Wednesday 1 October 2014

Chocolate High Heeled Shoes and Making Chocolate Boxes

This is one (of many) of our new product releases this often. Our 8 cell Chocolate High Heeled Shoes silicone bakeware mould from is a perfect size for two-bite novelty chocolates - which look adorable in these easily made little gift boxes.

The chocolates made in this mould are approx 50mm wide and are therefore also perfect size for using as cupcake toppers.

If you need some guidance in how to temper chocolate, please see our previous blog post on Tempering

Our moulds are made from 100% food grade silicone and are also suitable for many craft purposes such as making wax melts, resin and soap.

Adorable - aren't they ? Lovely high heeled stilettos you can munch on ! What woman doesn't love chocolate and shoes.....

Anyway - this blog post is a quick guide on how to make the charming little gift boxes.

It's quick, easy and only costs a few pennies. Use some pretty patterned A4 stock card. Generally, this starts around 20p per sheet. We have a selection in our ebay store.

I like to use plain card on the bottom and a patterned card for the lid - but you can use two pieces the same if you wish.

You will need a Crafter's Companion "The Boxer" scoring board. The Boxer makes it a dawdle to make gift boxes in just about any shape and size you fancy. There is a Youtube video I did last year on how to make more complicated sectional gift boxes that suit novelty chocolates made in our 4+1 and 6+1 range.


Start with two pieces of your chosen stock card. Both pieces must be exactly the same size.

I cut my TWO pieces of card to 23cm x 9.5cm.

One sheet of A4 stock card (if making same colour top and base), is sufficient to make a full box. If you take care when cutting the card, you can also cut a piece 180mm x 40mm from the left over piece - which may be used as a divider between layers of chocolates.

Before you start, look closely at your Crafters Companion The Boxer Scoring Board.

On one side, there are imperial / inch measurements and it's metric / cm and 0.5cm increments on the other side of the board. For this box, I'm using the metric side.

You will also see on the left hand side there is a marker for BOX LID on one end and BOX BASE on the other.

It is important that you take note of this ! By scoring one card using the BOX LID lines and the other using BOX BASE lines, the two pieces will fit beautifully together. Get it wrong and make two lids or bases and they simply won't work .....

We use the exact same process to make the base and the lid, but just turn the scoring board round after making the lid to create the base. Don't worry - your board also comes with an instruction sheet. I promise though - it's VERY easy !

Ok - so turn your card so the coloured side or pattern is facing down. Line your card up with the edge of the board and using the scoring tool, score a 2.5cm fold in the card all the way round.

Once you have done this, turn the board round 180degrees and use the opposite end to score 2.5cm lines right round on your base card.

Take a pair of scissors, and cut little v's out to create the folding tabs for your box. This needs done on each piece of card on two (opposite) ends only. I prefer to do this on the shortest sides.

Ok ? See - it's easy.....

Fold the card along the score lines to crease. You may wish to use the side of the scoring tool to get a nice crease.

Apply a little all purpose glue to the front of the tab ends. We're going to fold these in behind to form our box lid.

Hold for a few seconds until the glue grips. If your glue does not dry quickly, you may wish to use a paperclip rather than hold it.

Repeat for the base of the box. As long as you made a base and a lid, both parts with slot together beautifully.

If you cut your card nicely, you will have had enough card for a divider too. Pop 4 chocolates into the base of the box, put the card strip on top and then insert another 4 chocolates.

Hope you find this simple guide to making gift boxes useful !

Sarah-Jane Nash -

Saturday 27 September 2014

Fondant Fancies - Cutest Little Teatime Cakes (Recipe) - Made the Easy Way !

Fondant Fancies are great little British retro / vintage style teacakes that commonly grace cake stands that used to be typically served on Sunday afternoons many UK households.

Afternoon tea isn't something most people do these days - it's far more common to go out for afternoon tea as a special treat or to purchase a "tea" at a cafe / restaurant / event.

Saying that - fondant fancies remain as popular and well loved as they have ever been. Most of us tend to buy them in packets these days and they are not a popular choice for home bakers.

