I’m going to put a stake in the ground here, and say that this might just be my new favourite ‘Christmas’ cake.

It’s a departure from tradition. There’s no dried fruit. No brandy. No candied peel. Heck, there’s not even any flour! But to me, this cake is everything that we could ever want a cake to provide us with at Christmas time. It’s dark, rich, and indulgent. It feels like a ‘special occasion’ bake, thanks to it requiring four odd bars of dark chocolate and eight eggs to put together. The fresh mint and rich chocolate flavours are about as festive as you can get, especially when paired with an airy dollop of sweetened, freshly-whipped double cream. And even more especially when that cream too has been spiked with peppermint essence, to bring out the minty notes in the cake. It’s Christmas cake, reinvented!

The recipe (which I’ve adapted ever so slightly with the addition of mint), comes courtesy of Karina Allrich’s new book ‘Gluten-Free Goddess’. I was sent the book last week to review, and even as a die-hard recipe book junkie (it’s a good job Jason built our kitchen shelving units to be extra strong, or else they’d be groaning under the weight of my cookery book library) this one was especially intriguing to me. See, Karina’s recipe book is entirely self-published! I’d not come across the idea of self-publishing before now, and it’s such a fascinating one.

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ was published via Blurb, a company that enables anyone and everyone to create and market their own book. It’s the marketing side that I think is especially unique and exciting- Blurb have a system that enables authors to distribute their books via Amazon, as well as sell directly through their own online ‘storefront’. One of the things I think is most empowering and liberating about the digital age we’re living in is the freedom of expression we now have. We can write updates, statutes, tweets, blogs, and now even books, and share them with the world right from the comfy spot on our living room sofa. I’ve spent a good while sussing out Blurb’s site, and they seem to make publishing so very accessible and user-friendly. I even spied a book for sale on the site that was written and collated by a 13 year old! She’d written in her bio that all proceeds from sales would be put towards developing and furthering her writing skills, and the publishing of future books. And if you ask me, if a service that enables young people, and really, people of any age, to pursue their passions and take charge of their creative endeavours in such a real and exciting way isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is!

Collecting-eggs-Cider-with-Rosie-Rosie-Reynolds Melted-chocolate-Cider-with-Rosie Cracking-eggs Flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ has some gorgeous looking recipes inside it, the vast majority with clear photographs to go alongside them (always a major plus point for me, when it comes to recipe books). Being self-published, of course, it’s not as sleek and elegantly branded as the recipe books we see on the shelves of Waterstones and the like, but there’s something quite charming about its rustic and ‘from the heart’ feel. My most treasured recipes are the ones given to me by loved ones- the recipes narrated to me by friends over the phone that’re scribbled hastily in the back of my recipe binder, or the little cut-up cereal box scraps I keep tucked in a folder that my Grandma wrote down all her favourite recipes on. Gluten-Free Goddess, with all its friendly warmth and imperfect charm, has that same sort of ‘from one friend to another’, ‘from my kitchen to yours’ feeling to it. Hats off to Karina for this recipe, and the awesomeness of publishing her own recipe book. It’s a beautiful one!

Flourless chocolate cake {recipe by Karina Allrich, adapted minimally by me}.
Ingredients ::
16.oz 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup soft light brown sugar
1/2 caster sugar
3/4 cup hot strong coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
8 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp peppermint extract

- Line the base of a 10″ round springform cake pan with foil, and grease the edges with a little softened butter. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

- Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, and set it over a pan to melt. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer until soft and light, and then mix in the cocoa powder.

- Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, beating as you go. With the beaters still running carefully pour in the hot coffee, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

- Beat the 8 eggs together with the vanilla extract, and again, slowly pour into the chocolate mixture with the beaters running. Lastly, add in the peppermint extract and mix to combine.

- Empty the mixture into the greased and lined cake pan, then bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is cracked and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Leave the cake to cool completely before cutting- it will sink and deflate as it cools, and become even more beautifully cracked and rugged.

- Dust with icing sugar, and serve with a little freshly whipped, sweetened, and mint-spiked whipped cream, plus a few berries to go alongside.

Chcolate-and-mint-flourless-cake-recipe Karina-Allrich-Cider-with-Rosie-review Gluten-free-chocolate-mint-cake-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie  

** This post was sponsored by Blurb, who asked me to review one of their self-published books and share my honest thoughts here on Cider with Rosie. My opinions, as always, are my own.


