Hazelnut and Caramel Slice

Caramel Slice is one of my FAVOURITE treats, especially Donna Hay’s version which is made with 2 tins of condensed milk to give it a truly decadent caramel layer.  After our 1600km car trip, we were greeted with plate of this slice to for morning tea.  I didn’t think Caramel Slice could be improved, until I tried a piece of my Mum’s slice – instead of plain chocolate on top, she instead used hazelnut chocolate….. yum!!

This Caramel Slice recipe is from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2, next time I make this recipe at home, I will be definitely be using hazelnut chocolate.

hazelnut and caramel slice

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

125g melted butter

1/3 cup golden syrup

125g melted butter

2 x 400g tins of condensed milk

220g block of cadbury hazelnut chocolate

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

* Combine plain flour, coconut, brown sugar and 125g of melted butter and stir together. Press into a slice tin, fully lined with baking paper hanging over the sides

* Bake in 180 degree oven for 15 minutes – remove and allow to cool

* Combine 125g melted butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat and stir for approx 7 minutes until mixture has thickened slightly

* Pour caramel mixture over the top of base and bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and put into the fridge until slice has completely cooled

* Place chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second bursts until chocolate has melted.

* Pour over slice and place in the fridge until almost set – it’s much easier to cut into slices when it isn’t fully set.

Enjoy!

Christmas Baking – Milk Chocolate Rocky Road

Christmas really isn’t the time to be thinking about going on a diet, there are just way too many yummy treats on offer everywhere that you look.  So far I’ve made two batches of Rocky Road. Knowing that it would be hard to resist, I made the first batch early in the morning and then cut it and wrapped it up for gifts.  It’s a whole different story with the second batch though.  After eating a fair sized chunk, I’ve banished it to the back of the fridge, and am heading out shortly to buy some more cellophane paper to wrap it up.

There really aren’t any rules when it comes to making Rocky Road, it’s all about adding a yummy combination of goodies to delicious melted chocolate.  Each batch I make varies, depending on what I have in the pantry.  This year I’m loving the addition of chocolate coated pretzels, both as a decoration on top, and also broken through the slice.

Rocky Road

375g bag of milk chocolate melts

1 pack of pink & white marshmallows

1pack of chocolate coated pretzels

1/4 cup of crasins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw peanuts

* Melt chocolate in microwave, cooking for 30 second spurts until melted.

* Add marshmallows, peanuts, coconut, crasins & 1/2 bag of chocolate coated pretzels and stir until coated with chocolate.

* Pour into a slice tin lined with baking paper, decorate top of slice with remaining pretzels

* Pop into the fridge, once set cut into pieces and enjoy!

Linking up on this beautiful Monday morning with The Multitasking Mummy

Dark Chocolate Cookies with White Choc Chips

YUM! That’s really the only introduction these cookies need.  They are super rich and indulgent with the inclusion of dark brown sugar and cacao powder.  Yes, they may be similar to the Triple Chocolate Cookies I have made in the past – but let’s be honest, you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I’m happy to keep baking them until I find the perfect recipe!  Do you have an amazing choc chip cookie recipe you would like to share?

Yum!

Yum!

125g softened butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup cacao powder

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

* Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

* Sift flour and cacao over butter/sugar mixture, add chocolate chips and stir until combined

* Cover two trays with baking paper, and place tablespoon sized balls of mixture onto trays, leaving approx 3cm between cookies.  Press down the top of each cookie with the back of a spoon and bake for 15 minutes.

* Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to rack.

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Milk Chocolate Mousse Tart

I have again gone over to the dark side…. I bought another packet mix this week!  In my defence, after the delicious success that was Adriano Zumbo’s Salted Caramel Macarons, when I saw this Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake, I knew I had to try it out.

Another packet mix!

Another packet mix!

I’m calling my version a tart, I didn’t have a small enough cake tin, so mine is a bit bigger and thinner. Regardless of this, it turned out well and tasted divine.  Even the mixture tasted great, with Liam and I licking the bowl clean, and him asking for ‘more’ when it was all gone.

Yum!

Yum!

As I’ve mentioned before, when I’ve made Adriano’s mixes, I still feel as though there is a little cooking and skill involved, rather than just pouring the pack straight into a bowl and adding water.

This was $7.95 well spent, the only problem is it’s calling out to me from the fridge just begging to be eaten!

milk chocolate mousse tart

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

It feels like it has been awhile since I have made something truly decadent.  When searching for a recipe to rectify this, there is no better book to turn to than ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ by Nigella Lawson.  This is now the second recipe I have made from this book, where she suggests leaving the cake for a day or so for the flavours to develop (see lemon and almond cake), and while this is VERY frustrating for me – I like the instant gratification baking brings, it it truly worth waiting!  This cake is extremely moist, and although I used a mixture of milk and dark chocolate to make up the 100g required, it was still very rich.
I highly recommend putting the cake tin on another tray, as even though I used the cake tin suggested, it still leaked over the sides…. and yes, I will admit to eating the overflowed cake pieces!

