruit mixture.

Lightly grease a small Kugelhopf tin. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out to form a long sausage. Cut into equal halves and place in the base of the Kugelhopf tin, gently squeezing the two ends of the dough together. Place the tin into a large plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200ยบC/400°F. Place a small container of cold water on the lowest shelf of the oven. Brush the top of the kugelhopf with the extra milk and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Meanwhile make the glaze by stirring together the water, sugar and gelatine in a small container. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute or until the gelatine is completely dissolved.

When the kugelhopf is cooked, remove it from oven and unmould it onto a rack. Return the kugelhopf to the oven still on the rack and cook for a further 5 minutes to crisp the outside. Remove the kugelhopf from the oven and liberally brush the outside with the glaze and return the kugelhopf to the turned off oven until the glaze is dry. Lightly sprinkle the kugelhopf with icing sugar just before serving. The kugelhopf can be served warm from the oven, cold or even better, toasted with lashings of butter.

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I hope you enjoyed my twist on hot cross buns. See you all again next week for Passover week.

Jillian

Monday, March 16, 2015

ottolenghi's sweetcorn slaw

As I'm sure you know by now, I'm an unabashed Ottolenghi fan. When Juliana and I were trying to choose a recipe for our last Plate 2 Plate column, Juliana suggested this recipe for sweetcorn slaw from Ottolenghi's book, Plenty More.


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I'd already decided to make some oven fried chicken and faux chips for my dinner and thought this would be the perfect accompaniment. I picked up some corn and cabbage and a few herbs and put this together.

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I don't eat mayonnaise so I used Greek yoghurt in the dressing instead. As with all Ottolenghi recipes, this one was bursting with flavour but I found pickling the vegetables made them a tad soggy and I'm not keen on soggy.

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I've made this recipe a second time but this time I didn't brine the vegetables.  I'm not sure which version I prefer.

Here's the original recipe for you, which serves six.

Sweetcorn Slaw
100ml white wine vinegar
200ml water
Salt and black pepper
¼ white cabbage, shredded: 300g net
3 carrots, julienned
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 corn cobs, lightly brushed with olive oil
2 red chillies, finely chopped
20g picked coriander leaves
20g picked mint leaves
Olive oil
For the dressing
50g mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1½ tsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed 
For the dressing
Put the vinegar, water and a tablespoon of salt into a small saucepan, bring up to a boil and remove from the heat.
Put the cabbage and carrot in a bowl, pour over two-thirds of the salty liquid and set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Pour the remaining liquid over the onion and, again, set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse the vegetables and onion, pat dry, put in a large bowl and set aside.
Put a ridged chargrill pan on a high heat and, when it starts to smoke, lay the corn on it. Chargrill for 10-12 minutes, turning so that all sides get some colour (this will create quite a lot of smoke). Remove from the heat and, when cool enough to handle, use a large knife to shave off the corn in clumps and add to the salad bowl.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing, pour over the salad and stir gently. Add the chilli, coriander and mint, along with a grind of black pepper, give it another gentle stir and serve.

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The char grilled corn is very yummy so I guess I've just added another recipe to my Ottolenghi repertoire.

Did I mention that I'll be doing Passover week again this year? I still have 2 more things to bake so at the moment I'm knee deep in superfine matzo meal, potato flour, nuts, chocolate, coconut and eggs. All will be revealed soon!

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Monday, March 09, 2015

plum squares

Summer in Sydney means stone fruit and each summer I like to make a simple butter cake topped with stone fruit. A few weeks ago I made a nectarine and blackberry cake but this time, I made plum cake. I make plum cake every year and I have a favourite recipe but this time I adapted it a little so I could use the buttermilk I had in the fridge.

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I also wanted to use plum halves though in the end I'm not sure that was the best idea. The cooked plums always sink to the bottom of the cake but the plum halves were so juicy I wasn't sure I'd be able to turn the cake out without it breaking apart. I managed to turn the cake out but next time (and there will be a next time) I'll slice each plum half into quarters like I normally do and lay them decoratively over the top.

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My workmates like most things I bake but they particularly like plum cake.

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I really like it as well and if my freezer was a bit larger I'd freeze a couple of bags of sliced pitted plums so I could make plum cake any time of year. 


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I think this would make a great winter pudding served warm from the oven with a dollop of cream or some ice cream or maybe both.

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Here's the recipe for you. 
For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Plum Squares – makes 9 squares

Topping
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbl sugar

Cake Ingredients
5 small plums
1 tablespoon caster sugar
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 eggs
1 cups self raising flour
¼ cup plain flour
60 mls (¼ cup) buttermilk or plain yoghurt

Method
To make the topping, thoroughly mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

Preheat the oven to 175°C/325°F. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inch) square tin with baking paper. Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Sprinkle a tablespoon of caster sugar over the cut surface of the plums. Set aside.

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined well. Sift the flours together. Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk.

Spoon the batter into the lined tin. Decoratively arrange the plums over the top of the cake, gently pressing the plums down into the batter. Bake the cake for 20 minutes then sprinkle the top of the cake with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted into it.

