It’s been a tough couple of weeks and tonight I really feel like a little indulgence. So, as I lie on the couch writing this blog post i’m indulging in a couple of the delicious chocolates that this post is dedicated to. Haigh’s Violet Cream chocolates are my absolute favourite chocolates of all time.
Its still super freakin cold. In case you didn’t get the memo Sydney peeps. Its the kind of weather that makes you want to have the oven on all the time just to heat the house. The kind of weather that makes you stay in bed until midday, get up for some hot chocolate, then go back to bed. The kind of weather that just requires snuggles. And this pudding.
And butterscotch caramel.
ohhhhhhh butterscotch caramel.
Its no secret that I like Donna Hay recipes. Although I find the magazine a little light on, it is great for simple dishes that work pretty much every time. This recipe came from the June/July 2011 edition of the Donna Hay Magazine but I dug it out the other day when I was sorting through my mountains of cooking magazines. I’m such a sucker for a gooey, sumptuous sweet on the front cover of a magazine. I must be an advertisers dream.
I did originally make this when I bought the magazine last year but it just wasn’t delicious enough to warrant a blog post of its own. I put that down to my own laziness as I couldn’t be bothered making lots of little portions so I just made one big one. That ended up with what seemed to be a lower caramel/pudding ratio. Of which we know no good can come. So this time I made a couple of small changes.
1. I used my kitchen aid! Yay! This baby is seriously the best thing since sliced bread. I love that I can switch it on and leave it to mix and come back with it all tripled in volume and ready for the next stage.
then I used a whole jar of butterscotch spread
is there a more delicious sight than that?
No? Glad we’re on the same page here.
The mixture was much lighter and more aerated after using the kitchenaid rather than just my normal hand mixer. Look at those little clouds of cocoa!
so light that the cooked little cocoa caps just pop up off the top of the ramekin.
Juuuust enough for some caramel butterscotch to peek out
And that isn’t even the best part. Don’t believe me?
the molten pool of caramel butterscotch at the bottom is the best part
you can dip the crunchy/fluffy chocolate pudding top back into the butterscotch for extra deliciousness
or if you’re EXTRA fancy you can top it all off with a scoop of ice-cream.
So what do you think my lovelies? Can there ever be too much when it comes to butterscotch and chocolate? Hint: if you say yes, then I have no idea how you made it this far…
Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding – Adapted from the June/July 2011 Issue of Donna Hay Magazine
1 jar Butterscotch spread (I bought mine from Dijons Castle Hill and Harris Farm Broadway)
1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream
200g dark chocolate
1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60g) almond meal
optional: ice cream to serve
1. Place the butterscotch in a bowl with the cream and mix well until combined
2. Spoon the butterscotch mixture into the bottom of 6 1/2 cup capacity ramekins
3. Melt the chocolate and butter together and mix until combined
4. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for 8-10 mins or until the mixture has doubled in size
5. Fold in the chocolate mixture and almond meal then divide the mix between the ramekins
6. place the ramekins on a baking tray and cook at 200 degrees celsius for 12-18 minutes or until risen
7. Stand for a few minutes then top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream!
I go through phases. It’s no secret. One week i’m wearing pink (well, actually, i’m always wearing pink so that’s a pretty poor example) one week i’m wearing headbands, the next its all about the pony tail, one week i’m making chocolate fondants, the next week i’m making delicious soups. This month, it’s all about the macaron. P.s. if you see any typos on these posts where I talk about ‘macaroni’ its because of this stupid autocorrect!
So the stars aligned this month for the Sweet Australian Blog Hop when i’d been on a spree of macaron making and realised that this month’s theme was ‘nuts about sweets’. Hooray! Macarons = almond meal = nuts. But how boring would it be if I just made normal macarons and left it at that? Surely they had to be more nutty? So I had a little think and decided to use up some hazelnuts that I had stored away in my pantry to make some hazelnut praline to put into my macarons.
show me a person who hates praline and i’ll show you a fool
But you can’t have praline on its own so I whipped up some chocolate macarons
and some chocolate buttercream
and then I thought ‘its a bit random to just hand hazelnut praline in these chocolate macarons. How can I make it even more hazelnutty?’ and SHAZAM! the answer came to me. FFFRRRAAAANNNNGEEEELIIICCOOOOOOO!
Or just Frangelico – hazelnut liqueur to the uninitiated.
