I have already posted a recipe for cupcakes here and here. This time, I show you how to make them look stunning for the festive season. For these, I have used 2 types of buttercream: one with butter and custard and the other with Philadephia and icing sugar. The latter is good for paler frosting (or white) as the amount of butter is minimal so it won’t have a yellow tint like the buttercream icing.
For 12 to 15 cupcakes
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 beaten eggs
200g self raising flour, sieved
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved
Custard buttercream recipe here
70g softened butter
200g Philadelphia, chilled and drained
400g icing sugar
- To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven at 180C
- Whisk butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (Thermomix: use the butterfly whisk and mix 2 min/speed 3).
- Slowly add the beaten eggs (Thermomix speed 3).
- On low speed, add the self raising flour and cocoa powder (Thermomix: remove the butterfly whisk and mix 20sec/speed 3).
- Line muffin tray with cases and spoon the mixture into each until 2/3 full.
- Bake for 15 min for small cupcakes or 25 min for large ones.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes then transfer onto a cool rack and wait until they are completely cold before icing.
- To make the frosting:
- Beat the butter until very soft (Thermomix 2 min/speed 3).
- Add the very cold Philadelphia and beat until combined (don’t overbeat or the Philadelphia will become more liquid) (Thermomix 30 sec/speed 3).
- Add half the icing sugar and beat together (Thermomix 5 sec/speed 3).
- Add the other half and mix again (5 sec/speed 3).
- Add colouring/flavouring if using and place in piping bag.
- To make the Santas: use a round nozzle (about 1cm wide) and pipe red custard buttercream in a circle starting from the edges of the cupcake. Sprinkle with red glitter. Pipe some whipped cream to make the fur around the coat. Use a sugar Santa head to place on top and 2 chocolate drops for the buttons.
- To make the Christmas trees: scoop out a little circle of the cupcake on top. Use a star shaped nozzle and pipe some green custard buttercream at the center. Place a strawberry on top of the icing and pipe more green buttercream starting from the base of the strawberry and piping outward to make each branch. Finish by making the top vertical branch and decorate with little coloured sugar sprinkles or spheres.
- To make the icy looking cupcakes: use the Philadelphia frosting and colour with baby blue colour. Use a 2D nozzle (or any star nozzle) and pipe starting from the edge of the cupcake, swirling inward. Use cutters to make the shapes with rolling icing.
Another great idea for Christmas pressies, this relish is absolutely delish! It would go well with turkey and ham of course but is equally as good with cheese or paté.
Source: 400 sauces recipe book
Makes about 900g
450g red onions, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
225g brown sugar
450g fresh or frozen cranberries
120ml red wine vinegar
120ml red wine
1 tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp orange liqueur or Port
Salt and ground black pepper
- Halve and thinly slice the red onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring often until softened.
- Add 2 tbsp of the sugar and cook for 5 minutes until caramelized.
- Meanwhile, put the cranberries in the Thermomx with the remaining sugar, the vinegar, red wine, mustard seeds and ginger. Cook for 20 min/100C/speed 1 or until the berries have burst and are tender.
- Stir in the onions and cook 10 min/Varoma/speed spoon, Reverse blade direction and Measuring cup OFF (add internal basket over the lid to avoid projections) until it is well reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the relish to warmed sterilised jars*. Spoon a little of the liqueur/Port over the top of each then cover and seal.
- Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Store in the fridge once opened and use within 1 month.
*To sterilise jars, place them with their lids in an oven preheated at 150C for 10 minutes. Pour the hot content while they’re hot.
Here is a great idea for a Christmas present that I found in my friend Nadine’s blog: Nuage de farine. These lollies are very pretty and would make a chocoholic friend very happy indeed!
Source: Nuage de farine
For 20 lollies
450g dark chocolate
Flavour of your choice: cinnamon, vanilla extract, chilli powder…
- Melt the chocolate, sugar and spice in the TM bowl 3 min/50C/speed 3.
- Mix 3 min/speed 2 until smooth and the chocolate has reached 32C (stop the blades and remove lid before measuring the temperature with a probe).
- Pour into mini silicone moulds (about 2.5cl capacity).
- Leave to set in the fridge for 7 min and place wooden sticks in the middle of each mould (the chocolate needs to be slightly set but soft enough to easily dig the sticks).
- Let set completely in the fridge, unmould the lollies, wrap them in cellophane and tie with a ribbon if offering.
- Add following instructions with the lollies: melt 1 lolly in a mug of hot milk and enjoy!
