The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Part III

Monday  (17th) was D-Day. I HAD to get this task completed otherwise it would have been all for nowt. Delivery was Tuesday. No time to waste!

I dont know how chefs/bakers do it. That much time on your feet, day after day, cooking….ARGH.
Not to mention the urge to run far, far away from food in general. Actually, that may be a  cure for fatness…perhaps I should look into that further?

So it was oven baking day and the night before I had whispered a few feeble words with regards to the weather being cold so that my house wouldn’t over heat.
Obviously, in Australia its Summer time right now and the last thing you want to be doing is running an oven in an already heating up house. Not fun. And guess what? It was cold and somewhat miserable. I was in luck!

Day Three – The Finale
Shortbread & Cookies 

Shortbread (Scotland)
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/553/shortbread+scotland)

Ingredients
250g butter, softened
1 cup pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tbs white sugar

1. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper. Draw an 18cm circle in the centre of each sheet of baking paper.
Turn paper over so that marking is face down.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Sift flour and cornflour over butter mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth.
3. Divide dough in half. Gently press each piece into a 10cm (diameter) disc. Place shortbread discs on baking trays.
Using circles on paper as a guide, gently press shortbread out with your fingers to form a 1.5cm thick, 18cm (diameter) round.
4. Pinch the edge of each round to form a frill. Score 8 triangles in each shortbread round (do nut cut through dough). Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.
5. Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush shortbread with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, swapping trays after 15 minutes, or until shortbread is light golden and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely on trays. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut through markings.

Nutrition: Apparently none. Although, butter is from cows and is therefore healthy?

Shortbread uncooked  shortbread cooked

Tips:
– It seems tedious to follow the directions exactly, what with the drawing of circles and blah blah yawn >.> I actually have a perfect round circle burnt lightly into my breadboard…so I placed my baking paper over the top and use it as a guide. Voila!
– Use a salty butter – I found this was missing that smidgen of salt.
– Use caster sugar instead of plain old white sugar, its finer and prettier.

Thoughts:
As above, I swear this was missing salt. The texture was perfect, the base flavour was there…it just didn’t have that thing that shortbread is sposed to have. And the only thing I can think of is that.
I’m going to make another batch this week so I will test my theory and update.

Repeat Offender?
Why yes. This is actually the second time I’ve made this recipe, unfortunately I didn’t bother to make notes the last time so I had to eat it again to remember!
Eric looooves shortbread. Like, loves it more than he loves me. So I am bound to continue to find the right recipe – if you have one, send it to meeeeee.

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Honey Jumble Biscuits
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/22917/honey+jumble+biscuits)

Ingredients
60g butter, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp milk

Icing
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Pink food colouring

1. Combine butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, mixed spice and cloves over butter mixture. Add milk. Stir to combine. Cover. Set aside for 1 hour or until mixture has cooled and thickened.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly.
Divide dough into quarters. Roll 1 portion into a 25cm-long log shape. Cut into 5cm-long pieces. Place on prepared trays, leaving room for spreading.
Using a wooden spoon, flatten each piece of dough until 5mm-thick. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Stand on tray for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make icing Using: a whisk, beat egg white in a bowl until foaming. Gradually beat in icing sugar until combined. Stir in lemon juice.
Spoon half the mixture into another bowl. Tint pink with food colouring. Spread half of the biscuits with pink icing. Spread remaining biscuits with white icing.
Set aside for 30 minutes or until set. Serve.

Nutrition: Eggs..are healthy!

  Honey Jumbles raw  Honey Jumbles raw on tray

Honey Jumbles white icing  Honey Jumbles pink icing  Honey Jumbles cooked

Honey Jumbles white iced

Honey Jumbles pink iced

Tips:
– Don’t over cook!
– Less colouring is more (LOL – I never learn)

Thoughts:
These made me sad. I LOVE gingerbread. It’s the one thing I love about Christmas the most when it comes to food. I don’t know if it was me? Or the recipe? I have to blame the recipe. But it was very sad.

Repeat Offender?
Unfortunately, no. Boo! They were hard. And not nice and crunchy hard, just hard. Like stale hard. And then a bit chewy in places. And just plain old WEIRD and SAD.
I’m still trying to get over this one.

