Chocolate Sandwiches

In the kitchen science book What Einstein Told His Chef 2, a chocolate sandwich is described as a cross between a grilled cheese sandwich and a pain au chocolat. Recently, my brother became fascinated with the concept, thanks to reading Roald Dahl and, subsequently, candy (if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was not obvious, Mr. Dahl makes it clear in his first autobiography, Boy, that he loved candy as a child and well into adulthood).

Fun fact: one of the schools that Roald Dahl attended, an all-boys school, was practically next door to Cadbury’s. The chocolate company would regularly send free samples of their new chocolates for the boys to evaluate and provide feedback, attempting to sound like real connoisseurs with comments such as,  “Not subtle enough for the common palette.”

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake with Quinoa Flour (GFCF)

A dear family friend of ours, who also happens to be my brother’s OT (Occupational Therapist) made this cake. Dimity Duckworth is such an outstanding OT and truly wonderful person that she has long since captured a place in the heart of our family and almost everyone she meets, I am sure!  The recipe that she made the cake from calls it bread, but we’re calling it cake. I liked it so much that I simply had to share it with all of you, here. It reminds me of my grandmother’s banana bread, even though peanut butter was never used in her bread (but sometimes there were chocolate chips).

This cake uses quinoa flour, a flour I’ve yet to use in my baking (I have full intentions to, though, since I got that quinoa cookbook!) and she found it a bit heavier than rice flour, which is  what she usually uses but it does add a pleasant, complimentary nuttiness to the cake. Because it’s dense it’s a great snack cake and very satisfying – I cut a slice in half, like in the picture above, and it was enough to still satisfy me.

An interesting fact Dimity told me is that peanut butter isn’t popular to bake with in Australia, so, in her words, she’s really into using it. Since she mentioned it, it has struck me that I have not seen the PB in the Donna Hay magazine or her cookbooks that I’ve borrowed from the library. Is baking with peanut butter very (North) American? (I include North because it seems to be used quite a bit in Canadian baking also.)

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Chocolate Covered Marshmallows for Easter (SCD & GFCF)

One of my favourite treats that are sold around Easter time are chocolate covered marshmallows, which are usually shaped in the form of an egg. I wanted to make marshmallow eggs this year but didn’t have time enough, however I know how to go about it now so that I can do it next time. (I detail how to do this later in the post.)

These marshmallows are made with my basic recipe and as soon as the marshmallow has thickened, it sets fairly quickly unlike marshmallows made with refined sugar and corn syrup (there’s a scientific reason, I know, but I won’t get into it here) so it’s important to not overwork it otherwise it sets as it’s being whipped and you won’t be able to mold it; essentially marshmallow fluff. (This, however, I found is easily rectified by simply putting the marshmallow mass into a pot and gently heating it while stirring until it starts to melt. Once there, pour into the pan and allow it to reset.)

To coat the marshmallows in chocolate, you must temper the chocolate. Over the years I have read several texts, including blogs, about tempering chocolate but I only just learned how with the instructions from Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting Recipes, which, for me, best described how to do it in a straightforward manner. I was well pleased with this accomplishment, especially as this was my very first time to temper chocolate!

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