I’m still baking the Tour de France jerseys this week. Today it’s green for the sprinters. Andre Greipel is wearing the jersey at the moment after two stage wins. No wins for Mark Cavendish as I’m writing this, but perhaps (hopefully) things will be different by the time the post is published. Anyway, something green… I’d always had a key lime pie in mind for the green jersey recipe but decided to look through the books to see if there was anything else that would do. I found some green tea cupcakes – I didn’t think these sounded very appetising. Then I came across the grasshopper slices in the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home. Much more suitable for a sprinter than green tea.
I’m baking and blogging at the same time again this week. Let’s see how it goes.
I’ve decided to make half of the grasshopper slice recipe. There are two reasons for this: (1) I don’t have a baking tray that’s long enough and deep enough for the full recipe and (2) the recipe requires 1kg of white chocolate. The cooking chocolate in Tesco comes in 100g bars, that’s ten bars of white chocolate in one recipe. A little excessive, even for the most ardent white chocolate fan.
The grasshopper slices have three layers; a chocolate brownie base, a bright green, peppermint flavoured, white chocolate ganache in the middle, and a dark chocolate top. This is the first time I’ve tackled anything in layers. It looks to me like the challenge is going to be making the ganache layers thick enough to hold their shape and, of course, remembering that I’m only making half the recipe and not adding twice as much cream, or twice as much chocolate than I need.
As I write, the brownie base is out of the oven and looking pretty good, and the green and chocolate layers are chilling in the fridge.
To make the base, I melted 100g dark chocolate. I used the microwave and, as I’m always a bit paranoid about using the melting in the microwave method, I put it on low power (360W) for 3 minutes. Nothing was happening, so I upped the power to 600W and gave it another 2 minutes. I’ve since discovered that there are instructions for melting in the microwave on the back of the chocolate wrapper. They say that I should have heated the chocolate on 50% power for 1 minute and then, if it wasn’t melted, to give it 10 second bursts until it was. I’ll know for next time.
I beat together softened butter and icing sugar in the KitchenAid until it was light and fluffy, added two eggs, plain flour, and then the melted chocolate. I mixed it together until I had a smooth batter, put it into my tin (I used a square 23x23x5cm tin – the full recipe requires a 23x32x5cm baking tray), and put it in the oven at 150° fan for 35 minutes. It’s been out of the oven for some time now, and it’s completely cold, ready for assembly .
Next, I made the middle layer. I warmed double cream in a saucepan and poured it over a bowl of chopped white chocolate. The recipe says that the chocolate should be left to melt by itself. I had a bit of a problem here. I’m not sure whether my chocolate wasn’t chopped finely enough, or whether I hadn’t got quite enough cream, or whether the cream wasn’t hot enough, but the chocolate hadn’t melted by the time the cream had gone cold, so I put the bowl of chocolate and cream over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate did melt. I’m not sure whether this will be the ruin of the white chocolate and peppermint ganache or not. I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. Once the chocolate had melted, I stirred the mixture until it was smooth, left if for a couple of minutes, then added peppermint essence and green food colouring until my mixture was as green as Andre Greipel’s jersey. The recipe required two tablespoons of peppermint. I remembered I was making half and added one. Even so, this seemed like a lot, and it did make the mixture a bit slimy. I’m not at all sure how it’s going to turn out.
The dark chocolate ganache for the top layer was simpler. Just warm cream and chopped dark chocolate. That’s in the fridge too. It needs to chill for an hour before I can start assembling the slices. I think I’ll have some lunch and, possibly, an episode of Home and Away.
Having chilled the ganaches for long enough, I’ve started on the assembly. The green layer looks great (I have to admit to trying a bit and it tastes good too, it’s definitely not too minty). Unfortunately, I haven’t made enough chocolate ganache to cover the top.
The chocolate has melted into the cream and I’ve stirred until smooth. I’ve also taken a risk and put it straight onto the top of the green layer (the recipe says that it should be chilled beforehand – but I did that with my first batch and, when I got it out of the fridge, I had to warm it up again before it would spread). The whole thing is back in the fridge now where it has to stay for at least two hours.
Here are the final grasshopper slices. There were thirty-three in-all (thirty two now). I’m glad I decided to go with half the recipe.
The slices in the Home Sweet Home recipe book are neater than mine, and layered with much more finesse. The green layer in Home Sweet Home is thicker (I think, with my square tin, ideal quantities would be half of the brownie recipe and three-quarters for the other layers), but, if you like After Eights and mint choc-chip ice cream, they taste great. I don’t think there’ll be thirty-odd left for much longer. Thirty one now, and counting…