Truthfully, I’ve been a little flat since my family headed back to Melbourne on Monday. Work has been a tad crazy – I missed a couple workouts – and I’ve generally felt rather ‘blah’. But in an attempt to snap out of it – Charlotte and I have been looking back at all the photos taken during last weekend – and laughing at a couple along the way… Segway anyone? Another photo that caught my attention was of these yummy little chocolate mousses we put together for C’s party. And while I am normally a huge fan of mousse in its original form, these were really easy and convenient – and contained no raw egg (which I know some people dislike). Simply – chocolate, custard !?) and cream – resulting in a mousse that tasted somewhat like chocolate yogo (remember those!?) but were still delightfully rich and creamy. You can find the recipe here. Thanks to Easter and the early injection of chocolates into the supermarkets – I topped the mousses simply with a lindt chocolate carrot. And I’m thinking our fellow party goers were also chocolate mousse fans – as there was not a single one left by the end! Shame really, for I have no doubt a little chocolate fix would be just perfect right now… What about you? Are you a fan of chocolate mousse?
We had such a lovely time this past weekend. Our house was filled with dear friends, and the air with squeals of 5 (?) children running around like mad men. Basically – it was just bliss. And I had a lot of fun with my ‘ol uni pal – drinking vino, reminiscing over our school days, laughing at our previous ‘fashion’ sense (or perhaps lack thereof) and generally feeling grateful for the little additions to our families. As a treat, I decided to make some doughnuts for the kiddos (although the adults were a little miffed that there were not enough leftover for them!). Next time perhaps? They really were very easy to put together –- and I opted for a regular version this time (instead of the wheat fee variety we made last time). Although they did end up being egg free when I realised I had no eggs! Instead I turned to Dr Google and concocted an arrowroot + water substitute that seemed to work just fine. Baked for 8 minutes, then topped with a chocolate icing glaze. And, of course….sprinkles!!! The adults didn’t miss out on dessert though….No – we indulged in a rather rich chocolate almond torte – but you will have to wait to tomorrow to hear all about that one! Stay tuned. Baked Doughnuts (makes 6 large)
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg (or in my case, 2 tbs arrowroot mixed with 2 tbs water)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180C, and grease a 6-doughnut pan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
- Whisk egg with the sugar, then add the wet ingredients, stirring to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour bowl, and stir until just combined.
- Spoon into the doughnut pan (or pipe using a plastic bag with the corner cut off).
- Bake for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before icing.
- For the icing – I melted about about 50g chocolate, with a tablespoon of butter. Then added this to a half cup of icing sugar and a tablespoon of milk – stirring to combine.
What about you? What is your favourite ‘kids treat’ to make?
Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party, and I couldn’t resist making a little sweet treat to take along. Using none other than this Aussie favourite as a base… Yep – it was a Weetbix slice. But not just any Weetbix slice… A rainbow chocolate weetbix slice – courtesy of this recipe. Weetbix, coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, butter and egg. Stirred and baked. Topped with chocolate icing – and then the fun part.. Rainbow chocolate chips! Sliced and layered on a platter – and my contribution was complete. Perhaps not the healthiest of contributions, but certainly a bright and cheerful one. Fun indeed! What about you? Tried any nice slices lately?
This “5 things Friday” – is a sweet edition. For going through my photo archives it seems I have been on a bit of a baking kick recently. Perhaps it is the weather (which has been rather conducive to afternoons spent in the kitchen), perhaps I just like sugar or perhaps I am just living up to the name of this blog! Whatever the reason, let me share with you my top 5 sweet treats of late! 1. Yoghurt Hummingbird Cake Lightened up with the use of yoghurt in place of oil! 2. Apple Chai Muffins Moist and moreish – and a lovely little afternoon tea treat. 3. Homemade apple pie Made from scratch, and served to our family for dessert one cold Winter’s evening. 4. Gluten Free Lemon Cake Not yet posted, but served for dessert one evening when we had a wheat-intolerant guest! 5. Chocolate brownies Again, not yet blogged about. Created purely for a chocolate fix when an afternoon slump hit. What about you? What have you been baking lately?
