Welcome to our very first Robyn Bach recipe. Written for cooks both big and bach, it makes for a creative half hour on a wet day.
Part of the fun is preparing your mise en place. This is a French term, used in restaurant kitchens for when the chefs are preparing their ingredients to cook with. It means, putting in place – getting ready to cook something good.
This is just like making your very own chocolate bar. You take melted chocolate and add all sorts of yummy toppings.
So how do we choose our Smashing toppings?
For crunch, toasted hazelnuts, salted peanuts or vibrant green pistachio nuts are all delicious. Add some spice with aniseed, cinnamon or cardamom. How about some cocoa nibs, toasted coconut, or even granola? You can add natural sweetness with dried mulberries, chopped raisins or sunny, dried apricots. Take a look in the cupboard for inspiration. My daughter had a rummage in the Red Berry Special K cereal box to retrieve colourful, dried raspberries. Now there’s an idea..
I went with toasted coconut and hazelnuts, mulberries, aniseed, cocoa nibs and cardamom. Plus a few flecks of sea salt, that leave you hunting for more.
Take this recipe as a starting point - once you get the general idea, you can make your own creations with toppings of your choice.
200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces.
A large spoonful or two of any of the above toppings.
A little sea salt – but not if you’re using salted peanuts, as that’ll be salty enough.
Coconut oil, to grease the tin
Line a small tin with foil, and brush with a little melted coconut oil. Set to one side.
Prepare your toppings and place in small bowls. You may need to chop your nuts, snip your apricots with scissors, toast your hazelnuts. Think of it as being like a pick and mix.
Place the chocolate into a medium saucepan, and over a very low heat, melt it down. Stir regularly with a wooden spoon, to make sure the chocolate doesn’t catch, and as soon as it’s melted, take it off the heat.
Pour two thirds of the melted chocolate into your prepared tin and, using a spatula, smooth it around to form an even surface.
Now get creative. Scatter your favourite toppings over the chocolate. Be generous.
With the remaining chocolate, drizzle it over the toppings.
If you have any toppings left, add these now, to make a second layer.
Finish off, with the very last scrapings of chocolate. You’re good to go.
Place the tin into either the fridge or the freezer to set.
Tackle the washing up and take a juice break.
After half an hour, the chocolate will be set. Ask a grown up to cut the chocolate into large shards for you, as it will take a large knife and a chopping board.
Dive in and enjoy the fruits of your labour.