lauantai 24. marraskuuta 2012

Charlie and the fudge factory

Why hello there!
We still keep conquering the fascinating lands of candy kingdom. Today we give a chance for a one of the unknowns to introduce themselves at least to me. Chocolate fudge or fudge overall is a bit odd concept to me. It's not something we eat here a lot so that might explain it. But hey, it's chocolate again!

You will need:
4,5dl ( Sugar
2,5dl (1 cup) Whipped cream
100g (3,5 oz)Dark chocolate
50g (1,8 oz) Butter
0,5dl Syrup
50g (1,8 oz) White chocolate
Canola oil for greasing

Start by measuring the sugar, cream, chopped chocolate, butter and syrup into a pot with a thick bottom and mix them well. Keep heating up till the mixture starts to boil and the sugar melts in it. Raise the temperature and boil it for 7-10 minutes or till the "soft ball" level on the thermometer. You can also test the texture by dropping some of that fudge into a glass full of cold water. If you can mold the fudge into a ball shape, the mixture is perfect!
Wait until the fudge is around the body temperature and then you can use a mixer on it get it lighter colored and cooler. Grease the mold and at this point add the white chocolate chunks in the fudge. Pour it into the mold and let the fudge settle in the  fridge for 4-6 hours before cutting into pieces.

As far as I'm concerned, fudge isn't my cup of tea. Yes, I like chocolate and candies overall but this was just way too sweet for me. The recipe was extremely easy so this get some points from that. I'd give 6/10 for this and hopefully someone else finds this perfect :) See you next time chicsters!

sunnuntai 18. marraskuuta 2012

Squishy Squishy

Marshmallows. People either absolutely love or hate these fluffy treats. I happen to belong to the haters... kind of. So I have been extremely enthusiastic to make these different kind of candies. I almost find it even more fascinating than baking itself but don't worry, I'll still keep on baking. :)
I fell in love with this candy making book, reading it over and over again. It is absolutely amazing how simple looking they can be yet they need very careful and patient cook. The chocolate lover in me wanted to prove that I am capable to do any kind of candies, not only chocolates.
The trickiest part of making these puppies was that the candies include all kind of unhealthy stuff. Not like it is a surprise to me but the fact that they don't sell all those ingredients in normal groserie store. It meant that I had to go hunting again. Last time I had troubles with finding some condensed milk, which actually turned out to be easy compared to this. I googled hours to find a simple bottle of corn syrup. It was vital to find it since it's not replaceable with normal syrup. Corn syrup isn't as sweet as normal syrup and it also give the certain kind of texture to candy. It's used almost in every kind of candy you can see on the store shelves.
They sell corn syrup in wholesale and basically the container, better like barrel, includes 30l (~8 gallons) of that syrup. How would I ever be able to use 30l of that to anything?! I barely use 1 tablespoon of that to one batch of this kind of candy. Finally I was lucky enough to find this lovely store which imports american products to Finland. They have a reasonable 500ml bottle of that syrup. For my Finnish readers I recommend to visit Behnford's (WTC Plaza Keskuskatu 7b 00100 Helsinki). Look for the bottle which is on the picture below.

So marshmallows, let's see what we need..

Marshmallow batter:
Vegetable oil for greasing the pan
50 g (1,8 oz) Icing sugar
50 g (1,8 oz) Corn starch
2 Egg whites
400g (14 oz) Fine sugar
1 tbsp Corn syrup
3 3/4 dl (1,6 cups) Cold water
4 tbsp Gelatin powder
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Red food color
Yellow food color

So we start by greasing a baking tray or the greaseproof paper placed on the tray. I feel it's more hygienic with the paper, not a necessity though.
Sift the icing sugar and corn starch into the bowl and sift some of that mixture on the baking tray. I moved the strainer a bit too fast so my powder layer didn't come out too even. Afterwards I can recommend you  to make sure there's that powder all over that, it just comes off a bit easier in that way.

Whisk the egg whites into hard foam and set aside. They might separate a bit but it's easy to be fixed by whisking it some more.
Mix fine sugar, corn syrup and half of the cold water into a small pot on the stove. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. When that has happened, increase the heat and let it boil until it reaches the hard ball stage (130°C, 266 F) I bought a sugar thermometer just for these candy occasions since that shows the different stages between the numbers.
I also want to bring up something important at this point. I went wrong somewhere after this since my marshmallows settled too fast and I didn't get to smooth it up. I'm still not 100% sure what went wrong so hopefully you succeed better in this!
Soften the gelatin powder in the rest of that cold water and proceed with the instructions given on the powder's container. Okay, now we get to the tricky part where you have to be fast.
Right before the sugar liquid reaches the 130°C start to heat up the gelatin on the stove too. When the sugar liquid is the right temperature, mix it up with the gelatin and add the vanilla extract.
Whisk the egg whites nonstop while slowly pouring the mixed liquid into it. Keep whisking until they're properly mixed. Then whisk it again until you can create little soft piles from it, recipe says at least 7 mins of whisking but with me, the batter cooled down so much that it started to settle. So try to hit the perfect time with that.
Divide the batter into 2 different bowls so you can add the food color. A couple of drops should do it but it's up to you what kind of color you want it to be. The recipe still tells you to whisk some more until it's stiff. I shouldn't have and soon you'll see why..
Spread the yellow batter on the tray and then pink one on it pretty quickly. then you should have just enough time to smoothen it out before it starts to settle. Let the marshmallow to settle for about 5 hours.

