Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Mint M&M Chocolate Fudge #ChristmasWeek #Giveaway

This quick and easy fudge recipe has two layers of both chocolate fudginess and holiday mint M&Ms. Change it up to add the chips or M&Ms of your choice. It's easy to make but hard to give away. You'll want to eat it all yourself.

So, Christmas Week comes to a close with this fifth and final day. Now the actual holiday baking of pecan pies and roast turkeys begins! I told a friend jokingly today that our Christmas dinner was already cooked. All organized! And she took me seriously. Truth is, I don’t have one thing done. Oh, sure! I’ve been making candy and baking cakes and muffins but those are just welcome extras. At our house, there’s got to be turkey and stuffing. Or baked Christmas ham with pineapple, brown-sugar-mustard glaze and those weird cherries that look so cool but that no one eats. Does anybody anywhere eat those?!

The first year I started this blog, I wrote about my grandmother who always made a variety of fudges for presents at Christmas time. It was kind of a competition between her and her sisters to see who made the best.  The two I remember best were a snow white divinity fudge and a chocolate pecan fudge, both of which I’ve tried to replicate.

I think my grandmother would have been thrilled at the ease of the fudge I've made for you today. No thermometers or tricks. Just boil, simmer, mix and pour.

My most grateful thanks go out to our wonderful hosts for Christmas Week, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. Putting one of these events together takes a lot of work before and during and I really appreciate your efforts. Wish I could send you both some fudge!

Make sure you scroll on down to see all the Day 5 treats my fellow Christmas Week bloggers have made for you and enter the drawing for a bunch of fabulous prizes!

Ingredients
3 cups or 600g granulated sugar
2/3 cup or 150ml evaporated milk
3/4 cup or 170g butter
7 oz or 200g marshmallow creme
12 oz or 340g semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup or 9.9oz or 280g Holiday Mint M&Ms, divided in half

Method
Line a 9x13 in or 23x33cm pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray, below to help it stay in place and on top to help the fudge turn loose later.

In a large pot, combine your sugar, evaporated milk and butter over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often.



Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It’s still going to bubble gently the whole time since that is the nature of sugary candy.

Remove the pot from the heat; add the marshmallow creme and chocolate chips, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Then stir in the vanilla and salt.






Pour half of the mixture into your prepared pan and spread it around.

Scatter half of the M&Ms over the fudge.



Spread the remaining fudge over the top. Shake the pan to help the fudge spread out in the pan.

Sprinkle the remaining M&Ms into the fudge. Shake the pan gently again. The hot fudge will continue to spread. Tap the M&Ms gently to make sure they are stuck into the fudge.



Allow the fudge to cool until firm. Cut into squares.



Store in an airtight container. This stuff makes excellent gifts if you can bear to give it away.

Still looking for Christmas inspiration? We’ve got you covered!
And many thanks to our Christmas Week sponsors! 
Anolon is donating a 5-piece Bakeware Set. Swing by their Facebook Page to show them some love. We also have Ball supplying us with 4 sets of Jars in their gorgeous Green Heritage Color. Swing by their Ball Canning and Recipes Facebook Page to say hello. Plus cookies and brownie brittle and loads of beautiful cookbooks! Please be aware before you enter that prizes will only be shipped to US addresses. One winner takes all!



Giveaway Prizes include:
Plus 1 Copy of each of these cookbooks:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Christmas Week participants received no compensation or gifts from our sponsors. Cookbook links are Amazon affiliate links.





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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Mini Bundts #BundtBakers

Homemade dark chocolate mint truffles make these darling little Bundts special. Start at least one day ahead to make sure the truffles have time to set and freeze before baking your little cakes. 

Technically this is not part of the official Christmas Week posts but, seriously, what is more Christmassy than mint? I'm thinking candy canes, After Eights, York Peppermint Patties and all manner of candy bark with crushed mints. I submit to you, nothing is! That is why I was delighted when this month’s Bundt Baker host, Laura from The Spiced Life chose mint as our theme. And since my younger daughter is now home for the holidays, I went with one of her favorites, mint and chocolate. From the time she was tiny, her favorite candy has been those York peppermint patties. It’s a classic combination.

Make sure you scroll on down to the bottom of my recipe to see the mint delights that all the other Bundt Bakers have created for you today.

Ingredients
For the truffles:
1/3 cup + 5 teaspoons or 100ml whipping cream
7 oz or 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used one bar of plain dark and one bar of dark with mint to add more minty goodness.)
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
Cocoa and/or powdered sugar, for rolling

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups or 190g plain flour
1 cup or 200g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup or 40g best-quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup or 150ml sour cream

For the mint glaze:
1 cup or 125g confectioner’s or icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1-2 tablespoons milk

Method
First we need to make the truffles. They are super easy but the chocolate/cream mixture needs time to set before rolling into balls. And then you want to freeze them before adding them to the batter to bake. So, as mentioned in the headnote, start a day early.

The Truffles
Bring the cream just to the boil in a pan or in a microwaveable bowl in the microwave oven. Remove from the stove or microwave and stir in the mint extract and chocolate.

You could eat this with a spoon. Try not to. 

Stir until melted. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator until the mixture is solid, about 2-3 hrs.

Scoop out teaspoons of the mixture and roll into tiny balls with your hands, then roll the balls in cocoa or powdered sugar.

You want at least 24 balls (two per mini Bundt) but will probably get many more since they have to be small to fit in and on the little Bundts. Not to worry. They are delicious and any extras will get eaten. Freeze the truffles till you are ready to bake.

I did half cocoa and half powdered sugar. And yes, there are three big ones. I got tired of rolling when I had enough little ones. 


