• Category Archives Cookies & Muffins
  • Cranberry almond Granola Bars

    So on this healthy new eating regime I have been trying out all sorts of tasty snacks to “keep the wolf from the door” as my mother would say. So I found a recipe and tweaked it as you do so it has the flavours and textures we liked. Can’t tell you how long these stay fresh as they just don’t last around here.

    cranberry almond granola bars

    2c pitted dates
    1c water

    Cook together over medium heat until they form a paste…so smush them together in a pan! Smush is so technical….to me it’s the only way to describe the action needed to make a paste.

    1/2c almond or whatever nut butter you fancy
    1/4c coconut oil

    Add to paste and stir until smooth and melted. Then add the following and mix well.

    2t vanilla extract
    1t cinnamon

    Get a big bowl and add the following to the bowl

    2c oats
    1/2c ground oats (whiz oats up in a food processor)
    1T chia seeds
    1T chopped almonds
    1T chopped dried cranberries
    1t flaxseed
    1/4c cocoa nibs
    1/4c pumpkin seeds
    1/4c omega sprinkles you can use sunflower seeds or whatever seedy type you like!

    Mix all the dry stuff together, then pour the wet, gloopy mushy stuff over the dry and mix well. Press into a parchment lined 8×8 pan and let cool and set for at least an hour before slicing and eating! Keep in a covered container….bet the lid isn’t on much!



  • Healthy Banana Oat Nut cookies

    2014-06-09 22.50.59

    Now these haven’t photographed very well…but they taste great! Honest…I wouldn’t lie to you guys! Having rescued some bananas that someone was throwing out at work because they had gotten too dark, I needed to make something tasty, and with healthy eating being on the agenda I had also bought a LARGE tub of coconut oil from Costco so the two needed to be used together. Cookies are easy to make, easy to transport and definitely easy to eat so a batch beckoned.

    Ingredients:

    150 g coconut oil
    220 g dark brown sugar
    1 egg
    125 g mashed banana (about 1 decent sized banana)
    2 t vanilla extract
    125 g plain flour
    1/2 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    2 t cinnamon
    1/2 t allspice
    250 g oats
    60 g chopped walnuts
    70 g raisins

    Preheat oven to 180c. Get your baking trays ready…grease, line, silpat…even non stick. Cream together oil and sugar, add egg, banana and oil and mix. Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt…sprinkle in the spices and mix until combined. Mix in the oats, walnuts and raisins until distributed evenly. Pop onto the prepared baking trays leaving room for spread. Pop into the oven for about 10-12 minutes…depending on how big you made them. They need to cool before you take them off the trays as they are soft and chewy cookies.



  • Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

    So here is the first berry from our, first ever, crop of strawberries! So the idea of recipes using strawberries came to mind :) So here’s a really tasty light recipe that I made with my mini helper in Canada for her mummy….Daddy got the Guinness Brownies so Mummy got the cupcakes!

    2014-06-10 10.00.13

    As you can see baking with a 3 year old requires military precision and lots of patience! (On her part…she was desperate to put the sprinkles on!)

    2014-05-13 11.24.092014-05-17 18.18.37



  • Starbucks (ish) Ginger Molasses Cookies

    2014-05-21 16.40.00

    So these cookies have been a hit whenever I’ve made them…they are chewy and gingery and rather tasty with a latte! Or a good old Americano. Pretty easy to whip up the only frustrating thing is chopping up the crystallized ginger…if you can get some crystallized ginger chunks…do it! It will save you time and effort and stop you from slicing your finger trying to scrape them off the knife blade!

    2 1/4 c plain flour
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp cinnamon
    2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 c butter
    1 c dark brown sugar
    1/4 c molasses
    1 egg
    3/4 c chopped crystallized ginger
    A sprinkle of sugar for coating

    Preheat oven to 170 c

    Mix dry ingredients into a bowl and put aside. In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy…add the egg and molasses and mix until blended. Mix the crystallized ginger in by hand. Roll into golf ball sized balls and roll in sugar then slightly flatten them on a lined cookie tray and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Pop into the oven for about 10 – 12 minutes. Careful not to overdo it…they are meant to be chewy…not hockey pucks!



  • Everything but the Kitchen Sink cookies

    2014-05-05 13.24.25

    So these cookies are an uber versatile recipe with options, which means decisions…eek…we aren’t good at making decisions in this house! But when it comes to cookies everything and anything goes. These are actually pretty healthy too :)

    Preheat oven 180c.

    1/2c butter
    1/3c dark brown sugar
    1/3c sugar
    1 egg
    1T buttermilk or plain yogurt
    1T vanilla
    3/4c whole wheat flour
    1/2t baking soda
    1/2t cinnamon
    1/4t salt
    1/4t ginger
    1/2c dried fruit…we used 1/4c dried cranberries and 1/4c raisins
    1/4c chocolate chips…or white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips
    1 1/2c rolled oats
    1/2c chopped nuts or seeds….we used 1/4c chopped cashews and 1/4c pumpkin seeds

    In a stand mixer mix the sugars and butter until soft and fluffy.

    Next mix in the egg, vanilla and buttermilk.

    In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.

    Slowly mix the dry ingredients in to the sugar/butter mix. Turn off the mixer before adding the dry ingredients….unless you fancy being doused with flour! Not that I’ve EVER done that!

    Then take the bowl off the mixer stand and mix the rest in by hand.

    Drop by spoon onto a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes.

