Saturday, 19 May 2018

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuit

I had a baking craving last night and couldn't work out what to bake. I had a lot of bits and pieces in my cupboards and went on a recipe hunt. I also wanted the baked good to be something I could take with me on a very long run the next day (52km!). I decided on an Aussie (and New Zealand) classic - the Anzac biscuit. They remind me of a cross between an oaty biscuit and a flapjack, and are amazing as an on-the-go sugar hit when training, or to just have alongside a cup of tea.
From weighing the ingredients to cooling, these biscuits took less than an hour to make, so if you're a fan of oats, coconut and flapjacky goodness, you'll love these!
They'd also be a fun bake to have your children get involved with :)

These will keep in an airtight jar for up to a week, or they can be frozen.

Makes around 24 biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 100g (1/3 cup + 1tbsp) margarine (or softened butter)
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 85g (1 cup) porridge oats
  • 85g (3/4 cup + 2 tsp) desiccated coconut
  • 100g (3/4 cup + 2tsp) plain flour
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt


Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/gas mark 4. Grease two baking trays lightly.

2. Melt together the margarine and golden syrup in the microwave (or on the hob) until the mixture is liquid. Set aside to cool slightly (for around 5 minutes).

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the caster sugar, porridge oats, desiccated coconut, plain flour and salt.

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour over the margarine/syrup. Stir until you have a sticky mixture with no flour visible in the bowl.

5. Take heaped spoonfuls of the mixture (you could use your hands if you want to - make them golf ball sized) and place on the greased baking trays, making sure to leave about 2.5cm (1 inch) gaps between each ball. Press down on each biscuit lightly.

6. Bake for around 8 minutes until golden and lightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Gently transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully.

7. Enjoy!

Anzac Biscuit
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Keto-Friendly Chocolate Cake


keto chocolate cake


I baked this cake a little while ago for someone who was trying out a very low carbohydrate diet (also known as a keto diet). I couldn't bear the thought of him not having a birthday cake so devised the chocolate cake below. The end result was pretty satisfying - a cocoa-rich sponge - it's not too moist, but with the cream cheese frosting, it's a really nice mouthful. I added a whey protein powder to the frosting for extra gains, but this is optional. If you don't add the powder, the frosting will be looser but will still be usable. I topped the cake with a dark chocolate drip - this does add a little sugar but it does add an extra flavour dimension to the cake.
This cake is also gluten-free for the celiacs out there :)
Keep the cake in the fridge once it's finished - it'll keep for 2-3 days.

Makes one 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 120g (1 cup) ground almonds
  • 100g (3/4 cup) chopped walnuts, plus 6 halves for decoration
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp stevia
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  1. 250g (1 & 1/8 cup) cream cheese
  2. 15g (1/2 a scoop) cinnamon whey protein powder (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1 tbsp cocoa powder

To finish:

  1. 30g 72% dark chocolate
  2. 20ml water
  3. 1/4 tsp ground coffee

Method:

1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/gas mark 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl until they are very frothy and form peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the mix.

3. Whisk together the egg yolks with the stevia and vanilla for a few minutes until the yolks have lightened in colour and increased in volume.

4. Mix the ground almonds with the cocoa briefly, then add the egg yolk/stevia/vanilla mixture. Beat well to a paste. Add all but 1 tbsp of the chopped walnuts and fold in briefly.

5. Fold in the egg whites carefully, just until you can't see any specks of white.

6. Pour into the prepared cake tin, level, then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top feels springy and the sides of the cake are coming away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven, and leave for five minutes. Turn out onto a cooling tray to cool fully.

7. Make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, protein powder (if using), lemon juice and cocoa powder, until smooth.

8. Once cool, smooth the frosting onto the tops and side of the cake and set aside whilst you make the chocolate topping.

9. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20-second bursts on full power, stirring well after each burst, until the chocolate has melted.

10. Meanwhile, heat together the water and coffee in a pan until it is simmering. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the coffee mixture and whisk well. Set aside until it is at room temperature (if it firms up too much, place in the microwave for 10 seconds).

11. Pour two-thirds of the chocolate around the rim of the cake, gently smoothing over the sides to get a drip effect. Pour the remaining chocolate into a piping bag, and pipe the name/any writing you'd like on the top. Finish with the walnut halves, and sprinkle over the reserved chopped walnuts.

12. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, until the chocolate has set.

13. Enjoy!

keto chocolate cake


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Monday, 30 April 2018

The Chocolate Feast - Chocolate Mint Liqueur Truffles, Honeycomb Chocolates and Creme Eggs

Chocolate Mint Liqueur Truffle eggs, Honeycomb Chocolates, Creme Eggs

A few weeks late but I need to share with you some amazing chocolates for Easter this year. I made three different types for my boyfriend's family, and all seemed to be a big success.

Because it's so late, here are three recipes in one post!

To summarize the chocolates:

1. Based on the classic Crunchie - chocolate eggs filled with a homemade honeycomb chocolate mixture.

2. Chocolate mint truffles with an alcoholic twist. These were a big hit with the adults and used a beautiful chocolate mint liqueur known as Mintu. I struggle with cream-based desserts/sweets as my stomach is very sensitive to high-fat dairy. I've always loved ganache, and when I spotted a way to make it with just water and no cream I was very intrigued. I tried it out, and it produced a perfect chocolate truffle texture! So then I wondered whether I could use something other than water. I first tried coffee, and that gave an intense mocha-like flavour, which was pretty special. Not using cream really means the flavour of the chocolate and choice-liquid really comes through. I was worried using a liqueur would cause the chocolate to behave badly but the truffle mixture turned out perfectly (albeit pretty boozy).

