Winner of the GC Challenge: Chocolate is

Winner of the GC Challenge: Chocolate is…..

Drunken Torte by Francesco Russo with 9 overall votes

The results of the polls:

For Best Use of Ingredient

Drunken Torte by Francesco Russo    4 votes

Chocolate Truffle Torte by Giselle Stafford  2 votes

For Most Innovative

Ricotta Gnocchi with Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce by Dwight Stanford   4 votes

Cinghiale in Dolce Forteby Judy Witts Francini  4 votes

Puckerlicious Polenta-Crusted Lime and White Chocolate Tart by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen  2 votes

For Best Presentation

Drunken Torte by Francesco Russo  5 votes

Puckerlicious Polenta-Crusted Lime and White Chocolate Tart by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen   2 votes

Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistacio Brownies by Sarah Topps        2 votes



GC Challenge: Chocolate

Okay I was able to put together this much for the voting.  We have only 3 categories to choose in.

To see the recipes click the links below.

  1. Drunken Torte by Francesco Russo


  3. Chocolate Cake Torta di Cioccolate by Anita Grosser

  4. Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistacio Brownies by Sarah Topps

  5. Churros with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce by Amber

  6. Sweet Panzerottini by Amber

  7. Chocolate Truffle Torte by Giselle Stafford

  8. Microwave chocolate cake recipe by Sarah Topps

  9. Melanzane al Cioccolato by Judy Witts Francini

  10. Cinghiale in Dolce Forteby Judy Witts Francini

  11. Nutella Bullseyes or Occhio di Bue con Nutella by Marla Gulley Roncaglia

  12. Puckerlicious Polenta-Crusted Lime and White Chocolate Tart by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

  13. Ricotta Gnocchi with Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce by Dwight Stanford

  14. Chili for the Non-Chocolate Lover By Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

  15. Oreo Truffles by Susan Fleischmann Farbstein

  16. Cocoa Brownies by Beth Lawson

  17. Chocolate Pear Tart by Giselle Stafford



Drunken Torte by Francesco Russo

Here is a recipe I have made in many occasions.
It came from a relative in Rome . I think she got it from a magazine a few years ago and cannot remember which one. Pictures are my own.

Drunken Torte !

A light gooey mixture that combines chocolate and red wine, very easy to make.
Here are the ingredients and the recipe:

250 gr sugar
70 gr bitter cocoa
150 gr soft butter
4 eggs
150 gr flour
1 glass of red wine
1 sachet raising agent ( pan deli Angeli for those on Italy )

Melt, sugar, butter, cocoa and wine very gently on a low flame in a saucepan.
When all nicely melted together save some of the mixture in a glass and put aside.
Into the rest of the mixture add the eggs, the flour and raising agent. Wish until smooth and bubbly, I use an electric whisk !
Put into a 20cm non stick cake tin and bake for 25 minutes at 160 degrees c.
Put a toothpick into cake if it comes out clean it’s done .
When cake has cooled down pierce gently at various points on the top and pour on the glass of the saved mixture and serve !



Here is my chocolate contribution, Sorry I haven’t a picture
but will get one as soon as I can,

8 oz Plain Flour
8 oz Sugar
8 oz Soft Margarine
4 Eggs
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Juice & Grated Rind of 2 Oranges
2oz Cocoa

Put all ingredients into mixer and blend until well mixed.

Line a round 9 inch tin with greaseproof paper and put in cake mixture.
Bake in pre-heated oven Mark 4 or 180 c. For about 35/40 minutes –
Keep testing.

Turn out onto a large plate or cake board spread with foil – enough to reach up and
over the cake. (Remove greaseproof paper)

3 Teaspoons Coffee Powder
6 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons brandy
8 fl oz orange juice – if fresh not available use 100% carton juice

Put coffee & sugar in a jug and add a 2/3 tablespoons boiling water – enough to dissolve.
Add orange juice and brandy. Pour over the hot cake and gently pull the foil up around the sides and top. Leave until it has thoroughly cooled. Leave in fridge for an hour or two, Then fold the foil back over the plate or cake board.

6oz dark chocolate
6 drops of glycerine
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Add glycerine. Spread over the cold cake. Leave to set.

Best eaten with a fork!

