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Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk and Hazelnut Cookies

9 Mar Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies

Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies

Just a quick post because I promised you the recipe for these last week after my first Healthy Baking with Chocolate workshop. I am in the middle of writing (and editing heavily) a speech on the relationship between food and health, particularly cancer, for the Marbella Women’s Week conference next week.

I say I. I mean we. Actually he is doing an awful lot of the editing and an awful lot of adding bits in too. It’s only a ten minute talk. I need to focus. So instead I’m writing about cookies.

Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Now I’m not saying you should eat these every day or anything but compared to most cookies these are much healthier.They are made with olive oil instead of butter. I use honey and maple syrup (or miel de cana) instead of sugar and the wholemeal spelt flour gives them a lovely flavour.

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK tomorrow so these are for my mum. She loves a biscuit with a cup of tea. They probably have too many bits in for her taste but it’s the thought that counts and I’ve ordered flowers in colours that match her lounge cushions and curtains so I should be safe. She does love it when things match.

Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies

Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies Recipe

Makes 10-12 cookies. Vegan, wheat-free.

  • 150 g wholemeal spelt flour
  •  1 tsp baking powder
  •  1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  •  4 Tbsp maple syrup or miel de cana
  •  1 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  •  about 70 g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 60 g hazelnuts or almonds roughly chopped

Preheat oven 175 C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nuts and chocolate together  well.

In a jug whisk together the oil, maple syrup/miel de cana, honey/agave, vanilla and almond extract, if using. Pour this into the flour bowl and gently mix together until just combined.

Take a tablespoon of the mix and put it on the lined tray, pressing it down slightly with your fingers. Continue with the rest of the mix leaving  an inch or so in between each so they can spread. Bake for 11 minutes until just golden, leave on the tray for 1 minute then remove to a wire rack to cool. This stops them drying out. Store in an airtight container.

Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies

 Happy Mother’s Day Mum!

Now back to the speech…

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Chocolate, Hazelnut and Date Caramel Tart with an Almond Crust

5 Feb Chocolate Hazelnut Date Caramel Tart

Vegan Chocolate & Hazelnut Caramel Tart

This tart is amazing. Seriously gorgeous, and it’s vegan and gluten-free. It tastes like Millionaires Shortbread with nuts in.

Chocolate date Caramel Hazelnut Tart

There is a crumbly nutty crust made with ground almonds and coconut oil then a layer of date caramel (new favourite thing) filled with toasted hazelnuts. Then it is finished off with a layer of dark and delicious chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of chopped nuts. It’s chewy, sweet, crunchy and crumbly at the same time and it has no butter no refined sugar and no flour. Do you love me?

Chocolate Hazelnut Date Caramel Tart

Be warned though, it is very addictive and quite rich. Like that could be a bad thing. You have to make it just to let your friends and family know how delicious vegan desserts can be. No one would guess and they will all want the recipe.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Date Caramel Tart

This is one of the recipes from my Healthy Baking with Chocolate Workshop, the next one of which is on Saturday 2nd March from 5pm – 9pm at the Pepe Kitchen Cookery School in Benalmadena, Malaga.

At this workshop I will be demonstrating how to use olive oil and coconut oil instead of butter in baking as well as showing how to use wholemeal spelt flour and ground almonds instead of bleached white flour. We will also be using honey, maple syrup, molasses and dates instead of sugar for natural sweetness and oat milk replaces cow’s milk and cream.

The chocolate we use is either 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate or pure cocoa powder.

We will be making and tasting:

  • Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk and Almond Cookies made with spelt flour & coconut oil
  • Chocolate, Date & Walnut Truffles with Coconut: delicious little bites of energy & protein
  • Chocolate Butterfly Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling: made with spelt flour & coconut oil
  • Moist Chocolate & Orange Cake made with whole oranges & ground almonds
  • Chocolate, Hazelnut & Date Caramel Tart with ground almond crust

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Tart

Vegan Chocolate, Hazelnut & Date Caramel Tart Recipe

Serves 8, Vegan, Gluten-Free. Adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

  • 250 g (2 cups) ground almonds
  • a pinch of salt (Himalayan if possible)
  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup or miel de cana
  • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) organic unrefined coconut oil, melted

Oil a 9 inch tart tin, loose bottomed if possible. Put the ground almonds & salt in a bowl, add the maple syrup/miel de cana and melted coconut oil and use a fork to blend it together until it is well combined and resembles crumble mix, a few minutes.

