Tag Archives: brown sugar

Giving Thanks at Christmas

I think one of the nicest things about Christmas is the fact that it’s an excuse to tell everyone who you appreciate – just how much you appreciate them. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving something home made, and watching the joy unfold on the person’s face – priceless.

That’s exactly what I decided to do this year. For all my teachers at school, I made fudge (I also made some lovely shortbread, but I didn’t get any decent photographs) and bagged it with some ribbon. There were leftovers, so out of generosity of the season, I handed them out to people at mum’s work – plus, I had a spare bag for myself.

The fudge, was the most perfect fudge – and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all. Whenever I’ve made fudge before, I’ve always used condensed milk in any attempt to get a result I have liked – which has never worked. This fudge, is made with cream, brown sugar and maple syrup (yes, que drool). It’s boiled and then whipped (good for muscle building), which gives it a beautiful smooth – although slightly gritty – melt in your mouth fudge. Just the way I like it, the way fudge should be. I also made some white chocolate cream fudge (which is acctually the first picture) – using the same method, but with white chocolate. It was equally as scrumptious.

Maple Cream Fudge (from http://www.thibeaultstable.com/)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time.

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Delicious Date Loaf

Great baking deserves to be shared with a great photo.

It’s always satisfying to be able to capture what can be seen with the eye through the lense of a camera. Unfortunatly, it’s something I struggle with when photographing inside. Personally, I prefer to photograph my food outside. The lighting outdoors contrasts with the colour of the food far better than inside – and the background, even if blurred, compliments the food’s beauty (yes, I am still talking about a piece of cake, nothing more). When the sun is shining an outside table is the perfect resting spot for fresh baking. The natural world is like a blank canvas for a masterpiece.

Besides, my kitchen is usually to cluttered for a good photo anyway.

I think these photo’s are the perfect example of this. The colours are amazing, almost better than reality if that’s possible – thanks to the camera.  The date loaf really does look beautiful basking in the light of a perfect New Zealand spring day. Are you jealous of our wonderful weather? Haha. I’m wondering how long it will last. It’s summer already, by the time autumn hits us, we’ll be heading back to blankets. But for now, I’m loving what we’ve got – it’s fantastic!

Oh and this really was quite a delicious date loaf too.  Moist, sweet and a little bit nutty. The perfect accompaniment to the day.

Date and walnut Loaf

  • 240g (1 1/2 cups) pitted dried dates, halved
  • 310mls (1 1/4 cups) water
  • 100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 80g butter, cubed
  • Melted butter, for greasing
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 x 100g pkt walnut pieces
  1. Place the dates, water, brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and pour into a heat-resistant bowl. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 9.5cm x 19.5cm (base measurement) loaf pan with the melted butter to grease.
  4. Sift the flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs to the date mixture and stir to combine. Pour the date mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the walnuts and stir to combine.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the greased pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
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