- Note: the mini chocolate bars pictured above were made using only dark chocolate, melted the same way in the Thermomix and poured over a silicone mould, which I had previously sprinkled with dessicated coconuts…
This is not really a recipe but an idea of decoration or Christmas present. I got these polycarbonate chocolate moulds and I used them to make lovely butterflies that look really nice on a cake. You can also offer them beautifully wrapped in a cellophane bag.
(For 5 butterflies as per mould pictured)
Candy melts (choose several pastel colours, 3 candy melt chips per colour)
250g dark chocolate
- Temper the chocolate: melt it to 50-55C, then bring down the temperature to 28C (either by adding unmelted chocolate or pouring it out onto a marble slab). Reheat the chocolate gently to 31-32C and keep at that temperature until use. For the Thermomix method of tempering chocolate, go here and follow steps 7 to 9.
- Melt a small amount of candy melts in several containers (1 per colour) in the microwave in 30sec bursts.
- Using a toothpick, fill the depressions in the mould with the candy melts, alternating colours. Try to do 1 butterfly at a time and fill with the tempered chocolate straight away while the candy melt is still soft. If the melts cool before the chocolate is poured in, they will split from the chocolate when unmoulding.
- Leave to set in a cool place (8 to 10C) for 10 to 15 min.
- When completely set, free the chocolate butterflies.
Because it’s Halloween today and it’s a tradition to eat pumpkin at this time of the year, I was looking for inspiration when I saw this gorgeous recipe in Closet Cooking. I discovered this blog recently and it’s a treasure trove of fantastic recipes, packed with flavours and colours. The guy who writes the blog, Kevin, loves Mexican food and it shows! He has a knack for layering Mexican flavours with an American twist. This soup is no exception but I had to tone it down for my 7 years old so I didn’t add the black beans and the chipotle chillis. It was still an absolute hit for the tastebuds and I will definitely do it again.
Source: Closet cooking
1 can (425g) pumpkin purée
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves
50g Chorizo sausage (I remove the skin)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A pinch of cinnamon
500g stock (chicken or vegetable, I used my own homemade veg stock from My way of cooking)
A can of tomatoes (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes as that’s all I had)
A handful of fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the onion, garlic, Chorizo, cumin, cinnamon and 1 tbsp olive oil in the TM bowl.
- Chop 3 sec/speed 5.
- Sweat for 4 min/100C/speed 1.
- Add the pumpking purée, tomatoes and stock and cook for 10 min/100C/speed 1.
- Add the coriander and blend 1 min/speed 10 (if you like your soup chunky, you can take out a couple of laddle of the soup, blend and add the laddles back in).
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with a wedge of lime and fresh coriander.
Some of you may know that I am doing French cookery demonstrations (non Thermomix). One of the classes I teach shows how to make a delicious chocolate Ruffle cake. This cake is not only a real treat but also an absolute knocker that will be the talk of any party. With Christmas coming, this could be your showstopper dessert, so here is how to make it…
Source: Woman’s weekly
175g self raising flour
100g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
350g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175ml sunflower oil
1 tsp coffee extract
For the ganache:
450g whipping cream
300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Few drops vanilla extract
For the decoration:
Approx 100g chocolate vermicelli
400g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven at 180C (fan)/200C (non fan).
- Prepare the cake : place all the cake ingredients in the TM bowl and mix 20 sec/speed 6.
- Butter and flour a 20cm (8inch) cake tin with high sides or 3 x 20 cm sandwich tins. If they are not springform tin, line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Pour the cake batter into the tin(s) and bake for 1 hour 1/4 for the big cake or 15 to 20 minutes for the 3 smaller cakes. Check the cake is cooked with a toothpick and leave to cool on a rack. Remove the tin carefully once cooled down a little but leave the baking parchment is using until the cake is totally cooled. Make the sure the cake is cold before assembling.
- Make the ganache: clean and dry the bowl. Place the chocolate cut into chunks in the bowl and grate 10 sec/speed 6. Next, add the cream and vanilla extract and cook for 5 min/50C/speed 2 or until melted.
- Tip out into a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge.
- To make the ruffles: clean and dry the TM bowl. Grate the chocolate chunks 10 sec/speed 6.
- Tip out roughly 1/3 of the chocolate and melt the remaining 2/3 3 min/50C/speed 1 (or until all the chocolate is melted). Add the reserved 1/3 and stir at speed 2 until all melted.
- Heat the chocolate 1 min/37C/speed 1.
- Pour a couple of ladles of the chocolate onto a tray and spread evenly using a spatula (preferably crooked handed) until getting a thin and even layer that covers most of the tray. Scrape any excess chocolate back into the TM bowl. Place the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes to set. Meanwhile, do the same with another 2 ladles of chocolate in another tray. Make sure you keep the chocolate hot in the Thermomix by heating it 5 min/37C/speed 1 in between.
