Caramello brownies and Australian desserts

I dreamed these brownies up in the middle of the night. I literally woke up, like a mad genius, and thought “brownies and Caramellos – who wouldn’t love that?!”Caramello brownie

When I lived in England I took any opportunity to tell people about how great Australia was – I ADORE England and I love travelling to different countries, but I’ve inherited this goofy patriotism from my mama. Jacarandas are out at the moment and I love being reminded of how stunning a place can be. I just love Australia.

Baileys bundt and St Patrick’s Day

sceneSt Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays which brings people together. Everybody loves it! People don silly hats and wear ridiculous amounts of green, and it’s just fun. For the past two years I’ve completely forgotten about St Patrick’s Day and inadvertently worn a green item of clothing and it’s like you’ve joined a club; people smile at you on the street, give you a little nod. I love it!

I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll wear green today…this cake is making me feel rather festive though.

Chocolate caramel yay pie and new things

sliceThis pie is a little break from the ordinary for me – in any chocolate caramel dessert I make, the chocolate tops the caramel. Not in terms of taste, but in terms of positioning. Take my favourite caramel slice, for example, or my mini caramel egg brownies.

In the interest of chocolate-caramel equality, I thought that I’d switch things up a bit.

Anything combining chocolate and caramel is a winner for me – they’re both things that make me celebrate internally. As I combined these two dashing layers of deliciousness with the sweet, vanilla-laden pastry, all I was thinking was “yay, pie!”

Vanilla caramel crisp cupcakes and unlikely combinations

packetHalloween is all about the creepy and unusual. These babies are in no way creepy (they’re mostly delicious) but they are unusual. I’m bucking the Halloween trend of faux blood and ghouls and doing my own bright and airy, Australian Halloween. Check out my non-spooky pumpkin bundt and choc-pumpkin cupcakes.

So, before you judge the combinations of flavours, have a think about the salted caramel craze. It’s huge. Salted caramel milkshakes, salted caramel sauces, salted caramel fudge, it’s everywhere. The beautiful mixture of salty and sweet just works.

Homemade twix slice and promises:

cornerI dangled this tart in front of your eyes about a week ago. I taunted you with a picture of its shell, ready to go in the oven, and then I never gave you the recipe.

How mean of me!!

To be perfectly honest, I lost the recipe! I had all of the tantalising pictures and could still tell you how delicious it was, but I couldn’t give you the ingredients! One of the problems with me being a blogger is that I’m prone to misplacing things. I used to write my recipes on scraps of paper and then lose them and get disappointed. The Boy bought me a notebook to stop this happening…now I just lose the notebook.

Caramel apple scrolls and rainy mornings

scrollWhen I woke up this morning it was raining. Hard.

It’s been doing so on and off for a few days now. This kind of weather makes me want to shrug off anything that resembles responsibility and stay in bed, only leaving the covers to bake and make more tea.

Scrolls are perfect for this kind of weather. You can whip them up and let them rest while you return to bed. Then pop them in the oven and take them back to bed once they’re done!! The sweet smell of caramelising brown sugar will creep into every corner of the house and have it smelling inviting after just once batch. The smell will settle right around the house like a big, warm hug, fending off those rainy day blues.

Alfajores and discoveries

sceneOne of the surprise outcomes of the World Cup was that it made me experiment with my baking. It made me research Brazilian recipes and find out more about the kinds of food that they bake. I found lots of caramel, coconut and chocolate desserts. One of the recipes which caught my eye was alfajores. Gorgeous  dulce de leche, book-ended by shortbread biccies.

So much deliciousness!

ddlSo I was Googling dulce de leche stockists in Sydney and stumbled across Vivi’s Facebook page.  She’s an Argentinian girl living in Sydney who makes delicious, authentic dulce de leche and other amazing Argentinian foods. I can honestly say this has been my number one food find this year.

Brigadeiros and fanfare

groupThe World Cup is in full swing and I haven’t even mentioned it. I love any excuse for a themed post , but I realised recently that I haven’t taken the opportunity yet.

So I did some Googling. Having never been to Brazil, I’m not an expert on Brazilian cuisine (not that lack of experience stopped me having a go at foreign sweets before!) I am, however, a keen reader; Google, Pinterest and Instagram have taught me lots about Brazil in a relatively short amount of time.

I’ve learned that Brazilians seem to have a love of caramel and sweetened condensed milk.

I, therefore, love Brazil!

