Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cookies and Cream Easter Eggs

Alright well I decided to not be lazy and got my Easter egg moulds out of storage to have a go at some home made Easter eggs. Honestly they are not very hard to make however they do require some patience... something I often lack when baking. The process is easy, melt the chocolate (and attempt to temper it :S) fill the moulds and wait. Once the chocolate around the edges has set, pour or scoop the chocolate out of the middle and you are left with an even shell. But if you are me, you half fill the moulds, swirl them around the edges until there is a thin layer of chocolate over the whole mould then pour out any excess. This way you end up with a mould that has a thick bottom and tapering thin sides... not ideal. 

I wanted to make a delicious rocky road inspired cookies and cream filling for the eggs and I think I did pretty good. Inside the white chocolate eggs is a mix of Milky Bar Cookies and Cream chocolate, Oreo biscuits, marshmallows and a bit more white chocolate for good measure. I decided the leave it pretty chunky and not melt down the cookies and cream chocolate bar so that you didn't feel like you were biting into a completely solid egg. Instead it is more something you can pick at and pull apart.

On another note I would like to point out that I am pretty much an official food blogger now that I have purchased and used striped paper straws in one of my shoots! Just about every blog I read has used these before and I have finally given in to their retro-cuteness factor. Now all I need is some rustic timber boards to style my photos on and I am a bonafide food blogger :) (er and maybe some more lessons in actual photography :S)


Cookies and Cream Easter Eggs

Makes about 5

What you will need

1 bag Nestle white chocolate melts
1 bar Milky Bar Cookies and Cream chocolate
1 bag marshmallows, white ones only
1 packet of Oreo biscuits

Easter egg moulds

What you will need to do

Place 3/4 of the packet of melts into a microwave safe dish. Melt in 30 second intervals stirring after each. After all the chocolate has just melted, put the rest of the chocolate into the bowl and stir until all has melted.

Rest Easter egg moulds in a container so that they will not roll over. Pour chocolate into the mould to fill. Leave out or put into fridge until a 5mm rim has set around the outer edge. Pour or scoop the unset chocolate out of the middle and back into the bowl. Place mould back into fridge to set firm. If you have multiple moulds continue doing this until you make about 5 eggs (well half eggs). If you only have one or two moulds, you will have to wait until the first lot have set before removing them from the mould and repeating. You may need to heat the chocolate a bit between filling moulds as it may start to set. Just put back in microwave for 30 seconds and stir.

Once the egg has set hard, remove from mould. Just tip it upside down and gently loosen the mould. If the egg cracks, just melt the chocolate and start again. The less you handle the egg the better as it will melt from your touch.

In a separate bowl, place marshmallows, chopped up Oreo biscuits (reserve a few to place on top) and chopped up Milky Bar chocolate. Pour in any left over melted white chocolate (reserve a small amount if you want to drizzle some over at the end) and mix. Spoon mixture into the eggs gently without breaking them. Place half an Oreo on top of each and drizzle over any reserved white chocolate.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Caramel and Marshmallow filled Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are great. I don't know why but chocolate seems to taste better in egg form. I've made my own chocolate eggs before using egg moulds but it is very time consuming. I wanted to make eggs filled with delicious goodness and I found buying Cadbury hunting eggs and just filling them with my own fillings to be very effective.

I wanted to make my own marshmallow and use it to fill the eggs. I also wanted to use my caramel recipe to fill the eggs too. I ended up making two variations, one keeping the egg whole and filling with both caramel and marshmallow and the other one halving the eggs and filling with marshmallow and sprinkles.

Caramel and Marshmallow filled Easter eggs

Marshmallow adapted from

What you will need

15 Cadbury hunting eggs (or any hollow Easter eggs)
1 batch of caramel
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbs gelatine
1 tsp vanilla essence

100's and 1000's
Cadbury Mini Drops

What you will need to do

To make the marshmallow, combine sugar with 1/3 cup warm water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. In a separate bowl, combine gelatine and 1/3 cup cold water and whisk with a fork. Pour into hot syrup, cook stirring until gelatine has dissolved and liquid is clear. Pour into bowl of electric mixer and whisk on high until mixture becomes very thick and glossy. Add vanilla and mix to combine.

To make the halved eggs filled with marshmallow, carefully cut 5 or so eggs in half lengthways using a warm knife. Spoon the marshmallow mixture into the shells. Sprinkle with Mini Drops and 100's and 1000's. Leave in the fridge to set overnight.

To make the caramel and marshmallow filled eggs, carefully make a small hole in the tops of 10 eggs using a warmed cake tester or the tip of a knife. I found heating the tip of a knife under my blowtorch worked. Fit a piping bag with a small enough nozzle to fit the hole you made. Fill it with caramel and pipe enough caramel to half fill each egg.

Using another piping bag fitted with the same size nozzle, pipe marshmallow into the eggs until it oozes out the tops. You may need to lightly tap them on the bench to remove any trapped air bubbles. Put int fridge to set overnight.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

Easter time is upon us and although I have been making hot cross buns at work now for the last month, I decided it was time to give them a go at home. Every year my mum makes Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday and we compare results. Hers usually turn out pretty perfect and mine are a bit of hit and miss. I use a different recipe every year just for something new but I really should learn to stick with one I know will work.

