Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce (Gluten Free)

So Easter is over and no longer will we have to endure cute bunnies and eggs taking over the blog World.   If you want to use up your left over Easter eggs then try this  recipe for naughty hot chocolate fudge sauce which is perfect accompaniment to an ice-cream sundae and you can use up any left over easter eggs either in the sauce of by scattering them on top.

This sauce so my family tells me is rich, fudgy and as my son says ‘delish’.  It only took 20 minutes to make and would make a great gift coupled with a small bag of chocolate or fudge to give the gift of a Sundae.  A number of friends have told me I should go on Dragon’s Den with this recipe or sell it to Ann Summers for lickable body paint but I think not.  Of course what you do with the sauce in your own home is up to you.

You are probably wondering why I have not tried any of this sundae if it is so delicious?  Well,  milk and I do not see eye to eye.  In a chemical warfare battle between my stomach and ice-cream – the frozen stuff wins and it is just not worth it.  It was so hard to take these photographs and not lick the spoon or the bowl as I love ice-cream but it would have reaped its revenge on me.  Luckily I enjoyed watching my boys and the surrogate one (Ron) lick their spoons with glee so that made up for it.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks (or more) if you use a sealed jar (e.g Kilner or Mason). To use the sauce just scoop the sauce you need into a bowl and heat in a pan or in the microwave for about 30 seconds on medium until it comes back to pouring consistency. I have included the jar label files (scroll down) so you can decorate your jars and make them look all pretty. Just print them out and glue them on I only used a glue stick as they are not going to stay on very long. I have included photoshop editing compatibility on the pdf for those who wish to edit and change the wording or colours – my gift to you.

You could also use the sauce on a cake between the layers for a chocolate fudge experience and heat it up and serve it with ice cream mmmmm.

The Geeky Hunt

I set my family an Easter Egg hunt where for each egg found they were given a binary number as I still on a binary kick (read chocolate & binary – trust me it is the best learning combination).  I can’t say they were initially thrilled at the idea as it required effort but no pain no gain I say and after all Mummy had been to Hotel Chocolat and therefore extra effort to gain these gifts were required.  Once they had worked out the decimal from the binary code (one per egg found)  they had to match the number to the letter in the alphabet (e.g 1 = A, 2 = B) then they had to put the letters in the right order to find out the location of their egg.  Ha ha I loved watching them try to figure it out 🙂 and I am so doing it again next year.

Ingredients (Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce adapted from BBC Good Food)

To make this gluten or wheat free – use Green and Blacks Cocoa or Nestle – or check the manufacturers label. For more tips see my post – 7 tips for gluten free baking.
200g granulated sugar
140g vanilla sugar or use caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (seeds)
85g dark muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp espresso powder
100g cocoa (I use green and blacks)
30g cornflour
1 tin (410g) of evaporated milk
250ml water
50g butter cut into small cubes
2 tsp of vanilla extract (add at the end of cooking)

1. Place all the ingredients into a large pan over a medium heat and stir constantly until you reach boiling point (approx 10 – 15 mins).
2. Continue cooking for a further 5 mins and the sauce will begin to thicken. Depending on how you like your sauce (thick or slightly runny) take it off the heat when you are happy with the pouring consistency. Add the vanilla essence.
3. If you are not using the sauce straight away you can pour into sterilised jars and add pretty labels.

The PDF labels (I have not done this before so please do not yell at me if this does not work!) I believe all you need to do is click on the link to open the file and then right click to save it (you will need a pdf reader).


Learning binary with chocolate to bring out the geek in you

Those of you who follow me on twitter or instagram will know I have been learning binary due to the governments move towards teaching children computing. I spent a whole evening learning how to count in binary which I actually enjoyed in a geekish way until I realised I had written the numbers on my fingers in permanent pen (oops).    Binary is the language computers talk in and is represented by 1’s and 0’s to show on and off currents.  Ok (yawn) so what does this have to do with chocolate?  Read on to find out, join in the quiz for some Easter fun and learn a new game to amuse Kids and Adults in boring car journeys and queues over the holidays!

