Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue


 
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart

Happy August first! Today marks the start of my birthday month, and a whole lot of travel that I am so excited about! Tonight I go to Long Island to stay at my friend’s house - tomorrow we are driving to North Carolina for a little (big) road trip and I can’t wait!

I wanted to pop on and share these little tarts that I made a while back with you - I had a jar of mixed berry jam from recipe testing for this cake that I wanted to use up, and some brand new tart rings that I wanted to play with, so this was the end product! I made some chocolate sweet pastry cases, then filled them with a little bit of the mixed berry jam, then filled up the pastry case with a fave of mine - a dark chocolate peanut butter tart filling. I then topped the whole thing off with some torched Swiss meringue, which I made to use up some extra whites I had in my fridge. The meringue was a last minute addition and is totally optional, but I love the taste of the toasty meringue, and it stood up so well against the silky chocolate filling and crunchy tart crust. So, so good - I love using the little tart rings, so I can see a lot more mini tarts happening around here in the future!

These are definitely on the time consuming side of things to make, but you can absolutely take a few shortcuts and break up the workload for yourself. You can use store bought jam, and, if you like, you can make the dough ahead of time, and also bake off the pastry cases ahead of time, so you just have to assemble on the day of. With that being said, although these are time consuming, it isn’t a whole lot more work to make 12 of them than it is to make just the one, so they would make a great wee fancy dessert if you needed one to take to a dinner party or something similar.

A few wee tips:

  • I used these De buyer perforated tart rings, which are a total investment but absolutely worth it if you make tarts often. The way that they are made means that there is no need to use baking beans in them. I got six, so made the pastry cases in two batches of six - if you like, you can make these ahead of time and store in an airtight container.

  • If you don’t have the perforated cases, I would use this method for baking the shells.

  • I also baked them on a perforated baking mat - I used this one, which helped loads with having enough airflow underneath the pastry cases to allow them to bake evenly. Parchment works too, you will just want to dock the pastry bottom using a fork to ensure that they don’t puff up too much.

  • If you are making these ahead, do the meringue part just before serving!

  • I piped just a few blobs onto these for photos - cover the whole thing if you like! I love torched meringue so much.

  • I use an industrial blow torch when I am torching things - it makes things so much easier than using a tiny wee blow torch! I got mine from the hardware store

  • The Swiss Meringue is yum, but is a totally optional step!

  • If you want a peanut butter free version, a half batch of this filling will work great!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 12 3” tarts -

Chocolate Sweet Pastry Method via Topless Baker

Chocolate Sweet Pastry
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g powdered sugar, sifted
85g eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
50g dutch process cocoa, sifted
400g all-purpose flour, sifted

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Filling
225g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
90g smooth peanut butter
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
190g heavy cream

Swiss Meringue
125g egg whites
190g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To fill: Mixed Berry Jam or jam of your choice (about 1/2 cup) - I used this, but store bought also works great

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE SWEET PASTRY

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa and flour, and add to the mixing bowl. Mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and form into a rough rectangle. Wrap in the plastic wrap, and chill until firm, 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces, and re-wrap the first piece until needed. Place the second piece onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. I made six shells at a time, so just worked with one piece of dough, but if you are making 12 at once, you can roll both out at once. Roll out to 3mm thickness, adding additional flour onto the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Once the dough is the correct thickness, transfer to the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up - you don’t want it to be solid, but want it cold enough that it doesn’t get sticky when you use it.

Line a baking sheet with a perforated baking mat or parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the freezer, and use your tart ring to cut out circles from the dough - these will form the bottoms of your pastry cases. Try and keep all the circles condensed in one part of the dough so you have enough left to make strips to form the sides of the shells - you can re-roll if needed. Place the stamped out circles inside the tart ring on the prepared baking sheet.

