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27 Mar 2012

Chocolate Crackles

It's not a real birthday if you don't have chocolate crackles. It really is a birthday must, along side fairy bread and lolly bags. So when we celebrated a 21st a couple of weeks ago, I had to include some birthday chocolate crackles!


This recipe comes direct from the Rice Bubbles box but I added a few extra goodies like mini marshmallows, sprinkles and candy coated chocolate chips.

Ingredients:

4 cups Rice Bubbles
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup icing sugar
250g Copha, melted and cooled
3T cocoa

  • Mix rice bubbles, cocoa, icing sugar and coconut together in a large bowl.
  • Add the melted Copha stirring well to combine. (Stir through any add ins at this stage).
  • Spoon into paper cases and refrigerate until firm.

I used Carob powder in my crackles so the colour wasn't as rich, but if you use Dutch cocoa powder they will appear much darker. Also, I'm not a fan of desiccated coconut so I used shredded and it worked just as well.






20 Mar 2012

A Big Birthday Cake

A few weeks ago I made The Worlds Best Chocolate Cake. I was so excited to find this recipe because I had a very special birthday coming up and I knew it would be just perfect.



We celebrated my brothers girlfriends 21st Birthday last week and I just had to make this cake for her. Of course it wouldn't be very special if I had of just left it plain chocolate. I gave this already intense cake a real boost by loading it with caramel, funfetti white chocolate ganache and covering it with Kit Kats and M and M's! My brother and B are known for having a 3 course dessert so I thought this was perfect, 3 courses all in one!

A layer of caramel

A layer of funfetti ganache

It looks so pretty!

The stacked cake before decorating

Once the layers were stacked together I cover the outside with 12 kit Kats and covered the top with 2 bags of M and M's. 
  



The decoration idea came from the Internet but since a million and one cakes have been decorated like this, I can't find the original maker so credit goes to everyone, thanks for the inspiration.



13 Mar 2012

Salted Caramel Brownie

I believe that you can never have too many brownie recipes. The more the merrier in my opinion. However, some times you come across one that steals your heart and it is hard to try something new.

I have been on a mission to try and create the ultimate brownie and I think I may have just about done it! None of this coco flavoured, pudding type squares that disguise themselves as a brownie, to me, a brownie should be fudgey, gooey and pack a real good chocolate punch.

While a brownie is in itself a wonderful thing, I just made it amazing by combining it with my favourite flavour combination.......salted caramel!


A perfect combination of rich smooth chocolate, sweet, sticky caramel and a salty kick, its hard to stop at just one of these babies!

Ingredients:

185g butter
185g chocolate (I use a 70% chocolate for a richer taste)
3 eggs
250g castor sugar
50g dutch cocoa powder (I use carob powder but dutch cocoa will give a richer taste)
90g flour
Sea salt flakes
1 tin Top n' Fill (I make my own caramel but my methods are described as dangerous so to avoid any kitchen disasters feel free to use your own recipe for caramel. For convenience sake, Top n' Fill works just fine)

Method:

  • Place butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, heat over low heat until they have melted and come together. Cool to room temperature.
  • Beat eggs and sugar until thick and tripled in volume. This will take approximately 6 minutes.
  • Fold through chocolate mixture.
  • Sift cocoa and flour and gently fold through the egg mixture.
  • Pour into a greased and lined slice tin (this also works well in a round 9" springform).
  • Dollop caramel on top of brownie mixture, use a toothpick to swirl into the mix.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt, as much or as little as you like.
  • Bake at 180 Celsius for 25-30 minutes. Your brownie should still be quite moist in the centre.
  • Cool completely before cutting.


6 Mar 2012

Caramel Ice Cream Buns

Everyone prepare yourself, things are about to get crazy in here!

I have made the most amazing bun in the world!


Forget the days of boring old cinnamon scrolls or finger buns, this is a sweet bun that will blow your mind! A combination of rich caramel, ice cream infused dough and topped with an ice cream frosting, I don't think I need to tell you just how awesome this is.

Bread is my one true weakness and eating a gluten free diet sucks! I showed my body who was boss when I devoured a half dozen of these babies and it certainly showed me who was boss the next day. The pain and suffering was totally worth it ( however the man might not agree).



If you want to make these, set yourself a little time because this dough needs a little nurturing.

First you need to make the dough, to do this you will need:

2 packets of dry yeast poured into 1 cup of lukewarm water along with 1 tablespoon sugar
85g butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
10 cups (approx.) flour
200gr vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
1 1/2 cups hot water

Now before we start mixing dough, for those of you that have never made a yeast bun before there are a few guidelines to get you started:

  • Yeast is a living organism, if you put it into hot water it will die, put it in cold water and it will not activate. Your water should be blood temperature. 
  • The sugar that is in the yeast solution is used to feed the yeast. This can also kill the yeast if you mix them directly together so dissolve the yeast in the water first and then stir through the sugar.
  • I say 10 cups approximately of flour because it may need more or less. Without getting too technical, there are factors like the humidity, weather and freshness of the flour that can wreak havoc with your dough. Don't stress about this, just have a little more flour on hand if need be. 
  • Kneeding your dough is essential. Kneeding activates the gluten in the flour making your buns nice and fluffy and soft. Do not skimp on this step no matter how sore your arms are getting. Besides, its an extra work out, your tuck shop arms will thank you later.
  • Last but not least, proving (letting your dough rest and rise) is just as important as every other step. If you don't allow your dough to rise it will be hard as a rock and that's not what we are looking for here.
Feeling over whelmed??? Don't be....seriously, bread making really isn't a big deal. I just want yours to be as successful as mine! So lets get started:

  • Put the butter, sugar, salt, ice cream and hot water into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • With the paddle attachment, beat on low speed until incorporated and cooled to room temperature.
  • Add 3 cups of the flour and mix.
  • Add the yeast mixture and mix.
  • Add another 3 cups of the flour and mix until it starts to come together.
  • At this point swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook. On medium low speed continue to add the flour until it comes together. It should be very soft to the touch but not sticky.
  • Turn out onto a floured bench and kneed until it forms a smooth elasticky ball. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Place in a bowl, cover and let it stand for at least half an hour or until it has doubled in size.
When your dough has doubled in size, it is time to start rolling it out. Lightly flour your work surface and place your dough in the middle. 

You want to create a rectangle shape here, the longer the rectangle, the larger your buns will be. I rolled mine approximately 30cm by 45cm. Now you need to cover the dough with caramel. I make my own but I have been told my methods are extremely dangerous so to save you blowing your head off, use a can of Nestle Top n' Fill or any other caramel you might like but make sure it has a thick consistency. 

Once your dough is smothered in caramel, start rolling it up. Begin at the short end and roll until it forms a sausage. Cut your sausage into 4cm pieces and place on a baking sheet covered in baking paper. You want all your buns to be touching, this will form a pull apart type bread once baked. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for another half hour or until doubled in size.

While your buns are resting, heat your oven to 210 Celsius, once your buns have risen place them in the oven for 10 minutes, after that, reduce the temperature to 180 Celsius and cook until golden brown. Once cooked place them on a wire rack to cool, this will prevent the buns from sweating on the tray. Once cooled, all you need to do is ice them (that is if you haven't already eaten them all).

To make the icing you will need:

1-2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
icing sugar
sprinkle

With an electric mixer, mix the ice cream and icing sugar until you have reached your desired consistency and spoon onto buns. Finish them off with some sprinkles.

See that isn't so tough is it?