Sunday, 15 December 2013

Candy Cane Swirled Festive Fudge...and the Christmas baking begins!

 So how is it the 15th December and we're only just getting around to talking about Christmas?! Craziness! I am all about festive overloads! but this year has just been crazy busy and sadly Christmas baking has taken a backseat.  If you find yourself in the same situation, this is a great little no bake recipe to have up your sleeve because it is sooo easy to throw together and is a total crowd pleaser!

 It is also a good cheats version of fudge...using only melted chocolate mixed in with condensed milk - how can you go wrong with that! So a milk chocolate layer of fudge goes down first, with a white chocolate layer spread on top (with liberal amounts of crushed candy canes mixed in) because in my opinion it's not a Christmas bake unless peppermint is involved! You swirl the two together, and sprinkle with whole chunks of candy cane! 

What you get is a smooth creamy chocolatey fudge with hints of peppermint and crunch coming through from the candy canes! A delight for the eyes...and the tastebuds! 

and if you want to give it out as gifts as I did, it goes beautifully in these super cute festive bags...complete with pegs and tags! My mom sent me these in a package and I couldn't get over how awesome they were! 

Candy Cane Swirled Festive Fudge:
Makes 28 chunks

300g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
1 (397g) can condensed milk
400g white chocolate
1 (397g) can condensed milk
3/4 cup crushed candy canes (about 10 candy canes unwrapped and zapped in a blender)
 extra chopped up candy canes for sprinkling on top

Line your 11x7" pan with parchment paper, and lightly grease it with butter.
 Break up your milk and dark chocolate into pieces, and place it in a heatproof bowl above a pan of boiling water.  Stir until melted.  Once completely melted, stir in the can of condensed milk.
Spread the chocolate fudge over the bottom of your pan.

Break up your white chocolate into pieces, and place in a heatproof bowl above a pan of boiling water,  Whilst it is melting, unwrap your 10 candy canes and blitz them in a food processor/blender until they are completely crushed.  Once chocolate is melted, stir in the can of condensed milk.
Remove from the heat and stir in the crushed candy canes.

Spread over the milk chocolate fudge layer.  Using a knife swirl the two fudges together to create a marbled effect, by dragging the knife in 'S' patterns through the fudge.
Finish, by chopping up candy cane chunks and sprinkling them on top.

Refrigerate for around an hour or longer.

Eat and enjoy! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

New Job Snickers Cupcakes!


I recently got a new job! I had been temping for a month as a receptionist for an oil company, and they asked me if I was interested in the job permanently - I told them I definitely was! but then had to explain my situation, because I wasn't showing back then! so I explained how I was pregnant and due Feb 4th! They had some other candidates to interview alongside me, and so the tense wait began! I'm clearly not the best prospect in the world as in 8 weeks time I'll be heading off on maternity leave! but through some definite answered prayers I was offered the job! At 6 months pregnant...I took that as quite an achievement! I decided some baking was in order to celebrate! and since I work in an office with 40 men and 2 women I tried to think of the manliest cupcakes I could bake! I decided snickers would be a good place to start and these cupcakes were born! 

A moist chocolate sponge with a snickers slither baked in the middle, filled with caramel, topped with a caramel frosting, broken up pieces of snickers and nuts and a drizzle of chocolate! To say they went down well is an understatement! I'm not sure there were any left past 10.30am! and I thought I was the only one with a big enough sweet tooth to eat cupcakes for breakfast! 

All day long my inbox pinged with emails coming through from all the different engineers thanking me for the cakes! Here is a selection of my favourite comments... 

"Were you in the cupcake business before working here? That is some serious cupcake equipment you have left on the filing cabinet! and the cupcakes are darn good!" Paul the engineer

"Congratulations! Mary Berry would be proud of that tray." Chris the engineer

"Wowzers!!  Those cakes are shamazing!!! You should sell them."  Colin the engineer

"Gemma… the muffins are DE-licious. That’s what heaven must taste like." Sundeep the engineer, who I had a little chat with to educate him on the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, haha!

I have now created quite a stir in the office and there's lots of pressure for more baking to come their way!  They kept asking me when I was going to bring in snickers cupcakes again, and then someone asked me if I could bake other things besides snickers I emailed them a link to the recipe index on here and now it's all the office talks about! I don't really think they understand the blogging thing so it's referred to as 'the list'...and it's doing the rounds! People are requesting bakes left, right and centre...first it was my blueberry and banana bread, then the chocolate malt layer cake and now someone has even asked me to make a Christmas cake for their mom...which is quite a task! 

I'm thinking when I eventually go on maternity leave, I could probably just make a living driving by my work once a week and doing a baking drop off! haha

Snickers Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting:
Makes 24 regular and 18 mini cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes:

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small package Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
18 mini Snickers bars (you'll need about 27 to 30 total)

Caramel Frosting:

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar
9 to 12 mini Snickers
1/4 cup salted peanuts

1/4 cup melted milk chocolate, for drizzling

Line cupcake pan with cases and preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients, except Snickers. Spoon or pour cupcake batter into cupcake pan. Stuff one mini Snickers in each cupcake case, using a spatula to make sure the Snickers is covered with cupcake batter.

Bake regular sized cupcakes for about 23 to 28 minutes and mini's for 12-15 minutes.  Test that the tops bounce back when pressed with a finger, since sticking a toothpick or knife into the middle of the cake will result in a gooey Snickers mess!

Cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Make the frosting by mixing brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Once butter melts, increase heat to medium high and let boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar.

Leave frosting to sit in the bowl for about 5-10 minutes and it will thicken enough for you to pipe it.
Crumble 9 to 12 mini Snickers in blender or food processor.  Also, blitz salted peanuts so they resemble a fine crumb.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with the crumbled mixture of Snickers and nuts. 
Melt milk chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, and then drizzle over the top.

Eat and enjoy!


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