Now you need to cut strips to form the walls - you want to cut a strip that goes around the whole ring, so if you have a 3” ring, your strip will need to be just over 9” to accomodate the circumference. Cut strips that are about 9” long, and about 3/4” thick. Place them inside the tart ring, trimming the length if needed so the ends of the strips sit flush, and pressing down lightly where the edge and the bottom meet. Repeat with the remainder of the tart rings. Chill for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to trim off any excess dough that sticks out over the top of the ring.

Transfer the lined tart rings to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, in order for them to firm up completely. While they are freezing, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Once the pastry cases are frozen, transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake the pastry cases for 15-16 minutes, or until set. In the first few minutes of the baking, check on them to ensure that the edges are not slipping down - if they are, just gently use your hands to bring them back up.

Remove the pastry cases from the oven, and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove the cases from the rings, and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

If you have just made six shells, repeat the process to give you 12. If you are making these ahead of time, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use. If the edges are a little rough, they can be filed down with a microplane.

 

DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

Place the chocolate, peanut butter, butter and salt into a large heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan, and warm over low heat until just shy of a simmer - you should see movement around the edges of the cream. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter, and cover the bowl with a lid or plate. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes, then whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture will look like it has split to begin with but keep whisking - it will come together and go glossy. Use immediately.

ASSEMBLY

Arrange the chocolate pastry cases on a baking sheet. Dollop 2 tsp of mixed berry jam into the bottom of each, smoothing down with an offset spatula if needed.

Fill each pastry case with the chocolate peanut butter filling, shaking the pastry case slightly to level off the mixture, and smoothing with an offset spatula if needed. Repeat until all are full and smooth, then place in the fridge until set, 30 to 60 minutes.

SWISS MERINGUE

Measure the egg whites, granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip (I used an ateco #866)

Pipe blobs of the swiss meringue onto the top of each tart - I only did a few on each because I liked how it looked, but they would look great totally covered in meringue too. You could also use an offset spatula, dollop it on, then smooth it off. Torch if desired.

Store the tarts in the fridge until ready to serve.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue #minitart #peanutbutterganache #chocolatetart

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream


 
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream

It’s been a hot minute since I posted a chocolate tart, so I figured it was about time I fixed that. They are one of my favourite desserts to make - I’m not sure if that’s because pressing the graham cracker crust into the pan is super satisfying, or if it’s because I love how lovely and smooth they set up, or if it’s because I just love eating them so much. They are super simple to make, and can be customised any way you like to suit whatever flavour profile you are after - I love making a base tart (this but without the marshmallow is my go to) and topping it with fresh berries and cream for an easy summer twist!

I am a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to recipes - once I get a good base recipe, I tend to stick with it, and it makes its way into a whole bunch of recipes from there. Both the crust and the filling of this tart are snuck from other recipes of mine - the salted caramel dark chocolate ganache filling first made its debut in these doughnuts, then again in macarons, and I really wanted to see if it would work as a tart filling! Spoiler alert - it’s great, a little on the sweet side, but I balanced that nicely with a well salted chocolate crust, and a super creamy earl grey mascarpone whipped cream, which I was going to pipe all fancy, but went with my default french star tip instead.

I love flavouring whipped cream - you just have to warm it slightly, then add your flavour and let it steep, then strain it out, and chill the cream before whipping it up. I like to add mascarpoone to cream when I need it to be a little more stable - it gives it a lovely extra creamy texture, and holds its form much longer, so is also great if you need to make it ahead a little. The dark chocolate and the salted caramel in the filling go so beautifully with the earl grey in the cream, and it is all complimented perfectly by the slightly salty chocolate crust. This tart is great for feeding a crowd, as you really only need a teeny sliver of it - but I bet you catch yourself coming back for more. I had some for breakfast the other day and so can therefore confirm that it is great at any time of the day!

A few wee tips:

  • When you are making the ganache and mixing in the cream, make sure that you don’t blend on the surface. This aerates the mixture and will make loads and loads of tiny bubbles, which isn’t ideal. I like to mix the cream into the chocolate in a pyrex jug so that there is a little bit of depth so it’s easier to avoid blending on the surface!

