When I was contemplating what I could bake to celebrate Chocolate Week, I thought that really, baking seven cakes was a bit much, and I'd be better to break it up a bit with some biscuits! I've wanted to make chocolate crackles for ages now, I just love the way they look, and always wondered if I'd be able to get as good a result as those printed in the books.
I've actually got a couple of books with these little biscuits in them - Easy Baking (by Linda Collister) and the Great British Bake Off second series book, which also contains them (also by Linda Collister) but with slightly different proportions in the recipe, it must be a relatively forgiving recipe. I decided to follow the recipe in the GBBO book. I'm really enjoying using this book, and fully recommend it!
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100g unsalted butter, softened
150g light muscovado sugar
1 large free range egg, at room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
icing sugar to roll - about 3-4 tbsp
(unusually for me, I was using unsalted butter, and my egg was at room temp!)
- Melt the chocolate, either over hot water, or in the microwave if you prefer (I didn't).
- Stir in the butter and leave to melt for a bit. When completely melted, add the sugar, stir in and leave a couple of minutes to cool.
- Beat the egg and vanilla (in a large bowl) just to combine then add the chocolate/butter/sugar mixture to this.
- Sift the flour and bicarb onto the wet mixture (this is why I used a big bowl) and mix well to combine. The mixture will be pretty wet, and you're not going to fancy making biscuits out of it, but don't panic! Cover with clingfilm and allow to chill for at least one hour (I ended up leaving mine much longer - about half a day!)
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I only baked one tray at a time.
- Divide the dough into 30 equal pieces (mine weren't so equal, and I got 32 eventually) and roll into balls.
- Just before baking, roll the balls in the icing sugar. I found that if I did them in advance the icing sugar dissolved, so do them just before you bake them.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes (12 minutes will give a crisper biscuit and is what I went for).
- Remove from the oven and after a minute on the baking tray, move to wire racks to allow them to cool completely.
- My biscuits didn't really spread that much.
- The first batch I left as balls, the second and third I helped along a bit by squashing them gently, just a little. I think this helped and would do it again.
- Don't be tempted to over-bake. I left the first batch in for 15 minutes and the icing sugar started to catch and burn. Boo!
- I also reduced the oven temperature just a little to about Gas 5 1/2 for the second and third batches.
These were really good. The outsides were really crispy from the icing sugar crust, and very sweet and then the inside was still nice and soft, but also a little crumbly. I had thought they would be somehow more chocolatey, but they were delicious as they were, especially with a cup of tea. And I'm pleased to say that they came out looking every bit as good as the photograph in the book - always a sign of a good recipe, when your results look like the authors results!
Stay tuned for more Chocolate Week goodies.....