The buns we make at work are just basically a sweet bread dough with spice and fruits added. Don’t get me wrong they are delicious, but I wanted to make a rich dough with eggs and butter galore! I came across such a recipe on the Guardian website. In the article “How to cook perfect Hot Cross Buns” Felicity Cloake trialled several methods and concluded with her perfect recipe.

I cheated a bit when I made these as I didn’t want to go out and buy too many ingredients and there are quite a few spices in her recipe. Instead of infusing the milk with whole cinnamon sticks and cloves, I just added some ground cloves and cinnamon to the mix (boring I know but its what I had in the cupboard). I also decided to make a batch with chocolate instead of fruit (predictable!). I used Cadbury Mini Drops because they look like little coloured eggs and well, it is Easter after all.

I had a few problems with this recipe, simple things that I should have known better than to do. The yeast I used was a bit old, not past its use by date but pretty close. I should have bought fresh yeast. Also when I added the yeast to the milk it was still pretty hot, I convinced myself that it was an alright temperature but I was clearly wrong. If yeast is exposed to too high temperatures it dies. So with these two issues combined I didn’t get the best lift out of my buns. They did not rise as well as I would have liked, but I promise you if you follow the recipe properly (UNLIKE ME!) your buns will be light and rich and delicious!

Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from Felicity Cloake at

What you will need

200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
20g fresh yeast or 7g dried active yeast
50g caster sugar
450g strong white flour ("00" flour)
100g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp mixed spice
3 eggs
150g currants
150g sultanas

For the cross
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar

For the glaze
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 cup boiling water

What you will need to do

Heat the milk in a saucepan with the cardamom pods and bring to the boil. Turn off heat and leave to infuse for an hour. Bring back to about 28*C, strain milk and add 1 tsp caster sugar and the yeast. Set aside.

In a large bowl place the flour and add the butter. Combine by either rubbing with fingertips or using a dough hook in a mixer. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and mixed spice. Beat two of the eggs together then add to the flour mix along with the yeast mix. Combine using the dough hook until you get a soft dough. Either continue mixing with the dough hook or knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic. Place in a warm spot until dough doubles in size. This could take hours, be prepared for that!

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and punch out the air. Flatten it out into a rough rectangle shape and scatter the sultanas and currants all over. Fold dough over and knead until fruit is evenly dispersed throughout. Place back into the bowl and leave to sit and rest for another 20 minutes.

Tip the dough out and cut it into 80g pieces (I got about 13). Roll the pieces into rough ball shapes and place them on a greased tray, cover with plastic and rest for another 20 minutes.

Re roll the balls into tight, neat buns and place back on a tray lined with baking paper. Give them about one centimetre gap between each bun. Cover with a tea towel until doubled in size and touching each other. Preheat the oven to 200*C and place an empty tray on the bottom rack. Make up the cross mix by combining the flour and sugar with enough water to make a thick paste. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the tops of the buns (I forgot this step, but I think it will make your buns turn out a lot more golden and delicious). Fill a piping bag with the bun mix or use a teaspoon and make crosses across the top of the buns. Place buns into the oven and throw a handful of ice onto the empty bottom tray. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Make the glaze by adding the sugar to the boiling water and stirring until dissolved. Brush over the tops of the buns.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Caramel Choc Chip Cookies

It’s official. I have worked out how to make thick soft cookies, just like I like them. The answer was there all along, on just about every cookie blog I read, but I only just opened my eyes to it now. The trick is not always in the mixture, although a good stiff cookie dough helps. It is in the traying up of the cookies. I have round, spherical measuring cups (but you could use an ice cream scoop) and I used the 1/4 cup to scoop out my mixture and place on my lined baking tray. This left me with high round mounds of cookie dough on my trays and that right there is the secret! Leave space in between each cookie to allow for expanding and spreading and take out of the oven just as they start to brown and you will have the perfect cookie. Thick and soft!

Well I know I have made several cookie recipes on this blog so far but I made this one on a whim because I found Caramel Choc Chips. What the? I am still coming to terms with it and trying to decide if they are milk chocolate with caramel flavouring, white chocolate with caramel flavouring or something completely different all together. Either way they were pretty tasty, not out of this world amazing, but still good.

They are a Nestle product and they can be found in the baking aisle at your supermarket. They have been out for a while but this week they were on special so I had to give them a go. These cookies are super dooper easy to make and as i’ve mentioned already, they are pretty perfect.

Caramel Choc Chip Cookies

Adapted from the recipe on the back of the Caramel Choc Chip packet :)

What you will need

125g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1 packet Caramel Choc Chips

What you will need to do

Preheat oven to 200*C and line two baking trays with baking paper. In a bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, salt and egg and continue to beat. Mix in flour until just combined then add the choc chips and mix until all combined.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or an ice cream scoop (or anything similar you may have), scoop out mounds of dough and place them on the baking trays a good 5cm apart. Place trays in oven and turn heat down to 180*C. bake for 10- 15 minutes or until just starting to brown on edges. Remove from oven and cool on trays. Once cool enough to touch, slide onto a wire rack for further cooling.