Category Archives: Recipes – Sweet Treats

Oreo macarons with white chocolate ganache



I used to make Oreo macarons with crushed Oreos in the Mac shells. The process is a bit tedious and result not as consistent. Here is a simplier version, by making a simple spleckled shell with an oreo chocolate ganache filling. Still very yum!

Macarons shell ingredients (makes about 40 macarons)

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 150g almond meal
  • 110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 38ml water
  • 1g meringue powder
  • 2 drops of gel colouring, I used black

Filling

  • 120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
  • 60ml cream
  • 4 oreo cookies, blitzed into crumbs

Instructions

  1. Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
  2. Heat cream and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up into small pieces in a bowl.
  3. Wait for a minute before stiring the chocolate ganache. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set.
  4. Mix in Oreo cookie crumbs (about 4 cookies, blitzed into crumbs beforehand).
  5. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of your chocolate ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
  6. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.

Marshmallow


Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit
Home made marshmallows are fun bites to have at any party and as gifts. These squishy bites are cloud-like and melts in your mouth! Perfect for cake decorating or donut-adorning. By adding the fruit powder you prefer, a multitude of flavours can easily be made.

I used Fresh As’s blackcurrant powder here, to give the beautiful purple hues. Check out their range: strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, mandarin, mango, passionfruit, lime…even kaffir lime! Try variations with cocoa powder and freeze dried instant coffee powder too.

Ingredients:

  • 10g gold strength gelatine leaves (about 5 sheets)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 60g water
  • 70g egg whites (about 2 size 7 eggs) 
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 15g Fresh As Blackcurrant powder

Mallowpowder for dusting:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g corn flour

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients for mallowpowder.
  2. Line a small tray (15cm x 10cm) with baking paper. Dust a thin layer of mallowpowder on the paper with a fine sieve. Reserve the rest for dusting later.
  3. Soak gelatine sheets in a container with cold water.
  4. In a small pot, combine 200g sugar and water. Place a candy thermometer in, making sure it touches the sugar. Bring to a boil, till it reaches 130C.
  5. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and 10g sugar together until soft peaks.
  6. Once the sugar water reaches temperature, pour it into the egg whites in a thin stream, all the while whisking. Keep whisking for 3 minutes.
  7. Squeeze excess water out of the soaked gelatine sheets and add to the marshmallow. Whisk till it is combined.
  8. Add fruit powder and whisk for a further 5 minutes to cool the mixture down.
  9. Spread onto prepared tray and use a pallet knife to smooth the top. Leave to set for 4 hours or more. 
  10. Dust mallowpowder on your knife before cutting, and cut in downward motion for clean cut sides. Dust cubes of 3cm x 3cm with more mallowpowder.
  11. Store in a tight lidded box. 

Sugar is ‘water loving’ so it might get sticky if you leave it at room temperature for too long. Try freezing the marshmallow cubes to add to hot chocolates and coffees later on. 

      Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit

      Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


      DSC_7713

      What kind of chocolate chip cookie do you dream about when a craving surfaces? Mine’s soft and chewy, buttery and chocolatey all in the same bite. Warm out of the oven, I can never resist sneaking one before it has cooled down. I especially love having multiple kinds and sizes of chocolate bits in it with it all melting differently, resulting in gooey chocolate yumminess. 

      How flat they go will depend on how warm the butter in the mixture is – the colder it is, the rounder and perkier the cookies will be. Better even, leave the dough in the fridge for 48 hours before baking and they will be perfect. You can add any nuts, chocolate or goodies you like to this recipe – just be creative!

      Ingredients

      • 250g butter, unsalted (room temperature)
      • 1½ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
      • 2 eggs, size 8 
      • 2½ cups plain flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • ½ teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup chopped up good quality chocolate (into a variety of sizes) 

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 200c fan bake.
      2. With a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well combined.
      3. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is well combined.
      4. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
      5. Add flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix well.
      6. Stir in the chocolate bits.
      7. Using a small ice cream scoop, portion and place cookie dough about 5cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
      8. Place dough in the fridge for a minimum of 30 mins and up to 48 hours to firm up. (You can even freeze them!)
      9. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. If using two trays at the same time, switch the trays around half-way through to ensure even cooking.
      10. Cool the biscuits on the tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat them warm then make some more!

      DSC_7712

      They are good as ice cream sandwich cookies too!

      Kohu Road – creamiest dairy-free coconut ice cream  


      If I am going to indulge in a treat, my motto is to go for the best that I can afford. I reckon if I am going to use up my calorie quota on ice cream, it should be an indulgent experience in itself. One of my favourite is Kohu Road, artisan ice cream made locally, in West Auckland.

      Kohu Road uses natural ingredients to make their award winning products. You might have come across their Peanut Butter ice cream that was launched earlier in 2017. My favourite is still Dark Chocolate, made with 72% cocoa dark chocolate making it the most decadent ice cream you can buy. I gave up making my own chocolate ice cream when they first launched in 2007.

      For the past three years, they have been secretly developing a new range. Finally, launched in July 2017, is their new Dairy Free coconut ice cream.

