Easter Caramel Cheesecake Feat. Hotel Chocolat

Easter Caramel CheesecakeThe last time I blogged an Easter baking recipe was three years ago when I shared a lovely, but rather garish, green cake. Bright green icing, fake mini eggs, butterfly sprinkles and Malteser bunnies, it was delicious but not the classiest looking of desserts. When these glorious looking Easter treats* landed on my desk from Hotel Chocolat I decided to put them to good use and make a more grown up, but still eye-catching, dessert.

Easter Caramel Cheesecake Easter Caramel Cheesecake

In my package I received A Dozen Quail Egglets which include two each of the flavours Chocolate Mousse, Salted Caramel (one of Hotel Chocolat’s best flavours IMO), Peanut Butter, Raspberry Supermilk, Strawberries and Cream and Hazelnut Praline. This is an extremely nice set with a wide range of flavours that would make a perfect gift for any adults you have to buy for this Easter. I also received a set of the Caramel City Bunnies, a sophisticated take on the ever popular Easter Bunny motif. I love his little tie, he looks like he is ready to take the Caramel Bunny out on a date – which gave me my inspiration….

Easter Caramel Cheesecake

…Lets make No-Bake Caramel Cheesecake with caramel, Caramel, and even more caramel!

Ingredients

For the (buttery biscuit) base you will need:

300g biscuits – I like digestives and especially chocolate digestives best but you can use any that gives a good ‘rough’ crumb, such as Oreos for a richer flavour

125g melted unsalted butter

For the filling you will need:

284g (family pack size) full fat Philadelphia or similar cream cheese – mascarpone is also a good one to go for

75g icing sugar

100g  Carnation Caramel or similar

150ml double cream

150g Dairy Milk Caramel (chopped up)

To decorate, I used:

Carnation Caramel

Canned whipped cream

Hotel Chocolat Caramel City Bunnies

Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Quails Egglet

Galaxy Golden Eggs.

Method

  • Blitz your biscuits in a food processor (or smash in a bag with a rolling pin if you’re old school/have something you’re cross about). How fine is up to you, I like quite fine but don’t mind the odd chunk, especially if it still has chocolate on.
  • Stir into the melted butter.
  • Press into the bottom of a 11 inch loose base baking tin. Leave in the fridge to set while you prep the filling

Easter Caramel Cheesecake

  • Whisk together the cheese, caramel and icing sugar until smooth. Remember to taste it during this and the next step: if you need it to be sweeter, add more sugar; if you want it to be richer, add more caramel.
  • Pour in the double cream and keep whisking until it thickens. It needs to be thick enough to form peaks so best to use an electric whisk for this one. It is ready when the peaks stand on their own:

Easter Caramel Cheesecake

  • Next, stir in your chopped chocolate.
  • Spoon over the biscuit base and spread evenly. Return this to the fridge for at least 5 hours.

Easter Caramel Cheesecake

Finally, we have reached the most fun stage – the decorating and the eating! I added the Caramel drizzle before removing it from the pan (for tidiness sake mostly). You may need to put a knife round the pan to loosen the biscuit base when removing it. Then I added some squooshy cream, the lovely little bunnies and a golden egg nest.

Easter Caramel Cheesecake Easter Caramel Cheesecake

I think it looks lovely. Still lots of fun, but a distinctly grown up affair for adult who kind of wish the Easter bunny was real. I love how the cream gives the look of little cotton tails on the bunnies. And because I did all the work, I’m definitely going to make sure that Egglet ends up on my plate…

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has put you in the mood for Easter – tell me, what is your favourite Easter treat?

 

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Tipple Box | Pre-order at Indiegogo

Tipple Box Preview

The reason that I love subscription boxes is that it is essentially getting a little gift for yourself. There is literally a box that fits everyone, whether you’re a beauty lover, a stationery geek or a massive foodie. And if you’re a bit of a lush (in a good way of course), well, there’s a new box on the scene for you. Meet Tipple Box.