Cashew, Cobs & caramel fudge and texture

mixIf you haven’t noticed already, I get kind of excited about food. I love putting unexpected flavours together (basil and chocolate, anyone?), I love putting a twist into classic recipes, and I’m really loving playing around with textures to avoid the sameness that can creep into an indulgence like fudge.

Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE simple, speedy fudge. I would have eaten my Nutella fudge all by myself if my siblings hadn’t found out about it. And the peanut butter fudge? I basically did eat that all by myself!

But this fudge is different. It’s kind of grown up. I’d venture so far as to say that it’s a little bit classy!

The smoothness of the chocolate fudge is gorgeous. It’s rich and suave. If this fudge was a person, it would probably be Richard Branson.

The addition of the jersey caramels, Cobs popcorn and the cashews. Make it brilliant, crunchy and a little bit nuts.

Probably still like Richard Branson…

I was a little worried about posting this recipe, because I thought that it was kind of ugly. It’s bumpy and chunky and not as pretty as the recipes I usually post. But the response to the preview photo I posted yesterday on Facebook was fabulous. I love that you guys see beauty in this chunky little delight.

Personally, I think that the alliteration of these three additives (as well as the taste) makes them the best. No matter what combination of ingredients is in the bite that you take, I promise it will be glorious.

Cobbs, cashew and caramel fudge

  • fudge400g dark chocolate
  • 395g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp thickened cream
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ¾ cup jersey caramels, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Cobs salted caramel popcorn

 

caramelGrease a 20cm square tin and line it with baking paper. You only need to grease it very lightly, just so that the baking paper has something to adhere to.

Chop up your caramels. Try not to chop them too finely, they’re beautiful when they’re big and chunky. Leave your cashews and salted caramel popcorn whole. Set these to one side.

meltPop your chocolate and sweetened condense milk into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Don’t worry if you can’t get the mixture completely smooth, a few little chunks of chocolate won’t make any difference to the finished product. Add in the thickened cream to give it a glossy sheen.

Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and stir in your caramels, cashews and Cobbs popcorn. Working as quickly as you can, distribute them evenly throughout the mixture, making sure everything is covered in the chocolate fudge. Pour into your prepared pan and smooth it down as best you can. Don’t bother making it perfect, there’s something to be said for delicious, ugly imperfection. refrigerate for at least an hour.

setThat’s it! Sit back and snack on any popcorn or caramels that you’ve got left over.

Remove from the fridge ten minutes before you want to serve it and slice into small squares. It’s super rich, so you only need a mouthful or two!

The great thing is, you can substitute the additives with anything – make a marshmallow, choc-popcorn and walnut fudge. Or M&M, jaffa and white choc chip fudge. There are so many great possibilities.

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Egg hunts and ten essential Easter recipes

Easter is a fantastic time of the year. No matter how much a person may dislike religious celebrations or the hype that supermarkets create months beforehand, nobody can argue with days off and an excuse to eat life-endangering amounts of chocolate.

trowelI don’t think I could possibly rate my favourite holiday (I don’t discriminate, I love them all), but Easter is pretty great. Every year, regardless of location or participants, my family holds an Easter egg hunt. It started when my brothers and I were little – we would go to our cousins’ farm in Orange and the Easter bunny would visit in the night. Easter morning, all the kids would wake up bright and early, line up and wait for permission to begin the race, much to the delight of the adults.

jackMy cousins’ farm was the best place for the Easter bunny to secret away little chocolate Easter eggs; there were gnarled tree branches, lavender bushes, paving stones, fence posts and garden beds. We spent every Easter at the farm pretty much from when I was born until I was about 18.

chicksClearly the tradition continued way past our youth, because nobody wanted to give it up.

In recent years, we’ve not been able to go to the farm, so we’ve started an Easter egg hunt in Sydney. Now, thankfully, there is a new generation of kids who can partake in the Easter egg hunt, and while I’m slightly jealous of them for being able to join in the hunt, I love their enthusiasm and wild-eyed bemusement at seeing that Easter eggs have been delivered, and scattered throughout the garden by the Easter bunny.

Last year’s Easter was adorable (I spammed my Instagram followers with all of the cuteness), I can only assume that this year’s Easter, which is going to be at the farm again, will be equally as cute.

If you’re not excited about Easter yet, maybe I can entice you with some delicious Easter-appropriate recipes.

Simple Sunday cinnamon scrolls

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Easter pavlova

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Vanilla fig tarts

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Honey jumbles

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Caramel egg browniesbite

Citrus hot cross buns

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Traditional hot cross bunstear


Nutella raspberry puffs

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 Crème eggs

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Chocolate blueberry friands

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Happy baking, and happy Easter!!