Tip this into the tart tin and press it out all over the base and up the sides firmly & evenly with your fingers. Prick all over the base with a fork. Put in the fridge for a t least 20 minutes. Then preheat the oven to 175 C and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden but not too dark. Leave to cool while you make the filling.

  • 10 Medjool dates, soaked in 120 ml (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  a pinch of salt (Himalayan)
  • about 110 g (1 cup) toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Remove the stones and blend the soaked dates with the soaking liquid, melted coconut oil, salt & vanilla until smooth, thick and creamy. Stir through 3/4 of the chopped hazelnuts and then pour/scrape the mixture into the cooled tart case. Spread it out evenly with a spatula. Put in the fridge to set while you make the chocolate layer.

  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup/miel de cana
  • 4 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 50 g raw (1/2 cup) pure cocoa/cacao powder

Blend the maple syrup/miel de cana and melted coconut oil together until well combined. Add the cocoa/cacao powder and blend again, scraping down the sides if necessary, until smooth.

Pour this over the date caramel hazelnut layer and spread out evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and the remaining chopped hazelnuts.

Put back in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Tart

I thought you might like to see a little YouTube video of my Healthy Baking Workshop (savoury & sweet) that took place on Sunday morning. The next one is on Saturday 23rd March 10-2pm. Just click on the link below…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7tU9pZPNnb4

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Chocolate and Lavender Easter Cupcakes

3 Apr Easter Chocolate Cupcake

Lavender is the colour of the moment. Everywhere I look when we are out walking the dog I see wild lavender growing out of rocks.

Or the beautiful wisteria that has decided to bloom all at once. Just in time for Easter.

I wanted to make something sweet for Easter and that for me that means chocolate. I had an idea in my head of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, sprinkled with crumbled up Flake (to look like a nest) and little mini eggs inside the nest.

The thing is that tidy, delicate and uniform is not my forte. Also, if it doesn’t work the first time, it’s never going to happen. So when my first attempt at a mini egg chocolate flake nest looked like a six year old had been let loose in the chocolate cupboard, I actually considered inventing some children and blaming them.

Already bored of the chocolate nest idea I started playing around with the icing and some of the lavender I had picked that morning. It turns out that the lavender ones looked the best, so I spent the next few minutes picking out all of the lavender coloured mini eggs. I don’t know what happened to the other colours, must of been those pesky kids again…

These cupcakes are actually vegan and made with spelt flour. The frosting is also vegan, made with an olive oil spread instead of butter which is why it is a bit softer than proper buttercream icing. As I didn’t know beforehand that I was making lavender chocolate cupcakes I didn’t add any lavender to the cake mix. I have added it into the recipe below but it is up to you whether you do or not.

Chocolate Lavender Easter Cupcakes

Makes 10-12, vegan (without toppings), wheat-free. Adapted fron Oh She Glows

Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 25 mins

  • 1 cup oat milk (or any non dairy milk)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar (raw cane if possible)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt (or wholemeal) flour
  • 1/3 cup pure cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp dried edible lavender (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170 C and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, beat together the  milk, vinegar, sugar, oil and vanilla with an electric whisk/mixer for a minute ot two.

Sieve the dry ingredients (except the lavender) into the wet and stir well to get rid of any lumps. Then stir through the lavender.

Transfer the mix to a jug and pour it into the cupcake liners about two thirds to three quarters full for each. Bake for about 25 minutes until the top springs back slowly when pressed with a finger. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 tbsp olive oil spread (or equivalent)
  • 3/4 cup pure cocoa powder
  • 2+2/3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup oat milk (or other non dairy milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the spread and vanilla together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp of the milk and whisk again.

Alternate adding the sugar, cocoa and milk a bit at a time until it is all mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to get all of it combined well.

