mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Category: Slices

What to do with Marshmallows with Issues – Iced VoVo Slice

One of the many things we learned while camping is that marshmallows aren’t as robust as they look. We brought along a couple of jumbo sized packets to roast over the campfire, but only got through half a packet before the total fire ban overtook us. We carelessly tossed aside both the opened and unopened packets and discovered as we were packing up that the contents of both packets had coalesced into one giant, ungainly confection.

Waste not, want not. It looked to me like I was going to make Iced VoVo slice. I was a bit stymied by the children never having heard of an Iced VoVo, what with their organic home baked hemp swaddled upbringing. I explained that it was a biscuit topped with jam, marshmallow and coconut. “Sounds weird”, they said as one.

You know I’m not an easy person to deter. First to find a suitable base. I chose Tish Boyle’s sweet pastry crust, and it goes like this.
Place one and a third cups of flour and 125 grams of cold butter in the Thermomix or inferior simulacrum. She also suggests a third of a cup of white sugar, but this is going to be pretty sweet with the jam and marshmallow, so I only put in two tablespoons. Zap it until the mixture resemble breadcrumbs. Add two teaspoons of cold water and a large egg yolk and zap again. Press into a lined roasting pan and bake for twenty minutes, until just starting to brown.

What to do with the marshmallow? I think I had about 200 grams in the opened packet. I put it in the Thermomix.

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I tried just chopping it, but that just made more mess. So I put the temperature up to fifty degrees, the speed up to ten and whipped it for an amount of time that escapes my memory. Five minutes? Possibly ten? I peeked in the top and stopped it when there was a light pink shiny thing going on in there, instead of multicoloured glop.

I spread the cooked slice base with the last of my first experiment with strawberry jam, the one that wasn’t sweet enough and was too acid. It has featured in a few normal jam slices, but this may be its finest hour. I squodged the warm marshmallow on top of that, it was cool enough to spread out with my fingers. There may have been a bit too much marshmallow, if there is such a thing. I then pressed a whole lot of desiccated coconut on top, I felt that it needed a lot for texture and flavour. It did sink in quite well.

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You want to wait until it’s well and truly cold, maybe even refrigerated, before you cut it because that marshmallow is STICKY.

The hordes didn’t really like their first piece. Outside their experience. Five to ten minutes later they wanted another bit, just to make sure. And now it’s all gone and they’re clamouring for more. Lucky I’ve got a whole ‘nother packet of marshmallows with issues.

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Terribly Healthy Bar

You know I don’t usually do this kind of thing. The whole giving up stuff, I don’t get it myself. Can’t you just have bit less coffee, wine, sugar, white bread, self loathing? Why do you have to give it up entirely? Moderation in all things, I always say, but for many people it doesn’t appear to work. Me, if my trousers are getting a bit tight, I lay off the cake and get a bit more exercise. I don’t go out and buy a bigger size. And I don’t pick something to flagellate myself with. Don’t we all know what food is sometimes food? But I’m surrounded by people who seem to feel better if they give up something entirely, if only for a month.

I have a relative who has given up sugar, and it has been a really big thing for him, a real struggle and he has managed to lose a lot of weight this way. I’m very proud of him, because I know how much he loves the sweet stuff. I have watched him eat a large amount of biscuits at a sitting, so I guess moderation isn’t the best option for him, it’s all or nothing. So I wanted to make him something tasty that he could have with a cup of tea that wouldn’t have him falling off the wagon.

There’s a few variations of this on the webz, and I didn’t think it would hold together. You take a couple of large bananas that have seen better days. You mush them up. You mix these with two cups of oats, or in this case, five grain mix which is even better. You add in about half a cup of chopped other tasty bits and pieces, I chose dried apricots, dates, almonds and shaved coconut.

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Chopped in the Thermomix, naturally. Flavours of your choice, in this case a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla and the zest of an orange. I think the orange may have been overdoing it, but heigh ho. Press the lot into a lined square cake tin and bake for about half an hour.