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I love a toffee apple, I do. My first memory of eating one was when I was around 5 or 6, at a Bonfire Night firework party hosted by my infant school. My Mum, Grandma and I had gone along for the evening, and they treated me to a toffee apple (which was exciting for 5 or 6 year old me! All that sugar! Yes! I win!), but the toffee was so thick and hard that I couldn’t even crack through it. If I remember correctly, the fireworks began shortly after that, I burst into tears (wasn’t fond of the loud noises, you see) and the whole night fizzled out like a soggy Catherine Wheel. Not the best.

But! These days, even though having grown up teeth makes eating toffee apples totally manageable,  I’m more fond of chocolate-covered varieties. They’re the easiest thing in the world to put together, look far more impressive than their caramelly cousins (in my humble opinion, at least), and would make a beautiful centrepiece for a Halloween party table. Or at least, the kind of Halloween party I imagine fabulous Americans host around this time of year. I’ve never met anyone who’s had a Halloween party here in the UK that wasn’t just all about cat ears on headbands, Pringles, and beer. But anyway! Make these for your imaginary extravagant Halloween party, make them for friends and family as fun gifts, or else just make them for yourself and eat three in one day!

Chocolate-covered-apple-recipe Halloween-chocolate-covered-apples White-dark-and-milk-chocolate-apples

Now, let me give you three guesses for the ingredients?

It’s a long list-
1. Apples.
2. Lobsters. Not really, the second ingredient is chocolate, of course. To coat six apples with chocolate, I used 2x100g bars of good quality dark (Lindt’s dark chocolate with sea salt is my favourite of all favourites!), 1x100g bar white chocolate, and 1x120g bar milk chocolate.

To make ::
- Take a few of your favourite apples (I used lovely crisp Braeburns), and use a thin, sharp metal skewer to poke a hold into the top of the apple (just next to the stalk) down to about halfway through. Then push a square-edged wooden skewer into the hole you’ve just made, being careful not to push it too far down into the apple.

- Melt each of your different types of chocolate in a bain marie (a bowl set over a pan of simmering water), taking care that the bottom of each bowl doesn’t touch the water. Carefully coat each apple in melted chocolate, making sure that the excess chocolate drains off. If it’s too thick, it doesn’t set nearly so nicely!

- If you want to dip the apples in extras (think cacao nibs, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, sprinkles) wait until the chocolate has almost set and is just tacky before doing any dippin’! I learnt the hard way that if you try and do sprinkles + a fresh coating of melted chocolate + apples, you and your kitchen will wind up in a whole heap of mess ;)

- To decorate with little ribbons of melted chocolate, cut a circle of parchment paper, then fold it in half once to make a half circle, and then twice more to form a small triangle. Fill up the little pouch with melted chocolate, fold over the top, then trim the tiniest snip of paper off the end of the paper pouch to form a piping bag. Draw a few lines of chocolate onto a board to test the flow of chocolate, then just go crazy! Layering up thin ribbons of different coloured chocolate created my favourite effect.

N.B ::
Good quality chocolate melts better than cheaper bars. I tried coating an apple with melted Galaxy chocolate, and it wound up thick, lumpy, and dull-looking. The Lindt bars I used set with a far more beautiful and smooth finish.

Ways-to-decorate-chocolate-covered-apples Gourmet-candied-apples! Halloween-chocolate-toffee-apples

p.s. Don’t forget to tag me in any photos and use the hashtag #ciderwithrosiecooks on twitter/Instagram/Facebook (can you tag on Fbook? I don’t know) if you have a go at making them yourself! :)


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Ahhh, these brownies. Made on a whim late one evening (after a sudden realisation that the following day was a day that called for brownies) and promptly deemed The Best Brownies I’ve Ever Made (according to my taster-in-chief-fiancé). It’s no secret that I’m a disciple of the Gospel of Nigella, and these are a riff on her foolproof (and completely incredible) Everyday Brownies. The recipe is a killer for many reasons, but this reason is my favourite one: They’re an absolute bargain to make!

For me, if a brownie recipe calls for 4+ bars of pricey, best-quality dark chocolate (as so many of them do), it immediately makes those brownies into a fancy dessert option, as opposed to the delightfully filthy afternoon treat I prefer them to be. I like my brownies to be as easy to put together and as affordable as they are dense and fudgy, and these tick every box. And on that note, we’re totally cheating on the caramel front in these babies. No boiling of cans of condensed milk, no melting+swirling+burning+fretting over pans of boiling sugar- just a bar (or box) of your favourite caramel filled milk chocolates. Chocolate connoisseurs look away now, because Galaxy caramel is my favourite to use.

