Category Archives: Dessert

Snickers Rice Krispie Squares

Snickers Rice Krispie Squares

Rice Krispie Squares are one of life’s great nostalgic pleasures. They bring you right back to being a kid in the school hall on bake sale day, selling these puppies off like they were going out of style, which of course, they never were.
These are probably my favourite incarnation of them, Mars bars work great as well but I think the few extra peanuts in them really bring it up a notch. This isn’t so much a recipe as a set of very vague guidelines. Rice Krispie Squares are designed to be made by three year old. So we shouldn’t have much trouble right? … Right?

7 Snickers bars

500g Milk Chocolate
100g butter
500g Rice Krispies
200g White Chocolate

The Ingredients

-First put a large pot, with about two inches of water in the bottom, on to a low simmer.
-Break up the snickers and chocolate and place them in a large bowl along with the butter over the simmering water. Keep these moving every minute or so to help them melt a little faster.
-Once they are melted add in the Rice Krispies (remember the weight is just a guideline, if you think your mix could use a few more or less rice krispies work away)
-Pour the mix out into a baking tray lined with cling film and flatten it out as much as possible.
-Pop the tray in the fridge for about an hour or so. The longer you can leave them, the better.
-Take it out, turn it upside down and lay the massive slab of hard rice krispies on a chopping board.
-Break up the white chocolate into a small bowl and microwave it for about 40 seconds, stirring halfway through.
-Pour this over the top of the squares and allow to set in the fridge.
-Cut them into appropriately sized chunks and serve to the masses of people that have collected in your kitchen after you said “I think I might make Rice Krispie Squares.”

 

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Cheats Cronut!

Chocolate Cronuts

Ok, everyone relax. I think I have cracked it. A simple way to master the art and genius of Dominique Ansel in your very own home. Cronuts appeared on the culinary scene about a year ago or so and instantly became one of the first food combination crazes. Later instalments include, but are not limited to, Ramen Burger, Pizza Burger, Crookie and others.
For those who have never heard of them, Cronuts are a pastry that is a combination of croissant dough, deep fried like a donut. And before you say anything, they are as delicious as they sound.
Alas the cronut, being the first, is also one of the most intricate to execute in a basic kitchen. Croissants are made from an enriched yeast dough and they take time, they need to be looked after and kept warm and moved around a lot. Not unlike a toddler. And I am just not ready for that level of commitment, to either a minor or to baked goods. But I really want a cronut.
And it was one lazy Tuesday afternoon, careening through the dairy aisles of a local Tesco when I saw that Jus Rol, the company that do the pre-made pastry, have started doing croissant dough. Or maybe they have been doing it for years but I never noticed, anyway that was when began to think that maybe I could do this! Maybe I could make Cronuts and home and gorge myself into an early grave.
Sure what else would I do with a lazy Tuesday?

2 packs of Jus Rol Croissant Dough
1 lt Groundnut Oil
200g Dark Chocolate
50ml cream
4 Free Range Eggs
2 tbs Caster Sugar
2 tbs Flour
300ml Milk
Zest of one Lemon

-You will also need circle cutters for the donuts. One large one and one small one. I used a large scone cutter and a bottle cap. Anything will do. And for the filling you will need a piping bag with a small nozzle.
-Ok so as simple as this version is it still requires a little prep. There are three components, the custard filling, the chocolate glaze and finally the donuts themselves.
-Lets get the glaze and filling done first.
-Put a large bowl over a pot with one inch of simmering water in the bottom. Into this bowl, break up the chocolate and cream. Melt them together and set aside.
-Now we are going to make some custard! This is a pretty cool skill to get to grips with and one you will most certainly return to when you get a little peckish.
-In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour.
-Gently heat the milk with the lemon zest. But don’t boil it.
-When the milk is warm, start to combine it very slowly with the egg mixture. You should start with only a few tablespoons at a time until the egg starts to heat.
-What you are doing is using the warm milk to cook the eggs which will firm up and create a smooth custard. The slower you add the milk and the more you beat the eggs, the smoother your custard will be.
-When all of the milk is combined add the mix back into the pan and place over a medium heat. Keep stirring the mix until it starts to thicken to sauce consistency. The test for this is if it can coat the back of a spoon without running off.
-When the custard has thickened, set it aside.
-In a large pot, heat up a few inches of the groundnut oil.
-Open the cans of the croissant dough and roll them out.
-Using your two circle cutters, cut out your donuts, you should be able to stretch the dough to about 8 donuts plus leftover bits, which are arguably the best part.
-Test the oil with one of the offcuts of dough, if it flouts and bubbles happily it’s perfect, if it starts to turn a dark brown very quickly then it is a little too hot. Turn it down and leave it to sit for a minute.
-Fry each donut for about two minutes on each side, or until golden and puffed up.
-Remove and place on a wire rack about some kitchen paper to collect excess fat.
-When all of the donuts and offcuts are fried turn off the heat on the oil and leave to cool. Please be careful as it will remain quite hot for good while.
-As the donuts cool, fill your piping bag with the custard. Taking one donut at a time, gently pipe a little of the custard all around the ring until you can feel that it’s full.
-When you have them all filled, lay them back on the wire rack.
-Using a spoon drizzle the chocolate glaze over the top of the cronuts.
-I also added a few chocolate sprinkles cos I’m ridiculous like that.
-Now you are ready to enjoy the heavenly delights that are cronuts. I love to eat one with another one on the side and then, like, four more as I cry myself to fat sleep. But that’s just me.

