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How To Make Chocolate Shards, by Great British Bake Off Winner Frances Quinn

Ahead of tonight’s Great British Bake off final, I have teamed back up with Joules. The company I worked for as their baby and toddler clothing designer, before going appearing on the nation’s best-loved baking show. It was my friends and colleagues there that were responsible for me applying by constantly placing multiple application forms on my desk!


From naming colour palettes after food and adding bakes to mood boards, I guess I was always combining my two passions for design and baking, even before walking into that tent. Joules was always so encouraging and supportive through it all and is therefore lovely to now be designing a recipe for them five years after winning and creating secret squirrel cakes and giant jam sandwich cakes.

I can’t quite believe it’s been five years since I won and although I often get asked if I miss working as a designer, I honestly don’t feel I’ve ever really stopped. I’ve just swapped designing with fabric for food and its my design roots that very much inspire and feed both my ideas and designs. It’s been incredible to work and create bakes for design heroes of mine, from the Design Museum to Quentin Blake, to making David Hockney biscuit glasses for the Tate and florentines for Florence, of Florence and the Machine. I even got to make a different type of shard out of gingerbread, when creating the View from the Shards first birthday crEATion – complete with chocolate skyline, and shortbread London Eye! Life has certainly been busy and full of exciting experiences and collaborations. Getting to write and release my first book ‘Quinntessential Baking’ with Bloomsbury publishing has also been a big highlight, especially as books have always played such a big part in my life, having grown up in my family’s independent bookshop. Quinns Bookshop based in Market Harborough, opposite the very first Joules shop no less!

Taking inspiration from Joules’ cake tins and other colourful prints sold in their shops and online, I have crEATed three contrasting chocolate slabs/shards, made within the lids of each tin. Playing on the idea of a biscuit tin – each slab features a different biscuit, ground up and mixed into the chocolate to add a pleasing texture and crunch. Chocolate covered biscuits in more than one sense, they go perfectly with a cup of tea. Something else I had somewhat of a reputation for making whilst at Joules!

In addition to the biscuits, a variety of citrus zest flavours each slab, complementing chocolate.  As well as storing them inside the different tins – either separately or mixed up, the chocolates are also the perfect treat to give away and decorate bakes with.  A few shards can easily transform a simple chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes or cheesecake. Especially if elements from the slabs/shards are scattered on and around the bake. Finally if kept as one whole round, the chocolate slabs can also be used as edible plates to display your bakes on.

The measuring cups that accompany the tins and prints are also the perfect addition to any kitchen and the largest cup a great alternative to a typical tea mug to enjoy a cuppa in – with a chocolate shard and biscuit!


Joules Quinntessential
Chocolate Shards

Floral Shards

INGREDIENTS:

300g white chocolate
3 rich tea biscuits
1 lemon, zested

TO DECORATE:

Dried rose petals, freeze dried raspberries, dried cranberries, blue smarties-broken into pieces, toasted flaked almonds. Leave out the almonds if you have a nut allergy.

METHOD:

Take your large floral cake tin lid and a sheet of non stick baking parchment and draw around the lid to create a circular piece of parchment to sit inside the tin lid.

Break or chop the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave set on a low heat, stirring every now and then. Meanwhile blitz the biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic food bag crushed into crumbs using a rolling pin. Transfer the biscuit crumbs into the bowl and zest over the lemon. Stir everything together to combine and tip the mixture into the prepared tin lid easing over the base and to the sides to create a flat even layer. It can help to gently tap the base of the tin on a flat surface to encourage the mixture to reach the edges of the tin. Scatter over your decorative ingredients, then leave somewhere cool or in the fridge to set. Break into shards or leave whole and store inside the tin with more of the biscuits.


Spots and Stripes Shards

INGREDIENTS:

200g milk chocolate
2 digestive biscuits
1 orange, zested

TO DECORATE:

White chocolate stars, mini edible pearls

METHOD:

Take your small star print cake tin lid and a sheet of non stick baking parchment and draw around the lid to create a circular piece of parchment to sit inside the tin lid.

Break or chop the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave set on a low heat, stirring every now and then. Meanwhile blitz the biscuit in a food processor or in a plastic food bag crushed into crumbs using a rolling pin. Transfer the biscuit crumbs into the bowl and zest over the lime. Stir everything together to combine and tip the mixture into the prepared tin lid easing over the base and to the sides to create a flat even layer.  It can help to gently tap the base of the tin on a flat surface to encourage the mixture to reach the edges of the tin. Allow to set slightly and cool down, before placing your white chocolate stars on to the surface. If the chocolate is too warm the white chocolate stars will melt into the dark chocolate base. Finally sprinkle over the mini edible pearls, following the print on the tin as a reference. Leave somewhere cool or place in the fridge to set. Break into shards or leave whole and store inside the tin with more of the biscuits.


Starry Sky Shards

INGREDIENTS:

100g dark chocolate
1 gingernut biscuit
1 lime, zested

TO DECORATE:

Smarties, 1 small packet of white chocolate buttons

METHOD:

Take your medium spots and stripes cake tin lid and a sheet of non stick baking parchment and draw around the lid to create a circular piece of parchment to sit inside the tin lid.

Break or chop the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave set on a low heat, stirring every now and then. Meanwhile blitz the biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic food bag crushed into crumbs using a rolling pin. Transfer the biscuit crumbs into the bowl and zest over the orange. Stir everything together to combine and tip the mixture into the prepared tin lid easing over the base and to the sides to create a flat even layer.  It can help to gently tap the base of the tin on a flat surface to encourage the mixture to reach the edges of the tin.  Allow to set slightly while you melt the chocolate to decorate with. Boil the kettle while waiting, put the white chocolate buttons into a small disposable piping bag and twist the end closed. Once the water has boiled, pour it into a mug or glass and put the piping bag into it. Leave the chocolate to melt inside the bag, then remove the bag from the hot water and wipe dry with a tea towel. Wait for the chocolate to firm up a little: you don’t want to pipe it while it’s still really runny. Once the chocolate has reached a paste-like consistency, snip off the end
off the piping bag and pipe lines over your milk chocolate mixture in the tin. Next stick your smarties over the lines, following the print on the tin as a reference. Leave somewhere cool or place in the fridge to set. Break into shards or leave whole and store inside the tin with more of the biscuits.

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