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Pickle me grandmother, it does actually hold together. I’d wait until it was cold before cutting it up. It was pretty good in a very hemp lined tree hugging way. Sweeter than I would have expected, that would be all the fruit. But I believe sugar from fruit doesn’t count, it’s one of those regimes with fairly arbitrary rules, based, as they always are, on the work of an American guru. I don’t think you could eat too much of it anyway, your jaw would wear out.

But the main thing was that it tasted good with a cup of tea. Mission accomplished.

Extra Chocolatey Brownies. With Extra Chocolate

I was going to tell you an amusing story about my early morning encounter with a range of neighbourhood pets, but it was thirty six hours ago now and the immediacy is gone. It also reflects poorly on my housekeeping and anyway the swelling has started to subside. So instead I’ll be telling you about a new brownie recipe I tried on the weekend. It was very chocolatey.

There are so very many brownie recipes, not all of them very good, so once you have a tried and tested one that is fairly well received it’s hard to deviate from it. But I trust Tish Boyle, and I’d been waiting for a party or something to try her Double Chocolate Brownies out on because it looked so rich. This weekend there was such an event, there were two little nieces with birthdays this week, so a family gathering was called.

This is a walkover for the Thermomix, but if you don’t have one you could always mess about with double boilers and bowls and such. Melt together 150 grams of terrific chocolate (I’m using 70% Callebaut drops) with 180 grams of sweet butter. I’m not game yet to use my homemade butter on such a butter rich recipe, we’ll work our way up. I’ve used it in an oatmeal biscuit and it was completely acceptable. In the Thermomix you put the temperature on about 60 degrees and set it going for about four minutes on speed two. Or however long it takes to melt.

You then need to crack out your KitchenAid and slot in the whisk. If you’re doing the lot the Thermomix, scoop out the chocolate butter mix into a bowl, wash the jug and dry it. Stick in the butterfly. Beat together three eggs, a cup of caster sugar, a third of a cup of brown sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Beat it oh so very much, you won’t be doing this with a fork. After some minutes it will be thick and light coloured and will form a ribbon dripping from the whisk when you lift the KitchenAid head. Pour in the chocolate mixture. For me it sank straight to the bottom, meaning that mixing it gently with the paddle had little to no effect. Use a wooden spoon. Add a cup of white flour and fold that gently in. Stir in 180 grams of chocolate bits, you could use the same brand as you melted earlier or something lighter. Scrape the lot into a lined nine inch square cake pan.

In theory you could bake it at 160 degrees Celsius for almost an hour, or until the skewer test says that it’s done. In practise you could put up with the Horror from Outer Space hopping up and down beside you saying “shouldn’t we go now shouldn’t we go now shouldn’t we go now we’re going to be late shouldn’t we…” for as long as you can stand, in my case about half an hour – my stamina has built up over the years, take it out of the oven half cooked and finish baking it at your sister’s place.

The what I recommend you don’t do is haul it out of the pan and immediately attempt to cut it up so that people can start eating it. It isn’t interested. It will sag and crumble. That didn’t stop about a third of it being eaten before it cooled down. Cool it completely, and maybe even wait a day. Then it will look like this.

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It’s got a crunchy crust and a very rich and dense inside, but not wet or too fudgy. The high cocoa chocolate was perfect for this, it’s just gorgeous. You really could leave out the extra chocolate chips and bung in walnuts or nothing at all and it would still be a commanding presence in the brownie lexicon. However it’s no good for the schoolgirl figure at all. Perhaps if I ice my ankle some more I could go to the gym in the morning.

Passionfruit Slice

Another in my series of things I wouldn’t normally make for the purposes of testing out the Black and White cookbook. It’s not that I have anything against condensed milk, especially not in ice blocks, but it just doesn’t seem right in a slice. We shall see.

For the base, mix together 125 grams of melted butter, a cup of desiccated coconut, a cup of flour, a third of a cup of caster sugar and two teaspoons of baking powder. Of course, I did the shredding of the coconut and the melting and mixing in the Thermomix, but suit yourself. Press it into a lined roasting pan and bake for fifteen minutes at 180 degrees. It will just start to go golden.

