Easy Chocolate and Coffee Fudge with Vanilla Salt

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 x 395g tin of condensed milk
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla salt (recipe below)
  • 1 shot of espresso (or 1 Tbl of instant coffee granules)
  • 2 Tbl golden syrup
  • 180g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of dried fruits / chopped nuts of your choice (I used 2/3 dried cranberries and 1/3 flaked almonds)
Vanilla Salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped
  • 1/2 cup of Maldon sea salt flakes
METHOD:
  1. Grease and line a 20 x 15cm square tin with baking paper (with enough to hang over the sides).
  2. Add condensed milk, butter, sugar, salt, coffee and golden syrup to a heavy-based saucepan. Stir continuously over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved (but do not let it boil whatsoever).
  3. Increase the heat slightly and bring to a simmer (and don’t stop stirring. There’s gonna be a lot of that involved here so get out your best stirring spoon).
  4. Cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and it ‘comes away from the sides’. Fudge is ready when a teaspoon of mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water.
  5. Remove from heat and working quickly, add in the finely chopped chocolate, cranberries and nuts, stir until chocolate has melted then spoon into the tin (work fast otherwise the mixture might seize. Not that it’s the end of the world because it’ll still be delicious).
  6. Smooth the top and let cool for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until firm. Use the baking paper to lift the fudge out of the tin then cut into your desired portions. Store fudge in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Vanilla Salt
  1. Place salt in a shallow dish and add the vanilla seeds. Using your fingers, rub the seeds into the sea salt flakes, making sure it’s evenly distribute.
  2. Store salt in an airtight glass jar with the seeded vanilla pod. As you need it, top up with more fresh sea salt flakes and give the jar a good shake to infuse it with the vanilla pod.
  3. Use it in desserts in place of regular salt or sprinkle it over candies, chewy caramels (my fave), brownies, cakes, tarts !
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Rum Truffles

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g of plain sweet biscuits processed into crumbs
  • 4 Tbl of good quality cocoa powder (approx 30g), sifted
  • 1 cup (approx 85g) dessicated coconut
  • 1 x 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 20-40ml dark rum to taste (feel free to replace with your favourite spirit or liqueur)
  • extra sweetened cocoa (sifted), grated chocolate or shredded coconut to roll the balls in

METHOD:

  1. Place biscuit crumbs, cocoa powder and desiccated coconut in a bowl and give it a quick stir to combine. Add condensed milk and rum and stir with wooden spoon until it comes together in a dough. Chill if it has softened.
  2. Roll into small balls with your hands and roll in cocoa powder or decoration of your choice. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray or plate and chill if serving on the day. If it starts to get sticky and melty as you’re rolling, wack it in the fridge to chill and firm up.
  3. If you are preparing these in advance, place the baking tray of formed rum balls in the freezer. When frozen, store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Apparently (don’t take my word for it because I always devour them quicksmart), these Rum Balls will store for a few weeks (perfect for a busy Christmas).
  4. Best eaten at room temperature.

Note: 1 Cup = 250ml and 1 Tbl = 15ml

Chocolate Banoffee Tart

INGREDIENTS:

Pastry:
  • 320g plain flour
  • 60g cocoa
  • 160g caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 160g cold butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
Pie:
  • Dulce de Leche (either bought, made from a 440g condensed milk tin or home-made, you choose)
  • 600ml pouring cream (35% fat content)
  • 225g good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 large bananas (or 4 small), peeled and sliced

METHOD:

  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and process until it just comes together.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a knead or two to bring it together. Pat it into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 24cm loose-bottomed tart tin (preferably high-edged rather than thin). Roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness and line the tin, trimming off the excess. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Line the pastry with a scrunched up piece of baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice/dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes or so until cooked through and dry to the touch.
  5. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Pastry case will keep in an airtight container for a day.
  6. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate and 300ml of the cream together in a heavy based saucepan over low heat until melted and combined. Cool until it has reached room temperature but still pourable.
  7. To assemble the tart, add a layer of dulce de leche to the bottom of the tart and chill. Layer the caramel with sliced bananas. Pour the ganache into the tin and refrigerate until set.
  8. Whip the remaining 300ml of cream to firm peaks and swirl it over the tart.
  9. Top with grated chocolate and chill for a few hours at least.

Double Chocolate Dulce De Leche Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

(makes about 20 sandwich cookies)

Dulce de leche:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Cookies:

  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbs chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/8 cup high quality cocoa powder (I love Valhrona)
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbs espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbs milk
  • Melted high-quality chocolate such as Valhrona, for coating the outside

METHOD:

  1. To make the dulce de leche, place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk on a perforated insert inside a large pot (such as a cake cooling rack or a pasta or steamer insert) and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a simmer, and simmer over medium high heat, for 2 hours, turning the can twice during cooking. Make sure the can is always covered by water.
  3. Remove can from water and let cool before opening. Be careful when opening it, as the contents will squirt out. If contents are not thick enough, continue to boil until desired consistence is reached (making sure water does not get into can).
  4. For the cookies, combine ingredients until a ball forms. Shape into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut circles out of dough using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter. Bake in a 175ºC (350ºF) oven for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Set cooling rack over a lined half sheet pan. Spoon melted chocolate over cookies.
  7. Spread chocolate out to an even, thin layer over tops and sides using the back of a spoon (can use the spoon to make a design in the chocolate).
  8. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
  9. Spread about 1 teaspoon of duce de leche onto cookies.
  10. Sandwich.

Condensed Milk Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:

Cake:

  • 80 g butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 300-350 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 800-900 g flour

Condensed Milk Cream:

  • 500 g boiled condensed milk – dulce de leche
  • 700 ml whipped heavy cream
  • 500 ml milk
  • 4 tbsp starch – i used corn flour
  • 2 eggs
  • sugar optional but recommended – use as much as you like depending on how sweet you like it

METHOD:
For the layers of your cake

  1. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat eggs, add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Pour the milk, stir well.
  4. Add about 150 g of flour mixed with baking powder and beat until smooth. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don’t worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 20 equal portions… (i weight .. each about 75g). Lightly flour the surface and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it makes as thin as a crepe. Poke the dough with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming while baking.
  6. Bake at temperature 170-180 ºC for 4-5 minutes. Cut out equal circles from each baked “crepe”. Leave the cuttings for decoration.

For the Condensed Milk Cream

  1. Beat the eggs with starch until combined.
  2. Put milk in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the eggs mixture into the warm milk. Low the heat and cook stirring constantly to prevent scorching for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Let it cool for a little bit.
  3. Add the boiled condensed milk. Stir well. Cool. Add the whipped heavy cream and stir again.

Assembly

  1. Each layer coat with the cream (about 4 tbsp). The top layer and the sides coat with the cream too. Decorate with the remains of the cake.
  2. Cool at least 6-8 hours.