chocolate dipped delicious things.

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I bought a utensil in the boxing day sales called a dipping swirl. It’s basically a fancy spoon that is designed to enhance drainage when you’re dipping things in chocolate. I really enjoy that I have use for such a thing.

Anyway, tonight I decided we’d do a few dippings, and we’ve got marshmallows (the regular shaped things), pieces of pineapple (the flattish looking things) and toasted nuts – you guessed it, walnuts and almonds.

I heated 6oz of milk chocolate in the microwave with 1T of kremelta (vegetable shortening) until it melted. I used 50% power and heated it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. This is important as the chocolate melts from the inside out, and so keeps its shape and looks unmelted.

6oz is 170g. I just used my scales gram to ounce converter and the recipe stated ounces. I believe it took about 2 minutes in the microwave to be fully melted. When it gets near being properly melted, drop your times to 10 or 20 seconds.

Then I just threw things into it, rolled them until covered, and took them out with my dipping swirl to lay on a lined baking tray. They set without refrigeration, but I usually put them in the fridge because I feel like they’re somehow firmer. They’re probably not.

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Left: my dipping swirl. Effectively a fancy spoon. You could use a fork. Or anything that can drain, really.

Right: chocolates setting on baking paper. Yum!

russian fudge with toasted walnuts and almonds.

It’s a bit of a theme on this blog recently, toasted walnuts and almonds. It’s because I have a jar full, and they’re going in everything.

This is what I made my dad for Christmas. He’s a bit of a fudge lover, so I figured it’d do nicely.

Russian fudge seems to be quite native to New Zealand (contrary to the name) and basically consists of several different kinds of sugar all caramelised together until they set. It’s unbelievably delicious, and extraordinarily rich.

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Ingredients

3 cups of sugar (white is fine)

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk

1/8 tsp salt

125g butter

2T golden syrup

 

Heat the sugar and the milk in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves (if you have issues here, maybe try caster sugar). Add the butter, salt, condensed milk and golden syrup and stir until the butter melts.

Bring to the boil and continue to boil until the mixture heats to the soft ball stage (235 degrees Fahrenheit or 113 degrees Celsius) – I strongly recommend a candy thermometer here. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then beat until thick (preferably with a stand mixer but this can be done fairly easily by hand). Pour into a very well oiled tin. Wait until the fudge is cold and set – a few hours at least, then remove from the tin (try upturning it on a chopping board). Cut into squares, and store in an airtight container.

The tin I used was a typical slice tin. It’s quite rare that I use those things for actually making slice!

I added chopped up toasted walnuts and almonds at the very end stage when I beat it in the mixer. If you like, you can add vanilla essence here as well or instead.

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Left: my candy thermometer keeping the temperature on my sugary concoction.

Right: the fudge tinned up, all ready to set.

toasted walnut and almond, chopped apricot, cranberry and coconut nougat.

From a super easy recipe to a super technical one!

The other day at the supermarket I picked up a magazine with a ton of recipes for homemade nougat in it. I’m a total nougat fan and couldn’t resist buying the magazine, even though the recipes looked pretty labour intensive. When I started researching nougat making, I realised it was even harder than I had previously thought, essentially because of the precision with which you have to heat the mixture.

However, we tried it last night, and it is actually really easy as long as you’re careful.

So anyway, here’s my recipe. I will put tips for killer nougat at the end.

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Ingredients

edible confectionery rice paper

2.5 cups of caster sugar

1 cup of golden syrup

1/3 cup of honey

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 egg whites, at room temperature

100g softened butter

 

OK, so that’s your basic nougat recipe. To it, I added:

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dessicated coconut

 

Method

Spray a slice tin with non-stick oil spray, then line the bottom with edible confectionery paper.

Put the sugar, honey, golden syrup and vanilla essence in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly. When the sugar melts, put a candy thermometer in the mixture. When the temperature on the thermometer hits 110 degrees Celsius, start beating the egg whites. You want them to form stiff peaks – ideally this will happen when the liquid mix is ready but if not just turn the mixer off and continue heating the sugar.

Eventually, the sugar mix will reach 130 degrees Celsius. When this happens, you want to start adding it to the egg whites in a thin stream, while beating. When all of that is combined, start adding the butter, a dob at a time. Whisk after you add each dob, and make sure it’s combined at the end by mixing for another minute or so.

Finally, fold in all your extra stuff – the nuts and fruit and coconut. Then, being very quick, spoon the mixture into the lined slice tin. Put more edible paper over the top and flatten it out as much as you can – the bottom of another tin helps a lot here. Put it somewhere cool and dry to set – it will take about 8 hours.

 

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On the left, that’s my candy thermometer. If you don’t have one, this is going to be a seriously hard recipe. On the right is the thin stream of sugar syrup going into the mixer. Don’t do this too slowly, though, or it will set into toffee before it meets the egg whites.

Cool, so that’s about it.

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Tips:

- the rice paper you need is not the stuff people use for making spring rolls. That’s salted. This stuff you can generally find at specialist cake stores. Using it is not completely necessary – you can try just lining the tin with baking paper. But it’s way easier with the rice paper, as the nougat may well be the stickiest thing I have ever worked with in my life, and if it’s sandwiched with paper, you can pick it up and still have the use of your hands afterwards.

- when you cut it at the end, spray the knife with non-stick spray.

- when the sugar syrup reaches temperature, put the pan into a basin of cold water, just for a second, to take any major heat out of it. This stops the sugar syrup from over heating. The heat reached dictates the consistency of the nougat.

- be precise! Seriously, watch that thermometer like a hawk (and you do need a thermometer).

- you also need a stand mixer. You’ll wreck your arms trying to mix the batter as it is thick and sticky and setting all the time you’re working with it. This recipe will absolutely not work without one.

 

Enjoy!

 

This recipe is rather loosely adapted from Donna Hay Magazine (Australia).

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