Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars via Sweetapolita

Hello!

Guys, it’s been awhile since my last post, but I promise you I’m really not asleep over here. And it won’t be like this forever! Pinkie swear. Just a few more months of the crazy book recipe testing schedule, and then there will be a shift. (You might even get too much of me and my blog posts at that point, because I’ve adapted to very long hours of baking and writing, and now I can’t imagine it any other way.) Thank you so much for understanding and not forgetting about me. ♥

So this unusual recipe I made this week has been one pinned to my Pinterest board via Bistro Gerard for months–I forgot about it, but when I saw it there again the other day, I had to make it. For such a simple, no-bake treat, it’s a complete delight. With white chocolate, marshmallows, fruity jelly candy and dried cranberries, it’s definitely on the seriously sweet side of the rocky road, but the macadamia nuts and pistachios add the most addictive crunch (and salt) factor. Although it has a holiday appeal, it seems like an any-time-of-the-year confection to me. (However, if my annual July-birthday-pumpkin-pie-request is any indication, you may not be able to trust me–I’m a little backwards when it comes to seasonal desserts.)

I made only minor changes to the recipe, which was really just about the quantity of each ingredient. It’s one of those recipes, though, that you could really add anything and everything that appeals to you. I could see coconut, almonds and pretty much any dried fruit or nut, making a really summery version. The jelly fruit slices aren’t something I would ever eat on their own (they’re lovely, I just save those calories for bigger desserts), but it made me happy slicing these up for a recipe. They definitely add to the almost Willy Wonka-ness that I feel when I look at these bars. Like something you would eat in a magical land of confection.

I found that by using a good quality white chocolate, it really gives these a rich decadence that a lesser quality white chocolate might not give (think waxy versus creamy). It does take a pound of white chocolate, and along with the pistachios and macadamia nuts, it’s not the most inexpensive treat you can make, but they are special and unique. And I can’t get over how quick, easy and rewarding it is to make rocky road recipes! A welcomed change from the ever-baking-cake-junkie. And it’s always awesome when my little cakelets can help out with a recipe. They loved removing the shells from the pistachios, weighing out the ingredients, choosing the colours of the jelly candies, and helping to stir the concoction once everything was added to the bowl. I think it still mystifies them when we make a dessert that transforms into something wonderful by simply placing it in the fridge. As though we missed a very important bake-it-in-the-magic-oven step.

So now that I’m rapidly gaining what I’ve affectionately called “book-baby weight,” I’m sitting here staring at these, trying to figure out how many *not* to eat. Help!

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Yield: 12 medium-sized bars

Colorful and decadent white chocolate rocky road bars filled with fruity marshmallows, fruity jelly candy, macadamia nuts, dried cranberries and pistachios.

Ingredients

  • 454 grams best-quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut White Callets )
  • 3 cups (150 g) mini coloured marshmallows
  • 150 g jelly fruit candy (about 10 jelly fruit slices), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup (50 g) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) shelled pistachios, roasted

Instructions

  1. Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with cooking spray, and then line with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhang on two sides.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the 2-1/2 cups of the marshmallows, fruit candy pieces, macadamia nuts, cranberries and pistachios.
  3. In a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave, in 30-second increments, or over a pot of barely simmering water on the stovetop. Pour the melted chocolate over the marshmallow mixture and mix until everything is coated in chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly using a small offset spatula. Place the remaining marshmallows randomly on top of the bars, pressing each one down gently to secure.
  4. Chill for at least one hour. Remove from pan by lifting excess parchment paper, and place onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Slightly adapted from Bistro Gerard

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Since white chocolate is the “glue” keeping all of this colourful awesomeness together, try to use the best white chocolate you can find. It will give the bars a noticeable decadence and creaminess. I used Callebeaut White Chocolate Callets (I also love that it’s in callet/chip form–so easy to melt).
  • You can use any fruit-flavoured jelly candy you like. I used Pizazz Fruit Jelly Slices (found at Bulk Barn, for my fellow Canadian friends)–they’re just so pretty! They’re very similar to these Fruit Slices, made in the USA.
  • I used an 8 x 8″ cake pan, but of course you can use any size you have. The larger the pan, the thinner the bars will be; the smaller the pan, the thicker the bars will be (you get the idea).
  • If you can’t find certain ingredients or want to use what you have on hand, I could safely bet that any nut and dried fruit combination would work beautifully in this recipe. Have fun and experiment!