Store in the fridge until ready to use. Don’t start icing until the cupcakes are completely cool. Use a palette knife or piping bag to ice the cakes and decorate as you wish.

If it stops raining long enough I should be able to get about and photograph some of the spectacular processions and plays that take place here for Semana Santa. I remember saying the same thing last year and there was a huge electrical storm which blew up my modem and motherboard as well as cancelling all the processions and the crucifixion.

So, fingers crossed!

Happy Easter everyone!!

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

23 Dec Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

As this is probably my last post before the big day I thought I would share something Christmassy with you. This fudge is really easy to make and makes great gifts. Just wrap it in cellophane and tie up with a ribbon.

It’s actually one of Nigella’s Christmas Recipes. I do love Nigella even though she does come out with the cheesiest waffle sometimes. I’m saving up for her hips, not long to go now, especially after picking at this fudge. You have to trim the edges to get them nice and straight you see. You can’t waste it. Continue reading

1st Anniversary Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake and A Giveaway!!

18 Oct Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf with Chocolate Ganache

It’s my one year blogging anniversary this month so I decided to bake a cake. I actually made a loaf and some cupcake type muffins out of the same recipe and topped them both with a heavenly chocolate ganache.

You may have noticed that I don’t make a lot of sweet things, mainly because I would end up eating them so I try to steer clear as much as possible. This little beauty however is vegan. Can you believe it? Continue reading

My 7 Links Challenge, Pass it on…

21 Aug Almond Blossom

There’s a challenge going around the blogosphere at the moment called The Seven Links Challenge. I have been nominated by four different bloggers over the past few weeks and I am very honoured, if not a little apprehensive, to be thought of for this.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the lovely ladies who passed this on to me, starting with E from Legally Blissful, who has just started law school and is following her bliss. Tiffany from Como Water a kindred spirit with a positive soul, Tanya from Chica Andaluza my fellow guiri living the dream in Andalucia, and last but by no means least Sawsan from Chef in Disguise my Middle East meets West kitchen guru.

This is the Challenge:

THE GOAL

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

THE RULES

1)     Blogger is nominated to take part

2)     Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

- Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

3)     Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part

So here are my “7 links”

Most Beautiful Post…

Chocolate, Fig & Almond Rosewater Brownies….

Or Beautiful Almond Blossom & Amaretti Biscuits

Are you noticing a theme here? I like pink flowers….

Most Popular Post….

Chargrilled Broccoli & Beans with Garlic, Chilli & Sweet Soy Rice Noodles…..

This was featured on Freshly Pressed, the front page of WordPress and had 45oo hits in 2 days. Very exciting!

Most Controversial Post…..

Mint Julep Peaches Via Iran….

This was featured on Foodpress and got quite a lot of hits. I didn’t think this was controversial but I received a comment saying that the book I was reviewing “Reading Lolita in Tehran” was considered by most Iranians to be“baloney”.

I’d just like to point out that all the opinions on this blog are mine and mine only and the last time I looked freedom of speech and expression were legal, at least they are here.

Most Helpful Post…..

Thai Squash Wonton Soup & Spring Rolls….

I don’t know how helpful it is but there’s some pictures of how to fold wontons and spring rolls. And the filling is delicious!

Most Surprisingly Successful Post….

Spanish Onion Soup on the Beach…..

I was really surprised when this made the Foodbuzz Top 9 and ended up at number one. It was the first time I had been featured anywhere. It’s my Spanish take on the classic French Onion Soup.

Or Indian Lentil Dhal with Potato Stuffed Parathas

This one of my really early posts but it still get loads of traffic now through search engines. It must be something to do with the way it’s titled or something, I don’t know.

The Post That Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved……

Halloumi Tikka Kebab with Turmeric & Cardamom Risotto & Tamarind Syrup

This is definitely one of mine and the The Washer Up’s all time favourite dishes. The texture of the halloumi that has been marinated in yoghurt & spices is a revelation and the complex balance of  flavours makes it a real winner.

The Post I am Most Proud Of……

Definitely Grandad’s Pickled Onions..