I was so enthused with Binary I ended up teaching it to my friend and we used it to rate the Hotel Chocolat Sleekster egglets from the Easter collection.  In the last review of HC I choose a premium box but this time opted for the Sleekster as it has a wide variety of flavours designed to suit everyone and is for sharing.  To me sharing and Hotel Chocolat do not mix.

We rated each egglet using binary by showing each other the scores using our fingers. We had quite a giggle actually and it is a great tool for teaching mental maths to children.  Try it out:

As you can see from the image above each finger respresents a number (16, 8, 4,2,1 ) and to count in Binary using your hands you show the amount of fingers that make up the total number you are trying to show.

For example: this image would represent 12 (8 +4) or 01100

Think of 0’s = off or fingers down and 1’s = fingers up or on.  This image above is showing the 00110 as the 0’s are the fingers down and 1’s are the fingers up.  Be wary of doing the numbers 4 and 6 towards someone as you may cause offence which is probably why we were giggling so much.

You can use Binary to count up to 31 on just one hand and it gives your brain a work out.  Watch this 9 year old count to 31 on one hand in 30 seconds!  Why not set your own geeky competition for your children as some Easter ‘stuck indoors fun’ or on car journeys and the bonus is they will be learning computing and mental maths.  Using what you have learnt about binary see if you can work out what scores we gave the chocolates and then you can be a geek too.  If that is not enough for you show them this binary magic card trick – this amused me for hours (little things do it for me).

The Scores (averaged between us and out of 16)

Lemon Ganache                       01100 (remember – 0 = finger down, 1 = finger up)
Plain Praline                             01100
Speyside Whisky                      01011
Mango                                       01011
Advocat                                     01010
Ginger & Dark                           00100

Now to change things up – I will give you the number what would the binary be?

Runny Salted Caramel              9 (what fingers do you need to show this?)  e.g. 01001
Raspberry                                 13
Caramel Praline                        11
Pink Champagne                      16

Overall the Sleekster is a great variety box that allows you taste a wide array of what HC has to offer but now I know what to expect of the flavours in future I will gravitate towards my favourites rather than a selection box.  I think there is always one or two chocolates that you do not like (I guess that is why I was supposed to share).

Whilst I was very pleased with them after I read the review by Homemade by Fleur for an extra thick ‘You crack me up’ Easter egg I really wish I had opted for one of those.  However the HC range is far superior to any other chocolate I have tried and I will certainly look at more ranges in the future as they really are a treat.  The chocolate is always thick and the flavours carefully balanced.    You get a free gift if you spend over £35 and there are many different and unusual chocolates to choose from like the choco hot cross buns they really caught my eye.

Final quiz for you –  Overall I gave the Sleekster 01100 out of 16 what was the final score?

A Review and Hotel Chocolat Giveaway

Win your Hotel Chocolat ‘Head Over Heels’ box featured and reviewed below! Full details are at the bottom of this review – Good Luck.  The winner of the box was the Daisy Cake Company who can be found here – congratulations and enjoy!

Review Of Hotel Chocolat (all views are my own and I have not been paid for this review – click to see my disclosure rules). We are always happy to review products fairly so please feel free to contact cakeboule at gmail dot com.

Hotel Chocolat sent me the ‘Head over Heels’ selection from their beautiful valentine range. Immediatley I choose a small selection of Hotel Chocolat virgins whose first words were ‘Who’s Hotel Chocolat?’ but after a quick google were up for the challenge. These ladies are self confessed chocolate addicts who aim for vast quantities to hit the chocolate spot rather than quality (Thorntons probably being the highest on their list so far) and none of whom would ever dream of paying £25 for a box of chocolates. So Hotel Chocolat this is going to be your toughest taste test yet as these are hardened testers who enter this review unconvinced by prestigious brand chocolate and pretty packaging as all they are looking for is a chocolate kick. Will you transform these normal unconvinced everyday girls into Hotel Chocolat lovers and make them fall ‘Head Over Heels’ or will you be blown out the water faster than a nerd on a first date?

