Monday, March 31, 2008

Daring Bakers - let them eat cake!

Once again I am slightly late in posting my DB challenge (but it is still 30 March somewhere in the world right now!). That is mainly because I had no special occasion to make this cake for, and I didn’t want to do it too close to Easter, so thought I would make it yesterday and then bring to work for morning tea today – I was still assembling the cake at 7.40am this morning, which is why I am a late poster.

The March Daring Baker challenge was picked by my fellow kiwi, Morven. The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s From My Home to Yours and is the perfect party cake. After checking out some of the other blogs this morning with the most gorgeous looking cakes on them, I think mine can be called The less than perfect party cake!!! The cake was a lemon sponge layered with buttercream and raspberry jam and then coated in more buttercream and thread coconut.

The cake itself was easy to make. A simple lemon sponge – it was quite simple to put together and just involved lots of beating. Making it with just egg whites, rather than whole eggs made it lovely and light as well. I made the buttercream yesterday, deciding to just make a half batch to coat the cake with and then fill it with whipped cream (one of Dorie’s alternate suggestions). Dorie used raspberry jam to fill her cake. I made some blackcurrant jam in the weekend and decided to fill mine with that instead of raspberry.

My buttercream came together beautifully! But I made a big mistake! Because I was making the components last night for my cake today, I put the buttercream in the fridge over night. I just couldn’t get it back to that beautiful creamy consistency this morning and so I had to put it down the waste disposal and then beat some more cream and use that to decorate the outside of my cake.

I know that the cake looks fine, but I wished I had put more effort in to making it look gorgeous like some of the other Daring Bakers!! Still, it tastes nice. And it was a challenge as I have never made a layer cake like this before - that is what i love about the Daring Baker and other challenges - it takes me out of my comfort zone!! Thanks Morven and thanks to the other Daring Bakers. You can check out their creations here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gingernut truffles and Portugese meatballs

I mentioned yesterday that part of my dessert platter for the work bbq was ginger truffles. I normally make truffles with a creamy chocolate centre (my own secret recipe). However, a few years ago I saw a recipe which intrigued me, using a packet of gingernuts as the basis for truffles. I decided for the work function to make these.

They are basically a packet of gingernuts (hard ginger biscuits usually dunked in a cup of tea for those of you who don’t know what they are), ground in the food processor and then mixed with 150g cream cheese, ½ c coconut, a good slosh of baileys and ½ tsp ground ginger. The mixture is then rolled into balls, chilled and then dipped in chocolate.

I am not sure about these. I have tried similar style truffles before that are made from toffee pops. I much prefer the toffee pop version. I like ginger things, but I don’t like ginger nuts (although I do like home made ones – just don’t like packet biscuits very much), so maybe the truffles were too much like gingernuts for my tastes? Or maybe I have been spoiled by the decadence of my usual truffle recipe that has a lovely chocolatey filling. Perhaps biting into a truffle made from biscuits feels like I am being cheated of chocolate!?

I haven’t written about what we are having for dinner for a while! A couple of nights ago we had delicious spicy pork meatballs with a tomato and chilli jam and cannellini beans with silver beet. The recipe came from Cuisine magazine and was actually surprisingly quick and easy (all was made within 45 minutes). I divided the whole recipe by 3 and left the pork fat out of the meatballs. I also used a can of drained tomatoes instead of fresh. You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lemon curd cheesecake

A couple of weeks ago we had a work bbq and I was on the social committee that organised it. We all had food items we had to prepare and I volunteered to do the pudding by myself, seeing as sweet stuff is my favourite thing to make. I decided to do sweet platters, making four different items, cutting them into small pieces and then presenting them nicely on large white platters. They looked gorgeous!! The other things I put on the platter were some of the marshmallow that I put in my marshmallow cupcakes, chocolate brownie and some ginger truffles.

The recipe was from an old Donna Hay magazine. It is the perfect thing to make if you have to take a dessert that is easy to cut and can feed a lot of people. It is a traditional biscuit base, and then a basic cheesecake recipe swirled with lemon curd. It makes a big 20 x 30cm slice, and there are no edges to worry about. I adapted the recipe a little, leaving out the ground almonds in the base, and using a whole 250g packet of sweet biscuits to crush, as I don’t think that the 175g in the recipe would have covered the base of the tin enough. I also used natural yoghurt rather than sour cream – it was just what I had in the fridge.

