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    Wednesday
    May232012

    Nutella Chocolate Dust

    bailey's chocolate truffle cheesecake, raspberry sorbet and nutella dust

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    "The sorbet was melting, the truffle cheesecake momentarily pushed to one side... all were distracted by the Nutella dust."  the lone baker 

    A little bit of fun today with Nutella chocolate dust. Nutella chocolate dust is a touch of molecular gastronomy magic in the form of maltodextrin powder mixed with Nutella chocolate spread.

    What I love about the Nutella dust (or dirt/sand) is the smile it brings to peoples faces when they taste it. The powder melts in your mouth and you have "Nutella".

    You can do this with peanut butter too, just make sure it's the old fashioned natural kind of peanut butter that needs a mix to bring the oil/paste back together.  Also works with any fat, such as cream based caramel dust or say a flavoured olive oil dust with steak etc.

    Maltodextrin

    Maltodextrin is starch derived from either corn, wheat or tapioca.

    Maltodextrin comes in different grades;

    Maltodextrin (DE18) this is one you will most likely see around, it's cost effective and available in many sizes including bulk amounts. 

    Tapioca Maltodextrin (N-Zorbit M) top of the range in quality and price. With a very low bulk density N-Zorbit M will give you a lighter and fluffier result than other Maltodextrins on the market.

    Tapioca Maltodextrin (DE10) this one falls in-between the (D18) and (N-Zorbit M), one to consider when N-Zorbit M is out of your price range. 

    I used a tapioca derived Maltrodextrin (DE18)  today to create the Nutella Chocolate Dust. Want to give it a try?? 

    Ingredients

    80g (2.8oz) Maltodextrin 

    120g (4.2oz) Nutella chocolate spread

    formula from MolecularRecipes.com

    Method

    With a metal spoon mix the Nutella and Maltodextrin together in small bowl. Transfer mix to a blender and process for a few seconds, stop the blender and shake to make sure ingredients are evenly distributed (you can turn the blender off at the power point and scrape bottom of blender rather than "shaking" if preferred). Repeat a few seconds at a time until you have a fluffy Nutella chocolate dust. Pass through a fine seive for an even lighter result. 

    Storage

    Stores in a sealed air tight container until ready to use. The dust darkens a little on storage (see top photo) to bring it back to a lighter colour re-sift. 

    The dust dissolves with moisture so add it to your plated dessert at the last minute or serve in small seperate bowls to sprinkle over sundaes etc. All my guests took home a small container of Nutella chocolate dust. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    Stockists: Where to get maltodextrin.... 

    in Australia DE18, DE10, and N-Zorbit M all available from The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot

    also in Australia tapioca maltodextrin and N-Zorbit M also available from The Red Spoon Company

    Elsewhere... Amazon has the N-Zorbit and searching maltodextrin whilst there will give you a range of types and sizes

     

    Love your choc hazelnut, then how about Baci ice-cream... recipe here

    Friday
    May112012

    Isomalt sugar drizzled decorations

    pink drizzle isomalt decoration tops a mini fondant covered cupcake

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    With a zillion (ok, not quite... but a lot!!) of dessert and cake decorating possibilities "isomalt drizzles" are quick and super easy to make when using precooked isomalt sticks. 

    I used CakePlay's clear isomalt sticks in all today's pieces. The sticks are available in a range of colours, but I prefer colouring the clear isomalt myself. 

    tools and black isomalt drizzles 

    The only tools you will need are: a spoon, a pair of scissors (oil the blades), a non stick baking mat and a small pyrex or equivalent microwave safe glass jug. 

    If you want to shape your pieces, silicone moulds or any food safe heat proof surface like a tin can, the back of a muffin tin etc can be used... though do oil the surface first, isomalt is mighty sticky! 

    Pieces of sticks are melted in a microwave safe container, a small pyrex jug is ideal. From there you can add a few drops of food colouring and flavouring if desired, move your spoon gently through the melted isomalt to incorporate colour. Concentrated gel paste colour work best, as you don't want to add to much moisture to the isomalt.

    Gently lift your spoon up and down in the melted isomalt until it thickens slightly and it looks like this....

    try red isomalt drizzles for all your romantic occassions

    Start drizzling!! Drizzle directly onto a non stick baking mat for flat pieces. Drizzle over your oiled mould of choice for shaped pieces or if using silicone you can drizzle directly on the surface. Shaped drizzles hold their shape and you can create baskets or cages with the same method.

