Mint Chocolate St Patrick’s Day Slice and greenery

I can’t overstate the love that I have for Ireland. The people, the dramatic landscapes, the green, green greenness of every single plant. To say that I love Ireland would simply not do it justice. I visited Ireland in 2010 because I had a cousin there (and because I had always wanted an excuse to go) and it was indescribably lush.

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (5 of 9)

And those gorgeous Irish accents, don’t even get me started!

I totally understand why green is associated with St Patrick’s Day, because I had never seen so many shades of green in my life! Which is why I went full cliche with this choc-mint slice and made it a vibrant shade of green. It pained me slightly because I’m so fond of pastel hues, but I’m super happy with the result, so I’m glad I powered through!

Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Maybe you like things a little less hulk-coloured? If that’s the case, check out my Guinness Cake, Baileys Bundt or Baileys Buttercream Biscuits.

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (3 of 9)

Base

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 200g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut

Mint filling

  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 160g butter
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 4-5 tsp peppermint essence
  • 1/2 tsp green food colouring

Chocolate topping

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 275g dark chocolate
Start with your filling. Put the milk and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat and sift in the icing sugar. Return to the heat for 3-4 minutes, allowing it to simmer slightly. Make sure you’re mixing continuously so that the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom. Pour this mixture into a bowl and pop into the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. While the filling cools, make a start on your base.

 

Preheat oven to 180°C fan and grease a 20cm fluted tart tin with a removable bottom.

 

Sift together your flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a large bowl. Mix in your melted butter and your coconut until it’s well combined. The mixture should be in large clumps, rather than a giant ball – don’t worry, you’ll flatten them out later. Scoop your mixture into your greased pan and press down with your fists (or a spatula) until you have a smooth, even base. Pop into the oven for 15-18 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven when the top of the base looks dry – don’t leave it any longer than the 18 minutes, you don’t want it drying out. Plus, it’s actually better when it’s a little underdone. Set it to one side until it is cool enough that you can touch it comfortably.

 

Remove your green filling from the fridge, pour it out onto the base and smooth it out with a spatula. You shouldn’t need to help it fill out the sides too much, it will spread by itself. Return to the the fridge for another half hour.

 

While the slice is chilling in the fridge, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and scoop the coconut oil into it – the heat in the chocolate should melt the coconut oil. Mix until you’ve got a lovely, glossy mixture. Set to one side to cool for 15 minutes.

 

Remove your base from the fridge and pour the chocolate mixture over the top. If you’ve got any chocolate left over, reserve for drizzling over the edges before serving. Return to the fridge for at least 2.5 hours.

 

(If you choose to drizzle the extra chocolate over the edges, remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, put the chocolate mixture in a snap lock bag and snip off a small section of the corner and pipe onto each flute indentation, making little wave movements around the circumference of the slice and then return to the fridge.)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (2 of 9)

 

 

Allow the slice to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

Want to know the trick to stopping your chocolate from cracking when you cut it?

 

Take an extra sharp, thin knife and point the tip into the centre of the slice, then place your hand on the top of the blade and push down gently.  Repeat with each slice to get perfectly straight slices without cracking the chocolate.

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (7 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (6 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (4 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (9 of 9)
Are you making this dish of a dessert? Tag me on Instagram and use #bakingwithgab so I can see your bright green creations!

Coconut ice slice and New Year resolutions

Who made a resolution to get fit for 2016? I commend you, if you did. I know that most people make healthy resolutions, usually, but I plan on challenging myself with my baking instead. I’m going to take more classes – there is no better way to get inspired than to learn from experts. I’m taking a cookie painting class in two weeks and will report back. Hopefully you’ll be seeing tiny edible masterpieces soon!

Coconut ice slice-9

And I’m going to work on my photography as well. If you’ve got any recommendations for cooking and/or food photography classes, send them my way, I’m all ears.

I’m also going to make Daisy a super obedient dog. The Boy and I have been struggling with her behaviour (she’s an angel for us, but a massive jerk  to strangers!) so we’re going to take her to a doggy specialist!

I’m also verbalising more of my plans. Or writing them here, at least. Because that way I’m less likely to forget about them/change my mind when they get too hard. I read recently that humans find it harder to go back on their plans once they’ve told them to other people. So let’s try and use that to my advantage.

AND I’m going to give my props the loving they deserve – I’ve got a rapidly growing collection and I neglect the oldies sometimes. Expect these floral tea cups to be making regular appearances, they were a Christmas present from my gorgeous mother and I’m smitten.

Coconut ice slice-6

The baking side of my resolutions I’ve already started. This winner of a recipe, which I appropriated from a gorgeous cook book I was given for Christmas, is the perfect start to my new year.

Now I’ve only got to get started on all of those other things I just committed to…

 

Coconut ice slice

Serves 12

Base

  • 170g butter
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 1/3 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb

Filling

  • 115g butter
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Chocolate shavings to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Beat together your butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Mix in your cornflour, followed by the desiccated coconut. Add in your egg and beat until combined, followed by your plain flour and bicarb. Only mix in the flour until just combined so you keep the mixture nice and soft.
Grease and line a 25cm round tin (I used a Baker’s Secret high wall crispy tart pan because I love the shape – it’s non-stick, so I only lined the bottom because it has holes for aeration) and press the base evenly around the pan. If you can’t get a smooth enough finish, use your fingers or a straight-sided tumbler to even things out.
Pop the mixture into your oven for 25-30 minutes. When you pull the base out of the oven it will fall instantly. If it doesn’t sink evenly, stab remaining air pockets with a fork. Set to one side to cool.
While the base is cooling, make a start on your filling by mixing the butter with one cup of icing sugar until combined. Add the remaining icing sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the milk, coconut and vanilla.
Scoop your filling into the cooled base and spread it gently. It should do most of the spreading out by itself. Top with chocolate shavings, or whatever chocolate decorations you like. Pop into the fridge for at least two hours to set properly.
Coconut ice slice-8
Coconut ice slice-11

Chocolate coconut fudge slice and change

slicesThis week is going to be a week of big change for me. I’m usually a creature of habit – I love my tea in the morning, I like to post consistently on the blog and I love Sunday dinner with my family.