 

Foolproof Cupcakes

Foolproof Cupcakes

          This along with my cookies recipe and chocolate cake are seriously great things to have stashed in your back pocket at all times. (The recipe, not the cake, that would be weird.) They are all simple, easy to remember and most importantly, easy to execute well. Making you look like a culinary hero instead of the culinary cock-ups we all really are. It’s about perception my friends.

          I have been using this recipe for a fair few months now and it never fails. Stick to these measurements and the recipe will not let you down. The only thing that might change is the cooking time. Baked goods are delicate and pretty fickle. You will just have to watch yours closely for the first batch and then use that time as a guide from then on. Once you get to know your oven a little better (it probably misses you) you will be flying.

           Once you have it down to an art the rest is up to you. Replace a little of the flour with hot chocolate powder and add a few chocolate chips for double chocolate cupcakes. Grate in a little pear or apple for a fruity twist. Berries are always a safe bet. I did these ones with Lime zest and white chocolate in that batter and a white chocolate and lime juice icing.

The Cupcakes
225g Sugar
225g Butter (must be room temperature)

4 Eggs

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

The Icing

200g Butter

450g Icing Sugar

2 Tbsp Milk

-Cream together the butter and sugar until it turns to a light white creamy consistency. All of this can be done with a hand blender or in a food processor.

-Mix in the vanilla.

-Crack the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar one at a time and mix in thoroughly.

-It will initially look like its going to split but keep going and it will come together in the end.

-When the eggs are all incorporated sift in the flour and the baking powder.

-Mix these into the wet batter slowly. Make sure not to leave any pockets of flour in the batter. That will not end well, trust me.

-Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.

-Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

-Fill each case about 2/3 full.

-Place in the centre of the oven. About 12 minutes works a charm for me but everyone’s oven is different and will give you a different time.

-When they look nice and golden on top, stick a toothpick in the centre of one. Leave it for a second or two then pull it out. If it comes out clean you cupcakes are done. If there is still batter on the cocktail stick put them back in for abother minute or two then test again.

-When they are done, leave them to cool on a wire rack so they don’t get too moist on the bottom.

Icing

-Soften the butter a bit in the microwave before starting. This will make everything a lot easier.

-In a large bowl whisk up the butter so it is nice and airy.

-Then slowly start to add in your icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time.

-Keep whisking until all of the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter.

-I then add a few tablespoons of milk just to let it out a little and make it easier to pipe onto the cupcakes but if you are going to spoon it on then there is no need.

-If you would like to add food dye at this stage feel free. You can see I went for red here but use whatever you have to hand.

 

Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge

          So when I think of things like fudge or chocolate truffles I always think they are going to be seriously hard to do. Like they are some incredible skill that only the super elite of the culinary world can learn. Not so my friends, not so.

           I have started trying a few of these seemingly tricky numbers of late and it would seem that the wool is being pulled over your eyes. They are incredibly simple. This fudge recipe is a delight to make and doesn’t require much work or ingredients. It makes a perfect stocking filler or secret Santa gift aswel.

         Don’t get me wrong, this recipe is not healthy. This recipe has never even been in the same room as healthy. This recipe has never even been in the same town as healthy. So just don’t go eating a whole jar of it like I just did. Remember kids, I do these things so you don’t have to.

