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A few weeks ago I received a very exciting golden package in the post. It was weighty and shiny and I knew it was stuffed to the gunnels with chocolate. GODIVA chocolate to be precise. For me the best thing to do with a high quality chocolate is cookies. Though they are baked, the flavour is never changed in a cookie or biscuit, unlike in cakes and sponges. It also allows for lots of your own improvisations which is always a bonus. Here I have used two types of their chocolate (why wouldn’t you?) and some hazelnuts for added texture (again why the heck not!?). However if you would prefer white chocolate and pecan cookies you can simply substitute like for like. Almonds would also work, as would salted peanuts with milk chocolate. Endless possibilities. I have published a few cookie recipes on here before, always convinced it was the one. But, although I still love my previous one and do recommend it, I would argue this one is fail safe. AND, for an extra bonus, results in a lovely cracked top which I think is very aesthetically pleasing.

Happy 90th Birthday GODIVA – long may you cocoa concoctions continue!
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GODIVA CHOCOLATE, SEA SALT and HAZELNUT COOKIES

110g unsalted butter

50g dark brown sugar (dark muscavado)

150g caster sugar

210g plain flour

1 large egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g GODIVA 72% dark chocolate

100g GODIVA dark sea salt chocolate

75g hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large saucepan melt the butter gently on a low to medium heat. You don’t want it to bubble or spit. Remove from the heat then add the sugars. It will look like its split but don’t worry. Stir in the flour and set aside to cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. During this time chop your chocolate roughly. Toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes using either a shallow frying pan or hot oven. They should be golden and fragrant. Chop roughly also. Once your dough has cooled stir in the egg baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, chocolates and hazelnuts. The chocolate will melt if you add this when the dough is still hot so do let it cool properly. Once you have a smooth dough line two large baking sheets or trays. Roll balls of dough, approximately 1-2 tbsp worth of mix. Place the balls on your sheets, well spaced apart and bake for 10-12 minutes of until light golden but still soft in the middle. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely. Repeat with any excess dough. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

 

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Happy 2nd Birthday to this little blog of mine!

I know it has been an age (I am so so sorry) but I thought I should celebrate a second year of florashedden.com. A lot has changed since I set up my wee corner of the internet – the photos thankfully are one of them! I unfortunately missed my (our?) 1st birthday due to the minor issue of filming a semi final and a complete cocoa carousel collapse, so in all fairness a cake and some favourite snaps was due. Here is what I have been up to since I last checked in:

  • since January I have been pretty much solely focused on the book. The process has been fascinating and I am now itching for you all to see it.
  • two weeks ago we finished the beautiful beautiful photos by my all time favourite lady Laura Edwards (SQUEAAAAAL!) This was my favourite part of the process and I love it so much already. What a phenomenal, gorgeous, funny and creative team I had, I adore you all: Tab, Annie, April, Laura, Kendal, Jaz, Eleanor and Sybella. THANK YOU.
  • last week I moved home after my lease finished at the lovely Harbour House. Though I will miss the lovely sea and baltic St Andrews wind, hopefully I will now have more time to blog!
  • it has been a summer full of wedding cakes and bakes
  • and I have been busying myself with lots of other exciting projects that I can hopefully tell you all about soon

All in all I have had a pretty bloomin’ good two years and I am so grateful for the lot of you that tune in and listen to my sporadic updates, nonsense tweets, constant photos, ridiculous playlists, and general blethering. It has been such a giggle – here is to another two years of salt, sugar and silliness!

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  • Elizabeth - Happy 2nd Birthday, Flora! Gorgeous post to celebrate a milestone! Here is to many, many more sugary and cakery years! Looking forward to it! 😉 xoxoReplyCancel

  • Eric - Happy Birthday to your blog, Flora. I have missed your posts and am glad that you have started blogging again. Your posts are so delightful to read – I hope that they never end and we will be celebrating many more birthdays.ReplyCancel

  • MeCooks - Thank you for this inspiring recipe. Hope to try it myself soon :-)ReplyCancel

  • Rae - Beautiful cake! Wish there were a recipe to go with it… 😉ReplyCancel

  • vickie - Flora-
    Beautiful photography! When will your book be released??

    Regards-
    VickieReplyCancel

    • Flora - Hi Vickie – Thank you so much! The book comes out late January 2017, and I have just seen a finished copy. So excited!ReplyCancel

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Tomorrow’s the day, and yet again I am quite unorganised. We have been feasting on mid week pancakes in the flat quite a lot recently so maybe we could just call the whole thing done? I will try and summon the courage to make some tomorrow, however I cannot guarantee anything… It’s been a bit manic my end as I am fast approaching the deadline for the book manuscript. I am spending all hours of the day cooking, testing, scribbling notes, washing the dishes and then come the night sitting on my laptop writing it all down. I really love it, but boy is it time consuming! My inbox is in a very sorry state also and lots of things have fallen off the endless to do list but we are getting there – one final push! And so I leave you with my very trusty “drop scone” recipe, one I have been using for all 20 of my years. The whipped maple butter is a lovely alternative to the hundreds of cheap sugary toppings normally on offer in the shops. It will also keep for ages in the fridge and is delicious on toast and scones. Happy flipping!

PS if you are looking for a more savoury version to enjoy tomorrow, I have a Courgette and Poppyseed Pancake recipe up on The Scotsman just now. And for those who like music in the kitchen as much as I do, here is the playlist I have had on repeat for the last month.

