The first day of summer! Promises to be every bit as warm and sunny as yesterday. N is shown here preparing some of the yummy chocolate biscuits he makes for guests to have with a cup of tea on arrival at Charcott. Gorgeous lilies were a spoiling Mother’s Day present from J.
Chocolate Crackles – makes around 30
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter
150g light brown muscovdo sugar
1 large free-range egg
175g self-raising flour
half teaspoon vanilla extract
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2-3 tablespoons icing sugar
Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Set over hot water and leave to melt gently. When chocolate is melted remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the butter. When the mixture is completely smooth add the muscovado sugar and stit well. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Beat the egg with the vanilla and add to the bowl. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda amd mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover with clingfilm and chill for around 1 hour in the fridge until firm.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F / gas 6. Divide the chocolate dough into 30 even-sized pieces and roll into neat balls. Spoon the icing sugar onto a shallow plate and roll the balls, one at a time, in the sugar to coat thickly. Set on greased baking sheets, spacing well apart to allow for spreading. Bake in batches if necessary.
Bake for 10 minutes for a softer biscuit or 12 minutes for a crisp result. When ready remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for one minute. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. They will firm as they cool. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.