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Spiced Ginger Cookies
(Super Food Ideas, Issue August 2012 Page 77)

Makes 40
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 18 minutes (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
170g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
2 tbs sliced glace ginger – I omitted this

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and golden syrup. Beat until combined. Sift flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon over butter mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined and a soft dough forms.
3. Place raw caster sugar in a shallow dish. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat evenly. Place on prepared trays, 5cm apart, to allow room for spreading.
4. Using the palm of your hand, flatten slightly. Lightly press 1 piece of ginger into the top of each cookie. Bake for 15-18 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until light golden.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve

Nutrition: (each) 416kj; 3.7g fat; 2.3g saturated fat; 1g protein; 15.9g carbs; 0.3g fibre; 16mg cholesterol; 105mg sodium

spiced ginger plain deco3 uncooked  spiced ginger plain deco2 uncooked

spiced ginger plain deco3  spiced ginger plain deco2

spiced ginger plain deco1  spiced ginger plain cooked

Tips:
– Cook to cooking time.
– Use whatever you want on top – I did! Actually, I had these neat jars of mixed decorations that Woolies had and hadn’t used them so I thought Id give them a whirl.
– The dough is really fluffy and light and a little sticky, use the spoon method to create the balls and drop them a few at a time into the dish with the sugar. Then just give them a quick toss through and remove.

Thoughts:
This recipe was quite good. It was a little bit fiddly rolling the dough in sugar. They came out quite chewy, which I’m not opposed to at all but..I was hoping for a biscuit biscuit.

Repeat Offender?
Maybe. Eric isn’t a fan of ginger like I am. I may just see how I feel next year XD

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Rainbow Cookies
(Super Food Ideas, Issue August 2012 Page 77)

Makes 48
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 15 minutes (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
250g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g packet chocolate freckles

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Siftr flour and baking powder over butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls.
Place on prepared trays, 2 cm apart, to allow room for spreading. Press 1 freckle into the top of each cookie to form a 4.5cm round. Bake for 12-15 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until light golden.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.

Nutrition: (each) 488kg; 5.3g fat; 3.4g saturated fat; 1.4g protein; 16g carbs; 0.3g fibre; 21mg cholesterol; 56mg sodium.

Rainbow Cookies raw

Rainbow cookies single cooked  Rainbow cookies cooked

Tips:
– Well, obviously. Space them out better than I did! I don’t mind though, my mother always made cookies that merged like these ones XD
– You could change out the freckles for anything you like, really.

Thoughts:
These slightly crunchy, chewy and just all round nice. The recipe was simple to follow and the prep was easy.

Repeat Offender?
Sure. If I’m feeling like lazy cookies! I don’t actually bake cookies often. Christmas seems to be the only time.
Eric liked them, and that’s always a good sign, yeah?

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You can imagine by this stage, I was freaking exhausted.

My feet were killing me. I was covered in flour and icing sugar. My kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. And I still had to wrap and hamper it all up!
Thankfully, that was the sitting down part.

finished hamper

 

Ah.
Seriously, I’m glad tha’ts all over.
Will I do it again? Ask Martha in November, 2013 (bitch!)

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Part II

The next day was Sunday. I woke up with aching feet and resolved to actually wear my masseurs whilst baking to maybe eliminate those aches.
To be honest, I didn’t really want to continue on my mission – even my inner Martha was cringing at the thought. But we pressed on!

Day Two – The Uphill Struggle
Rocky Road, Truffles & Crackles

No-Bake Rocky Road Slice
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26122/no+bake+rocky+road+slice)

Ingredients
2 tbs boiling water
1 tsp powdered gelatine – I use McKenzies Edible Gelatine Setting Agent (I couldnt find anything that was actually labelled Powdered Gelatine)
250g packet marshmallows
1 tbs milk
2 x 180g blocks milk chocolate, chopped – I used Woolworths Select Milk Chocolate – USE SOMETHING ELSE! – I shouldn’t have skimped on quality >.>
40g butter, chopped
200g packet dry-roasted almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
100g packet red glace cherries, halved

Chocolate Base
250g packet plain chocolate biscuits, halved – I used Scalliwags (see pic)
125g butter, melted

1. Grease a 4.5cm deep, 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. To make base, process biscuits until finely chopped. Add butter, and process until combined.
Press mixture over base of prepared pan. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place boiling water in a heatproof jug. Sprinkle over gelatine. Using a fork, stir to dissolve. Set aside.
Place marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until marshmallows have melted and mixture is combined. Transfer to an electric mixer.
Gradually beat gelatine mixture into marshmallow mixture. Working quickly, spread mixture over prepared base. Cover.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until marshmallow has set.
4. Place chocolate and butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or until smooth.
Add almonds, coconut and cherries. Mix to combine. Spoon over marshmallow, pressing with the back of a spoon to level.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
5. Cut into squares. Serve.

