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Christmas Truffles

Recipes December 21, 2012

I cannot believe how soon it is until Christmas. Every year it seems impossibly far away, until it creeps up until BAM, it is sneakily right around the corner and you’re left with no gifts, no organisation, nothing in the cupboard and a large dose of panic.

Fortunately this year I actually strapped my Christmas boots on months in advance and absolutely vowed to myself I would be organised in order to avoid this all too familiar scenario.

It mostly worked; with the assistance of budget spreadsheets on google drive, ringing relatives early and demanding to know what they wanted for Christmas and of course, making thousands of lists of gift ideas, what to buy and when.

Of course, that never means that you remember everything – leaving last minute trips to the horrifyingly busy shops and queues a yearly reality for that last minute gift so nobody will miss out, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess!

Another thing that’s crept on me recently – this month’s Sweet Adventure’s Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Christina from the Hungry Australian. This month’s theme is “Sweets for Santa”. For those who are new to the SABH concept, its a monthly dessert themed blog hop hosted by 84th & 3rd, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, Delicieux, Dining with a Stud and The Hungry Australian. Bloggers participate by creating a dessert according to that month’s theme and post about it and read about other bloggers’ themed desserts – a great way to connect with other bloggers and share yummy and creative recipes!

I had been meaning to pop my Christmas hat on for some time but the weeks got away from me and finally I had the time to make a batch of these Christmas truffles.

These pudding truffles are basically a Christmassy version of a cake pop (minus the lolly pop stick) – you simply crumble fruit cake, mix in melted chocolate, shape into truffle sized balls, dip into more melted chocolate and decorate.

You can also add a splash (or more!) of alcohol for an adult-version if you are so inclined, but this version is great for kids as well. If you’re also struggling to come up with ideas for what to bring to a Christmas ‘do this year, turn up with a plate of these and you’ll be the star of the party!

While it is time consuming forming all of the truffles and decorating with the cherries, these are very simple to put together. You could use it as a fun project you could make you with your kids and really, it does require very few ingredients – just pre-bought christmas cake, a lot of chocolate, a little coconut oil (if you don’t have this, you could of course substitute with another flavourless vegetable oil, e.g. soybean, etc*) and a few glacé cherries, I mean hey, it wouldn’t be Cooking Crusade if it weren’t ridiculously simple!

*please note that oils such as olive, peanut or sesame would not be suitable oils to substitute for coconut as they are quite strongly flavoured. the coconut oil has quite a mild flavour and is not really noticeable in this recipe.

Occasionally I’ll go a little bit camera-nuts and decide I want to take in depth photos step by step of how to make a particular recipe, and this is one of those times! So just a warning, this post is pretty pic heavy!

So, lets get down to truffling!


To start, you will need light fruit cake, 2x bars good quality dark chocolate, 1 x bar white chocolate, some glace cherries and some coconut oil.


To start, roughly chop your fruit cake to make it easier to mash up. I bought an 800 gram packet, but only wanted 600 grams, so chopped it into 8 equal pieces and only used six of them.



Meanwhile, break up your first bar of dark chocolate to melt (I used 10 sec bursts in the microwave).


Pour melted chocolate into cake mixture.


Incorporate until the mixture resembles (this is hardly poetic, but) soil.


Start melting your second batch of dark chocolate and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.


Melted chocky goodness.


Using a teaspoon, scoop out one spoonful of the mixture and rolling between your hands, form small balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. If time allows, plunk it into the fridge to set for about an hour. But if you’re like me, proceed and hopefully everything will be fine!


Ready for dunking? This is the fun part!


Roll your truffles in the melted chocolate.



Until you have many shiny chocolatey truffly balls of goodness.
By the way – if you wanted to set these now and serve them as is if you don’t have time to decorate, these would be great as is and still taste pretty much the same with the additional decorating. But if you want things to be slightly prettier and more Christmassy, soldier on!

Now pop these little chocolate goodies into the fridge to set.

While those are setting, prepare your decorations.


I used 100 grams of white chocolate (about 4 bars of a Cadbury Dream family size bar).


You could melt this separately in a bowl and then pour into your chosen piping bag / bottle / ziplock bag if you prefer, but I found it easier to simply just pop the chocolate into the piping bottle and melt it directly in there in the microwave.


