A while ago I got sent some crackers, crispbreads and Florentines from Thomas J Fudge to sample and review on my blog. I loved them, so when they asked me if they could send me some items to get creative for National Chocolate Week I jumped at the chance! It’s no secret that I have a huge sweet tooth and I love all things chocolatey, so this was my dream challenge! I was so excited to get more of their Florentines too – I just can’t get over how good they are. All other Florentines I’ve had have been hard and brittle but these are soft, chewy, packed full of fruit and covered in smooth milk chocolate.. Heaven!
They’re so good that they’re perfect alone, but I don’t think there’s ever a time when adding extra chocolate doesn’t make things better, so I was excited to create some chocolate sauces to accompany the florentines! To make the sauces, they also sent me three varieties of single estate chocolate sourced from Grenada and a gift card to pick up extra ingredients.
There were three bars – all dark (which is surprisingly now my favourite!) – a 60% bar with cocoa nibs, a 71% bar and an 85% bar. The chocolate itself tastes amazing – I obviously couldn’t resist eating some of each straight out of the packet, and I baked some of the 71% bar into chocolate chunk cookies. I don’t always use the highest quality chocolate for baking but it’s amazing what a difference it makes!
Then I tried to create some chocolate sauces which combined all of my favourite flavours:
I used the 60% bar. I melted the chocolate then added maple syrup, vanilla extract & a sprinkle of sea salt.
To me this is an absolute classic combination that you can’t go wrong with! It reminds me of Christmas where Marcus and I eat countless chocolate oranges 😉 I used about 3/4 of the 82% bar. I melted the chocolate then added orange extract and the zest of one orange. I think you could probably use the juice and zest of an orange if you don’t have any orange extract, but I sometimes find that unless you get a particularly sweet orange, the juice doesn’t really add enough of an orange flavour!
I’m obsessed with coconut so it was always going to feature somewhere! I used 100g which was a mix of the remaining 1/4 of the 82% bar and the remainder of the 71% bar (I’d used a bit for my cookies!). I made a ganache by chopping up the chocolate up into small pieces then stirring it through 100ml of warm double cream, then when it was melted into a smooth, glossy mixture I stirred through dessicated coconut and it was heavenly! To make my ganache, I always warm the cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water until just warm enough to melt the chocolate. I think there are other ways to do it, but for me this is a foolproof way of getting a silky smooth, glossy ganache!
I made big bowls of the sauces but heated them up in small portion-sized ramekins for convenience so that they stayed warm for dipping. If you make extra like me and reheat them, make sure you use a low setting on the microwave so the chocolate doesn’t burn 🙂
Of course since it was National Chocolate Week I wasn’t going to hold back (do I ever!? 😛 ), so along with the Florentines for dipping, I also created a big platter for a chocolate fondue including more Thomas J Fudge apple & hazelnut crackers, homemade cookie dough, brownies, marshmallows and the cookies I’d baked.
When all of the dipping items were gone, I just took a spoon to the remainder of the chocolate sauce – waste not want not and all that 😉
I ended up buying extra florentines for my usual dessert bowls too.. they’re my latest addiction!