Meringue Kisses

So my birthday has come and gone sadly enough. Apart from making myself a birthday cake (which will the next post!) I thought it would be nice to give away some little gifts to whoever came to my birthday 🙂 I finally found cellophane bags so I can put in all the sweets and treats that I wish to whenever I feel like giving someone a simple but thoughtful present and they are super handy and only cost $1 for 30!

INGREDIENTS: (make close to 60 depending on how big/small you make them)

4 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cups sugar

2 drops of lemon juice

100 gr chocolate

as many sprinkles as you like

Turn oven on 80°. Beat the egg whites. When they start foaming and building slowly add the sugar and the lemon juice. Once it is reaching still peaks add the cream of tartar.

Now put in a piping bag, again you decide which nozzle to use. For the first ones I used a star point and the second batch just a normal round one. Pipe the meringue on the baking tray, lined with parchment and put them in the oven for about 1.5 hours. Turn off the oven and leave them in there.

The reason the first batch came out brown is the temperature was actually 120°. However I wanted them to stay white so keep the temp as low as possible. If they don’t cook properly they will come out and stick to each other, so don’t be impatient like me most of the times and wait the necessary time 🙂

Once they are cooked and cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds at the time) and get your sprinkles in a small bowl.

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Place the bottom of your meringue on the chocolate enough to coat the sides and the bottom. Then dip in the sprinkles and leave to set 🙂

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These are really simple and easy to make and they are really appreciated when received 🙂 Now place in a gift bag and spread the love!

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Enjoy. Ciao for now 🙂 xox

 

 

Four Layer Chocolate and Strawberry Cake

It was a very special person’s birthday just last week.. My special Unicorn Benedetta!! This post was supposed to come straight after the rainbow cupcakes, but work and life in general came in the way 😛

This cake was supposed to be 5 tier, but one of them broke during the assembly and I had to reduce it to 4. It was still pretty 🙂

INGREDIENTS: (makes 5 layers- 6′)

For the Cake-

200 gr dark chocolate

170gr butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups water

3 tsp instant coffee

For the frosting-

200gr butter

3-4 cups icing sugar

1 cup of chocolate milk buttons

For the decoration-

1 cup of chocolate milk buttons

600gr  fresh strawberries

180gr dark chocolate

Start with the cake. Turn oven on 180°. Spray the trays with canola oil. Melt the dark chocolate and the butter together in the microwave, start with 30 secs, mix and then another 30secs until melted. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Once combined add the eggs. Beat in 1/2 flour and baking powder. Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the flour and 1 cup of water. In the remaining water, mix the instant coffee and add in the batter. Now pour into the trays and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile you can make prepare the strawberries. Set the best looking and bigger ones on the side (I’d say 6-7). Melt the chocolate buttons and dip the strawberries in. Set on a tray or container and put in the fridge. The rest of the strawberries cut into cubes and leave in fridge.

Now you can prepare the frosting. Melt the chocolate buttons. Beat Softened butter and icing sugar and add the chocolate. Spoon 2/3 of the frosting  in a piping bag with a nozzle and leave the rest in the bowl.

Once the cake has cooled down completely you can start building it up! Place a layer on a plate and spread with frosting that is in the bowl.

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Now pipe short strips on the edge of the cake from the outside towards the centre and cover with chopped strawberries

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Repeat the process with all the layers.

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Melt the remaining 180gr of dark chocolate. Dip a fork in the chocolate and make some lines over the chocolate covered strawberries. Now pour all chocolate over the cake in order to cover the top layer.

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Now place the strawberries on top of the cake. I placed them on outer edge to then add a birthday candle and a My Little Pony Toy (didn’t have a unicorn but Benedetta was still more than happy with it!)

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Needless to say it was a hit! 🙂

Ciao for now xox

Coke Bottle Cake

This is probably one of the best looking and original cakes I’ve done so far. At least, this is the feedback I received. I actually sent pictures of this cake to my family and my younger brother thought I was messing with him and didn’t believe me when I told him it was a cake. I guess nobody really did until I cut into it and ate it 🙂

I saw this on Pinterest and was amazed and yes Challenge Accepted! 😛

I made my own version of it though, wasn’t really keen on trying coca-cola cake at the moment. So you have an outer shell of dark chocolate, filled with cream cheese frosting and brownies.