Melted.
I added a teaspoon of coconut oil to this too to thin it a little for piping.


Slice your glacé cherries all ready for decorating.
I bought these from Coles in the baking aisle.

SO I didn’t get very many photos of the decorating process, sorry! But I will explain it as best I can…

Slice your glacé cherries thinly – the idea is that the truffles look like mini Christmas puddings with custard (the white chocolate) and holly leaves (the glacé cherries). Pipe the melted white chocolate onto the tops of the truffles and arrange glacé cherries on top while the chocolate is still liquid, to ‘glue’ them on top. And that’s pretty much it! Return to the fridge to finish setting the chocolate and you’re done!




A plate of goodies to take to my next Christmas party!


These are also great to wrap up and give as gifts over this Christmas season.

Christmas Truffles (a recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 40 truffles (approx)
Time to prepare: About 30-40 minutes to prepare, 1-2 hours to chill and another 20-30 minutes to decorate

Ingredients
For the truffles
600 grams light fruit cake, sliced into chunks
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)

For the truffle chocolate coating
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the white chocolate truffle coating
100 grams white chocolate (I used Cadbury Dream)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Red and green glacé cherries to decorate

Equipment needed
Large mixing bowl, masher (or fork), small glass bowl (enough to hold chocolate), 1 piping bottle (or a ziplock bag will do in a pinch), sharp knife and cutting board, baking tray lined with grease proof paper.

  1. Place fruit cake in a large mixing bowl. Mash the heck out of it using a potato masher, or even a fork will do in a pinch. You could use a food processor if you wanted this crazily smooth, but I don’t mind a bit of texture to it, and honestly I think the masher/fork does a pretty good job most of the way.
  2. Melt 200 grams dark chocolate in a smaller bowl (I usually microwave it in 10 second bursts until completely melted). Pour melted chocolate into the mashed up fruit cake.
  3. Fold chocolate and cake together until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the cake. The mix should have a fairly uniform colour.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop up the chocolate cake mixture and roll between the palms of your hands until you have small balls. Place on a lined baking tray until you have used all the chocolate/cake mixture. Place in the fridge to set. (*Note: if you are an impatient lady like me, you can skip this step, but this will probably keep the balls from falling apart in the melted chocolate – not that I had massive issues with this, but it would probably make them handle a bit better).
  5. Prepare your second batch of chocolate for the truffle coating. Break up the bar of chocolate and place in the same bowl you used for chocolate melting previously (hey, save on washing up why not?) Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and melt the same way you did before (10 sec bursts in the microwave) or your fave choccy melting method.
  6. Remove truffles from the fridge and dip into melted chocolate. Roll in the melted chocolate using a spoon, remove and drizzle excess chocolate off truffle (as much as possible) and return to baking tray. Repeat until all truffles are coated. I found that the 200g of chocolate was the perfect amount to coat the 40 truffles I got out of this recipe. Return truffles to the fridge to set again.
  7. Place 100 grams white chocolate into your piping bottle and microwave until completely melted. Add coconut oil and stir to combine. Pipe white chocolate onto your set truffles and add chopped glacé cherries to decorate to look like mini Christmas puddings. Set the white chocolate in the fridge. Best served at room temperature and great to give as gifts!

I do hope you all have absolutely lovely plans for Christmas! I’m hosting a small Christmassy get together this Sunday (my first one, truth be told. I’m rather excited!) Then the usual family get togethers with my and my partner’s families over Christmas and Boxing Day with the usual food and gift frenzy! I’ve also booked movie tickets in advance to see Les Mis on Boxing Day night – it looks amazing and I can’t wait! A week or so off work will also be very greatly appreciated and hopefully I will spend a great deal of the time sleeping and lazily eating. Heaven!

Much love and have an absolutely amazing Chrissy!!

xo

C

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decos-1

Beach Cake

Uncategorized February 6, 2011

This was a birthday cake for two twin boys from my church who were celebrating their first birthday. I had a bit of time to decide on what I could do for it and Mum suggested something beachy, so I set upon google to do some research. One of the cakes that I like the most was from this blog here. It looked pretty simple but effective, so I decided to go along with something similar. I still think that this original design was a lot better than mine, mine was a bit too ‘noisy’ and seemed a bit crowded, but hey, first attempt. We’re all friends here after all.. Right? Right?

