Saturday, 29 June 2013

AMAZE Balls!

So if you thought the last recipe on the blog for Snickers popcorn was sickly sweet, then I better warn you now, this next recipe is not for the faint hearted. As you would be aware by now, over the next couple of months we are working our way through the top sweet treat crazes for this year. And for this week I decided to tackle my favourite flavour/ingredient on the list.......PEANUT BUTTER! And who doesn't love peanut butter?..... oh unless you are one of those unfortunate people to suffer nut allergies that is! With so many recipes to choose from, (think peanut butter cups, peanut butter brownies, peanut butter cookies and even peanut butter smores and yoyo's), I decided to give you a recipe that is so simple, even the youngest of tackers will be able to help you in the kitchen with this one!

So enjoy this one really......and don't let the guilt get to you too much. Just enjoy each bite and the buttery peanuty crispy goodness :)

Crispy Peanut Butter Balls
(makes 24)

You'll need:

2 cups smooth peanut butter
125g butter
4 cups icing sugar
3 cups rice bubbles
250g dark/milk chocolate melts
300g granulated nuts

Melt the peanut butter and butter in saucepan over a low heat, stirring to combine.
In large bowl, mix rice bubbles and icing sugar together.
Pour melted peanut butter over rice bubble mixture and mix well to combine. You will need to use your hands to ensure mixed thoroughly (but check the temp of the mix first before plunging your hands in).
Form into 4-5cm balls or smaller, and place on tray lined with baking paper. (Tip - wash your hands every three or four balls to stop the balls from becoming sticky)
Chill for 30 mins or until firm.

Place nuts in a large bowl and set aside.
In a microwave, melt the chocolate (use dark or milk depending on your preference) in 30 second increments until melted and runny.
Using a spoon, place a dollop of melted chocolate the size of a 20c piece in the palm of your hand (again check the temp here), and roll one of the balls between your hands to coat in chocolate.
Transfer the ball into your bowl of nuts and coat thoroughly.
Place on a tray lined with baking paper and repeat for remaining balls.
Chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A popcorn flavour that really satisfies!

So true to word, I bring you the second recipe to try off the list of 'sweet treat crazes' for 2013. Now if you're not sure what the hell I'm on about, you can read my last blog here. And if you can't be bothered doing that, then you'll just have to take my word for it that we are working our way through the most popular sweet treats that you need to know about this year!

So for the second cab off the rank I thought I would  kill two birds with one stone....Popcorn and Caramel! A double whammy! Both featured on the list of popular sweet crazes this year and really there was no surprises there. Carmel was listed specifically as 'salted caramel', not a new flavour, but definitely a popular one. And as for popcorn, well you've probably heard me yabber on about popcorn a million times this year, especially when it comes to popcorn bars. So Mr Meko and I decided to experiment a little in the kitchen last night and came up with a popcorn flavour that you may in fact develop some sort of addiction to (take that as our official warning, we've been eating it all day!). Next time you're in for a movie night, definitely give this one a try!

Snickers Popcorn

 You'll need:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
250g unsalted butter
500g brown sugar
2 tbsp water
12 x fun size Snickers
salt flakes to taste

Pop your corn kernels as per instructions on the pack and scatter on to a baking tray.

Preheat your oven to 90c.

Make caramel by combining butter, water and brown sugar in a pot over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mix begins to boil, thicken and is rising to 3/4 of the height of the pot.

Pour over your popcorn and toss gently to cover all the pieces. Bake in the oven for 30 mins, giving the tray a good shake and a toss every 10 mins.

Chop the snickers roughly into pieces and scatter on top of your popcorn and return to the oven for a further 10 mins until melted. Once melted, stir to combine and season with salt flakes to taste.

Serve warm or at room temp....either way be prepared to be taken to a happy place!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

We are going sweet treat craze-y!

Before Mr Meko and I took our mid year break I read an article in the paper on what's trending in sweet treats this year. As you'd know I love following entertaining trends so took a keen interest in this read. The article detailed how thanks to food bloggers (like myself!) and 'eater tweeters', there is a whole new world of food crazes forming. Home bakers are now tackling more challenging creations and experimenting more than ever before with the abundance of video blogs and 'how to' guides now readily available on line. When it comes to listing the sweet treat crazes in the article however, there were really no big revelations there. Popping candy featured, as well as marshmallows, winter ice creams, peek-a-boo cakes, ombre cakes and of course popcorn. Donuts were also on the list as expected, as were sweets on a stick and 'wild pairings' (mixing two odd flavour combos together). Favourite flavours peanut butter, caramel and honey completed the list. You can read the whole article here.

Given all that, I thought it would be quite fitting to work through each of the foods/flavours on the list over the next few blogs and give you some ideas and recipes so you too can incorporate them into your entertaining and parties!

So I thought first cab of the rank should be marshmallows! I've seen a few marshmallow recipes floating around now on line and in Donna Hay etc so no surprises here that they featured on the list. They're definitely a sweet little treat that you can get very creative with when it comes to colour and flavour. So we decided to workshop the homemade marshmallow and came up with rose water and coconut flavour. Very delicate and very sweet, make sure you don't cut your marshmallows too big (even though that looks fantastic!) as they're a real mouthful. Enjoy x

Rose Water and Coconut Marshmallows

You'll need:

1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup hot water
2/3 cup cold water
2 1/2 tblsp gelatine
2 tsp rose water essence
Up to 8 drops food colouring paste (we use AmeriColour in beige)
2 cups desiccated coconut (toasted if desired)

Grease a 4cm-deep, 16cm x 30cm tin. Line the base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.

Combine sugar and 2/3 cup hot water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup turns clear.

Using a fork, combine gelatine and 2/3 cup cold water in a jug. Pour into hot syrup and remove off the heat. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until gelatine has dissolved and mixture is clear. Pour into bowl of an electric mixer and set aside to cool to room temperature (about 45 minutes).

Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat sugar/gelatine mixture on high for 6 to 10 minutes or until very thick. Add the rose water and food colour paste and beat further for 1 minute. Spread into prepared tin. Smooth top with a palette knife and set aside, at room temperature, for 1 hour or until set.

Lift onto a board and using a wet knife, cut marshmallow into squares.

Place coconut in another baking dish and one marshmallow at a time, carefully toss  and coat each one. Remove to a wire rack. Set marshmallows aside until surfaces feel dry (about 1 hour). Serve.

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