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Easter Mini Egg Caramel Pavlova

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

A couple of years ago I visited the inaugural South of England Food & Drink Festival. It was one of the best foodie days out my husband and I had ever had. The atmosphere was so family friendly, the food stalls were great, and the indoor country market was full of local organic suppliers.  While we were there we met a couple of local organic egg farmers.  We couldn’t believe what great value their organic eggs were, so we went home with a few dozen which we quickly used up.

As the weeks passed by we completely forgot the name of the egg farmers (and the name of the food festival!), so we really had no idea where we could go to purchase more of their eggs.

Fast forward a couple of years, my husband and I were at watching Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on TV.   They were featuring a segment about food that goes to waste because supermarkets won’t sell it.  And all because it’s just a little bit funny looking!  Jamie and Jimmy visited an organic egg farm in Sussex that sold tiny little pullet eggs (these are the tiny first eggs hens start laying) to the public because the supermarkets won’t buy them because they’re too little. My husband realised that the egg farm that they were visiting just happened to be the same egg farm that we bought our eggs from at the food show a couple of years earlier.

The Macs Farm pullet eggs

Success! Thanks to Jamie & Jimmy we were able find out that the egg farm was only about a 40 minute drive away.  A few weeks later we headed down to The Macs Farm to buy some eggs!  There are several different grades of eggs that The Macs Farm sells.  The majority of the eggs they sell to the public are the imperfect ones that the supermarkets won’t buy. Eggs that aren’t uniform in size or colour, or ones with wrinkly shells (which I’m told are laid by older hens).  They also sell grade A eggs which are the same ones that you can buy in the supermarket.  We ended up purchasing about 12 dozen eggs that day because they were such good value. Yes, 12 dozen! Did I mention we go through a lot of eggs???

The Macs Farm pullet eggs

Buying eggs straight from the farm is much more economical than buying them from the supermarket.  A tray of 30 organic free range eggs will cost you £3.50 from The Macs Farm.  30 organic free range eggs from Tesco would cost you £9.75!

After getting home from The Macs Farm I was inspired to use some of my eggs to create a new dessert for the upcoming Easter holidays.

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

My Easter mini egg caramel Pavlova showcases beautiful fluffy clouds of egg white meringue, sandwiched between layers of whipped cream and dulce de leche caramel, all topped off with a pile of delicious chocolatey cadbury mini eggs. And we all know that no Easter is complete without chocolate mini eggs.

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

I really loved this pavlova.  It’s so light and fluffy, and it won’t leave you feeling overly full after an indulgent Easter lunch.  The added bonus is it’s super duper simple to make and assemble.

I used the Meringue Girls recipe for my pavlova discs, and I’ve always found to be pretty much fail proof. The key to the meringue recipe is to double the amount of sugar to egg whites.

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

Easter Mini Egg Caramel Pavlova

Ingredients:

150g egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
300g castor sugar (must be double the weight of egg whites)
250ml whipped double cream
1-2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 can Carnation caramel
300g chocolate mini eggs (half of them chopped or crushed).

Instructions:

1. Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper, pour in the sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 200°C (400°F) until the edges just begin to melt.
2. Meanwhile, pour the egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it’s clean & grease free). Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed allowing bubbles to form, increase to high and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Egg whites should be stiff enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.
3. Remove the sugar from the oven and begin whisking again at high speed. Add the sugar to the egg whites one big spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 – 7 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar, and it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (200°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and trace four 6 inch circles on the paper (two on each paper). Place a dab of meringue on the bottom corners the parchment, and press down so the paper sticks to the pan.
5. Spoon equal amounts of the meringue mixture into each of the four circles. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the meringue mixture evenly around the circle to form flat meringue discs.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the meringue discs can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with their bases in tact. Let cool completely. The meringues discs can easily be stored in an airtight container will keep for up to two weeks.