Here’s what you will need for one beach cake.
One cooled sheet cake (I chose chocolate)
1 bag of Tiny Teddies
1 roll of lifesavers
some coloured fondant (you can do this yourself or buy pre-dyed)
paper umbrellas
brown sugar
candle/s

One batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (or an alternative amount of the buttercream of your choice. SMBC is my new fave.)
4 egg whites
1 cup of granulated sugar
1.5 cups of butter
a pinch of salt

Whisk egg whites briskly with a pinch of salt and then add in granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk continuously for about 4-5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved (which will ensure that the egg whites have pasteurised  ; in other words, salmonella free! hooray!) Whip egg whites with an electric mixer (or hand mixer as I used) for about 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed. By this time, your bowl should be cool to the touch. While the beaters are mixing, gradually add in cut up butter (room temperature) until your bowl becomes magically filled with creamy, dreamy swiss meringue buttercream. it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

This cake was freakishly easier than I thought it would be and took about half an hour or less to assemble.

Ok so start out with your cooled, unadorned cake. When I started out with my cake decorating, I would often bake the cake on the day of the decorating. I’ve found its a lot easier to do it the day or the night before – less freaking out and the cake is nice and cool and won’t melt your frosting.

Start applying your buttercream icing. Since there was going to be quite a lot of frosting and other decorations on the cake, I didn’t bother to apply a crumb coat as I usually would and it turned out fine. Using a tablespoon, apply your frosting in globs and smooth them out with a spatula.

Smooth out the frosting on the cake.

Using your spatula, push the blue frosting towards the middle of the cake to create a ripply/wave-like effect.

Now is the fun part – adding all the extra details.
I added some fondant details – a starfish, a surfboard, some fish and a beach ball.

This was all a bit fiddly and was like playing with not-as-pliable play dough. For the beach ball, I made a small ball out of blue fondant and then made balls of fondant (same size) in blue and green, then cut out sections (about a sixth of the ball) then replaced each section with different colours by cutting sixth sections from the other colours. Then I added a small red top to each side of the finished beach ball with red fondant (using the tip of plain icing tip to cut out the small circle).

For the surfboard, I just used a knife to cut the fondant into the shape of a surfboard and used my fingers to try and shape it as much as possible. For the starfish, I used the smallest star shaped cookie cutter I had and used it to cut out a very thick piece of rolled fondant and then moulded it into the shape of a star fish. The fish .. well I won’t even bother to explain the fish as I think it was a rather poor effort – or at least one that could be improved greatly!


There were bears covering each other with sand.


Bears making a sand castle.

This was a very easy cake to make – made a lot easier having pre-made bears, lifesavers and paper umbrellas to help make it look authentic without any extra work for me. The sand also looked great and required no extra work either – hurray for brown sugar looking so much like sand.. I was tempted to add some blue piping gel to the waves to make it look a bit more authentic but I ran out of time (I swear I spend more time washing up than actually making the cake haha) but I think it looked fine. Would definitely make this again if I had the opportunity – give it a try! Looks pretty good and is a great beginner cake 🙂

xoxo

Christine

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final

Giraffe Cake

Uncategorized December 10, 2010

It was my God-daughter Talei’s second birthday coming up and I had to decide what kind of cake to make her.
Finally! An excuse for me to start using my copy of the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids Birthday Cakes. I had been looking forward to this moment for a long time.

Talei is half Kenyan, so her Mum thought that a giraffe cake would be appropriate. Which was useful for me because it was one of the easiest cakes in the book.

For the cake, I tried a new twist on Pioneer Woman’s sheet cake (yes I know I use it all the time, but its an excellent recipe and what’s more, I always have all the ingredients in my cupboard. Plus there’s no pesky melting-of-chocolate involved, which adds heaps of extra washing up, boo.)

Instead of making it a chocolate cake this time, however, I removed the cocoa powder and added in a good two teaspoons of Queens Vanilla bean extract (with actual beans, as opposed to just the alcohol). I also had a spare egg that needed to be used up so in that went as well. The result was quite good – it was a very moist dense vanilla cake that did not have a very strong flavour (which was great for the kids). It got eaten in about thirty seconds.