Mission : “Would you be happy to get this box for Valentines Day?”

The Mission Testers:
ProTester Big Bump – religiously eats chocolate by the bag full (one is never enough) and prefers dark strong chocolate flavours to satisfy her intense cravings. In younger years she has been known to carefully peel out chocolate from her Mother’s Easter egg without disturbing the foil so nobody would know it had gone (ingenious!).
ProTester I’m in Charge – set out the chocolate tasting rules with expert military precision and for that we were grateful. She has been known to sneakily eat her son’s chocolate bars when really desperate for her chocaholics fix but got caught out when she forget to hide the wrapper. She prefers milk chocolate to dark generally.
ProTester OCD (note taker) – one of those annoying people who can stop after one chocolate and still has half an easter egg left festering in the cupboard which flew out of the cupboard and hit her on the head recently.

Testing Procedure: Each chocolate was cut into 3, smelt, centres licked and then sucked into oblivion.

The Box Test – If you were left these what would you think?

Pro Tester Big Bump: I’d know someone had brought me a quality gift just by the feel and look of the box but I would still not believe they cost £25 – I would have to google it to see how much they were.
ProTester I’m in Charge: The layout of the box and chocolates says quality and there is not a hint of tackiness at all.
Pro Tester OCD: How much! I like to have things I can keep but I would keep the box as it so pretty but I would never dream of paying that much for a box of choclates so I am not convinced.

Opening the Box: Bowled over or Chocolate flop?
ProTester Big Bump: menu given is well crafted and on quality card stock continuing to make you realise this is not your ordinary box of chocolates that you would find in Aldi. The menu lacks a gluten free symbol which would be very helpful to those who are coeliac.
Pro Tester I’m in Charge: Opens the box, wafts her hand towards her nose and breathes in the aroma deeply (similar to the dog version of I am going to smell you before I lick you). The smell of dark, rich chocolate aroma hits you with force as you pull off the outer layer. The chocolates are beautifully presented with an interesting combination of decoration and colour. You don’t see this in a box of milk tray.
ProTester OCD: The smell is divine – they should make plug in air fresheners that go through the different chocolate smells.

The Chocolates : Worth the Money or Never Repeat Again?

Strawberry & Black Pepper
An unusual combination which had a very rich with a very smooth strawberry truffle with the bite of black pepper as a punchy aftertaste like pleasure and pain rolled into one chocolate. ProTester Big Bump: This was the odd ball but lovable.

Champagne Truffle
Hardness of the chocolate is balanced well against the smoothness of the intoxicating hit of champagne and you can literally feel the fizz and bubbles in your mouth – how do they do this? ProTester Big Bump: I hate milk chocolate and champagne but I could literally eat my body weight in these. Can they make champagne that tastes like this please!

Praline Truffle
This smelt as if hundreds of hazelnuts have been roasted and packed into this elegant truffle. The centre was smooth and so crammed full of hazelnut flavours that you would expect the centre to have bits of nuts in it yet this was beautifully smooth. ProTester OCD: Ferrero Rocher pales into insignificance.

Half Time Report: After just 3 chocolates the testers reported that normally they have to eat one large chocolate bar to really hit the chocolate spot and then are left thinking ”OK, what can I have next?. All felt their chocolate spot had not only been satisfied but it had been seductively massaged and caressed in a way they never knew existed.

Amaretto Amour
There are only three words for this: Oh My Goodness! Packed full of amaretto kick but in a smooth, dreamy eye closing and happy sigh experience. Pro Tester I’m in Charge: It is as if you have been tangoed with a slap of Amaretto and if I were to be tangoed there would be no better way than this. Whooo Whoooo! (Note: She was so excited by this one I was surprised not to see her bra being swung above her head whilst whooping with joy).