  • You may have a teeny bit of ganache left - pour it into a small jar or something - it makes a lovely fridge treat! You can probably pour a bit more in if you like too - I was being careful!

  • If you don’t want to make the earl grey whipped cream, plain mascarpone whipped cream will do too - just skip the step where you infuse the cream, and use 320g cream.

  • The ganache needs time to set - I like to give it overnight if I can.

  • If you don’t want a chocolate crust on this, I have a great brown butter graham cracker crust here. You can use digestive biscuits too if you can’t find grahams!

  • Ideally, you want to add the whipped cream close ish to the time you are serving!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream

- Makes one 9" tart, serves 10-12 people -

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
2 sleeves (290g) graham crackers or similar biscuit
1/4 cup (35 grams) cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
135g unsalted butter, melted

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Filling
270g dark chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard 72% wafers)
500g heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
3/4 tsp salt
35g water
240g sugar
30g light corn syrup or glucose
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream
430g heavy cream
15g loose leaf earl grey tea
225g mascarpone, cold
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
50g powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place all the ingredients except for the butter in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the graham crackers resemble crumbs and the mixture is well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the melted butter.

Evenly press the crust into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a glass or measuring cup to help you press it against the sides of the pan. Place the pan onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes, then allow to cool completely. 

 

DARK CHOCOLATE SALTED CARAMEL GANACHE FILLING

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl.

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the cream, vanilla bean paste and salt, and place over low heat. You just want to warm it - not let it boil.

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber colour. Remove from the heat and adda third of the warmed cream mixture. Be careful as it will steam and sputter. Whisk well to combine. Add the second third, combine, then add the remaining cream, and whisk until well incorporated.

Pour a third of the the caramel cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, then cover the bowl with a lid or plate and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Mix with a stick blender to emulsify the mixture. Add the remaining caramel mixture in two additions, mixing well with the stick blender to ensure even incorporation.

Cool the mixture to 95°f / 35°c (you can either leave it at room temperature, stirring occasionally, which will take some time, or you can pop it into the fridge, stirring and checking the temperature often), then add in the butter and mix with the stick blender to emulsify.

Place the prepared tart shell (still in the removable bottom pan) onto a baking sheet, and pour the ganache into the tart shell, stopping just shy of the edges (you may have a little leftover - pour this into a small container and set up in the fridge for a little snack). Transfer to a flat shelf in the fridge and leave to chill until set, preferably overnight.

EARL GREY MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM

Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan. Bring to just shy of a simmer, then remove from the heat and add the loose leaf tea, stirring to combine. Cover, and allow to steep for 15 minutes, then strain the tea from the cream, pressing down with the back of a spoon to get as much flavour out as possible.

Measure the strained cream and top up to 320g if needed, then transfer to a small airtight container and place in the fridge until cooled completely.

Place the cold mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix briefly to break up and soften. Add the chilled earl grey cream, vanilla bean paste, powdered sugar, and salt, and whip until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large french star tip.

ASSEMBLY

Remove the chilled tart from the fridge. Pipe blobs of earl grey cream over the surface of the tart.

To serve, cut using a sharp knife which has been run under hot water and then dried. Wipe between cuts.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache Tart with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Earl Grey Mascarpone Whipped Cream - this chocolate tart comes together quickly, and is the perfect easy dessert that easily feeds a crowd. A crunch base is topped with a silky smooth chocolate salted caramel filling, and finished with an earl grey mascarpone whipped cream. #chocolatetart #saltedcaramel #earlgreywhippedcream

The Ultimate Easter Treat Box


 
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking

Thank you so much to ALDI for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own - thank you for supporting the businesses that keep Cloudy Kitchen going!

I’m not sure how, but it’s suddenly almost Easter. Which makes me so excited for a few reasons - the weather should finally warm up, I love Easter Eggs (I always get Mum to send me some from home), but most of all - Easter baking is so, so much fun! I love how many different treats can be made to incorporate Easter and Spring flavours, and pastel coloured anything is always going to be a winner in my books.