Chocolatey Goodness x

Chocolatey Goodness x

225g soft unsalted butter

375g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate – melted

200g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

250ml boiling water

* Preheat oven to 190 degrees and fully line a 23 x 13 x7cm loaf tin.

* Cream the butter and sugar, then gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating together well

* Fold in the melted chocolate, being careful not to over beat

* Gradually add the flour, alternating with the boiling water which you need to add the bicarb soda to – the batter will be quite runny

* Pour into the lined tin – it’s also a good idea to place tin on a baking tray lined with foil/baking paper as there will be drips!

* Bake for 30 minutes, then turn down oven to 170 degrees and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes.  When you test the cake it will still be quite moist, so a skewer won’t come out completely clean

* Leave cake in the tin to completely cool before turning out.  It can even be left for a day or so as the flavour will improve.  Also don’t worry – the middle of the cake will sink, as it’s so moist, this just adds to it’s charm!

Arrgh… It’s another packet mix!

I’ve sure started something now! After my success making Adriano Zumbo’s Salted Caramel Macarons, I took up the Betty Crocker Facebook Challenge to make her Chocolate Fudge Cake using only the materials from the box – the winner will have their cake featured on the side of the box.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I must admit, my entry was a bit rushed.  I would have loved to have had more chocolate icing to play with, as I wanted to ice the middle as well as the top of the cake.  Unfortunately I just ended up with a super thin layer in the middle and not as much icing as I would have liked on the top.  I was planning to take the cake to a morning tea, so I prettied it up with chocolate freckles and vanilla frosting.

Very plain :(

Very plain 😦

I resisted the urge to taste this cake, by all accounts though, it tasted great and when I halved the cake, I could tell it was really moist.

Would I make it again?  Not sure… One of the main reasons I bake is for the ‘experience’. I find it relaxing and I really enjoy creating beautiful and delicious goodies (well at least I hope they are!).  I still enjoyed making it, but the ‘baking experience’ was over so quickly. At least with the Zumbo mixes, there is a little more involved.  I’m now thinking I may have to work my way through the rest of the Adriano Zumbo mixes available….

choc fudge cake

Choc Pretzel and Peanut Butter Slice

Last week I came clean about my food magazine addiction, so it should come as no surprise that this recipe is from the latest edition (and only the second ever) of the taste.com.au magazine.  This recipe caught my eye for a few reasons: no baking required and it contained oreos and crunchy peanut butter (crunchy is my favourite).

It took some searching to find the chocolate coated pretzels (luckily Scott has the woolworths app on his phone), they are NOT with regular pretzels/chips etc, instead they are in the confectionary aisle as they are made by Cadbury (and they are SUPER yummy)!

I found this a good recipe to make if you’ve got kids running around.  You complete a couple of steps and then it goes in the fridge – perfect if you are making it around dinner time (it had been a busy day and I wanted to take it to a baby shower the following morning).

The end result was great.  I waited until the top chocolate layer had almost set and then cut it into pieces, as the chocolate was quite thick and I was worried it would be too hard to cut. As suggested I cut it into one pretzel sized pieces.  It is very rich though, and you could probably get away with just half a slice.

Choc Pretzel & Peanut Butter Slice

1 bag (110g) choc coated pretzels

2 cups crunchy peanut butter

165g butter softened

2 packets of Oreo Classic biscuits

1 1/3 cups icing sugar mixture

200g dark chocolate – finely chopped

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper
  • Melt 125g of the butter. Process the biscuits until crushed, add the melted butter to combine. Spread firmly over base of pan and put in the fridge for 30minutes
  • Using electric beaters – beat peanut butter, icing sugar, remaining 40g of butter and milk until well combined (it will look crumbly). Spread over base and use the back of a spoon to pat down firmly. Put slice back in the fridge for 2 hrs or until firm
  • Place chocolate and oil in a bowl and microwave on medium heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted, spread over the slice.  Place pretzels in lines on top of slice and put back into the fridge for an hour or until set.
  • Cut slice, using pretzels as a guide into small pieces.

Throwback Thursday – Chocolate Whirl Cake

Yikes…  it’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve just realised I haven’t baked anything for Throwback Thursday!  Luckily the McAlpins recipes are all pretty simple,  combine that with a happy baby and a big boy at kindy and the crisis is averted!

