Monday, 30 September 2013

Just Desserts: Chocolate Burgers

Yes, you read that right. This is a CHOCOLATE BURGER!! Imagine a sweet chocolate bun, with a chocolate and nut pattie, fresh sliced strawberries, chocolate mint leaves( this IS a variety of mint, not actual chocolate) vegan cream cheese, and chocolate sauce. For dessert. These would be great for a party done in a mini version, and served with a strawberry or chocolate shake in a mini bottle and a cute paper straw. Make them and console yourself that MoFo is over for another year :)

The Buns
2 1/2 cups of bakers flour
1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder
approx 500 mls warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
approx 4 tablespoons olive oil

I'm going to give you a bit of a 101 for making a good bread dough, even though I already did it here. Not kneading for a pizza dough is fine. Not kneading for a bun or a loaf is not!

Whisk together yeast, sugar, salt, oil and water. Set aside until bubbly and frothy - if it doesn't bubble your yeast is dead! Add the cocoa and half the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until all incorporated. Gradually add remaining flour until you have a nice soft dough, easily indented with a finger.Turn the dough out onto a floured bench top or board and knead, knead, knead for about 10 minutes. The best way to knead is to fold over the dough on itself, and use your weight to push forward and squash the dough - which is less tiring than using only your arm muscles. give it a quarter turn and repeat. Pop on your favourite few songs, I usually knead to three or four tracks rather than timing it. There are recipes out there that claim to be "no knead." I am here to tell you, they will not be as good, will probably be quite crumbly (like a scone) and in my opinion, suggests a certain amount of laziness. Kneading is not hard!! It's 10 minutes - consider it part of a workout! If you really can't knead, and you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for about 7 minutes, and finish it off by hand. This way you will 'feel' the dough has changed and know it is ready. Kneading activates the gluten in the flour, which gives the dough the elasticity it needs to capture gases created by the yeast creating air pockets and giving structure to your buns, and  a chewy texture. Properly kneaded dough rises quickly and well. When it is ready the dough will be silky soft, and elastic - ie if you try to pull a bit off, it won't tear easily.

Put your dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about 3/4 an hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch down your dough, knead for a minute, and then portion into the bun size you would like (remembering the dough is going to get a bit bigger still). 1/4 cup pieces gave me a good size, not too big.
Preheat your oven to 180C and bake until bread sounds hollow when tapped. If the top is browning too quickly, just put some foil over the top. 40 minutes does the trick in my gas oven, but may take less or longer in yours. Turn out when done, and allow to cool.

The Chocolate Patties
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked and drained
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup hazelnut meal

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until you have a nice firm texture. Add a little water if too crumbly, if too wet, add a little more hazelnut meal. Shape into patties to fit the buns.

To assemble, cut your bun in half, spread with cream cheese on the bottom. Place the chocolate mint leaves, then the pattie, then sliced strawberries, some more cream cheese if you like, and some chocolate sauce, gently replacing the top of the bun. Voila!

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