Friday, December 8, 2017

For the second bite of Christmas the thing I've made for thee is... Boozy Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake


Pin It For the second bite of Christmas the thing I've made for thee is... 

Boozy Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Don't you love the Irish bent for understatement - world war was "The Emergency" and the economic catastrophe that shook the country to its foundations was "The Crisis". The Crisis came hot on the tail of the Celtic Tiger where good manners, good sense and caring went out the door for many people as soon as money swanned in. The Crisis - if it had any silver lining at all - seemed to sober us  up a bit, and to foster creativity as people sought to cope and to adjust to a very different scenario. 

One thing I've noticed over the past few years is that as people's budgets have tightened regarding gifts, the thought that goes into them has soared. Some of the loveliest Christmas gifts I've received have been made and given with love, and you cannot put a price tag on that.

I'll be making some foodie gifts this year - one of them, a family favourite: Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake. This one is for grown up friends and family. (If you are making these for kids, swap the cream liqueur for double cream). Cut into tiny bites and passed around after dinner or at the end of a run of savoury bites, these have a habit of vanishing as quickly as the Celtic Tiger did!

Package it up into Kilner jars or pretty boxes or tins and watch the recipient's face light up as they open it.
For 1 boozy Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake, (or many tiny bites) you will need...
150g Marietta biscuits (or any Rich Tea type biscuit)
150g Digestive biscuits
100g dried sour cherries or dried cranberries (or a mixture of the two), chopped
50g toasted almonds, chopped
50g toasted walnuts, chopped
150g good quality plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150g good quality milk chocolate
150mls Baileys (or a similar Irish Cream Liqueur)
100g butter, melted
25g runny honey (something floral, but not overpowering)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

50g each of dark chocolate and white chocolate for drizzling over the finished cake (optional). Oh, who am I kidding! Since when has  extra chocolate been optional?


Chop the biscuits into bits about the size of a 2c coin (or a penny) and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit and the nuts. 

Place the chocolate in a heatproof (preferably non-metallic) bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t sit in the water). When the chocolate has melted, add the butter and stir gently together with a wooden spoon or spatula to avoid filling the chocolate with air bubbles. We’re not making mousse today. 

When the butter is incorporated, add the cream liqueur (or double cream if you are going for an alcohol-free version) and stir until you have a smooth, shiny lake of chocolate-y deliciousness. (It will be alarming liquid at this stage but keep the faith - it will set later in the fridge.) Finally, stir in the honey and the vanilla extract. Tip the mixture into the bowl of biscuits. Stir until every last morsel is coated with boozy chocolate lusciousness. 

Transfer to a loaf tin (if you want slices), a mixing bowl or round cake tin (if you want wedges) or a shallow pie dish or similar if you want little squares or bars,  before covering and placing in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can line your chosen container with cling film if you wish but I find it just as easy to pop the container in a tray of hot water for a minute or so to melt the edges a little before turning out onto a serving tray. 

It would be utterly decadent to drizzle this little treat with even more chocolate...

 Cut into squares, wedges or bars. Share.
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