Sugar & nice

A lit­tle sweet­ness goes a long way to mak­ing the world a hap­pier place, says NZ House & Gar­den Food Ed­i­tor, Sally But­ters.

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - Weekend Kitchen -

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

Top­ping:

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

Ber­nadette Hogg, Recipes & food styling: Styling: Clau­dia Kozub Pho­to­graphs: Manja Wachsmuth

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