    Scissors with oiled blades are used for cutting any errant threads of isomalt and can also be used for trimming/cutting the finished pieces into shapes if desired.

     

    Japanese Forest Cupcake; offset piping and green tea flavoured black sesame isomalt drizzle to complete the organic look. 

    Solid colour density is achieved by adding a drop or two of white food colouring simultaneously with your colour of choice. For the Japanese forest cupcake I made a slurry of green tea powder and water to add with a drop of white food colouring. Without the addition of "white" the colour is a murky/clear green. 

    If your isomalt hardens before you have finished your drizzles, reheat in 5 second increments in the microwave. Some food colouring shades alter on reheating, for that reason I prefer to work in small multiple batches. 

    To attach isomalt to fondant covered cakes, simply dip the base of your finished drizzle into melted isomalt and attach to your cake... isomalt will set almost instantly giving you a securely attached topper. 

    Isomalt or sugar work pieces are susceptible to moisture and are best used within a few hours. If storage is must, you can try and store the toppers single file in an airtight container with silica sachets... be warned in humid weather you still run the risk of the pieces becoming cloudy.

    Whether you are topping a cupcake or creating a serving basket for you your sorbet, hope you have fun creating isomalt drizzles.

    Happy Baking :)

     *isomalt and sugar and extremely hot when melted, please take extra care when working with either. Remove pets and young children from the room and have a bowl of iced water handy in case of burns. 

    *troubleshoot... "My spoon is in the jug and isomalt has set so I can't microwave"... pop your jug into a bowl, pour boiling water around the jug until isomalt has softened enough to lift out your spoon. 

    *keep your pieces small, thin and easily edible... you don't want broken crowns/dental work spoiling the moment.

    * isomalt sticks are available from cake decorating stores, in Australia I got mine from baking pleasures

       around $15 in Oz or $10 in US for 12 sticks. Also available from Amazon in bulk amounts or single packets 

     

    You might also be interested in toffee springs

    or perhaps flowers made from Starburst lollies for Mothers Day here

     

    Sunday
    May062012

    A nice pear, but not much else

                                                red wine pear

    I had an idea, yes I did.

    It was a bad idea, yes it was. 

    the lone baker

    Red Wine Pear Cupakes or not all my ideas work

    I was making red wine pears when it came to me "ahhh haaa!" what if I diced the pears into the chocolate cake batter and topped it with the top of the pear creating the illusion of the whole pear in the cake like those cute winter puddings do. 

    Many sliced and diced winey pears later I put a test batch of cakes in the oven, there is reason they're called a "test batch", the test failed with the pear top totally sinking beneath the surface and the batter coming over the side. Test batch two; new thicker cake batter and trimmed down top section... bet that will work. 

    Hmm, ok at least the pear wasn't sunken, well anyway not all the way down.

    Of course I could have A. started a third batch or B. have dinner before the first episode of MasterChef Australia starts. Chewing now... bye. 

    Happy Baking 

    Wednesday
    May022012

    Mum's Australian 1950's Wedding Menu

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    Goodness me, like all things "wedding food" has gone through a dramatic transformation since 1950's. I thought I'd share my Mum's wedding menu straight from the 1955 caterers bill. No food stations with your favourite foodie theme here, no sushi, macaron towers, mini spicy Mexican burgers, no cocktail bars, Parisian pastries or the like. 

    But, but, but, there was Ox Tongue, copius amounts of whipped cream and don't forget the party pies and cocktail sausages!! My Mums 21st menu is also included. Enjoy a look back.... and happy baking :)

    Wedding Breakfast menu

    • Ham and Ox Tongue
    • Green Salad
    • Roll and Butter
    • Cream Sponges
    • Cream and Fancy Cakes
    • Wine Trifle and Cream
    • Fruit Salad and Cream
    • Soft Drink 
    • Tea 

    Wedding Reception Menu

    • Assorted Sandwiches
    • Cream Sponge
    • Cream and Fancy Cakes
    • Sausage Rolls
    • Cocktail Sausages
    • Soft Drink 
    • Coffee

    21st Birthday Menu

    Same menu as wedding reception with the option to add...

