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Hot Topic

Rated 81.9%
214 votes

3 400g bars sainsurys own brand chocolate – £4.50
4 100g bars sainsburys basics chocolate – £1
6 barretts nougat bars -£3.60
1 tin condensed milk – 97p
175g sugar – no idea
175g butter – in the fridge
some lazy garlic and habanero Tabasco – store cupboard
bag of whole hazelnuts – £1.49
4 pack of Topic bars for comparison – ooh, about £1.20 I should think

Total cost – about £13

It’s literally taken me four weeks to decide what chocolate bar to base this pimp on. I had the idea of making something with chillis in it, and then drawing flames on, a while ago, but couldn’t think of a decent pun for any chocolate bars. We pondered a Fuse, and at one point, shock horror, even decided not to give it a pun name. My brother-in-law even suggested a Picnic, but with sick in it, i.e. a Sick-nic, but in the end, after 2 glasses of white zinfandel (my husband never drinks wine and I think it went to his head) Ian decided on the Hot Topic.

The making of this pimp was also hindered by the unavailability of the muse; is it just me, or are Topic bars really hard to find? I finally tracked them down in Sainsburys, in a 4 pack. Admittedly, 2 were gone before I even got the ingredients to the kitchen…

I had completely forgotten what was in a Topic as well, so after finding them, I bought ingredients which seemed to fit the description of a Topic as written on the packaging. The only one I couldn’t decide on was the caramel, but after remembering my dad boiling condensed milk to make banoffee, I found a tin of it, and adapted the recipe on the side.

After looking at a Topic, for all of 2 seconds, I could see that the basic shape is actually quite square, although rippled on top. I decided to use my trusty Kit Kat shaped loaf tin, and then add ripples afterwards. Hopefully I could make the ripples look like flames too.

The first job was to create a layer of chocolate for the top. As usual, I melted chocolate in the microwave, poured it in the tin, and froze it.

To make the caramel, I melted the butter and sugar, then stirred in the condensed milk, and brought it to the boil. Once boiling, I added the lazy chillis and habanero sauce, and the bag of hazelnuts, and left it boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. This is tricky stuff. Leaving it for even five seconds made it burn and stick to the pan, so watch your fingers and your pan, especially if it isn’t yours.

Instead of just pouring the hot caramel into the mould, which would mean I might not get the gap around the edge to fill with chocolate, I spread it on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, and left it in the fridge to cool.

Nougat is pretty hard to find, unless you get jumbo pink and white nougat. I am a bit of a pedant, and don’t like to see pink nougat when the real chocolate bar only has white nougat. So, while the caramel cooled, I cut the pink half off the nougat, and arranged the 6 white bits to make the correct size and shape.

The caramel was cold, the chocolate frozen, and the nougat perfect. Now it needed assembling. I scraped the caramel off the tray, and arranged it on top of the chocolate. I then carefully placed the nougat on, and scraped around the sides so I still had the all important gap. Back into the freezer!

After about 20 minutes, I took it out again, and re-scraped my gap. All that it needed now was some more chocolate melted, and poured in around the nougat and caramel, and over the top of everything until it was smooth.

After another 30 minutes in the freezer, I turned it out. A liberal spraying of vegetable oil before the chocolate meant it slipped out the easiest of all my projects. However, it still looked too square, so I melted the last bit of chocolate and poured it over the top in a satisfying ripply way. A cocktail stick was perfect for drawing in flames, even though they weren’t that visible.

After another freezing, I decided it still needed something to make it look HOT. Remembering the writing icing I still had left over from Figgie, and realising there was yellow and red, I drew in the flames, using many layers to give a more intense colour.

So there it is – and let me tell you, that caramel is very nice indeed. It’s very sweet, but has a nice aftertaste of chilli. At first you think ‘oh, that’s not hot enough’, but then it kicks in and nearly blows your head off. Ariba!


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