Marzipan and Chocolate : A Match Made In My Kitchen

I know you read it as marzipan and chocolate a match made in heaven or maybe you guessed before reading the entire heading. I was clearing my pantry and sorting things out as it’s always a mess after a busy day of cooking and this time my pantry needed a good sort out as we were heading toward an eid weekend. A plan was already set for a fun get-together with my hubby’s friends and it was my chance to do something sweet and earn some compliments. Did I just type sweet !!! great I think my theme was all choconuts. I went wild using chocolate and nuts 80% in almost all the sweets. yes my brownies had chocolate and nuts while my cookies had the same but before they all were planned i decided to use up the almond powder which I purchased to make some macaroons and dint feel like making it.  as i was turning the pages of my favourite chocolate book I came across the chocolate marzipan’s recipe and jumped up saying ok let me try marzipan for the first time ever and maybe I will have a blog post at the end of the day. when I do something different in my kitchen it means am thinking of my blog yes this baby is a year old and two months younger to my son but every time I cook something special is when I feed her, I started this new blog address last September 20th a day before my birthday while I was running between my busy life of following a Wilton course and taking care of my 2 month old son but it’s been 2 or more years since I started blogging.

well getting back from memories.

yes I did browse the internet for a good marzipan recipe and finally settled on my very old first cake decorating book “100 celebration cakes” I’ve never tried any recipes from the book since I bought it 4 years ago and I’ve read about marzipan and seen them on the supermarket shelves but I’ve never tasted. somewhat the word marzipan sounded different and never made me feel like tasting. I remember we had a ginn reader in school which had a marzipan recipe but I guess the main reason why it dint click for me to try the recipe was the main ingredient. marzipan asked for almond powder and it was not a common ingredient in sri Lanka. only now there are few places that sell these fine almond powder and they are way too expensive. I told my dad last December when he went to Riyadh to get me almond powder and he bought chopped almonds. he also said, wow it’s expensive and am sure he has never seen almond powder. anyway this almond powder from lulu was nice to work with on a marzipan recipe. first time making marzipan’s was fun and when i tasted it I wondered why haven’t I tried this before, It was magical.

so I had 2 cups of marzipan with me and thought it would be great if I can make a few different sweets with marzipan and that when my favourite book “chocolate” came to the rescue. I flipped through the pages and saw this chocolate marzipan recipe and sticked to the basic instructions. I did also change it’s shape and  a core ingredient so that I can call it my own but still my recipe was inspired by the book.

the original chocolate marzipan recipe

the original chocolate marzipan recipe

so here are a few ways I played with marzipan and chocolate inspired by the above recipe.

1 choconut marzipans

how I did it ;

roll the marzipan on a work surface

cut out circles or any shaped using a cookie cutter on desired thickness

place on a tray and spread a teaspoon of chopped nuts on the center

melt bitter dark chocolate and pour on top of each marzipan to cover the nuts and coat them well

leave to set for 4 hours in room temperature or 2 hours in the fridge

2 Marzipan Fondue

how to make it;

cut the marzipan in the same was as choconut marzipan’s but a bit thicker so you can prick them onto candy sticks and place over a cake pop stand

melt a few squares of unsweetened dark chocolate with butter and mix some drinking chocolate powder

place these on your dessert table so guests can enjoy a nice marzipan fondue

Tips

MAKE DIFFERENT COLORS AND SHAPES FOR BIRTHDAYS

USE WHITE CHOCOLATE SLIGHTLY COLORED IN DIFFERENT COLORS FOR A MORE COLORFUL SWEET TREAT

TRY MELTING SOME MARSHMALLOWS AND POURING ON TOP OF THE CHOCONUT MARZIPAN IN PLACE OF DARK CHOCOLATE AND DECORATE WITH SPRINKLERS OR SMARTIES

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THE TWO COLORS OF MARZIPAN i MADE

THE TWO COLORS OF MARZIPAN i MADE

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SO HERE IS QUICK IMAGE TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE POP STAND

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A SPRAY CAN LID. A DOLLY, A RIBBON

USE A DRILL TO MAKE HOLES ON A OLD SPRAY CAN LID (USE A SHARP NAIL IF YOU DON'T HAVE A DRILL)

USE A DRILL TO MAKE HOLES ON A OLD SPRAY CAN LID (USE A SHARP NAIL IF YOU DON’T HAVE A DRILL)

CUT THE DOLLY INTO 2 AND WRAP AROUND THE SPRAY CAN LID AND TIE THE RIBBON

CUT THE DOLLY INTO 2 AND WRAP AROUND THE SPRAY CAN LID AND TIE THE RIBBON

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PLACE TOOTHPICKS ON THE HOLES