3. One of my classics - the Creme egg, which I've optimized since the first time I made them 3 years ago.

For the honeycomb chocolates I used cake pop moulds, for the Mintu truffles I used little egg moulds (about the size of mini eggs in the UK), and for the creme eggs I used some cute egg moulds I found in my local supermarket. You could use any spherical mould you like, just be aware the number of chocolates you make will vary depending on the size of the mould.
Also, if you have no mould, chill the mixture for around 2 hours, then form into balls and dip in the melted chocolate. It won't be as neat but will give a similar tasty effect.

Using my moulds I made:
12 honeycomb eggs
12 creme eggs
30 mint chocolate liqueur truffles

Ingredients:

For the creme eggs:
  • 150g (1 cup) milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g (3 & 1/2 tbsp) golden syrup
  • 185g (1 & 3/4 cups + 2tsp) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • Orange food colouring (I used a concentrated gel from Wilton)

For the honeycomb eggs:

  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 200g (1 & 1/3 cups) milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 25g white chocolate (optional)*

For the mint chocolate liqueur truffles:

  • 100g (2/3 cup) 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) Mintu chocolate mint liqueur (or your favourite liqueur, or even use 80ml water and a few mint leaves for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 50g (1/3 cup) 55% dark chocolate, finely chopped

Method:
Creme eggs

1. Melt 100g of the finely chopped milk chocolate. This can be done in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or microwave for 20-second bursts on full power, stirring well after each burst.

2. Once melted, use a teaspoon to place the chocolate in the moulds (I used silicon-based egg-shaped moulds with designs on). I found about ½ tsp of chocolate enough – spread up the edges using the teaspoon, being careful to cover all sides. Place in the fridge to set (or in the freezer if you are short on time)

3. Prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl weigh out the softened butter, vanilla extract and golden syrup. Beat with a wooden spoon until a smooth consistency is achieved.

4. Take 1/3 of the filling and place in a small bowl. Dip a toothpick into the gel food colouring and dip this coloured toothpick into the filling you've placed in the small bowl. Stir well until an even orange colour.

5. Once the chocolate has set place a teaspoon of white filling into each chocolate shell. Top with half a teaspoon of the orange filling (to resemble a yolk). Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up (10 minutes in the freezer, around 20 minutes in the fridge).

6. Melt the remaining 50g of chocolate as previously and use around 1/2 tsp to cover the top of each egg - try to touch all of the sides to ensure no creamy leakage :)

7. Chill until the top chocolate layer has set. Turn out and enjoy!

8. These are best kept in the fridge, and also delicious as a refreshing treat out of the freezer!

Honeycomb Chocolates

*For an extra special touch, if you firstly melt the white chocolate (as previously, but check more often as white chocolate is quicker to burn than milk or dark chocolates), then drizzle a few lines over each mould. Place in the freezer or fridge to set, then continue as below. This will give you a cool drizzled/marbled white/milk chocolate outside, which I think is pretty inviting.

1. Melt 100g of the milk chocolate (and/or white chocolate as mentioned above) as previously, and use a teaspoon to cover the base and sides of the moulds (I used cake pop moulds). 

2. Place in the freezer or fridge to set the chocolate.

3. Make the honeycomb. Get a baking tray and line with greaseproof paper. If you don't have any paper, you can grease with butter, but I've found the honeycomb tends to stick to the tray. Also have a whisk on hand and the tray near to the hob.

4. Heat 2 tbsp of the golden syrup with the sugar in a pan (on low-medium heat). Stir with a wooden spoon at first to dissolve the sugar, then leave, swirling occasionally.

5. Keep an eye on the pan. You want the colour of the mixture to turn to a caramel colour (see below). This usually takes from 5 to 10 minutes, but I've found it depends on your own pans/hob. 

6.  Once the caramel colour has been reached, turn the heat off and add 1tsp bicarbonate of soda. Very quickly whisk the honeycomb, and once the bicarbonate of soda is whisked in, pour onto the prepared tray (see below for how much the honeycomb expands!!). This is a very quick reaction, and be VERY careful not to touch the mixture. Leave to set. If you are in a hurry, you can put the honeycomb into the fridge now. Otherwise, it'll take about 10 minutes to become solid.

7. Melt 75g of the milk chocolate as previously. Crush the honeycomb into pebble-sized pieces and pour over the chocolate. Beat until you have a chocolatey honeycomb mixture with no dry honeycomb not covered in chocolate. Leave until it reaches room-temperature.

8. Place around a teaspoon of mixture into each set chocolate hemisphere. Chill for 15 minutes.

9. Melt the final 25g of the milk chocolate. Carefully remove the hemispheres from the cake pop moulds, then use a small amount of the melted milk chocolate to fuse two halves together. Chill until set.

10. Enjoy! 
Chocolate Mint Liqueur Truffles

1. Melt 30g of the 55% dark chocolate. Use at most half a teaspoon to cover the base and sides of a mini egg mould (around 1.5 cm in length). Place in the fridge or freezer to set (this will only take 5-10 minutes).

2. Begin melting the 70% dark chocolate in the microwave on high power. Whilst melting, bring the chocolate mint liqueur to a boil.

3. Once simmering and the chocolate has melted, start whisking the melted chocolate. Pour over the liqueur and keep whisking - it will look like it separates, but keep going and it will become smooth again.

4. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to chill down and firm up slightly.

5. Use about 1/2 tsp of filling for each egg. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

6. Melt the remaining 20g of 55% dark chocolate and use this to cover the top of each egg. Place in the fridge/freezer for 5-10 minutes until set. Carefully turn out of the moulds and enjoy!

Chocolate Mint Liqueur Truffle eggs, Honeycomb Chocolates, Creme Eggs

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