Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Candylicious!

 The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

A fun challenge was proposed to the Daring Bakers in the month of August - playing around with sugar and chocolate and for some, the chance of winning an amazing prize.

 Our two hosts only stipulated that:-

You must make TWO candies
• The first candy must be ONE of the following CHOCOLATE candies:
a. A truffle, dipped or not dipped in chocolate OR
b. A cut (square) dipped chocolate/bonbon OR
c. A filled chocolate/bonbon using a chocolate mold
• The other candy can be any CHOCOLATE OR NON-CHOCOLATE candy you like.


I chose to make honeycomb also called buffalo sponge candy. Having made this years ago with a recipe that I felt was too strongly flavoured with golden syrup and honey I opted to use this recipe by Wilde in the Kitchen which was suggested by several Daring Bakers. Wilde in the Kitchen is a great blog and she has a wonderful private candy challenge going on.

 I have always loved the Australian favourite chocolate bar Violet Crumble consisting of honeycomb covered with milk chocolate. So naturally I dipped the honeycomb (sponge candy) in milk chocolate. Once I can get my hands on some couverture chocolate (unavailable in my local area) I will try my hand at tempering chocolate by the seeding method described by our host Lisa.

Something I have always wanted to try is Paté de Fruit and here was a perfect opportunity. With the backyard kumquat tree ladened with fruit (the only fruit to survive the cyclone earlier this year) I looked for a citrus recipe. A recipe Kumquat and Vanilla Pate caught my eye however many recipes require pectin which to my knowledge is unavailable in Australia. Instead I purchase several packets of Jamsetta from my local supermarket. Jamsetta is a pectin and sugar product used to assist the set of jams and jellies. I used one and a half packets Jamsetta for this recipe. Also, as I make many jams in the microwave oven I decided to give it a whirl. Once I had the juice and the sugar mixture I microwaved it for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Other than that I followed the recipe as given.  

As you can see this Paté de Fruit set beautifully and stayed firm and dry during storage.  I love the jewel-like colour!

Finally, I made some Milk Chocolate, Coffee & Hazelnut Praline Truffles. These were certainly a favourite. Some coated in the Hazelnut praline and other in cocoa. Here's the recipe:-

Milk Chocolate, Coffee & Hazelnut Praline Truffles

Servings: Makes +- 30 truffles, recipe easily doubled or halved
Adapted from the Cook’s Academy Curriculum, Dublin
Active Time: 1 - 2hrs
Ganache Setting Time: 2 - 4hrs or Overnight
Praline Ingredients:
½ cup (2 oz/60 gm) hazelnuts, shelled & skinned
½ cup (4 oz/115 gm) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted (convection oven); 350°F / 320°F convection / Gas Mark 4
2. Place whole hazelnut on a non-stick baking tray and dry roast for 10mins
3. Allow to cool
4. Place hazelnuts in a clean dry kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins
5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicon mat
6. Place the skinned hazelnuts onto the prepared tray
7. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
8. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil (do not stir), brushing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals
9. Boil until the mixture turns amber (160°C - 170°C / 320°F- 340°F on a candy thermometer)
10. Remove from heat immediately and pour the syrup over the hazelnuts
11. Allow to cool completely
12. Break into small pieces
13. Transfer pieces to a food processor and process until desired texture, either fine or rough
14. Set aside

Ganache Ingredients
1¾ cup (9 oz. / 255 g) Milk chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup (4 oz. / 125 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% - 46% butterfat content)

2 Tablespoons instant coffee powder
2-3 Tablespoons (1-1 ½ oz. / 30ml – 45 ml) Frangelico Liqueur, optional

½ - 1 cup Crushed or Ground Roasted Hazelnuts for coating

1. Finely chop the milk chocolate
2. Place into a heatproof medium sized bowl
3. Heat cream and the coffee powder in a saucepan until just about to boil
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir gently until smooth and melted
5. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes
6. Stir in the praline and (optional) liqueur
7. Leave to cool and set overnight or for a few hours in the fridge
8. Bring to room temperature to use

Forming the truffles:
1. Using teaspoons or a melon baller, scoop round balls of ganache
2. Roll them between the palms of your hands to round them off
Tip: Handle them as little as possible to avoid melting
Tip: I suggest wearing food safe latex gloves, less messy and slightly less heat from your hands
3. Finish off by rolling the truffle in the crushed roasted hazelnuts
Tip: You can also roll them in hazelnut praline
4. Place on parchment paper and leave to set
Tip: They look great when put into small petit four cases and boxed up as a gift!