A start-up from Edinburgh, Tipple Box offers a monthly delivery of everything you need to enjoy a cheeky craft cocktail. The kit includes the alcohol, mixers, garnishes, recipe and even the shaker. All you need is a glass and some ice. Each kit includes enough for up to 8 servings so enough to add a dash of flair to a cocktail party or for a pretty fun night in yourself (ahem, drink responsibly folks!). You’ll be a cocktail connoisseur in no time, wowing your chums with your refined taste and mad mixology skills.

The Tipple Box service costs £24 per month (just £3 per cocktail) but you can pre-order the first box for just £20 at Indiegogo here. This closes on November 15th 2014, so be quick! You definitely don’t want to miss out on the craft cocktail revolution.

Tipple Box

I have a sneaky peek at one of their first cocktails for you as a taster of what you can expect. This is the Lady Marmalade (I would have called it The Paddington Bear but maybe beloved childhood characters aren’t an appropriate reference point for cocktails):

1. Fill half of your Shaker Jar with ice (we recommend the crushed stuff)
2. Pour one bottle of the Chase Marmalade Vodka into the Shaker Jar
3. Pour half a bottle of the Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade into the Shaker Jar
4. Add half the jar of the Tiptree marmalade
5. Slice your lemon in half, squeeze the juice from one half into the jar (don’t use it all, you’ll need the other half for garnish)
6. Put the lid on the jar, hold on tight and shake for 10 to 20 seconds
7. Pour your Lady Marmalade into ice filled glasses or drink straight from the jar
8. Garnish with a slice of lemon
9. Repeat for a second jars worth

Doesn’t that sound delicious?! The ingredients are all sourced from high quality, premium suppliers which I think will make Tipple Box really stand out. You know you are getting great quality and good value for money here.

I personally can’t wait to start honing my cocktail skills – it’s certainly going to liven up X Factor night! I’m really excited for this new venture and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop. For more information and to pre-order visit the campaign page here and their website here.

Cheers!

#BEDM | Easy Peasy Lynchburg Lemonade

:ynchburg Lemonade

Today’s topic is “the best thing about being an adult”. Does it make me sound like a total jakey to say alcohol? Well maybe it does, but who cares, let’s not take this too seriously. My favourite cocktails are currently ones that involve a slug (or two) of Jack Daniels. Unfortunately, the multitude of ingredients needed can make home-made cocktails kinda pricey and time-consuming. My solution – simplify the recipe, stick it in a fancy drink receptacle and no one will be any the wiser.

Here’s my super simple, barely-even-a-cocktail recipe for Easy Peasy Lynchburg Lemonade:

Per drink:
1 shot Jack Daniels
2 drops Angostura Bitters
Half teaspoon caster sugar
top up with cloudy lemonade.

Shake in a cocktail shaker, pour into ye olde fashioned lemonade bottles, serve with a paper straw and await the oohs over your fancy cocktail making skillz. Simple right? You can make this even better but switching out half of the lemonade with raspberry juice and squishing a couple of fresh raspberries in there. Now that is fancy!

 

Ginger Jack Cocktail

Ginger Jaack CocktailIt’s Fridaaaayyy! What you drinking? This is the real Black Friday for guys and gals who work in bars across the country, it being the last Friday before Christmas. Can you say ‘office party’? For people who want to avoid the madness, here’s my current favourite tipple to have while lying on the couch. And on the coffee table when things escalate.

Ginger Jack Ingredients

  • Fill a tall glass with ice.
  • Add one shot of Jack Daniels. Or two if you are mental.
  • Top with Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. I like this one as you’re doubling up the alcohol but you can use non-alcoholic ginger ale of course. I love Bundaberg but it’s a little tricky to get in the UK. Old Jamaica is a good choice if you like it spicy.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge (give it a good squeeze before you chuck it in though).
  • Optional – if you find it a bit sharp, or just like things a bit sweeter stir in a teaspoon on castor sugar.

I think drinks with ginger in them are quite festive so this is a really easy cocktail to put on it you’re throwing a Christmas soiree. As a bonus, it’s not pink or fruity so won’t isolate your macho guy chums. Not that it should matter but apparently it does to some.

Cheers!

