Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to make your own condensed milk

 If you buy (and eat) as much condensed milk as I do, you start thinking of ways to cut out the middleman. Luckily I didn't have to think too hard, because my mother had the idea first and penned a recipe for her own condensed milk in our family cookbook. Bless her soul! 

Making your own will not only cost you 1/3 of the price of a store-bought tin, but it will also save you in those moments when you open the cupboard and (horror!) someone has beaten you to that tin. Because is there anything worse than planning a recipe only to realize you're missing that crucial ingredient?! 
Thank goodness making your own uses just 5 ingredients (3 if you're in a serious pinch). 

Did I mention how easy it is? It's embarrassingly easy. 
So easy I almost considered not even posting it at all. Almost. 

If you bake a lot of fudge (who doesn't?!) then it will save you a stack of money and you don't even have to use castor sugar - just blend up the normal granulated white sugar until it's fine and use that. All you're looking for is a finer texture so that it dissolves quickly so icing sugar will do the trick as well. 

Now I know I don't need to tell you that I have a STACK of recipes using condensed milk so I've included the links below the recipe because once you've made your own, you'll want to use it in a gajillion things, that's if you're left with any! 

Homemade Condensed Milk
Makes 400g (equivalent to 1 tin)

1 ¼ cups (310ml) powdered milk
¾ cup (180ml) castor sugar
60g butter, softened
1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water
A drop of vanilla essence (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, thick and the sugar and milk powder are dissolved. 
Pour into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Almost forgot, here's a video of me making the condensed milk too ->


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quadruple Chocolate Cake

A melt 'n mix white chocolate cake sandwiched together with whipped dark chocolate ganache and drizzled with THREE kinds of chocolate sauce. Why? Because I can. And because 4 types of chocolate exist and I couldn't choose my favourite (it's like choosing a favourite child!) so I used them all. And because it's International No Diet Day. Yes, I know every day on TheKateTin is no diet day... 

I once heard a dietician say (bet you NEVER thought I'd be quoting a dietician - ha!) that if you're going to cheat while on a diet, then do it properly! Half cheating just results in more cheating. But don't fear, there is no half cheating with this cake. I didn't call it a quadruple (bypass?) cake for nothing! 

The melt 'n mix white chocolate sponge is a revelation - it's so delicious and tastes just like a milky bar. YUUUUM! It's quite sweet so I balanced it out with a whipped dark chocolate ganache so there's a bit of bitterness. But all that balance kinda jumped out the window when I got to the top of the cake and decided to go all Jackson Pollock on it with white, milk and caramel chocolate. Oh well. My intentions were good! Does that count?

As for those of you who are feeling any sort of guilt at eating said cake? I'll leave you with this sweet quote from Jeanne Ray: 

"A slice of cake never made anyone fat. You don't eat the WHOLE cake... You have a slice and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what is served on the happiest days of your life"

Quadruple chocolate cake
Because just 3 types of chocolate isn’t enough. A super-easy melt ‘n mix white chocolate cake topped with whipped dark chocolate ganache and caramel-chocolate sauce.
Serves 12

Recipe by Katelyn Williams

Melt ‘n Mix White chocolate cake
185g butter
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) castor sugar
150g white chocolate, chopped
2 cups (500ml) cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 large eggs

Whipped ganache
100ml cream
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

50g milk chocolate, melted
50g white chocolate, melted
50g caramelized white chocolate, melted (see TIP)

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line 2 x 15cm cake tins.
For the cake, combine the butter, milk, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan and melt over low heat.
In a separate bowl, mix the cake flour and baking powder.
Add the chocolate mix to the dry ingredients and whisk well, then whisk in the eggs.
Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
Turn the cake out of the tins and allow to cool completely, then slice each cake in half horizontally.
For the whipped ganache, heat the cream until boiling then pour over the chopped chocolate. Allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until melted.
Allow to set completely then using a hand mixer, whip the ganache until light and fluffy (careful not to overwhip or it will split!)
Assemble the cake by layering the white chocolate cake alternately with whipped chocolate ganache.
Decorate the cake by drizzling with the 3 different types of chocolate.

