Wednesday, February 26, 2014

White chocolate caramel macadamia truffles

These truffles came about when I agreed to take truffles to an event, but late at night after the shops were closed I discovered I didn't have the ingredients for my other recipe. 

I couldn't resist a photo for you that includes my ultimate truffle dipping tool, the humble toothpick. I've tried many of the fancy gadgets out there, but find nothing works better for me than a toothpick.

250g crushed Graham crackers (if you have trouble finding this biscuit in NZ, you can subsitute Round Wine biscuits)
1x Philadelphia Cream cheese block 250g.
1 Cup ground macadamia nut
250g Nestle caramel baking bits
125g white chocolate
(milk or dark chocolate to dip)

Melt caramel baking bits & white chocolate together over a double boiler. Set aside to allow to cool. In a food processor, crush biscuits to a fine crumb. Add macadamia nut and cream cheese pulsing to just combine. Add cooled melted chocolate and pulse again, mixture should form a ball. Chill for at least one hour. Roll in to small balls and dip in milk or dark chocolate. Place in foil truffle cups (these are best placed in a mini muffin pan for support whilst setting) and allow to set.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shamrock Cupcake Creatures & Lime Lemonade - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Many of us Kiwis have Irish heritage and so I am getting in the spirit of St Patricks day early this year! Keep an eye on the blog in coming weeks for continued inspiration!

Today I played on the concept of shamrocks with a lime twist. The secret to these shaped cupcakes is borrowing your childrens marbles. They will forgive you when they see the cupcakes! Prep your tins with cupcake cases before you start. You will need 72 marbles. I used a combination of brown foil cases and brown papers, both worked equally well.

Shamrock Cupcake Creatures (makes 24)

Cream together til light and fluffy:
1 c castor sugar
150g butter
1/4 t Key Lime oil flavouring

Whisk 3 eggs and add gradually to the creamed mix, scraping the sides regularly. Your mix will be light and creamy whipped texture.

Add to the mix:
1& 1/2 c flour, sifted
1 t baking powder, sifted
80ml lemonade

Fold ingredients together til the flour is just incorporated. Spoon half the mixture into a disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Fill the shamrock cavities 2/3 full with your piping bag, leaving space to rise. (This would be a messy job without the use of a piping bag!) Refill and repeat for second tray.

Bake at 175deg for 15-20mins. While cupcakes are in the oven you can prepare the frosting.

Lime Frosting

50g (1/2 pack) Go Bake Easy Frost powder
50g water
350g icing sugar
8 drops of Key Lime oil flavour
combination of Bright Green and Leaf Green Progel colours.

Follow Easy Frost packet instructions to achieve this yummy and creamy icing.

When cupcakes are cooked let them rest in their pans for 10mins before transferring to a cooling rack. Caution: the surrounding marbles will still be hot.

Trim the rounded tops of the shamrocks to create a flat surface to decorate. I popped my frosting into a piping bag with tip #48 to achieve this look. Three teardrop swirls work well.

Or you can use the same tip to cover the leaves in straight lines. Start by squeezing the 3 central ribbons then finish with the 6 outer ribbons as so...

To finish, these shamrocks have eyelash eyeballs and a mouth from wilton brown decorating icing. I used a tip #6 to pipe directly out of the tube. How convenient!

When they are adorned by eyes, any dodgy or wobbly piping can be covered up easily.These shamrocks have yet a different look using green eyes from the spooky set. 

Here is a cute little lineup of shamrock cupcakes...

Since I had a bottle of lemonade open for the cupcake mixture anyhow, Sandra suggested making our own St Patricks flavoured fizzy to accompany the cupcakes, and man is it yummy!

Lime Lemonade

500ml lemonade

Stir to combine and serve. Mine is presented in a zigzag bottle with green dot paper straws.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Individual Tala threaded nozzles now available at Kiwicakes

Great news! we've added individual threaded icing nozzles to the range from Tala. These nozzles are still proudly made in the UK in the same way they've been made since the 1920s.
The good news is if you have a family icing set that belonged to your grandmother, nozzles purchased today will still fit your syringe as the video below attests. You can view the entire range here at Kiwicakes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hokey Pokey - the timeless Kiwiana classic

I have fond memories of Hokey Pokey as a child, it's a real kiwi classic. I'm sure I’m not the only one, that ate so much my jaw hurt from chewing. You've got to keep a close eye on this one to ensure that it doesn't burn. Here's a hint; use a silicone spatula to prevent sticking and burning. Recipe reprinted with thanks to our friends at Chelsea.

5 Tbsp Chelsea white sugar
2 Tbsp Chelsea golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Put sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for two minutes. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up rapidly. Pour into a buttered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard then break into pieces.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Underwear Cupcakes from Karina at Kiwicakes

Many of you that call in store at Kiwicakes will have met Karina at the counter. She's the person responsible for making sure all our online orders are packed well to arrive in great condition at your home.

Karina recently held an Intimo underwear party at her home and made these awesome underwear cupcakes for our dessert afterwards. She used this silicone mould to make the bra & knickers. They were coloured using the same method we use to colour paua shells. The stiletto boot cupcake papers can be found here.