Thank you to our wonderful hosts Mandy and Lisa! It was a fun challenge and delicious to boot!


  1. I love the flavour of your pate de fruit. They are lovely and gem-like. very well done.

  2. I love the flavour of your pate de fruit. They are lovely and gem-like. very well done.

  3. You made 3 completely different candies, all perfect! The truffles look so amazing!
    Unfortunately I wasn't lucky with the pate de fruit, maybe some other time.
    Can't wait to see your creations when you get the couverture chocolate!

  4. Your pate de fruit looks amazing - the color and texture are beautiful. And those truffles... can I come taste them?! :) Great job, as always!

  5. You've done a nice job on this challenge. I would really have like to try some Pate de Fruit myself, but ran out of time. I made the Buffalo Sponge candy as well, but didn't get time to dip them in chocolate. Everything looks great!

  6. Beautiful work! They all look so professional!

  7. Wow - all three of your candies came out beautifully, and they all look delicious!! I am so impressed, and slightly jealous, as I had no luck this month. LOL. Really amazing work.

  8. Wow! You were really busy. I love the idea of coating the truffles with a hazelnut praline. They look so pretty!

  9. Your candies turned out beautiful, Marcellina. I can't wait to try the Violet Crumble like sponge - it looks so much better than my scorched mess lol Also, your pate de fruits ae stunning and perfect! Looking forward to trying those too, as kumquat and vanilla sounds incredible! SO glad they set up perfectly with the Jamsetta :) Thank you so much for taking part in our challenge. You're still my 'perfect' cannoli shell girl :)

  10. Marcellina, all your candies turned out so lovely! I especially love the beautiful color of your pate de fruit.


  11. Beautifully done! Your honeycomb looks perfect, like Nestle Crunchie Nuggets, one of my favourites :D

    Your kumquat paté de fruit look gorgeous too, what a lovely rich colour and they set perfectly.

    Then you had me at coffee & hazelnut. All those truffles in your photo? I'd eat those in one go!

    Thanks for taking part in the challenge, you did a fantastic job :)

  12. fantastic job in the challenge!
    i love your truffles! they look so good

  13. These kumquat pate de fruits make me drool, that close up shot works like a magnet.

    And the truffles and honey comb look as delicious too!

  14. All your candy looks so professional. I especially love your honeycomb.

  15. Che bello condividere piatti e ricette con l'altra parte del mondo!!!
    Ti seguo con piacere e se ti va passa a trovarmi.
    A presto

  16. wow! great job on the challenge! so impressed that you managed to make the pâte de fruit in the microwave! and in so little time! way to go :)

  17. Fantastici questi bon bon! Da mangiare con gli occhi!

  18. The color of your pate de fruit is really nice - like jewel :) The honeycomb is something I love! I always buy a pack of candy called Maltesers and it tastes like heaven :D However, since I don't have a candy thermother I can't make it at home, maybe one day :D By the way your truffles are wonderful. Coffee and hazelnut combo sounds heavenly!

  19. Well done Marcellina. The pate de fruit looks so gorgeous, very jewel-like. I like the fact you can make it in the microwave. Must give that a try :)

  20. Your sweets all look terrific Marcelliona. I especially like the honeycomb, which I am yet to make. I shall have to remmeber the quantity of Jamsetta - I just used an equivalent quantity of Jamsetta for pectin the recipe, and my pate de fruit were quite soft as a result.


Thank you for taking the time to comment and for letting me know what you think!