TIP: To make the caramelized white chocolate, place broken up good-quality white chocolate on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil. Place in an oven preheated to 150C for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes until a rich caramel colour is achieved. If the chocolate is lumpy, simply blend it in a food processor or pass it through a sieve. If it’s too thick, add a little more oil.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Caramel Choc Chip Hot Cross Chelsea Buns

I LOVE hot cross buns - especially when they're toasty and dripping with salted butter. They're just heavenly! But the worst thing about making them is waiting for that pesky yeast to rise - which can take anything from half an hour to half a day! And when you have a craving that is literally forever! So I've cut straight to the chase with this recipe - it's one that comes all the way from my standard 6 Home Economics class when we first made Chelsea Buns using a scone dough recipe. It's so simple, quick and delicious! With no proving, knocking down and what have you. 

My buns (snigger snigger) have swirls of sticky caramel in them along with pockets of chocolate chips, candied zest and flaked almonds - which can easily be tailored to whatever your heart desires! Oooo white chocolate! Chopped Turkish apricots! Pistachios! 

Although all of our focus this week is on Easter, just a reminder that it is also Fairtrade Fortnight. So the Fairtrade SA team challenged me to make a recipe using their Fairtrade chocolate, rooibos tea and a yummy energy drink. Boy, what a challenge! But coincidentally they all fitted quite easily into this recipe - chocolate chips in the buns and rooibos and the drink in the glaze. My favourite part of buying Fairtrade, is that it takes a lot of the guilt out of enjoying a slab of chocolate :) Okay fine, maybe two slabs. Point is, we can make a big difference by making a small choice. 

Caramel Hot Cross Chelsea Buns

3 cups (360g) cake flour
2 tbsp (30ml) white sugar
1 tbsp (15ml) baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
120g butter, cubed
300ml buttermilk 
1 large egg

½ tin (200g) caramel spread (like dulce de leche)
½ cup (50g) flaked almonds
2 tbsp mixed candied peel
1 cup (150g) chopped good-quality dark chocolate (I used Fairtrade)
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup (180g) honey, warmed
1/4 cup strong rooibos tea (optional)
1/4 cup water (I used a Fairtrade drink because of the Fairtrade challenge)
1 cup (130g) icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp (approx.) buttermilk

Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Combine the flour, white sugar, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and mix well.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Combine the buttermilk and egg separately then add to the dry ingredients. Use a knife and cutting movements to incorporate everything until it forms a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead roughly 10 times or until a smooth dough forms.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20cm wide on a lightly floured surface.
Spread caramel over the dough then sprinkle with almonds, peel, chocolate and spices.
Carefully roll your dough up to form a long sauasage and pinch the edges to seal.  Using a sharp serrated knife, cut slices roughly 4-cm thick and pack them together into your lined baking tin. Make sure to pack the buns together quite snugly.
Bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until risen and golden. Combine the honey, rooibos tea (if using) and water and simmer until  and brush over the warm buns. 
To make the crosses, mix the icing sugar and buttermilk and place in a piping bag. Pipe crosses over the tops of the buns. 



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Rocky Road brownies

Why eat your Easter eggs one at a time, when you can devour them all 
at the SAME time in one convenient block? 
These dark chocolate brownies are topped with an Easter egg rocky road which I’ve crammed all my favourites into – those moreish white candy-coated chocolate eggs, marshmallow eggs, and my absolute favourite; mini speckled eggs (which I should seriously consider purchasing shares in). I’ve also added some oreo’s for biscuity crunch but you can add your own favourites and turn them into your own Easter fantasy bars. Whether you’re making these FOR Easter to wow the kids (they'll love you forever!) or AFTER Easter as a way to use up your leftover stash of chocolate (what does 'leftover chocolate' even MEAN?!), these brownies are so darn swoon-worthy they’ll become a family favourite. Put simply, they're an Easter explosion of chocolate happiness in your mouth and you need to make them now! 

