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Mmm, mmm, muesli bars

29 Apr

Muesli bars

At home with the kids.  They’re making things with salt dough; I want to make something but for some reason cupcakes are not calling my name today.  I check out the pantry – there’s a big, fat bag of leftover muesli that my husband obviously decided he didn’t like, after having eaten half the bag… it’s been there a while.  Muesli… muesli bars.  Hmmm…

I searched online for some recipes but they were mostly heavy on the seeds, which I’m not a fan of.  I then looked at some old school cook books and got a bit of an idea of the ratios, and came up with my own (very flexible) recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups muesli (containing dried fruit)
  • 1 cup puffed rice
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (or alternatives as below)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC
  • Line a 12″ x 8-9″ slice tin with baking paper
  • Place butter, honey, syrup and sugar in a heatproof jug/bowl and microwave for 1 minute
  • Stir to combine, until butter melts and sugar starts to dissolve
  • Microwave for 1 minute to cook the syrup, then stir for a few minutes until the sugar feels dissolved
  • Microwave for 30 seconds to thicken syrup and stir again
  • Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Pour the syrup over the dry ingredients and stir well to ensure all ingredients are wet
  • Press the mixture into the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Once cooled a bit, place tray into the fridge and allow the slice to chill, before cutting into squares or bars

Notes:

  • I used muesli because that’s what I had on hand; it contained rolled oats, bran cereal (the little “sticks”… heyyyyy, what if they really are just… never mind), sultanas and some kind of dried fruit and some kind of seeds.  If you just use rolled oats, I would decrease the muesli by half a cup and replace with half a cup of dried fruit/nuts/seeds (in addition to the half cup of sultanas (or alternative), so in the end you have about one cup of fruit/nuts/seeds in total).  Even though the muesli already had sultanas in it, I love them so still added the full extra half a cup.
  • Options for “dried fruit/nuts/seeds” could be: sultanas, apple, apricots, dates, currants, raisins, berries, choc chips, crushed nuts of any kind, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax seeds etc
  • You could substitute the puffed rice with other kinds of cereals – corn flakes, bran flakes, bran sticks, or something flavoured, if that’s your bag (or more rolled oats, even)
  • You can stick with honey if you don’t have (or want to use) golden syrup, but I like the flavour it adds
  • If using all honey, you could consider using brown sugar instead of caster sugar for a flavour twist
  • I don’t see why you couldn’t use a sugar substitute in this, but I haven’t tried it so don’t take my word for it – I guess if you use the stuff often, you will have an idea of whether it would work or not

Muesli bars

I wasn’t sure what the kids would make of these (they don’t particularly like store-bought muesli bars), but they quite liked them.  I was a fan from the moment I combined the syrup with the oats – it smelled awesome (and I may or may not have licked the stray oats from the palms of my hands as though it were possibly my last meal, after I had pressed the mixture into the tin).

There are a lot of ingredients and they look like they’d be more trouble than they’re worth, but they are extremely easy and the end result is really good.  And I know it kind of defeats the purpose of making bars, but they are totally awesome crumbled into vanilla yoghurt.

Nanna’s choc coconut slice

25 Apr

Choc coconut slice

Giving credit where it’s due – this is my grandmother’s recipe.  She used to make it often when we were kids, and it was one of the things we specifically requested.

Awesome with a glass of milk (but then, what dessert isn’t?).

Choc coconut slice

Ingredients – slice:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 250g butter, melted

Ingredients – icing:

  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 tsp cocoa
  • 2-3 tsp water

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC
  • Line a 12″ x 9″ slice tin with baking paper
  • Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together
  • Pour melted butter over dry ingredients and stir to combine
  • Press into tin and bake for approx. 20 minutes
  • Leave in tray to cool
  • Combine all icing ingredients and mix together
  • Whilst slice is still slightly warm, spread icing on top and sprinkle with more coconut

Om-nom-licious.

Lemon cheesecake slice

17 Apr

Lemon cheesecake slice 

I got this recipe from a friend who absolutely raved about it.  I’ve never found a recipe as good as the $2 frozen cheesecakes at the supermarket, so I was like “yeah, ok, whatever” and in no hurry to try it.  However…

HOLY CRAP THIS IS SO GOOD!!

I am not a fan of baked cheesecake and prefer the chilled variety, and I have never tasted one as good as this.  Seriously.

It’s just a biscuit crumb base, a layer of cream cheese mixed with condensed milk and some fresh lemon juice, with a layer of whipped cream on top (yes, there is cream on top of the slice in those photos – I know it’s the same colour as the filling, but it’s definitely there).

