Mandy Wrangles_2_tnRecently, my niece turned one. Miss Alice is the only girl-child of her generation in our family (I have 3 boys, my only sister has a son as well as Alice), so this pink stuff is a big novelty for us. I have to admit, I was ridiculously excited at the thought of helping out with some goodies for her Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. My sister Nicole was expecting a fairly large number of people at her home, so I went with a couple of recipes that while simple, looked really effective.

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????To start with, I went with homemade marshmallow. It’s fluffier than the commercial stuff, while at the same time silky smooth. You can flavour it however you like and it’s easy, easy, easy.

 

What You Need:

2 tablespoons of gelatine. Use the powdered stuff rather than leaves.

1 ½ cups of boiling water.

3 cups of sugar.

Food colouring. I used yellow, pink and blue.

Flavourings. I used pineapple, raspberry and blueberry.

Spray oil.

½ cup icing sugar.

½ cup of corn flour.

Edible corn starch butterflies, to serve.

 

???????????????????????????????How it’s Done:

Unless you have arms to rival Wonder Woman’s, I’d definitely recommend using an electric mixer for this recipe. I made three separate batches of this – one for each flavour / colour.

Grease a large roasting pan with spray oil. In a small bowl, add the gelatine to the boiling water. Stir until combined, using the back of a spoon to help squish out any lumps. Then, place the sugar into a large bowl and add the gelatine mix. Mix with your electric beaters until light and fluffy. This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. For this batch, I actually mixed for 20 minutes, because I wanted to make an extra fluffy mixture. Just before you finish mixing, add colour and plenty of flavouring. I went with fruity flavours – they not only tasted amazing, but the smell was to die for. Spoon mixture into pan and smooth the top. You need to work pretty quickly at this point because the marshmallow stiffens fast. Pop into the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and using a sharp knife, cut to size. You could also use cookie cutters for interesting shapes. Combine cornflour and icing sugar in a shallow dish, and toss marshmallow shapes.

 

Can be stored in air tight container for 4 to 5 days.

 

*As you can see, I made 3 batches. I found it easier to do it that way, rather than dividing the mix into thirds. The butterflies were purchased from my local cake decorating store, and while they weren’t very tasty, they looked pretty cute!



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnIt’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the humble cake pop. My recipe is a no-bake-no-brainer, and I’ve blogged it a couple of times before. At my niece Alice’s, recent first birthday party, I made a trio of flavoured marshmallows – raspberry, blueberry and pineapple flavoured. To go with them, I made matching cake pops, patterned with pink, blue and yellow. They were the simplest I’ve made yet.

 

?????????????????????????????????????????What You Need:

*3 packets of Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits (for those of you not in Australia and unable to get your hands on the mostamazingbiscuitintheworld, you can replace them with Oreos. Apparently.

*240 grams of Cream Cheese – this works out to 80g per pack of Tim Tams if you need to expand or decrease these amounts.

*Cake pop / lollypop sticks, available from cake decorating shops or online.

*2 packets of dark chocolate buds for melting.

*Candy Writers (actually chocolate in a tube) in various colours.

 

Alice's cake pops 2How it’s Done:

Add the Tim Tams and Cream Cheese to a blender and blitz until well combined. Using a heaped teaspoon for measurement, roll balls of mixture and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for half an hour.

 

Melt a small amount of chocolate in a cup (I use the microwave). Dip the end of a cake pop stick into the chocolate, and push into a Tim Tam ball. Allow to set in the fridge for another 20 minutes.

 

Melt more chocolate in a small but deep container. Dip each cake pop into the chocolate, submerging it completely. Place upside down on the tray lined with baking paper again, forming a flat side on the pops. Once the chocolate is set, decorate with the Candy Writers. Now, these aren’t candy as we know it in Australia. They’re coloured white chocolate with a few extras added in, but perfect for this type of thing. In a cup or mug, add really hot (but not boiling) water. Add the tube of ‘candy’, and wait 5 minutes for it to begin to melt. Massage and roll the tube in your hands before adding it back to the hot water for a few minutes. This enables to chocolate to melt evenly. Snip the top of the tube, and add any sort of pattern you like to the flat top of your cake pops. I found spirals and zig-zags were a quick and effective way to go.

 

As I’ve done before, I served the finished cake pops bunched in a simple glass tumbler. Totally irresistible!



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnSo, a couple of weeks ago, I made and blogged the recipe for ‘Not-So Rocky Road’ – a twist on the old favourite with gummy bears and popping candy. Now it seems lots of you liked that one – I think a lot of that had to do with how deceptively simple it is to make. I’ve since had a couple of requests for more Rocky Road ideas, and thought I’d start with this one. More for grown-ups than kidlets, this one is super-rich and rather decadent…

 

rocky road for big kids 2What You Need:

For the Chocolate fudge:

  • 400g of dark chocolate. Use the best quality (with the highest cocoa percentage) that you can, chopped finely. I used a mix of 100g of Lindt and 300g of Nestle Plaistowe.
  • 50g butter, cubed (don’t use margarine *shudder*)
  • 1 x 385ml can of condensed milk. I used the skim version this time, only because that’s all I had in the pantry (also, ‘skim’ is not skim when it comes to condensed milk. The calorie count is still obscene. May as well use the real stuff!)