They’re amazing and so is he….xx

Okay so now I have to pass this challenge on to 5 other bloggers. I have chosen these five because they are blogs that I enjoy following that are quite new to me and I am really interested to see what they come up with from their archives.

Beth Michelle

Pease Pudding

The Sometimes Zoo

Sunshine & Smile

Crumb

Beloved Green

That’s 6, I know. If you get a chance you should check out their lovely blogs, if you don’t know them already.

And I look forward to seeing your gone but not forgotten posts…

Chocolate, Fig, Almond and Rosewater “Brownies”

16 Jun DCIM100MEDIA

There are roses everywhere here at the moment. I am slightly obsessed and take photos every day as you may have noticed. I love all the different colours. I run past these roses most mornings with the dog. There is one particular garden that has loads of different varieties and the lady of the house takes great care of them. She must be so proud, they are all beautiful.

So all these roses made me start thinking about making something with rosewater. Just to celebrate the rose and so I would have an excuse to show a you all the pictures I have been taking.

Following on from the success of my Date, Walnut & Coconut Energy ” Truffles”, I wanted to make something similar using figs instead of dates. There are fig trees where we run too, the figs are not quite ripe yet but it it got me thinking about fig and rosewater together, a classic Arabian combination.

Rosewater is the flavouring in Turkish Delight. When I was little there was a chocolate bar called Fry’s Turkish Delight. It may still be out there, I don’t know. It had a very exotic advert and a bright pink metallic wrapper. Inside, the rose coloured Turkish Delight was coated in chocolate. At the time it seemed very mysterious and grown-up probably because my dad used to eat it all and not give me any (only joking dad)!

So I definitely wanted to use chocolate with the figs and rosewater.  I found a recipe for chocolate, cashew & almond energy bars  that I adapted to suit my requirements,very successfully indeed.

I am positive that my dad (my biggest fan) will approve. In fact I know he will be making them as soon as he can. The date, walnut and coconut energy truffles are now the “petit fours” of choice on all the best dining tables in Cape Town thanks to my dad. He has little production line going. People are requesting them.

I have to say that, in his version, rather than soaking the dates in water for an hour he soaks them in Frangelico or Amaretto. That could definitely be part of the reason for their popularity, it sounds amazing. So feel free to do that with the figs in this recipe too. I know of two food bloggers who will approve wholeheartedly of this little  “twist”. (Rufus & Caroline!)

These “brownies” are in fact, raw, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and totally delicious. Please don’t be suspicious of their virtue. They have all the chewy, stickiness of a brownie with none of the bad things. Never has healthy tasted so naughty. Dad, I think you’re going to need a bigger kitchen…!

Chocolate, Fig, Almond & Rosewater “Brownies”

makes about 16. Adapted from Sea Salt With Food

  • 300 gr (2 cups) dried figs, soaked in water (or Frangelico/Amaretto) for an hour
  • 250gr (2 cups) almonds (no skin), roughly chopped
  • 60 gr (1/2 cup) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 75 gr (3/4 cup) pure unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40 gr (1/2 cup) dessicated coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tbsp rose water 
  • cold water

Remove the figs from the soaking liquid after about an hour and put them in a food processor with the roughly chopped nuts, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.

Process until it starts to come together then add the coconut, process again then add the vanilla extract and the rose water a tablespoon at a time. The amount of rosewater you add depends on how strong the flavour is so taste as you go and stop when you are happy with the flavour.If you need to add more liquid to get it to a sticky mouldable dough consistency add a tablespoon of water at a time.

Line a brownie pan or baking tin with baking paper and tip the dough mix in and press it out evenly with a rubber spatula. Put another piece of baking paper on top and use a book or ice cream tub to press it down and make it flat. I made mine about 1 cm thick but you can make them thicker if you like.

Put in the fridge for about an hour before cutting into about 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge layered with baking paper.

Serve some after dinner with coffee as elegant petit fours or take them to work as an afternoon snack bar. Or do like my dad and take them as a gift for the host of a dinner party. They also keep really well in the fridge. If they should last that long…

Buen Provecho!

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