Monday, 27 January 2014

Magic Turtle Bars

For the caramel bits in this recipe, I used some leftover caramel that I had made, put into a jar and chilled- I then chopped up the fudge-like textured caramel. The recipe for that is the one I used for the alternative chocolate 'mince pies'.

Magic Turtle Bars

280g (2 cups) digestives/vanilla biscuits
113 (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
300g millk chocolate, chopped
300g caramel bits
220g (2 cups) pecans, coarsely chopped
1 can condensed milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4. Line a 9x13 inch pan with baking paper, leaving a slight overhang.

2. For the base, crush the biscuits in a food processor, add the butter and process until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

3. Layer half the chocolate chips, the caramel bits and most of the pecans over the base, followed by the remaining chocolate chips and pecans. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the top, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until beginning to turn golden. Cool completely, then cut into pieces.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Gingerbread House 3.0

It's true that my numbering system has very little logic behind it. Anyhow, I decided to downsize a little this year, using only one batch of the gingerbread recipe I have used in my previous houses

Chocolate Praline Caramel Alternative 'Mince Pies'

The idea for these alternative 'mince pies' came from one of Hotel Chocolat's Christmas products designed with those with a dried fruit aversion in mind. It consists of a (milk) chocolate case, caramel filling and chocolate praline layer, topped with a (white) chocolate star.
I made these in two different sizes- I made some with a mini muffin pan and some with a regular muffin pan- I think the smaller ones are ideal for a  little truffle-like dessert. The types of chocolate used could be altered- i.e. white/dark chocolate cases, milk/dark chocolate stars, etc.

On a final note, I do not remember the exact quantities I used, but it can be guessed quite easily by eye and then to taste. For the praline layer, however, I used about 130g chocolate to 90ml cream.

For the chocolate cases:milk chocolate
For the praline filling:
dark chocolate
double cream
For the caramel filling:

115g (1/2 cup) butter
1 x 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk
140g (2/3 cup) light brown sugar
30ml (2tbsp) golden syrupTo decorate:white chocolate
gold edible glitter

1. Line a mini muffin pan/muffin pan with paper cases.

2. For the chocolate cases, melt the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add about one tablespoon (if using a regular sized muffin pan) or one teaspoon (if using a mini muffin pan) of the chocolate to the paper cases and spread to evenly coat the bottoms.

3. For the caramel filling, p lace the butter, brown sugar, condensed milk and golden syrup in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium heat and raise to a medium-high heat once the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Keep the mixture bubbling gently for 6-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before pouring over the bananas in the crust. Chill until set.

4. Add some of the caramel to each of the paper cases on top of the chocolate (about one tablespoon for regular sized pies/ about one teaspoon for mini pies).

5. For the praline filling, heat the cream in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the chocolate and nutella and stir to combine. Once completely melted, allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Add some of the praline filling to the top of the caramel layer, then refrigerate to set.

7. Melt the white chocolate, let cool a little, then use to pipe stars on top of the 'pies'. Refrigerate until set and brush with the edible glitter.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Caramelised Christmas Pudding Caramel Swirl Bombs

Recipe from Donal Skehan

Caramelised Christmas Pudding Caramel Swirl Bombs

250g Christmas pudding, crumbled
3tbsp brown sugar
1litre vanilla ice cream
297g dulce de leche


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.mark 6. Place the crumbled Christmas pudding on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Place in the oven until the sugar has caramelised.

2. Mix the ice cream with the caramelised pudding crumbs and half the dulce de leche. Divide between mini pudding/dariole moulds or small cups lined with clingilm. Cover with cling film and freeze until set.

3. Remove the bombs from the moulds and remove the clingfilm. Turn out onto serving plates and serve with the remaining dulce de leche.

Christmas Cake

Recipe from Jamie Oliver

Christmas Cake

600g raisins
200g currants
100g glac
é cherries
250g mixed dried fruits (e.g. prunes, apricot, apple, pear)

400ml brandy/sherry/rum
300g unsalted butter
200g dark brown sugar
1 lemon
4 eggs
2tbsp treacle/golden syrup
300g plain flour
½ tsp ginger
1tsp cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
150g ground almonds
150g pecans, chopped


1. The night before, place the dried fruit in a saucepan with the alcohol and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a bowl, let it cool, cover and leave to soften overnight.