Why ? Well - if you watched The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) last year - you'll realise why these pretty little cakes aren't made at home by more bakers..... They're renowned for being tricky little blighters to make.

Doing them my way makes it so so much easier ! 

Mary Berry is one awesome woman and don't forget that GBBO is a competition and a real challenge. I wanted to make fondant fancies and have them turn out perfect - with minimal mess and minimal fuss. If you've ever tried cutting a whole cake into squares and then dipping the mini cakes into gloopy fondant, you'll realise it's a messy, crumby affair and there can be a number of casualties !

Well - none of that here. I made 14 fondant fancies and every single one of them turned out just great.

To make these, you will need 2 x 6 cell silicone cube moulds, a small metal spatula (or flat granny knife), a cooling rack and a massive silicone mat (or a big tray to sit the rack over)

RECIPE - enough to make 12 large fondant fancies.

Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Beat in the eggs one by one, and then follow by adding the flour and extract.

Line your 2 x 6 cell 2" square cube moulds using two x 2" wide strips of baking parchment which have been lightly greased. This makes it SO easy to get them out later without any damage or loose crumbs and is honestly worth the effort !

Place the two moulds on a baking tray. Split the mix evenly between the 12 cells. Bake at 170 deg C for approx 20 minutes until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Once cooled, hold two opposite paper strips and your mini cakes will lift clean out the mould. When paper is removed, they will have lovely straight sides with sharp edges.

Use a serrated knife to remove the top. Pipe on a little blob of butter cream on to the flat top of each cake and then chill for at least 20 mins.

Take 750g of block fondant. You can buy this in any supermarket isle. Often also known as sugar paste, regal ice and others. Supermarket own brand is fine.

Make sure the fondant has been at warm, room temperature. Chop it up into small pieces. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and start to beat with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer. You can also do this by hand - but it takes a bit of effort !

If making these by hand, I'd suggest putting the chopped fondant and water in a glass bowl and sit over some hot water for 10 mins to soften before starting..

Add some more hot water, a tablespoon or so at a time and beat until a smooth, thick, runny, pouring consistency is achieved.

Have a glass of hot water to hand and a flat knife or small spatula.

Place the cakes on the rack over a large silicone work mat or tray (the mat makes for very easy clean up later !)

Pour or spoon the fondant over the cakes. If it does not totally cover the cake, dip the spatula in hot water and then use it to level out the fondant / cover any gaps.

Once done, leave for the fondant to dry before transferring to your cake stand or into paper cases. Our American Jumbo paper cake cases are a perfect size to pop your fondant fancies into !

Hope you find these as easy to make as I did - they're a true delight.

Happy Baking

Sarah-Jane Nash - - September 2014

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - and Brownies !

Love peanut butter cups ? Well - you'll ADORE mine !

Not only are these easy to make, but they knock spots off store bought and look fantastic as part of a chocolate box or on top of cupcakes, brownies etc.

To make approx 45 peanut butter cups, you will need :

150g belgian milk chocolate (preferably couverture)
100g crunchy peanut butter
50g salted butter - at room temperature
100 > 125g of icing (powdered) sugar
200g belgian white chocolate
70mls of double cream (scalded)
coloured sprinkes to decorate

First of all, put the milk chocolate in a plastic bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 30 second bursts, stirring each time. When the chocolate is about 3/4 melted, take out and just keep stirring until it is all melted and you cannot feel it if touching a tiny bit to your upper lip.

The good thing about melting couverture chocolate this way is that as long as the chocolate does not get too warm, it will stay in temper. Out of temper chocolate goes horrible - either 

Use a small paintbrush with non-shedding bristles (kept for kitchen use only) and coat the sides of each cell in chocolate. Allow to start to harden, then make a second coat. Excuse the rubbish photo from my mobile !

After making a second coat of chocolate, place the mould upside down on a cooling rack. This allows the chocolate to settle nicely on the inside and gives a nice even coating.

Once the chocolate starts to set, pop the moulds in the fridge for about 10 mins or so, so the chocolate gets really hard whilst you make the filling.