I whizzed up the hazelnut praline in my mini food processor
and sprinkled some on top of the buttercream
and voila! Chocolate Macrons with Frangelico Buttercream and Hazelnut Praline
1. Combine almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Sieve the mixture thoroughly at least twice.
2. Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment
3. Put the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved
4. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture is boiling and reaches 118 degrees celsius
5. When the sugar syrup is close to the required temperature, place the powdered egg whites into the mixer bowl with the real egg whites and mix until frothy
6. When the sugar syrup is at the required temperature, pour the sugar syrup in a slow and steady stream down the inside of the mixer bowl while the machine is still mixing. Turn the speed up to high and mix for about 8 minutes (or until the mix has gone from very hot to just warm)
7. Stir the extra egg whites into the sieved almond and icing sugar mix
8. Add the meringue mixture to the almond mixture and fold through. Once it is all combined, continue to fold until the mixture has loosened and is more ‘lava like’. You don’t need to be as gentle here like you would with a normal meringue, the aim is to soften the mixture rather than to keep all the air in it just be careful not to over mix!
9. Pipe 4cm circles of mixture onto a baking tray making sure that there is enough space between each macaron as they will spread slightly
10. Leave the trays for 30 mins to form a skin on the top. This will be how your macarons gain their ‘feet’ as the skin makes sure that they rise evenly and pop those little feet out the bottom (after 10 mins of resting, turn your oven on to 135 degrees celsius)
11. Place trays in the oven for 16 minutes or until they have a firm outer shell. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2 minutes. Carefully remove one macaron shell from the tray to check if the base is cool and dry. If it is still sticky on the bottom, put the tray back in the oven for another couple of minutes. When they are done, cool them on the trays.
Chocolate Frangelico Buttercream Recipe
125g unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
135g dark chocolate
1 tbsp frangelico
1. Melt chocolate in a bowl either in the microwave or over a double boiler and set aside to cool slightly
2. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip for a few minutes until pale and creamy
2. Add chocolate to the butter and mix well
3. Mix in the icing sugar and frangelico then turn your mixer on to high and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy
Hazelnut Praline Recipe
70g caster sugar
1. spread hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5-8 minutes at 180 degrees celsius or until toasted
2. take hazelnuts out of the oven and place onto a clean, dry tea towel. Fold the tea towel over the nuts and rub vigorously until the skins have come off
3. place hazelnuts back on a tray covered with baking paper
4. heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
5. turn the heat up to high and let the mixture boil without stirring for 3-5 minutes or until golden. Pour over the hazelnuts and leave to cool
6. Once the toffee has cooled, break into shards and place into a small food processor. Whiz until it resembles crumbs.
1. place macarons into pairs that are the same size
2. pipe the buttercream onto the bottom of one of the macarons
3. sprinkle some praline over the buttercream
4. place the second macaron bottom down on top of the buttercream and press firmly together
Now, before I start with this kickass recipe that will warm your cockles this chilly winter, let me tell you a story.
On Friday I went to the Sydney Vivid Festival. Fortunately Unfortunately, as i’m quite clearly no photographer, I did not take any photos. Although the photographers were certainly out in force! I was out with my boy to take a look around at the amazing sights that Vivid had to offer, celebrate the end of a super stressful week and catch up with some friends. We found ourselves at the end of the night needing some warming coffee and cake only to find most places either shut or with an astronomical line waiting to get in. So we ended up at an obscure coffee shop in The Rocks. With two of our party ordering an Irish Coffee, I thought (with my aversion to coffee) – hey, why not make an irish hot chocolate? Normal hot chocolate with the shot of frangelico to make it extra warming and extra tasty! Simple? Yes. Opportunity for the cafe owner to price gouge? Definitely. The waitress returned apologetically to tell me that while an Irish Coffee would be $11.50, essentially the same thing but with hot chocolate powder instead of coffee would be $5.50 for the hot choc PLUS $8.50 for a shot of frangelico. So it’s only a few dollars extra, but really….
So I came home this long weekend and decided to make my own (and decidedly better) Frangelico Hot Chocolate.
It started with some finely grated dark chocolate
shake up some dry ingredients (including horlicks and good quality cocoa)
Whisk it all into some simmering milk
Then add a shot of frangelico
That will chase away the winter blues!
Deliciously rich and lightly hazlenutty, this is hot chocolate is just amazing. I adapted this Jamie Oliver recipe to make it a smaller yield. This recipe will give you two large mugs, enough for you to share it some a special someone (or just got for that second mug yourself. I’m sure you deserve it!) You could also make the hot chocolate without the alcohol, or substitute any other alcohol you like. Perhaps a little grand mariner for an orange hot chocolate?
So, lovely readers, what do you do to stay warm in winter?
Frangelico Hot Chocolate Recipe
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 tbsp Horlicks
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
50g good dark chocolate (finely grated)
1 shot frangelico for each mug (or any other liquor you would like to add)
1. Add chocolate, horlicks, cornflour, cocoa and icing sugar to a small jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well.
2. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and leave until almost boiling
3. Add the contents of the jar and whisk in well
4. Allow the mix to come to the boil, then pour into two large mugs