I figured the best way to kick off the Easter Baking season was with a treat box! These are super fun to make, and make incredible gifts. I have partnered with ALDI for this treat box - showing off some of their baking staples. Their products are incredibly well priced (something that is super hard to come by in NYC!!), and are great quality. They are definitely my go-to for stocking up on basics such as their Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar, and Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour. Also - I’m not sure if it’s just me (it most likely is just me), but I get a huge kick out of going to new supermarkets and looking at all the new and different things that they have! If you have an ALDI I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already!

I wanted to make a variety of treats for this box to show how easy and fun they are to put together - I like making a couple of time intensive recipes that can easily be doubled (such as the macarons and hand pies), and then pairing them with some easy to make treats (Cardamom Linzers, Marshmallows, and Brown Butter Crispy Rice Bars), and then rounding it out with some store bought items - this time I chose to use a bunch of Moser Roth and Choceur Easter Eggs from ALDI (which are available Starting the 27th of March). I also like using recipes that can be used in a few applications - for example I made one batch of the Cardamom Linzer dough, and filled some with Jam, and iced others with some Royal icing to provide a variation in designs. Adding in the Easter eggs was the perfect finishing touch - not only are they super delicious, but they are crazy cute and really help with driving the Easter theme home! This treat box would make a great Easter gift, or as something to take along to an event or Easter brunch - either one or two batches of the recipes that I have included here would be great for making 7-8 boxes for family and friends.

A few wee tips:

  • I find that prep is key for these! The day before I put these together, I made the cookies for the Linzers and iced Cookies, made the Crispy Rice Treat bars, made the shells for the macarons, made the dough for the and pies, covered some of the cardamom cookies in royal icing, and made the marshmallows. That meant that on the day of assembly, I just had to bake off the hand pies, fill the macarons, fill the linzers, and cut shapes from the marshmallows. Breaking up the jobs like this really helped to keep on top of things.

  • You can use whatever box you like! I used a wooden box and made some dividers from craft wood, but I have seen them done in cardboard boxes using dividers or even cupcake liners to pop the treats in.

  • Don’t feel like you have to make everything in a treat box! Even just one homemade cookie with a bunch of Easter eggs is perfect - you do you here. ALDI has an amazing range of Easter goodies that would go great in your box. I used the Choceur Milk Chocolate Hollow Eggs, the Choceur Hollow Mini Bunnies, the Moser Roth Mini Truffle Easter Eggs in Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut, and the Choceur Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs.

 

 

Cardamom Linzer Cookies

- Makes about 32 Cookies -

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus chill time
Bake time: 30-40 minutes total (8-10 minutes per tray)

Note - I cut a couple of the cookies using a larger egg cutter, and iced them with royal icing, just as a fun little visual variation for the box! I have included my royal icing recipe and directions below.

Cardamom Linzer Dough
170g Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
150g sugar
50g brown sugar
1 Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
310g Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Filling
Jam or Preserves of choice (I used the Award Winning Specially Selected Blackberry Fruit Spread)

To Finish
Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Royal Icing Detailing (optional)
1/4 cup (60g) water
15g (1 Tbsp) meringue powder
340g (2 3/4 cups) Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

- PROCESS -

CARDAMOM COOKIES

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium high speed until pale, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the edges as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cardamom. Add to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and gently bring together with your hands. Form into a rectangle, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for approximately an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°f /180°c. Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into two. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place between two large pieces of parchment paper, and roll to approximately 1/4” (7mm) thickness. Transfer, still covered in the parchment, to a baking sheet, and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the dough to firm. Repeat with the second portion of dough.

Remove one sheet from the freezer, and peel off the Top sheet of the parchment paper. Using a cutter of your desired size (I used an egg cutter that was 2” in height), cut out shapes from your dough. Place on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little room in between. If the dough starts to soften, return to the freezer to firm up. Repeat until all the dough has been used up.