For the frosting, I just made a simple buttercream (butter, a teeny bit of milk and icing sugar) and tinted it orange. This also had a heap of vanilla beans also.

To make the ‘spots’ on the giraffe, Women’s Weekly suggested melting chocolate, pouring it onto a lined cookie tray and then slicing it into diamonds when it was half set. So that’s exactly what I did.

To cut the cake into the perfect size, Women’s Weekly had a special printout which you copied onto baking paper, cut out and then placed on the cake to use as a guideline. You could easily trace a design onto baking paper yourself or make a smaller version with just an A4 piece of paper. You can see that the outline is quite simple to draw.

Then cover it with frosting and start decorating.

Ta daaa! To decorate the rest of its face, I just used extra pieces of chocolate – I had plenty to spare, so this also went onto the sides of the cake. For the feet, mane and the top of the giraffe’s head, I used dark chocolate bullets. The eyes were M&Ms and piping gel. The choc diamonds were just choccy melts. I realised that I did forget the tail.. I guess that’s something I’ll have to look out for next time.

Me with the Birthday Girl!

Birthday Girl and her cake (she just woke up, hence the sleepy/sad face.. lol).

Happy Birthday my gorgeous God-daughter!!! Love ya heaps xxox

Have a great weekend!!

xoxo

Christine

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Bulldogs cake

A Bulldogs Cake.

Uncategorized November 26, 2010

I’ve finally put a bit of time aside to blog about that Bulldogs cake I was talking about in my previous post (A Fight with Fondant.)

The stats:
The cake was a Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake (can’t go wrong there), sandwiched with a whipped hazelnut and chocolate ganache (cream cheese + a lot of nutella, blended together… cooled in the fridge until quite solid and then whipped again, quite airy) covered with home-made marshmallow fondant (melted marshmallows and icing sugar) and coconut (well, that was the grass decorations).

The cake topper and the edible NRL image I got from Little Dance Decorations online. The only problem I had with the little bulldog guy was where to stick him in the cake. He wouldn’t stand upright… So I made him a little fondant pedestal to stand on in front of the cake..lol.

This was the first time I had ever used fondant, so my results were a bit wonky. I also did not have a fondant smoother which apparently, complicates things. In addition to the fact that I used a somewhat slippery ganache did not help matters.

But hey, a first’s a first.

To be honest most of this cake was a mistake. I hadn’t actually planned any of it, but I was inspired to make goal posts out of long skewers (which also helped stop the cake layers from sliding away, again, slippery ganache!) The dyed coconut grass was actually to hide a multitude of sins (i.e. messy fondant.. lol). Everyone seemed to be quite surprised when I mentioned these were all mistake-hiders,.. so I guess some mistakes are a good thing sometimes? I tend not to plan out my cake decorating (usually when I do, I almost always forget something and get disappointed when I remember it later.) So generally now, I kind of decorate out of instinct (by which of course I actually mean, what’s in the cupboard.)

Have a great weekend!

🙂

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img_2048

Rustic Apple Cake

Uncategorized April 12, 2010

This lovely apple cake is great for dessert, or having friends round as a tea cake. It’s also good for picnics or as something to take along to a BBQ. It’s incredibly simple and very delicious.

Usually with this apple cake, you fill your cake tin halfway with your cake mix, then layer your sliced apples in the middle and add in the rest of your cake mix, so the apples bake in the middle of the cake which is quite good, but for this version, I layered the apple slices on top of the cake and drizzled it with a caramel sauce, which resulted in a crispy top with caramel apples.

Ingredients:
100 grams of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I like to use mixed spice)
1 large granny smith apple

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Melt butter. Cool (to avoid cooking the eggs), then mix with eggs. Sift flour and add in sugar/spices. Add egg/butter mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. Cake mixture should be quite thick. Peel, core and slice apple. Line a cake tin and pour in half of your cake mix and smooth, layer apple slices. Add the rest of your cake mix and bake in hot oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and top of cake springs back at touch.

Alternatively:
Pour all of cake mixture into cake tin. Layer apple slices on top of cake.

Drizzle over a caramel sauce (1/2 cup of cream, 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, heated in a saucepan until thickened) on the apples

Bake until top is golden and crisp (bottom of cake will still be moist.)

Enjoy with friends and a cup of tea! 🙂 This cake is also lovely, slightly warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

xox

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