- When the first tray has set, take it out of the fridge and rewarm the tray with the palms of your hands until the surface starts to go slightly shiny again but not totally melted (you can also place the tray over a turned on hob to warm it slightly but make sure it doesn’t get hot!).
- Then, working quickly, starting at the edge that is away from you, place the pastry scraper under about a 5cm (2in) area of chocolate and place your finger on top, and then scrape the chocolate towards you so that the chocolate ruffles up. If the ruffles are too tight, they may be opened out a little before the chocolate sets fully. Leave the ruffles to set on a cold tray.
- Repeat the ruffles along the rest of the rectangle, then repeat this process a further 2-3 times to use all the tempered chocolate.
- Use a long-bladed knife to cut the chocolate cake into 3 layers (no need to do that if you used 3 sandwich tins).
- Whip the chilled ganache in the Thermomix with the butterfly whisk on speed 3 until it’s light and fluffy.
- Place the cake on a serving dish and put some baking parchment pieces underneath the cake to protect the dish. Fill the layers of the cake with the whipped ganache.
- Spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it as much as possible.
- Tip the vermicelli out onto baking parchment, and scoop it up and gently press it against the sides of the cake.
- Wearing disposable gloves, starting at the outside edge, press the ruffles into the ganache on the top of the cake.
- Work around in rings to fill the centre, using a little extra ganache to hold the ruffles in place if necessary.
- Remove carefully the pieces of baking parchment from underneath the cake and serve.
I love to have a few types of liquors for cocktails and cooking but I don’t like the price tag, so whenever I see a way to make my own liquor, I go for it. This Italian lemon liquor is absolutely delicious. You can use Limoncello to flavour any lemon desserts: pana cotta, lemon tiramisu, ice cream, cakes… And also savoury dishes: in risottos, in sauces to serve with chicken, fish or seafood.
This is super easy to do but you need to think ahead because this takes 3 weeks to macerate and a few more weeks to reach optimum maturity. It could also be a great Christmas present!
Source: Les délices de Mimm
6 organic unwaxed lemons (you’ll only be using the zest)
1 l. Vodka (or 1/2 l. 90° alcohol and 1/2l. water)
- Wash and dry the lemons. Carefully peel the zest to only get the yellow part (we don’t want the white bitter part).
- Place the alcohol in a jar with a lid (if using 90° alcohol, only use this, don’t add the water).
- Add the lemon zests into the alcohol and close the jar. Place in a dark cool place and leave for 3 weeks, shaking every so often.
- After 3 weeks, pour through a sieve to collect the alcohol (which will have turned yellow). Discard the zests.
- If using the Vodka, just add sugar to it and stir well until dissolved. If using the part 90° alcohol/part water: make a syrup with the water and sugar. Leave to cool and add to the alcohol.
- Pour into a bottle and tightly close the lid. Place in a cool dark place for at least 1 month to develop the flavours.
- Use in a recipe or drink (moderately!) with some ice cubes.
During Thermomix demonstrations, we use a flipchart with pictures of some of the dishes that can be made with the Thermomix. One of them always gets me salivating and is quite surprising because it’s a steamed cheesecake. I’ve been eager to try it ever since but with so many recipes to try out there, this one was somewhere down the list. Well, I’ve finally got around making it and let me tell you: it’s as delicious as it looks on the picture! It’s creamy and chocolatey, an absolute delight to eat.
Source: Australian Recipe community
50 g sugar
100 g unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt
2 egg yolks
70 g plain flour
100 g dark chocolate, , broken into pieces
100 g sugar (50 + 50)
220 g double cream (110 + 110)
250 g chestnut purée (unsweetened, if sweetened, omit some of the sugar, depending how sweet the chestnut purée is)
3 large eggs
250 g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g dark chocolate
80g double cream
- Sablé: mix the sugar for the sablé base 10sec/speed 10.
- Add butter and vanilla and mix 20sec/speed 4.
- Add remaining sablé ingredients and mix 10 sec/speed 3.
- Line the bottom of a 20cm springform tin with baking parchment and spread the sablé mixture in an even layer using the back of a spoon (make sure the bottom of the springform tin is turned upside down so that the ridge is underneath and the flat part up. This will ensure easy removal of the cheesecake). The tin size is important if you are going to steam it in the Varoma as it needs to fit in it. Mine was a bit high (9cm high) so I couldn’t close the lid properly but I managed to use foil and kitchen towels to seal the lid and it was absolutely fine!
- Freeze the sablé for 20 minutes (or place in the fridge for 2 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Bake the sablé for 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cook completely before adding the filling.