Good luck & enjoy!

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Winter White Party Spoons

Hello, hello! I truly hope that you had an incredible holiday, and that you’re ready for the New Year. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be one crazy year. Don’t you?

On a side-note, I should tell you that I was kind of heartbroken that I had to skip the last post I had planned to share. For weeks I’d been planning a super-festive winter layer cake, and hoped to post it early last week. It took me a few days (yep, it was one of those) by the time I created all of the components, and then the craziest thing happened: as I frosted it on the cake pedestal, it somehow slipped away from me, cake pedestal and all, and BANG! landed in the kitchen sink. The one time I decide to frost it with nothing gripping it underneath — whoops. I’m no stranger to cake 911′s (trust me), but this one simply couldn’t be rescued. (You can see an Instagram of the tragedy here.) I’ll likely dial-down on the Christmas-ness of it and make it again to post soon.

So since it’s already New Year’s Eve, I thought I would share a sweet and simple treat that can literally be made in minutes. You might remember the Sprinkled Chocolate Party Spoons I made awhile back? They remain one of my favourite last-minute confections, and these are simply a super-wintery monochromatic version. Add a few touches of gold to the mix and they become fancy enough for New Year’s Eve, which is kind of nutty considering how simple they are to make.

You simply melt down some premium white chocolate, carefully drop a spoonful into each plastic spoon then sprinkle with any edible white, pearl, ivory or gold adornment you can find. They’re so easy that I almost feel kind of silly posting them, but if you’re like me sometimes last-minute ideas save the day. Oh, and I should tell you that if you add non-toxic glitter or other gilded touches, the spoons look even more twinkly and magical under indoor lighting than these photos appear — they sparkle like mad. You can serve them at parties (and yes, sitting at home in your new pajamas watching tv does count as a party, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past 5 years) at midnight with champagne for a sweet way to bring in the new year, or simply have them peppered around the room tempting guests with a wintery nibble throughout the night.

I’ll be back in just a few days (no more blogging vacations for this girl for awhile) with a special confection that I can’t wait to share.

Happy New Year, friends. If you only knew how much I love having you in my world. ♥

Winter White Chocolate Party Spoons

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (180 g) quality white chocolate, chopped
  • white or pearl sprinkles, white jelly beans, gold dragees, gold disco dust, any other small confection of choice
  • You will Also Need:
  • 24 white plastic spoons
  • cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • some spatulas (or a book) for resting party spoons while filling

Instructions

  1. Place your plastic spoons on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, resting the spoon handles on a rubber spatula or book, to level them out while filling.
  2. Melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave (or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), by warming for 20 second intervals and stirring in between. When the chocolate is almost (80%) completely melted, remove from the microwave and keep stirring until the last few pieces are completely melted and the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Spoon melted chocolate into your plastic spoons, about 80% full (the sprinkles and candies will fill the rest)--any more than that, and they will likely overflow (trust me, it happened to me).
  4. Add your sprinkles, candies and more. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.
  5. Party Spoons can be stored covered at room temperature, just as you would store solid chocolate.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • I used plain white plastic spoons — it’s almost shameful that something so lack-luster could be used for a fancy confection!
  • For the spoons in the photos, I used pearlized jimmies, white sanding sugar, gold dragees and 24 karat disco dust.
  • For a cakelet-friendly experience, have kids do the sprinkling!

Good luck & enjoy!

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Misty Minty Peppermint Patties

Misty Minty Peppermint Patties via Sweetapolita

Happy almost mid-November! Are you feeling festive yet? Like clockwork, when I wake up on November 1st, my enthusiasm and excitement for the holidays kicks in, while any traces of the Halloween spirit completely disappear. Along with my festive spirit comes an almost immediate urge for minty treats. It’s likely not a coincidence that this is right around that time that Starbucks brings out the holiday cups, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and Peppermint Mocha. It seems there are two kinds of people in the world: those who live for mint-chocolate and those who don’t like it at all. It seems there’s no in between. What is it about mint confections that just make us mint-lovers so giddy, especially around the holidays?