Cool the cake in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack. Turn right side up as soon as possible.


To serve, cut the cake into squares and serve accompanied by a good dollop of cream.

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Sugared plums atop a lemon scented butter cake topped with cinnamon and sugar. What's not to like?

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Monday, March 02, 2015

sticky banana, pecan and nut loaf

In my continuing search for the perfect banana cake I stumbled upon this recipe from Belinda Jeffrey's book, Mix and Bake. I knew I had some over ripe mashed bananas lurking in the fridge; checked the cupboard and had the rest of the ingredients, so last weekend I quickly put this cake together.

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It's one of those cakes where it takes more time to weigh out and chop the ingredients than it does to put the whole thing together. I did alter the proportion of dates and nuts a little but next time might stick to the original ratio.

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The cake came out of the oven smelling pretty good.

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As soon as the cake was cooled, I cut a slice to see how it looked inside.

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a large loaf cake, just double all the ingredients. The baking time won't change.

Sticky Banana, Pecan and Date loaf: (adapted from a recipe from Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery)

Ingredients
cup plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
85g (3oz) roasted walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
85g (3oz) pitted dates, roughly chopped
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
⅔ cup mashed very ripe bananas
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
pecan or walnuts for topping

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/350⁰F. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper or grease and dust with flour. Set aside.

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together with a balloon whisk for 45 seconds (or you can just sift them into the bowl instead). Add the nuts and dates and toss them about so they’re thoroughly coated in the flour mixture.

Put the sugars, egg and oil into another bowl and whisk them together for 1 – 2 minutes or until they’re light and creamy. Add the mashed banana and vanilla extract and whisk them in for another 30 seconds or until the mixture is fairly smooth (don’t worry that it’s not completely smooth – there will be some little lumps of banana in it).

Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until they form a somewhat sloppy batter. Scrape this into the prepared tin and arrange the nuts on top.

Bake for about 1 hour or until the top of the loaf is springy and a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before turning it out onto the rack to cool completely. It keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days.

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I decided to toast a slice of the cake then topped it with some fresh ricotta but I think butter would be better! The cake was good but not perfect so the hunt for the perfect banana cake recipe goes on.

I've just returned from a flying trip home to Brisbane. The bag has been unpacked and the fridge loaded with groceries and I'm about to head to the gym. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

See you again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Monday, February 23, 2015

raspberry chocolate bundt cake

Hi Every-one,

a few weeks ago one of the girls at work mentioned how much she loved the dark chocolate and raspberry muffins from Bourke Street Bakery. They sounded nice so I consulted my copy of the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook and set to work adapting my butter cake recipe. Instead of muffins I decided to make a little bundt cake.

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Fresh raspberries are always ridiculously expensive in Sydney and I only buy them when they drop down to a certain price. Normally I'd suggest substituting frozen raspberries but with the recent health scare and frozen berry product recall, fresh raspberries are the way to go. Happily it's raspberry season at the moment in Sydney.


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I was a bit worried about the raw sugar coating, something I'd not tried before. I kept my fingers crossed the molten sugar wouldn't weld the cake to the tin.

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Thankfully it all worked and the cake came out nice and easily. In fact I thought it looked beautiful.

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All the cake needed was a light dusting of icing sugar and it was ready to serve.

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Here’s the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a big bundt cake, just double all the ingredients. The baking time won't change.

Raspberry Chocolate Bundt Cake

Cake
butter for greasing
1 tbl raw sugar
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter 
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup self raising flour
¼ cup plain flour 
125 mls (½ cup) buttermilk
85 g (3 oz) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or chocolate chips
85 g (3 oz) raspberries

Decoration
icing sugar 

Method
1. Preheat oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan-forced). Generously grease a small bundt tin with butter, scatter over the raw sugar to coat and then finish with a dusting of flour.

2. To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined well. Sift the flours together. Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk to make a soft batter. Gently fold through the chopped chocolate.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, gently studding the raspberries into the mixture. Smooth surface. 

4. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the cake is well risen, the top is golden and the cakes tests ‘cooked’ when tested with a skewer.

5. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

6. While the cake is still a little warm, dust the top of the cake with the icing sugar.

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The cake was nice and moist and I thought the combination of the dark chocolate and raspberry was lovely. I'll have to put this recipe in the keeper file.

I visited my travel agent Kurt on Saturday and I've now booked my flights to Singapore and Japan. I've been to Singapore before but I've not been to japan before. I'd love your suggestions for things to see and do in Japan, places to visit and shops to shoot. Looking forward to reading your suggestions which you can leave in the comments section if you like.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Monday, February 16, 2015

plate 2 plate - ottolenghi's lentils, radicchio and walnuts with manuka honey

Hi every-one and welcome to the first Plate 2 Plate post for 2015. Juliana and I both thought it was high time to make a salad so we turned to Ottolenghi's new book, Plenty More, for inspiration. As you know, I'm a bit of an Ottolenghi fan girl so I was keen to try out his new book. We mulled over a few recipes before coming across this lentil dish topped with radicchio, spicy walnuts and a tumble of herbs. The lentil image is by Juliana.

