Monthly Archives: January 2015

It’s all Fudged Up!

I finally got round to making fudge … and using my thermometer!

I was prompted to make fudge this weekend after the subject of ‘Armpit Fudge‘ came up. The ingredients are put into a bag and are combined together by placing the bag in your armpit and squishing it using your arms… appetising!

Not exactly the fudge I had in mind and the thought of it kinda grossed me out, but suprisingly didn’t put me off … Fudge that is… Not armpit fudge…. That’s a no-no.

I was looking for a recipe for simple, vanilla fudge when I came across chocolate and peanut butter fudge.  There were quite a few different recipes, some involved mainly melted chocolate and condensed milk with chopped up peanut butter cups, or melted chocolate and icing sugar with peanut butter swirled in.
I decided on this one from the Brown Eyed Baker. It seemed to be a more ‘authentic’ fudge recipe and allowed me to use my thermometer (I’m easily pleased) and my measuring cups 😀 :

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now I can stop complaining about American measurements!

1) Heat 2½ cups granulated sugar,¼ cup cocoa powder,1 cup evaporated milk (from a can) and1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used Golden Syrup) mixing continuously until the sugar has completely melted

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2) Add 2 tablespoons of butter (taken from 1/2 a cup/125g of unsalted butter) and mix in til the butter melts, bring to the boil, cover and allow to boil for a further 3 minutes

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3) Remove the lid and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 234 degrees F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).

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4)Remove from the heat and, without stirring, add the remaining butter, peanut butter and vanilla. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

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5)Using a wooden spoon, beat the fudge vigorously until it thickens and begins to lose its gloss (can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes). You can also transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat it on medium speed, being careful to only mix until it thickens and loses its gloss. Do not overmix

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It took about 10mins with my hand mixer to reach the desired state

6) Immediately pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Allow the fudge to come to room temperature, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill it until set.

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7) Lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. The fudge can be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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This fudge was really good and I was impressed as it was my first attempt (it actually tastes like fudge!)
It has a smooth, creamy texture. The flavour isn’t too overwhelming with a very subtle peanut butter flavour.

The fudge was surprisingly simple to make, I did burn the pan abit in the process (luckily it didn’t affect the flavour, and the best thing about burnt sugar it’s easy to clean off the pan!)

Waiting for it to chill was a pain though (I’m not very patient).

If I was to use this recipe again, I would add more peanut butter as I felt the flavour was underwhelming, I used smooth but think crunchy might add a nice texture. Or I would add chopped up peanut butter cups.

There are so many different fudge recipes and flavours out there, and bar armpit fudge, I am looking forward to trying more out.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

I recently watched the Horizon documentary What’s the Right Diet for You, and doing the online test found me to be a ‘constant craver’, which wasn’t really very suprising.  But not particularly helped by constantly thinking about ‘what can I make next ‘.

This lemon meringue pie is a perfect example, I saw a pie on TV and decided I had to have pie, spent the next few hours thinking of what pie and looking up recipes and had an internal debate as to whether I should make it or not (just for the record, I did do other things that day!). 

Another problem I have no time concept when it comes to baking, so when I started making this at 5.30pm, even though I know it should have been chilled for an hour, I had every intention of eating this after dinner (and I did).

I went with the Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie recipe as I liked the addition of orange to the lemon curd.

1) Prepare the pastry case

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2) once the curd has been prepared, pour over the prepared pastry case

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3) I piped the meringue on top

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4) ready to serve

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The recipe states to leave the pie to cool for 30mins and leave to rest for a further 1hr to set.

I served it after about 20mins and it was still warm. 
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To me lemon meringue pie is a light, summery dessert. Eating it warm seemed wrong, however, it tasted really good and made a lovely winter treat.

Caramelitas

I follow a few American foodies on Facebook, Instagram and blogs and love the different slices/bars they make. They look really enticing with the layers of pastry/brownie/caramel/nuts/jams/cookies/cheesecake etc etc.  One of my early food memories is a Tri-Level bar my sister made after a holiday to America.

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these images were taken from the wonderful http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/

My main problem is even though there are numerous recipes out there, I find it really confusing converting cups to grams, as there are loads of different conversion tables which all come up with different results.

I visited the stall, at the Good Food Cake and Bake Show, for the Outsider Tart who have brought their yummy American baked goods to the UK.  I was able to try a few of their slices and my favourite was an oaty caramelly bar.

I later saw these on instagram and knew I had to make them.

Ingredients:
(made 24 squares)
240g/2 cups plain flour
160g/2 cups quick cooking oats (I used Quaker Oats
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon of salt
200g/1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
240g/1 cup unsalted butter
100g chocolate chips
60g chopped pecans
400ml of Caramel (I used tinned Nestle Caramel)

(recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker and Roxanas Homebaking, I used Roxanas conversions from cups to grams and made a few adaptations as I went along, still not 100% happy with the conversions but it turned out well)

Method:
1)Preheat oven to 180 C and prepare tin (I used my brownie tray, which is 13.5” by 8”)

2) cream the sugar and butter, add the flour/bicarb/salt and mix, once combined add the oats  and mix until it forms a crumbly mixture

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3) cover the base of the tin with ¾ of the crumble mixture, spreading so its even and bake for 10mins

4) take out of the oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips and pecans, then pour over the caramel, and spread evenly using a spatula

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5) crumble the remaining crumble mixture over the top evenly

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6) bake in the oven for 10-15mins, til lightly browned

7) leave to cool, once at room temperature, leave in the fridge for two hours/overnight.  Cut into squares and serve (return to room temperature before serving, though if you can’t wait you can try one…or two).

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These were absolutely delicious and really easy to make.
The oaty biscuit base and topping is buttery and has a caramelly taste from the brown sugar, and the caramel/chocolate/pecan filling compliments it so well.