Nutrition: Energy – 1708kj; Saturated Fat – 12.30g; Total Fat – 25.50g; Total Carbohydrates – 41.80g; Dietary Fibre – 1.70g; Protein – 6.50g; Cholesterol – 33.00mg; Sodium – 199mg

rockyroad biscuits  rockyroad biscuits in processor whole

rockyroad biscuit only crumbs  rockyroad biscuit mix

rockyroad base set  rockyroad marshmallows whole

rockyroad set marshmallow base  rockyroad marshmallow melting

rockyroad choco and butter melt  rockyroad mix

rockyroad frogs rockyroad to set

Tips:
– As mentioned earlier, don’t use cheap chocolate. Stick with what you know.
– DON’T use the microwave method. I don’t know why I even considered following that instruction, but of course that’s how I roll. I follow a recipe the first time and then make changes the second!
Stick to the bowl over simmering water in pan method, it is best.
– You can’t have rocky road, slice or not, without the red/green lolly bits! I used a packet of red and green frogs, roughly chopped. The extra marshmallow on top wasn’t needed.

Thoughts: 
Relatively simple recipe to follow, aside from the chocolate melting part >.> The coconut in the chocolate had me freaking out thinking that the chocolate had separated, but again..cheap chocolate..blah. Turns out it was fine and tasted fine, but stupid move on my part to have not used Cadbury!
I think some additional melted chocolate to pour over the marshmallows would have worked nicely.
The base was crunchy, though a bit salty I noticed. I would suggest unsalted butter to be used.

Repeat Offender?
Sure thing. Eric loved this, so did the clients. I loved it. I will just not use crappy chocolate next time! I may also include chunks of white chocolate..
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Mars Bar Christmas Crackles
(www.kidspot.com.au)

Ingredients
200g Mars Bars (4 standard bars), chopped
2 tbsp of cream
2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
3 cups Rice Bubbles
Canola Spray
100g white chocolate – I used Cadbury White
24 red Smarties or M&M’s

1. Spray a little canola spray into a 2 x 12 cup mini-muffin trays.
2. Melt the Mars Bards, cream and cocoa in a glass bowl over simmering water. The bowl shoudn’t touch the water. Stir the mixture until smooth.
3. Put the Rice Bubbles in a separate large bowl, pour in the chocolate mixture and stir until well mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into the muffins tray and press down gently.
5. Refrigerate for 2 hours and turn out onto a tray to decorate.
6. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave checking and stirring it at 30 second intervals. Pour it into a piping bag while warm and snip the tip off.
7. Turn the crackles upside down and pipe the chocolate on. Finish with a red Smartie or M&M on top of each one.

Notes: These can be made more Christmass-y by adding 2/3 cup of either mixed fruit, chopped cherries and currants or apricots and slivered almonds.

Nutrition: Probably not a lot.

mars bars chopped  mars cream and cocoa melting

mars rice bubbles mix  mars crackles turned out

  mars crackle close up  mars crackles finished close up

mars crackles complete

Tips:
– I think you are apt to find more red M&M’s in a packet than you are red Smarties in a packet.
– Be patient with the melting mars bars, it takes a little while but make sure they are completely melted.
– The smaller the muffin pan, the better!
– You don’t need to use a piping bag, a spoonful drizzled over the top will work just as well.
– Again, don’t use the microwave method for melting unless you are SURE.

Thoughts:
Look, these were so easy to make, its clear why they were on a kids website. I wouldn’t personally add anything to the Rice Bubble mix; the thought of mixed fruit, etc, in this kinda makes me wanna puke a little.

Repeat Offender?
Yes – but only at those special times of the year. These are fun to eat and taste great, but are very rich and sugar laden. If I had kids, I wouldn’t let them eat them. EVER! Hahaha XD No, I’m serious.
They are quick and easy so I guess that makes them convenient. I’d still prefer a piece of chocolate cake to one of these any day.

