Apparently it’s October. I say apparently because the only things pointing to it being Autumn is the date and the number of pumpkin recipes appearing on every other blog I follow. We have been having some lovely unseasonable weather in the UK, with temperatures up to 22°C it feels positively summery. I know this is all going to change this week though, with the weather men pointing to the large area of cold air moving over the UK (and seemingly only over the UK) and the north wind that’s going to bring us right back to down to chilly, pumpkin soup and a blanket, Autumnal earth. OK I sound far too much like the weather man, I’ve been watching too much BBC breakfast. (Apologies American readers, you probably haven’t experienced the joys of the slightly news based breakfast tv show that gets less an less serious the closer to 9am it gets. In fact, past about 8:30 I genuinely think they say to themselves, “well heck, no one’s really watching anymore, it doesn’t matter what we say/do/feature as “news”. Kids talking about what book they like to read? Definitely worth a good five minute feature. Really? I just don’t care about the small children’s favourite books, please take them off my television screen.)
Anyway, there is cake in this post somewhere! Sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits to be precise.
My sister was going to her friend’s for the weekend and felt she needed to take some baked goods of some sort, but found she didn’t have the time to bake anything as she was doing her first 10k run on Saturday morning, before leaving Saturday afternoon. So she sort of commissioned me to make these cookie/cake sandwiches, which would be impressive but easily transported. Impressive they were, time consuming and elaborate to make they were too. They have three components: chocolate biscuits, chocolate mud cake and chocolate ganache. It’s a sandwich where the biscuit is bread, the butter is ganache and the filling is cake. Chocolate heaven.
Not dairy free chocolate heaven though. As I was making them for my sister to take, I went and bought butter and cream to make these. It was weird. I had forgotten what butter smelt like. Here’s the dairy-laden recipe, straight from a book from Marks and Spencer aptly named “Cookies”.Ingredients, makes 38 sandwiches For the Biscuits 250g butter 330g soft brown sugar 2 eggs 450g plain flour 75g self raising flour 2 tablespoons cocoa powder For the Chocolate Mud Cake 150g butter 100g dark chocolate 220g caster sugar 125ml water 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (optional) 150g plain flour 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 2 egg yolks For the ganache 80ml single cream 200g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 170°C, 150°C for a fan oven. Grease two 20x30cm baking tins or trays with baking paper, with the sides 2cm taller than the tins. I used two different sized tins, as long as the overall size is about the same.
Make the chocolate mud cake but combining the butter, chocolate, sugar, water and liqueur (if using) in a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. Place mixture in a medium bowl and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Then whisk in the sifter flour and cocoa, then the egg yolks. Divide the mixture between the two tins and get the tops as flat as possible. Bake about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in tins.
Make the chocolate ganache by bringing the cream to the boil in a small saucepan, remove it from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Refrigerate until spreadable. (I have never found this method to work really, don’t stir the chocolate in too much, otherwise it will split, allow it to melt and then mix. If it does split and look oily and horrible, chill it and then add a dribble more cream or milk and mix, it should come back to a smoother ganache consistency.) Warm in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s too firm to spread. It should be like slightly melted nutella, not chilled nutella.
For the biscuits, beat the softened butter, sugar and eggs in a stand mixer until thoroughly combined. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa powder in two batches. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour if it’s more like cake batter than cookie dough. Divide the dough in half, roll each portion between sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 160°C for a fan oven. Grease and line as many oven trays as you can fit in your oven.
Using a 5.5cm cutter, cut out as many circles of cooled mud cake as you can get from them and set aside.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and use the same cutter to cut out double the number of cake rounds. Place on baking trays a couple of centimetres apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Assemble the sandwiches by spreading ganache on the underside of the cookies and sandwiching a mud cake circle between two cookies.