Guess who has finished first semester of their final year of university! ME! I cannot tell you how good it feels to be freed from the philosophical mind manipulation of social studies. Well know that I am free, I have chance to indulge in all the baking recipes I have book marker over the past three months. Hahaha good luck to me because I have over 50 recipes saved in my favourites. My poor Google book mark app.
While I love the simple recipes of muffins and quick bread, I think there is something special when you have the chance to tap into recipes that require a bit more love and care. I often like to think of these recipes as rainy day recipes or long weekend recipes; were several days may be required or careful attention to detail is important. For some reason I believe the more work you put into a dish reflects the amount of love you have for the food and the people you are serving it to. Nothing can say I love you more than a homemade chocolate cake or get better soon than a pot of hearty soup.
In this category of recipes I have many foods such as homemade ragu, pasta in werid shapes, homemade cheese, layered French desserts and of course candy making. I remember Nigella Lawson saying this in one of her interviews that people confuse the terms of complicated with time consuming. I fully believe in this statement 100%. Not that making pasta or even a layer dessert is complicated; it just requires a lot of steps which need to be followed exactly. SO in our busy lives I understand how people see it this way; my concentration is the worse after a long day, even dinner can be struggle.
Holidays are the perfect time to engage in recipes like this. What is your favourite rainy day recipe? Or what you booked marked in the last few months that you are dying to try?
I have always been in love with candy making. Caramel so magical, that a few ingredients can turn into so many different food stuffs by changing the temperature you cook it to. Also the possibilities for flavours are unless; lavender and honey is one of my favourites.
I know this cupcake has a few candied items in it but I assure you that it is well worth the sugar work to make these. I was inspired to make these out of pure greed and a might night food brain storm when eating a snickers bar. I noticed the texture on the inside of the snickers bar, sort of looked like the layers of pork belly you get in the Chinese roasted meat stalls (Yep, in my mind meat and candy occupy the same space)
In a desperate attempt to recreate it, I try my had at layering candy together.
On a base of pure vanilla cupcake, I made a vanilla bacon praline which is mixed into the Batter to provide crunchy bits of salty sweet goodness against a fluffy cake. After topping off with a light cream cheese icing which provide a good tang to the sweetness of the cake. I tried to make it look like a rice mound by covering it rice bubbles but this is completely optional.
A long recipe but I just had to share it! Happy holidays people, where ever you are
A FEW NOTES
I have very heat tolerant hands, so working this was ok but I do advise that you be careful with this recipe.
Candies can be made in advance and stored in an air tight container for 1 month.
You need to work quickly with the candy as it does set and makes it difficult for it fuse together.
Very vanilla, bacon cup cake with cream cheese icing.
Adapted from Nigella Feast Best birthday cake
Makes 24 cupcakes
Candied vanilla bacon.
200g cooked rashers of steaky bacon chopped up.
1 vanilla bean pod
300g caster sugar
On a tray line it with baking paper. Toss the bacon and vanilla bean pod seeds together and spread on the tray.
In a large saucepan melt together butter, sugar and water. Continue cooking until it turns a deep golden brown.
Once it has achieved this stage pour immediately on top of bacon, making sure it covers all of it. Leave to cool.
Once cool break up into small pieces.
1 cup of candied vanilla bacon
Preheat oven to 180c. Line two trays of cupcake tins with liners of choice.
In a food processor, place all the ingredient but the milk and blend. The amount of milk to then drizzle in should result in smooth softly set batter ( it should look like custard).
Fold in bacon chips.
Spoon into cupcake cakes and cake for 20 minutes or until tooth pick come clean.
Allow cooling for 10 minutes then move to wire cooling rack.
Cream cheese icing
Taken directly from taste.com>>>Click for recipe
“Pork belly” (Caramel and nought layered with coconut and almonds)
From David Lebovitz
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder
4g + 2g flaky pink sea salt
160 g glucose syrup
200 g sugar
60 g, total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1. Line 2 trays ,20 by 16 cm, with foil and spray the inside with cooking spray. Make sure you foil is over hanging by at least 7cm. This is required for folding the layers together.
2. In small sauce pan add the cream and two tablespoons of the butter. Bring to just below boiling point and set aside to slightly cool.
3. In a medium, heavy duty saucepan, fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup and sugar together. You can swirl the pan around to evenly distribute the heat. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened you should avoid stirring the pan; swirling will do.
4. Cook until the syrup reaches 150C.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, until smooth.
5. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260F (127C).
6. Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter, until it’s melted and the mixture smooth.
Pour half of the mix into each tray and allow to set for 10 minutes. After sprinkle you sea salt on the top.
From SBS-Food safari Italian
250g caster sugar
50g egg white
100g roughly chopped roasted unsalted almonds
50g shredded coconut
In a large heavy base sauce pan, boil sugar, glucose and water to 150C on your sugar thermometer. At the same time cook honey in another saucepan to 120C.
Meanwhile, beat egg whites in stand mixer until soft peaks. Once each syrup mix has reached temperature, slowly pour in to the bowl. Beat for another 5 to 10 minutes until the bowl has cooled to room temperature.
Assembly of lolly
In one of prepared trays of caramel spoon ½ of the nougat on top, smoothing out with a greased spatula. Press in ALL almonds and coconut by covering with a piece of baking paper and flattening it out with a jar as a small rolling pin. DO the same to the other tray but minus the almond step.
Remove baking paper.
Quickly flip the no nut nought tray on top of the other one. Allow to set for 30 minutes.
With gloved hands (wear cotton gloves) Remove the black from the pan. By using the oiled foil shape and press the block into a neat rectangle. Return to pan to set fully over night.
Using a sharp knife, cut your candy in to 3cm by 2 cm blocks for “roasted Pork” or thinly slices.