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TO MAKE IT COLORFUL PLACE COLORED PAPER STRAWS CUT INTO 2 O TOP OF THE TOOTHPICKS

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Double Chocolate Nutty Brownies

 SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN UNEXPECTEDLY, THAT’S WHAT IS CALLED A SURPRISE. I decided to follow a recipe from my favorite book (i call it favorite cos the images make me drool and i love the word chocolate 🙂

I collected the ingredients following the book and learnt that i dint have enough cooking chocolate or cocoa. i also had a lot of chopped mixed nuts which i wanted to use badly on my brownies. so the little changes i did is making my brownie special and my very own version. recipe inspired by –20141009_164436[1]2014-10-01 13.50.0420141008_141510 2014-10-04 06.45.02 2014-10-04 06.33.1720141008_141519 originally this brownie is called mocha brownies and i rename it as double chocolate nutty brownies for substituting and changing the method. its totally a different method and is very easy. why they named it mocha brownies can be due to the coffee mix the recipe calls for which i did not use in my brownies. here is my recipe :

Double Chocolate Nutty Brownies

Ingredients

1 cup chopped nuts use any nuts

100 grams cooking chocolate

3 tablespoon drinking chocolate powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Method 

  1. Melt the cooking chocolate with a teaspoon of butter
  2. Mix together flour, drinking chocolate and baking powder
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar
  4. continue beating by adding the eggs one at a time
  5. incorporate the dry ingredients with the egg mix
  6. fold in the melted chocolate
  7. spread on a tray greased with butter and dusted with flour
  8. sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on top evenly and bake in the microwave on a 80 heat for 5-8 minutes checking after 5 minute

cool completely before cutting serve as it is or drizzle with extra melted white chocolate and sprinkle some drinking chocolate powder on top the sprinkling of flour on top and bottom creates a crust on the cake store for a week on the shelf  unless your a slow eater on sweets 2014-09-25 09.06.44 just loved playing around with photos.

So anyone wondering why i used a phrase as sometimes things happen unexpectedly which why its called a surprise?

That’s because this is my first brownie I’ve ever made in my baking life and second i did not use the appropriate measurements mentioned in the book and substituted some ingredients like drinking chocolate powder for cocoa which was very sweet and the fear of it turning out too sweet stuck me as my hubby hates extra sweet stuff.

Another reason is i cooked it on my microwave and immediately cut a piece to taste it and found it a bit too gooey and thought its undercooked and went shopping for eid the next day with a thought to get home and bake something else to serve the guests.

All in all my mind was not satisfied in the brownie i bake and now i know your wondering why i post such a thing in the blog. Dont worry my brownie was perfectly cooked and why it seemed undercooked was i cut it before cooling.  The brownies were not too sweet cos the bitter cooking chocolate i used helped cover up the sweet drinking chocolate.

Why i posted is not only did the brownie turn out well but my hubby and guests enjoyed it and loved it.

We all have a story behind our own recipes and success always come through a tough way. Not everything is easy to achieve even while cooking,  a compliment for a small sweet that we do counts at times.

Sweet almond pattie

When you have lots of almonds in the fridge what do you do?
I transformed them into an almond and date paste to make my own recipe and I called it sweet almond pattie.
I guess these ground almonds were blanched as they had a very pale taste and we dint like it much. We had to use it as I’ve asked my dad to get me almond powder and he ended up bringing a lot of ground almonds. So I decided to try some sweets with almond filling.
Below is my recipe.

 
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Recipe

Pattie
Ingredients
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons ghee
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Water as required
2 pinches of baking powder

Method
1. Mix all the ingredients together and roll over a board using a rolling pin.
2. Apply ghee and sprinkle with flour.
3. Fold into 2 and roll again till its thin and even.
4. Cut small circles or any other desired shapes and place over a lightly floured surface.
5. Place the filling and fold into half.
6. Deep fry in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.

Almond filling
ingredients
A handful of almonds
3 or more cashew nuts
3 or more dates deseeded
A drop of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon fresh cream
Sugar or any sugar substitute as required

method
1. Blend altogether using a hand mixer to a fine paste.
2. Transfer the mixture onto a small pan and add sone butter or ghee.
3. let it cook for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and starts to leave the sides of the pan.

Once the patties are fried drizzle a bit of honey or treacle on top for extra sweetness.

