Chocolate Pralines

Chocolate Pralines

This month, Choclette’s We Should Cocoa teams up with Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes! This was great news, as I’ve been lamenting the fate of all of my cookbooks – they sit on the shelves, unused, while I browse for recipes online. It was high time to put at least one of them to good use!


My selection process ran as follows: sit in front of cookbook shelves and, starting from the top left, count to the 77th cookbook; select the 7th recipe in the book starting with the word chocolate. The lucky book #77 was a book on Creole, Cajun and Mexican recipes by Mirjaliisa Nuuttila and Elinor Schildt (from 1993), and the index only had one recipe that started with the word chocolate. So, Chocolate Pralines it was!


Now, Finns have traditionally sucked at writing recipe instructions, and the recipe instructions of this recipe did kinda suck*. They tell you to boil sugars and cream “into caramel”, add chocolate and nuts and boil “for a minute or two”. There is no mention of what to do with the butter that is included in the ingredient list. A bit too random, for my tastes. (Security-seeking, I am.) Soo… having at least taken a cookbook out of the shelf and found an ingredient list, it was back online to see if I could find more specific instructions regarding what I was supposed to do with the ingredients in order to end up with pralines.


After figuring out the boiling process, I ventured to the shops to get ingredients, but forgot to buy the chocolate (let me repeat that: I went to the shops to get ingredients for Chocolate Pralines, and forgot to buy the chocolate). Two days later I was at the shops again, specifically to get the chocolate (yay for me for not forgetting to buy the one thing I went to buy, I guess), came back home, and found a bar of 85% chocolate that was already in the cupboard. Not only did I forget to buy chocolate, I had forgotten that I had chocolate. Sometimes I worry about me.


But, there was random chocolateness to be made, so I pushed my worries aside and made Chocolate Pralines with pecans. They are pretty divine: like delicate, cloudy fudge. The fudgey part literally melts in your mouth, and because pecans are fragile and airy, the whole confection has a wonderfully light mouth feel. These are altogether too easy to eat!


Chocolate Pralines (makes 40-50, depending on how big you make them)


500 ml white sugar

250 ml brown sugar

250 ml cream

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

100 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped

500 ml chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder


Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

In a large saucepan (the mixture will bubble up!), combine white sugar, brown sugar, cream and salt. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the side of the pan.

Stir over medium heat until the sugars dissolve. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (112-114 degrees C/ 234-236 degrees F).

Remove the pan from heat and drop the butter and chocolate chunks on top, but do not stir. Allow the pan to sit for one minute.

Add chopped pecans and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring smoothly (not beating!) until the mixture begins to thicken, becomes lighter in colour and begins to hold its shape. This doesn’t take long: do not overstir, as the mixture goes from fluid to hard pretty quickly!

Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. If the mixture stiffens before you have formed all the pralines, stir a tablespoon of hot water into the mixture to loosen it again.

Allow the pralines to set at room temperature.


*This is not to fault Mses Nuuttila and Schildt, whose cookbook is fantastic and got a lot of action in my kitchen in the 90s! It really is a kitchen cultural thing – this is how most Finnish caramel/fudge recipes would get written, because it would be assumed that you know what you’re doing. I, for the most part, have no idea. ;-)

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Rose Frosting – For Two

One of the most glorious ways to get a baking fix but cut down on the calories is to bake just a little. Instead of a pan-full of cupcakes, why not make just two? This gorgeous recipe is a slight modification of a recipe by Brett Bara – it’s my absolute favourite to make when I’m pining for something sweet with my cup of coffee, but can’t justify filling the cupboard or the freezer with further temptations.


I made these adorable little things on Valentine’s Day for TLSO and myself – hence the pink/heart overkill! ;-) No reason to wait for next Valentine’s Day to make them though, as a special someone in your life certainly deserves to be treated on a regular Tuesday, too! (Especially on a regular Tuesday, if you ask me – Tuesdays are such bland days.)


Chocolate Cupcakes With Rose Frosting (makes two)


For the cupcakes:

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1/6 teaspoon baking powder

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


For the frosting:

25 g butter

6 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon rosewater

red food colouring


Preheat oven to 160 C.

To make cupcakes: In a small bowl, measure all dry ingredients: flour, the sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix.

In a measuring cup, combine the water and the oil.

Add wet to dry and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between two cupcake liners. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cupcakes just test done. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until a spreadable/pipeable consistency is reached. Add a touch of powdered sugar if the mixture seems too wet; add a touch of rosewater if too dry.

Frost the cooled cupcakes.

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Orange Parfait With Chocolate

It’s parfait time again! I really like parfait as a dessert, especially after a rich weekend meal, as the cool fluffiness makes it feel “lighter” than cakes or trifles. Not sure how accurate the feeling is as parfait is mostly heavy cream, but I like the feeling and I’ll, thusly, take it!


Fresh orange and dark chocolate are a classic combination, and adding it to the velvelty fluffiness of whipped cream makes things even better. The chopped chocolate is sprinkled under and on top of the parfait – can’t see why you couldn’t mix the chocolate in the parfait mixture too along with the flavourings, if that’s what you fancy!


This parfait is flavoured with orange zest and citrus liqueur – it might therefore not be very suitable for the young ‘uns. I wonder if something like orange juice concentrate might work instead of the liqueur? If you try it, let me know!


The recipe makes 6-8 servings depending on the size of the ramekins; 8 if using those pretty standard, 8 cm porcelain ramekins, as I did.


Orange Parfait With Chocolate


2 egg yolks

100 ml powdered sugar

1 orange, zested peel of

400 ml heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons citrus liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

75 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped


Whip egg yolks and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Combine the whipped cream and the yolk&sugar mixture. Mix in the orange zest and the liqueur.

Sprinkle about half of the chopped chocolate on the bottom of the ramekins.

Divide the parfait mixture between the ramekins. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate on top.

Freeze for at least four hours.

Bring to room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.


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