To assemble the pavlova:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until soft peaks form.
2. Spoon a large dollop of cream onto a cake plate, and place a meringue disc on top. (The cream will help to prevent the pavlova from sliding around). Spoon a thick layer of the whipped cream on top of the meringue disc, and then drop the caramel in even dollops overtop of the cream.
3. Repeat step 2 until placing the last disc on top. Spoon the remaining cream on top to the final disc, and top with chocolate mini eggs. Serve immediately.

Any remaining pavlova can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two, but the crispness of the pavlova will begin to diminish.

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

Easter mini egg caramel pavlova

And because my Easter mini egg caramel Pavlova has chocolate mini eggs on top, I’m submitting it to a couple of foodie blogger linkups this month with the theme of chocolate.

Simply Eggcellent hosted by Dom over at Belleau Kitchen

Simply eggcellent

Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavendar and Lovage, and Jane from the Hedgecombers

teatime treats

Nutella Espresso Caramel Chocolate Brownies


Helloooo? Is anybody there? It’s me! 


Yeah.  It’s been a while huh? 

I decided that I needed to take a bit of a break from blogging.  Time to just sit back and relax.  To clear my head.  To focus on other things.  

I actually took a bit of a back seat from all things social; which is totally weird because I’m obsessed with social media and just generally being online!  

During my “downtime” I decided to finally take the plunge and start learning WordPress.  Because let’s face it – I haven’t really changed the design of Made With Pink since I started it a few years ago.  I’ve been wanting to move my blog over to WordPress for nearly three years, so I  finally decided to bite the bullet and figure out what I need to do to make the switch.  I’m hoping to have it done within the next few months.  Fingers crossed I don’t break my blog in the process! *If anyone has any pointers let me know!!*


During the last few months I really haven’t baked that much either.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I had to pack up a lot of my baking equipment for a few months.  But as usual, I continued to bake on the weekends so my husband and I would have something for dessert on Saturday nights.  About two months ago I decided it was time to develop a new brownie recipe.  I wanted something super gooey and chocolatey.  Something so good that it would take all your willpower not to devour the entire pan.  

Success!  

I swear to you that these brownies are the best you’ll ever eat.  They’re rich and fudgey, with just a hint of espresso. In fact, these were so good I made them 6 weeks in a row.  Seriously.  I’m not joking!  I love this brownie recipe because it’s super quick and easy.  No need to wait for butter to soften like you would for a cake, plus you’ll only need to use one bowl.  I also made sure that this recipe  made 4 good sized brownies.  As much as I’d love to have a tray full of brownies last me the entire week, it’s really not good for anyone to be eating them everyday.  So this recipe would be perfect for a family of 4, or two hungry adults who want to indulge 2 days in a row!

If you are one of those people who does want an entire tray of brownies lingering in your kitchen to satisfy your cravings for the week, it is pretty easy to double this recipe.

After baking these brownies a few times I decided to drizzle some leftover salted caramel sauce on them that I found in the fridge.  A mighty good addition if I do say so myself, but not crucial to the success of the recipe.  


Nutella Espresso Caramel Chocolate Brownies
Serves 4

Ingredients:

50g Butter
60g Dark Chocolate
30g Nutella
15g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Espresso Powder
50g Brown Sugar
35g Castor Sugar
10g Corn Syrup or Golden Syrup
1 Large Egg
35g Flour (Plain / All Purpose)
Pinch of Salt
2 Tbsp Salted Caramel Sauce (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180ºC.  Line a 13cm x 18cm rectangular dish (or a 14cm x 14cm square dish) with aluminum foil and coat with non stick cooking spray. 

2. In a double boiler combine the butter, dark chocolate, Nutella, cocoa powder and espresso into a medium sized heat proof bowl (metal or glass) and heat until melted and combined. 

3.  Remove the melted chocolate and butter mixture from the heat, and stir in both sugars and the corn syrup until combined.  Add in the egg and stir quickly until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy and starts to pull away from the bowl.

