Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts

The Most Incredible Raw Cashew Butter Cups

I'm so into my vegan and healthy foods at the moment and even though I haven't taken on the responsibility of going fully vegan (or even vegetarian), I'm definitely having the odd vegan meal but one thing I am doing, is developing my own vegan and clean snack recipes. The concept behind these cashew butter cups is nothing revolutionary - there are loads out there and believe me, I've tried my fair share of them but I sometimes find that they were too bitter and were nothing like my favourite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; but these are.

This recipe is completely raw, gluten free, vegan, lactose free and refined sugar free. And there are several ingredients in there that are jam packed full of goodness like chia seeds (which I think is a little twist). And even better, these are made by putting the mixture in the freezer!

There are two components to the recipe, the "chocolate" and the cashew butter filling and then for decoration, the finely chopped nuts (I only had hazelnuts in the house so it really doesn't matter). Side note, although it makes six which doesn't sound like many, they're the size of cupcakes so they're really quite large (and very filling).

Cashew Butter Cups (Makes 6)

The "Chocolate":
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (make sure it's not maple flavoured syrup)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
The Cashew Filling
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • A pinch of himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp Agave Syrup
First off, line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.

Now to make the chocolate filling, once you've melted the coconut oil, mix the cacao, oil and maple syrup and then add in the chia seeds and cacao nibs. The chocolate looks incredibly runny but don't worry because when it's put in the freezer, the coconut oil returns to solid and firms it all up. You should still have about half the chocolate mixture left when you're done, this is for the topping so don't throw it away! The reason that there are chia seeds and cacao nibs in the "chocolate" is because it adds a special crunch! Plus chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, full of fibre and protein and omega 3 fatty acids.

Once you have your chocolate, fill about a third of the cups and then whack the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The "chocolate" goes solid and actually then looks like chocolate!

Then make the cashew filling by mixing everything together. Then spoon about two tablespoons worth over the chocolate, spreading it to the edge. Once again, the cashew filling appears really liquidy but because the coconut oil goes solid at room temperature, the freezer firms the mixture up. Then put the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes again.

And finally, divide the remaining chocolate mixture over the six cups and sprinkle some of your chopped nuts on top. 

"Freeze" the mixture for about 20 minutes and voila! Try them and let me know how amazing they are! If you do bake them, make sure you tag me on twitter or instagram (@elliegdickinson) in a picture so that I can see how yours turned out!

Sidenote, don't worry about the amount of coconut oil in here. Coconut oil is an amazing source of saturated fats (which are good for you!!!!) and lauric acids which are essential in your body so don't worry about it being an "oil".

The Gluten Free Bake: Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes

Over the past couple of months, I've been trying to cut back on gluten (and lactose) in my diet and have been playing around with an assortment of different flours such as buckwheat! Contrary to the name, buckwheat flour is completely gluten free and has such a similar texture to standard wheat flour that it is fairly interchangeable. Now, whilst this recipe is not lactose free, I have included a substitution for almond milk if thats more your thing.

This recipe came about because it was a Saturday morning and I wanted pancakes. There is nothing more that I love than pancakes and I was going to make the standard version but the only flour I had was buckwheat flour, hence the recipe.

A word of warning, these are monster pancakes and are incredibly filling - I could barely manage one and a half so I would definitely not go overboard!

The Recipe (Makes about 5 pancakes):
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 2tbsp maplesyrup
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (finely milled)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (If you're lactose free, 3/4cup of almond milk) 
First, pop the butter and maple syrup into a pyrex jug and then microwave them for about 20 seconds and then mix them together. 

Then mix the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and buttermilk. Mix it together and voila, your pancake mix! I didn't use a whisk, I simply used a fork and although the mixture is quite thick, it was still fine.

I ate them with maple syrup and raspberries and they were absolutely delicious! Like I said, I only managed one and a half pancake so feel free to split the mix if it's just for one person.

Let me know what you think. 

Cheap Gift Ideas: Christmas Chocolate Shortbread

There are (unfortunately) always those moments in life with Christmas approaching and the prospect of having to give people christmas presents looming when your bank balance isn't quite in the best state... And there are also those awkward moments when you're given gifts but aren't necessarily in the financial place to return the gesture.

But I have the solution!

There were so many people that I wanted to give presents to this year that it simply wasn't feasible so I decided to go down a more crafty route - baking and packaging the baked goods. Erring away from your more traditional christmas cookies, (one of my closest friends hates cinnamon), I chose to go with Nigella's chocolate shortbread recipe with a chocolate glaze which came out quite nicely...

Here's how I did it (recipe makes approx 24):

For the biscuits
250 grams soft butter
150 grams caster sugar
40 grams cocoa powder
300 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the festive topping
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
175 grams icing sugar
60 ml boiling water (from a kettle)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
christmas sprinkles (I bought mine from Aldi)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/ gas mark 3/ 325 degrees farenheit.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar and then add the cocoa powder. When mixed well, add the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda.
  3. Bake each batch for 15 minutes. They come out quite soft but cook more as they cool. (Trust me, my first batch were overcooked!)
  4. For the glaze: Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and whisk for ten minutes on a low heat. Let it cool before you ice the biscuits. The glaze seems incredibly liquidy but it dries hard on the biscuits so don't add any more icing sugar!
  5. When icing the biscuits, make sure the cooling rack is on top of some newspaper as the icing does go everywhere! 
  6. Sprinkle some of the festive sprinkles whilst the icing is still wet as it dries quite fast.
  7. Let the icing cool for about 10 minutes and you're good to go!
Then what I did is package up the cookies in little cellophane bags (you can get these everywhere - try ebay or your local craft store), tie a bit of twine round them and attach a cute little gift tag for a lovely festive gift.

If you couldn't get your hands on any christmas themed sprinkles, try getting cellophane bags with festive prints on them (you can get snowmen, snowflakes and loads of other designs), but they're such a cute gift to give and because they're homemade, people don't tend to focus in on the fact that they haven't been bought a gift!

These are perfect for friends - especially if you have over five people you want to give presents too! I had twelve, hence why I opted to make something rather than buy!

The cookies are delicious and they look so pretty!

Would you ever try a homemade gift for christmas?

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Heavenly Snickerdoodles

I'm a bit of a cinnamon fiend and anything with cinnamon as a key ingredient has my spidey senses tingling and these snickerdoodles were the answer to everything.

Snickerdoodles are basically a fluffy, crispy yet soft, round cookie but they are so much more than that. Coated in a cinnamon sugar that is then baked, the outside stays crunchy and the inside soft and delicious. The best part being that they take only 12 minutes to bake and barely any time to assemble.

Heres how I did it.

The biscuit:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 & 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 &1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
The topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line trays with baking parchment.
  2. Make the topping and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Mix the butter and sugar at a low speed until combined. Add vanilla extract. Then add a mixture of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix on a low speed until a thick dough forms.
  4. Roll parts of the dough into little balls, and then roll again in the topping till covered with the cinnamon/sugar blend.
  5. Bake for 11-15 minutes.


These are honestly so simple and wonderful that I can't imagine anyone not liking them. One of the best parts is that you can freeze the dough to make them whenever, and the cookies keep for ages! 

One of my housemates described them as "the cookies you get in Christmas markets." But be warned, these are the kind of thing that you can't just have one of.

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