Karina swears by this chocolate cupcake recipe from The Farm Chicks. She says she likes it "becuase you just put everything in one bowl".

We had a great evening at our underwear party, catching up with friends and sharing a lovely meal afterwards. I think Karina did a great job of her cupcakes and I can assure you they tasted great, too.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Afghan biscuits - A kiwi kids favourite

My youngest is just starting to get interested in cooking and baking. He's always been keen to jump in to any decorating though. Today we made afghan biscuits together. The recipe comes from our friends at Chelsea.

200g butter, softened
½ cup Chelsea Caster or Organic Sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 ¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 ½ cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
1 ½ cups Chelsea Rich Chocolate Icing
1 Tbsp butter (softened)
1-2 Tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and cocoa stir thoroughly with the butter mixture until combined before stirring in the cornflakes.
Place heaped teaspoonfuls on a baking tray, squeeze mixture together gently if necessary then press lightly with a fork.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before icing. 

Icing: Mix chocolate icing sugar, butter and 1 Tbsp boiling water at a time until combined, adding more hot water if necessary until icing is a spreadable consistency. Ice biscuits and top with half a walnut.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines chocolate box heart cake

What's better than a box of chocolates for Valentines day? A chocolate box cake of course. This cake was very quick and simple to make. I baked a heart shaped chocolate mud cake.

I coated it in pink buttercream, then covered with a layer of hot pink Satin Ice fondant. To form the sides of the box I used a ribbon cutter. I cut a strip of red Satin Ice fondant to which I added some tylose (to harden). Then a box of chocolates was arranged on the top of the cake. You can use store bought or make your own chocolates or truffles.

To fill in the little gaps between the chocolates I used strings of gum paste pearls, which can be easily formed with the help of a bead maker. A scrumptious decadent treat for Valentines day in under 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Heart cookie - simple & effective tips

Recently at our monthly cake guild meeting the committee members of our guild set up different "have a go" stations. In an attempt to get all of our members trying out new techniques. Laura made this pretty heart shape cookie. Some very simple techniques were combined, to make a stylish gift of love. The smaller white heart was cut from a piece of fondant, that has been embossed with a floral texture mat from this set. It is embellished with tip#2 piped royal icing dots.

Thanks to Ann, Anne and Janelle for setting up the have a go stations at guild night.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rainbow Valentines Love - from Kiwicakes Test Kitchen

Today's rainbow coloured heart cookies are based on traditional cutesy valentines sweets. With the romantic day approaching we want to inspire all you bakers to get inventive and show your love through your craft!

The magic tools I used were LorAnns punchy flavoured oils and droppers, Progel food colouring, Heart Cutter  and most importantly the tiny alphabet Message Maker.

To make 6 coloured cookie doughs the total quantity of ingredients you will need is:

250g block of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tin condensed milk
6 cups flour + extra for dusting
baking powder, flavours and colours.

It is a big yield of 100+ cookies. It'd be too difficult to work in smaller quantities but you could reduce the number of coloured doughs you make. I figure you can never have too many cookies anyway and these freeze beautifully in snaplock bags for whenever you are ready. 

This project is not light on prep time, but don't let this put you off as the results are so worthwhile! A stand/hand mixer is essential. As a day-off activity this is the perfect way to show your love! Here is the finished product again for some motivation...

Rainbow Valentines Cookies (x6 mixtures)

Cream together: 75g softened butter, 1/3c sugar, 65g condensed milk, 6 drops LorAnn flavour oil and a small squirt of Progel colour.

Mix in: 1 scant cup flour and a rounded 1/4t baking powder to form a dough.

Repeat 6 times and wrap individual doughs in clingfilm until ready to use. Cookies take 10 mins to bake at 175`c.

The message maker is fantastic for personalising messages on any of your baking and cake decorating projects. The letters are 6mm tall so could be inconspicuous if you want them to be! I found that a pair of nail clippers worked well to snap off the joining tabs between the letter and alphabet pieces. It'd be worthwhile doing this job in advance to add such a versatile piece to your sugar craft kit. Also remember to enter the words you desire back-to-front in the stamp for a mirror image on your cookies (or fondant).

Roll your dough out onto a well-floured board til it is 1cm thick. Dust generously. Cut out heart shapes with the cutter but leave in their cavities. The surrounding dough will support the shape when a message is punched into it.

Stamp messages one line at a time. I found it easiest to line my two index fingers up with the extremities of the message to make sure they were centralised on each cookie. Use a long spatula to transfer cookies easliy to a lined baking tray.

Another hint is if you do your batches in a logical order, you wont need to wash your bowl or mixing blade or spatula in between colours!! I recommend starting with 1.Yellow 2.Tangerine 3.Pink 4.Purple 5.Ice Blue 6.Bright Green.

Here are the individual combinations I made - there are some AMAZING flavours available!

