> The Beesley Buzz: 'I'd had enough of Chocolate' - Now there's a sentence I never expected to hear myself say

'I'd had enough of Chocolate' - Now there's a sentence I never expected to hear myself say

So this week was chocolate week on Bake Off and before the show I made a rather silly decision. I decided that I was going to try the trickiest bake out of the 3 challenges. Chocolate tarts I've made before - albeit not ones that look as amazing or flavoursome as the ones the contestants made. Souffle I've never made and although it certainly looked technical for the technical challenge, the finished product just didn't have the wow factor for me, so I have gone for the 'showstopper' challenge - but on a smaller scale.

I tried to stay true to the key elements for this week which were to use white chocolate, biscuit and make it 3D. (I did attempt 3D but my 'nest' wasn't having any of it and collapsed - but at least I tried).
my nest did start out 3-dimensional
And I have learnt some very important lessons about working with chocolate...here are a few...
  • it cannot be rushed - you need oodles of patience
  • clear out plenty of space in your fridge and freezer - you'll need it
  • chocolate melts oh so easily all over your hands so take care
  • plan ahead so you know what you need to do once you have melted your chocolate
  • try not to eat too much of the leftover chocolate or you will regret it!   
My kitchen resembled something out of a sci-fi movie!
Inspired by Nadya's peacock, I wanted to attempt some chocolate feathers I had seen on How to Cook that. So I decided to make them into peacock feathers. I used a blob of white chocolate and a smaller blob of white chocolate to make the 'eye' in the peacock feathers. After the chocolate was set I coloured the larger blob green using sugar flair paste on a brush and the smaller blob blue. Then it was just a case of assembling the feather. The feathers are SO SO fragile. I made 6 and ended up with only 4 successful ones. Keep them in the fridge or freezer until you are ready or they will melt upon touch as they are so thin and chocolate melts at body temperature.

If I had more patience or had planned ahead properly, I would have liked to attempt the ice sugar-water nest method that Nadya used. That can also be found on How to Cook that. But even with Miss T at pre-school today, I couldn't spare the 2-3 hours needed for the glucose water to cool in the freezer. 

So I used the foil-wrapped bowl technique to try to get a nest-ish shape. Because my biscuit 'eggs' were so heavy, the nest wasn't strong enough to hold them properly but I think it still had a nesty-feel to it. 

I'd had a go at making chocolate leaves a few weeks ago without much success but lessons learnt from that attempt meant that they turned out pretty well this time. I made some milk chocolate leaves and some white chocolate leaves. I used washed mint leaves from the garden as I think it is important to use edible leaves in case any leaf residue transfers to the chocolate. 

The lesson I learnt from last time is to use a really thick layer of chocolate on the back of the leaf (where the leaf veins are more pronounced so will leave a better imprint on the chocolate). Forget painting on with a brush - I just used my finger to smear on the chocolate. Chill well to set the chocolate and then carefully peel off the mint leaf. 

I popped them back in the fridge until everything else was ready. As I mentioned the chocolate melts too easily otherwise! 

Now for my 'biscuit' element. I decided to use one of my favourite types of biscuit, Shortbread, along with one of my favourite flavours, cardamom. They were then dipped in white chocolate and have had gold lustre dust brushed on. Here's the recipe:

Cardamom and Orange Blossom Shortbread 'eggs'
85g plain flour
55g butter
25g caster sugar
ground cardamom (grind up seeds of 2-3 cardamom pods)
a couple of drops of orange blossom water

Coating is tempered white chocolate, brushed with gold lustre dust once set. 
Making shortbread 'eggs' 
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Add the ground cardamom to the flour then rub together the flour and butter to resemble breadcrumbs.
3. Add in the sugar and mix. 
4. Add the orange blossom water and press into a dough. 
5. Shape the dough into 'egg' shapes. 
6. To maintain the egg shape whilst cooking, I wrapped each 'egg' in tinfoil like a sweetie with both ends twisted. I also made a couple of 'control' versions without the foil and they didn't fare too badly and held their shape better than I expected - so the foil step isn't essential. In fact, although the non-foil versions had flatter bases, the top was smoother and rounder rather than taking on the crinkle pattern from the foil so either method would work. 
7. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C. This is longer than I would normally cook shortbread biscuits for because they are egg shaped, I wanted to make sure they are cooked through. 
8. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Once cool enough to remove the foil, I placed mine in the freezer for a while.
9. Dip into melted, tempered white chocolate and leave on baking paper to set. Ideally you should double-dip them to make them look smoother and have thicker chocolate on them but by this stage I'd had enough of chocolate and couldn't face melting more chocolate to double-dip them (Now there's a sentence I never expected to say - ever!)
10. Once set, I brushed with gold lustre dust and then assembled them as part of my nest/feathers/leaves chocolate creation. 

And that's it my day has gone and it's time for the afternoon school / preschool run. It was fun playing with chocolate although I do wonder how long this is going to last once the kids come through the front door! 

One last little update to add - pic from instagram - this is what I made just by piping leftover chocolate onto acetate and it has now set:
A photo posted by Rebecca Beesley (@rebeccabeesley) on
Linking up with Mummy's Mishaps #GBBOBloggers2015 which is being hosted at Baking Queen74 this week.

Mummy Mishaps

And Silver Mushroom's Bake with Bake Off challenge (#BWBO): 


  1. Oh my goodness you are SO creative and talented !! Those chocolate leaves are my favourite. And yes you must have the patience of a saint, I'm such an impatient cook. Risotto's are my worst nightmare because you actually have to STAND at the pan and stir the whole time it's cooking. I hope it all tasted as good as it looks!


    1. I totally know what you mean about risotto - I cook the rice separately first these days and kind of merge it together with all the other ingredients towards the end. x

  2. wow! you have been busy and your chocolate work is brilliant - really well done! it all looks really professional xx
    thank you for all your work this series and for joining in xx

    1. it's been such fun - I normally give up baking along by this stage as I am totally out of my depth but have really enjoyed sticking with it and having a try anyway this year. x

  3. WOW! It looks amazing! It's impressive what you did, the feather looks realistic and you made a lot of details. It is stunning.

  4. Holy Moly!! They look amazing.. fair play to you for putting in all that effort.. sheesh! I think I am all choclated out, just reading about it!! Hazel x

    1. thanks Hazel. I think it took so long because i wasn't used to doing chocolatey stuff - but it was fun! x

  5. Well done, I'm sorry your basket broke but it still looks amazing x

    1. thanks Cathy. It still tasted fine -after all broken chocolate is still chocolate! x

  6. Very pretty, especially like the detail on the leaves x

  7. I really love your chocolate leaves, they look brilliant, what a lovely creation

  8. Oh wow they look fantastic! They look so pretty I'd never be able to eat them :-) x #gbbobloggers2015

    1. the kids got stuck into eating it all as soon as they were home from school! x

  9. Just wow! Your feathers especially look brilliant - hats off to you!

  10. Wow! Maybe I should go all out on a chocolate creation to put me off chocolate :-D Love it and your bee too!

    1. thanks Louise. It didn't actually put me off eating chocolate - i just got fed up of melting it. x

  11. It looks amazing, I love how carefully everything is thought out, those biscuits sound yummy too.

  12. those feathers & leaves are amazing!


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