Put the peanut butter and butter in a bowl and whip until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat some more until thick, but fairly smooth. If it's a bit like rubble, add a tiny amount of boiling water (approx 1 tablespoon will do)

Put into a disposable piping bag, and pipe a little of this mixture to a couple of mm below the top of the cell. You can then seal the top of the chocolates with some more melted milk chocolate, or make the whipped white chocolate ganache....

For the white chocolate ganache, scald the cream in a pot on the stove - or in a bowl in the microwave. Pour the hot cream over the chopped white chocolate. If it doesn't totally melt, pop the bowl of chocolate and scalded cream in the microwave and stir every few seconds until melted.

Take out the microwave and allow to cool for a few minutes, then using a hand held electric whisk, beat until the ganache starts to hold in peaks. It can now be piped on top of your chocolates and decorated with a few sprinkles.

Theses are so cute, they're irresistible.....

So - what can be better, but to pair them with some thick fudgey frosting and seriously delicious, decadent peanut butter cup brownies ? I wouldn't waste the homemade peanut butter cups in the batter though - far easier to use Reese's for baking.

RECIPE - makes 9 large brownies

For this, you need an 8" square silicone pan / mould, lightly buttered.

Pre-heat oven to 180deg C

175g of salted butter
175g of dark chocolate
3 large eggs
300g sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules
60g cocoa powder
75g plain flour
226g pouch of Reeses Mini Peanut Butter cups - or other candy if preferred

Melt the butter and chocolate together with the coffee granules in a large pot.

Combine eggs and sugar together until just combined. Add into pot and whisk with electric whisk. Add dry ingredients and then whisk again for a short time until combined and no lumps can be seen,

Place the 8" square silicone baking pan on to a tray and use a silicone spatula to scrap the mix into the prepared pan. Pop in the peanut butter cups and press into the batter. Keep the candies 1 > 2cm away from the sides of the mould (as this bit will get trimmed off later)

Bake in middle shelf of the oven for approx 35 mins. The outside should all be set, but it will still be a little wet and have a bit of a wobble in the middle.

Remove and leave to cool, then refrigerate over night before cutting.

When chilled and firm, the brownie will release easily from the silicone pan.

Simply bend the sides down and lift out the brownie.

Place on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, trim the outsides of the brownie off.

Cut remaining brownie into 9 squares.


100g of Sunpat ChocoNut Spread, 75g of butter, icing sugar (quite a lot) and a little hot water - whipped together until a fudge like consistency achieved.

Pipe a swirl on top of each brownie square and top with a homemade peanut butter cup.

Sarah-Jane Nash -

Saturday 30 August 2014

RIch Fruit Cake / Christmas Cake Recipes - Mulled Wine and Deluxe Chocolate Orange !

Yup - it's AUGUST and I'm making Christmas cakes !

Seems crazy doesn't it - but the effort is worthwhile. I took an old, vintage cake recipe and gave it a bit of a vamp. I'm happy to say, these have turned out absolutely divine and will only get better on maturing....

I've run out of homemade apple brandy liqueur this year and am about to make more. However, I did have a couple of bottles of Mulled Wine left from last Christmas and a bottle of Triple Sec Curaco (bought from MandS) - orange brandy and cognac... so these recipes were based on what I had lying around.

Now, I can't wait until Christmas !

Actually - I've just made a load of single portion ones in 2" dia, 6 cell cylinder silicone mould . These are awesome as they are perfect for single portions .... or cut into two to turn each into teeny tiny mini cakes..... Nope - not sharing .... those are ALL mine :-)

For 3" diameter (two to three person serving - or just a nice gift size) - use our 6 cell Paw Print mould. It's got super straight sides and you won't see the paw prints on the base when you follow the easy tips at the bottom.

The method for both cake recipes is practically the same. For the deluxe chocolate version, mix the extra ingredients (melted butter and chocolate) into the batter before adding fruit.