4.  Gently stir in the flour and salt until smooth and combined, making sure not to over stir (no more than 40 stirs).

5.  Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.  If you’ve got some salted caramel that you’d like to use, now’s the time swirl it across the top of the batter.  Bake for 22-26 minutes depending on how gooey you like your brownies.  Make sure not to over bake.   They should be soft in the centre with a few slight cracks around the edges. I like my brownies really gooey so I only bake them for 22 minutes.  

Let cool slightly and then serve while still warm in order to maintain their gooeyness, or you cal let them cool completely to make them easier to cut and handle.  Either way, their delicious!  

Enjoy!  

Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Crackle Cake (or Pie?)


Do you like cake?  Do you like pie?  I like both, and if you do too then you’ll like this cake (or pie – or whatever you want to call it).  I’ve had the idea for this cake (I’m calling it a cake) for a few months now, but only just got around to making it last week.  It turned out slightly different than I had imagined it would, and in the end the line between cake and pie was slightly blurred.  It’s tall like a cake, but has a crust like a pie, and is super ooey gooey inside!


I’ve been on a bit of a caramel apple kick lately which is kinda weird because I usually only think about caramel apple combinations in the fall, and it’s practically Easter! 

I whipped up my latest creation imagining the end result as something slightly different than what it actually turned out to be like, but needless to say I was pretty pleased with the results.  

My cake has a solid crunchy cookie type crust on the bottom and has a layer of cinnamon apples and then a creamy gooey dulce de leche caramel filling. Yum!  But beware!  This cake is sweet.  It’s super duper sweet, so don’t cut your slices too big. 


Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Crackle Cake


Cookie Crust

2 Cups (250g) Flour 
1 1/2 (335g) Cups Sugar 
2 tsp Baking Powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 egg 
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, melted 
2 Tbs Milk  

1.  Grease a 9 inch round Spring Form pan.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Next, add in the egg, melted butter, and milk. Using a spoon or an electric fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together until it forms a dough.  

2.  Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the Spring Form pan, and set aside.  



Apple Layer 

4 Cups Apples, sliced
1 Cup (225g) sugar 
7oz (200ml) Water 
3 – 4 Tbsp Corn Startch 
1 tsp Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp Nutmeg 
1/4 tsp Salt  

1.  Combine the water sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a large heavy pot, and and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly – the sauce should become slightly thickened.  Add in the apples, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Cool and set aside.   



Dulce de Leche Caramel Layer 

8 oz (225g) Cream Cheese, softened 
1 cup (250ml) Dulce de Leche 
3 Eggs 
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, melted 
3.5 Cups (450g) Icing Sugar  

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and Dulce de Leche together until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.   

2.  To assemble the cake, layer the apples on top of the cookie base so that it’s completely covered.  

3.  Gently spoon the dulce de leche mixture over the top of the apples until you’ve used all of the mixture.  *If you pour the mixture directly from the bowl onto the apples the pressure of the mixture may shift your apples all over the place so they’re no longer evenly covering the crust.  Bake the cake uncovered for about 45 mins, or until it starts to brown, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 30 – 45 minutes or until the center is slightly giggly, but not runny.  Once done, cool in the fridge overnight before serving.


So what do you think? Is this a cake?  Or a pie?

Chocolate, Caramel & Pecans. Yum!

So I’ve been MIA for quite a while now.  It’s actually hard to believe that I haven’t made a post in over a month, but my computer’s been broken, I’ve been unbelievably busy and then decided I needed to take a bit of a break from everything. But, never fear!  I’m back, and with loads of baking ideas on my “To Do” list!  And I’ve actually got quite a few things I made over the holiday period that I never got around to posting that I still MUST share them with you guys.  I promise – they’re not too “holiday-ish” so you can still go ahead and make them, no matter what time of year it is.   
My Canadian friends (and maybe even my American ones) will recognize the look of these chocolate blob below.  They’re kinda gooey, kinda nutty and they have a catchy little jingle that goes along with them.  Do you know what they are? 
 