 

rocky road for big kids 3For the rocky in the road:

  • 1 cup of marshmallows
  • ½ cup of shelled walnuts
  • ½ cup of salted pistachios, shelled
  • ½ cup of glace cherries

 

 

rocky road for big kidsGrease and line a slice tin – aprox 18cm x 18cm – and randomly place around half of your nuts, marshmallows and cherries. Then, to make fudge, in a medium saucepan over a very low heat, melt butter into the condensed milk.

Stir continuously as it can stick to the bottom. Once the butter has melted, add all the chocolate at once, stirring vigorously. It gets thick very quickly, so use your muscles! Add fudge to the slice tin, as well as remaining nuts, cherries and marshmallows.

Use the back of a dessert spoon or a knife to smooth as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then using a super-sharp knife, cut into pieces. Because this one is so rich, I cut it into smaller pieces than I normally would.

 



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnThis one is a kid-special, though I’m pretty sure grown-ups will like it too–especially those in need of a sugar-hit. Seriously smooth chocolate fudge filled with marshmallows, gummy bears and sprinkled with popping-candy to top it off. Perfect for children’s parties, or, just because…

 


RR2What You Need:

Fudge:

400g milk chocolate, chopped

50g butter, cubed

385ml can of condensed milk

 

Filling:

Popping candy

Gummy Bears

Marshmallows – I chopped mine into about four pieces each

 

RR3How it’s Done:

Start by preparing a slice tin by greasing and lining with greaseproof paper. My tin is about 18cm square. Place about a cup (or handful) of Gummy Bears and chopped marshmallows into the bottom of the tin randomly. Now, it’s fudge time.

I’ve blogged about this fudge recipe a couple of times before. It’s ridiculously simple. Just add your butter and condensed milk to a small saucepan, and stir constantly over a medium heat until the butter has melted completely. Add chocolate and continue to stir vigorously until it all comes together. Working quickly, add the fudge mixture to your prepared tin, directly over the top of the Gummy Bears and marshmallow. Add a few extra Gummy Bears on top, then sprinkle with Popping Candy. Place the slice tin into the fridge for about an hour.

And that’s it! Told you it was too easy.

 



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnWhat goes with winter? Open fires, cosy rooms, woollen coats, and chocolate. Always with the chocolate. Hot chocolate to be specific. I’m not a coffee drinker (anymore …wahhh!) and although I don’t mind the occasional herbal tea, my blood-warming drink of choice is hot chocolate. Day to day, I devour a sugar-free brand but for something special – there’s these. The real deal. Chocolate spoons. Simply add to warm milk…

 

????????????????????????????????What You Need:

  • Spoons. While you can use and re-use your finest silver, I bought a pack of cute mini-faux-silver spoons from one of those Super-Cheap shops – 50 spoons for $2. Bargain.
  • Chocolate. As always, the better the quality, the better the result will taste. For dark chocolate in particular, try using one that is at least 75% cocoa. You’ll thank me for it later.
  • Flavours: try adding mini marshmallows, chopped Jersey Caramels, cinnamon or chilli. Be adventurous! Try sea salt flakes (on dark choc) or raspberry dust* (recipe below) My one word of advice is this – think about who you’re making these for. Kids or adults? For my children, I’m more likely to make them with marshmallows, for myself – chilli or raspberry.
  • A chocolate mould. Make sure it’s deep enough to fit a spoon. I used a mini-muffin silicone mould.

 

???????????????????????????????How it’s Done:

Make sure your mould is clean and dry. Melt chocolate in a cup in the microwave, or in a double boiler over the stove. Spoon melted chocolate into moulds, tapping gently to get rid of any air bubbles. Add the spoon and flavours before chocolate sets completely. Leave for at least twenty to thirty minutes, pop out of mould gently.

 

To Serve:

Heat milk in either a saucepan over low heat – don’t let it quite come to the boil – or in the microwave. Serve in a large cup or mug, add chocolate spoon and stir until chocolate has dissolved. Yummo! Chocolate spoons are also great bunched together and tied with ribbon for a simple gift idea. Try finding delicate vintage spoons at your local second hand shop or market, playing around with mould shapes and sizes…the ideas are endless.

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????*Raspberry Dust Recipe

A handful of fresh raspberries, washed, dried and thrown into the dehydrator for about 5 hours on high. They won’t develop a crunchy texture, more like a fruit leather.

Once dried, place the fruit into a snap lock bag, and into the freezer. Once frozen – but still in the bag – smash gently with the back of a knife of small hammer.

Voila! Raspberry Dust!

Store in an airtight container in the pantry. Use sprinkled on ice cream, meringues, biscuits or even warm Camembert cheese.



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