Today I made a saucy dessert for this month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. This is a super easy and quick treat to whip up when you have friends over or to finish off a casual dinner.
One of my favourite treats is strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and I wanted to make a more decadent dipping sauce version. I substituted the normal cream used in a ganache in favour of sweetened condensed milk to give it a fudgey consistency. I added peanut butter for salt and crunch and a bit of butter to keep it smooth and shiny.
- 400g sweetened condensed milk
- 200g dark chocolate (70%)
- ⅓ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy but you can also use smooth)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 punnets of strawberries (or pretzel sticks, marshmallows, cake cubes….)
- In a medium saucepan melt the chocolate over a low heat.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter and butter and stir until warm and combined.
- Pour into serving dishes or a fondue pot and serve with fruit, pretzel sticks – whatever you like!
This dip starts to firm slightly after sitting at room temperature for a long period so it’s best to make this right before serving. A fondue set is a great way to keep the dip warm and smooth, however a quick blast in the microwave will bring it back to a good consistency!
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is Berry Nice to Meet you – berries! This theme has gotten me very excited for spring and thinking about tarts piled high with fresh berries and pavlova covered with cream and strawberries, however as it was still 10 degrees outside when I started to bake I thought I would make something more weather appropriate!
I had been craving crème brûlée lately and loved the idea of contrasting the sweet rich custard with tart raspberries. You can use any berry you want in this recipe and the combination of the soft berries cooked into the custard and the fresh berries on top is delicious and well balanced.
- 1½ cups pouring cream (35% fat)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 9 large egg yolks
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 punnet of raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries – whatever you like!)
- 6 tsps of light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 160°C and place 6 x ¾ cup ramekins into a large baking dish.
- Pour the cream into a medium saucepan, add the split vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Fill a second medium saucepan with around 10cm of water and bring to a simmer. Whisk the yolks and sugar in a metal bowl set over the saucepan of simmering water (make sure the metal bowl does not touch the water). Whisk for around 3 minutes or until mixture is pale yellow and hot to the touch.
- Remove vanilla bean and gradually add hot cream to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time.
- Place 4-5 raspberries in the bottom of each ramekin and divide the hot cream and eggs mixture evenly into each ramekin.
- Pour hot water into the large baking dish the ramekins are sitting in. The water needs to come halfway up the sides.
- Bake the custards in their water bath for 25-30 mins or until set and lightly golden on top.
- Remove the custards from the water and place in the fridge to set over night.
- The next day sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar over each custard and place under the grill (or use a blow torch!) until golden and caramelised. Let sit for around 30 minutes to let the top harden (if you can wait that long!)
- Decorate with remaining fresh raspberries and ENJOY!
I love the black flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout – always a promising sign of a good dessert! The custard was decadently rich and sweet and the occasional encounter with a tart raspberry was a welcome reprieve.
I love recipes passed down from generation to generation and was recently sent this beautiful old recipe for passionfruit slice by a friend from his Mum. Since most of my recipes are now printed off from the internet and then hastily stuffed in my binder folder, I love coming across old faded and hand typed recipes such as this.
I made a few slight adjustments to this recipe but it was pretty much perfect as is (and oh so easy). Enjoy!
- 1 cup self raising flour
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 115g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 250g Nestle reduced cream
- 3 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 heaped tbsp custard power mixed with ½ cup water
- 4 passionfruit
- Mix together ingredients and press into a 30cm fluted tart tin or a rectangular slice tin.
- Bake for 10 mins on 180°C or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool.
- Combine all ingredients together and beat until slightly thickened.
- Pour over cooled base and put in the fridge to set.
- Stir water, caster sugar and custard power disolved into water in a saucepan over low heat until thickened.
- Allow mixture to cool before adding the pulp of the passionfruit.
- Pour passionfruit mixture over the cream filling and put back in the fridge to set (I like to let mine set over night before slicing).
Do you have a favourite recipe passed down through your family? I am desperate to get my hands on my late Grandma’s famous steamed golden syrup pudding!
I discovered this Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger recently via Tara from Vegetaraian. I loved this twist on the normal banana bread I love so dearly but felt Bill’s recipe was a bit dry and the coconut flavour not strong enough for my coconut-loving taste buds.
I made a few tweaks to his recipe – I swapped the milk for coconut milk and toasted the coconut to maximise the coconut taste, and increased the butter as I felt his was too dry. With these improvements it produced a lovely and moist toasted coconut bread which is amazing warmed up and slathered with butter. The perfect breakfast/afternoon tea/treat!