Chocolate Cake Torta di Cioccolate by Anita Grosser

5 eggs yolks 3 tbsp sugar
250 gr butter 200gr bitter chocolate 100gr milk chocolate
100gr flour 4 cl Grand Marnier.
5 egg whites beaten stiff

Put the butter and chocolate in a bowl and place in a bain marie to melt.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar till thick and creamy add the flour with the Grand Marnier and mix well. When the butter and chocolate is completely melted add the other mixture of eggs etc, and last fold in the egg whites. Bake at 220° for 10 min. please set a timer!!!! The inside of the cake should be soft.
sorry no pic.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistacio Brownies by Sarah Topps

Whilst back in the UK last Christmas-time we were lucky enough to go out for lunch at The Cottage near Ruddington where we had the most delicious, gooey brownies we had ever tasted for dessert. When we asked the waiter is it would be possible to share the secret recipe with us, he very kindly did, so here it is. Thank you.

200g butter, diced
300g dark chocolate
280g light brown sugar
4 tbsp cranberry or orange juice
4 medium eggs
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
80g dried cranberries
100g sliced pistachios
icing sugar to dust (optional)

Make 18 large brownies. Takes 45 minutes.

1. Preheat oven to 160 oC (fan) or 180 oC or gas mark 5 and grease and line an oblong cake tin
2. Melt the butter and 200g of the chocolate, slowly in a bowl over a pan of warm water and leave to cool
3. Warm the juice and soak the cranberries
4. Beat the eggs and the sugar for around 5 mins with an electric mixer or 10 mins by hand. You will know when it is ready as the mixture doubles in size and is thick and creamy like a thick milkshake!
5. Sieve the flour and cinnamon together
6. Cut the remaining chocolate into small pieces
7. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold in carefully
8. Add the cranberries and diced chocolate to the flour mixture.
9. Fold the flour into the rest of the mixture
10. Pour into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 30 minutes. You will know when it is cooked as the top goes shiny and starts to crack a little and it should still be slightly soft in the middle if tested with a skewer or piece of spaghetti
11. Leave to cool in the tray then once cooled, cut into triangles or squares and dust with icing sugar if you like

Serve with thick cream or mascapone and we like to eat it with a compot made from poached oranges and cranberries (cooked lightly together for 5 minutes on a low heat). Yummy!

Churros with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce by Amber

Ok, friends. This is the recipe I had made that without the chocolate. To save it, I added a chocolate dipping sauce which admittedly, was probably a better idea from the beginning. The churros dipped in the dipping sauce were wonderful.
Churros (that were supposed to be Chocolate Churros) with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Adapted from here Extra MSG here:

For the churros
1 cup of water
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs
¼ cup to 1/3 cup of heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
Cinnamon, cocoa, and sugar for rolling
Your Favorite frying oil (mine is peanut)
1. Prepare a dish of sugar and cinnamon (cocoa optional)
2. Add water, butter, cream, sugar and salt to a pot and bring to rolling boil.
3. Add flour and stir rapidly to completely combine.
4. Add egg and completely combine.
5. Put churro dough in a piping bag fitted with a large flower top tip.
6. Practice a few, trust me, you need this.
7. Heat Oil, and lower heat to medium
8. Once heated, pipe churros into the oil, and fry until golden brown on all sides
9. Remove to a paper toweled plate to drain oil.
10. dredge Churros in sugar cinnamon mixture while still piping hot.
11. Eat.

To make chocolate sauce, heat cream in microwave or over the stove top. Add shredded chocolate and stir until melted. Keep adding chocolate until it is the consistency you want.
I used about a ½ cup of cream and 75 grams of chocolate.

Sweet Panzerottini by Amber

Those that know me, know that panzerotti are sacred in my house. They are something we make for big groups on birthdays. We make them from scratch and fill them with anything and everything. Tomato and Mozzarella always gets top prize.
We tried them with chocolate ganache, banana and walnuts and chocolate and orange marmalade.

