Last-minute Chocolate Fudge

IMG_9057I think we can all agree that Christmas prep can be quite hectic. Between the decorating, cleaning, hosting family and friends, cooking multiple elaborate meals for them and getting on track with your Christmas baking and candy making, it’s hard to catch your breath during the holiday season. I face the same every year. Which is why I love this recipe for Last-minute Chocolate Fudge so much. You just need five ingredients – stuff you’ll always find in your pantry if you’re a baker, and/or a dessert person –  to whip it up, and 15 minutes later, Voila! Your Chocolate Fudge is ready! Minus the setting time, of course!

I like to put together this chocolate fudge a day or two before Christmas so that it sets into a nice hard layer that can be cut easily. You don’t want to make it much in advance, because, well, there won’t be a crumb remaining till Christmas! Remember those Christmas Tree Brownie Pops I posted about a few days ago? Yeap, not a morsel remaining! 😛

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So without further ado, here’s the recipe for my Last-minute Chocolate Fudge.

Here’s what you need:

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  • Dark Chocolate – 400 g, roughly chopped
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – 400 ml (It’s called Milkmaid in India)
  • Unsalted Butter – 30 g
  • Walnuts – 200 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp

Here’s how you make it:

IMG_8850Step 1: Place the butter, dark chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir slowly, making sure to mix the melted butter, chocolate and condensed milk without incorporating too much air into the mixture.

Step 2: Once the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is dark and glossy, take it off the heat. At this point, add in the vanilla extract and fold slowly. Make sure not to overheat and avoid stirring too swiftly – this could cause the fudge to turn grainy.

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IMG_8858Step 3: Add the chopped walnuts into the chocolate mixture and fold until well incorporated. Then pour the mixture into a box/baking tin lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper and smooth the surface with a spoon or offset spatula. Leave the fudge uncovered at room temperature to set for about 5-7 hours, or even overnight if you wish. Once the fudge layer is hard to the touch, pull it out of the box/tin and cut into squares and grab a bite before the chocolate lovers in your family get their hands on them! 😛

This fudge is smooth, luscious and oh-so-chocolaty. Once you’ve popped a piece into your mouth, it takes all of your strength to stop. The dark chocolate makes it rich and decadent, the condensed milk sweetens it up just the right amount and the walnuts add their crunchy bitter nuttiness to the fudge giving it a good bite. So wonderfully melt-in-the-mouth. 🙂

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It’s Christmas eve, and if there’s one candy you must make for tomorrow, let this Last-minute Chocolate Fudge be the one! You’re going to love it, and the family is going to adore you all the more for making it! 😀

Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! May your day be filled with the joy of your loved ones’ company and tonnes of fun! 😀

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Before I go, here’s a few tips for the fudge:

  • You can substitute walnuts with any other nut (or a mixture of many) you like  – pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios. You could also make a Fruit N’ Nut version by adding raisins, cranberries and candied cherries to the chocolate mixture.
  • You could always leave out the vanilla extract or substitute it with any dessert liqueur – kahlua and rum go great!
  • It is imperative that you leave the fudge to set at room temperature. Do not refrigerate it as it may set faster, but will melt immediately when taken out to cut.
  • Once cut, store the chocolate fudge in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

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There are some things in life that just blow your mind and take you by surprise. There are some tasks which turn out exactly the way you didn’t expect them to. There are some times you embark on a cooking mission, ending up with something completely different from what you thought you’d end up with. This was one such time for me.

It was over two years ago when I first stumbled upon the concept of Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies – I was looking through the internet for unique baking recipes when I came across it. I remember thinking they looked spectacular – just beautiful. I also remember thinking they were way beyond my sphere of expertise, and I just gave up without a second thought.

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To be completely honest, these brownies aren’t hard to make at all. They are incredibly easy to put together, and the fact that this recipe isn’t time consuming is a real blessing. If you have all the ingredients at home, you could put these together in less than an hour. So if you’ve got a strong craving for something sweet and a little patience, this is a great dessert or coffee-time treat.

You’ve probably been to many a pastry shoppe or bakery selling Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I’ve been making some mean Red Velvet Cupcakes for a long time now (they are the one thing I never go wrong with). These brownies are the perfect turn on the classic. The same elements, just baked differently. These brownies look way more sophisticated than the cupcakes, like tiny pieces of art adorning a tray at your tea-party or dinner shindig. But taste wise, they are both at par.

While I will put up a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcake soon, here’s how you make these gorgeous Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.

