This recipe for chocolate puffs has been adapted to use modern ingredients and is taken from the item 'From Hand to Mouth: Cookery Recipes and Household Hints Supplied by Members of the Berkshire Federation of Women's Institutes.', 1944 (ref. D/EX2547/4/6/6).
The book contains all number of recipes and suggestions for making dishes at a time when food was scarce due to the Second World War. We have already shared the Berkshire Pie recipe from this book, and you can read about that in our blog page.
The book is amongst the papers of the Castle family of Home Farm, Charlton - possibly because a member of the family bought, or was given, the book. They could well have been a member of the local Women's Institute. If you would like to know more about the Castle family papers, please see our online catalogue. The online catalogue can also be searched for records of local Women's Institutes and the Berkshire Federation of Women's Institutes.
The chocolate puffs recipe has the line at the top 'a good biscuit for tea parties' so you could use them for a special event. Or just make them to eat yourself!
We tried them and they were incredibly light and fluffy, with a slight chewy centre - much like a meringue - and they were quite sweet too, but in a good way. They were pretty easy to make, though we would recommend whipping the egg white with an electric hand whisk if you have one to save time.
1 oz of plain chocolate, finely grated*
¼ lb of caster sugar, sifted**
1 egg white, well whipped
Butter to grease tray(s)
*About 50% cocoa content; 1 ounce is 28g.
** A little extra sugar is required for dusting (see method); ¼lb is 113g.
You will also need:
Electric hand whisk (a hand whisk will do, but it will take longer to whip the egg white)
Pre-heat the oven to a moderate 180o/160o fan/Gas Mark 4.
Prepare the ingredients as described in the ingredients list.
In a large bowl, gently mix all the ingredients together.
Butter and greaseproof paper a baking tray (use an extra tray if required).
Dust sugar over the greased tray.
Shape the mixture into little balls – about the diameter of a 10p coin.
Place the balls on the tray, allowing space between each ball to spread during baking.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp on the outside, hollow inside.
Place on a wire rack to cool.
Once fully cooled, store in a sealed container.