Candy Cane Bark- so easy and pretty.

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Excuse the photo, I am practising and want a record to see how I improve and I actually rather like it.

Miss Muffin has a bring a plate lunch at school tomorrow. I know this phrase doesn’t cross cultures, it means you take a plate of food to share with a crowd. As it is coming up to Christmas we decided to do something different and Candy Cane Bark was chosen. There are pictures of this all over Pinterest and it is easy, very easy. It looks really good and has made enough to share with a class of kids,  My head is now thinking of what other mixes I could do, my pick would be dried cherry and pistachio with dark chocolate.

Candy Cane Bark- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: enough to go around a group
  • Difficulty: easy
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250g bar of milk chocolate

250g bar of white chocolate

150g packet of candy canes (around 10)

Line a baking tin with baking paper , we used a 34cm x 24cm

Put unwrapped canes in a bag and break up using a hammer

Break the milk chocolate up into a glass bowl, place over a saucepan of boiling water and gently melt, stirring occasionally

Plop onto the centre of the lined tin and move the tin around so it spreads, I used a spatular to help

Repeat with the white and plop that on top of the milk

Use the end of a spoon to create swirls

Scatter candy cane pieces over the top

Chill on side until cool and then refrigerate for1 1/2 hours, break into pieces

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Mini mince pies- the Christmas kind

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Just one bite and it is gone, a crumbly shortbread cup full of festive flavour. It must be Christmas.

I love these morsels, I love them more than any other mince pie and feel they are just right. They aren’t your traditional pie but a twist on it without being too fancy. You will need a mini muffin tin, I got mine in the Warehouse for $7.50 on offer and it came with the silicone inserts which make lovely indents. Thanks Ange for making me buy it.

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This time I used Tasti Fruit Mince . It has a lovely taste too and isn’t over sweet like some. With this recipe you don’t need sweet fruit mince. I will be using this Fruit Mince again and it filled 40 mini pies.

Mini mince pies- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: enough to go around a group
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Ingredients

For the pastry cup-

125 g butter

1/2 cup of icing sugar

1 cup plain flour (add more if necessary until makes a ball)

Filling and topping

Around 200g fruit mince

30 g butter

1/2 c oats

3/4 c flour

1/2 tsp allspice

Oven 160 for fan bake or 180-  (turn on just before adding fruit mince )

Lightly spray a  24 mini muffin pan

In a food processor or mixer~

Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy

Pulse in flour until a ball forms and all combined

Pinch of small balls of dough, a bit bigger than a large marble

Fill each hole with a ball

Give your hands a good wash and rinse under a cold tap

Squish your index finger in the ball and work the dough up the side (doesn’t have to reach the top)

Repeat over and over, keeping hands cold

Fill to 2/3  with Fruit mince using the piping bag or teaspoon

Crumble

Cut 30 g of butter into cubes and rub into oats, flour and allspice until it resembles bread crumbs

Spoon the crumble mix onto each tart-around 3/4 teaspoonful, press down gently

Bake for around 20 minutes until the top outsides have browned

Leave to cool for a bit until they are cool enough to touch

Remove from tin and place on a rack.

Sprinkle with icing sugar, say just the one and eat about five.

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Baklava cigars using Whittaker’s white raspberry chocolate

*A day later I have come to the conclusion that next time I make these I will use a traditional honey based syrup, the sugar one just doesn’t cut it for me. I like the sticky ooze too much.

I was lucky enough to be sent a bar of the new Whittaker’s white raspberry chocolate. I am a big fan of the chocolate and love the white chocolate variety for baking. Adding raspberries to the mix can only be a good thing, right? After pondering what to make I hit upon the idea of baklava cigars and remembered a recipe I had seen on the Australian Taste site. When I looked at the recipe things just got better, it calls for cardamom in the syrup. Cardamom and white chocolate are one of those random but fantastic blends. Anyway, back to the making, it was an easy and impressive thing to do. Next time I will make double the syrup called for as there isn’t quite enough sticky goodness for me.
As per usual, I did things a bit differently.
I used whole almonds and ground them in the food processor, then added the squares of chocolate and ground that with the sugar.
I used 1 sheet of filo per cigar. This made an easy time of the folding. I placed one sheet flat, buttered it, folded it in half vertically, buttered the top and placed the mix about 2cm from the bottom. Folded the bottom up over its self, tucked in the two vertical sides and rolled. I hope
that makes sense.

From Taste.co.au
Ingredients    

105g (3/4 cup) slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbs caster sugar
12 sheets filo pastry
60g unsalted butter, melted
225g (1 cup) white sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) water
5 cardamom pods, bruised
Place the almonds, chocolate and caster sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the filo on a clean work surface. Cover with a clean tea towel, then a damp tea towel (this will prevent it drying out).
Use my method or –
Brush 1 filo sheet with melted butter. Top with another filo sheet and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet and melted butter. Cut into quarters.
Spoon 1 tablespoonful of almond mixture along the centre of 1 narrow edge of each filo stack. Fold in sides and roll up to create a cigar shape. Place, seam-side down, on the lined tray and brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining filo sheets, almond mixture and melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, place white sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Add cardamom pods. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens. Stir in the lemon juice.
Place cigars in a heatproof dish. Drizzle over the syrup. Serve.