I made my own lemon curd, but you could use bought. I actually make my lemon curd in the microwave – I have never had a failure yet! The trick is to blend it in the food processor for about 30 seconds after it’s final cooking. This makes it really creamy and smooth.

This is a fabulous recipe – very easy and yet quite impressive!

Lemon Cheesecake Slice (adapted Donna Hay)

250g sweet biscuits, crushed (eg wine biscuits)
100g melted butter
1 c lemon curd
600g cream cheese, softened
¾ c natural yoghurt
2 eggs
1 c castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla

· Mix together crushed biscuits and melted butter and press into a 20 x 30cm tin lined with baking paper; refrigerate until firm
· Process cream cheese, yoghurt, eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over biscuit base.
· Spoon over cream cheese mix and spoon on lemon curd. Swirl with a knife
· Bake at 160 for 30 minutes or until set
Chill before slicing

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March Masterbaker - Easter Candy

It took me a while to come up with my wee treat for the March masterbaker challenge. I couldn’t get past cupcakes with a caramel egg hidden in them. But it seemed a bit boring. Then it came to me, Easter “candy” within “candy” (candy isn’t really a word we use in NZ – we go more for the English lolly). Easter Rocky Road is my contribution to the challenge.

Instead of the usual marshmallow in the rocky road, I cut up marshmallow Easter eggs. I also halved some baby chocolate eggs and added them to the mix. To be honest, the rocky road didn’t look as pretty as I had hoped – I had wanted to put in those candy coated Cadbury mini eggs, but four supermarkets later, I couldn’t track them down – all sold out!! The rocky road was pretty rich – in fact it probably tasted richer because I had been eating chocolate pretty much all day when I ate a piece!! You probably don’t feel like making this right now straight after Easter, but maybe next year? Or you could make some now and substitute the marshmallow eggs for normal marshmallows.

Easter Rocky Road

200g dark chocolate
20g butter
100g condensed milk
50ml baileys
6 marshmallow Easter eggs, chopped into quarters
small bag of chocolate mini eggs chopped in half
½ c slivered almonds, lightly toasted

· Melt together chocolate, butter, condensed milk and baileys. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes
· Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into a lined loaf tin
· Chill for at least two hours before cutting into pieces

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wee treats for Easter

Easter has been a lovely relaxing time for us. We normally go away at Easter and it was so nice to be at home! The weather has been fabulous and we have been doing lots of reading at the beach and swimming – it is so amazing living only 50m from the beach!! There has been a bit of cooking as well.

On Good Friday I made hot cross buns, which has become a bit of a tradition for us. I don’t put a lot of dried fruit in them, as I don’t like dried fruit. There is nothing like a home made hot cross bun! The texture is much nicer than the bought ones. I think I slightly over-cooked them this year, but my husband thought they were fine.

I also made these Easter biscuits to have something to give to people over Easter. They are chocolate and ginger biscuits which I have decorated with chocolate fondant icing and then iced with royal icing. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Also, some exciting news and a confession!!! The exciting news is that my rose marshmallow cupcakes were picked for the All things Cupcake weekly cupcake collection! How cool is that!! I was so excited!!!

The confession is that I didn’t make the TWD recipe this week – the recipe was caramel flan (like a crème caramel). I didn’t make it because I have made crème caramel before and to be honest I don’t really love it that much. You can check out the other TWD flans here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

cupcake hero - marshmallow

The cupcake hero theme for March is marshmallow. In NZ we don’t have marshmallow fluff and lots of the other marshmallow products that they have in the States, so I decided to make my own marshmallow and I came up with these rose scented marshmallow cupcakes. These are my favourite cupcakes yet!! They honestly taste like eating rose scented clouds!!!

I have only made marshmallow once before and that time the recipe was egg whites beaten with sugar and then gelatine added. This time I used a recipe where you made a hot sugar syrup and added that to the beaten egg whites with the gelatine. The marshmallow had the most amazing texture!! It was incredibly light and fluffy. I followed a recipe for rose marshmallow from an Epicurean cook school class I went to a few years ago – the recipe has also been in Dish. I scattered the bottom of the tray with dried rose petals and also sprinkled some on the top before the marshmallow set. The only thing that went wrong, was that I dropped some of the hot syrup on my toe (I was wearing jandles) and got a big burn blister on my toe. Ouch!!!

I actually took some of the cut pieces of marshmallow to our work bbq on Saturday night – I put it on a dessert platter with some other wee treats (more about that in future posts).

