Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Sweet Swap 2013 - Homemade Toffifay

If you have been following my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook you have probably noticed sweet goodies I have been posting! These are the fruits of my Sweet Swap experience! What is the Sweet Swap I hear you ask? It's an online event where food and lifestyle bloggers get matched up with 3 other  participating bloggers and send each other sweets from around Australia... all in the name of Charity - Child Fund Australia.

So what did I make to send to 3 lovely fellow bloggers? .... Homemade Toffifay!! It took me ages to narrow down what I wanted to do ... then another long while to figure out if they would make it in the post to their various destinations! lol!

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The story behind my love of Toffifay started during my escapade to the States for my baking course. It was introduced to me by a friend who was also doing exchange. I remember it was in the middle of Times Square, NY when I first tried it - god only knows what hour that was... but I remember that first taste and the gooey chewy caramel encasing a roasted hazelnut (MY FAVOURITE THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD!) It was so amazing and it totally BLEW. MY. MIND.!! A few weeks later in school we were making chocolates with the awesome chocolatier from Switzerland - Fabian Rimann. We were all mucking around with recipes and thus came up with something that tasted so much like Toffifay! It was funny because an Australian, an American and a Swiss all pretty much yelled out Toffifay all together when we tasted it! LOL

Anyways, enough background! Here's the recipe, so spread the word! Toffifay has hit Australia!!!

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Homemade Toffifay
Makes approx 100-110 (can't be sure because I kept "tasting" them along the way)

Ingredients
100 hazelnut kernels (probs 150 g - sorry forgot to measure it but it should fill a small bowl)
500 g cream
300 g sugar
100 g glucose
1/2 vanilla bean - seeds scraped
500 g couverture chocolate (can be milk or dark depending on your preference)

Method
1. Roast the hazelnuts for about 15 mins at 160oC. Remove skins (rub between a tea towel or your hands) and leave to cool down.

Hazelnuts

2. Make your caramel. Place the sugar, glucose and vanilla beans in a heavy based pot. Slowly, melt the sugar - when it is close to being all melted, warm the cream in a microwave and slowly add to the sugar, stirring gently. NOTE - it is important to warm the cream because the sugar goes nuts spits out if you add it 1. cold and 2. too quickly ... dont want anyone getting burnt.

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3. Bring the mixture up to 122oC - stiring occasionally.
4. Once it reaches this temperature, pour onto grease proof paper and let it cool down and set.
5. Using an oiled sharp knife, cut the caramel into 2 x 2 cm squares.
6. The fun part! Take a hazelnut and wrap in the caramel as shown. It should be soft enough to mould around the nut quite easily.

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7. Place in the fridge and allow it to harden.

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8. Whilst the caramel nuts are in the fridge, temper your chocolate. You can do this several ways: 1. Tabling, 2. Seeding or 3. Direct. I used the tabling method as it creates tempered chocolate at a less viscous liquid state but this requires the use of a marble slab so if you dont have this, seeding will also do. You just need to melt 2/3 of your chocolate to approx 46oC (dark) or 43oC (milk). Then add the remaining chocolate slowly to bring the temp back up to 32oC (dark) or 30oC(milk). You should have tempered chocolate once this is done. Dont forget to maintain the temp at the 30oC mark otherwise it will harden and if you heat it too much it will come out of temper.

9. Using a round dipping fork (... or if you dont have one like me and cant be bothered to go buy one... you can just make one from wire - worked for me!), drop the caramel nut into the chocolate then using a scooping motion cover the nut in chocolate and lift it out at the same time. To ensure theres not too much excess chocolate on the nut, when it is on the fork you can do an up and down motion just above the chocolate so that the chocolate in the bowl pulls at the chocolate that is already on the nut.

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This was my homemade dipping fork! Lol looks shonky but sure did the trick!

10. Place the chocolate covered nut on a piece of grease proof paper and let the chocolate set.
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10. You will need to reheat the chocolate up several times during the dipping process as it will start to set on the edges and might get too thick to dip properly. But make sure when you do this you do not over heat! We did that in school when we made them and wondered why the the chocolate didnt set!! The easiest way to do this is use a metal bowl to dip so that when it gets a little cool you can use a blow torch to the outside of the bowl to heat it gently.

11. Toffifay's are ready for your taste buds!! Go nuts!
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The 3 people I sent these to Billy from A Table for Two, Sara from Belly Rumbles and Daisy from Never Too Sweet for Me.

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The Packaging - I placed it in one of my macaron boxes and included a little card explaining what these little morsels were :) So glad they made the trip ok!

Now for what I received!

