Rocky Road Bark

For the Christmas just gone by, I tried to be a little smarter with my hamper making time, and so I chose to make Rocky Road Bark instead of plain old Rocky Road.  Bark is another simple yet effective gift food which lends itself to many variations. Another that I like is dark chocolate with roasted hazelnuts and craisins.

Rocky Road Bark


150 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150 g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 ½ cups pecans, toasted & roughly chopped
1 cup raspberry lollies, halved

 

Line a tray with baking paper and set aside. Melt the milk and dark chocolates together a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.  Heat on high for 30 seconds bursts, stirring in between bursts until melted and smooth.

Stir in 1 & 1/2 cups of the marshmallows, 1 cup of the pecans and 3/4 of the raspberry lollies. Scrape the mixture onto the tray and spread out with a spatula to approx 2cm thickness. Sprinkle the remaining marshmallows, pecans and raspberry lollies over the top, gently pressing them into the chocolate to adhere.

Refrigerate the bark until completely firm, which is about 2 hours. Break or cut into chunks for serving.

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Chocolate Cherry Slice

This recipe is lifted straight from the December issue Good Food magazine, of which I have a subscription.  It’s basically a soft chocolatey brownie with a summery twist, the twist being the cherries and coconut.  Considering the pretty iffy weather we’ve been having so far this summer, why don’t you console yourself with this delicious treat?

Chocolate Cherry Slice

200 g dark eating chocolate, broken into pieces
150 g unsalted butter, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
⅔ cup dark choc bits
415 g can pitted cherries in syrup, drained

 

 

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 30x20cm slice pan.

Heat chocolate and butter in a saucepan on low heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and combined. Cool for 10 minutes.

Use a balloon whisk to whisk the egg into chocolate mixture, then stir in brown sugar, sifted plain flour and coconut. Fold through half of the choc bits.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Push cherries into batter and scatter over remaining choc bits.

Bake for 30 minutes, until firm. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto to wire rack to cool completely. Cut into pieces to serve.

Raspberry Rocky Road

Here is the other successful recipe from a Christmas gone by, Raspberry Rocky Road.  I love rocky road but just hate glace cherries and I much prefer to use raspberry lollies.  There are plenty of rocky road recipes – and they’re all easily adaptable – but I like this one in particular because it makes a nice big slab of rocky road, which makes for an attractive and decadent gift item.  My brother always requests this and so I sometimes make some just for him.

Raspberry Rocky Road

750 g milk chocolate
350 g marshmallows, halved
50 g white choc chips
100 g turkish dellight, cut into a 1cm dice
50g raspberry lollies, halved
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup shredded coconut

 

Line base and sides of 26x16cm lamington pan with baking paper.

 

Melt 300g milk chocolate in microwave, stirring often, until it’s smooth.  Pour into the base of the prepared pan.  Arrange half of the marshmallows over the top.  Next scatter over the white choc chips, turkish delight, raspberry lollies, half the almonds and half the coconut, filling in any gaps.

 

 

Scatter over the remaining marshmallows.

 

Melt remaining milk chocolate in the microwave, stirring often, until it’s smooth.  Pour over two thirds of the melted chocolate, covering the marshmallows evenly.  Use a small spatula to gently mix and allow chocolate through the layers.

 

Scatter with the remaining almonds and coconut, pressing down gently to stick to chocolate.  Chill for at least 2 hours to set.

 

Cut into bars or squares to serve.

Nutty Flapjacks

After a failed attempt to make gluten free orange and almond cupcakes, I needed to make something simple – using just the ingredients in my cupboard – to restore my confidence.  And nothing could be simpler than this recipe.  The combination of roasted hazelnuts, oats and golden syrup is delicious.  It kept very well, so I ate it for nearly week as breakfast.

Nutty Flapjacks

 

200 g traditional rolled oats
115 g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
55 g plain flour
2 tablespoons golden syrup
85 g raw caster sugar

 

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 16x26cm slice pan with baking paper.

Place rolled oats, hazelnuts and flour in a large bowl and mix.

Place butter, golden syrup and raw caster sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and combined. Pour onto the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Use the back of a soup/dessert spoon to smooth the surface.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Use a knife to score lines into the slice to make 16 pieces and allow to cool completely in the pan.

Remove from pan and cut with a sharp knife.

Jelly Cheesecake Slice

I’d like to write something about this slice being one of my childhood favourites, but I can’t because I never had this as a child.  I first made this slice at the request of a work colleague (who’s childhood favourite it is).  I don’t make this one too often, as it’s a bit time consuming due to each layer requiring refrigeration, but when I do and take it in to work it gets snapped up pretty quickly!

Jelly Cheesecake Slice

125 g Morning Coffee biscuits, broken into pieces
80 g butter, melted
375 g cream cheese, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 ml cream
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
85 g packet jelly crystals

Line base and sides of a 16cm x 26cm slice pan with baking paper.