400g Butter

200ml double cream

500g Soft brown sugar

1 tbs Vanilla extract

300g Icing sugar

-In a large heavy based saucepan, heat the cream gently with the butter.

-When the butter is fully dissolved and mixed through, pour in your sugar and vanilla extract.

-Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

-Now crank up the heat to full.

-The mixture will start bubbling viciously. This is all part of the plan. When it starts bubbling you want to count out two minutes on a timer.

-This should give you the perfect setting temperature for the sugar (110 degrees celsius if you have a sugar thermometer).

-Pour your mixture into a large bowl with the icing sugar.

-Beat it all together well, this will take a few minutes. Make sure you get all of the lumps of icing sugar out as this will give you a better quality product at the end.

I simply respect the chemistry.

-Next you want to pour it into a baking dish, lined with cling film. The one I used was about 18cm x 20cm. –This gave me a 2cm deep fudge. Perfect for fitting in the jars I have.

-Leave the fudge to chill overnight, then cut it up into blocks. You can make them however big you like, I went with pretty small ones as I was putting them in jars for presents.

-They should last in a fridge for about two weeks. Happy out.

Someone’s going to be in the good books.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

Truffles are one of those things that everybody loves but nobody makes. When you see them in a fancy coffee shop your mouth starts to water. You tempt yourself with one or two. Maybe a third, if you have been good. But you would never think of making them for yourself. Don’t be silly. They are difficult, and elaborate and hard and I’ll just pay someone else way too much to make them for me.

 

Well hopefully this will help change your mind. To the most incredible chocolate truffles you will need two things, good quality chocolate and some double cream. That’s it. So simple. You can use milk chocolate or white chocolate but dark is a little better for this job. Then you can experiment in whatever way you want. It’s up to you. Here is the basic recipe that you can use to adapt and change to your own tastes. Once you try them you will be making them all the time.

 

They make great presents for Christmas or Birthdays or just if you want to treat someone to something special.

 

 

200g Chocolate

80ml Double Cream

 

-Get a small pot of water on to a simmer.

-In a bowl, break up your chocolate and pour the cream over it. Add a small pinch of salt (trust me).

-Slowly melt the chocolate into the cream over the hot water. Don’t heat it too fast as it will start to go grainy and ruin the entire endeavour.

-When the chocolate has melted into the cream and is a beautifully smooth consistency just pop the bowl into the fridge for about 2 hours or until not quite set.

-When the chocolate is still soft, spoon it out onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Best to go for a bit smaller than a ping pong ball in size for each of them.

-This is the time to adapt them as you see fit. You can roll them in cocoa power (as I have done above), icing sugar, sprinkles, desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, anything you want really.

-Once they are coated you can pop them back into the fridge for another hour or so to firm up.

-Then you are ready to rake in the love and appreciation from your nearest and dearest as they devour these treats.

 

Enjoy.

 

 

Kick Ass Peanut Butter Cookies

Kick-Ass Peanut Butter Cookies


            So, this weekend. we did the usual thing. Lazy day, invited loads of friends over. Movies. Easter eggs. Few beers. Plenty of tea (for those not partaking of the beer). And of course, a massive plate full of these suckers. Amazing peanut butter cookies that I got from Sorted Food. So so good, and so so easy.

            I decided to keep the chocolate on top aswel as some broken up nuts but you can deffinitly leave them off if you want to make it a little easier. Just so you know, one friend described these as the best cookies she has ever had. This elevated her to the position of  “favourite friend.”

100g Butter (room temperature)

200g Sugar

2 Eggs

200g Self Raising Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

100g Peanut Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Hazelnuts (or peanuts, cashews etc)

100g dark chocolate

-In a large bowl beat together the sugar and the butter until it’s smooth and light.

-Crack in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Beat them all together with the butter/sugar mix.

-Mix the baking powder into the flour first. Then add this mixture slowly into the bowl while combining everything.

-Now add in the peanut butter make sure that everything is an even consistency.

-Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of baking paper on a oven tray. You want decent size spoonfuls as these make quite a thick cookie.

-Break up some nuts and arrange them on top of each cookie.

-Pop these into a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 12 minutes.

-While they are cooking, melt the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water. Pour this into a piping bag (if you don’t have one these a cool little trick you can do with baking paper http://tinyurl.com/cz8gwwy)

When the cookies are cool pipe on the chocolate in whatever pattern you like and allow to set or just eat them straight away. Either way, enjoy.