Monday, 17 September 2012

Day 128: Chocolate, toffee and peanut squares

Ok, just to let you know, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth; instead, there’s been all sorts of mayhem over the past few days. In fairness, although I am up-to-date with the cooking part of this Challenge, I’ve a bit of catching up to do in terms of the blog posts but, alas, here I am! So, what kind of mayhem am I talking about? Well, two things – one good, one not so good. The good one was, of course, my Dear Sister No.2’s wedding – ok, I’ll give you her proper name – Lisa. We had such a fantastic wedding on Saturday – she looked absolutely stunning, the wedding mass went smoothly (I didn't manage to trip going down the aisel or anything - yay!), the reception was fantastic (thanks to Donal and all the staff of Harry’s), the band kept the dance floor filled and it was simply all round good fun.

That said, Sunday was a different story for me. Ok, nothing serious but picture this – you’re tired the next day after your sister’s wedding and a week of running here, there and everywhere for appointments; all you want to do is have a nice relaxing day; unfortunately, Dear Husband is about to have a canary because his laptop is seriously playing up, and somehow, instead of having that relaxing post-wedding Sunday, you somehow take it upon yourself to spend 7 hours taking the laptop apart and putting it back together. Seriously. Yes, 7 hours. I’m not joking. I always remember my late uncle who was a TV engineer telling me that the way he learned everything about TVs was to take them apart and put them back together. Well, I don’t know if I know much about laptops really but my suspicions as to what was wrong was correct – a heap of dust and dirt in the fan which just so happens to be the last part in a laptop when they’re taken apart. Anyway, Sunday became a priority for Dear Husband’s laptop so, in between that and us looking after the two babies, it was quick meals e.g. pasta instead of Sunday roasts.

With the Challenge, I always make sure I have a few recipes up my sleeve that I have already made which is good for days when life interrupts the Challenge but I really should write them up there and then also. Therefore, there’s going to be at least one day this week where I will have two posts on the blog for the one day. With the recipe that is featuring in today’s post (Chocolate, toffee and peanut squares), believe it or not, it took me three days to make and here’s why…

The recipe said to use dulce de leche (or boiled milk) which effectively means that you get a can of condensed milk, put it in a pan of water and boil it for two hours. I took Rachel’s advice and did a few (actually 4 in total) so that I would have some already prepared for future recipes. The can said ‘Do not boil’ so I Googled it and it said it was ok as long as I brought the water down to a simmer – just in case it exploded. Ok, I could really do without that. Anyway, I did that two weekends ago.

On Friday past (the night before the wedding), I made the base which involved self-raising flour, butter and sugar which I crumbled using my hands but you can use a food processor also. Next, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and patted the base mix into the tin and pressed it down firmly. This was then the part when I used the caramelised condensed milk to pour over the base and then I pressed chopped peanuts into the caramel before topping with melted chocolate. Into the fridge the tin went overnight and Dear Husband was on strict instructions to not even think about touching it until Sunday. Sunday arrived and I cut the tray up into squares and served with a nice, big cup of Barry’s tea.

The verdict…

I know this is extremely strange but Dear Husband only scored the peanut squares 5 marks out of 10. He said that he thought they would have been nicer without the peanuts. I scored them 6 marks out of 10 and just to have an objective opinion, I gave some to Dear Husband’s friend when he called by yesterday evening to see him and he gave them full marks but, then again, he said he loves peanuts. Nonetheless, I’m going with that verdict and will surely be making them again. I also think that I must try them with hazelnuts which I love. This was a recipe that I always wanted to try so I’m glad to say that I can now make caramel squares and as long as I continue to ensure that I can safely boil condensed milk, this recipe is definitely going to be a keeper…

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