Chocolate salami

I first heard of chocolate salami just as the festive season started kicking off. I made a good few and kind of forgot about it and didn’t blog the process. Its origins are from Europe and it is claimed by many cultures. It makes a very good gift ad can be adapted to suit different tastes. I have only made it with dark chocolate (Whittaker’s) as I think it is one of those things that should be kept grown up tasting. I have used the 50% this time as there are other tastes that need to shine through too. You also vary the type of biscuit. I used ginger as I am taking this salami to a friends house who is cooking me a lovely Korean meal and I felt ginger would go well with the meal.

Every time I have been present when one of these was opened people have been gob smacked and impressed, I do rather enjoy that kind of response. I have also been met with, “is there any meat in it?”.

Chocolate Salami

200 g of a good dark chocolate chopped

100 g butter, at room temperature chopped into squares

2 egg yolks (use whites for Forgotten cookies)
1 tsp (or more to taste) of a spirit (gin, rum, something that needs using up)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
5o grm of one of those fruit/nut mixes chopped up
6-8 biscuits chopped, not too small

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp of flaked salt
icing sugar

1 tube from inside a kitchen roll

a loaf tin

cling wrap

Place butter and chocolate in a microwave proof bowl, cover

Microwave for 1 minute, let it sit while you chop bits, microwave for another minute

Stir chocolate mix gently until glossy

Gently stir in biscuits and fruit/nut mix

Break egg yolks into a small bowl , add spirit and chilli flakes

Stir until mixed

Add to chocolate mix until incorporated with the cocoa and salt
Now come the fiddly bit-

Cut the tube once length ways

Place in loaf tin and line the inside of the roll with cling wrap, leave lots of excess at each end

I peg open one side of the roll, pegs on roll and loaf tin

Fill the centre of the tube with the mix until it looks full

Grab your excess cling wrap and roll each side together, fold in the each end too

Cool and store until your moment is close (can go in fridge)
To present-

Unwrap the salami

Roll in lots of icing sugar, making sure it gets into all the creases

To gift, I wrap it in doubled over grease proof paper and tie a bow at each end

It is good to label it in your own fancy way so your friend know what it is.

  

Another fudge recipe, this one uses condensed milk and white chocolate

I seem to have had some kind of issue with fudge lately. Not really sure what this issue is as it is not my favourite sweet treat, I think I may have been trying to reclaim a childhood flavour. Who knows? Anyway, this recipe came very close to the reclaiming moment and it got better over a couple of days. I think things with white chocolate often do improve in flavour. The white chocolate is not over powering but gives a nice butterscotch flavour. I set the timer for 10 minutes and it set perfectly.

Easy Caramel Fudge

  • 125g butter
    1½ cups Bundaberg rich brown sugar
    2 tablespoons Bundaberg golden syrup
    395g can condensed milk
    180g white cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
    ½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts (optional)
Line a 28cm x 18cm x 3cm pan with foil. 
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk; stir over a medium heat until boiling.
Lower heat and cook, stirring for 10 minutes. 
Remove from heat and add chocolate; stir until smooth. 
The fudge will start to set quite quickly, so immediately stir in nuts and pour into prepared pan, then spread evenly with the back of a spoon.

Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until firm. Cut into small pieces

I have to be able to use the peel -Candied orange peel!

Candied orange peel is on my old peoples choice of chocolates perception filter. Making it myself has changed this forever. What makes it even better is that we get through a lot of oranges and I can now do something gift worthy and yum with the peel.
As this was an experiment I only used one orange. I read several recipes and took most of my inspiration form this blog- Closet Cooking.  One orange yielded a gift size bowl full and a few fell into my tummy as I had to check they were OK. I took them around a friends house where they were enjoyed after a Korean meal.
 
My instructions for 1 orange, 
1 orange
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
Peel so you have fairly long pieces of peel/pith
Cut orange skin, including pith into small strips (5mm max)
Place in boiling water in a saucepan
Boil for15 mins
Drain and rinse
Bring to boil 2/3 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar
When boiling add peel
Boil on medium heat, stir occasionally to make sure all peel is covered
After about 30 mins this will have reduced to a thick syrup and you should be able to feel the peel is soft and easy to cut through with your spoon
Remove and drain through a sieve to remove excess syrup
Place 1/2 cup sugar on a plate or bowl
Add peel to sugar and gently stir until coated
Place on a rack to dry, I left mine over night
 

The next day it can be coated in chocolate or just eaten as it. I think it would last a while in an airtight container.