I wanted my cake to be nice and light with just a hint of rose. I followed the Crabapple Bakery recipe for vanilla cupcakes, but added a tbsp of rose water rather than the vanilla. These cakes were divine. I cant wait to try them with vanilla as well. The cake is lovely and light in texture but sturdy enough to form the basis of an interesting cupcake.

Because the marshmallow was quite sweet, I decided to ice the tops with whipped cream which is lovely and light but not too sweet. I slightly coloured it pink to keep with the theme and added a dried rose to the top. I think these cakes are gorgeous!! I took them into work where they got rave reviews. They would be gorgeous for a tea party or for a little girls birthday party. You could buy pink marshmallows, but making your own is easy enough and you wouldn’t get the lovely light texture with bought marshmallows.

Rose Marshmallow

500g sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
400ml water
2 tbsp gelatine
2 egg whites
1 tsp rose water
red food colouring
2 tbsp dried rose petals

· Line 20x30cm slice tin with baking paper and then dust with a half and half mix of cornflour and icing sugar
· Combine sugar, glucose and 200ml of the water in a small pot, stir over low heat until sugar dissolved, bring to the boil and boil without stirring until the syrup is 121deg c
· Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatine over the other 200ml water and set aside for 10 minutes; then microwave fro 20 seconds and stir to dissolve the gelatine
· Beat egg whites until stiff; stir gelatine into 121c sugar syrup (be careful as it splutters) and then with beaters going, slowly pour syrup into egg whites in a slew stream.
· Add a drop of food colouring and the rose water and beat until very very thick
· Sprinkle half the rose petals over the tin, pour over the marshmallow and sprinkle the remaining rose petals on top.
· Leave to set for about 3 hours and then cut into pieces; dust with more equal parts icing sugar and cornflour

Rose Cupcakes

200g butter
1 ¾ c castor sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp rose water
2 ¾ c flour
2 tsp b powder
1 c milk

· Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time and then rose water
· Stir in half the flour and baking powder, then half the milk, then remaining ingredients
· Spoon into 24 cupcake cases and bake at 170c for 18-20 minutes


· Once the cakes are cold, scoop out a little of the top with a teaspoon, and pop in a piece of marshmallow
· Ice with whipped cream, tinted slightly pink and top with a dried rose

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TWD - Brioche Snails

I have to confess – I did skip one of the steps for these delicious brioche raisin snails that were this week’s TWD challenge. Umm, mine aren’t brioche raisin rolls – they are brioche chocolate rolls. I don’t actually like raisins. I was going to use dried cranberries, but when I went to make the recipe I didn’t have enough cranberries in the bag. So, I decided to use chocolate chips. And, they were delicious!!

I was a little hesitant when I read through the recipe – I had a lot of baking to do in the weekend, and no special reason for making these. There seemed to be a lot of time consuming steps, but I am so glad I went to the effort as these were divine!!

The recipe is basically a brioche dough - once again I strayed from Dorie’s instructions. You only needed a half batch of dough, but Dorie said don’t halve the dough recipe – make the whole lot and freeze half of it. Nevertheless, I decided to halve the recipe – kind of difficult halving 3 eggs!!! But I used one full egg and a yolk. Halving the recipe actually did work, although I can see that if you are making the effort to make the brioche dough, you might as well make the full recipe. I didn’t think that the butter was going to beat into the dough successfully – but it did and I ended up with a beautiful yellow, silken dough. The dough was made on Saturday night and then left in the fridge over night for a second, slow rise.

On Sunday morning the dough was rolled out and then filled with a delicious pastry cream which I had made the night before. This was divine!! Basically a rich, thick custard - I could have eaten the whole bowl before it got anywhere near the rolls!! The dough was then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then, in my case, chocolate chips.

These rolls were so delicious!! I baked half of the rolls and then froze the rest of the dough. I could hardly wait for them to come out of the oven! They are sooo good. I ate one and my husband ate the other four! Funny how last week he said that the pie cake was as good as apple strudel in Austria – this week he said the rolls were the best pastries he has had since Danishes in Denmark (and they were divine!!!! Nothing like the Danishes you get here!). So, Dorie comes up trumps again!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day

This is my 100th post on my blog!!!! The time has gone quickly!

I had quite a busy weekend in the kitchen, but rather than post about everything I made now, I think I will save some for material in the future!! Today of course, is St Patrick’s day. We are having a client function at work tonight, so I made some basic vanilla biscuits, cut them into shamrock shapes and then decorated with fondant that I tinted green. This is my new favourite way of decorating cookies – roll out fondant in the same shape. It gives a much better finish!

