In my monthly challenge “Cooking The Books“, where I choose a favourite baking book and bake one recipe from each chapter throughout that month, I thought I would have no problem at all in choosing a recipe from the Chocolate chapter. After all I am a total chocolholic! This month’s turn is to bake from Delia Smith’s fantastic and much loved “Delia’s Cakes”. I have already fallen in love with her Chocolate Beer Cake but had to choose something else that would go down well at my neighbouring village’s Spring Festival.
I decided to go with the Chocolate Energy Bars as they reminded me of a cross between a flapjack and chocolate fridge cake! Whenever I have run cake stalls before, these always fly off and sell out! So the Chocolate Energy Bars it just had to be. Delia says in her introduction to the recipe that she “made them on TV with Dawn French for Comic Relief” and that “school children were making them all over the country to raise money and they were very popular” I’m not surprised. Judging by the beautiful picture to accompany the recipe, I would happily sink my teeth into a huge chunk of this!
So both my mum and I got on with baking this for our neighbouring village’s Spring Festival. This was to be the last of the four bakes I chose to take along as my contribution to the cafe in the village school hall. I noticed that pecan nuts were on the ingredients list but I thought I would put in crushed digestive biscuits instead of nuts in case it would put children off and what with allergy worries. I also didn’t have any Bran Flakes which were also needed for the recipe. I can’t stand Bran Flakes, so I doubled the quantity of Rice Krispies that were needed. The rest of the ingredients stayed the same: dried apricots, raisins, etc. The recipe also called for molasses syrup. I thought molasses was like black treacle but I didn’t have any so I substituted in golden syrup instead. After all, you put golden syrup in flapjacks don’t you?
First I had to put all the dry ingredients into a big bowl. In a small saucepan I heated up some condensed milk with the golden syrup. I was surprised that you only needed to use half a tin of condensed milk. It didn’t seem very much fluid at all to coat all the dried fruit and cereals. In fact I thought the mixture was a bit dry and wondered whether to add in the rest of the condensed milk but wanted to stick to the recipe. Then the mixture was spooned into my traybake tin and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Once it had been let out and cooled I started to melt the chocolate for the topping. In one bowl I melted white chocolate in my microwave, followed by some dark chocolate. Even though it was exactly the same quantity it looked like I had far more dark than white chocolate!
Now for the tricky bit! Here was where it was all about the taste and not the appearance. Instead of the bars being easy to cut with a sharp knife I found the whole thing just broke in half diagonally as I tried to turn it out of the tin. The air was blue in my kitchen! Then I spread the chocolate on, not looking as pretty as it looked like in Delia’s picture. My mum and I tried to cut the traybake into even bars but in the end we decided on little squares. Perhaps it was too crumbly and messy because we needed more fluid to bind the mixture together. It definitely wasn’t overbaked or anything like that. Into the fridge it went and I hoped and prayed people would buy some the next day.
Whether people did buy some to try I don’t know. I tried a piece and I thought it was too dry for my liking, though I liked the flavour combination and the chocolate on top.
Love Sam xx