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Chocolate, Coconut and Turkish Delight Truffles
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/12424/chocolate+coconut+and+turkish+delight+truffles)

Ingredients
20g (1/4 cup) dessicated coconut
300g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
2 x 55g Turkish Delight chocolate bars (Fry’s brand), finely chopped
250g milk chocolate melts – I used Cadbury Milk Chocolate Buttons for cooking

1. Place the coconut in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water).
Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from pan. Stir in the coconut and chocolate bars. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the =fridge for 6 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.
3. Line 2 trays with non-stick baking paper. Use a melon baller or a teaspoon to scoop out 1 1/2 tsp of the chocolate mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball.
Place on a lined tray. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes or until firm.
4. Place the milk chocolate melts in a medium, heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water).
Use a metal spoon  to stir gently for 5 minutes or until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Remove from the pan.
5. Use 2 forks to evenly coat each truffle in the melted chocolate. Remove the truffle, tapping the fork handle gently on the edge of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate mixture.
Use a small spatula to carefully slide the truffle onto the remaining lined tray. Repeat with remaining truffles and melted chocolate.
Set the coated truffles aside at room temperature, for 5-10 minutes or  until set.

Nutrition: It has coconut in it!

truffles coconut  truffles turkish delight frys

truffle turkish delight chopped  truffle mix to cook

truffle mix off to set  truffles final group

truffle final

Tips:
– Don’t let the coconut burn, trust me it toasts so fast its not funny. Then again, my main hotplate is permanently on HIGH..
– Yes, the chocolate mixture will look like its separated – never fear, its all okay. Let it cool on the bench for a little while (30 mins) before you put it in the fridge, and give it a stir every so often to keep the oil/fat from separating.
– Before you work with the mixture to make the balls, let it sit on the bench for a half hour or so, so its easier to manage.

Thoughts:
I would have liked to have dipped half of these into white chocolate, just to break up the chocolate heaviness. They set really well and looked like proper truffles when they were done.

Repeat Offender?
Not for me, but Eric LOVED them. Would you believe I only ate one?? I think I ended up making about 24. These are incredibly rich. Like, my teeth wanted to jump out of my head and run the hell away. In hindsight, a 2 litre bottle of milk would have been THE perfect chaser XD
I’m funny when it comes to chocolate. I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate, so take my better half’s word for it instead of mine!

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And THAT was the end of Day Two – The Uphill Struggle.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Every year, my inner Martha Stewart pokes her head out mid-November and starts deciding what mammoth baking tasks she wishes to attempt for Christmas.
This year, she committed to preparing Christmas Hampers for our business clients, from scratch – baking, decorating, the works.

I am compelled to let her use my body for her wicked demands because after all, it is only once a year…

Day One – The Assault
Fudges & Peppermint Creams

Salted Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26110/salted+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
125g butter, chopped
180g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White (proper eating chocolate)
1 tsp sea salt flakes

1. Grease a pan, 4cm deep x 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan.
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure.
Set aside for 30 minutes then cover with plastice wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hrs or until firm.
4. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: Energy – 273kj; Saturated Fat – 2.00g; Fat Total – 3.10g; Total Carbohydrates – 9.10g; Protein – 0.70g; Cholesterol – 8.00mg; Sodium – 64mg

salted caramel beginning salted caramel before chocolate added
Take a look into my pot of heart attack

salted caramel with added chocolate salted caramel after chocolate stirred in

salted caramel

salted caramel finished


You see that I didn’t use sea salt flakes. I’m not sure if I wish that I had – I don’t think it would have made much of a difference. I did use proper sea salt, freshly ground. I guess the flakes would have been more attractive, but taste wise I think it would have mattered.

Tips:
– Don’t look away! Sugar heats up super quick as does milk and you know, this entire pot was exactly that – milky sugar. 
– Keep on stirring – use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This recipe was super simple to make. I have never, ever actually made fudge before – my mother made us some for Christmas last year, but it had a different texture to it and she admittedly stated that it wasn’t great fudge. I think I was worried that all home-made fudge would come out that way! And pleasantly wrong.
This needs to be eaten within a few days, the salt starts to weep a little after a while. Makes the salt kick TOO salty, but you can always just wipe that off and scoff the fudge anyway. Don’t waste good fudge!
Also, I just realised that I didnt use golden syrup in this one – but it was perfectly awesome anyway.

Repeat Offender?
Hells to the eff yeah! When something this simple can taste this good, its definitely worth doing time and time again.
Fudge makes for great gifting! And honestly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it.

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Chocolate and Walnut Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/18559/chocolate+and+walnut+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbs glucose syrup
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1. Grease a 4.5cm-deep, 7.5cmx25cm (base) cake pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang along both long ends.
Place condensed milk, sugar, butter and glucose syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth.
2. Increase heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and caramel coloured. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and walnuts. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
Set aside for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
3. Remove fudge from pan. Discard baking paper. Place fudge on a board. Cut into squares.