Sometimes life just calls for a little sweet treat. Especially when that sweet treat involves luscious lemon curd and pillows of meringue. aka. Mini lemon meringue pies. A few weeks ago, we had friends around for a BBQ lunch, which is always a ‘trigger’ for me to indulge in a little baking. On this occasion, I decided to experiment with making mini lemon meringue tarts, something that may feature at a certain little one’s party in a few weeks time. I cheated and used frozen shortcrust pastry, but that ended up being a mistake. The tart shells were not delicate like shortcrust pastry should be. Rather, they were almost chewy? I did, however, make the lemon curd from scratch and it was rather divine. Eggs, sugar, butter, lemon – heated and whisked until thick – Spooned into the pre-made tarts, then topped with a swirl of meringue. It was about now, that I wished I had a kitchen blow torch to brown the meringue without having to put them back into the oven. But alas, I do not (soon to be rectified), so I put the meringues into the oven for 5 minutes or so to give the tops a little colour (but not too much). The result? Adorable little tarts, albeit a tad ‘rustic’ in their appearance. I really enjoyed the meringue and lemon curd elements, but the pastry was just not right. Nonetheless, they were gobbled up by our guests and I am only too happy to experiment with another batch. A work in progress! What about you? Are you a fan of lemon meringue? I would have to say that it is a bit of a family favourite in the BBB household!
Last weekend, we were invited to a birthday BBQ. And, although we were told “no need to bring anything”, I had a hankering for some chocolate and couldn’t help myself. So the result of this hankering? A rather indulgent, but oh so delicious, mars bar slice. VERY easy to prepare, and VERY easy to eat. Just mars bars (of course), melted with marshmallows, golden syrup and butter. Combined with rice bubbles, and finished with a layer of melted milk chocolate. Set in the fridge overnight, then sliced to serve. Told you it was easy! Crispy and chocolately – and a sure-fire way to increase one’s blood sugar levels! Mars bar slice (adapted from here)
1. Grease and line a slice pan with baking paper – allowing the sides to overhang. 2. Melt the butter, golden syrup, 200g of the mars bars and the marshmallows in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring. Remove when the mixture is smooth. 3. Place the rice bubbles and remaining mars bars in a large bowl. Add the melted mixture, and stir well to combine. 4. Press into the prepared slice tin, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. 5. Melt the milk chocolate, and pour over the slice. Smooth the surface, cover, then place in the fridge for a couple hours (or even better, overnight) to set. 6. Slice and serve (nb. the marshmallow will make the slice a little sticky, but it will still hold together quite well.) What about you? Been up to any sweet treat making lately?
One of my reliable ‘go to’ dishes when asked to bring a sweets plate, would have to be rocky road. But not your usual ‘one chocolate / glace cherry’ rocky road. No sir. I’m talking ‘two chocolate-turkish delight’ rocky road. Aka sugar overload. What I love about this treat, despite being tasty, is that it can be put together quickly. Just melted milk chocolate, mixed with all the ‘fun stuff’… Pressed into a lined pan then topped with melted white chocolate. Into the fridge for a couple hours (or overnight) to set, then slice and serve! Out of all the dishes I have taken to parties over the years, it is this rocky road that has received the most compliments. And on this occasion, when I took a batch to Mother’s Group recently, it was no different… There was none left at the end, and I’ve already handed the recipe out 3 times. Be warned, though - its rather moreish. I always struggle to stop at just one piece Rocky Road The following quantities are a guide only. You really can use as little or as many ingredients as you would like – depending on the taste / texture that you are after.
- 400g milk chocolate (I use Cadbury)
- 200g white chocolate (or melts)
- 200g marshmallows, chopped in half
- 180g raspberry lollies
- 150g Turkish delight bars, chopped
- Handful of chopped nuts (peanuts, macadamias etc)
- Line a slice tray with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
- Place the chopped marshmallows, raspberry lollies, Turkish delight and nuts into a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the milk chocolate, then pour over the chopped ingredients. Stir to coat well, and press into the lined tray.
- Melt the white chocolate, and drizzle it over the top. Use a spoon to swirl it into the milk chocolate.
- Refrigerate until set, then slice and serve.
What about you? Are you a fan of rocky road?