- 2 eggs
- 300ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 150g shredded and toasted coconut
- 100g butter melted
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 21 x 10 cm loaf tin with butter.
- Spread coconut out on a lined baking tray in an even layer. Toast in oven for 3-4 minutes until golden brown (watch like a hawk as it can burn easily!) Allow coconut to cool.
- Lightly whisk eggs, coconut milk and vanilla together.
- In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar and toasted coconut and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined.
- Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour into your greased loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave in tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack.
- Slice with a serrated knife and serve in thick slices with butter.
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop was Nuts About Sweets – a seemingly easy theme until you get overwhelmed by the amount of options available! I love hazelnuts and I love chocolate so it made perfect sense to combine these into a Ferrero Rocher cake complete with a decadent Nutella buttercream!
The cake features 3 layers of deliciously dark Devil’s Food Cake, with each layer sandwiched between a generous heaping of Nutella. The entire cake was then cloaked in Nutella Buttercream (omg), the sides adorned with chopped hazelnuts and then decorated with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
This is definitely not the neatest or most elegant cake I have ever made but it’s definitely the tastiest!
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ tbsps instant coffee powder
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 375ml boiling water
- 190g butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 2¼ cups plain flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 125g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 150g Nutella
- 200g Nutella
- 80g hazelnuts
- Ferrero Rochers, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bases of 3 x 20 cm cake tins with bake paper and grease the sides with butter.
- Stir the cocoa powder, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Pour in the cocoa/coffee mixture and beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 3 cake tins.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly in their tins before turning out onto a tray to cool completely.
- Place the softened butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Add the slightly cooled chocolate and continue beating until combined.
- Add the Nutella and beat on medium-high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half the Nutella on top of the first cake layer.
- Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining Nutella over it (don’t go down the sides).
- Place the third cake on top and gently press down to sandwich the 3 layers together.
- Dollop ⅔ of the Nutella buttercream on top of the cake, and using the offset spatula, begin to smooth the buttercream out across the top and over the sides of the cake.
- Use the remainder of the buttercream to cover the sides of the cake (remember it doesn’t have to be too neat as you will be covering the sides with hazelnuts!)
- Chop the hazelnuts as finely as you want. Gently press them to the sides of the cake, dusting away excess nuts that fall off.
- Decorate with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Thanks to Dining With a Stud for hosting this month’s Blog Hop!
Edit: Thanks to my lovely readers I have now sourced some locations to buy authentic Dulce de Leche in Australia. Firstly online from Mi Casa Fine Foods, or at a store called La Torre, 9 Nelson St Fairfield.
I was recently gifted 2 jars of delicious Dulce de Leche (or in Portuguese Doce de Leite) from my cousin who had just returned from South America. The jar on the left is from Brazil and the jar on the right is from Argentina. This caramel is hugely popular in South America and has been steadily gaining popularity in desserts within Australia.
After doing some taste testing (for scientific purposes of course) I think I am learning towards preferring the Brazilian Doce de Leite – it’s darker and richer and a little less sweet than its Argentinian friend. However both are sublimely delicious and I have been sprung on numerous occasions by my housemate at the refrigerator, spoon in hand.
Now, with nearly a kilo of caramel, what does one do with all of this deliciousness? I can’t keep eating it with a spoon, my teeth will fall out. Here are some of my recipes I am considering using it in:
I want to whip up a batch of these tasty sesame seed biscuits and sandwich them together with my caramel (a nice and quick way to avoid boiling sweetened condensed milk)
For a super quick Banoffee Pie- make a biscuit base, spread with the caramel and let set in the fridge. Then top with sliced bananas, whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve. Too easy!
To make salted caramel buttercream simply beat the dulce de leche with butter, icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt until a spreadable consistency is achieved. Then sandwich between ginger cookies, or pipe onto cupcakes.
Some other popular uses in South America include spreading it on bread/toast (like a super sweet and decadent version of peanut butter I guess?!)
Or freshly cooked churros dipped in dulce de leche. Yum!
Have you tried the authentic doce de leite before? What are your favourite dulce de leche desserts?
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is PIE, something I don’t often make as I usually get distracted by cupcakes or cookies. Peanut butter chocolate pie, apple cobbler and pumpkin pie were a few of the ideas that swirled through my head but I finally settled on a well loved classic – the Banoffee Pie.
I’ve always liked the idea of a Banoffee Pie, an English dessert consisting of pasty, bananas, cream and caramel, but found most tooth-achingly sweet. I’ve been loving salted caramel lately and thought creating a salted pretzel based biscuit base would work well to contrast with the sweet caramel.