THAT SMILE - Ice Blue colour Progel with Lemonade flavour LorAnn Oil

4 EVA - Tangerine colour Progel with Mango flavour LorAnn Oil

TWEET ME - Yellow colour Progel with Banana Creme flavour LorAnn Oil

YOU ROCK - Pink colour Progel with Cotton Candy flavour LorAnn Oil

LETS KISS - Bright Green colour Progel with Pistachio flavour LorAnn Oil (Kiwicakes girls fav!)

YES DEAR - Purple colour Progel with Pomegranate flavour LorAnn Oil

These lovely treats are perfect paired with flavoured milk. Ours is presented in a cute glass milk bottle with a matching retro pink paper straw.

You can go crazy with the messages you personalise! My advice is to keep them short and sweet. Here are some other ideas...


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick and easy delicious chocolate mousse - Poppy bakes

Poppy (age 10) recently made chocolate mousse for dessert when her Uncle returned from overseas, we held a welcome home dinner for him. She raided the garden for garnishes. I love how to kids it doesn't matter that there was only 1 strawberry and one blackberry to be found, so the rest got grapes.

200grams dark chocolate (we used cadbury melting chocolate from the baking aisle)
30g butter
3 eggs separated
1 cup cream - whipped

Over a double boiler melt your chocolate. Once melted, remove bowl from double boiler and stir in butter. Allow to cool slightly. Stir in egg yolks.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold half the egg whites and half the cream into the chocolate mixture. Repeat with the remaining halves.

Poppy put her mousse into a large piping bag for filling her small verrine glasses, to ensure they stayed  neat and tidy around the rims.

Allow to chill for at least three hours.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spun Sugar - a halo for decorations

This spun sugar decoration has an other-wordly feel to it. Once mastered it can be a quick yet effective way to add that wow factor to your desserts. Reprinted with permission from our friends at Chelsea. Why not surprise your Valentine next week by placing a spun halo on their dessert.
250g Chelsea white sugar
225g water


2 x wooden spoons

2 forks or a large whisk with the ends snipped off to create tines

Preparation: Before you start suspend 2 wooden spoons from your workbench by weighing down at one end. We used sugar bags. Make sure you have plenty of paper laid down on the floor to catch toffee drips.

Making toffee: Bring the sugar and water to a simmer in a copper or heavy based saucepan. You can add food colouring to the syrup before cooking for a vibrant and kitsch finish. 

Use a pure bristle pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush the inner sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals forming while simmering. Do not stir the sugar as this will cause the syrup to crystallise and become hard. 

It will take longer to get to temperature than if you just melt the sugar without water as you must evaporate off the water. Using a sugar/candy thermometer, cook the syrup until it reaches 155°C (this is known as the hard crack stage). Immediately remove from the heat and plunge the pan into cold water to halt the cooking. 

To spin the sugar take a whisk with the bottom snipped off with pliers, so that you have a whisk that is simply a handle with spikes. Alternatively you can take two forks placed back to back and hold tightly. Dip the whisk into the syrup and flick the whisk back and forth over a broom handle or rolling pin to create long hair like strands. 

Next gather up the strands of spun sugar and create your shape by simply moulding the strands in your hands. Be careful though as if you overwork it will just become a ball of toffee! Note: toffee loves to absorb humidity and will start to bead with moisture relatively quickly. It is best to use the spun sugar on the same day it is made.

Don’t despair if your toffee misbehaves! It is a bit more complicated than it seems. If it burns just scrape out the mixture quickly and fill the pan with boiling water to dissolve the hard toffee.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Strawberry pop rock chocolate goodies

For Valentines Day, I decided to take one simple technique and create chocolates three ways using  transfers in conjunction with a chablon mat.

You can use a variety of chocolate transfers all at the same time, or use just one design. I used three transfers all at once, ensuring that my joins met under one of the green joining strips between the square openings of the chablon mat.

I melted chocolate over a double boiler. For these squares you need less than 200g. Pour the chocolate to one side of your chablon mat.

Using an angled spatula spread across entire surface of chablon mat.

Sprinkle Fresh-as freeze dried strawberry slices and pop rocks (I used strawberry flavour) across the surface before it sets.

I emptied my packet of Fresh-as freeze dried strawberries in to a bowl and aimed for the smaller pieces and powdery bits, which usually sink to the bottom of the bag. Reserve your big slices for another project (they're usually the bits you need most).

Cool at room temperature. Once set, gently peel back the chablon mat to reveal your chocolate squares.

I left one batch completely plain. The delicate thin slices of chocolate melt in your mouth at the same time the pop rocks zing and the strawberry flavour fills your mouth. They need to be kept in an airtight container, as the pop rocks and strawberry will become soft if left out for an extended period of time.

The second batch of squares I made lollipops with, but placing a small amount of melted chocolate in the middle along with a lollipop stick and adhering two halves together.

Fun for kids & adults alike.

The final batch of squares were sandwiched together with dark chocolate ganache, to create a truly decadent treat. 

These chocolates are reasonably inexpensive to make as gifts, as the squares are so very thin, they take little volume of chocolate to create their impact. At Kiwicakes we have a wide variety of chocolate transfers which you can view here. Chablon mats come in a variety of shapes and can be found in our catalogue here

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