Raw Chocolate filled eggs and fruity eggs


Well… it is Easter… and I happen to know someone who loves raw chocolate so it gave me the perfect excuse to  whip up a batch of raw chocolate eggs.

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I fancied having a bit of a play with all the exciting things in my cupboard - peanut butter, pecan butter, coconut butter, freeze dried passion fruit powder, freeze dried cherry powder, freeze dried cherries, freeze dried raspberries so decided I’d make a batch of medium filled eggs and some little mini fruity eggs!

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You will need:

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)

1 cup Raw Cocoa powder

1/3 Cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetner)

A selection of fun things to fill or flavour them with! Your choice – nut butters, coconut butter (this isn’t the same as coconut oil – I use the Artisana brand – available online), freeze dried fruits etc.

Egg moulds (or any other shape!)

Filled eggs

Mix the cacao butter, cocoa and maple syrup together and ensure there are no lumps. Pour a small amount in to the egg mould – you are filling your eggs so don’t fill the mould – probably aim for a third of the mould. You will probably find that it settles at the bottom leaving the sides with only a very thing layer. This is ok – just pop it in the fridge for now. After about 5 mins check it and as it’s beginning to solidify just swirl the mould around so the chocolate coats the sides too. Place back in the fridge until set hard (15 mins should do it).

Add your filling

If you’re using nut butter then add a tsp or two and you can then sprinkle in some freeze dried fruit if you fancy it (raspberries work well with peanut butter).  Remember to do an even number of each filling (unless you want eggs half one flavour, half another).

If you’re using the coconut butter use a whole coconut flesh butter, rather than coconut oil. I used the Artisana brand.

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It’s easier to work with if you melt it very gently in a pan – just until it’s runny and then just pour it in to the eggs and pop straight in to the fridge.

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Once the filling has set, cover with a layer of chocolate. You don’t have to do this but it makes it much easier to join halves later in a relatively neat way!

Allow to set in the fridge until really well set (at least 15 mins).

Put your halves together!

Pop your eggs out the mould and then you can either use a small amount of melted raw chocolate to sandwich them together, or you can use a hair dryer on a low heat to very gently melt the back of the eggs (be super careful as raw choc has a very low melting point so handle the eggs as little as poss and be gentle with the hair dryer). Once melted press the halves together and pop back in the fridge!

Then eat!

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Fruity eggs

Take your raw choc mix and stir in to it your freeze dried fruit or fruit powder of choice. I split my mixture and in one half I added 1 tbsp freeze dried cherry powder and a handful of crushed freeze dried cherry slices. In the other half I added 1 tbsp freeze dried passion fruit powder and a handful of freeze dried mango pieces. Mix well and then pour in to your egg or whatever shape moulds.

If you want you can add a little powdered or crushed freeze dried fruit to the mould before you add the chocolate  - it makes the eggs look pretty :)

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Pop in the fridge for at least 15 mins. Remove and stick the halves together with a little melted raw choc or using a hair dryer to melt the backs a little as before.

Enjoy! :)

 

Marzipan Bunnies!


Here’s a little something quick and fun to make for Easter (or any time!) – marzipan bunnies! :)

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I decorated my bunnies with raw chocolate and had a bit of fun with some left over icing too – little bunny iced gems! :) You can use any icing but I used left over icing from my Coffee Amaretto Cake recipe – here.

You can use shop bought marzipan and melted dairy free chocolate… OR… you can make your own marzipan and use raw choc!

For the marzipan you will need:

100g Ground Almonds
50g Raw unrefined icing Sugar (or normal icing sugar if you prefer)
1/2 tbsp  Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 tbsp Cold Water
1/2 tsp Almond extract

Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly. You should end up with a pastry-like dough. If it is too dry add a drop of lemon juice but be careful you don’t make it too moist. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

For the raw choc you will need (this will make loads so you can make some raw chocs with the left overs :) )

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)
1 cup Raw Cacao powder
1/3 cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

Mix the ingredients together! Easy :)

Make your bunnies!

Roll the marzipan out nice and thin, dusting the surface and rolling pin with little icing sugar to prevent sticking. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out your bunny shapes (or whatever shape you want).

Dip half a bunny in the raw choc and use a cocktail stick to take a small amount of choc and dab it on for the eye. If you want to add a little bit of icing pipe a swirl on to the bunny.