- For the filling: place the chocolate and 50g sugar in the bowl and mix 8 sec/speed 9.
- Add 110g cream and melt 3 min/50C/speed 1.
- Add 120g chestnut purée and mix 10 sec/speed 4. Tip out and reserve.
- Place remaining sugar, cream, 130g chestnut purée eggs, cream cheese and vanilla essence into the TM bowl and mix 20 sec/speed 8.
- Return the chocolate mixture into the bowl and mix 4 sec/speed 3/ Reverse blade.
- Pour onto the cooled sablé. Place the tin in the Varoma, on top of chopsticks or something to keep the holes free.
- Place 1.2L water into the bowl, close the lid and place the Varoma on top. If the lid of the Varoma doesn’t close properly, use tea towels to wrap around the lid as tightly as possible while making sure the holes on the lid are not obstructed.
- Steam for 50 minutes/Varoma/Speed 3.
- After that time, the mixture will still look quite wobbly, which is normal. Let it cool before chilling for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. It will firm up.
- Before serving, make the ganache: place the chocolate in the TM bowl and chop 8 sec/speed 9.
- Add the cream and cook for 3 min/50C/speed 3.
- Take out the cheesecake from the springform tin and place on a serving plate.
- Pour onto the cheesecake and decorate with toffee nuts, chocolate drops or fruits.
I don’t do soufflés half enough. OK, partly it’s because you have to make them at the last minute and frankly, I don’t always have the time to whip up a soufflé after a dinner. Then I saw that you can actually prepare the soufflé mixture in advance and leave in the fridge until ready to cook. That’s more like it! So here is a divine chocolate soufflé recipe, made fast and easy with Thermomix!
Source: 750g video
For 6 ramequins
10g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
150g dark chocolate
6 egg whites
65g caster sugar
Butter and brown sugar for the ramequins
- Butter generously the ramequins with a brush. Brush from bottom to top on the sides. Pour some brown sugar at the bottom and tilt the ramequins to coat the sides up to the top. Refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven at 190C (fan oven) with a tray placed on the middle shelf.
- Make the crème patissiere : place all the ingredients except the chocolate in the TM bowl. Cook for 7min/90C/speed 4.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts, stirring well in between or in a bain-marie.
- Add the chocolate. Stir and pour into a clean bowl. Seal with cling film (touching the cream’s surface to stop a skin from forming).
- Clean the TM bowl and dry thoroughly (or use second TM bowl)
- Insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the egg whites on speed 3 measuring cup OFF. Add 65g sugar when it starts to foam. Continue whisking until soft peaks (the whites shouldn’t be very firm).
- When the crème patissiere is luke warm, add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and stir vigorously to loosen it.
- Then, add the remaining egg whites and fold them in gently in order to keep as much air in as possible.
- Pour into the ramequins up to ¾ of the way and smooth the top with the back of a spoon to flatten. You can refrigerate the soufflé mixture at this point for up to 12h. No need to bring them back to room temperature before baking.
- Bake on the hot baking tray for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.
I have seen the recipe in my friend Caty from A 2 mains Cap délice and it reminded me how I loved eating these when I was a teenager. They are the kind of hot food to go you’d buy at the boulangerie at lunch time. They are really tasty and not so hard to make though they need a little bit of prep’ time.
Source: A 2 mains cap délice
200g puff pastry, rolled in a rectangle of 20x35cm
500g cheese sauce (made with 50g butter, 50g flour, 90g cheddar/Emmenthal, 500g milk)
Ham, cooked chicken or cooked mushrooms for filling
1 egg yolk + milk for the glaze
- Preheat the oven at 180C.
- Cut the rolled puff pastry across the longer side into 16 strip about 1 inch wide.
- Make tubes with kitchen foil (don’t make them too thick) and brush with melted butter all over. Pinch each end to make it narrower.
- Take 2 strips of dough and join them together by pinching one extremity to the other.
- Roll that strip of dough by overlapping slightly so it looks like a sea shell over one end of the foil tube. Use the other end of the tube to roll another 2 strips.
- Glaze the rolls with a mixture of milk and egg yolk using a brush (I used only milk so my glaze wasn’t as golden after cooking).
- Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden.
- Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Add the chicken/ham cut in strips or the mushrooms cut in quarters if using and stir into the sauce. Set aside.
- Take out the rolls from the oven and remove carefully the kitchen foil. That’s when you’ll be glad you used butter to grease them!
- Leave them to cool down so they are not so brittle.
- Use a spoon to fill them with cheese sauce (the sauce should be almost cold at this stage so it’s not too runny).
- Bake again for 10 minutes at 180C.
- Serve immediately with a salad.