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Mr Kipling Eat Your Heart Out

I love Viennese Whirls, who doesn’t? Buttery, melt in your mouth biscuits, with a creamy filling and jam. Mmm…

Mr Kiplings recent seasonal offerings, gingerbread and mince pie (both are amazing but the mince pie one is better in my opinion), had me craving these home made versions and meant I got to use my favourite kitchen toy.

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This recipe from the Hairy Bikers makes the most moreish Viennese Whirls.
They are also very easy to make, which is great, as you will want to make them often.

Biscuits
– 250g/9oz very soft butter
– 50g/2oz icing sugar, plus extra to decorate
– 250g/9oz plain flour
– 50g/2oz cornflour
– ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
For the filling
– 100g/3½oz soft butter
– 200g/7oz icing sugar, plus ½ tsp for dusting
– few teaspoons of milk
– ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
– 75g/3oz seedless raspberry jam

Combine all the ingredients for the biscuits using your electric whisk/food processor until smooth and completely combined.

Now this is where my favourite toy comes out. The first time I made these I found them really difficult to pipe and my hands really hurt, so I gave up and just made them into rounds. Same taste but they looked kinda boring.

I was gifted with this Kuhn Rikon Cookie Press. It effortlessly makes cute little shaped biscuits. I absolutely love it and can’t recommend it enough.  It’s so easy to use/clean and the resulting biscuits look soo amazing.  However, I’m not a huge fan of the recipes that were included in the box, but it’s perfect for Viennese Whirls, no painful piping and you still get beautiful biscuits. 

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Included are several discs to make different shapes/patterns

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my favourite are the flower and hearts

The biscuits come out more consistently if the trays are chilled, I also find it easier with the textured trays as pictured.

Bake until the edges are golden.

These biscuits alone are AMAZING. So buttery and moreish.  It’s a good job with the cookie press they are small so you get a lot more than the 18 sandwiches suggested in the recipe!

Make your buttercream and pipe on to a biscuit, put some jam on top and sandwich with another biscuit.  A sprinkling of icing sugar and eat!

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The recipe is incredibly versatile and you can add different flavouring to both the biscuit and buttercream; the ones pictured are a vanilla biscuit with a mocha buttercream.
You can also substitute the jam with nutella/caramel etc to compliment your flavour combo.

You can also substitute the cornflower with custard powder, filled with vanilla buttercream and jam… Simply divine!

They can also be dipped in chocolate to be extra indulgent.

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Or if you want something abit ‘lighter’ you can omit the buttercream/filling.

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The Maryam butter biscuit selection box:coated in chocolate and sprinkles

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They can also be made vegan/dairy free by using dairy free spread (e.g. Vitalite sunflower spread). They do take about 5mins longer to bake. Here are some I made sandwiched together with jam:
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P.S. I was in Lakeland recently and found this cute springtime cookie disc set … And it fit in my Kuhn Rikon press! Haven’t had a chance to use them though.

P.P.S. they don’t seem to be selling the Kuhn Rikon Cookie press at Lakeland anymore,however, they have this OXO set, and its £5 off…yay!

Mendhi Cupcakes

The centre piece (even though it was on the side of the table) of my dessert table was this cupcake display.

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For the cakes, I decided to keep it simple; vanilla filled with raspberry jam and topped with vanilla buttercream (250g unsalted butter creamed with 500g icing sugar, about 2 tablespoons of milk until you get the desired consistency, and vanilla to taste). And chocolate mud cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream.

I wanted to make really colourful cupcakes, I decided to go for fondant toppers with a mendhi/henna design.

I ordered Renshaw fondant icing in turquoise, fuscia pink and orange.  And used a round cookie cutter to cut the discs to size.

I ordered the mendhi pattern stencils from eBay and some I had collected over the last couple of years.

And used Rainbow Dust Metallic Food Paint, which is alcohol free :D, applying it using a sponge.

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I made the fondant toppers a few days before the event so they would be ready when it was time to decorate the cupcakes.

When ready I smoothed buttercream on top of the cupcake and placed the disc on top.  Unfortunately, the discs were slightly smaller than the cakes.

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I made about 40 cakes in total, on top of all the other things I made. With all the last minute preparation for the wedding, I must be crazy!

I was so happy with how these turned out, they looked amazing on the cake stand, the colours and patterns complimented the mendhi theme, and they tasted delicious 😀

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Mendhi Hands

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Continuing with what I made for my dessert table.
I saw these on Instagram or pintrest and knew I had to make them.  They were a massive hit with the kids and adults alike.

The idea is you leave the hands out with some icing pens and your guests decorate their hands with their own mendhi designs.

Even though this was one of the most simple things I made, it was definitely my favourite.

I used my favourite custard shortbread recipe:
250g plain flour, 50g custard powder, 100g caster sugar combined, then crumbled into breadcrumbs with 250g cubed butter , and kneaded until it combines. Chilled in the fridge before rolling for approx 30mins

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I bought these hand cookie cutters from a kitchenware shop:
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I rolled out the dough and cut them into different sizes hands

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Then baked in the oven at 160deg until just golden brown on the edges (aprox 15mins).

While the hands were baking/cooling, using white fondant icing I made some hand toppers.  Once the hands were cooled, using raspberry jam brushed on to the hand biscuits, I stuck the fondant hand onto the biscuits.

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Mmm.. custard biscuits with a tangy raspberry jam and sweet fondant topping!

On the day these were left out on a tray with a few tubes of chocolate writing icing tubes.

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They were meant as an activity for kids but were enjoyed by everyone.

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Not only did they look fab, they tasted awesome (and the leftovers were most appreciated at breakfast the next day).

They are a fun addition to any mendhi/henna party.