    • Fruit Salad
    • Wine Trifle
    • Party Pies
    • Party Pasties
    • Fish Patties
    Tuesday
    May012012

    Wild Hibiscus Mini Cupcake

                                      Wild Hibisicus Mini Cupcake

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    The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus native to the Old World tropics. In Australia we know the roselle plant as 'Rosella'. wikipedia

    Rosella cordial and jam has been made in Australia since the colonial times, popular in Queensland where the Rosella plant flourishes. It's a bit cold where I am for a Rosella plant, but spurred on by successful plantings on the gardening forums I'm going give it a try and plant this spring. It can be grown as a perennial or annual, so I'll be trying to grow this small shrub as an annual.

     image wikipedia commons

    Love, love, love the raspberry/plummy flavour of Rosella jam and can't wait to make a batch myself, but in the interim I have a jar from the supermarket and syrupy wild hibiscus flowers that I used to top today's cupcake.

    wild hibiscus flowers in syrup and rosella jam

    You may have seen these wild hibiscus flowers in a champagne cocktail, though they are equally at home paired with brie as part of a cheese platter or topping a pavlova. Fabulous stuffed with sweet or savory fillings, or try dipping the bases in white chocolate to serve with after dinner coffee.

    I used flowers straight from the jar to top today's mini cupcakes; the rosella flowers are sweet, soft and fleshy with notes of raspberry/plum and rhubarb. 

    For chocolate flowers pat the flowers dry with paper towel before dipping the bases in tempered chocolate. The chocolates can be make ahead of time, with the flowers taking on more of a fruit leather texture as they dry.

    rosella jam; I'll be using this in upcoming weeks

    the petals open and take on an opaque quality as light streams though the glass

    I used soda water in a wine glass for the photo today, to illustrate the bubbles opening the petals of the flower. If you are planning to use wild hibiscus flowers in champagne flutes at a wedding, first test that the flowers open in the glasses you have chosen. You need a champagne flute that isn't too narrow at the bottom to allow room for flowers to open.

    Have fun trying them, happy baking :)

    For cocktail recipes and more visit the official Wild Hibiscus website here

    You can find jars of the flowers in varying sizes in Australia from the bushtucker shop in Europe from Wild Hibiscus shop Deutschland. Plus good kitchen supply and bar supply stores.

    And of course they are available from Amazon too.

    You might also like....

    golden apple cupcake

    recipe mini vienna almond shortbread chocolate bars, topped with gold leaf tipped vienna almonds

    Thursday
    Apr262012

    Raspberry and Orange Gluten Free Friands

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    Goodness me, is $5.50 each too much to pay for a small gluten free friand? That's what our local department store cafe was charging when I was there with friends recently. 

    The poor little plain orange friands looked a bit on the dry side; it got me thinking about why are gluten free cafe cakes always so dry, hard and often lacking in flavour? 

    With only 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour per recipe friands must be one of the easiest recipes to convert to gluten free. I tested the following gluten free friand conversion out on friends and family this week, concentrating on "moistness" and packing with flavour. Everyone loved them... hope you do too :)

    Raspberry and Orange Gluten Free Friands

    greased oval friand tin or muffin tin (1/2 cup 125ml capacity)

    preheat oven to 200c (392F) or 180c (356F) fan forced

    Ingredients

    6 egg whites

    185g butter melted and cooled

    1 tbl orange juice

    1 cup almond meal (almond flour) 

    1 1/2 cups (240g) sifted pure icing sugar (confectioners, make sure it's pure with no flour added)

    1/2 cup gluten free plain flour (gluten free all purpose) 

    4 teaspoons fine orange zest

    1 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen

    Topping

    1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

    optional .... 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberry pieces

    1 cup of sifted pure icing sugar 

    1 to 2 tablespoons of orange juice

    Method

    Put the egg whites in a medium bowl in a medium bowl, use a fork to lightly whisk and break up the whites. Add the butter, zest, almond meal, sifted icing sugar, juice and *berries; stir until the mixture is combined. 

    Divide the mix between the 12 hole pan. Bake 18-22 minutes, don't over bake. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan before removing cakes and transferring to a cooling rack. 

    adapted from AWW lemon and cranberry friands

    Icing

    In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of orange juice to sifted icing sugar. Stir until smooth, add more juice if needed to created a drizzle over consistency. 

    Drizzle over icing and top with toasted almond slivers and freeze dried raspberry pieces.