Allow to cool in the fridge. Then enjoy! :)

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Coffee Amaretto Easter Cakes (dairy and gluten free!) – Beanies Bake off!


Beanies Coffee asked 10 bloggers to create a special Easter recipe creation  for their #BeaniesBakeOff competition using their flavoured coffees. I was lucky enough to be one of those bloggers! yay!

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So it was with great excitement that I opened my package of beanies coffees. They sent me 5 delicious flavours to play with – creamy caramel, amaretto, french vanilla, rich hazelnut and cinnamon.

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I toyed with a load of different Easter recipes for this challenge. I wanted to create something that was fun but that adults would enjoy, and that would show off the flavoured coffee flavour at it’s best. I also wanted to keep that Easter link (of course)… so after much deliberation and a few trials… I came up with this little creation! Coffee Amaretto Easter Cakes with a little secret surprise of delicious creamy coffee cream and marzipan in the middle! My top tasters, my very good friend Colette and her husband Rod, gave it their seal of approval so I know it’s good! :)

The recipe is dairy and gluten free but if you don’t need to avoid gluten then feel free to use normal flour, or if you can tolerate it spelt flour works well too :)

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There’s a lot going on in this recipe, but the beauty of it is that you can leave out any element of it. If you just want to make the cakes and ice them normally, they will still taste delicious. If you want to take a few shortcuts and use bought marzipan or “real” cream in the middle (or have no cream in the middle!) then you can. You can make this your own! The other bonus is that you could substitute other coffee flavours in here if you wanted to.

I’ve gone with the Amaretto coffee  for a more grown up little cake. You can use the ground coffee or their instant version (if using the instant make it even stronger!), and you can also use a decaf version too – so many choices! :) The Amaretto flavour works brilliantly with the marzipan which gives a hint of a traditional Simnel cake flavour.

Prepare the coconut cream

Before we start we need to do a little prep. If you want to fill the cakes with the coffee cream as I’ve done then you need to pop a can of coconut cream (and it needs to be a can) in the fridge, upside down (yes upside down) for at least 12 hours. I use this brand of coconut cream (and you only need a small can – 160ml) but you can use any brand with a high coconut extract content (65% or more is best).

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Why do you need to put it in the fridge? This allows the hard coconut cream to settle to the in the can. You can then open the can (open it upside down – so open the bottom!) and you will see a layer of clearish liquid coconut cream – pour this off carefully (don’t throw it away – you can use it in smoothies etc). Then scoop out the remaining coconut cream! Store the cream in the fridge while you wait to use it in the recipe (best to keep it as cold as possible).

Prepare your marzipan…

Now obviously you can buy marzipan – a good quality white marzipan if best. But if you fancy it you could make your own! It’s super easy :) This should give you enough marzipan to easily cover 6 muffin-sized cakes (unless like me you end up eating it while you make it! in which case I would make one and a half times this recipe to be safe :) )

400g Ground Almonds
200g Raw unrefined icing Sugar (or normal icing sugar if you prefer)
2 tbsp  Lemon Juice
4 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Cold Water
2 tsp Almond extract

Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly. You should end up with a pastry-like dough. If it is too dry add a drop of lemon juice but be careful you don’t make it too moist. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Prepare your decorations

You can decorate these how you like. I did two versions – a little nest of eggs, and a simnel  cake-style circle of marzipan balls. If you want to go for the nest of eggs you will need some eggs! You can use any little eggs you like – mini eggs work well as do chocolate covered carob beans (for something a little more grown up), but if you want to go for something homemade or dairy free then two other lovely options are marzipan eggs and raw choc eggs.

The marzipan eggs are easy – just mould a little of your marzipan in to an egg shape! I then dotted some melted raw choc (or you can use dairy free chocolate – Willies Cacao works well) to make them speckled eggs!

If you fancy making raw chocolate eggs you will need

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)
1 cup Raw Cacao powder
1/3 cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

If you’re feeling adventurous you can also had a small amount of the ground or instant coffee (if you’re using the ground coffee you will end up with a gritty texture – but I quite like that :)).

Mix the ingredients together, adding your coffee to the melted cacao butter (add to taste). Then pour in to little egg shaped chocolate moulds. Save a little of the chocolate to stick your egg halves together. Allow to set in the fridge or freezer, then remove and “glue” the halves of the eggs together using the left over raw choc. Leave in the freezer until ready to add to the cakes.

