The Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge: Hot Chocolate Souffle

 It´s been awhile since I´ve done a GBBO technical challenge and when trying to decide what to make for Valentine´s Day this year, I knew that this Hot Chocolate Souffle was the perfect dessert for this special day.

My husband isn´t a fan of fondant or buttercream and while I like to experiment and perfect different skills on Valentine´s bakes...it is pretty much wasted on him. However, he does love anything chocolately so thought I´d be onto a winner with this souffle.And this delectable, gooey,chocolately yet light souffle did not disappoint.Chocolate is always a necessity on Valentine´s Day!! I think both of us could even have gone back for seconds!!!

This is not the first souffle I´ve made as I´ve already made Mary Berry´s lemon souffle(here´s a link to my previous GBBO souffle challenge) also for a GBBO challenge, and they were also delicious if a little sunken.This is only the secod time I´ve made souffles and the first time being out of chocolate. The recipe(click here for the Queen of Baking Mary Berry´s recipe!) itself is actually fairly simple if you follow it closely although I think it´d be a whole lot more difficult under the time pressures and only the basic outlines of the recipe that the contestants had to face. The hardest part for me was adding the cooled cocoa milk to the eggs and whisking as I thought it hadn´t cooled enough so I thought the eggs had started cooking and then when I put it back on the heat , it didn´t appear to be thickening!I thought it was going to be a complete disaster!!
                                                  The only changes I made to the recipe were that I only made half the amount as the original recipe is enough for 8 people and as I don´t have a souffle dish big enough, I decided to make it in individual ramekins,which were pefect portion sizes. Half the recipe made 3 and 1/2 ramekins-thought the 1/2 portion would´ve been ideal for my toddler but he didn´t seem too keen and surprizingly (or maybe not!) my daughter wouldn´t even try it! Oh well,more for us...tomorrow´s dessert is sorted out too!! I also made a heart template and dusted the souffles with icing sugar to decorate it more for Valentine´s Day. Served warm with a nice dollop of cream or ice cream and you have the perfect Valentine´s dessert to dive into.This dessert has now become a new favourite of mine and one that I will be making again!                    


Cooking England County by County: Buckinghamshire:Buckinghamshire Cherry Bumpers

I love anything with cherries or cherry flavoured from yoghurt to Cherry Coke and especially cherry desserts so when I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it! Even though cherries aren´t in season at the moment I had a big jar of pitted cherries just begging to be used!

Apparently these cherry bumpers are traditional at the end of the cherry picking season in August and are made "bumper" sized for the pickers!!Here is my version of Buckinghamshire Cherry Bumpers based on this version from the blog AllKitchenRecipes. I only made 3 due to their size!!They are delicious served warm with some cream or ice cream!!

100g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
50g butter
4- 4 1/2 tsp cold water
125-135g fresh cherries(pitted) or cherry pie filling
1/4-1/2 tsp brown sugar(depending on how sweet you like it)
To glaze: milk & caster sugar


1. Prepare shortcrust pastry by rubbing butter into flour and salt until it ressembles breadcrumbs, add cold water and mix till it all comes together in a dough.
2. Roll out the pastry till it is 5mm/1/4inch thick and cut rounds using a medium sized saucer.
3. Place cherries in one half of the round leaving a 1cm border and sprinkle brown sugar over the cherries.
4.Damp the border with water and fold over the rest of the pastry to form a pasty shape and then press a fork around the edges, then put a cross at the top of the bumper. Don´t overfill the cherry bumpers or the filling will ooze out.
5. Brush with milk and sprinkle caster sugar on top of the cherry bumper and place on a baking tray covered with baking parchement.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 180ºC for around 20minutes until golden brown.

Our verdict: Delicious!! Like I said I love anything cherry flavoured or with cherries.

My kids verdict: My daughter wouldn´t even try them unfortunately and my son who usually eats everything didn´t seem too keen either!
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