IMG_3356What you need:

For the Red Velvet layer:

  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Dark Chocolate – 2 ounces, coarsely chopped
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Red Food Coloring – 2 tsp
  • All Purpose Flour – 2/3 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp

For the Cheesecake layer:

  • Cream Cheese – 8 ounces
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp

This is how you make it

  • In a bowl, melt the butter and chocolate and mix together until smooth.
  • In another bowl, blend together sugar, two eggs, red food coloring and vanilla extract.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the red mixture. Mix well.
  • Mix in the flour and salt and blend until there are no streaks of flour remaining.
  • In a separate bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  • Grease and line your cake pan with parchment paper. Pour in 3/4 of the red velvet mixture.
  • Drop the cheesecake mixture in dollops and spread to form an even layer.
  • Drop the remaining red velvet batter in little blobs all over and then using a knife swirl it around.
  • Bake at 150 degrees Celsius for 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely.
  • Cut into pieces and serve.

IMG_3378These brownies are so different, so out of the ordinary. They are chocolatey and cheesy and just so unique, they’ll take you on a journey of tastes and textures that you just don’t expect. The red velvet layer is luscious and gooey with more than a tiny hint of chocolate – it is sweet and just melts in your mouth. The cheesecake layer is delicious – it is creamy, rich and tangy and is the perfect complement to the red velvet’s flavors and textures.

This batch of brownies was gobbled up within minutes. I packed a few for my friend and once she started gobbling them up, she couldn’t stop; she ended up leaving just one tiny piece for her little brother. The boyfriend was ecstatic when he tasted them – he loves anything cakey, creamy and cheesy. My mum loved the balance of the brownies too. And I? Well I loved them. I was worried about over-cooking the brownie layer and under-cooking the cheesecake layer, but gladly it was cooked perfectly. They tasted lovely and they looked stunning. They looked like Christmas on a plate!

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Egg-less Marble Cake

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I’ve been baking for over seven years and I cannot believe that I’ve never baked a Marble Cake before. But gosh, am I proud of my very first attempt! This is my favorite snack-time cake ever! It beats all the chocolate cakes and coffee cakes I’ve baked till date.

Until a couple of months ago, I had never tried baking egg-less cakes, and I must admit, I’m still very shaky when it comes to trying out an egg-less recipe. But in the few times I have tried them, I’ve found that only once did my attempt at baking an egg-less cake completely flop – all the other times, I’ve been pretty successful. But this egg-less cake blew my mind. I did not expect it to come out this good. It was moist and crumbly and it was just my most perfect attempt at baking an egg-less cake.

I don’t normally advocate cake as being good for your health – it’s not. But I don’t recommend staying away from cake either. (How is that even possible?) However, for the health conscious people out there, I will say, this cake is on the healthier side. I know you’re probably thinking its got chocolate and its cake and its sweet, how could it possibly be remotely healthy? Well, here’s the thing – no butter is used in this cake, there are no eggs and the sugar is of a small quantity. All the really heavy, fatty things don’t go into this cake – hence I give you a healthier-than-other-cakes Marble Cake.

IMG_3071So here’s what you need:

  • All Purpose Flour – 210 g
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Hot Water – 140 ml
  • Sugar – 180 g
  • Vegetable Oil – 125 ml
  • Yogurt (Curd) – 125 ml
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder – 25 g

This is how you make it:

  • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients – the flour, baking powder and baking soda – thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, melt the sugar in the hot water, until completely dissolved. Add oil, yogurt, and the vanilla essence and whisk well.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until a smooth batter is formed.
  • Divide the batter into two equal batches and add cocoa powder to one batch and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Grease the cake pan with butter.
  • Spoon the batter into the pan alternatively. Then use a knife to swirl up the batter. Make sure you don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with a consistent chocolate cake.
  • Bake at 150 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

This cake is heaven to your taste buds. When I popped the first piece into my mouth, it melted in my mouth and it made me ridiculously happy. It was just the right amount of sweet, the two flavors – both vanilla and chocolate –  came through beautifully and the cake was decadent, moist and hearty. It was absolutely delicious. My mom loved the cake, she was pleased that it was not too sweet. My dad, who usually does not eat the cakes I bake, enjoyed this Marble cake. The boyfriend couldn’t get enough of it, and his family enjoyed it too. All those who tasted it, absolutely loved it and for those who didn’t try it, well, they really missed out!

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If you love a piece of cake with your tea or coffee, this is the perfect cake for you. Its not a lot of fuss to make either. Give it a try and you’ll be mighty pleased!

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