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Make a coffee…

You will also need to make a nice coffee before you start!

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No seriously – aside from making one to drink :) you will need to make up a pot of strong coffee. Make it stronger than you would usually like to drink it – it has to be strong to hold the flavour when you bake it. I used the Beanies ground coffee in this recipe and I used approx 6 tbsp coffee and 1 cup of water, but adjust to suit your taste. If you’re using the instant blends then equally just make a really nice strong cup.

Now, down to business….

For the cakes you will need (makes 6 muffin-sized cakes – or more smaller ones!):

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (soya,almond milk or coconut milk )
1/2 tsp Cider apple vinegar
1/2 cup of strong Beanies Amaretto coffee
1 1/4 cups Gluten-free flour blend or Spelt flour if you prefer
2 Tbsp Cornflour
3/4 cup Raw unrefined sugar – golden caster sugar or coconut palm sugar
3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1/3 cup Almond oil (or mild olive oil)

For the filling you will need:

A small amount of marzipan
Coconut cream (the contents of one 160ml can)
A small amount of the strong coffee you made earlier (1 tbsp or so)
1 tsp Beanies Amaretto coffee – instant or normal ground (see below) – optional
1 – 2 tsp Raw icing sugar (to taste)
dash of amaretto! (optional)

For the topping you will need:

approx 250g Marzipan
a little Marmlade or apricot jam (this is just to stick the marzipan on so you can use anything you have to hand)
2 cups Raw icing sugar
1/4 cup Strong beanies Amaretto coffee
Dash of Amaretto or Almond essence (optional!)
Eggs – made of marzipan, raw choc eggs, choco covered carob beans, shop-bought mini eggs… or just little balls of marzipan
some crushed Amaretti biscuits (optional)

Time to make some cakes!

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put the milk and vinegar together in bowl and whisk together, then leave to curdle for a few minutes. Add the milk mixture, oil, sugar and coffee to a large bowl and mix together.

Sieve the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the liquid mixture and stir well until no large lumps remain. If you find it’s still quite lumpy you can always pass it through a sieve. The mixture is VERY liquid so do not worry about this – it’s normal!

Pour into cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Once warm enough to handle use a sharp knife to remove the top and flatten off the top of the cakes. Eat the cut offs whilst still warm ;)

Using a cupcake corer (or a knife) cut a hole in the cupcakes to create a little well for your filling.

Prepare the filling …

While the cupcakes are cooling further roll out your marzipan into a thin sheet (few mm). Use a little icing sugar to dust the board and rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Using the cupcake corer (or just free hand with a knife) cut out small circles of marzipan (these are to pop in to the bottom of the hole you just cut in the cake). From the rest of the marzipan you can cut out discs to put on the top of the cakes (using a biscuit cutter)

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Take the small discs and pop one in the bottom of then hole you’ve just made in each cakes. Ideally the cakes will still be a little warm which will melt the marzipan very slightly. Top tip – if the cakes aren’t still warm then pop them back in the oven (don’t turn it back on – it will still be warm from before) and leave them for 5 mins or so just to soften the marzipan a little).

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Allow the cakes to cool completely before you attempt to fill them with the coconut cream. While they are cooling you can prepare the cream though.

Take your coconut cream which you prepared earlier (see above) and pop in a clean bowl. Gently, using a fork, whisk the coffee and icing sugar in to it. If this is a strong enough flavour for you then you’re fine. If not though then take the small amount of instant or ground coffee and place in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Stir that in (for a real coffee kick!). Add a few drops of amaretto if you fancy it (or almond essence if not). Be careful not to add too much liquid and not to over mix – you want the cream to maintain a thick, almost whipped texture.

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You can then spoon or pipe this in to the cakes. Fill right to the top.

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Then you’re ready to add your larger marzipan discs to the top. Take a small amount of apricot jam or marmalade (or jam of your choice) – I used homemade marmalade made by my very good friend Colette from Colette’s fitness kitchen. Melt it in the microwave for a few secs (or on the hob if not) so it’s liquid and then brush on to the back of the marzipan discs and stick the discs to the top of the cakes.