INGREDIENTS:

Shape-

2 Lt Coke bottle (empty)

3 packets of dark chocolate buttons, 375 gr each

Brownies-

100gr milk chocolate+ 100 gr dark chocolate

200 gr butter chopped

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/3 cups cocoa powder

1/4 cups sour cream

1 cup chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting-

250 gr cream cheese (1 pack)

2-3 cups icing sugar

150ml cream

50gr butter

1 tsp walnut essence (optional)

So this cake, if done all in one go I believe could take 3 hours or so. Could be less.

Start with the bottle. Make sure it’s clean and dry inside. Using a cutter, cut off the label when the ends meet and set aside. Then cut a rectangle, starting from where the label space is downwards, giving you enough space to work with. Don’t make it too big, try to make it slightly bigger than the label height so it’s easy to cover up later. Put the top of the bottle on.

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Now melt 375gr (1 packet) of buttons in the microwave. Start with 30 secs, then stir with a metal spoon, and put in for another 30 secs. That was enough for me. But I know microwaves are all different so you might have to melt it more, just don’t leave the chocolate in for more than 30 seconds or it might burn. Pour the chocolate little by little in the bottle and cover the whole surface completely. Chocolate buttons solidify very quickly so you need to be fast. As you as you pour it in, swirl the bottles immediately. This amount of chocolate should be more than enough for each layer. Let it set in the fridge for 15mins. Repeat 3 times. For the last layer, keep some chocolate aside for the label and closing the bottle.

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Make the brownies. Turn oven on 180°. Melt butter and chocolate and butter in a saucepan and then add brown sugar. Take off the heat and beat in the eggs and the dry ingredients. Add the sour cream and lastly fold in the walnuts. Since I wanted this to be relatively low and thin, I lined a large rectangular tray with parchment. Pour the cake in and bake for 20-30 minutes. It might take less since it’s thinner than usual. Once it is cooled down, cut into long ways and in half.

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Make the frosting. Whisk the cream till stiff and put in the fridge. Beat the butter, cream cheese and the icing sugar together till combined and then add the whipped cream. Put in the fridge.

Now this is the fun part, but also tricky part. With the cutter, take the bottle apart. You’ll have to do it strip by strip. If you do scratch or mark the chocolate surface with the knife, just use your fingers to patch it up. Your hands are warm enough to melt the surface and fix it.

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Put the frosting in a piping bag and just filled the bottle to cover the inside. You will need a spatula to even it out of course. Then start filling it with brownies. Make sure you fill the sides of the bottle also. Make one layer with cake, then add frosting and continue as such until the bottle is full. The cake will crumble towards the end as the space becomes smaller but don’t worry too much about it.

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Now with the extra chocolate you have left, cover the opening and put in the fridge. You will have a lot of crumbs sticking out so, once it’s set, level the opening with a knife and cover again with chocolate.

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Now you can finish up by attaching the label and the cap. Place some melted chocolate in the appropriate spaces and then hold the label and the cap until set.

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Leave the bottle in the fridge until you are ready to serve! 😀

This was great fun to make and rest assured that everyone will be very impressed!

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Ciao for now xox

Triple chocolate mousse brownies

I know it’s way past the date I’ve made these but I was a busy bee this week and got delayed in publishing everything I’ve made so far. EASTER has come and gone but I am sure we all ate more than our fair share of food and chocolate eggs and bunnies. I know I did for sure. With this dessert, it’s a guaranteed food coma! I’ve experienced it first hand 🙂

This recipe was inspired by the Coles catalogue from last year I believe. However I changed the procedure, as I found it much easier and will give suggestions as to how to completely change it also from how I made it, or at least what I would do next time I make this.

INGREDIENTS: I made 5 with this method

For the Brownies- (best ever tried so far)

200 gr dark chocolate, chopped

200 gr chopped butter

275gr brown sugar

3 eggs

110 gr flour

1 tsp baking powder

35 gr cocoa powder

60 gr sour cream

handful of chopped walnuts (or as many as you like)

Chocolate mousses-

150gr dark chocolate

150 gr milk chocolate

150 gr white chocolate

3 eggs

375ml cream

1 1/2 tsp gelatine powder

Get strawberries or chocolate eggs to decorate.