Ingredients : Traditional Style Fruit Cake (but with Mulled Wine)

255g of butter
255g of brown sugar (or 220g white sugar and 35g of black molasses)
50g of golden syrup
5 eggs
255g of self raising flour
2 tsp of mixed spice
675g of currants
175g of sultanas
100g of candied peel (or swap out for dried cranberries)
125g of chopped glace cherries
100g of chopped walnuts (also great when swapped out for glace ginger
125g of chopped apricots
1.1/2 cups of mulled wine or 1 cup of brandy, plus 1/2 a cup of water
2 clementines (whole) with thin peel - pulsed in food processor until smooth

Makes 1 x 10" or 2 x rather deep 6" cakes. If making the Extra Deluxe Chocolate Orange Christmas cake, the 6" tins will make very deep cakes. You might even get away with using 3 tins.

Bake at 150deg C for approx 160mins (10") and 130mins (6" - as it's really deep)

Line cake tins with a double layer of parchment, which should rise at least 3" / 75mm above your tins. For the little silicone moulds, see preparation instructions and pictures at the bottom of this blog entry.

Alternatively, try using 2" diameter and 3" diameter silicone bakeware moulds (pattern at the bottom is irrelevant when lined with paper !) . See further down for links, photos and tips !

30mins baking time for 2" and 45mins for 3".

Put dried fruits in a saucepan with lid on with the alcohol and bring to a simmer 5 mins. Allow to sit and cool with the lid on for at least 20mins and absorb all the liquid.

Cream butter and sugar, syrup and treacle (if using in place of brown sugar)

Add eggs one by one, followed by a table spoon of the flour after adding each egg.

Add rest of flour / mixed spice, followed by two whole (thin skinned clementines) - blitzed to a puree  - can be omitted.

Finally, mix in the plum fruits / nuts and any remaining liquid. I tend to dump the batter on top of the fruits in the pot, and then mix it in.... Quick, and dead easy !


 **** For an Extra Deluxe Chocolate Orange Fruitcake ****

add 75g extra melted butter plus 200g melted dark chocolate and 50g of cocoa powder to the batter.

When warm from the oven, put 1tsp of brandy / Curaco over 2" cakes, 2tsp over 3" cakes and about 2 tablespoons over 6" cakes, 3 over 8" and 4 over 10"

If you wish, you can further improve your cake by maturing and "Feeding" your cake with a little alcohol every week brushed over the surface , wrapping up the cake between feeds.

Brandy is the alcohol of choice for most Christmas cakes - but I'm using Dry Curaco from MandS at the moment for a lovely orange kick. Works so well with the fruit and also with the chocolate !

 Here's how I cheat with lining the 6 cylinder 2" and 3" diameter silicone bakeware moulds

First of all, grease your moulds using a little butter on a piece of kitchen paper

Then, take some standard size cupcake cases and cut off the sides - which will leave you with the 48 > 50mm centre at the bottom.

This is now REALLY easy to pop into the base of your mould.

I like to line the cells of moulds for Christmas cakes. If you are leaving the cakes in the mould to feed them, they end up quite damp and lining makes it super easy to remove them with just a little tug.

For the bigger 3" dia moulds, use the same method - but cut a little higher round the base part of the paper ... leaving about 1cm extra right round.

You can actually see the paw print on the bottom of the cell of this mould - but that doesn't matter as you wont notice it in a minute.

Ta da ! Quickest ever mini parchment circles :-)

Now, cut some strips of baking paper / parchment to about 4 " / 100mm high.

Simply roll into a loose tube and pop into the cell.

Easy as it possibly can be !

Fill the cells of your 2" and 3" moulds to level with the top of the cell. The cakes will rise a tiny bit - but by the time they are trimmed, the height will be a full 2" before icing.

For mine, I decorated the small ones very simply. I brushed some warm apricot jam on the tops used a cookie cutter to cut out small circles of fondant and marzipan.

The larger cake shown further up is actually the Extra Deluxe Chocolate and Orange version. Not overly happy with the decoration - but it was first attempt at upside down sharp edges in fondant and I'm fairly happy with the results. 

This one has a full covering of modelling chocolate (Modelling Chocolate pdf Tutorial), then a layer of fondant on top.  The chain border round the bottom was made from this cake decorating sugarpaste push mould 

Happy Baking !

Do let me know how you all get on with this recipe :-)

Sarah-Jane Nash - - website - facebook page

Ferrero Rocher Angels - Easy To Make and SO Darn Cute !