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Time to decorate…

Now comes the fun bit! Time to decorate the cakes :)

If you want to go for a little simnel-style decoration then all you need to do is make 5 – 6 small balls of marzipan for each cake. Pop them on in a circle using a little jam or marmalade to secure them down. I used a cook’s blowtorch to give them some colour but you could also pop them under a hot grill (but only for a moment! keep an eye on them!). Then I dabbed a bit of the marmalade/jam in the middle and sprinkled on some crushed amaretti biscuits :)

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If you want to go for a little nest of eggs then you need to make up a batch of nice thick icing :)

Mix the icing sugar with the strong coffee and a dash of amaretto (or almond essence) to form a nice thick icing. You want it to be quite stiff so it holds it’s shape when you pipe it into the nest shape. Pipe it straight on to the cakes in a nest shape and add a little tiny amount in the middle (to stick the eggs on with). Whilst still wet sprinkle with crushed amaretti biscuits if you want to.

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Then add the eggs of your choice (bought eggs, raw choc eggs, choc covered carob beans or marzipan eggs)

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Enjoy your Easter treat with a nice big cup of Beanies Coffee! :)

To check out the other entries follow #beaniesbakeoff

 

 

Rasberry almond protein balls


These little beauties have saved me this week!

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Whenever I feel like I need a boost, or the craving for chocolate kicks in, I’ve just grabbed one of these and they do the trick!

I don’t have specific quantities for these as I just grabbed what I had in the cupboard and threw it together – but I’ll give you a vague idea! It doesn’t really matter what quantities you use – it’s about what you like and finding a combination that’s tasty for you :)

What I like most about these is that they’re also full of protein and good fats. I also throw some l-glutamine powder in as I spend a lot of time working out during my week and need it to aid recovery. You can leave it out though – they’ll still taste delicious!

I used freeze dried raspberry powder in this version – I got mine online (here) but your local health store might stock it too.

2 – 4 tbsp Nut butter (I used cashew and almond)

2 – 4 tbsp liquid Sweetener (maple syrup, agave, sweet freedom – your choice!)

a big handful of Nuts – I used hazelnuts, almonds and cashews (you can chop these up if you want to – I couldn’t be bothered!)

a few tbsps desiccated Coconut

1 – 2 tbsp Chia seeds

1 – 2 tbsp Sesame seeds

half a handful of dried Cherries

2 tbsp of freeze dried raspberry powder

2 scoops of Vanilla protein powder – I use Pure Protein Powder available here  (you can leave this out if you want to)

1 scoop L-glutamine (optional) – I use Pure L-glutamine available here

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Put the nut butter and sweetener in a frying pan over a low heat. Stir while it heats through and combine the butter and sweetener. Don’t heat too fast or you’ll just end up drying the nut butter out. After a minute or so add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. You want to be able to squish the mixture into balls so if it’s too dry add a little more sweetener or nut butter. If it’s too wet add more nuts etc.

Remove from the heat and whilst still warm form little balls! You can roll the warm balls in desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cocoa powder etc but I like my balls naked!

Enjoy!

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Raspberry Raw Chocs


These beautiful raw chocolates are fantastically easy to make and taste delicious. They’d make a perfect gift too (if you don’t eat them all first ;) ).

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You can flavour them with anything you like but I’m a big fan of raspberry and chocolate and when I found the freeze-dried raspberries online (Amazon sell them) and thought they’d be a great addition to these chocs.

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You will need (makes approx 15 chocs):

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)

1 cup Raw Cacao powder

1/3 cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

1 cup Freeze-dried raspberries

2- 3 tbsps Freeze-dried raspberry powder (you can buy them powdered or you can simply grind up the whole raspberries)

Melt the cacao butter and mix it with the cacao powder and maple syrup. Use a small whisk or fork to mix the ingredients well. Add in the raspberry powder and mix well. Lightly crush the whole raspberries into smaller pieces and then stir them in.

Pour in to chocolate moulds and leave in the freezer to set. Enjoy! :)

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Lemon curd thumb biscuits!


Having made a big batch of lemon curd (recipe is here). I thought I’d better find some yummy ways to use it!

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Now I could just eat it straight from the jar (and actually I do!), or with yoghurt and fruit for brekkie….

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… but… it’s also pretty delicious combined with almonds in these divine little biscuits.

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They are super easy to make and take less than 30 mins.

To make about 12 biscuits you will need:

130g Ground almonds

1/4 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Zest from 1 – 2 lemons (you can use any left over zest that you froze after making the lemon curd)

2 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil

2 tbsp Maple syrup

1 tbsp Lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp Lemon extract)

1 – 2 tbsp Lemon curd (recipe here)

a handful of Dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Place the ground almonds, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut oil and use your hands to mix into a dough.