Hokey Pokey Honeycomb - Cath @ Confessions of a Glutton

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One word - YUM!! I couldnt stop eating this! The honeycomb with the touch of chocolate was irresistible! I ate so much in one go I got a mini ucler on my tongue  .. opps!

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Lemon Myrtle and Thyme shortbread, Peanut Butter Fudge & Caramelised Cornflake Pralines - Monica @ Gastromony
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What a trooper!! She made 3 different kinds of goodies!! It was amazing! All the way from Perth too!! I got the parcel on my way out to the city, so had it in the car with me. As I was waiting for the parking to start I decided to dig in and see what had arrived. As I opened the express bag, I found all these goodies wrapped in about a metre of bubble wrap each! lol It was great. I stuck into the shortbread first. OMG it was sooo moreish!! ... an embarrassing thing happened though, as I was stuffing my face with it a pizza boy walked past and saw. He must've been thinking "you fatty bom bom! Sitting in the car on a Friday night stuffing your face with shortbread!" LOL

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Granola Choc Bites - Keren @ Just one more Spoon

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This was really interesting. I have never really tried puffed rice with Haribo lollies in the same combo before! But it was delicious! Mr Wobbles confiscated these from me and ate the whole container himself!

Thank you to Keren, Monica and Cath for all these lovely goodies! It was such a nice feeling to receive something in the post that I knew were especially made for me! :) And thanks to Sara & Amanda for organising The Sweet Swap! Was such a fun experience!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scotch Eggs and Easter

So, before I start I just wanted to share this with you all.. I was settling into bed with my Mac about to write this post when my leg brushed up against Mr Wobbles (dont worry this is pg rated), there was an insane amount of static which felt really weird so we kept "staticing" each other with our arms and legs then we stopped for a little while and when our elbows touched we both got a massive zap! How weird is that??!?! We both were on our Mac's .. wonder if the laptop emits some sort of electricity which then created a current between us hence the zap? Has this happened to anyone else before? Surely cant be good if the laptop is emitting this "free electricity"? ... anyways, sorry enough physics already.

My post today includes a recipe and tips on how to make a quick and easy Easter Cake! I haven't done a recipe in a while so thought this would be a good one to share. I attempted to make Scotch Eggs the other day. What is a Scotch Egg? (Thats what I asked when  Mr Wobbles mentioned it to me) Its an egg thats incased in sausage meat, crumbed and fried. I have never heard of it and have never had it before which was why I decided to make it.


Gourmet Scotch Eggs
Adapted from Taste.com

Ingredients
9 eggs
500 g good quality pork sausages
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp thyme leaves
3/4 cup plain flour - salt and pepper to season
100-125 g panko breadcrumbs
30 ml milk
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method
1. Place 8 eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2 mins. Remove from heat and place eggs into iced cold water. Set aside.
2. Remove the sausage meat from the casing. Add herbs and mustard then mix until it comes together evenly (do not over mix). Divide the mix into 8 patties.



3. Carefully peel the eggs, then encase each egg in the meat patty. To do this, just gently push the meat around the egg and cup in hands to secure the meat around the egg. Chill 15 mins

4. In 3 separate wide bowls, place the flour (seasoned with salt and pepper - go easy on the salt), then whisk the remaining egg with the milk in another bowl. The last bowl will have the panko crumbs.
5. Roll the eggs in the flour first, then the egg/milk mixture, lastly the panko crumbs. It's easiest if you have a spoon in the egg/milk mix to help you turn over the egg. Chill for 15 mins.

6. Preheat oven to 170o C.
7. Place enough oil in a deep wok or pan to fill at least half way. Heat the oil up to 190o C, the crumbs should fry instantly. Deep fry the eggs in batches of 2 (you may need to flip it over if the oil doesn't cover the egg entirely) until golden brown. Place on a tray and bake in the oven for another 10 mins or until meat is cooked. When done place on absorbent paper to remove excess oil. Serve warm or cold, with mustard or tomato sauce.

My verdict? - I quite liked it, I think I went a bit heavy on the thyme but it was quite a moorish thing to have. Apparently, mine tasted nothing like a Scotch Egg.. Wobbles dubbed it the gourmet Scotch Egg but I wouldnt know because I haven't had a "proper Scotch Egg" before. Either way, I thought it was really yummy and although its meant to be just a snack thing I could easily have a few of these cut up in a salad for lunch or dinner :)

On the sweet side (I couldn't write a Dainty Baker post without something sweet) here is a quick little cute Easter cake I made for this weekend.

Easter Cake 2013

This is a quick "premade" cake that you can whip up in a few mins (depending if you already have the cakes baked and cooled). Guaranteed to wowsers your family and friends!

