A host of Easter Treats


With Easter upon us I thought I’d share a few of my favourite, slightly healthier but equally yummy Easter recipes.

So if chocolate is your thing then why not try some quick, raw chocolates like these chocolate coconut treats, or the raw chocolate filled eggs and fruit eggs, or if you fancy something with a little more kick – why not try the chilli chocs.

2014-04-18 19.27.21        2014-04-13 16.29.29

Or how about whipping up some quick, cute, marzipan bunnies!

2014-04-05 17.33.53

What about creating a quick batch of Easter spiced biscuits, or some fresh, light lemon and chia cookies to dunk in your afternoon tea on Easter Sunday.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could try my coffee and amaretto cupcakes (using any instant coffee you have to hand).

2014-04-05 17.37.59

And finally..it wouldn’t be Easter without some hot cross buns right? Try my better bun recipe for some hot cross fun! 🙂

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Chocolate Coconut Treats


This is a super simple Easter recipe for some yummy little melt in the mouth coconut chocolate bites. In fact it’s not really a recipe at all it’s so simple! 🙂

2014-04-18 19.27.21

All you need is some of this wonderful stuff – Artisana Cacao Bliss. It’s just chocolate coconut butter, made from coconut flesh (not the coconut oil).

2014-04-12 17.07.38

If you can’t find this then you can use the normal Artisana Coconut Butter and just add raw cocoa powder to it (to taste).

2014-04-12 17.07.29

 

All you need to do is melt the coconut butter in a pan on a very low heat. I like this just the way it is but if it isn’t sweet enough for you then you can add some maple syrup to taste. Once it’s melted all you need to do is pour in to moulds – egg shaped or otherwise! Pop in the fridge for 20 mins to set. If you’re doing eggs remove from the fridge and mould. Warm the back of the eggs using a hair dryer or a warmed spoon just to melt it slightly, then press 2 halves together. Place back in the fridge for a few mins.

Enjoy!

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.

2014-04-13 16.19.24

2014-04-13 16.29.29

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!

2014-04-12 16.19.12-2

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.

2014-04-12 17.07.29

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.

2014-04-12 17.25.20

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!

2014-04-13 16.32.26

 

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 🙂

2014-04-13 16.27.55

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! 🙂

2014-04-05 17.33.53

 

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! 🙂

2014-04-05 17.33.39

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!

2014-04-05 17.37.59

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.

photo 2 (2)

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 🙂

2014-04-05 17.44.29

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).

coconut cream

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.

_MG_7503

Make a coffee…

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

2014-04-06 13.00.59-2

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)

photo 3

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).

photo 1 (2)

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.

photo 3 (3)

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

photo 5 (2)photo 2 (4)

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.

photo 2 (3)

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 🙂

2014-04-05 17.48.57

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.

2014-04-05 17.49.01

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

2014-04-05 17.49.14 2014-04-05 17.39.20 2014-04-05 17.39.42

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

To check out the other entries follow #beaniesbakeoff

 

 

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 😉 ).

2014-03-23 14.22.27

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.

2014-03-23 14.26.57

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! 🙂

2014-03-23 14.24.25

 

 

An array of Easter Biscuits!


I couldn’t let the day pass without whipping up some tasty treats! These are fun spicy Easter and spring biccies that are great fun to make, and eat! Perfect holiday activity for the kids too!

20130331-160723.jpg

The icing is flavoured with either lemon, fresh raspberry or fresh blueberries.

For the biscuits you need:

2 cups gluten free or spelt flour

1 cup raw Icing sugar

6 oz Dairy free spread

2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Cloves

For decoration:

Raw coconut palm sugar

Cinnamon and chilli sugar (see here)

Currants

Raw Icing sugar

Lemon juice, raspberries and blueberries

Sugar balls etc

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Mix all the biscuit ingredients together in a bowl – ensuring the spread is well combined with the flour an sugar. Once it forms a dough pop it in the fridge for 30 mins if you have time. Remove and roll out. Use whatever shaped cutters you like to it your biscuit shapes and transfer to a baking tray.

If you are using currants for bunny eyes and noses then add those now. Sprinkle with raw coconut sugar and cinnamon and chilli sugar. Place in the oven and cook for 8 – 12 mins or until golden. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cool you can ice the biscuits. Mix up your icing powder with lemon juice or fresh raspberries or blueberries and then spread on the biscuits. Add sugar decorations if you like. Allow to set and then eat!

20130331-161202.jpg

20130331-161251.jpg

20130331-161326.jpg