                             moist and flavourful 

    Notes:

    *if using frozen berries don't defrost first, stir through in their frozen state

    *if you can source freeze dried raspberry pieces they do add a natural flavour punch; the pieces will loose their crispness after a short while however they still will taste wonderful.

    *undecorated friands freeze well wrapped for three weeks, defrost in the refrigerator before decorating.

    *friand tins are easily available in Australia, mine is a Wiltshire tin from the supermarket. Cute Mini friands  silicone moulds are available on Amazon..they really are "mini" about 3 teaspoons of batter per hole.

     Happy Baking :)

    Need to use your left over egg yolks? How about a batch of pastry cream to fill tarts, pastries and cakes.

    Or an easy Hollandaise sauce.

    Monday
    Apr232012

    Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons 

                                little lime lemon lamingtons 

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    Lemon Lamingtons??? Lamingtons are traditionally cubes of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut, but according to the Wikipedia entry on Lamingtons 'The raspberry variety is more common in New Zealand, while a lemon variety has been encountered in Australia.' 

    Just as I was thinking "this Australian has never encountered a lemon lamington", I opened a new Australian Women's Weekly cookbook "Cakebaking" and there on page 32 is 'lemon lamingtons'. Have I missed a trend? 

    My broken ribs are still healing and in a "now we have one I baked previously" moment I whipped out a lemon buttercake from the freezer. Plus with more limes in the garden at the moment than lemons it seemed natural to make a batch of lime/lemon butter too. Put the two together and we have my version of a lemon lamington...

     

    bumper crop of limes in the garden this year

    Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons

    Ingredients

    1x plain lemon butter cake or sponge cake cut into cubes (I used a ruler as a cutting guide)

    1x batch of lime/lemon butter (recipe below)

    2 1/2 cups shredded or desiccated unsweentened coconut 

    desiccated and shredded coconut

    Method

    Pour your lime/lemon butter into a pie dish. Place the shredded coconut on a dinner plate. Dip cubes of cake firstly into the lime/lemon butter, then gently roll in coconut.

    You can serve them straight away, but I think they are nicer when you allow them to sit for a short while to allow the lime/lemon butter to sink into the cake a little.

    Lime Lemon Butter (Curd)

     Makes 1 1/2 cups

    Ingredients
    3 large egg yolks
    Zest of one small lime and 1/2 of one lemon
    1/4 cup of lime juice
    6 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons butter, cold and diced

    Method

    Combine yolks,  zest,  juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

    Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Strain.
    Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

    Adapted from Martha Stewart's lemon curd

    Robot Tea Infuser

    My best friend and I both love our tea infuser robots, they're not super practical for everyday use as you can only use large leaf tea inside your robots stomach. But, but, but they make you smile and do look cute just hanging around.

    Happy Baking :)

     

     

    Raspberry and Tangelo fruit butter recipes Fruit butter/curd tips and storage.

    Monday
    Apr092012

    Aunty Clare's Chocolate Frog Grog

                                         aunty clare's chocolate frog grog

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    A tiny town is Mangalore; so tiny in fact the entire town is comprised of "the pub". My Aunty Clare owned the Mangalore Hotel, where I spent many a school holiday in the hotel kitchen or waitressing in the lounge, occasionally a sheep would wander through the bar... but those stories are for another day. 

    mangalore hotel situated two hours north of Melbourne 

    When my Aunt and Uncle eventually retired to another nearby town they took with them more scotch whisky than you can imagine. Scotch whisky that turned up in all sorts of desserts, cakes and preserves. You will have to combine the thought of that whisky with Aunty Clare's that day find of "bulk bags of slighty deformed Cadbury's Freddo Frogs" to explain how I found myself in a country kitchen unwrapping chocolate frogs for Aunty Clare who was about to whip up a batch of frog grog.

    Frog grog is really just another version of homemade Baileys Irish Cream and you can replace the chocolate frogs with the same weight milk chocolate of choice, but I do love all the shot glasses lined up with their accompanying chocolate frog "chaser". 