And this week is going to be entirely new – new job, new people, no more driving to work. I’ll have to get the train in to work – eep!

Strawberry crumble slice and strawberry picking

singleStrawberries are one of my favourite fruits. Admittedly, I’m not as obsessed with strawberries as I am with pears, but they’re pretty great.

I have a sweetly scented memory of going strawberry picking with friends of ours in Melbourne. I don’t know where this farm is, but in my head, it is heaven. My younger brother and his little friend picked strawberries freely, while my older brother and I hung back, trying to play it cool – we were teenagers, after all.

The pair of them cavorted through the rows of strawberry bushes, picking strawberries with such fervour that they would have made great farm employees, had they not been several years shy of the legal working age.

It got to the point where I was so tempted by those sweet little ruby gems that I couldn’t restrain myself any longer. Under the guise of “helping” my younger brother, I plucked those green-hatted little fellows straight off the bush and into my greedy mouth.

You weren’t supposed to eat the strawberries as you picked, because it was a pay-by-weight system… oops!

If I were to go to a berry farm now (which is WHOLEHEARTEDLY want to do), I don’t think I could promise that each picked berry would land safely into the basket provided…one or five may slip into my mouth… by accident of course.

Base:

  • 190g butterscene
  • 2 ¼ cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 egg

Filling:

  • 600g strawberries
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Crumble:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm square tin. I strongly recommend using a spring form tin, if you have one… otherwise, prepare to have to wrestle this baby out.

oatsUse the your fingers to rub together your flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl. If you don’t want to use your fingers, a knife would work just fine. When you have a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs, add in the bicarb and mix. Add in the egg and oats and combine, mixing until crumbly again.

pressTake 3 ¼ cups of this mixture and press it firmly into your greased and lined tin until smooth and even. Pop into your oven for 15 minutes.  Set the remaining mixture to one side, this will be the basis of your crumble for the top.

sliceWhile the base cooks, twist the tops off your strawberries and slice them into rounds. You may chop the tops off the strawberries if you want, but I find that this leads to so much wastage. A simple twist gets rid of the leaves and usually leaves only a small amount of stalk.

Pop your strawberries into a medium saucepan with the sugar and vanilla over a medium heat. Stir regularly until the sugar has dissolved and you can’t feel any crunchiness in the liquid. Once the sugar has melted, keep on the heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

strawbsThis mixture will smell divine – you will legitimately feel like the queen/king of the kitchen as you breathe in this gorgeous strawberry aromas.

Take off the heat and set to one side.

When your base is starting to turn a light golden colour, remove it from the oven and set it to one side to cool.

spoon strawbsWhile the strawberries and the base are both cooling, grab the mixture you reserved from earlier and add the extra oats and almonds to it. Mix well, allowing it to clump slightly so that it’s super crumbly.

When the base and strawberries are mostly cool (warm is fine), spoon the strawberry mixture evenly over the base, draining off as much liquid as you can. Spoon the crumble over the top of the strawberries and return to the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top has browned nicely.

aboveAllow to cool and set for 10 minutes before serving.

This little dish is really versatile – you can serve it warm as dessert (with delicious vanilla ice cream), or leave it cold and serve as afternoon tea, or a lunch box filler.

 

Peanut butter slice and broken ovens

cutThis little slice was created at a time when I thought that I had no oven. The oven in my rental property had been smoking  like crazy for no apparent reason at all. So I stopped using it while we tried to get the issue sorted.

Some people could cope with just a stove top to cook on…I can’t.

Ovens are kind of integral to what I do here at Baking with Gab.

So in the week that I went without an oven I went Pinterest crazy on no-bake recipes. I was amazed at the amount of food that people get away with not cooking! Lots of fudges are no bake, I almost made a cake batter dip, and there are so many raw desserts that I want to try.

Choc chip slice and change

aboveI usually dislike change. I like adventures, but I am all for stability. Which is why moving has kind of thrown me off a little bit. Not having access to internet, for example, has resulted in very few posts recently. Not having access to a camera (I used to use my dad’s) means that even I do bake, I can’t show you. Not having an entirely set up kitchen yet means that my baking has slowed.

To top all of this off, the beautiful rustic table that I bought for our dining room didn’t fit through our door (insert crying face here), so we’re borrowing one from my brother’s generous girlfriend (who has been coming up lots recently!)

All of these things are different to what I am used to!!

What I do like about change though, is that it is a catalyst for experimentation. Lacking a cake tin, I opted to go back to my parent’s house and use their kitchen and camera. I was also equipped with their fabulous house warming present to the Boy and I, the Country Women’s Association Cook Book. Aren’t parents fantastic?

Vanilla slice and Australian icons

cornerVanilla slice is an Australian icon. I associate vanilla slices with Australianness so much that I’m currently trying to imagine how structurally stable a vanilla slice version of the Opera House would be.

My brothers and I were transfixed by the sweets section at the bakery when we accompanied mother to the bakery. Cream buns, doughnuts, lamingtons, meringues, and the vanilla slice was the king of them all. Whether the vanilla slice had vanilla icing or passionfruit, it was always the filling that was the best – that tall, cold, unusually firm layer of custard sandwiched between two teeny bits of pastry… bliss.