Process Morning Coffee biscuits in a food processor until it becomes crumbs. Add melted butter and process until combined. Press into base of lined pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in cream.

Place water into a small bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Stir with a fork until gelatine dissolves. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat gelatine into filling until combined. Pour filling over base. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until set.

Make jelly, following packet directions. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour into a shallow dish. Refrigerate for about an hour or until jelly starts to thicken to the consistency of thickened cream. Pour jelly over cheesecake.  Refrigerate for a further 3 hours or until set.  Cut into squares to serve.

Choc Chip Pecan Slice

This is the other slice I made, to go along with the Raspberry Coconut Slice in the last post.  A very sticky, nutty, yummy slice.

Make sure you grease and line the pan even if you use a non-stick pan, as the top layer will leak around the edges of the baking pan and stick in a few spots which will make it difficult to loosen the slice from the pan.

Choc Chip Pecan Slice

1 ½ cups self raising flour
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
125 g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk choc chips

Topping
3 eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
⅔ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
50 g butter, melted
½ cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 180C.  Lightly grease a 16x26cm baking tin and line base and sides with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add sugar and stir combine.  Add butter, mix well then fold in the chocolate chips.  Press into the prepared pan and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To make the topping:

Combine eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, golden syrup and vanilla in a medium bowl, mixing well.  Roughly chop half of the pecans and stir into mixture.

Pour the topping over the cooled base and gently place remaining pecan halves on the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping has set.  Cover with foil if the nuts are browning too quickly.  Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into pieces to serve.

Raspberry Coconut Slice

I get the most requests for Coconut Raspberry Slice at work.  It’s a favourite of one of my old managers, so I make it at least once a year.  This time though, it was requested by a work mate who was willing to pay for the ingredients of this and another slice of my choosing, for her colleague’s going away morning tea.  I’m always looking for any excuse to try out new recipe, so if it isn’t costing me a thing, why not?

Coconut Raspberry Slice

90 g butter, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg
⅓ cup self raising flour
⅔ cup plain flour

½ cup raspberry jam, warmed

2 eggs, extra
⅓ cup caster sugar, extra
2 cups desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 190C. Line base of a 20x30cm lamington pan with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until pale. Then gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg thoroughly. Fold in sifted flours until combined. Spread mixture onto base of prepared pan, smoothing top. Top with a thin layer of warmed jam.

Lightly whisk extra eggs. Whisk in extra sugar and coconut. Spoon coconut mixture over jam as evenly as possible.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool in pan completely. Cut into squares to serve.

Chocolate, Hazelnut & Nougat Roll

I do like to make fiddly treats.  Something that you can really get your hands into.  This roll/slice definitely falls into that category.  I think it would have been helpful to have latex gloves on hand, but I made do baking paper and a spatula to shape the chocolate mixture in the log shape.  I was very happy with the way this turned out and I think I will include it the little gift basket I put together for Christmas each year.

Chocolate, Hazelnut & Nougat Roll

170 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cup good quality cocoa powder, sifted
200 g hard nougat, chopped into small pieces
100 g savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits), chopped into small pieces
100 g white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, roughly chopped

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold in cocoa, then stir in nougat, savioardi, white chocolate and hazelnuts until well combined.

Place a 30cm-long sheet of foil on a work surface and top with a sheet of baking paper. Spoon chocolate mixture along one long edge, leaving a 2cm border at both ends. Roll up foil to enclose chocolate mixture and form a log, then twist ends to seal.

Chill for 2-3 hours, until firm.  Slice and serve

Banana Bars

Here I go, starting another blog.  This time it’s going to be all about food which is so absolutely my passion.  I have always been into food, particularly baking, but it’s been an on again off again thing due to my various living arrangements.  A few years ago I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Secret of Life: Commonsense Advice for the Uncommon Woman and one piece of advice that jumped out at me went something along the lines of: that to have an obsession is a beneficial healthy thing, something that occupies your time and makes you happy.  When I read this, I realised that my obsession, the something that makes me happiest, is obviously cooking.  After that I started cooking and baking again at any opportunity – birthdays, Christmas, housewarmings – and now I often bake “just because” and take the resulting slices, cookies, cakes and cupcakes to work or my best friend’s house just so I don’t have to eat the whole lot myself.

For my first post I feel as though it should have been of something much more impressive looking, but, these Banana Bars were just so soft and more-ish that I have to blog about them! I bought a $1 bag bananas at the Prahran Market the other week thinking to make banana bread, but instead I came across this recipe in one of my go to cookbooks for slices and cookies: Nestle Toll House: Best-Loved Cookies and I had to give it a go.

Banana Bars

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
190 g butter, chopped and at room temperature
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana
1 egg
2 cups dark choc chips

Prepare by preheating the oven to 180C and grease then line a 30x15cm slice tin.

Sift flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Add salt.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat in bananas and egg until just combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir through choc chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Cut into squares to serve.