Nutrition: None (LOL)

choc walnut fudge stage choc walnut adding choc and walnut in pot

choc and walnuts close up choc walnut setting

choc walnut setting close up

choc walnut finished

Tips:
– Again with the stirring. Dont look away, you simply dont have time – take the pot with you!
– Use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This fudge is really thick – it takes a bit of coaxing to spread it evenly in the pan. You may think that it has separated, but it really hasnt – dont panic! I think that maybe I chopped my nuts too much…

Repeat Offender?
I discovered, Im not a fan of nutty fudge. I cant actually recall eating it in the past. To be honest, I dont have many fudge eating memories so thats no real suprise.
For true fudge fans, maybe this one would appeal – I think I just didnt like the texture, it didnt feel like fudge. Not to mention, it was holy crap rich!
I wont be making this one again, because I want to eat the fudge I make, dammit.

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Choc-Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26112/choc+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs glucose syrup
125g butter, chopped
90g dark chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 tbs golden syrup
90g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White

1. Grease a pan 4cm deep, 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place half the condensed milk, half the sugar, half the glucose syrup and half the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from h eat.
Stir in dark chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Set aside for 30 minutes.
4. Wash and dry saucepan (or use another). Place remaining condensed milk, remaining sugar, remaining glucose syrup, remaining butter and golden syrup in pan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat.
Stir in white chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon over fudge in pan. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.
6. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: None (mwahahaha)

choc caramel in pot  choc caramel setting

choc caramel choc in pan setting

choc caramel finished

Tips:
– Make sure you let the chocolate set for the full 30mins otherwise when you add the caramel mixture, they will blend and it will be wrong.
– You can see I had run out of pans at this stage, plastic containers will work just fine!

Thoughts:
So simple, so easy. So tasty. This fudge set really well.

Repeat Offender?
Yes! This one was very, very nice. The chocolate wasn’t overbearing and it was light and naughty. It has kept well, and will still be around for Christmas which is also great 😀

OMG I just had an idea….BACON FUDGE o.O

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Peppermint Creams
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/564/peppermint+creams)

Ingredients
2 egg whites
4 cups (600g) pure icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint essence
400g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, melted – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa) proper eating chocolate 😛

1. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk until frothy. Add icing sugar and peppermint essence.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until mixture almost comes together. Using clean hands, bring mixture together to form a ball.
2. Turn mixture onto a clean surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead until smooth and not sticky. Work in extra incing sugar if necessary.
Place mixture between 2 large sheets of baking paper lightly dusted with icing sugar. Roll out until 1cm thick.
3. Line 2 large, flat baking trays with baking paper. Using a 3.5cm round cutter, cut rounds out of dough. Press leftover dough together and repeat.
Place rounds on prepared trays. Set aside, uncovered, overnight, turning over once to allow peppermint creams to dry out.
4. Half-dip each peppermint cream in melted chocolate (make sure chocolate is not too hot or it will melt the peppermint mixture). Return peppermint creams to trays.
Refrigerate until chocolate has set.

Nutrition: None XD

peppermint creams rolled out  peppermint creams cut out close

peppermint creams close up drying  peppermint cream dipping chocolate

Peppermint creams dipped and setting

peppermint creams finished

Tips:
– Have extra icing sugar on hand, YOU WILL NEED IT. And be generous with it otherwise you will end up with a hard, sticky cement-like mess all over your bench.
– Cover with a tea-towel whilst they sit out over night.
– Make sure the chocolate is cool enough to dip your finger in and feel no warmth, otherwise it will melt the cream.
– Use any shaped cutters you like, as you can see I chose Christmas Trees!
– When dipping in chocolate, don’t hold onto the creams to hard – they will just break off as they are so delicate. Also, don’t hang onto them for too long – body heat will result in the same thing.
– After adding essence, taste dough – add more if not peppermint-y enough (I did).

Thoughts: 
Surprisingly simple to make. I’m a HUGE fan of peppermint or anything mint. I always loved the Peppermint Creams you could get in the shop (are they still around??) and these gave me that same happy om nom nom feeling.

Repeat Offender?
Mhmm. LOL of course! Best thing about these, was that Eric isn’t a huge fan of peppermint so guess who gets to enjoy them!

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And that was the end of Day One – The Assault.

Childhood Indulgences

Whoever invented lolly shops really has an awful lot to answer for.