Turtles!!

Turtles are available all year round in Canada, but they’re synonymous with Christmas.  I guess kind of like Quality Street is here in the UK. There’s gotta be a time in every Canadian kids life where there was a box of Turtles underneath the Christmas tree, or when someone brought them over to your place as a hostess gift. 

So what exactly is a Turtle?  They’re pecans topped with creamy chewy caramel that have been covered in milk chocolate.   

Turtles were actually invented in the US, but as far as I’m aware, they haven’t been sold there in about 20 years.   They had about 5 pecans arranged like a star, and and once they were topped with caramel and chocolate they looked a bit like a turtle.  The mass market Canadian Turtles don’t really look like the original version anymore – they have chopped pecans instead of whole ones, and they’re a lot smaller than the original version. 
 
Back: My homemade Turtle.  Front:  A Canadian Turtle
Now, I’m not usually one that likes nuts in chocolate, but these are good.  They’re really good!  And they’re also pretty easy to make!  I’ve come up with a really simple recipe for Turtles that tastes just as good (if not better) than the original!

   

Turtles

50 Toasted Whole Pecans  

40 – 50 pieces of individually Wrapped Caramels (called Chewy Toffee in the UK – Werthers brand) 
1 – 2 Tbsp whipping cream 
300gr (10.5oz) Chocolate Coating  
Silicone baking mat 
1.  If you didn’t buy your pecans already toasted, then toast them now.  You can do this by placing your raw pecans on a baking sheet and toasting them in a 350ºF (175ºC) oven for about 10 min.  Give the pecans a stir once or twice and watch carefully so they don’t burn.  Let them cool fully before moving onto step 2. 
2. Place 2 pecans side by side on the silicone baking mat.  Do this with the rest of the pecans, making sure each pair of pecans is spaced about 2 inches from the next pair.
  
3. Peel the caramel/toffee pieces and place them in a glass measuring cup along with 1Tbsp of the cream.  Melt the caramel/toffee pieces and cream in the microwave on medium high power for 30 seconds and stir.  Microwave again for 30 seconds and stir.  Keep an eye on the consistency of the mixture. It should be a little bit thick, but melted enough that it will slowly flow off of a spoon.  If it’s still too thick, add another tablespoon of cream to the caramel and microwave again for 30 seconds. 
4. Once your caramel/toffee is at the right constancy take a small spoonful, and drop it directly on top of the pecan pairs.  You might need another spoon to help push the sticky caramel off of the other spoon. Let the caramel cool completely once it’s on top of the pecans.  After they’re cool and dry to the touch remove them from the silicone baking sheet and put them on a plate or cutting board. 

5.  Melt your chocolate coating in a glass or metal bowl over a double boiler.  I used the Chocolate Cake Covering from Silver Spoon.  It’s not real chocolate, but it melts, cools and dries well as it doesn’t need tempering like real chocolate.  Wilton Candy Melts will work as well, but you’ll need to thin them down with a bit or shortening or vegetable oil once they’re melted.
 
Once your chocolate is melted, spoon a small dollop of chocolate onto your silicone mat (it should be slightly smaller than your 2 pecans are in width).  Immediately after spooning your chocolate onto the mat, place one of the pecan and caramel pairs directly onto the melted chocolate.  The chocolate should spread just enough to meet (or slightly extend past) the edges of your pecans.  

Now take a spoon full of the melted chocolate and drop it on top of the caramel covered pecans.  Use the back of your spoon to help spread it around. Make sure you’ve added enough chocolate to cover all of the pecans and caramel.  The chocolate should flow down the sides of the pecans so it meets the bottom edges of the chocolate base that the pecans are sitting in.
   
Repeat these steps until you’ve made all of your pecans into Turtles! 