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For the pancakes:

225g self-raising flour

40g caster sugar

1 tbsp golden syrup

150ml milk

1 large egg

butter for cooking

For the butter:

150g softened unsalted butter

50g maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

For the whipped butter place the ingredients in a free standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for five minutes of so until light pale and fluffy. You can use a hand his but it will take longer. Set aside. For the pancakes weigh all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth. Heat a little butter in a non stick frying pan and use a piece of kitchen roll to make sure the whole pan is covered. Spoon in dollops of the batter, making it as round as possible. The pan should be on a medium heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes or until bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook for a further few minutes. Serve warm slathered with the maple butter and more maple syrup if you fancy it.

 

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  • Elizabeth - I can’t never say ‘no thanks’ to pancakes, specially on a Saturday morning. Thank you for this recipe, Flora. Love your last overhead image. I’m sure you will get all done before your deadline. Have a great week. Keep in touch! :)ReplyCancel

    • Flora - Here is hoping I do! I sense the blog might be a wee bit quiet until then though!ReplyCancel

  • Adam Morris - Hi Flora. The pancakes were well received at last nights dinner table, thank you for the recipe. Next time I will attempt to reduce the sugar and maple syrup quantities by 50% and see how well this works after a miracle berry. Happy to send you a couple if you let me know.
    AdamReplyCancel

  • Eugénie - Hello Flora, thanks for the recipe. The butter is a thing of beauty ! I cannot wait for your book to be released.ReplyCancel

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Some poached ginger pears and some highlights from 2015:

  • This thing called GBBO. And this very entertaining review of the bakers. Written by an insider surely.
  • Blue Peter. And a SILVER badge!
  • Being described by the Daily Mail as being “pretty in a sturdy way”. You just can’t make that stuff up.
  • Ladz.
  • Wittertainment Bond Special. The dream.
  • Being listed as a chef – I got the giggles when it happened.
  • Also this. An absolute gentleman.
  • My apron.
  • A cringe worthy quote people still say to me on the street.
  • Moving to St Andrews.
  • You and Yours!! Radio 4 guys. I squealed.
  • Possibly the most entertaining man I have met.
  • Recipes in the Scotsman – look out for more next year!
  • Appearing in the Broons. Joe, you can visit with flour anytime!
  • Extra Slice loveliness – including this.
  • The foodie folk I have met.
  • A total honour.
  • This, obvs.
  • Youths eh?
  • all the insta love
  • Hitting 20 – and all the birthday love that came my way.
  • And Christmas.
  • And every single thing I have left of or forgotten. Sorry.
  • Many many more giggles, (BAFTA dinner, all the lovely folk that stop for a natter on the street, food demos, book signings to name but a few) so a mega thanks for all the laughs you lot. Its been a privilege.
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  • Kevin - Hello Flora,

    Wanted to let you know that my wife and I rooted for you all the way from Oklahoma during Bake-Off. Want to wish you and yours a great 2016 and look forward to seeing what you come up with this year!ReplyCancel

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If I am honest the days in between are probably my favourites. Christmas is fun – chaotic, booze fuelled and a lot to juggle and I do really love it – but I love a leftover sandwich more. I hope you are all enjoying an elasticated waistband currently. In the run up to Christmas it all got a bit manic at my end so I forgot to tell you about The Kitchen Cafe, which was on the radio on Christmas Eve. Sorry all. If you want to listen to me talking about the big day, post the big day you can still catch up here. I did, however, think I would share the recipe for my dish on the programme with you (despite it no longer being Christmas) as it will still make for a lovely winter pud or Hogmanay dish. I am really enjoying all of us being home with our crap wifi, disastrous weather and general slow pace lifestyle so I haven’t been cooking a huge amount but I will try and get back to you all with some Hogmanay thoughts and a wee look back at whats been a pretty quiet 2015, NOT! Enjoy the leftover chocolates, sherry and day time telly in the mean time.

Also – what I am listening to this month.
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CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT TART

For the pastry:

100g cold unsalted butter

150g plain flour

45g cocoa

65g icing sugar

2 tsp cornflour

splash of whole milk

For the filling:

100g cooked and peeled chestnuts (the vacuum packed ones are best)

100g ground almonds

100g softened unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 – 3 large pears

50g dark chocolate chopped roughly

Preheat the oven to 170C. To make the pastry blitz all the in ingredients in a food processor adding the milk at the end to bring the dough together. Alternatively Rub the butter into the flour, cocoa, sugar and cornflour until it all comes together again adding the milk at the end to bind it. Cover and chill for 20 mins at least. During this time make the filling. Grate the cooked chestnuts using your finest grater and add them to a bowl with the almonds, butter and sugar. Mix well until you have a paste like batter then add the eggs baking powder and vanilla. Mix again until smooth. You can add a few tbsp of booze if you want at this stage. Finely slice your pears (skin on). To assemble, roll the chilled pastry out on a floured surface until roughly 3mm thick. Use it to line a 20cm fluted and loose bottomed tart tin. Press thoroughly into the sides then trim off any overhanging pastry. Place the filling into the tart and spread until smooth all over. Fan the pear slices over the top before finishing with the chopped chocolate around the edges. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chestnuts filling is cooked through (it will not longer be soggy to touch). Enjoy with a big dollop of dairy (or if you have any left over some brandy butter – I won’t tell if you don’t!)

 

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  • Trevor Hearn - Great Radio programme. Are Asian pears easy to find? Hope you had a great Christmas. Happy New Year to you.ReplyCancel

    • Flora - I got mine from the amazing Roots and Fruits in Glasgow. I think they are pretty seasonal. Conference pears will work just as well though!ReplyCancel