Milk Chocolate Truffle
ProTester I’m in Charge: Nice, but if i had this one first I might have been disappointed as the other flavours are so uniquely different and a true experience but this was an anticlimax (must have been all the whooping after the last flavour). ProTester OCD: This was like a contestant on X Factor: good but forgettable.

Raspberry Rapture
Zingy , refreshing and who knew a chocolate could be refreshing? A well-balanced blend of centre to chocolate ratio (yes the girls are getting technical now!). ProTester I’m in Charge: This reminds me of lost Summer family memories of picking raspberries and eating them in the garden with the heat beating down on our little faces. ProTester Big Bump: Raspberries can be a disappointing fruit as they can be watery and lack flavour. This has more raspberry flavour than a raspberry but not in a sickly overpowering way.

Bakewell Tart
We expected something different with this one which although exquisite did not deliver quite what it promised. ProTester OCD: Very similar to the Amaretto Amour which is good as that one was amazing but I expected a little more cherry which was lost as the amaretto overpowered it (hence no bra swinging on this one).

Black Cherry Truffle
This was saved to last as this was ProTester Big Bump’s most desired. Pro Tester Big Bump: I put this one on a pedestal in my mind and when you do that it usually falls flat and doesn’t live up to expectations. This however truly did, if this was a man it would be David Boreanaz as it is sultry, cocky with its flavour and yet still a smouldering smoothy. Baby also really enjoyed this one as he/she gave an almighty kick of adoration.

Mission Conclusion: “Would you be happy to get this box for Valentines Day?”

Despite originally saying no we would not be impressed by a box of chocolates all testers agree a resounding Head over heels – YES YES YES! Decadent chocolates, beautiful quality packaging that offer a truly a luxurious taste experience perfect for special gift , occasion or girly night. The testers reported they will certainly be going to look around for a Hotel Chocolat shop soon and quickly googled the nearest location to chocolate stalk. Men out there – take note you will most definitely be loved by buying these as a gift.

ProTester Big Bump: I would be very happy if my husband brought me these and for once I would not sit and eat the whole lot in one go as they scratch the chocolate itch quickly and in a truly satisfying way.

ProTester I’m in Charge: There have been occasions when I really wanted to treat someone for a special occasion and I never know what to get. Now I would buy them a box of these as it would really showed how much they meant to me. I’m off to look at the nearest shop!

ProTester OCD: I didn’t think I would be won over , I truly didn’t but I have to admit these are exquisite and worth every penny. I said I did not want an Easter egg this year (last years still uneaten!) I said I wanted sprinkles instead but this has changed my mind I want a Hotel Chocolat one pleeeeeasssse.

Hotel Chocolat Giveaway

Win your own box by entering the competition to win the ‘Head over heels’ selection box worth £25 by popping over to my facebook page where you will see competitions on the left side or click here to go directly to the competition page. Tell me something (a post or picture ) that made you smile on my blog and you have your first entry! You do not have to be on Facebook to join in – you can still click on this link and enter with an email address – the chocolates are worth every bit of effort I can assure you!

Winners will be announced on the Facebook page widget after the competition has closed and you will need to contact me by email (cakeboule at gmail dot com) to give me an address to send directly to Hotel Chocolat so they can send you the winning box. If you sadly do not win – do have a look at the Hotel Chocolat range and make yourself very happy or someone else.

Small Print: I have no control over how long it itakes Hotel Chocolat to post out the winnig box so please be patient.

FAQ – Entering a Rafflecopter Competition (via Facebook)
What is rafflecopter? Watch this video
Do I have to have a Facebook account? No you can enter directly with an email address
Do I have to do all the things? No just answering the first question is all you need to get an entry – the extra things just count as extra bonus points towards winning.
How to find URL of a tweet – click here

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