On Friday night I got an abundance of fresh figs. I absolutely made a pig of myself on them actually!!!! But I also thought that I would preserve some. I followed the recipe for figs in rum syrup from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. But I didn’t have any rum, so I used vodka – I also added a vanilla bean. But they didn’t turn out as I hoped. I have decided that I really only like figs fresh. Cooked, they taste a bit too much like dried ones. I almost threw them out, but I have decided to try and make them into chutney. Will let you know how I go!

I did preserve some beautiful quince though. I love quince – especially how they go from this hard, inedible fruit, to the most beautiful dark crimson coloured fruit. I bought these quince a couple of weeks ago at the Hastings farmers market, but my business partner bought me in a bucket full this morning! My preserved quince will go well with ice cream or in tarts. I love the syrup as well, stirred through natural yoghurt! I think I might use the ones I got given this morning to make quince paste in the weekend – something I haven’t tried!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Catching up with Dorie

While I plan to cook my way through From My Home to Yours with the crew from Tuesdays with Dorie, there were about 9 recipes cooked before I joined. So, I am planning over time to make sure I bake these.

The first ever TWD challenge was brown sugar and pecan shortbread. I made this last night as a gift for our lovely neighbours. I decided to halve the recipe, as we don’t really need any excess biscuits hanging round!!! For some reason I didn’t quite have my mind on the job when I was making them as I left out two vital steps – one, I didn’t add a pinch of ground cloves (I don’t think this would have made a huge difference, but I would have been interested to see what the taste was like) and secondly, I didn’t chill the dough before baking. This was a real shame as the biscuits didn’t hold their shape as much as I would have liked.

Still, the biscuits are delicious!!! The brown sugar makes them just a little chewy even though they are crisp (is that an oxymoron – crisp but chewy biscuits?!) and the pecans add another dimension. I will definitely make these again. Dorie says you could have them with ice cream, but I reckon they would also be good with blue cheese and quince paste. And of course, they are very good just by themselves!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fresh figs and Vanilla

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about the fabulous fig tree on the walk way by my house. It actually is planted in a property but hangs over the walk way. My mum was horrified that I would pick someone else’s figs (despite my legal argument that I could actually get the council to cut off the overhang so, I am doing them a favour!). So she made me go and ask the owners if I could pick them. Turns out the old lady who lived there died before Christmas and her grandson said I could pick them!! So, I have been merrily picking figs each night.

I got about 12 last night and they really do need to be eaten pretty quickly after picking. In the weekend I may make some chutney with them, but last night I had some friends come over, so I decided to make these little fig syrup cakes. As well as the excitement of fresh figs, I also had another exciting thing happen last week – the people from Heilala vanilla sent me a jar of vanilla paste, as they had seen that I had mentioned their vanilla on my blog. I was so excited!!!!! It is exciting enough that people read my blog, but doubly so that other people may be getting business from it!

I used the vanilla paste in the syrup for the cakes. The vanilla paste is fantastic quality – I have only used one other brand of vanilla paste before (an Australian brand), but this was far superior.

The recipe is one that I got when I went to the Epicurean cook school before it closed down. The cake mixture is lovely and light and I think even if you didn’t like figs you would like these cakes. The addition of the verjuice in the syrup gives a slightly tangy flavour. If you didn’t have fresh figs, apricots, plums, peaches etc would work just as well. I don’t think I would use dried figs as they are as different to a fresh fig as a tomato is to a potato!!!!

These cakes are great – making mini ones means you can have a couple without feeling guilty. I only made 2/3 of the recipe and it made 24 small cakes

Mini Fig & Vanilla Syrup Cakes

3 eggs, separated
100g castor sugar
fine zest of 2 oranges
75g plain flour
75g self raising flour
¼ tsp cardamom
100ml olive oil
75ml plain yoghurt
9 fresh figs cut into ¼ or 1/8s depending on size
½ c ground almonds (I used ground macadamia nuts)

· Beat together eggs, sugar and zest, then add flours, cardamom, oil and yoghurt, folding to combine
· Spoon into oiled mini muffin tins and top with a fig piece. Sprinkle over ground almonds
· Bake at 180c for about 15 minutes
· Spoon over following cooled syrup with a teaspoon

¼ c verjuice
1 tsp vanilla paste
juice of 2 oranges
about 2 tbsp sugar – or to taste
½ tsp rose geranium water (I had this in the cupboard!! But you could leave it out)

· place first 4 ingredients in a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add geranium water and set aside to cool

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

TWD - Russian Grandmother's Apple pie cake

Wow, Dorie’s book has to be the baking bible!!!! My other favourite baking bible is Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess” – everything I have ever made from that book has worked and so far so good with Dorie’s book.