    I started with the labels... Eat Drink Chic has vintage apothecary labels you can download here. Once downloaded pop the labels into photoshop or art software of choice to customise. 

    customise the labels

     

    Cadbury Freddo chocolate frogs 

    Aunty Clare's Chocolate Frog Grog

    makes just over 2 litres, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

    Ingredients

    2 x cans of sweetened condensed milk

    1 x can of evaporated milk

    1 and 1/2 cups thickened cream (thickened cream in Australia contains a little gelatine, you could use fresh bottled liquid whipping cream instead)

    200 grams (7oz) Cadbury Freddo Frogs 

    3 cups of Scotch Whisky

    1 tsp pure vanilla extract/essence

    1 tbl instant expresso coffee dissolved in 1 tbl of boiling water

    extra chocolate frogs for serving

    Method

    Place all your unwrapped frogs in a large heatproof bowl and melt gently over a pot of barely simmering water. 

    *tip... avoid overheating by removing frogs from heat when they are two thirds melted and stir to melt remainder. 

    Place your bowl of melted frogs on your bench and slowly whisk in the two cans of sweentened condensed milk. Then whisk in the evaporated milk, cream, dissolved coffee and vanilla extract. Once that's all combined finish by whisking in the whisky.

    Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a large jug and decant into sterilised bottles. Glue on your labels and you are all finished. Best left for at least 24 hours, before enjoying chilled over ice... don't forget the extra frogs! 

    You may have seen on facebook that our puppy has been renamed "Gallifrey" and I'm nursing broken ribs at the moment.

    I'll be back baking and blogging in May, hope to see you then :)

    More of Aunty Clare? Try your hand at making a batch of scotch whisky marmalade for your puddle cupcakes.

    Or more Grog? Try Bundy Banana Cupcakes or make yourself a toffee topper... here

    Friday
    Jan202012

    Han Solo Cupcake

    chocolate cupcake, red cocoa frosting, chocolate Han Solo in "carbonite", chocolate pop rocks

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    Lawyers, counsellers and doctors oh my!!

    Well, here I am and the shock of my marriage break up dulled by being caught up in lawyer, counsellor and doctors appointments. 

    Like Han Solo I'm trapped, not in carbonite but in a swirl of paperwork that binds me to my husband. Hopefully I'm not on my way to Jabba the Hutt!!

    Now, lets talk chocolate :) 

    Silicone ice-cube trays double as moulds for your chocolate creations, today I've used the large Han Solo mould for my cupcake topper. Your chocolate tempered or otherwise doesn't have the "high shine" finish of using hard plastic moulds, but this is more than made for with the plethora of designs that are available in silicone. 

    Han Solo ice-cube tray

    I half filled the mould with melted chocolate, sprinkled on chocolate pop rocks, then filled the rest of the mould. You end up with a "Choc Rock Han Solo Block"... or something like that.

    Chocolate pop rocks

    Use food paints and lustre dusts to colour your finished pieces. I sprinkled extra pop rocks and chocolate rocks on the frosting.

    Thank you everyone for your messages/comments of support. I have read them all, please forgive me for not replying at the moment and I'm going to give Valentines cupcakes a miss this year too... but I'll be back in March with "bunnies" and Easter goodies.

    The Lone Baker xx

     

    Sunday
    Jan152012

    Year of the Dragon Cupcake 

                   Year of the Dragon Cupcake

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    Sshhh, be quiet. Leave me alone, why do you keep talking.

    I'm trying to sleep, cry, I just want to die.

    What do you want? A cupcake to symbolise a "new start"? 

    'Year of the Dragon Cupcake' dedicated to my step son Daniel who is wise beyond his years and the most inspirational person I've ever known.

    January 23rd is Chinese New Year and fondant dragon cupcake toppers look stunning whether made as a gift, as center piece for your tray of pineapple tarts or even a bowl of Chinese candies. Here is how I made mine.... 

    I start with a rough template of what size I want.

    Then I rolled a snake shape from fondant, I'd usually use white but today I've used different colours to illustrate the different elements. Press a toothpick in now so you have a hole for later placement.

    I added scales to the dragons body with the end of a piping tip. Then rolled and shaped spikes and detail from more fondant and adhered in place with water.

    Once that was done I started to build the head, using plastic wrap to support drying pieces.

    Then I added the legs and allowed the dragon to dry overnight.

    Next morning I used a small paint brush to add copper food paint to the body of the dragon and gold lustre dust brushed over the entire dragon to finish, including the back of the piece. I painted the toothpick with edible paint and inserted it into the dragon ready to add to my cake. 

    Happy Baking :)