Now the filling is ready to spread.
Add a few drops of food coloring to give it a more colorful look.
Use any other type of nuts instead of almonds.
Substitute sugar with kithul treacle or stevia extract.
Omit the sugar and prepare this dish finally serve those sweet toothed guests with a garnish of honey or treacle.

mafaza

Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

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Is Gajar ka Halwa Indian or Pakistani?
Am lost.
Need to do a good research and repost a new post while in the mean time I’ve got a small twist in a carrot halwa recipe. I decided to try some substitutes in the carrot halwa recipe I’ve come across online. The main substitute for ghee was a super healthy one according to me.
Wondering what I substituted ghee with? Well, it’s none other than olive butter. The tub says its cholesterol free and healthy, which I believe due to the maximum amount of olive oil used in the making of olive butter.
The second substitute was almonds for cashew nuts. Well, almonds are rich in fat but has 0% cholesterol while it also contains a similar percentage of protein and iron which are totally healthy. Almonds were recommended to me by my dietician as a snack. Excess of anything is not healthy so everything has a limit.
So my next substitute for saffron was yellow food color with a few drops of vanilla essence to give the halwa a dessert feeling.
Carrot means a vegetable according to my Sri Lankan family but now they know carrot is sweet and can be used to make delicious desserts too (slight grin).

Some tips for a very healthy carrot halwa that you can try at home.

Use stevia extract instead of sugar as stevia is know as a diabetic friendly sweetener.
Substitute milk with low-fat milk.
Try avoiding the nuts for a gluten free dessert they make no big difference.

Food story of the day
I accidentally added some turmeric powder into my carrot halwa for the color and as a substitute for saffron strands but latter on adjusted it by adding yellow food coloring and sone vanilla to cover up the turmeric powder flavor.

So I end my post with another question.
Are almonds an Arabian nut?
I have seen people gift almonds to relatives when they return from a middle eastern country which is what made me think almonds are from the middle east.
Need to go on a research for the origins of some ingredients I guess!

mafaza

Food Story : Cake of the fortnight

Buying recipe books is not easy as it seems when they are affordable at a place like the floating book shop logos hope. The price made me grab all book on cake and baking. The 100 cakes book encouraged me to try put a cake a week which is why I ended up trying the third cake from this book. It has 100 cakes and I have no idea how I will be able to try them all out. Its kind of challenge to me. I have a basic cake recipe which is soft and delicious that calls for equal amount of flour, sugar and butter. But many recipes I’ve come across in books call for different measurements on each ingredient. That’s the key reason why I wanted to try all the 100 cake recipes from my recent cake book. So this cake is the 3rd recipe I tried out of the 100 cakes.
This recipe has a different flavor as it contains Nutella and almonds.
I tried Nutella very recently only after visiting Sri Lanka. Though I’ve seen many offers on nutella in Dubai I’ve never got the urge to try it out. I am now a fan of nutella, for those who have not yet tried nutella please try soon ,its chocolaty and delicious. Use it as a topping for cakes, cookies, éclairs and doughnuts.

cake
I was not so sure on how the cake might turn out which is why I tried baking the cakes first and they were really good with a bit of crunchiness from the almonds and sweetness from the nutella with a chocolaty flavor.
ice cream
I was so lazy to make the topping which was also from nutella I cut the cup cake vertically into half and topped each half with a scoop of fruit and nut ice cream. It was so delicious and went together very well. The crunchiness of the almonds and softness of the cake added an extra taste to the fruit and nut ice cream.

Food Story : Chocolate and Almond Cake

baking and myself

I started baking at the age of 16 with a failure jn my first cake in following a recipe. I then decided to learn the art of baking and followed a pastry course with international cookery. The things I learnt to make pleased me and encouraged to bake and try new things daily.
But everything I did bake was in my mum’s old small tefal oven from france. Until today I’ve never baked in large electronic oven.

So recently we got our big electronic oven fixed and started using it. The first thing I baked was this chocolate cake by following a recipe from a cake book. I believe the temperature was high or I baked it for too long either way my cake turned out hard. Yet I decided to ice the cake. I topped it with chocolate ganach and dusted the sides with chopped almonds and dexorated it to perfection. I sliced it and served it to my family memebers. Everyone except my dad tasted the cake soon as I served. The first bite my dad took and he paused to comment. I was all smiles looking at him expecting a positive comment.
My dad asked “is this cake?”
I said yes and asked him if it’s good?
He replied with a big grin, It tastes like beef.
I was shocked and sad.
The decoration couldn’t make the cake palatable.

What I learnt from this experience –
Always check the item in the oven when using the oven for the first time. Each and every oven is different and the temperature given in a recipe doesn’t suit all the ovens equally.

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The cake from the book 🙂

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The cake I made 😦
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mafaza