Halloween Candy Bark

Halloween Candy Bark

The best thing about Halloween is the sweeties, right? Spooky themed chews, the brief return of Creme Eggs under the guise of Screme Eggs (LOL), orange French Fancies! So feeling inspired by MilkBubbleTea, I thought I’d combine these into some ‘candy bark’. Although not the French Fancies, I just ate them. Candy bark is basically just slabs (usually chocolate although can be toffee etc) chopped or snapped into rough shards. It’s popular in the States, especially around Christmas time when everyone makes peppermint bark, hence the ‘candy’ and not just ‘chocolate’. Anyway, let’s get on with it…

Halloween Candy Bark ingredients

Ingredients:
1 large bar milk chocolate.
2 large Milkybars (only 1 pictured) other white chocolate is fine if you can find a large, plain bar – this was all they had in my local shop.
Selection of Halloween themed sweets. I used Fizzy Jelly Tadpoles, Spooky Treats from the Natural Confectionery Company and mini Cabury Screme Eggs.

You also need a flat baking tray lined with tin foil, cling film or grease-proof paper, a sharp knife and some space in the fridge.

  • Melt the milk chocolate. I always recommend using the bain-marie method (glass bowl over a pan of boiling water), the time saved with the microwave is not worth the risk of burning chocolate to me.
  • Pour into the lined baking tray and pop into the fridge to set.

Halloween Bark

  • Melt the white chocolate. Pour over the set milk chocolate.
  • While still warm, pop on your decorations.

Halloween Candy Bark

  • Pop into the fridge to set.
  • Once set, take out of the tin and peel off the tinfoil/paper/whatever you used. Chop into shards and serve.

Halloween Candy Bark

What are your favourite Halloween treats?

Confetti Cookies

Who would like a cookie?

Confetti cookiesI wanted to try something else with my neon sugar sprinkles that wasn’t a cupcake so I went for these Confetti Cookies. They are adapted from a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I just swapped the chips for sprinkles, believe me though, if I had both they would be going in.

Ingredients:
250g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200g soft light brown sugar
100g castor sugar
150g unsalted butter (melted)
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mixed neon sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 170c or 150C for a fan oven. Makes 12 approx.

  • Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together
  • In a separate bowl, mix the sugars and the butter together
  • Mix the eggs and vanilla extract and add to the sugar and butter. Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add to bowl with flour. Mix until just blended.
  • Stir in the sprinkles
  • Blob tablespoons of mixture onto a greased baking tray. Do not flatten, they’ll do it themselves in the oven. MAke sure you leave space between them, I used two baking trays with six on each but they still joined up. Four per tray would be better.
  • Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

When you put your tray(s) in the oven, make sure your oven shelf is straight or you’ll end up with a cookie corner like I did!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis recipe makes lovely chewy, soft cookies. Use the same recipe for your chocolate chip cookies too, it’s the best one I’ve found so far.

Neon Cake Pops

Neon Cake Pops

While mooching about Tesco the other day I spotted the ultimate summer cake accessory – Neon Sugar!

Neon Sugar

Look how pretty it is! I didn’t think a cupcake would do justice to these sprinkles so I decided to bite the bullet and finally attempt cake pops.

Cake pop ingredientsIngredients:
Betty Crocker Red Velvet Cake Mix
3 eggs
205ml water
4 and a half tablespoons vegetable oil
Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing
Vanilla flavoured Candy Melts
Neon Sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C for a fan oven.

  • Make the cake mix as instructed. Leave the cake to cool thoroughly .
  • Crumble the cake into a large bowl until it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Mix three tablespoons of the icing into the cake mixture. It’s best to do this with your hands so that you can ensure that it is not getting too sticky or is not too dry.
  • Form the mixture into balls (smaller is better) and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  • You can either use lollipop sticks to make cake pops or you can stick to cake balls.
  • Melt the Candy Melts over a pan of water. They melt fast so keep an eye on them!
  • Dip the cake balls into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the Neon Sugar. Leave to set.

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Don’t be afraid of cake fails! Make the balls too big and they wont stay on the stick. Too dry; same problem. But it’s ok, the crumbs are still tasty and you can munch them while lovingly decorating the rest to share.

Cake pop fail

Oh but look at them when they work out!

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Yeah! Matching your treats to S/S ’13 trends! Still got half a tub of the Neon Sugar left…hmm…whats next?