Start with the brownies. Turn oven on 180°. In a saucepan, melt chocolate and butter then add the brown sugar. Take off the heat and mix in the eggs. When completely combined, whisk in the dry ingredients and lastly the sour cream and fold in the chopped walnuts.

Line a medium sized tray with parchment, pour in the brownie batter and bake for 30- 40 minutes. Let it cool completely. I used square cutters and cut out 5 pieces.

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For all the mousses it’s the same procedure so I will write it only once. Just remember to use the different chocolates for each layer.

Start with the dark chocolate, then milk and finish with white.

Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl oven pot with simmer water. When completely melted take off the heat. Whisk 125ml cream and add the chocolate to it. For each mousse you only need one egg. Separate one egg and put the yolk in the chocolate mix. Beat the egg white till it reached soft peaks and gently fold in the chocolate.

Lastly, in a separate glass or bowl, mix 1 tbsp of boiling water with 1/2 tsp of gelatine. When completely dissolved, mix in the chocolate.

Now this is the tricky part, or it’s the beginning of it rather. Take the cutters and place them on the squares leaving some space for the mousse layer and pour in. Let set for 20 mins at least.

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In the meantime start making the milk chocolate mousse.

When you have to add the next layer, I suggest using toothpicks to keep the cutters in place. I didn’t have any, so I used some baking disks I had at hand. So lift the cutter and stop it with the toothpick and add the layer. Do the same for the white chocolate.

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Once the mousses are all set, lift off the cutters.

With the method I’ve used you can’t really see all the layers clearly so this is what I suggest for the next time I make them. Don’t cut the cake from the start. Leave it in the tray and layer with the mousses. THEN cut them in to slices or squares. I think that would make the process much much easier, faster and neater.

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Decorate with anything you like. We had chocolate eggs and strawberries so why not?!

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There you have it! Hope you enjoyed them as much as we did!

Ciao for now! xox

 

 

 

Honeycomb chocolate

There is nothing better than this little treat to satisfy a sweet-tooth’s needs and wants.

I’m going to be honest and say that this recipe was quite tricky to make and as they say “third time is charm”. Yes, it took my three tries to get this right, as the first and second time I burnt or over stirred the soda in the caramel. I took the recipe from a weight watchers magazine (quite ironic since there is nothing slimming OR healthy about this recipe).

I would highly recommend having a cooking thermometer handy when you make honeycomb as the temperature is crucial!

When the caramel is too hot (or burns) the soda will make it bubble but, because of the heat it will also solidify at a quicker rate and this will happen.

 

So don’t let the caramel actually grow that much (like in the pic), it should bubble in the tray. Don’t over stir. If the temperature is right, you should have ample time to stir and pour. The first times I stirred and let it grow and puff IN the pot which then ruined the whole thing as it became crumbs by the time I poured it in the tray.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate soda (sifted)

200gr chocolate buttons/bar

Line a tray with parchment and set aside.

In a deep pot combine the sugar, water and the golden syrup at low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Mix the caramel with a wooden spoon.

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Rise the temperature to medium heat and place a thermometer in the pot. When the caramel reaches 120-150° take off the heat immediately and mix in the soda with a wooden spoon. This should make the caramel bubble, so try to mix the soda in as quick as thoroughly as possible and then pour it in the tray as evenly as possible. NOTE that once you pour it, it will be very difficult to spread it as it will have started setting and you want to avoid bursting the air bubbles. So when you pour, don’t stay in one spot but pour along the tray.

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Let it rest for at least an hour or until it is completely set, then you can peel off and turn.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Pour over the honeycomb and spread evenly to cover the surface and let set. I put it in the fridge as it is still very extremely hot here.

Once it’s set cut into pieces. It will never come into equal shapes, but it is easier if you use a knife. As soon as you will cut into it, it will break in different pieces on its own, without too much effort.

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And there you have it.

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Enjoy. Ciao for now xox