This week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie challenge was for Russian Grandmother’s apple pie cake. It is basically like an apple shortcake –but so much nicer!!!! I decided to make this while my Mum was here to have for pudding on Saturday night. Mum and I had a kind of bad eating day – we had had lunch at the Brown Sugar Kitchen in Ponsonby which is well known for it’s old fashioned sweet favourites. There we had shared an orange and date scone (the nicest I have ever tasted!) and a small rhubarb and raspberry tart with whipped cream – the best kind of lunch!!! So, having apple pie for pudding kind of topped things off.

I decided to halve the recipe and make it in a smaller tin. Because we are only temporarily living in our 1970s house until we start building the new one, a lot of our stuff – including my pie tins, is still packed away. So, I made the pie in a small slice tin. The pastry had lemon juice in it which I thought was unusual, but I really think that made the difference!! Dorie said that the lemon juice would tenderise the pastry and it was really tender!! The other thing was that the apples weren’t cooked prior to putting them in the pastry shell. I also used a mix of granny smith apples and gala which worked out great – some tart with the sweet. I left out the raisins because I don’t like them.

This was one of the nicest apple pies I have had. Mum and my husband both loved it. We had it with whipped cream (although Mum had hers with runny –she prefers runny cream) and my husband said that it reminded him of the apple strudel that we had in Austria!!! Now that is a real accolade! As the apple strudel we had in Austria was to die for!!! Yay for Dorie – I am loving the book and the challenges! I actually think I will go back and bake the things that were made before I became part of the team.

Sorry about the dim photo again!!!!! Badly lit kitchen! I think I may have to get a spot light installed for over the winter.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coffee & Walnut Slice

My mum was up from Christchurch last week for the week. We had such a gorgeous time, but not too much time for baking. Mum usually brings a couple of recipes with her that she would like me to make. This time the recipe was for eggplant and ricotta stacks. We had these for dinner on Friday night – sliced roasted eggplant layered with roasted red peppers, anchovies, basil and ricotta to which I added feta for some extra taste. They were really yummy.

Mum’s latest favourite slice is coffee and walnut so yesterday I made her some to take home. She normally likes the kind that has a biscuit base, but I didn’t have any biscuits in the cupboard so made this one. Even though I am not a coffee fan, this was delicious! A really chewy – almost brownie like base and a coffee flavoured icing. You could put chopped walnuts on the top as well, but I had run out of walnuts! This was a really quick slice to make. I would suggest keeping it in the fridge though to keep the lovely chewy texture.

Coffee & Walnut Slice

100g butter
4 tbsp strong coffee
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 ½ c brown sugar
1 lg egg
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c chopped walnuts
50g softened butter
1 ½ c icing sugar

· Beat together butter, 2 tbsp of the coffee, golden syrup and sugar until smooth, then beat in egg
· Add flour, baking powder and walnuts
· Spoon into lined 23 x 18cm slice tin and bake at 170c for about 25 minutes
· Make icing by beating the second measure of butter, icing sugar and remaining 2 tbsp coffee
· Spread over cooled slice and sprinkle over extra walnuts if you like.
· Chill before cutting into fingers

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Middle Eastern Syrup cakes

Our neighbours came in last night to sign off the plans for our new house which go into council at the end of the week (please cross your fingers and toes for us that there are no major glitches!!!) so I thought I would make a wee treat for supper. I had cut this recipe for Middle Eastern orange syrup cakes out of delicious magazine about 4 years ago. I wanted to make little cakes, but not ones that I had to ice. I was going to make friands, but I only had 3 eggs – so these little syrup cakes fitted the bill perfectly!

I don’t make too many orange flavoured things, and actually I felt bad after realising that in my haste to buy the oranges at lunch time, I had bought ones imported from California!!! So much for my vigilance in buying locally grown produce!!!! Also, I only bought two oranges when the recipe said 4, but I did my best with what I had!!

I made the cakes in little brioche tins which made them a bit more interesting. I really liked the addition of the orange blossom water in the syrup. That is really what gives the cakes their Middle Eastern flavour. I think these cakes are at their best when served warm with some Greek yoghurt!