One day in the supermarket, I spied a box of Ferrero Rocher.... and something inside screamed at me to turn them into angels!

It's not something I've seen done before, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. So darn adorable and perfect as little Christmas decorations and gifts. With all that chocolate, nutella, piedmont hazelnuts and salt caramel, what's not to love ?

You'll see I even utilized part of the wrapper for the little ruffle collar round the neck. However, if you prefer different colours - we've got a load of mini muffin / cupcake cases that are an ideal size to choose from.

You will also need a 12 cell silicone Dariole mould to make these.

I guess you have been looking at them long enough - so I have best show you what to do !

I'm afraid I didn't work out quantities of ingredients for these. It depends if you want to leave the body part empty or fill it 1/2 with nutella and half with salt caramel (just a suggestion)

Ingredients :

a few roasted hazelnuts
a medium sized jar of nutella
one batch quantity of salt caramel

You will need :

plastic bowl
a pastry brush
offset spatula (or a wide flat knife will probably do)
a heart shaped cookie cutter
a rolling pin
a clean tea towel
a granite of marble chopping board (frozen overnight) - or a glazed tile

Put the couverture chocolate in the plastic bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts at 75%. After every 30 seconds, remove from the microwave and stir with a silicone spatula - even if it looks like it hasn't started melting at first.

The good thing about couverture chocolate is that as long as you melt in short burst and the temperature stays really low, your chocolate will stay in temper. Chocolate needs to be in temper - or it will go gritty if you get it too hold or lose it's shine and get a mouldy look due to either sugar or fat bloom.

When the chocolate is about 70% melted, don't put it back in the microwave. Just stir, stir, stir until almost all of the chocolate melts. Don't worry if it won't all melt. The remaining chunks can be removed with a fork. The chocolate should be around body temperature when ready to use. Touch a little bit to your upper lip. If you cannot feel it at all, it should be ready to use.

Use your pastry brush to apply a coat of chocolate inside the cells of your mould - making sure to cover all the silicone. Allow to start to set and have a matt finish before adding a second coat. Use a 3rd coat if required - we only used two coats.

This dariole mould has only had one coat at this point. You can still see the silicone shining through the chocolate on the furthest away cell.

Pop two or three roasted hazelnuts into each cell if desired.

Using a disposable piping bag (or a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off), pipe some nutella into each cell - followed by salt caramel. Be sure to leave at least 5mm gap above the filling to the top of the mould.

Of course, you can leave these hollow if you choose to.

Fill the gap at the top with more chocolate and give the mould a tap so the chocolate levels.

Once this is done, pop into the fridge for about 30 mins to set nice and hard before attempting to release from your silicone mold.

Whilst these are setting, we're going to make the wings !

Unfortunately, I forgot to take some photos here.....

Take your frozen granite / marble chopping board out the freezer. Leave for about 2 mins, then scrape the ice off the surface.

Next, spread on a small amount of chocolate using a flat knife or angled spatula. Use the heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the chocolate.

Free the chocolate right away from the slab with a knife / angled spatula. Place a clean tea towel over a rolling pin and place the heart on to that. The chocolate will be firm but "bendy" at this stage and curve a little round the pin.

Next, cut the bottom third of the heart off with a pair of scissors before making the next heart.

You need to cut that bottom bit off, or the wings just don't fit properly on the angel. Do make twice the amount of wings that you actually need. They are very thin and fragile - some will get broken during assembly.

If you wish to box these and give as gifts, I'd suggest putting some chocolate on a 3" dia cake card and then placing the chocolate filled dariole on top. Of course - this isn't required - I actually think they look better off cards.

Next, put a little blob of chocolate on the top of the body, then place on the mini cupcake case / frilled wrapper on top.

Another little blob of chocolate on top of that, and you can stick on your Ferrero Rocher / angels head.

A small amount of chocolate on the centre area of the trimmed chocolate heart and the wings can now stick on !

Voila ! That's it - your angel is complete :-)

If you like this tutorial, please do feel free to share it. I'd also love to see your chocolate Ferrero Rocher angels :-)

Happy Baking and Creating