Sweet Panzerottini
500 grams of OO flour with extra for sprinkling
1 small, steamed, peeled, cooled, mashed potato
1 cube fresh yeast
5-7 Tablesppoons of oil
Spoonful of sugar or honey (optional)
About 1 cup of water, but you’ll need to play with it.
Fillings, Orange marmalade, fresh banana, chopped walnuts, chopped chocolate
1. Dissolve yeast in one cup of tepid water.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, mashed potatoes, oil and salt and combine. Bowl should be quite large in order to leave room for growth.
3. Add water a little at a time and mix until combined. If dough seems very hard, add water. It should be soft. Dump onto table and mix/knead for a good bit.
4. Put it back in the clean floured bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and place the bowl in a warm place. We put it in our bed covered in down blankets. Leave to rise for 2-4 hours until it has grown 2-3 times.
5. After the rise, dump dough on a floured work surface and work it for a few minutes. It’s ok to add sprinkles of flour at this point if the dough is too sticky to work with.
6. Let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Use a butter knife or pastry cutter to portion off panzerotti balls to be rolled out. The smaller they are, the longer you’ll be standing in front of a fryer. But for dessert, smaller is better as these are pretty rich! We usually roll as we go, but if you are doing this alone, you might want to roll them all out as you can’t leave the hot frying oil empty for long periods of time.
8. Use a rolling pin to roll out until quite thin, but not so thin that they will burst when you close them.
9. Place them on floured surface. Old school peeps might use a floured tablecloth. (Hello, Nonna!)

USE YOUR IMAGINATION. But again, we used chocolate ganache, banana and walnuts and chocolate and orange marmalade.. Both combinations were divine.

Add your filling, but don’t over fill. Make sure you close very well. You could close them empanada style (twisting the edges as you move along) if you’d like, but there is no need. The dough puffs up in the oil and makes them realllllly thick if you do that. You can just press the edges together until the two edges become “one.” Pay extra attention to the ends. Again, it’s important they are not wet when they go in the oil. (there is no need for egg to close. We’ve never ever used it.)

In a large fry pan, add about an inch of Peanut Oil or your favorite frying oil that has a high smoke point. Heat, and add panzerotti. Don’t crowd the pan. Turn over when browned on one side, remove, serve.
Buon appetito.

Chocolate Truffle Torte by Giselle Stafford

Chocolate Truffle Torte

from the Complete Italian Cookery Course by Ursula Ferrigno

What you need
Unsalted butter for greasing
200g prunes
4 tbsp Grand Marnier or brandy
1 vanilla pod split lengthways
8 x 100g blocks dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids
850 ml double cream
icing sugar to sprinkle

What to do
Butter a 6cm deep x 23 cm diameter spring-form tin and line with parchment paper, bottom and sides

Reserve 12 prunes to decorate the cake. Halve and stone the rest, roughly chop them and put them in a small bowl with the Grand Marnier (or brandy) and split vanilla pod. Leave to macerate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the pod.

Reserve 55g of the chocolate, and put the remainder, in small pieces, in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Leave for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted.

Remove the chocolate from the heat, then gently stir in the cream, soaked prunes and any extra liquid. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth over the surface with a palette knife, cover with cling film and refrigerate the mixture for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

When the cake has set, remove it from its tin, discard the parchment paper and slide it onto a serving plate. Melt the reserved chocolate over a small pan of simmering water for 1 minute, not letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water, and spoon into a small plastic bag. Twist the neck of the bag to push the filling into one corner and, using scissors, snip off a small piece from one corner of the bag. With a zig-zag motion, pipe the chocolate across the cake. Serve chilled, decorated with stoned prunes and some icing sugar.

Microwave chocolate cake recipe by Sarah Topps

If we run out of gas over here in Italy as some say we might well do, or even if you don’t have an oven (or are waiting for your new one like Sylvia), here’s Sylvia’s great recipe for a microwavable cake which is just fantastic:

Microwave chocolate cake recipe

This recipe is great for a decent-sized cake that’s big enough for a family tea.

Mixing the ingredients will take about five minutes, cooking takes seven minutes with one minute standing time.


175g margarine (I use 170ml sunflower oil) 175g caster sugar 150g sifted self-raising flour 40g cocoa powder 3 tablespoons of milk 3 medium eggs 1 teaspoons of baking powder 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence


Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until light and fluffy. Alternatively, if you have a food processor, add all the ingredients to the bowl and process for about 60 seconds or until the ingredients are mixed together. Spoon the mix into a microwave-safe dish, cook on full-power for seven minutes and leave to stand for one minute. We used a 900 watt microwave.


You can serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar on top or cool and then cover with icing and your favourite toppings.

Also the recipe makes a great coffee and walnut cake (see Sylvia’s cake she made for me, below) by added some strong espresso with few spoonfuls of coffee granules dissolved in and, of course, the walnuts. The cake was sandwiched together with a delicious cream mixed with liqueur!