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Then get on and make the topping. Mix together the contents of a tin of condensed milk (an almost four hundred gram tin), the contents of three passionfruit and a quarter of a cup of lemon juice or, in this case, lime juice because I have some and I like it. Once again, avail yourselves of the services of the Thermomix or any other mixing device you have handy. Like a wooden spoon.

Tip the topping onto the base and spread it evenly over. Bake it for a further ten to twelve minutes at one hundred and TWENTY degrees. A slow oven. Don’t let it even start to brown! Let it cool in the tin before cutting it up.

The verdict is that I really like the base. It would make a good cheesecake base, firm, crunchy, a little bit crumbly. And I think the topping would have been better, but a lot more fiddly as a cheesecake. It is reminiscent of cheesecake. I like it, the Muffet likes it, the Horror thinks it is too passiony. As if there is such a thing. And then he went on to eat the remaining three fresh passionfruit.

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It firms right up, but I wouldn’t make it in summer. If you transported it, it would have to have layers of baking paper separating the slices. I’m going to have to get over my completely understandable prejudice against condensed milk as a slice ingredient.

Somewhat Familiar Chocolate Slice

I know the Great Day that Isn’t a Fair at the boys’ school isn’t for months, but I’m all inspired. You see, there was a cookbook produced. With very high production values. It looked so good that everyone got very excited and ordered enough copies to be printed for about ten per family. And what do you know, they didn’t all sell. So to encourage a bit of movement we’re going to bake some recipes from the book and sell them at the cake stall alongside the book.

Of course the recipes were all tested at production time, but us cake stall mavens would like to know how they taste and if they’d be better in muffin form, if they’d travel, if they’d be better at the coffee stall and if half of them really do require a tin of condensed milk. I do love this kind of challenge, so I’m starting with a chocolate slice.

I’m making it in the Thermomix. It isn’t difficult to convert recipes to the Thermomix. The first thing you do is look through the ingredients to see which ones need to be processed now that you’re buying everything in a less processed state. It’s only coconut, so I weigh 90 grams of coconut flakes into the jug and process them until they’re approaching crumb level, way before they turn into flour.

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Tip out the coconut and put 150 grams of butter in the jug. Melt it by setting it to 100 degrees and put it on for two minutes at speed three. Slide in a tablespoon of golden syrup. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Put in the coconut, a tablespoon of cocoa, half a cup of sugar, a cup of flour and two teaspoons of baking powder. AND a cup of lightly crushed cornflakes. Yes, that’s a little off putting, isn’t it. Mix it all together by a quick zap in the Thermomix. It’s all a bit crumbly.

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Press it into a lined baking dish and bake at 180 degrees for about twenty minutes. The recipe suggests waiting until the base is cool until icing it, but I didn’t. Make the icing by putting 180 grams of caster sugar in the freshly washed and dried Thermomix jug and zap it on speed nine for about twenty seconds to turn it into icing sugar. Add in two tablespoons of cocoa powder, thirty grams of softened butter and a tablespoon and a half of boiling water. Zap it at about speed four for about ten seconds until it’s all combined, then spread it on the slice base. It’s quite a thin layer of icing. While the icing is still soft sprinkle it with desiccated coconut.

It will crunchify over an hour or so, so hold off cutting it up until then.

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I had to try a piece for testing purposes and you know what? I’ve had it before. It’s one of those vaguely chocolate slices that turn up when you bring a plate to school morning tea for new parents. I can see why you’d make it, it’s easy, it holds together well enough to go in a lunchbox, it has a good texture, nobody’s going to accuse you of using cornflakes. I guess it’s just never really made me go “wow, I really need to find out how to make this!” like lemon slices do. Muffet said she’d prefer it with a softer base before asking for another piece. I’ll wait to see how the boys like it before adding it to the personal repertoire, but it could definitely be assigned to the coffee stall. Or I could take it to a school morning tea.