Don’t forget it’s Mother’s Day this weekend! We know that she deserves something special, so for this week’s blog we’ve picked some fantastic recipes that will make the perfect homemade gifts…
Cheat's Peanut Butter Fudge
This peanut butter fudge recipe is so simple to make, it’s perfect if you’re running a bit short on time! Topped with chocolate chips and peanuts, it looks so tempting… just make sure you leave time for it to set!
500 g/2 ¼ cups smooth peanut butter (you want the least oily peanut butter that you can find)
1 x 397-g/14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
a pinch of salt
100 g/2/3 cup icing/ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
100 g/2/3 cup dark/bittersweet chocolate chips
100 g/1 cup chopped peanuts
a 28 x 18 x 4-cm /11 x 7 x 1.5-inch cake pan, lined with overhanging baking parchment
MAKES 64 PIECES
In a large saucepan, melt together the peanut butter, condensed milk and salt over a medium heat.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir to loosen the mixture.
Carefully add in the sifted icing/confectioners’ sugar and stir until fully combined and very thick.
Empty the mixture into the prepared cake pan, making sure it covers the whole of the base – the weight of the mixture will hold down the baking parchment. It will be quite oily and you will need to use the back of a spoon to smooth the fudge out.
Sprinkle over the dark chocolate chips, making sure they are spread out and push them in to the fudge slightly. They may melt a little but this is okay.
Sprinkle over the chopped peanuts, pushing them in to the fudge, too.
Allow the fudge to cool, then pop it in to the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Once set, use the overhanging baking parchment to lift the fudge out of the pan.
Slice the fudge into small squares and enjoy.
NOTE You can store this fudge for around 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, but it is best eaten at room temperature.
Pina Colada Jellies
For something a little bit more grown up, why not try these Pina Colada Jellies? These heavenly cubes, flecked with cherry and pineapple are the best part of a cocktail in a mouthful.
700 ml/scant 3 cups pineapple juice (not from concentrate)
34 sheets of gelatine, softened in cold water for 5–10 minutes
350 ml/1 ½ cups cherry juice
400 g /14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
300 ml/1 ¼ cups Malibu or other coconut-flavoured white rum
80 ml/ 1/3 cup coconut cream
25 x 18-cm/10 x 7-inch and 12 x 9-cm/4 ½ x 3 ½ -inch containers, lined with clingfilm/ plastic wrap
makes about 120 cubes
Heat 120 ml/ ½ cup pineapple juice to a simmer in a saucepan. Take off the heat, squeeze the water out of 11 sheets of gelatine, add to the juice and whisk. Add this to the remaining pineapple juice and whisk. Pour into the large prepared container and set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Heat 60 ml/ ¼ cup of the cherry juice to a simmer in a saucepan. Take off the heat, squeeze the water out of 6 sheets of gelatine, add to the juice and whisk. Add this to the remaining cherry juice and whisk. Pour into the small prepared container and set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Once both jellies are set, heat 180 ml/ ¾ cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Take off the heat. Squeeze the water out of 17 sheets of gelatine, add to the water and whisk. Add this to the condensed milk, along with the rum, 150 ml/generous ó cup water and the coconut cream. Mix, then let cool, but don’t allow it to set.
Cut the pineapple and cherry jellies into 1.5-cm/ ¾ -inch cubes. Arrange the cubes in a container large enough to hold them all, then cover with the cooled coconut jelly to a depth of 2.5 cm/1 inch. Set in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, cut into 2.5-cm/1-inch cubes to serve.
Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes
These mini chocolate cheesecakes are sure to go down a treat with any chocoholic! This recipe uses vanilla and orange flavours, but you could choose any flavour you like to make these the perfect gift.
FOR THE CAKE BASES
55 g/4 tablespoons butter
55 g/4 ½ tablespoons caster/ white sugar
55 g/scant 1⁄2 cup self-raising flour
grated zest of 1 orange
FOR THE DRIZZLING SYRUP
freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon icing/confectioners’ sugar
FOR THE FILLING
170 g/ ¾ cup mascarpone cheese
170 ml/ ¾ cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon icing/confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
400 g/14 oz. dark spiced chocolate (such as Green & Black’s Maya Gold)
24 sugar flowers
a 24-hole square mini brownie pan, greased
a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle/tip (optional)
24 paper petit fours cases
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) Gas 4.
To make the cake bases, whisk together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, until light and creamy. Beat in the egg and whisk again. Sift in the flour, add half of the orange zest and stir through again. Put a small spoonful of mixture into each of the holes of the prepared brownie pan. (This is easiest done with a piping bag.) You only want a little cake mixture in each hole as when the cakes are baked you still need room to add the cheesecake mixture on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes until the sponges spring back when you press with a clean finger.
Simmer the orange juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then drizzle a little of the syrup over each of the cakes. Leave the cakes to cool, then press the cakes down so that there is room for the filling on top.
For the cheesecake filling, whisk together the mascarpone, crème fraîche, icing/confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and the remaining orange zest until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the cake bases, spreading in tightly using a pallet knife or spatula so that all the holes of the brownie pan are filled completely. Transfer the pan to the freezer and freeze until the cheesecake is solid, which will take about 30 minutes.
When the cheesecakes are frozen, melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Remove the frozen cheesecakes from the freezer and, one at a time, dip them into the warm chocolate. Transfer to a wire rack to set, with a sheet of foil underneath to catch any chocolate drips. Before the chocolate sets, affix a sugar flower to the top of each cheesecake. The chocolate will set quickly given the frozen temperatures of the cheesecakes – if it sets too quickly you can simply attach the flowers using a little extra chocolate. Once set, place each chocolate in a petit fours case and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve, by which time the cheesecake will have defrosted.