Home Baked Pain au Chocolat


Last week, my husband, roomie and myself were watching night time TV when a craving for something sweet and chocolatey hit us. We didn’t have anything in the house, as I tend not to keep such vices around in full knowledge that I would eat it all… However, I always keep puff pastry in the freezer and I know we had nutella. So, asked the boys if a modified chocolate croissant would satisfy the craving. Our roomie was shocked, and asked how would I make a croissant? So I offered to show him. Here’s a quick step-by-step… so quick and easy to make!!

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 Egg

photo22

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Thaw sheets of puff pastry (note; you will get 4 croissants from 1 sheet) and cut into 4 equal squares.

photo19

Step 2: Place 1 tablespoon (or whatever you desire) of Nutella into the centre of each square.

photo21

Step 3: With a small amount of water, wet the edges of the pastry (this will make it sticky) and fold it over. You can make what ever shape you like (as shown in the picture below). Be sure to press the folded pastry down firmly (I use the back of a teaspoon) to ensure it is sealed. If you leave gaps, or it is not firmly sealed, the pastry will open during the baking process and the nutella will ooze out.

photo17

Step 4: Whisk the egg (yolk and whites) and lightly brush over the pastry.
Place in oven and bake until pastry is golden brown (usually about 25-30minutes).

photo18

Serve straight from the oven… Delicious!

photo20

FB banner TRANSPARENT

Advertisements

Chocolate Raspberry Mess


rasp011

Honestly, I don’t exactly recall how I came about creating this dessert. I’m pretty sure it involved a failed attempt at chocolate mousse and I didn’t want that to go to waste. How I came up with putting all these things together? My guess… I  had no time and used what was available to me in my pantry, fridge and freezer. Wouldn’t be the first time and definitely won’t be the last. But, I do recall how surprisingly delicious this turned out. You probably look at all the chocolate and cream and think… that’s too sweet! But… the added raspberries gives the dessert enough tang, in fact, the raspberries made this dessert a success!
Hopefully you will enjoy this!

No baking required.
PLEASE… there are a few layers, so read this one through first.

Ingredients:
1 packet Arnotts chocolate ripple biscuits
150g butter, softened
1.2L thickened cream
600g milk chocolate (alternatively you could use 400g milk chocolate and 200g dark chocolate)
5g gelatine
500g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
vanillin sugar

Method:

COOKIE CRUMB BASE
1. Put biscuits into a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.
2. (I know I said 150g butter, but I would add small bits at a time incase you don’t need the whole 150g). Basically… you want to add enough butter to get the cookie crumbs to combine.
3. Once combined, press cookie crumb mixture into a clean (NOT greased) dish. Alternatively, if you want to make individual portions, divide cookie crumb mixture evenly between your choice of glass/ramikin.
4. Set aside. This does not need to be refrigerated.
* I used a casserole dish approx 30cm x 15cm x 3cm

LAYERS
5. Add a generous layer of raspberries. I use Nannas frozen raspberries. You can buy 1kg for $8.99. It’s found in the frozen dessert section of Coles and Woolworths. This also comes in blueberries and mixed berries.

MOUSSE
6. Place all the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt down (place bowl over simmering hot water or use the microwave). Remember, if you use the microwave option, take the bowl out and stir it occassionally.
7. Once melted, cool chocolate to room temperature.
8. Whilst you are melting the chocolate, bring 1/4 cup cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
9. Add gelatine to cream.
NOTE: You can use either gelatine granules – these usually come in 10g sachets. Pour half into a mug and add boiling water. Stir until all granules dissolved and allow to cool to room temperature (or if you’re impatient like me, add it to the hot cream immediately). OR You use gelatine leaf. Leaves are 5g. Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Squeeze out excess water then add to hot cream and stir until dissolved.
10. Cool cream and gelatine mixture to room temperature.
11. Using an electric mixer, whisk remaining cream to soft peaks. (PLEASE remember to keep an eye on the cream. I forgot about it and ended up with whipped cream. I still used it but the mousse was a bit lumpy).
12. Once cream to soft peaks, working quickly, add chocolate and gelatine mixture to cream and whisk for further 1-2 seconds or until chocolate is 1/2 incorporated. *If chocolate is added too slowly, the mousse will be grainy.
13. Using a spatula, gently finish folding in.
14. Pour mousse mixture over raspberries until dish is full.
15. Put into refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

TOPPING
16. Once mousse is slightly firm, shift cocoa into even layer until mousse is all covered.
17. IMPORTANT! If you are using frozen raspberries, allow these to soften in a bowl. I would suggest you put the raspberries over the cocoa close to serving time. As frozen raspberries thaw, they produce some “fluid”. If you put them on too soon, this fluid tends to pool on the cocoa. So for aesthetics, apply when ready to serve.
If you are using fresh raspberries, spread them on straight away at any stage.
18. Top with chocolate curls.
19. Sprinkle some vanillin sugar over the top.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

I’ve only made this once. If you give it a go, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Untitled-2 copy

Cake Decorating Basics #3


Piping Techniques using a Wilton 21 Tip

This YouTube video by ‘LeCordon Bleu’ demonstrates how to create rope, shells, e-motions using a tip similar to Wiltons 21 tip. This shell technique is what I have used to decorate the boarder of my cakes: Elmo, Dinosaur, Pirate, Blue’s Clues and Care Bear.

402-21_m

Halloween Cake Pops


pop

My husband and I were invited to a Halloween party where all the guests brought a dish. Naturally being a sweet-tooth person, I started thinking about Halloween themed sweets. I Googled some ideas and settled on making a variety of cake-pops: mummies, eye balls and cats.