* Now I know there’s a lot of people who are allergic to nuts, or really don’t like them in candy.  If you’re one of these people, I’ve also come up with a nut-less version of the Turtle using pretzels. Pretzels aren’t nearly as popular in the UK as they are in the US, but I did manage to find some star shaped ones in Tesco over the Christmas period that worked perfect for these.  I know that square pretzels are available in the US, but regular knot ones will work just fine as well. 
 
All that you need to do to make nut-free Turtles is simply replace the pecans with a pretzel (or 2) if they’re small.  Then proceed with the same steps as the regular pecan version. 
I realize that when your first reading this, these Turtles probably sound more complicated than they actually are.  I promise – they really are pretty easy, but I admit that they can be a bit time consuming.  But – they’re worth it! Really!

Sticky Caramel Apples

I don’t know when the last time I had a caramel apple was.  A rough guess would probably be over 20 years ago, but for some reason I really got the urge to make a batch this year.  Halloween is quickly approaching which signals the start of the holiday season for me.  It also means that I get to look back on nearly 30 years of Canadian holiday traditions – most of which I don’t get to see here in the UK.

Halloween is a relatively new thing over here, and it’s for kids only.  No crazy adult parties with everyone decked out in costumes, no one really carves a pumpkin or decorates their yards to look like graveyards, and worst of all there are no traditional home baked Halloween treats!  Kids are just beginning to trick or treat which means that the adults who own the doors these kids are knocking on probably aren’t aware that Halloween is making it’s way “across the pond.” 
Over the next few months my blog will be filled with traditional Holiday treats, including some UK ones I’ve grown to love since moving here 2 years ago.  

Anyway, back to the apples!  For North Americans (more for Americans I’d say) caramel apples are a pretty traditional snack around Halloween.  They come in every size and flavour imaginable, and have become pretty trendy lately with specialty stores selling nothing but gourmet caramel apples covered in everything from drizzled chocolate to crushed oreos and gummy bears.  I decided to keep it simple and used finely crushed oreo crumbs and some cute milk and white chocolate stars.

 

Making caramel apples is fairly easy, all you’ll need is some caramels, a small amount of heavy cream, candy to decorate and of course some apples! 

I’m not sure if they sell chewy caramels like this in the UK.  I’ve never seen them, but to be honest I’ve never looked.  I have a feeling that Werther’s Original Chewy Toffee pieces would probably work though.  I bought my bag of Caramels way back in August when I went back to Canada – yeah, they were already selling Halloween candy back then! 

Try using different sizes of apples. I found some cute mini ones that would be good for kids. The one in the middle formed some bubbles in the caramel that look like creepy warts :-s

Caramel Apples

6 apples – I prefer tart ones like Granny Smiths
14oz (400g) chewy caramel pieces
2 Tbsp (30ml) heavy cream
6 popsicle sticks 

1. Start up by inserting a popsicle stick into each apple, and then place them in the freezer for 15 minutes (this helps the caramel set). 

2.  In large glass measuring cup, melt your caramel pieces in the microwave together with the heavy cream, and stir until smooth.  Try melting the caramels for 1 minute, and then 30 second intervals after that.   

3. Take your apples out of the freezer and dip them into the melted caramel using the popsicle stick as a handle.  Start by plunging each apple directly into the caramel, rotating it with the stick to help coat the apple evenly.   

4. Once covered, pull the apple out of the caramel and let the excess drip off.  If you’d like to put any “toppings” on your apple, now’s the time to do it.  Immediately after I take the apple out of the caramel I place it in the oreo crumbs and let it set.  The caramel will set quite quickly if you’re apples are cold, so you’ll also have to work quickly!  Make sure you set your apples on some kind of non stick surface like a greased plastic lid or a silicone baking mat so they don’t stick! That’s pretty much it!

You can eat these apples off the stick, but I prefer to cut mine up into sections and share it with someone else.  I find that they’re quite filling and there’s a lot of chewing involved, so I couldn’t eat a whole one.