Happy Easter!

Side note - imagine these bars crumbled up into vanilla ice cream?! Oh em geeee.

Easter Rocky Road Brownies
Makes 12

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
150g castor sugar
3 eggs, beaten
75g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

Rocky road topping
50g butter
150g dark chocolate, 
100g biscuits, crushed
50g marshmallow easter eggs, chopped
50g mini speckled eggs
50g White candy-coated chocolate eggs, cracked into pieces

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 20cm square baking tin and line the base with baking paper.
Melt the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla together in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, then leave to cool for a few minutes. 
Beat in the eggs, then sift in the flour, cocoa and salt and fold in until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top starts to crack but the centre remains gooey. 
Turn off the oven and leave the brownies inside for a further 5 minutes before removing. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Make the topping by melting the butter then add the dark chocolate and melt until smooth. Allow to cool then stir in the biscuits, marshmallows, speckled eggs and white eggs.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Glazed Brioche Doughnuts

Craving something yeasty, buttery and deep-fried? 
Silly question. The correct answer is ALWAYS! 
As if doughnuts (by the way, none of that 'donut' spelling around here, please!) needed additional oomph, these ones are made from a super-easy rich brioche dough that's packed with egg yolks, rum and butter making these babies as light as air and full of flavour! 

Incase you can't tell, I had a ridiculous amount of fun making these! While kneading the dough, all I could think of was colour schemes and glitter - oooh and sprinkles! Maybe silver - no gold! Pink with the blue or no wait, how about swirly frosting! I dug up every sprinkle, pot of glitter and food colouring I could find (unrelated side note: anyone know how to remove that edible glitter off clothing?!).

Besides doughnuts, you could use this dough recipe for a few different things; here in South Africa we have big puffy round doughnuts without holes called 'Vetkoek' (literally translated means 'fat cakes') which we fill with jam or savoury mince. You could make them similiarly (without the holes) and pipe jam, Nutella or buttercream inside. Dredge them in cinnamon-sugar, cover them in chocolate - oooo or dip them in caramelized white chocolate

Glazed brioche doughnuts
Makes 24

200ml milk
50g fresh yeast (10g instant yeast)
4 large eggs
1kg cake flour
100g butter, softened
100g castor sugar
50g honey
pinch of salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
4 egg yolks
50ml rum
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

275g icing sugar, sifted
Few drops lemon juice
Food colourings of your choice
1-2 tbsp hot water
Sprinkles, to decorate

Place the milk and yeast in the bowl of a mixer and stir to dissolve. 
Add the eggs, flour, butter, sugar, honey, salt and zest. 
Using a dough hook, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until a soft, smooth dough forms. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Mix in the egg yolks and rum then cover again and allow to rise in a warm place until puffy and doubled in size. 
Knock the air out of the dough by kneading it gently then roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1 cm thick. 
Using a 7cm round cutter (or drinking glass) cut out rounds from the dough, then cut out a smaller hole from the middle (I use the back of a large piping nozzle for this). 
Place the doughnuts on a floured baking tray and cover with greased clingfilm. 
Prove in a warm place until doubled in size and puffy.

TIP: For best results I preheat my oven to about 50 degrees celcius and place a large dish of boiling water in the bottom of the oven then I place my covered tray of doughnuts in the warm humid oven to prove. 

Preheat the oil to 180 degrees celscius (or when a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 10 seconds) and place the doughnuts upside down in the hot oil. 
Fry on one side for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown, then flip over and cook the other side. 
Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen towel. Allow to cool. 

TIP: At this stage you can dredge them in cinnamon-sugar - while they're still hot!
Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice, colouring and enough hot water to form a paste that runs slightly. 

Dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze, allowing most of the glaze to run off before placing on a wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles and allow to set. 
Enjoy on the same day (why am I even telling you that, they'll be gone in one day!)