This reminds me of a much simpler version of the rainbow cakes we used to have as kids (this may be a project for the weekend).  The cake itself is quite plain, but the chocolate ‘whirl’ and butter icing provide the kick that it needs.

chocolate whirl cake copy 2

Click here for conversion table

8 oz (2 teacups) self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 oz margarine (I used unsalted butter)

6 oz castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon coca blended with 2 tablespoons of boiling water

  • Sift flour and salt
  • Cream margarine/butter and sugar and beat in eggs gradually
  • Mix in sifted ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla essence
  • Turn into a greased tin lined on bottom with paper (I used a 20cm round tin)
  • Pour the blended cocoa on the top and stir it around with a knife
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 50 – 60 minutes (I baked my cake for 35 minutes at 170 degrees in a fan forced oven
  • When cold, ice the top with Chocolate Butter Icing

Chocolate Butter Icing

3 oz icing sugar

1 oz butter

1 tablespoon cocoa

  • Sift sugar
  • Blend the cocoa into a thick paste with boiling water, mix in the icing sugar well
  • Soften the butter and work into the icing
  • Spread over cake or use for piping/decorating cakes

DSC_0869 copy 2

Chocolate Goodness – Chocolate Marsala Cake

After a wonderful three weeks, it is finally our last day in Victoria. Tomorrow morning we are heading down to Melbourne to fly back home.  Whilst it will be great to be back home and get back into our routine (also back to the great Spring weather we have been having), our departure will also be tinged with some sadness.

The boys and I have really enjoyed our stay, and it’s been wonderful for the boys to have some much interaction with their extended family.

To mark our final day and celebrate the arrival of Flynn, we are having a family celebration lunch – and I nominated myself in charge of the dessert.

It’s a family joke that my Mum LOVES to drink Marsala with Coke.  She is by no means a big drinker – or a drinker at all!  She does however love her Marsala and Coke on special occasions, and we regularly joke that she may have had too many marsala’s if she says something a bit scatty!  She is also a HUGE chocolate lover, and can put away a block of chocolate in an afternoon and still maintain a size 8 figure (something I certainly didn’t inherit).  So when I came across a recipe for Chocolate Marsala cake in ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson, it seemed the only logical cake to make!

The book does warn  the cake sinks a little in the middle, I thought the sinking was pretty minimal though, and the chocolate icing covered it perfectly.

It is a very rich and moist cake, we served it with cream which helped cut through some of the richness, strawberries or raspberries would also be a nice addition.

We all really enjoyed the cake, you could definitely taste the marsala throughout the cake and icing and it was a great end to a celebratory meal.

** Please note Mum has read through this post and is not offended by any of the comments!

A perfect celebration cake

A perfect celebration cake 

100g unsalted butter

100g dark chocolate – broken up

4 large eggs

175g caster sugar

50g self raising flour – sifted 3 times

3 tablespoons Marsala

 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a 22cm springform tin
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave (or a double boiler if you prefer) and set aside to cool slightly
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale and mixture has at least doubled in size.
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour
  • Fold in the chocolate mixture and pour into the tin and cook for 35 minutes until the top is firm.
  • Cool on rack for 5 minutes & then pour over the marsala. Let the cake cool completely before removing from tin.

 

Just letting the masala sink into the cake

Just letting the masala sink into the cake

Icing

100g dark chocolate

1 tablespoon marsala

100ml double cream

 

  • Melt the chocolate, marsala and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan over a low heat.
  • Take it off the heat and whisk until it is smooth and thick.
  • Spread over the cake – it will have sunk in the middle a little and you can use this as a pool for the icing.

 

choc masala cake 2

 

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Chocolate Goodness – Chocolate Cake with Orange Syrup

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’ve got time on my hands.  Little Aiden is sound asleep and Liam is being entertained outside by his grandparents.  I stop myself from sitting down with a coffee (I’ve already had 4 today) and instead decide to do some baking.  Luckily Mum has a huge stash of fresh eggs, following a delivery from my Uncle’s chooks (will miss the fresh eggs when we head back home next week) as this cake needs 8 of them.

This is a Donna Hay recipe (from Simply Essentials – Chocolate) so it is pretty straightforward.

I found the syrup took around 20 minutes to thicken to the consistency that I wanted.  Also I only added zest from two oranges (they were super sized), as there weren’t enough to have 1/2 a cup – which seems like an excessive amount.  Unfortunately the cake had cooled quite a bit before I had the chance to pour on the syrup as it was then dinnertime and both the boys were vying for my attention (I always go to the one crying the loudest).  It still absorbed the syrup, but it would have been a lot better if it was added whilst still warm.

Mum and I loved the combination of orange and chocolate – and didn’t feel it needed the extra zest in the syrup. I also drizzled some left over syrup over our piece which made the cake super moist.

Adding extra syrup makes this cake super moist

Adding extra syrup makes this cake super moist

8 eggs

1 1/3 cups caster sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder sifted

1 cup plain flour sifted

75g butter melted

Orange syrup

1/2 cup orange zest

1 cup water

1 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups sugar

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Line a deep 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper
  • Place the eggs and sugar in bowl of mixer and beat for 7-8 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy
  • Add the cocoa, flour and butter, folding gently until just combined
  • Pour mixture into the cake tin, bake for 1 1/4hrs or until cooked when tested
  • While cake is cooking, make the syrup
  • Heat the zest, water, juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  • Allow the syrup to simmer for 8 minutes or until thick
  • Cool the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, turn out and place on serving plate.
  • Pour the syrup over the top of cake and serve warm
Yum - eat warm with ice-cream!

Yum – eat warm with ice-cream!

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