- 250g buttersnap biscuits
- 100g salted pretzels
- 180g butter, melted
- 400g sweetened condensed milk tin
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 50g butter
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 3 medium bananas, sliced
- 300ml pouring cream
- Dark chocolate shavings to decorate
- Blitz biscuits and pretzels in the food processor until finely crushed.
- Add in melted butter and pulse until just combined.
- Press the biscuit mixture into a 23cm/9″ round spring form cake tin and put in the fridge to set.
- To make the caramel combine the sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat for 10-12 minutes until the mixture is thickened and golden.
- Pour onto the biscuit base and return to the fridge to set (about an hour).
- Once caramel has set, peel and slice up bananas and arrange in a single layer over the caramel.
- Whip up cream until firm peaks form. Be careful to not over whip as it can go grainy.
- Using a vegetable peeler, grate the chocolate into chocolate shavings (or curls if you are more dexterous than me!)
- Release the pie from it’s spring form tin and put on a cake stand. Decorate with lashings of whipped cream and finally sprinkle over the dark chocolate.
Thanks to Kitchen Crusader for hosting this month’s blog hop!
I love tea! I can’t start the day without a strong cup of English Breakfast, followed by an afternoon pick-me-up of Earl Grey and finishing the day with a cup of peppermint tea after dinner. When I feel like indulging I brew up a strong cup of chai tea with an array of spices including cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. I’ve been toying with the idea of experimenting with a chai cupcake for a while and thought this month’s theme of Tea at the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop would be the perfect opportunity to create it.
Quite a few recipes involved using the store-bought “Chai Mix” that I find overly sweet and fake tasting. I decided to make my own blend of spices to add to the batter and finished the cupcake off with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Delicious!
- 230g butter, softened
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
- 100g butter at room temperature
- 250g cream cheese at room temperature
- Cinnamon to decorate
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the 2 flours and chai mixture into a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
- Spoon icing into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
I wanted to make a festive cupcake to celebrate Easter that combined Easter eggs and my current craving for chocolate and peanut butter. I settled on a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing, and then made “nests” out of chocolate noodles, completing the look with a little egg placed in each nest.
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 115g butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 pkt Chang’s Original Fried Noodles (100g)
- 200g dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed through.
- In a separate bowl mix the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins and fill approximately ¾ full
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes slightly spring back when touched.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in their tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Beat the butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer in a medium bowl.
- Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the icing is thick and spreadable.
- Continue beating for at least 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Using a teaspoon spread a thick layer of icing onto each cupcake – this will be what the birds nest sticks on.
- Melt chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave (I do it in bursts of 30 seconds on medium to prevent the chocolate from burning) in a medium microwaveable container.
- Pour the noodles into the melted chocolate mixture and stir to coat.
- On a baking tray lined with baking paper, use a teaspoon or your hands to arrange the chocolate noodles in small circular shapes, making sure to leave a space in the middle for the egg to sit.
- Pop the tray in the fridge for the birds nests to set.
- Once hardened, place a birds nest on top of each cupcake, gently pressing it into the peanut butter icing to stick. Place a small Easter egg in the centre of each nest.
I also got creative with homemade chocolates and experimented with dark chocolate, white chocolate and powered dyes to make my family some treats.
I purchased some chocolate moulds and powered food dye from Spotlight. I divided the white chocolate (250g) into 3 microwaveable dishes and added a different colour to each one. After melting the white chocolate in short bursts in the microwave I furiously stirred the powered dye into each cup (use less colour to achieve pastel colours like I did). Then carefully pour the coloured chocolate into moulds and refrigerate.
My parents love dark chocolate so I also made some plain dark chocolate ones which contrast nicely with the pastel chocolates. Feel free to get creative and add chopped nuts or liqueurs to your chocolates. After the chocolates have set in the fridge, gently tap them on the counter until they pop out. Put in little plastic bags and tie with ribbon. Ta da!
I love that Easter gives me an excuse to indulge (even more) in chocolate and I can somehow justify it. The past few weeks have seen a steady stream of dark chocolate eggs, choc chip hot cross buns and Lindt bunnies flow through our house.
I’m currently deciding what to bake for the Easter long weeekend celebrations and some of my recipes that have made the shortlist are:
You may have noticed I have a major bias towards dark chocolate…. so just to mix it up a little here is a white chocolate option too.
I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas for your Easter chocolate baking!
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