This year, though, my need for minty treats is at an all-time high. As a little girl, around the holidays, I used to sneak up onto the counter to reach up above our “harvest gold” refrigerator into the highly-secretive cupboard that my mom and dad thought I didn’t know anything about. Strangely, in between bottles of fancy liqueurs and the like, I could always find a few boxes of Allan’s Misty Mints. I used to sneak as many as I could, then rearrange the remaining mints in the box to hide the evidence. This was tricky when there were only a few left! These magically-minty, pastel, cool-and-creamy buttons have got to be the yummiest treats on the planet. At least, they were the yummiest minty treats on the planet, until I made these: Misty Minty Peppermint Patties. I call them this because it’s what happens when the texture, pastel colour palette, and white chocolate confection of Misty Mints meets the delightfully round, sandwich-like, and creamy minty-filled combination of a peppermint patties. Delish!

I was over at one of my favourite sites the other day, Joy of Baking, when I noticed a great recipe for traditional peppermint patties. I was already looking so forward to some minty recipes for the holidays, so I decided to give them a try. I can’t say I’ve spent much time working on candy recipes, but this was so appealing, and I was inspired. Since I have such love and passion for Misty Mints, I thought it would be the ultimate sucess if I could create a sweet, pastel version that tasted just like them. So, that’s what I did, and if I do say so, they are even better than I expected. Dare I say that they are possibly the most delicious confection I have ever made? These Misty Minty Peppermint Patties are everything (and then some) that my old boyfriends never were: rich, cool, and pretty. ;)

 The process was really straight-forward, which isn’t always the case with candy-making, and is why I love this recipe so much. After mixing a rich and minty patty filling, I prepared and chilled the patties, then melted my Callebaut White Chocolate Couverture in a double boiler. I feel it’s so important that you use the best white chocolate for this recipe — it’s the gorgeous creaminess of the Callebaut white chocolate combined with the decadent filling that really makes these extraordinary. And what is it about this retro colour combination that makes me so happy? I truly believe that biting into a gorgeous pastel peppermint patty tastes just that much better. You can make them any size you want, really, and serve them or package them up with a pretty ribbon and give them as stocking stuffers or hostess gifts. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one out there with fond holiday Misty Mint memories.

Here’s the recipe:

Misty Minty Peppermint Patties

Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 4 cups (480 g/16 oz) icing sugar (confectioners')
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) peppermint oil (ideally food grade oil rather than extract)
  • 3/4 tsp (3.75 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Coating:
  • 1 lb (454 g) best-quality white chocolate couverture, chopped
  • soft gel paste colour, optional
  • You will also need:
  • candy thermometer

Instructions

    For the Filling:
  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and smooth. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar, butter, evaporated milk, peppermint oil and vanilla.
  3. Once ingredients are incorporated, turn mixer up to med-high, mixing for about 2 minutes, until creamy. Cover and chill filling in bowl for about 30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled enough to roll balls of filling in your hand, roll 1.5" balls and place on foiled cookie sheet. Using the palm of your hand, gently press down on each ball to create a patty. Refrigerate for another 30-60 minutes until firm and remove when you have your coating ready to go.
  5. For the Coating:
  6. In a double boiler (or bowl on top of a pot), bring water to boil. Once boiling, turn the stove off (keeping pot on element) and add your chopped chocolate. Stir with silicone spatula until nice and smooth.
  7. Remove from heat, wipe bottom of bowl, and set aside, stirring continuously while cooling. When almost cool, divide into 3 and tint each lot desired colour (I used very small amounts of gel colours: leaf green, electric pink, and electric orange). Once chocolate reaches 80-84° F on a candy thermometer, you can start dropping patties in, one at a time, coating both sides, and removing carefully with two forks (or chocolate dipping fork).
  8. Place on cookie sheet to set. Once all patties are dipped and coated, set tray aside in a cool, dry place to set. Don't refrigerate while setting.

Notes

[filling recipe adapted from Joy of Baking]

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 Sweetapolita’s Notes

  • You can use peppermint extract in place of the oil, but you won’t get that intense mintiness that the concentrated oil gives. It’s still very minty!
  • You can store the set patties in an airtight container in the refrigerator, with parchment or wax paper in between, for up to one month.
  • Best stored chilled, and eaten at either room temperature or chilled.

Minty delicious!

Good luck & enjoy



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