Okay, so it’s the next day now, right? And your tiny truffles are frozen. On to the cake!

This recipe is from Nigella’s Feast and could not be easier. She chucks everything straight in the food processor but I like to sift my dry ingredients (except the sugar) since sometimes they have lumps. Feel free to follow her method. Original recipe can be found online here.

The Cake Batter
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease and flour your mini Bundt pan or use that baking spray that has flour in it.

Measure your flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and mix well.

Put the rest of the cake ingredients - sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream - into a food processor. Sift the dry ingredients into the processor.



Process until you have a smooth, thick batter.

You could also eat this with a spoon. Try not to.


Put one scoop of batter into each cup. Press one mint truffle into the batter then top with the remaining batter. I put the powdered sugar ones in the cakes and saved the cocoa ones for on top.



Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the tops are springy to the touch. Clearly the toothpick-in-the-middle test won’t work here.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes then turn the Bundts out to cool on a wire rack. I trimmed the overhanging edges off of my mini Bundts to neaten them up but you can leave yours on if you want.



While the Bundts cool, mix up your glaze.

The Glaze
Put the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl with the mint extract and one tablespoon of milk. Stir well.



Keep adding milk a 1/2 teaspoon at a time until you get the pouring consistency you desire. I like a thick glaze but some people prefer thinner so you have to be the judge.

When the little Bundts are cooled completely, pour or drizzle on the glaze. I like to use a piping bag because it’s less messy than actual drizzling and I have more control.



Top each mini Bundt with a little chocolate mint truffle.



Enjoy!

The truffle inside makes a nice minty,chocolate rich bite near the top of the mini Bundt.






Bundt Bakers Logo


Your Bundts with mint! We've got 'em!

What is Bundt Bakers? It's a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Bundt Bakers Pinterest board for incredible Bundt cake recipes and inspiration.  You can find information and links to the recipes for each month in our  #BundtBakers page.

How is the monthly theme determined? We take turns hosting each month and the host gets to choose the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to join in the fun? If you are a food blogger, send an email with your blog name and url to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mulled Wine Fruit Gums #ChristmasWeek #Giveaway


For fans of those chewy little candies called wine gums, this is a Christmas version, full of the spicy flavors of mulled wine with cloves and cinnamon and nutmeg along with apple, pear, orange and lemon. Bonus: Your house smells divine as the fruit cooks down.

Welcome to Day Three of Christmas Week. This event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We hope to inspire you to break out those holiday sprinkles and get your bake on! Today, I'm stepping outside my comfort zone to make chewy wine gums and I hope you'll join me! Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the great giveaway from our sponsors. It's a doozy because one lucky winner takes ALL!

This recipe is based on one from the current Jamie magazine (Issue 54, December 2014) but can also be found online here. I didn't want actual bits of fruit in mine so I changed up the method. If you want bits of apple and pear in yours, do not add the sugar until after the fruit has broken down. I took a quick shot, holding the finish gum, before cutting into squares, up to the light and look how pretty the color is.



Ingredients
Vegetable oil or non-stick spray, for greasing pan
1 1/3 lbs or 600g apples
10 1/2 oz or 300g pears
2 1/4 cups or 530ml red wine
1 cup or 240ml orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons total, divided)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 star anise
3 1/2 cups or 700g golden granulated sugar
4 tablespoons liquid pectin

Plus 1 cup or 225g white finely granulated sugar, for dusting

Method
Lightly grease an 8x8 in or 20x20cm tin and line it with cling film, making sure to come all the way up the sides. I sprayed more non-stick spray on the inside of the cling film as well.

Measure your wine, orange juice and half the lemon juice into a heavy bottomed pot, along with the spices. Peel, core and roughly chop your apples and pears and put them directly into the wine pot.


Add in the golden caster sugar and cook over a medium high heat for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.


Strain the solids out of the pot with a heavy, heatproof sieve. Allow to drain completely, using a spoon or spatula to squeeze all the thick syrupy juice out.


Return the liquid to the pot and add the remaining lemon juice and the liquid pectin.

Boil over a medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 240°F or 115°C or test for doneness by dropping a scant 1/2 teaspoon slowly into a glass of cold water. The syrup should form a ball as it hits the water. If it doesn’t, give it a few more minutes on the stove and try again with a fresh glass of cold water.


Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and leave to cool.

Once it’s cool, cover the surface with another piece of cling film and leave to set for at least 12 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cut the squares apart, put your white sugar in a platter or pan with sides and tip the gum square into the sugar.

Coat it liberally with the sugar then use a greased knife or scissors to cut the squares, tossing the pieces in the sugar as you go along. I found that the scissors worked better than the knife, no matter how liberally I greased it.


As they are made, transfer the sugarcoated squares to a sheet of parchment sprinkled with a little of the sugar. This will give you more room to work at the cutting and coating.


Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



Enjoy!


Needing more sweet treats for Christmas? Have a look at today’s wonderful link list for inspiration:


Many thanks to our Christmas Week sponsors! 
Anolon is donating a 5-piece Bakeware Set. Swing by their Facebook Page to show them some love. We also have Ball supplying us with 4 sets of Jars in their gorgeous Green Heritage Color. Swing by their Ball Canning and Recipes Facebook Page to say hello. Plus cookies and brownie brittle and loads of beautiful cookbooks! Make sure to scroll on down to enter the giveaway!




Giveaway Prizes include:
Plus 1 Copy of each of these cookbooks:
Please be aware before you enter that prizes will only be shipped to US addresses. One winner takes all!

Disclaimer: Christmas Week participants received no compensation or gifts from our sponsors. Cookbook links are Amazon affiliate links.


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