Whilst my parents were staying with us, we took a touristy stroll through the main part of Windsor, NSW.
According to Wikipedia, Windsor is situated about 56km north-west of Sydney. From me, its about 35 minute drive down the mountain and to the Hawkesbury river.

It’s the third oldest place of British settlement in Australia, so you can imagine how much history this small town holds. We have lived out here in the Hawkesbury region for a couple of years now, but we’ve never actually taken any time to sight see. It’s one of those things you take for granted, isn’t it.

Anyways, I only had my iPhone for a camera that day so I didn’t really take many photos however I did take a picture of this lovely old water wheel that sits in the middle of the town centre.

 

windsor 2

windsor 1
Of course, in Windsor is this lovely little lolly shop, called The Shop of Lollies. I dont think any small, historic town would be complete without such a shop, am I right?
My inner 7-year-old-eyes bugged out of my head and begged me to take it inside. And then the 34-year-old me promptly went lolly crazy!

Sadly, they didnt have everything in there. The 7 -year-old, however, was satiated.

windsor 3

lolly haul

lollies lollies 6

lollies 5lollies 4

lollies 3 lollies 2

 

 

 

 

Let them eat cake!

I have a couple of things in the works at the moment, but I’d rather post about them all in one go so I will start this blog off with something yummy!

My parents came and stayed with us in late November (which was awesome by the way) and though I try to keep cake making to a minimum purely in order to save our fatty souls, I felt compelled to finish off the Sunday night roast with a lovely, freshly baked chocolate cake.
This recipe I found in the August 2012 issue of Super Food Ideas Magazine (which I’ve only recently started collecting. The magazine is super cheap and stuffed full of recipes).

Anyway, I will share it with you (with my modifications & suggestions)

Favourite Chocolate Cake

Serves 10

Prep 30 minutes (plus cooling time)
Cook 1 hour, 20 minutes

200g dark chocolate, chopped (I used Cadbury Old Gold which is 70% cocoa and therefore healthy LOL)
250g butter, chopped
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (I left the bi-carb out)
1 & 1/2 cups raw caster sugar (I had no caster sugar on hand so I used plain old white sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (I had no buttermilk, so I curdled some ordinary milk)
chocolate curls, to decorate (optional)

Chocolate Ganache
300g dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup thickened cream

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper. (I used a square cake pan – I really must stock up on some round ones)

2. Place chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or  until melted. Set aside to cool.

3. Place flours, bicarb, sugar and sifted cocoa in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Whisk eggs and buttermilk in a jug. Stir in buttermilk, then chocolate, into flour mixture.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Stand cake in pan for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, make Chocolate Ganache

Place chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth.
Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until a spreadable consistency. (Note: Do not leave too long! You will have to reheat it and go through the cooling process again if it becomes too hard)

5. Split cake in half. Place base of cake onto a serving plate. Spread over half of the ganache.
Sandwich with cake top. Spread top and sides with remaining ganache. Top with chocolate curls, if using.
Stand for 10 minutes or until ganache sets slightly.
Serve.

Nutrition: 3142kj; 45.3g fat; 28.1g saturated fat; 8.3g protein; 79g carbs; 1.4g fibre; 144mg cholesterol; 341mg sodium

Tips:
– To make your own buttermilk, simply add a smidge of vinegar to ordinary milk and let sit for a few minutes (give it a slight stir)
– To make chocolate curls, run a vegetable peeler down the side of a block of chocolate (thanks to the recipe for this awesome tip!!)

End result:


choc cake november 2012 choc cake november 2012 open

choc cake november 2012 inside

Thoughts:
This cake was RICH. Seriously, mind-blowingly rich. I served it with a scoop of clean vanilla ice-cream which certainly helped cut back the richness.
Ganache doesn’t do it for me like icing does, I don’t know why. It’s nice for a filling and it makes the cake look great on the outside but..it’s just not the same as a cake lovingly smothered in super delicious icing!
The 1 hour 20 minutes wasn’t long enough for me – mind you, I was sharing the oven with a roasting leg of lamb. I ended up with a very slighlty cookie-crunchy edge – which wasn’t awful, but not the desired effect.

Repeat Offender?
Sure. Eric loved it, so did my parents. And you know, they say the way to a mans heart is through his ribcage er belly, right?

When it comes to chocolate cake, I am still searching for the perfect recipe – feel free to send me yours (in fact, PLEASE DO), I will try them all!
I only ever came close once, and would you believe…I didn’t print the recipe, I baked it directly reading from my iPad and poof. Lost it.

(Thank you SuperFood Ideas Aug 2012)