Place the cut out cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes, then, using a small shaped cutter (I used a small egg cutter), cut out a hole in the middle of half of the cookies. Repeat the rolling and cutting process while the first sheet is baking. You may end up with 3-4 baking sheets worth of cookies - store any cookies that aren’t being baked in the freezer while they are waiting to be baked off.

Bake each sheet one at a time for 8-9 minutes, until the edges are set. You may need to increase the baking time if your cookies are slightly larger.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat the baking process with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Pair up the cookies so each has a solid half, and half with a cut-out. Place the cut-out pieces on a wire rack, and, if desired, dust generously with powdered sugar. Place all the solid halves smooth side down (so the side that was against the baking sheet is facing up), then, using either a spoon or a piping bag, place about 1 tsp of jam on each cookie. Top with a cut-out half. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container - these are best served on the day they are assembled, but you can store the components separately for several days.

ROYAL ICING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the water and meringue powder. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then mix on low for 8-10 minutes. The mixture will become very thick.

Transfer about half of the icing to a small bowl, and place the rest in a small container with plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Thin down the icing with more water, adding a teaspoon at a time until it is a pipe-able consistency. Transfer to a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a border around the edge of each cookie, then fill in by piping icing within the border. Smooth down with a skewer. Repeat on as many cookies as desired. Allow to dry for at least a few hours before you pipe on detail.

To pipe on the detail, thin down the remaining icing, and colour as desired. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, and pipe designs onto the cookies. Allow to dry before eating.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

- Makes one 9” x 13” pan of marshmallow -

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 3-4 hours for marshmallows to cure

Note - I repeated the recipe twice to give me pink and yellow marshmallows. The thing I love about homemade marshmallows is that they last a super long time - just keep them in an airtight container. I cut mine out using Easter shaped cutters, but cutting into squares with a sharp knife works just as well too - just be sure to dust either the knife or your cutter in the marshmallow dust to make sure that it doesn’t stick.

Marshmallow Dust
35g (1/4 cup) Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
35g (1/4 cup) corn starch

Vanilla Marshmallows
Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter for greasing pan.
75g cold water
14g (2 sachets) powdered gelatin
75g cold water
270g sugar
105 g light corn syrup
1 tablespoon (18g) vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
Gel food colouring as desired (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

MARSHMALLOW DUST

Sift together the powdered sugar and corn starch. Set aside - this will be used to dust the pan.

VANILLA BEAN MARSHMALLOWS

Grease a 9” x 13” quarter sheet pan with butter, and dust with marshmallow dust. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 75 grams water with the powdered gelatin. Combine well and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan, heat the second measure of water, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and vanilla bean paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 240˚f (116˚c). Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to 210˚f (99˚c).

Turn the mixer to medium speed, and allow it to break up the gelatin slightly. Carefully stream in the sugar syrup mixture. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, holds a small peak, and is fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add food colouring if desired. Working quickly, scrape into the prepared pan, and smooth down with a lightly oiled offset spatula. Dust with additional marshmallow dust, and allow to cure for at least 3 hours.

Dust a work surface with marshmallow dust, and turn the marshmallow onto it. Using an Easter cutter of your desired size, cut out marshmallows, dusting the cutter with marshmallow dust as needed. I used egg cutters and a chick cutter.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

 

Macarons with Dark Chocolate Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 macarons -

Prep time: 45 minutes, plus time for macarons to dry
Bake time: 30 minutes

Note - After mixing in the powdered sugar and almond flour mixture into the meringue, I divided the mixture into three, and coloured each individually, then continued to mix until they were the correct consistency. This is an easy way to make several colours from one batch of batter. I also added some ‘speckles’ by flicking on some black gel food colouring diluted with water using a paintbrush after they had baked.

Macaron Shells
170g Baker’s Corner Almond Flour
300g Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
180g Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Gel food colour as desired
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Mint Chocolate Chip Swiss Meringue Buttercream
65g egg whites, or 2 large egg whites - I used Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Eggs
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
225g (8oz, or two sticks) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla
125g dark chocolate
1/8 tsp peppermint extract

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colour if desired. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and almond flour mixture.