After 5 hours you can go ahead and sift some of that icing sugar/corn starch powder on the marshmallow sheet. The you can cut into pieces you like and add again some of that powder. In the beginning, they might absorb a lot of it but be patient. :)
Serve right away or keep them in a airtight box.
So up there you can see my attempt with these. By the looks, one could say that it's a total disaster. I had to leave rest of that yellow batter to aside since I got to the point where it was no use to spread on the pink one. It simply just stuck to the palette knife. I should just have done a simple one-color batter and spread it there. My expectations of myself were just too high and I thought it was a piece of cake even though I have never even made these! :D
But hey, how did they taste like?
Honestly, I thought I was eating the actual marshmallows bought from a store. The texture and flavor was EXACTLY the same! We were all fascinated by the fact how close they were to the mechanically produced ones. This process made me understand better the difficulty on candy making and actually kind of like these soft pillow-like candies. All I need to do is to realize the limits of my skills and that way to improve them little by little. 

We see again on the next time when I'm making chocolate fudge so keep the spirit up chicsters!

sunnuntai 11. marraskuuta 2012

The Candyman Can!

It is time for my favorite part! I will dedicate the next couple of weeks for candies and master the art of candy making!
Today we're starting with the easiest recipe I have ever used. This treat is adored by my family and especially by my  dad. Ice chocolate. Looks like any other chocolate but wait, there's more! As soon as you put it in your mouth, it literally melts and spreads the ice cool-like feeling in your mouth without being cold.

Here you go:
200g (7 oz) Dark chocolate
100g (3,5 oz) Coconut butter
2-4 Drops of peppermint extract

Oh by the way, I found these little candy tins from a normal groserie store and here's a picture for my Finnish chicsters in case you're looking for ones. ;)

Just melt the butter and chocolate separately and then mix them together. The mixture you'll have isn't that thick at all so don't worry, everything's allright. ;)

I like to use this little cup for pouring it in the tins since I can have everything under control and it's easier to pour with the little lip on the cup.

After you're done pouring, place the chocolates into the fridge to harden and that's pretty much it. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Happy Father's Day!

It's a good day to be a dad!
Todays post is going to differ a little bit from what I have usually written here. It's basically baking but today's version is going to be a salty cake. For the father's day I treated my dad with this beautiful modern version of salmon sandwich cake. This is actually one of the cakes I made for my graduation party and it was absolutely the favorite one!
Sandwich cakes are very traditional festive food in Finnish culture. There's a lot of bread in it so it was nice to find an updated version of this cake. In this one the cream cheese replaces the bread but it definitely fill you up with only one piece. This cake was actually my dad's only wish for the brunch table so let's dive in it.

Bottom crust:
185 g (6,5 oz) Finn crisps
100g (3,5 oz) Butter
4 tbsp (or more) Milk

Cream cheese filling:
4 Leaves of gelatine
250g (9 oz) Cold-smoked salmon
1,5 Pots of dill (compare to the pot in the picture)
1 Red onion
4dl (1,7 cup) Whipped cream
400g (14 oz) Unflavored cream cheese
75g Roe (prefer salmon roe)
Ground white pepper
Juices from 2 Limes

100-150g (3,5-5 oz) Cold-smoked salmon
200g (7 oz) Unflavored cream cheese
1 Lime

+ 24-26cm, 9,5-10 inch cake tin (this one is made with 26cm and I ran out of fish to decorate the top with so make sure to have some more of that salmon if you're making the cake with a bigger tin)

Okay, let's start by covering the bottom of the cake tin with some greaseproof paper. I also added one of those plastic strips on the edge to make sure to have a pretty cake. The recipe also suggested to oil the edge but I prefer the strip.

Then we move on to the bottom crust. Melt the butter and chop the finn crisps in the mixer. Make sure that the crisp crumbs aren't too big because we want to have a nice and tight crust on the bottom. When you're done with smashing them, mix the crumbs into the butter and make sure the butter has gotten everywhere. Then you can spread it on the bottom of the cake tin. Spread it evenly and press it lightly with spoon so it gets tight. Add some milk on it after that so it get a bit moist and stays together.

Chop the salmon into pieces or use mixer for that. Don't cut it into too little pieces so theres some texture in the cake. Just a couple of turns with mixer!

Alrighty buddy! The we chop the onion and the dill to go with the salmon. Whisk the cream and add the salmon, onion, dill, roe and cream cheese in it. It's pretty thick paste at this point but don't be scared. When you add the lime juice in it, it's easier to spread into the cake tin. :)

Okay, at this point there might be differences with products so make sure to read the instructions for the gelatine leaves. For my leaves, put them into the bowl with 4dl of  cold water for 5 mins. When there's about 2 mins left, start to heat up the lime juice. When time's up, squeeze the extra water off from the leaves and bring the juice up to boil. When you see the first bubbles, melt the leaves one by one into the liquid while stirring.
When each of them have dissolved in there mix it with the filling we made earlier. Make sure to mix it well so the cake settles properly. The we can pour it into the tin and let it settle for 3h before detaching the edge.

Here you see my attempt to fix my mistake. I made the cake for my graduation party with a smaller tin so I didn't take in consider that since the tin is bigger, of course I need to have more salmon.. So I did my best to make it look good. What do you think?
Anyways, whisk the cream cheese, until it softens a little bit so you can pack it all up into the piping bag and decorate the edges of the cake with the cheese. Finally add some parsley around the cake as you will.

So that's it for today folks! For the next couple of weeks I'm going to dive into the world of candy. I can already tell you that nothing beats the home made chocolate or marshmallows! ;) Stay tuned chicsters!