A little while ago, I had guests arriving for an impromptu afternoon tea, but not a lot of time to prepare a sweet treat to serve. I did, however, have a packet of meringue nests in the pantry (similar to these…) Which were the perfect base for an easy afternoon tea. I am not kidding when I tell you that these treats took only 5 minutes to put together – in 3 easy steps. 1. Set out the nests on a pretty platter. 2. Whip some good quality cream, and spoon into each nest. 3. Top with strawberry slices and a sprinkle of chocolate powder. And you are done. Told you they were easy! Sure you can make your own meringue nests too – but when time is limited – I think ‘cheating’ a little is perfectly fine… Given there were none left at the end of the afternoon tea, I am calling these sweet treats a win. Although, you really can’t go wrong when meringue + cream + strawberries are involved – can you??? What about you? Do you have a ‘cheat’ treat that you like to serve?
Happy Tuesday lovely people! With Christmas well and truly on its way, it is time for day 2 of my 5 days of Homemade Holiday treats. And today’s treat is a good one. Even if I do say so myself. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that caramel is involved. And caramel is my favourite flavour. I wanted to create a treat that could be made in advance, would survive a car trip to Melbourne and that would keep for a couple of weeks. Hence caramel fudge seemed like the perfect option! Fudge is one of those sweet treats that I love to indulge in, although when I make it from scratch I realise why one should only indulge in a little piece. For this treat is really nothing more than sugar. And butter. With a side of sugar. And chocolate. But boy it is delicious! Particularly when sprinkled with sea salt. The only shame with this fudge is that it turned out a little soft (I think I took it off the stove too early). But all is not lost, I just plan on keeping it in the fridge until serving time. The flavour, however, was spot on – rich in caramel with just a hint of sea salt. Delish! Salted Caramel Fudge (recipe here)
- 395g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbs glucose syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 125g butter, chopped
- 180g white chocolate, chopped
- 1tsp sea salt flakes
Grease 20 x 20cm square cake pan, and line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
Heat 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.
Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 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. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. Cut into pieces and serve.
And then, because I just couldn’t stop … I also made a batch of Jessica’s mocha coconut fudge. Sprinkled with a little coloured coconut in honour of the festive season. And, which, unlike my caramel version, had a perfect fudge texture. But you will have to head over to her blog for that recipe! What about you? Are you a fan of fudge?? What is your favourite flavour?
Oh god today was a crazy one. One of those work days where I was watching the clock – not bemoaning how slow it was ticking over, but stressing at how fast it was ticking over. Needless to say, I made it out the other side relatively unscathed. I think. So after a long day in the office, and then a meeting with a landscaper (if you saw our current ‘garden’, or lack thereof, you would know this is a very good thing), I am pretty confident I have set myself up for a good nights sleep. But now, where did I leave off??? Ahh that’s right…. a recap of our long Italian lunch extravaganza! While the homemade spinach and ricotta cannelloni were certainly a star feature of our recent long lunch, the salads we served alongside also contributed to the Italian feel. I chose two salads, a caprese salad as well as a mixed greens salad – jazzed up a little with mushrooms, pine nuts and some roasted capsicum/sundried tomatoes (extras I had leftover after making the homemade tomato sauce) My personal favourite, however, was definitely the caprese salad, which is oh so simple but oh so delicious. And is certainly a salad that doesn’t need to be complicated when its ingredients are so fresh and flavoursome. Just petite tomatoes, mozzarella and basil…. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And we had ourselves a salad that represented the colours of the Italian Flag! But no long lunch would be complete without a little sweet treat to finish. Chocolate brownies to be precise. Chocolate spelt brownies to be very precise. While not Italian in any sense of the imagination, I must have had a lingering craving for chocolate brownies (leftover from here perhaps?), for when I came across a recipe for brownies in my new favourite baking book…. Well I was sold. I adapted the recipe, to use ingredients I had on hand. I also opted to bake the brownies in a slice pan (rather than in mini muffin tins as suggested by the book). And the result? A rich brownie, that that had a slightly crunchy exterior, and a decadent fudge centre. Just how any good brownie should be really. I was really pleased with how these brownies turned out, and I think I have now found my ‘go to’ recipe for future brownie baking occasions! My only sadness is that we are all out, as after the day I have had today, a brownie
or three would have been a nice end lol. Chocolate spelt brownies (adapted from Babycakes recipe – published here)
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup amaranth flour
- 2 tbs arrowroot/tapioca
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180C /160C fan forced. Grease and line a slice pan with baking paper.
- Combine dry ingredients. Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla extract and hot water, and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. When done, the brownies will spring back when lightly touched in the centre.
- Remove from oven, and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and serve.
What about you? Are you a fan of brownies? Or blondies?