Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Melted butter, for greasing
175g glace apricots
175g glace pineapple
175g glace red cherries
175g glace green cherries
110g brazil nuts
50g blanched almonds
40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
1 tbs self-raising flour
2 eggs
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
40g (2 tbs) butter, melted, cooled

Method Notes

Step 1
Lightly brush a 4cm deep, 7 x 25cm bar cake pan with the butter to grease. Cut 2 strips of brown paper and 2 strips of non-stick baking paper long enough to line the sides of the pan and wide enough to extend 6cm above the top of the pan. Fold in a 2cm wide border along one long side of each strip of paper. Cut the 2cm border diagonally at 1cm intervals to the fold. Place the 2 brown paper strips into the pan, with the diagonal cuts along the bottom and fitting the fold into the bottom corners. Repeat with the baking paper strips. Use the base of the cake pan as a guide to cut 2 pieces of brown paper and 2 pieces of baking paper and use to line the base of the pan.

Step 2
Position the oven shelf so the top of the cake pan (not the paper) will be in the centre of the oven. Preheat oven to 150°C.

Step 3
Quarter the apricots and cut the pineapple evenly into 6 pieces. Place in a large bowl with the cherries, brazil nuts and almonds and mix well. Set aside.

Step 4
Sift the flours into a medium bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, lemon rind, orange rind and butter. Use a whisk to beat mixture until well combined and smooth.

Step 5
Pour the cake batter into the bowl of fruit and nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until the fruit is well coated in the cake batter.

Step 6
Spoon 1/2 the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan and press down firmly with the back of the spoon so the fruit and nuts are packed in tightly. Add the remaining mixture and press firmly. (The mixture will come slightly above the top of the pan.)

Step 7
Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. (You may need to insert the skewer several times to make sure as fruit can stick to it and be mistaken for uncooked cake mixture.) Trim away the paper extending above the sides of the pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Wrap in a tea towel and cool overnight.

Step 8
Once the cake is completely cooled, remove it from the pan and peel away the paper. Wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap and then in foil and place in a container (or in a larger cake pan) and store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 3 months. 

To serve, use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut the cake into thin slices.



Monday, September 23, 2013

I made peppermint bark for the first time last Christmas and I found it so easy yet such a luxurious-looking treat that I decided I would make it once again for the gifts I am giving to some friends and family. I do not include any peppermint oil or extract in mine, as I like the mint flavor that comes from the crushed candy canes, however you could certainly add it if you want more of a peppermint punch! I’ve also found that trying to actually “cut” the bark doesn’t work so well – a better method is to merely take the tip of a sharp knife and insert it into the bark and apply some pressure, which will start the bark breaking into pieces.

Peppermint Bark

1 lb. dark chocolate (I used 1/2 semisweet and 1/2 bittersweet)
1 lb. white chocolate
6 oz. (1 regular package) candy canes, crushed
1. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) in an even layer on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place in freezer to harden, approximately 30 minutes.
2. Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) on top of the dark chocolate layer. Working quickly before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and gently press into the chocolate. Refrigerate until completehard and set, at least 2 hours.
3. Break into pieces and enjoy!




1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
cup peanut butter chips
can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
teaspoon vanilla
Betty Crocker® white or red decorator icing (in 4.25-ounce tube), if desired
Candies, if desired

Place each of six 3x1/2-inch mitten-shaped cookie cutters, or other cookie cutters in a simple shape, on 5-inch square of foil. Seal foil tightly around outside of each cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet. Lightly spray cookie cutters with cooking spray.

In 4-cup microwavable measuring cup, mix chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, milk and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are almost melted. Stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture into cookie cutter molds, filling to tops of molds. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until firm. Decorate with icing and candies.

Carefully remove foil. Gently press fudge out of molds to serve.