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Family Milk Tart

It seems every nation has their own version of a custard tart - the Portuguese have pasteis de nata, the British have their vanilla custard tarts, Italians their 'torta di nonna' and our South African milk tart sort of falls somewhere in the middle with it's cinnamon topping. No matter what part of the world you're from, it seems we're all unanimously in love with the combination of a creamy egg custard and a crisp pastry base. 

With heritage in mind, I knew there was only one place to go for a proper milk tart recipe in honour of National Milk Tart Day which is today! So I dug out my Great Aunt May's tattered recipe book (I've written about her before). There, right in the very front, was our family recipe for milk tart. There are no notes on where it came from, but I found the same recipe scribbled in the margins of my grandmothers book so I know it's a family favourite!   

The pastry is an interesting one - it contains oil, which is a little odd for me, but ensures a ridiculously crumbly pastry. From her other recipes, I can tell Great Aunt May loved a good shortcut, and this one is no exception. This pastry? It doesn't need to be blind baked! Yes, you read correctly. Can I get a hallelujah on that?! 'Cos if you've ever had to fuss with beans and baking paper and all that nonsense, you'll be rejoicing with me now!

The filling is lusciously velvety with just the slightest quiver - I prefer my milk tart a bit softer than most so if you like yours more set, then just increase the cornstarch. This recipe also makes the sweetest little mini milk tarts - I made these using an old-fashioned madeleine tin which belonged to my grandmother. It seemed totally appropriate for the occasion. 

My Family Milk Tart 
Recipe by Great Aunty May
Makes 1 large tart or 24 small tartlets

No-fuss pastry
110g butter, softened
2 tbsp (30ml) castor sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups (500ml) cake flour
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
pinch of salt

600ml milk
2 tbsp (30ml) cornstarch/cornflour
1 tbsp (15ml) cake flour
4 tbsp (60ml) sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil and egg and beat well. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt to form a soft pastry. 
Press a thin layer of the pastry into a greased standard pie dish. Prick the bottom and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. 
For the filling, bring the milk to a boil (I added a cinnamon stick and bay leaf to mine). 
In the meantime, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon and a little of the milk to make a creamy paste. Pour the hot milk over the paste, whisking continuously then return to the heat and cook until thickened. 
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then whisk into the still-warm filling. 
Pour the mixture into the baked tart case and sprinkle with extra cinnamon. 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chocolate peppermint crisp fridge cake

This no-bake 5-ingredient recipe’s deliciousness revolves around three quintessential South African ingredients – sweetened condensed milk, peppermint crisp bars (can be substituted with any peppermint or mint-flavoured chocolate or sweets) and ‘Eet sum mores’ which are delicious, buttery shortbread biscuits. Of course, these yummy ingredients are bound together with lots of melted chocolate so if you haven’t realized it by now, your diet is pretty much destroyed. 

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s idiot-proof and even better is that you can use just about anything in it – nuts, biscuits, dried fruit, sweets, marshmallows, cherries, breakfast cereal, your favourite chocolate bars – have I left anything out?! ;)

When I created this recipe last year for a quick segment on Expresso, I had no idea just how popular it would be. I put it up on Facebook as I didn’t think it was worth a full blog post and then forgot about it pretty quickly. Except that now, it has been shared over 18 000 times (and so I'm eating my words... and the cake!)

Chocolate peppermint crisp fridge cake
Serves 8-10

100g butter
300g milk or dark chocolate, chopped
½ tin sweetened condensed milk (eat the rest of the tin with a spoon)
200g shortbread biscuits (Eet sum mores)
160g peppermint crisp bars, chopped (I also used some mint aero)
80g mini marshmallows (optional)

Line a standard loaf tin or baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and set aside.
Place the butter, chocolate and condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on a medium to low heat until smooth. 
In a separate bowl, break the biscuits into pieces and combine with the peppermint crisp chunks and marshmallows (or whatever other ingredients you're using).
Combine the cooled melted chocolate mixture with the biscuit mixture and stir until combined.
Pour into the lined loaf tin and place in the fridge until completely set.