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Laurel Watson's chocolate recipes - 25 June

Steamed Chocolate Pudding cooked in a rice cooker

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup standard flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups cream
1/2 cup icing sugar

- Place the chocolate chips in the food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla; process until combined.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
- Thoroughly grease a 1 litre microwaveable bowl or pudding basin.
- Scrape in the batter and smooth the top.
- Cover tightly with foil.
- Placed the bowl in the rice cooker; pour four cups water around the pudding.
- Steam until the rice cooker turns off. Remove from the rice cooker and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil, place a serving plate upside down on the top, then invert.
- Cool thoroughly.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks; gradually add the icing sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
- Serve with the hot pudding.

Microwave directions
- Grease a 1 litre round bowl (not too deep); pour in the batter and cover with a piece of baking paper.
- Microwave 6-8 minutes on full power or until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove from the microwave and let sit 15 minutes before inverting on a serving plate.

Classic Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes can be stored without icing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cupcake mixture
220g unsalted butter, softened
220g caster sugar
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
80g plain chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

125g butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
3-5 tbsp pouring cream
4 tbsp coconut shavings, lightly toasted

- Preheat oven to 180
- Gently melt together the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth
- Combine all the cupcake ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until smooth, 3-4 minute
- Spoon the batter into 18 paper baking case
- Bake for 20 minutes

Chocolate Coins (Monete di Cioccolato)

Makes about 80 small cookies

These tiny, soft, intensely chocolate-packed cookies are called fava of the dead in Rome. They mark All Souls night. The dark, almost black colour gives these innocent little coins a threatening edge. In the Rome of the caesars, people believed fava beans held the souls of the dead. They are made to nibble with espresso, creamy panna cotta or vanilla ice cream. Toasted almonds are a good substitute if pine nuts are too expensive.

2 1/2 cups pine nuts, toasted
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
Generous pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup dark rum or grappa
60g dark chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla

- Preheat oven to 180degC.
- Cover a baking tray with baking paper or butter and flour it. (Cookies bake in 3 batches. Spooning them out onto sheets of baking paper makes the process easier.)
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, puree 2/3 of the pine nuts with the sugar and flour.
- Add the salt, egg yolks, liquor, melted chocolate, cocoa, and vanilla and process until combined.
- Dough will be very soft.
- Turn into a bowl and stir in the remaining pine nuts.
- Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto 3 sheets of paper.
- Space cookies 2cm apart.
- Bake 12 minutes.
- Cookies will be soft when pressed.
-  Remove from oven.
- Repeat two more times with remaining dough.
- Cool cookies completely on the paper set on a rack.
- Store in airtight container.