Store cupboard staples and how to use them: Dark chocolate
When it comes to decadent desserts, a little dark chocolate goes a long way. It’s often served up at the end of a meal, drizzled delicately over strawberries, dusted atop a tiramisu or melted into a mousse. But though many people think of it as a sweet treat, dark chocolate’s intense, full-bodied flavour and low sugar content also make it a surprisingly healthy secret ingredient in many savoury dishes. So if you are hoarding an emergency stash or aren’t sure how to best appreciate a bar with a bitter bite, try incorporating them into one of these recipes.
Massimo Bottura’s dark chocolate mousse
Easter was something of an anticlimax this year, with lockdown preventing us from making the most of our springtime celebrations. However, if you weren’t in the mood for chocolate and still have an abandoned egg in the cupboard (preferably 70-75%) then culinary legend Massimo Bottura has the perfect solution. Leftover chocolate receives the star treatment in his velvety dark chocolate mousse, made using coffee crème anglaise and infused with the Italian chef’s trademark charisma.
Lily Vanilli’s flourless chocolate cake
Though chocolate cakes are often made with cocoa, the best bakes incorporate dark chocolate, too. Gluten-free recipes have a tendency to end up dry and crumbly in the wrong hands, but Lily Vanilli’s flourless chocolate cake balances out textures by adding melted chocolate in her easy-to-follow method, keeping the cake moist and indulgent.
Ben Murphy’s chocolate fondant
There’s little in life that’s more satisfying than cutting into a fondant and watching the chocolate ooze out onto the plate. Except, perhaps, knowing how to make one yourself. Launceston Place chef Ben Murphy has generously shared his own recipe to the classic dessert so that you can learn how to achieve that perfect melted middle.
Sabrina Ghayour’s dark chocolate hazelnut pastry twists
For dark chocolate with a twist – quite literally – Sabrina Ghayour’s delicious puff pastry recipe switches up your classic savoury cheese nibbles into a sweet and spicy party snack. The chef saves time by using ready-made pastry, but you won’t have time to notice the difference as the combination of cinnamon, sugar, hazelnuts and tahini make them incredibly moreish.
Nigella Lawson’s chilli con carne
It sounds a little strange, but beef and cocoa are a tried and tested match, and that’s why Nigella Lawson adds dark chocolate to her chilli con carne. If you’re a fan of Mexican food but you don’t eat meat, Feasting at Home’s Butternut Mole Enchiladas also use this special ingredient, combining some of the region’s classic flavours in a veggie-friendly but equally delicious alternative.
Rie McClenny’s silky chocolate tart
Of course, chocaholics can’t go wrong with a chocolate tart, but though a lot of us like to order it in restaurants, it sometimes seems like a lot of hard work to make yourself. Rie McClenny wants to prove that this needn’t be the case. Her quick but detailed recipe is full of many useful tips on how to whip up that smooth filling and crunchy base in your own kitchen.
Rosana McPhee’s steak in chocolate and coffee sauce
Most of us know how we like our steak cooked, but the harder part is deciding on a sauce. If you’re getting tired of classic peppercorn, you could try mixing things up with Rosanna McPhee’s steak in chocolate and coffee sauce, which combines several shots of espresso with good quality dark chocolate and white wine for a luxurious weekend meal.
Delicious’s Sugar and Spice Chocolate Rochers
Traditionalists might prefer their dark chocolate as an after-dinner treat. Delicious magazine’s Sugar and Spice Chocolate Rochers are great for impressing guests, boxing up as a gift or savouring alongside a coffee. These nutty clusters are a crunchy, aromatic alternative to a classic truffle and can be reinvented with whatever nuts and spices you have in the cupboard.