Now, let’s get to that recipe!


^^ Would’ya take a look at that ooze? That’s the money shot right there. Jason and I often bicker over who gets to eat those extra-gooey centre slices of brownie ;) ^^


Ingredients ::
150g unsalted butter
300g light brown sugar
75g cocoa powder
150g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g of white chocolate & 12 squares of caramel chocolate.

-Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius, then measure out the butter into a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat.

- When it’s melted, turn the heat down low and stir in the sugar. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of sofa and salt into a separate bowl. Stir it into the butter and sugar mixture, stopping just as soon as the flour and cocoa powder has been incorporated.

- Crack the four eggs into a jug, and whisk them together with the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour it into the rest of the brownie batter a little at a time, stirring between each addition.

- Chop up a bar of white chocolate into smallish chunks, and then stir them quickly into the brownie batter.

- Pour half of the batter into a 25 centimetre square baking dish lined with tinfoil, then spread it out flat. Press 12 squares of caramel filled chocolate into the batter, and then pour over the remaining brownie mixture and smooth over the top. Put the dish into the centre of the oven to cook for between 20 and 25 minutes. A 20 minute bake will give you really soft, squidgy brownies, and cooking them for slightly longer will make them more cakey and easier to slice.

- Allow the brownies to cool completely in their tin, and then slice them into 12 generous squares or about 16 more modest portions. These brownies will keep well for about 3 or 4 days if stored in an airtight container, but I’ve yet to make a batch that’s lasted longer than 48 hours!


Shall we have a sharing of favourite brownie recipes in the comments? Or maybe, a sharing of what kind of additions make a brownie go from good to great. Next batch I make, I’m thinking about maybe adding a little peppermint flavour, or perhaps some peanut butter…


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Two chocolate recipes in the same week? What can I say! It’s a phase. An addiction. An infatuation.

I’m going to level with you now though- this isn’t really a recipe. Because you can’t really call ‘take two ingredients, and pop one ingredient inside the other one’ a recipe, can you? Or…can you? It’s more…a pointer. A nudge in the right direction, if you like. Because you should probably make these, sharpish.

Chocolate and fruit together is my absolute favourite thing. Fruit fondue? Bring it. Strawberry/raspberry/blackcurrant truffles? You betcha. I can find a fruit truffle in a chocolate box quicker than a flash, no messing. I home in on them like a sniffer dog on a scent. Jason hates chocolate with fruit, which is totally perfect in my book since it means there’s noone around to fight me for the strawberry creams. He’s more a caramel/praline man, in case you were wondering.

These chocolate pomegranate cups explode when you bite into them, in the same way that a really great fruit truffle explodes all sharp and tangy and sweet when your teeth crack its shell. I like to keep them in the fridge, so that the juiciness of the pomegranate seeds- already impossibly juicy as they are- is intensified. Best enjoyed as a mid-afternoon pick me up, with a sweet flat white on the side and a napkin to catch any pomegranate-drips.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this non-recipe…

Pomegranate Dark-chocolate-pomegranate-seeds2

1 cup (about 150g, give or take) good quality dark chocolate.
1 pomegranate, deseeded.

- Lay out about 12 mini cake cases- either silicone (as shown) or paper- in a tray/roasting dish. Deseed the pomegranate (I wrote about the fail-safe technique I use for deseeding pomegranates in this post here) whilst melting the chocolate in a bain marie over a gentle heat until glossy and molten.

- Take about half the pomegranate seeds, and then divide them between the cases. Pour some of the melted chocolate into each cup to cover the seeds, and then repeat the process (layering up seeds and melted chocolate) until the chocolate and seeds are all used up. 

- Give the tray with the cases in a sharp rap on the counter to knock out any air bubbles, and then place into the fridge for about half an hour, or until set.

As with the peanut butter cups, since we haven’t tempered the chocolate it may bloom if stored at room temperature. I’ve waxed lyrical enough about how great they taste straight from the fridge to convince you they’re best stored chilled though, right?
  Dark-chocolate-pomegranate-seeds3 Dark-chocolate-pomegranate-seeds4

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Read from the beginning >