      “We’ve cut out the dairy to leave our customers feeling lighter, healthier and wanting more.” Charlotte Stein, Marketing Executive of Kohu Road gushed as she passed me the new 500ml packs.

      Made with coconut cream, the ice creams are creamy and smooth. Look at that shine! Far superior than any other dairy-free desserts I have ever tried. After tasting these, I would in fact choose these over the normal range. Ice cream identical in both taste and texture, yet with less calories, sugar and fat. Why wouldn’t you?

      This is one of the only products in the world to use monk fruit as a sweetener. Monk fruit is 200 times sweeter than sugar, meaning a lot less is required to sweeten the ice cream.

      The ice creams are also 100% pure, containing no additives, preservatives or stabilisers – only natural ingredients.

      So what did we think after tasting them?


      Vanilla

      These are so light and smooth – they picked up a gold medal at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards: ‘Dairy-Free’ category with judges commenting “clean and refreshing, with a good texture”. Very coconuty and made with vanilla extract and seeds, this is a very nice palette-cleansing ice cream.


      Chocolate

      At first taste, the deep cocoa aroma fills your senses. Next the creamy coconut glides smoothly around your tongue. All the same smooth sensation of the Dark Chocolate dairy ice cream, but without the heaviness. Earlier in the year they hosted a sensory experiment with food bloggers and journalists and the majority were unable to tell that this flavour was dairy-free.


      Strawberry

      The burst of freshness and lightness surprised me – this flavour is our family’s firm favourite. Judges at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards commented “creamy texture and well-balanced strawberry and coconut flavours”. This was a gold award winner and ‘Best in Category’ in the ‘Dairy-free’ category. With 22% strawberries in each tub, it reminded me of the strawberry ice creams at berry farms. Super fresh tasting and I would not have believed it to be a dairy-free dessert.


      Green tea

      The distinctive flavour of Japanese matcha green tea sings out, just like their dairy range. I love matcha and am very happy that I now have more ways to consume matcha.

      Where to find:
      Exclusive in Farro Fresh for the month of August and will be in select Countdown and New World from October 2017.

      I dare say Kohu Road makes one of the best ice creams in the world. Now I have even more choices for the ‘light’ dessert days!

      Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar with Cocoa Puffs


      IMG_20170522_084318_039

      Finally! A gluten free version of my most requested hazelnut chocolate crunch bar for you all! Be warned: it is as addictive as the normal version and super easy to make. No baking required.

      DSC_6441

      What makes these chocolate bars so irresistible? Two things: the hazelnut taste and the cocoa pops crunch. I tested many different type of gluten free cocoa pops before I was finally satisfied with the taste and texture. I settled on Hubbards’ Thank Goodness Gluten free cocoa puffs. These stayed completely crunchy!

      Regarding the hazelnut-chocolate combination, you can certainly change it to suit your latest cravings. Think peanut butter, salted caramel, macadamia butter, almond cacao and also peppermint to name a few.

      You can dress the bars up with whatever you like: a dusting of cocoa powder; hazelnut; hazelnut praline crunch; fresh-dried berries. Or left naked. Your options are endless which makes this an ideal ‘bring-a-dessert’ that *potentially* satisfies everyone.

      Makes one tray, cut bars sized to your liking. I got 39 (3 rows of 13 bars of about 1.5 cm by 8cm)
      For the crunchy Bottom layer:

      • 250g milk chocolate (33% cacao), melted
      • 100g roasted hazelnut paste (Nocciola from Equagold)
      • 125g (about half cup) chocolate-hazelnut spread (or instead of the hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread, you can use the same amount of Forty Thieves’ Cacao Hazelnut butter instead, or Nutella.)
      • 2 cups Hubbards Thank Goodness gluten free cocoa puffs

      For the filling:

      • 400g dark chocolate (70% cacao) broken into small pieces, (I used Solomon’s Gold or Whittakers 72% Ghana.)
      • 400ml cream
      • 65g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
      1. For the bottom layer, line a narrow rectangular tray (or shallow slice box, I used my Tupperware rectangular box) with 2 pieces of baking paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the tray. (This will help you lift the slab off from the tray effortlessly.)
      2. Melt chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water. Once smooth, add the roasted hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread; stir until smooth.
      3. Fold in the cocoa puffs until the chocolate is combined (It should look like a mess!) Scoop the chocolate mixture to the prepared tray. Press the mixture down into a smooth, even layer. Let it chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
      4. To make the top layer, place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it is just simmering and pour over the chocolate.
      5. Shake the bowl a little and let this sit for about 2 minutes, this is so that the chocolate melts smoothly, avoiding any lumps in your final product.
      6. Add the cubed butter and whisk until ganache is smooth. As you whisk, the cream will magically homogenize with the melted chocolate to form a shiny smooth, pourable ganache.
      7. Pour the ganache over the cocoa puffs and smooth with a spatula. Leave in the fridge to set, about 1 hour.
      8. Decorate with whole hazelnuts, hazelnut praline crunch, freeze dried fruits or anything you wish! Place in the fridge to set it a further 2 hours. Slice into bars before serving.

      DSC_6459

      Styled by my little chef.