I jigged it a little bit – here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain, sweet biscuits (crushed)
  • 125g butter (melted)
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 395g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • Juice of two lemons (approx 1/3 – 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tsp gelatine
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Combine crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 12″ x 12″ square tin (or similar – could also use a round springform tin to make a ‘cake’)
  • Refrigerate base
  • Mix cream cheese (preferably room temperature) until smooth
  • Continue mixing, and drizzle in condensed milk until combined
  • Put gelatine in warm water and allow to thicken
  • Drizzle in lemon juice and mix until combined
  • Add gelatine mixture and mix until combined
  • Spread cheese mixture over prepared base
  • Refrigerate slice
  • Whip cream, icing sugar and vanilla
  • Spread or pipe over top of slice

You could probably cut and serve immediately but it’s better if you can refrigerate it for at least a few hours, or overnight, before cutting.

If you want an extra lemon hit, add some rind somewhere (in base or cheese mixture, on top of cream, etc).

Lemon cheesecake slice

My tweaks to the recipe were as follows:

  • The addition of gelatine and water to the cheese mixture (mine was looking a little thin and I was worried it wouldn’t set properly)
  • Adding the icing sugar and vanilla to the cream (I always do this as I prefer the taste over plain whipped cream)
  • Using a biscuit crumb base (the recipe I was given used Lattice biscuits as the base, but I don’t like the idea of that at all!)

Now, pay attention, kids – you cannot just leave out the lemon juice if you don’t like lemon.  The lemon juice is actually the setting agent – if you leave it out, it will stay runny.  Lime juice should work fine, but orange juice will not.  If you want another flavour (I’m going to try plain old vanilla, soon), then you’ll need to up your gelatine to maybe 4-6 tsp.  Don’t take my word for it, because I haven’t tried it sans lemon yet…

Lemon cheesecake slice

I took this slice to work for a morning tea and pretty much everyone (even people I’ve never really spoken to before) commented on how good it was.  People were still mentioning it hours later.

You’re welcome.

Caramel slice with double chocolate ganache

13 Apr

Caramel double ganache slice

I haven’t made a slice for ages (who needs slice when there are cupcakes?!), but I thought I’d do something different for once.  Biscuit crumb base, caramel filling, then a layer of both white and dark chocolate ganache.

The only cooking required for these is to make the caramel and the ganache, both of which are very easy.

I went for ganache rather than just chocolate on top, as I hate the way the caramel squeezes out the middle when you try to bite or cut through the hard chocolate (yes, I know you can turn it upside down to cut… still doesn’t solve the biting problem – caramel is the main part of this, so it sucks when it all gets pushed out the sides).

Ingredients – base:

  • 250g any kind of sweet biscuits (I used Nice)
  • 125g butter, melted

Method:

  • Crush/process biscuits until you have fine crumbs
  • Combine the crumbs and butter
  • Press into the bottom of a tin (approx 7-9″ square or 7-9″ x 10-12″ rectangular) lined with baking paper
  • Refrigerate whilst preparing the filling and topping

Caramel double ganache slice

Ingredients – filling:

  • 1 x 395g tin condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 30g butter

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until boiling, stirring constantly
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat and stir for a few minutes to help it cool down
  • Pour over biscuit base and spread evenly
  • Return to fridge

Caramel double ganache slice

Ingredients – topping:

  • 140ml cream (must not contain any gelatin or other thickeners)
  • 140g dark chocolate
  • 210g white chocolate

Method:

  • Chop up white chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl
  • Bring 70ml cream just to the boil
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted (I needed to zap mine in the microwave for 20 seconds as well)
  • Pour ganache over caramel layer and spread evenly
  • Chop up dark chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl
  • Bring the remaining 70ml cream just to the boil
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted (the dark stuff was much runnier than the white)
  • Pour over white chocolate ganache layer and spread evenly

Variations:

  • Use one layer of ganache (it’s pretty rich!)
  • Marble the ganache, if you use more than one type/flavour
  • Use chocolate flavoured (not chocolate covered) biscuits for the base
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut to the base mixture
  • Use a double batch of caramel if that is your favourite part, and a thin layer of ganache
  • Add chocolate chips to the caramel or base layer

I used a 9″ x 12″ pan so my caramel was pretty thin compared to the ganache.  Next time I might make it in a square pan, and only do the dark layer of ganache.

Went down very well in my house.  Will definitely make these again.