Add the remaining almond flour mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an Ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store shells in an airtight container until ready to fill. These can be made 2-3 days in advance, provided they are stored in an airtight container.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until the mixture has begun to cool slightly and the egg whites are white and fluffy and hold a stiff peak, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate, and peppermint extract. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

ASSEMBLY

Pair up each macaron shell with another of equal size. Pipe a blob of buttercream on one side of the pair, and gently press the second half on to adhere. Macarons can be eaten immediately, but are best after a night in the fridge in an airtight container to let the flavours meld.

 

 

Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treat Bars

- Makes one 9”x9” pan of bars -

Prep time: 15 Minutes, Plus time for the bars to set

115g (one stick) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter
285g (one 10oz bag) marshmallows
175g Millville Crispy Rice cereal
Flaky sea salt, to finish
Sprinkles of your choice, to finish

- PROCESS -

Grease a 9”x9” pan with butter (I used the Crofton Speckled Bakeware Pan from ALDI, available starting March 27th).

Place the Crispy Rice cereal in a large bowl. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, place the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the butter melts, and then continue to cook, stirring well, until the butter begins to go brown and smell toasty. Remove the butter from the heat, and add the marshmallows and vanilla, stirring well. Leave to sit for 1-2 minutes to help the butter melt the marshmallows, then stir until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is well combined.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the Crispy Rice cereal, and mix well until well combined. It may seem sticky, but make sure that you keep mixing to make sure all of the cereal is evenly coated.

Transfer to the greased pan, and press down with a spoon or wet fingers. Sprinkle with sprinkles and flaky sea salt, then leave to cool and set before slicing into bars. Store in an airtight container

 

 

Mini Jam Hand Pies

- Makes about 20 Hand Pies -

Prep time: 45 minutes, plus overnight rest for the dough and chilling time for the hand pies
Bake time: 25 minutes

Note - You can fill these with whatever you like! I used the Specially Selected Fruit Spread from ALDI in Blackberry, Strawberry and Raspberry. You can mix and match the fillings - using a premade jam makes these super quick and easy, and they are so good! They are also great to make ahead and store in the freezer - make them up to the point where you freeze them solid, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until you are ready to bake!

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar

Filling
Fruit Spread or Jam of your choice

Egg wash - one Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg, whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado or raw sugar to finish, optional

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp.) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a rough rectangle, with a dough thickness of approximately 1/8”. Using a circle cutter (I used a 2 3/4” cutter), cut circles of dough, and place onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of pie dough, until you have used it all. Scraps can be gently pressed back together and wrapped in plastic, then re-rolled and used for extra circles. Store cut circles in the fridge while you finish rolling out the dough.

Once you have cut out your circles, combine the egg wash in a small bowl. Working with two circles at a time (otherwise the egg wash tends to dry out and not stick), paint two of the circles with egg wash. Place a small teaspoon of jam filling in the centre of one circle, then place the second circle, egg wash side down, on top, making sure to press out any air.

Lightly seal the hand pie with your fingers, then transfer to a lined baking sheet and crimp the edges with a fork (do not crimp the edges on your work surface or it makes the hand pie very hard to move).

Repeat with the remaining circles, until you have made all of your hand pies. If you would like to add cut-outs, you can roll together some scraps, briefly freeze the rolled out dough, and then use pie stamps to stamp out the dough. Adhere to the hand pies with egg wash.

Place the baking sheet with the hand pies in the freezer, and freeze for 20-30 minutes, or until completely solid. While the pies are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°f / 220°c.

Create air holes in the top of the pies using a fork, to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush the hand pies all over with egg wash, and then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake the hand pies for 20-25 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature - store leftovers in foil, and reheat in the oven to re-crisp the pastry.

The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking

Thank you so much to ALDI for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.