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As Juliana lives in Switzerland and I live in Sydney it can be quite difficult finding ingredients that are in season in both places. Thankfully fresh herbs and lentils are always available. Herb photo by Juliana.

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Here's my take.

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I had most of the ingredients in my cupboard and when I found that radicchio was available in my local fruit shop we both knew we had our recipe.

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I've made this dish twice so far mainly because I burnt the walnuts the first time round. The second time I made the dish, I lowered the oven temperature to 160°C and watched the walnuts like a hawk.

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Once cooled, these walnuts are so yummy I think only half made their way into the salad. Here's my version of the finished dish.

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I don't tolerate cheese all that well so I left it out of the dish. Instead I served it as a side dish with some lamb. Here's Juliana's version of the dish.


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Here's another image of the finished dish from Juliana.

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The lentils and walnuts can be made well ahead of time and the dish put together in just a few minutes topped with loads of fresh herbs. Apart from the dill, all the herbs I used in the dish were grown on my window ledge.

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Here's the recipe for you from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. As this is a UK recipe, remember to use a 15 ml tablespoon. Image by Juliana.

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Lentils, Radicchio and Walnuts with Manuka Honey
200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
100g manuka honey
¼ tsp flaked chilli
½ tsp ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper
About 1 tsp water
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
100g walnuts
½ medium-size radicchio
60g pecorino fiore sardo, or other mature ewe's or goat's cheese
20g each roughly chopped basil, dill and parsley

Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F. Put the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, add the bay leaves and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.

While the lentils cook, prepare the walnuts. In a bowl, combine half the honey, the chilli, turmeric and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and add enough water to create a thick paste.

Drain the lentils and return to the pan. Whisk together the vinegar, half the oil, the remaining honey, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper until the honey dissolves. Stir into the lentils while they're still hot and then leave to cool a little. Discard the bay leaves.

Add the walnuts to the honey/chilli paste and stir to coat. Spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crunchy and dry, but still sticky.

Pour the remaining oil into a medium frying pan and place on high heat. Cut the radicchio into eight wedges and place these in the hot oil, sprinkling them with a little salt. Cook for a minute on each side and then transfer into a large bowl.

Add the lentils, walnuts, sliced pecorino and herbs. Stir gently, taste and season accordingly. Serve warmish or at room temperature.

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As you expect from an Ottolenghi recipe, the dish zings with flavours - sweetness from the honey; bitterness from the radicchio; crunch from the walnuts; zing from the chilli and sour from the vinegar in the dressing. Just about perfect really. You can read Juliana's thoughts about the salad here.

See you all again next week with something sweet.

Jillian

Monday, February 09, 2015

valentine's day white chocolate and raspberry brownies

Valentine's Day kind of snuck up on me this year. I looked through my files and found these images I shot last year for my Delicious Bites column. The post failed to run so rather than languish on my hard drive, I thought I'd share the images and recipe with you. 

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I've been making these brownies for quite some time now and each time I make them I change the recipe a little. Some times I add a bit more white chocolate or an extra egg. Sometimes I'll add a little less flour or mix up the berries a bit. It's raspberry season here in Sydney so that's what I used this time but you certainly don't need to use fresh raspberries for these brownies; frozen raspberries are just as good.  As fresh raspberries are so delicate, I stud the brownie mixture with the raspberries instead of mixing them into the batter.

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If you like, the brownies can be made entirely in one bowl so there's not too much washing up. These brownies are definitely cake like brownies rather than fudgey brownies so don’t be tempted to take them out before they’re fully cooked or they'll just taste like raw cake batter.
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Once the brownies are baked and cooled, I often cut them into shapes before drizzling with a little melted white chocolate. I normally use a round cutter but in honour of Valentine’s Day I got busy with my heart shaped cutter. They’re perfect to give as gifts or to share with the ones you love.

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Here’s the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.
White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies

Ingredients
⅔ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
125g/4 oz unsalted butter
75g (2½ oz) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup flaked almonds

To decorate
50 g (1¾ oz) white chocolate, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 350F°/180C°.

Line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 in) square tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour with the baking powder into a small bowl and set to one side.

Melt the butter and the white chocolate in a large ovenproof bowl in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water.

Allow to cool a little before stirring in the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat lightly with a wooden spoon just till combined, then stir the flour into the mixture to make a batter.

Scatter about 1/3 of the raspberries over the base of the tin. Spread the batter into prepared pan. Press the remaining berries gently into the mixture then top with the flaked almonds.

Bake at 350F°/180C° (conventional oven) for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

When cool, cut the brownies into 2 inch squares or cut into heart shapes before drizzling with the extra melted chocolate.

Allow the chocolate to set before serving.

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I'll see you all again next week with the first Plate 2 Plate post for 2015.

Until then, Happy Valentine's Day!

Jillian