This month I have the honour of hosting We Should Cocoa, a blogging challenge created by Chele at Chocolate Teapot and Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog. We Should Cocoa usually asks participants to pair chocolate with another ingredient (you may remember the chocolate and coffee edition last June) but this time I want you to share a famous chocolate recipe. It could be Jennifer Lawrence’s chocolate cake, or the chocolate ice cream most favoured by Brad Pitt. You might be famed for your never-fail chocolate mousse, or your neighbour might be renowned for her chocolate muffins. Either way, I want you to share the recipe.
Taking part is easy. The full rules of engagement are here – but essentially all you need to do is make something involving fame and chocolate, write about it on your blog (including a link to this post, and to Choclette and Chele). Then, come back and add your post to the linky thing below. Tweet me when you’re done (using the hashtag #weshouldcocoa) and I’ll spread the word. In the meantime, let me introduce you to a recipe that deserves wider fame and fortune.
Martin Clunes’ Cold Dog Biscuits
When I was about seven, one of my brothers dared me to eat a dog biscuit. I still recall how it tasted – like a dry, wholemeal slab with a hint of beef stock – but what I remember more was the absolute fear of opening the massive drum the biscuits were stored in in the garage. Seven-year-old girls don’t much like the taste of Tux dog biscuits, but rats love them. I was petrified of opening the drum and a rat jumping out (or worse, wriggling down to the bottom, waiting to jump out or nibble my fingers).
I hadn’t thought about that experience until recently, when a pencil-scrawled recipe fluttered out of an old notebook. It was for Martin Clunes’ Cold Dog Biscuits – a recipe I’d copied out of The Independent in 2005. Then, Martin Clunes was omnipresent on English TV and at work our TV writers were forever going on set visits to Cornwall to watch him make Doc Martin. I couldn’t stand the show and detested that we devoted so much time and energy to the cult of Martin Clunes on behalf of Britain’s newspaper readers. This recipe though, was enough to make me hate him a little bit less. I just wish he’d explained why they were called Cold Dog Biscuits, because they are absolutely delicious. The chocolate is soft and velvety, punctuated by nuggests of cherries, walnuts and smashed up biscuits and pretzels. Just one and you’ll be like one of Pavlov’s dogs as soon as you see fridge door opening.
175g plain sweet biscuits (Rich Tea, Superwine, Digestive – that sort of thing)
50g pretzels (or use more biscuits)
100g glace cherries, halved
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
225g good quality chocolate
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp rum or brandy
Line a brownie pan – about 20cm x 30cm with baking paper and set aside.
Put the biscuits and pretzels in a thick plastic bag and seal tightly. Bash the bag with a rolling pin until the biscuits are broken, but not pulverised into dust. Set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate together over very low heat. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the rum. Stir this mixture into the chocolate, then add the smashed biscuits, along with the cherries and walnuts. Mix until well combined, then scrape into the prepared tin. Smooth the top, then put in the fridge for at least two hours to set.
Slice into small pieces – a little goes a long way – and store in a covered container in the fridge.
Have a great weekend, everyone. If you’re in Wellington, come and buy some baking from me at the Newtown Street Fair on Sunday. If you’re somewhere else, get your We Should Cocoa thinking cap on…