Middle Eastern Syrup Cakes (adapted from Delicious magazine)

2 ½ c self raising flour
185g sugar
zest and juice of two oranges
½ c Greek yoghurt
1/3 c milk
1 egg
½ c rice bran oil or other neutral oil

· Combine flour and sugar.
· Stir together the rest of the ingredients then mix into flour
· Spoon into greased muffin tins or small cake tins
· Bake for 20 minutes at 180c
· While still warm pour over syrup made with ½ c sugar, zest and juice of 2 oranges (I used one and added about ¼ c water) simmered together and then 1 tbsp orange blossom water added once simmered for 5 minutes

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lemony Puddings

My husband’s brother unexpectedly stayed one night last week, so I made a quick pudding to add to the dinner of pork fillet, cannellini bean salad and wild rice that I have prepared. I made these little lemon and coconut syrup puddings from a Donna Hay magazine.

They were the perfect thing to make for a quick pudding. I think that individual puddings often look nicer – as if you have put more effort in when reality the only extra effort is in the washing up!! The puddings were so easy to make – basically mix all the ingredients together and then make a syrup to pour over when the puddings were cooked.

I did find the puddings a bit sweet – I think if I made them again I would add lemon juice as well as zest to the syrup. I served them with lightly whipped cream, but then got my favourite Cyclops natural yoghurt out as well to cut through the sweetness. A good recipe to have though if you want to whip something up quickly.

In the weekend we went to Napier for the Mission concert. For those who don’t know this is a big open air concert at one of NZ’s first vineyards, established I think about 120 years ago – maybe longer? This year Tom Jones was playing, but you go for the atmosphere more than the singer. It was the second time we had been and we enjoyed it even more this time. We also got to go to the Hastings farmers market on Sunday morning. This is one of the best farmers markets in the country. There was some fantastic produce, as usual there on Sunday. We couldn’t get things that wouldn’t travel well, as we didn’t come back to Auckland until yesterday but we got Heather potatoes (I haven’t tried these before, but apparently they are great!), blue Maori potatoes, quince, a new variety of apple called Cherry gala which are gorgeous, pear shaped cherry tomatoes, beetroot and cucumber. The farmers markets in NZ are just getting better and better!

Coconut Puddings with Lemon Syrup (from Donna Hay magazine)

½ c water
½ c castor sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
½ c coconut
¼ c flour
2/3 c castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ c milk
20g butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla

· place water and first measure of sugar in a small pot and stir until sugar dissolves; add lemon zest and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside
· combine coconut, flour and sugar. Add lightly beaten eggs, lemon juice, milk and butter and stir to combine
· spoon into 4 ½ ramekins
· bake at 180c for about 25 minutes
pour over syrup while hot and serve

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My first Dorie challenge

I was so excited when my first Tuesdays with Dorie challenge turned out to be snickery squares. When my book arrived last week and I excitedly flicked through it, that was one of the recipes that really caught my eye!! Plus, last week after making my tarts for Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, I had the good part of a can of caramelised condensed milk leftover. And as an extra bonus, I was planning on baking a caramel type slice to take down to my sisters in Napier in the weekend. Hayley, my youngest sister loves caramel slice and so the snickery squares was the perfect recipe!

Tuesdays with Dorie is a special blog challenge for those who own the book, From your home to mine by Dorie Greenspan. The recipes that have been baked in the past all looked so good, I really had to get my own copy. I was not disappointed when it arrived. Despite the fact that it is a beautiful book, it is crammed with the most wonderful looking recipes which I cant wait to try!!!

The snickery squares are named that because of their resemblance to snickers bars. I don’t really like snickers bars – I don’t like nuts with chocolate (I eat the chocolate off scorched almonds and throw the almond out, even though I really love almonds by themselves!). But the snickery squares were pretty darn good!

The bars are basically a shortbread base with caramel, then a layer of caramelised salted peanuts, a layer of chocolate and then some more caramelised peanuts on top. The slight saltiness of the peanuts tastes great with the sweetness of everything else! The only thing that went wrong was that my chocolate topping seized!! So I had to make more and it ended up quite a thick layer of chocolate on top. It did make it quite hard to cut – especially as the caramel is not cooked onto the base and so is quite oozey. The chocolate topping was butter and chocolate melted together – I usually do chocolate with a bit of cream. I would make these bars again and I cant wait to keep cooing from this book – it is awesome!!

Sorry about the bad photos – I only got the chance to take a quick one on Friday night when I made the slice. The lighting in the 1970s house is not that great!!!!!