So easy and something the kids are sure to love to make and eat!

I know there are cake-pop books out that state to stick to a cake-pop recipe, but I used supermarket bought cake and muffin mixes, as well as normal cupcake recipes to make these with absolutely no issue.

I did purchase a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker off Amazon, but the first one I purchased had a faulty heating element and its replacement was no better. I had trouble getting the cake pops to come out round, as the bottom element will start baking before you put the lid on. So it’s uneven baking. I found it very frustrating. So I use the cake pop baking trays which you can purchase at K-Mart for $15 and includes reusable lolli-pop sticks. This was much easier to use, but the cake pops are considerably bigger than the ones baked using the Babycakes Maker. Alternatively, use the moulds – which I am yet to do.

Here’s the recipe I used.
“Vanilla Cake-Pops” adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Decorations:
1 bag of Nestle Chocolate Melts*
Chocolate sprinkles
Bag of M&Ms
Liqorice – preferably a flat ribbon sort
Edible Ink Pens

*You can use Wilton Candy Melts available at Spotlight, but they are not cheap. If you want to colour a white chocolate melt, use an oil base food colouring.

Method:
CAKE POPS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put the flour, sugar baking powder, salt and oil in a bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
3. Gradually pour in half (1/4 cup) of the water and beat until the water is just incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, and remaining water together for a few seconds. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape sides and continue mixing for a minute more until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix.
5. Spray both sides of cake pop pan with Cake-Pop baking tray.
6. Using a liquid measuring cup, pour mixture into cake pop pan (side without holes). You will have enough mixture to completely fill all 18 holes. Put topside of cake pop pan on and secure with clips.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
8. Let pans cool before removing top pan (if any cake has baked through the holes simply scrape off before removing top pan).

TO DECORATE
9. Melt a small amount of chocolate melts or candy coating in the microwave.
10. Dip the end of the cake pop stick into the coating, then insert into cake ball.
11. Place cake pops into freezer for 10 minutes.
12. Heat large batch of chocolate melts or candy coating in microwave and prepare your topping bowls.
13. Remove your cake pops from the freezer.
14. Dip cake pops in melted chocolate or candy coating. Allow excess chocolate or candy to drip off cake pop.

EYEBALLS
Whilst the chocolate/candy coating is slightly wet, attach an un-melted piece of white chocolate melt or candy melt to the top. This will act as your iris. You can then use M&Ms (attach with more melted chocolate) as the pupils. Once the coating has completely dried, use the edible ink pens to draw blood vessels around the circumference.

CATS
Whilst the coating is still wet, sprinkle on chocolate sprinkles to act as fur. Once this has dried, attach M&Ms with melted chocolate as eyes and cut out small triangles for ears from the ribbon liquorice (attach with melted chocolate).

MUMMIES
You don’t need to be neat to make mummies. In fact, the rougher the coating the better the result. Once you have allowed the initial coat to dry, attach M&Ms as eyes, then drizzle more melted chocolate over the pop to act as mummie wrap. You may need to do several layers of chocolate drizzle to get the desired effect.

TO SERVE
You can use a cake pop stand to serve. I found a cheap $2.99 sturdy cardboard (very colourful) stand at Crazy Clark’s. Or use styrofoam to hold your finished cake pops.

Untitled-2 copy

Dark, Milk and White Chocolate Ganache


                     whitechoc1 whitechoc2whitechoc3
I love chocolate ganache… what chocaholic wouldn’t! It’s incredibly delicious and it’s so much easier to get nice, straight sides and edges compared to butter cream. It also withstands the Australian heat much better than butter cream does. All you need is chocolate and cream. By varying techniques and tweaking ingredients, you can turn basic ganache into a truffle, a glaze, a frosting, a mousse, a tart, a warm drink, or a frozen pop. Brilliant!
Making dark, milk and white chocolate ganache varies. You require a higher ratio of milk and white chocolate to cream (3:1) compared to dark chocolate (2:1). That’s because milk and white chocolate contain milk solids, which contain milk fat. The added fat and the increased cocoa butter content make the lighter chocolates softer and more susceptible to damage from heat. You can certainly make ganache from milk or white chocolate using the traditional technique, but you’ll have to adjust the ratio of chocolate:cream to compensate for the increased fat content.
In extremely warm weather it is sometimes necessary to increase the amount of chocolate in the mixture to prevent it from melting.
To torte and cover a 9″ round cake with dark chocolate ganache 
1.2 kg dark chocolate
600ml pure cream
To torte and cover a 9″ round cake with milk and white chocolate ganache 
1.3 kg
450ml pure cream
Method: 
Place chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool. If all the chocolate hasn’t melted, you can place the bowl into the microwave and reheat at short intervals (I usually do it for 10 second at a time).
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens.
If desperate measures call and you don’t have the patience to wait, let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover the bowl as you may get condensation). It would  usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
Untitled-2 copy
For more ganache recipes and ideas, please visit Big Bake Theory

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes


choc mini

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla essence
80g butter (unsalted)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chocolate bits (milk, dark or white)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line 24 hole mini cupcake tray.
2. Sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
3. Make a small well in the middle of the bowl and then add remaining ingredients (except chocolate bits).
4. Beat on low speed with electric mixer until just combined.

5. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on medium speed for a further 2 minutes.
6. Add chocolate bits and mix with wooden spoon.
7. Place tablespoons of the mixture into 24 hole mini cupcake tray until 3/4 full.
8. Place tray into oven for 10-12 minutes or until baked through.
9. Stand for 5 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack to cool.
10. Ice with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting or leave plain as desired.

Untitled-2 copy