Things you will need:
2 x 8 inch cakes (or what ever size you want) baked and cooled. I didn't use a pre-made cake already bought as I baked my moist carrot cake the night before.
Icing/frosting - Cream cheese frosting in this case.
Chocolate wafer cigarettes - you can substitute this with anything pre-made really.. Kit Kat's, chocolate fingers, sponge fingers etc. I used 9 packs of the lunch sized Corinthians wafers approx 72 cigarettes
Chocolate easter eggs
Chocolate easter bunny
Block of chocolate
100's & 1000's
2-3 skewers
Ribbon

Assembly:
1. Just ice your cakes and stack. Then place the wafer cigarettes around the iced cake.

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2. Using a peeler, "peel" curls/shavings of chocolate from the block of chocolate. You need to be gentle and not push too hard.

3. Securing your bunny - Push one skewer into the cake, mark where the top of the cake is. Remove skewer and cut the skewer where the mark is. Use this as a guide to cut 3 more of the same size. Depending on how high your cake is you may need 1-2 skewers. Arrange these in the cake so that they will support the 4 corners of your bunny to sit on. With the remaining skewer, carefully push/twist into the middle of the underside of the bunny. Place a generous dab of icing in the middle of the 4 skewers already in the cake. Then place the bunny with the skewer in it into the cake. The 4 skewers will ensure that the bunny doesn't sink into the cake and the large skewer through the middle will ensure that the bunny doesn't topple over.

4. Scatter the easter eggs and 100s & 1000's over the chocolate shavings.

5. Finish by placing a bow around the whole of the cake and around the bunny's neck.

Easter Cake 2013

Easter Cake 2013

Wishing everyone a CHOCOLATEY, FANTABULOUS & SAFE EASTER!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wedding Mania

I'm at the stage of my life where most of my friends are either getting engaged or married! .... But recently one of my best friends got engaged and of course I have been dubbed her cake maker (and bridesmaid)! This is going to by my first time in a bridal party so I'm uber excited!! To get me in the mood I've decided to put together a Wedding special's post today! Below showcases some of the recent wedding cakes I've made for some lovely brides this year.

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And here... are some happy snaps of her engagement cake that I made for her engagement party. The top tier was double choc and the bottom 2 tiers were white choc (which was a massive hit!)

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♥ Congrats my lovey!! ♥


Oh and a few weeks back I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for an article by News Local. They wanted to find out what it was like being a baker and having my own business as a career... It was a little nerve racking but I'm glad I did it :)

Here's one version of the article:  
It was printed in the Mosman Daily, North Shore Times, Hornsby Advocate, Northern District Times and Manly Daily. I've only seen the one in the Mosman Daily so if you've seen a different version please let me know! :)

Rhonda Article

Monday, February 18, 2013

Early 2013 update!

HELLLOOOoooOOOoooOoooo....

I know I know, its been a while since my last post. I do apologise.. yes its the usual "sorry I've been busy" line I'm gonna throw at you ... but its true! I've been meaning to get a post out but everytime the thought of having to collate, review and edit pics etc was just too much, so I probably went and baked, ate or slept (seems all I've been doing lately).

So, enough whinging about nothing... Life's been great lately actually.. let me show you some seriously cool cake designs that have kept me on my toes :)

Arianna 

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This was such a sweet cake, the bunting was made from entirely edible gumpaste and prints. It was made for a garden themed party.

Lion King

One of my childhood favourites!! Hakuna Matata!!! ♥

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Hootabelle

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The first I heard of this sweet little owl was when I was asked to make this cake.. I'm thinking to myself.. who is Hootabelle? What happened to good ol' Sesame Street? ... guess I'll be kept up to date when I have a bubba of my own. 

Rubber Ducky

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Funnily enough, this ducky coincided with the giant ducky that was on display in Sydney Harbour at the time...but that wasn't my inspiration for this cake.. it was the request of a bubble bath/rubber ducky loving toddler :)
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Netherlands Soccer Fan

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I dont really know anything about soccer, but I hope I did the team and their jersey justice!

All Stars Cake

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This cake was super cool!! I was quite stressed out about it to be honest. Mainly thinking how am I going to balance the ball and more so the football on each tier of cake! After alot of engineering thoughts I managed to stabilise each tier.. hardly moved at all during delivery! Not to mention the whole thing was edible!
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Sweet Girly

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Loving the colours on this cake. There's only one word which comes to mind - "sweet"!

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Before you ask, yes it was for a real cop! And no, he didn't come in uniform to collect the cake... much to my sisters disappointment lol!

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Hope everyone has been well and enjoyed the break. I know we're in February already and lots of events have passed but still wanna wish everyone a...
Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Hei Fat Choi! xxx