Take tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and place on a greased baking sheet. Pat down and then use your thumb to make an indent in the center.

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Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. After 5 minutes check them and if the indents are starting to close just gently use your thumb to re-shape them. Bake until they are brown. If you like your biscuits a bit crunchier then bake a little longer.

Remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Fill the indents with lemon curd and place a dried cherry in the middle. Pop them back in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes.

Allow to cool.

They will be lovely and crunchy if eaten straight away. If left for the next day they become soft and macaroon-like – which is simply yummy! You can always pop them back in the oven to re-crisp if you fancy it :)

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Oh My – Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie! Easy and dairy and gluten free! (vegan)


Yes, you read that right – this is a completely dairy and gluten free lemon meringue pie! Can you believe it? I’m not sure I can but I am ridiculously excited about it!

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I’ve been obsessing about lemon meringue pie lately but really wanted to avoid the traditional gluten and dairy-filled pie recipes. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull this off but… oh my word – I definitely have! This is so yummy and really pretty easy too.

I gave a piece to my top taster and this was the result after only a few minutes… so I’m pretty sure she liked it too ;)

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This recipe is in 3 parts – the pastry shell, the curd filling and the meringue. The curd is super easy and the recipe has been posted separately (here) but I’ll re-post it here for ease. The curd recipe will give you more than you need but that’s ok – you can save it for later (or make some extra mini pies too!). If you want a thicker meringue then simply double the meringue ingredients.

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For the pastry:

100g Ground almonds
100g Flaked almonds
75g Rice flour(or other gluten free flour)
25g Golden raw Caster sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
50ml Almond oil
3 -4 tbsp cold almond or other non dairy milk
Pinch of Himalayan rock salt

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups of Lemon juice (I used 6 very large lemons)
Zest of half of the lemons used (freeze the rest of the zest for use later)
1/2 cup of Cold water
1 3/4 cups unrefined raw Sugar (adjust to taste)
5 tbsp Cornflour (corn starch)
2 tbsp non-dairy margarine
6 tbsp Almond milk (you could also use soya or coconut milk)

For the meringue:

6 tbsp Egg replacer (I used Orgran No-egg)
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp ice cold Water
1/2 cup unrefined raw Sugar (smaller granules work better)

Make your curd filling to start with (you can make the curd well in advance – it will keep for a few weeks in the fridge).

Juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from half of the lemons but it’s worth zesting them all and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Place the lemon juice and water in a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes. Have a little taste – if it’s not sweet enough for you then stir in some more sugar. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool in the fridge. Place clingfilm over the bowl to avoid a skin forming.

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While the curd cools you can make your pastry.

Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease a 20 cm flan or pie dish lightly with almond oil.

Put the ground and flaked almonds into a bowl with the flour and salt and stir to combine. Keep stirring and add in the olive oil gradually. Add 2 tablespoons of almond milk and keep stirring. The mixture should hold together when pressed, if it doesn’t then add some more almond milk, stirring all the time, until it does. At this point have a taste. If you want a sweeter pastry then add some more sugar until you get the desired flavour. Press in to the flan dish. You may well have some pastry left over – if so you can either make some mini-pies or you can create little flat biscuits with the leftovers (just bake until cooked!) .

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until set and barely golden. Remove from the oven and brush the pastry with a little almond oil and return to the oven for a few minutes to set then set aside to cool.

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Once the pastry has cooled fill it with as much curd as you fancy and place in the fridge while you prepare the meringue.

Preheat the oven to 100 C.

Put the egg-replacer in to a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. Add a small amount of water and begin to whisk – ideally with an electric hand blender if you have one. It will form a sticky paste. Continue to mix and add a little water at a time, together with a little sugar. Whisk the whole time and add the water and sugar very gradually. You will see that the paste begins to rise. Whisk until you have stiff peaks and it is a marshmallowy consistency.

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Remove the filled pie from the fridge and spread the meringue over the top. Allow to sit for 10 – 15 minutes so it begins to set. Then place in the oven for 30 minutes. If you want a browned finish to the meringue you can use a cooks blow torch to add that effect.

Allow to cool (if you can wait – I confess, I couldn’t!) and then enjoy!

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