2. Pre heat the oven to 150°C/ 300F/Gas 2. Butter and line a 23cm (9 inch) diameter cake pan with a double layer of greaseproof paper which is about 8cm higher than the tin.

3. Blitz half the soaked fruit in a food processor to make a paste, then return to the rest of the fruit and mix together.

4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Grate the zest of the lemon and add to the bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and mix in the treacle.

5. Sift the flour into a separate bow land combine with the spices and ground almonds. Mix into the butter mixture, alternating with the fruit. Fold in the pecans and transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 2 ½ -3 hours, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

6. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, brush with some more alcohol. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and place in on a large sheet of foil. Wrap the cake up twice to retain the heat. Remove the foil after a few hours and wrap the cake up in a double sheet of greaseproof paper followed by a double sheet of tin foil. Store in an airtight container for 2-12 weeks. Feed the cake with brandy/sherry/rum about once a week over this period.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Eggnog Baked Oatmeal with caramelised bananas & vanilla bean brown butter

Recipe from How Sweet Eats

Eggnog Baked Oatmealwith Caramelised Banana & Vanilla Bean Brown Butter

Serves 4

For the oatmeal:
200g (2 cups) rolled oats
70g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
1tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
300ml (1 ¼ cups) eggnog
2tbsp oil
1tsp vanilla extract
For the caramelised bananas:
4 firm bananas, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
¼ tsp cinnamon
2tbsp unsalted butter
2tbsp brown sugar
For the vanilla bean brown butter:
6tbsp unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla bean paste
85g (¾ cup) icing sugar
60ml (¼ cup) maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/mark 5. Grease a 10x7, 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish.

2. Mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the egg, eggnog, oil and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the oats are just set.

3. To caramelise the bananas, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the butter. Sprinkle the bananas with cinnamon and add them to the pan. Sprinkle the sugar over the bananas and cook for up to about a minute on each side, until golden brown but not mushy.

4. For the brown butter, add the butter to a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk constantly until it browns, then remove from the heat, stir for 15 seconds and whisk in the vanilla bean paste.

5. Serve the oatmeal with the bananas and a drizzle of brown butter on top.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Nutella Magic Bars

Recipe adapted from Dinners Dishes and Desserts

Nutella Magic Bars

1 cup digestives
2tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3tbsp nutella
3tbsp hazelnuts, chopped
5tbsp hazelnuts
¾ cup chocolate chips
½ can condensed milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4. Line a 9x9 inch pan with baking paper, leaving a slight overhang.

2. For the base, crush the digestives in a food processor, add the butter and process until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

3. Add the nutella to the top of the base in teaspoon-sized pieces, then spread all over the crust if desired. Scatter the chopped and whole hazelnuts over the top, then sprinkle over the chocolate chips. Pour the condensed milk over the top and bake for 20-30 minutes, until set. Leave to cool before slicing.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Chocolate Chestnut Refrigerator Cake

Recipe from Nigella

Chocolate Chestnut Refrigerator Cake

500g chestnut puree
3tbsp brown sugar (omit if using sweetened puree)
175g unsalted butter, softened
300g dark chocolate
3tsp brandy
To serve:
crème fraiche
vanilla paste
orange zest

1. Line a 10 x 23cm (9x6 inch) loaf pan 

2. Beat the chestnut puree with the sugar until smooth. Add the butter and beat until well combined.

3. Melt the chocolate and leave to cool slightly, then add it to the chestnut mixture and mix in the brandy. Transfer some of the mixture to the prepared pan and spread to the edges of the pan. Add the rest of the mixture, smooth over the top and cover with the overhanging cling film and refrigerate for at least four hours.

4. Mix together the crème fraiche, vanilla and orange zest. Unwrap the cake, slice and serve with the crème fraiche.

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