Sugar & nice
A little sweetness goes a long way to making the world a happier place, says NZ House & Garden Food Editor, Sally Butters.
MIXED NUT & RASPBERRY BRITTLE Freeze-dried raspberries and a hint of flaky sea salt make this sweet treat extra special. It’s worth investing in a candy thermometer to let you know when the mixture is ready; you should be able to pick one up for $20 and it’s a handy thing to have in your kitchen.
100g brown sugar 250g caster sugar 100g golden syrup 100ml water 50g butter 1¼ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of salt 250g mixed raw nuts, lightly toasted, larger nuts roughly chopped 2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberries, lightly crushed Flaky sea salt (optional)
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place sugars, golden syrup and water in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugars. Add butter and stir until melted.
BEAUTEOUS BLISS BALLS These delicious mouthfuls are a marvellous mid-afternoon pick-me-up and a great addition to a lunchbox, plus they keep for weeks in the fridge (and even longer in the freezer).
½ cup almonds ½ cup walnuts ½ cup dates, roughly chopped ½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped Pinch of sea salt 2 tablespoons cacao nibs 1 orange, juice and finely grated zest About ½ cup desiccated coconut About ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Place almonds, walnuts, dates and apricots in a food processor and process until roughly chopped. Add salt, cocoa nibs and orange juice and zest. Process until finely chopped and well combined.
With damp hands, form mixture into balls then roll in coconut mixed with cinnamon.
Balls will keep for several weeks in a sealed container in the fridge. Bring mixture to the boil and cook until it reaches 154C on a candy thermometer (hard crack stage). Remove pan from heat and quickly stir in baking soda, vanilla and salt, followed quickly by the nuts. Spoon mixture onto prepared tray and level as much as possible with t he back of a spoon. Sprinkle raspberries over, pushing them gently into the brittle with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt if desired. Leave in a cool spot until set then break into rough pieces. Brittle will keep for a week in a sealed container. Makes about 30 pieces
CHOCOLATE COCONUT SLICE Who can resist this nostalgic slice? Like all the best old-fashioned recipes, it uses simple ingredients and is as easy as shelling peas to make.
115g butter ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon golden syrup 1 cup flour ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 tablespoon cocoa powder ¾ cup desiccated coconut
55g butter 1 cup icing sugar 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 1 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra to sprinkle ¼ cup coconut milk (or regular milk) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Heat oven to 180C. Line a 28cm x 18cm slice tin. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and golden syrup and beat to combine. Sift over flour, baking powder and cocoa, add coconut and fold to combine. Press into tin and bake 20 minutes or until just starting to come away from the edges of the tin. Topping: Melt butter, remove from heat and add remaining topping ingredients. Spread over the hot base. Allow slice to cool completely before cutting into pieces. If desired, sprinkle with a little extra coconut once cool. Makes about 18 pieces