FOOD

These Magical Desserts Are Almost Too Beautiful To Eat

Fire up your dessert stomach.

07/12/2016 07:45 SAST | Updated 11/12/2016 06:43 SAST
The Australian Women’s Weekly SWEET
Technicolour dreaming.

Frankly, there's something magical about desserts. The way that chocolate melts, oozing glossy caramel, the fluffy inside of a cake, the messy crumbles, the perfect dusting of icing sugar, those beautiful colours usually reserved for crayons and paint.

And then you get to eat it. Heaven.

These colourful desserts from The Australian Women's Weekly SWEET are exactly this. Pure magical decadence. And you can make them at home -- easily.

From super easy pink fudge to macaroon and raspberry chocolate bark, these dessert recipes have got your weekend sorted.

The Australian Women’s Weekly SWEET

1. Super easy fudge

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes (plus cooling and standing).

Makes 25.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 395g canned sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup (150g) dark chocolate Melts
  • 2 x 375g packets white chocolate Melts
  • Red gel food colouring
  • 1 candy bracelet, elastic removed
  • ¼ cup (10g) freeze dried raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar

METHOD

1. Grease a deep 20cm square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 3cm over the sides.

2. Combine condensed milk and butter in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High for two minutes. Stir well. Microwave a further two minutes or until well combined and smooth.

3. Melt dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe glass bowl, on High in 30 second bursts, stirring, until melted and smooth.

4. Add white chocolate to condensed milk mixture and stir until melted. Mixture will thicken, so you will need to work quickly. Add a few drops of food colouring and swirl it through. Spread mixture into the square cake pan and level surface. Quickly spoon dollops of dark chocolate onto fudge and tap pan on bench a few times to level chocolate. Using a wooden skewer, lightly swirl chocolate through fudge. Cool, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm.

5. Transfer fudge to a chopping board. Using a hot knife, cut fudge into 4cm squares. Serve topped with candy and freeze dried raspberries. Dust with icing sugar.

Tips: Using gel food colouring is essential for a vivid colour -- liquid colouring will affect the setting of the fudge. Store fudge layered between pieces of baking paper in an airtight container. Fudge also makes a beautiful handmade gift. Pop into mason jars topped with cute fabric and use a rubber band to hold it in place, then pretty it up with ribbon or place in little boxes with waxed paper.

The Australian Women's Weekly SWEET
This simple version of (usually tricky) fudge means you can whip this up in no time.

2. Choc orange truffle-filled bark

Prep and cook time: 30 minutes (plus refrigeration).

Makes 12 pieces.

INGREDIENTS

  • 600g dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup (60ml) pouring cream
  • ½ x 380g chocolate sponge cake, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
  • ¼ cup (60ml) orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 200g orange-coated chocolate balls (jaffas), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate flake sprinkles
  • 1½ tablespoons white and pink sprinkles

METHOD

1. Grease a 20cm x 30cm slice pan. Line base and long sides with baking paper, extending the paper 2cm over the sides.

2. Place 50g of the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until melted. Cool to room temperature.

3. Place 275g of the remaining chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow base of bowl to touch water). Stir until melted. Pour chocolate into pan and spread to edge of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.

4. Process cake, rind, liqueur and chocolate cream mixture until well combined. Spread cake mixture over the set chocolate.

5. Melt remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow base of bowl to touch water). Stir until melted. Spread chocolate over cake mixture, and sprinkle with chopped chocolate balls and sprinkles. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm. Cut into 12 pieces to serve.

Notes: Bark can be made up to one week ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

The Australian Women’s Weekly SWEET
Tips: Crush the orange-coated chocolates (jaffas) in a bag using a rolling pin. For an alcohol-free version replace the orange liqueur with fresh orange juice.

3. Strawberry jam pull-aparts

Prep and cook time: one hour (plus standing).

Makes 10.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups (450g) self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 160g cold butter, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • ½ cup (170g) strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coffee sugar crystals

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Lightly grease 10 holes of a 12-hole (⅓ cup/80ml) muffin pan. Line with paper cases.

2. Place flour and sugar in a large bowl, and rub in butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre. Add combined egg and milk. Use a butter knife to cut the liquid through the flour mixture into a soft, sticky dough. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead gently until just smooth.

3. Roll dough on a floured surface into a square until 5mm thick. Cut dough into 3cm wide strips. Combine jam, vanilla and rind in a small bowl. Spread two teaspoons of the jam mixture on each strip. Stack three strips on top of each other, then place a fourth strip, jam-side down on top. Turn stack on its side. Use a 6cm round cutter to cut dough into rounds. Place rounds, layered side up, in each paper case. Repeat with remaining dough and jam mixture.

4. Sprinkle pull-aparts with pistachios and sugar crystals.

5. Bake pull-aparts for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Leave pull-aparts in pan for five minutes. Serve warm.

The Australian Women’s Weekly SWEET
You can use any flavour of jam you prefer in this recipe.

4. Macaroon and raspberry chocolate bark

Prep and cook time 20 minutes (plus standing).

Makes 12 pieces.

INGREDIENTS

  • 720g white chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • ½ cup (10g) puffed rice, chopped coarsely
  • ⅓ cup (45g) coarsely chopped pistachios
  • Pink oil-based food colouring
  • 5 pink macaroons, halved
  • 2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry pieces

METHOD

1. Grease a 22cm (base measurement) frying pan and line base with baking paper.

2. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not allow base of bowl to touch water) and stir until melted.

3. Working quickly, stir puffed rice, half the melted chocolate and half the pistachios in a medium bowl until combined. Spread mixture evenly in pan. Stand for 20 minutes or until slightly set.

4. Meanwhile, divide remaining melted chocolate between two small bowls. Tint one bowl with pink food colouring.

5. Pour both bowls of chocolate over mixture in pan. Using a teaspoon, gently swirl the two chocolate colours together. Gently press macaroons into surface. Sprinkle with raspberry pieces and remaining pistachios. Stand for six hours or until set. Cut bark into 12 wedges to serve.

Tips: Oil-based food colouring is available from cake decorating suppliers and some large craft stores. Freeze-dried raspberry pieces are available from gourmet food stores and some health food stores.

The bark can be made up to a week ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

The Australian Women’s Weekly SWEET
You can customise the bark by changing the flavour of the macaroons, the tint of the white chocolate and the type of nuts.

Recipes and images courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly SWEET, RRP $49.99, available in all good bookstores and online.

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