    Makes about 24 cookies.



  • White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

    2014-04-01 09.56.16

    100g softenend butter
    100g plain flour
    50g semolina
    50g caster sugar
    50g dried cranberries
    50g white chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 130c and lightly grease a baking tray. Mix the flour and semolina together in a bowl, add the butter and mix it with your fingers until its like breadcrumbs. Just take your time as this is the part that makes the shortbread nice and flaky and crumbly! Bang the rest in and mix it until it comes together. Then squish it all together to make a smooth dough. Roll this dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 20 cm circle that’s about 1-2 cm thick. Lift it onto the baking tray stab it all over with a fork…make pretty patterns if you like! Bang it in the fridge for about half and hour to chill it back down. Pull it out of the fridge and sprinkle it with sugar and score it into 8 pieces then pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a lovely pale gold colour. Once you take it out…rescore and resprinkle with sugar and leave to cool. Cut into wedges and eat with a steaming hot cup of coffee..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!



  • Very Vanilla Macarons

    Vanilla, is one of those things that we just LOVE in this house. so when we had some egg whites left from making the Mustard Tarragon Hollandaise it just had to be done!

    IMG_20140401_204813

    110 g ground almonds
    200 g icing sugar
    3 large egg whites (for best results let these sit at room temperature for 24 hours)
    1/2 t vanilla extract
    1 vanilla pod
    50 grams caster sugar

    Preheat oven to 130c. Place the almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and whiz them up for a bit. This makes sure they are well combined and as smooth as possible. I prefer the ultra fine icing sugar for this reason. In a ultra clean bowl whip up the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the vanilla extract, and then scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add them to the meringue, add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. When you feel the egg whites are whipped sufficiently….this means hold the bowl upside down….if you don’t have to start again it’s good to go! Now fold in the almond/icing sugar mix. Fold quite agressively to begin with to get it mixed then continue to fold until the mix resembles molten lava.

    Get your macaron template out (if you haven’t made them before this is a piece of paper with circles drawn on it to make sure your macarons are all equal in size) Place this on the baking tray and pop a piece of baking paper or parchement over it. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and I don’t use a tip, I just cut the tip of the bag off. Pipe the mix onto the baking paper and try to keep it as even as possible. If you get a little pointy bit on top then wet your finger and press it down to keep them as flat as possible! Pull the template sheet out from under the parchment. Let sit on the counter for about an hour, this lets a skin form on top of the macaron. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They are done when they are not jiggly any more.When done, let them cool and peel them off the parchment,fill them with the desired filling. We went for white chocolate ganache with vanill a flavouring…and whoa…what an amazing taste sensation for vanilla lovers everywhere!



  • Lovely Lemon Macarons

    2014-03-10 15.52.03

    So after the success of the Chocolate Gingerbread Macarons, I was eager to give another flavour a go…so with the lovely sunshine…I decided on lemon!

    80 g egg whites
    25 g caster sugar
    180 g fine icing sugar
    100 g ground almonds
    zest of a lemon
    yellow food colouring…just to make it extra purty :)

    So whip up the egg whites and when foamy slowly add the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. If you are using paste colouring like I did I added it at the foamy stage. It will look a lovely sunny yellow.

    Now you have options here….either put the icing sugar, almonds and lemon zest into a food processor and whip it up or just put them in a bowl and whisk to make sure all is mixed throughly and evenly distributed. The ones in the photo are done without using a food processor as I really was being lazy and couldn’t be bothered getting the processor out or washing more than just a bowl!

    Fold the dry into the meringue until it is evenly mixed and flows like lava…if you pop some onto a plate and it flattens it’s ready!

    Make a template for the size macarons you want, put the template on the baking tray and put a piece of baking parchment over the top.

    Now grab a piping bag or make your own out of parchement…not something I can do…I’ve tried and it ends up a bloody mess! My little tip here is to fold the end of the bag over and put the bag into a large drinking glass and fold the top of the bag over the glass. Then fill away!

    Now when you pick the full piping bag up, the macaron batter will start to flow so you need to be prepared to work fast! Put the tip of the bag in the middle of the circle and squeeze until it fills the circle. When you’ve used up all the batter leave the macarons on the counter for at least 30 minutes until a shell forms and the batter no longer sticks to your finger when you touch it. Make sure you don’t leave the template on the baking tray!

    Heat up the oven to 140 c and chill out…when the shells have formed on the macarons then pop em in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes turn them around and give em another 10. To test for doneness push the top of the macaron and if it squashes it’s not quite done so pop em back in for a couple of minutes and test again. Be careful not to overdo them.

    When you take them out whip the parchment gently off the baking tray and let them cool on the counter…when completely cool carefully remove them from the parchment. Now I used ready made lemon curd and strawberry jam in the middle..you can make your own or I thought maybe a white chocolate ganache? When my partner tried them his comment was “Oh my god…it’s just like a lemon meringue pie!” Job well done on my part then!



  • Gingerbread Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

    2014-03-05 21.01.36-2

    Ok….so what’s all the hype about? I’ve always heard that macarons are really difficult to make so I’ve never tried to make them. So after having egg white left over from making the creme brulee I thought why not? So I took on the challenge, rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in!

    200g fine icing sugar
    112g ground almonds
    3 large egg whites (100g)
    35g caster sugar
    1/2 t powdered ginger
    2t cocoa powder

    Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a big bowl (big bowls are good as icing sugar dust gets bloody everywhere!) Now add the ginger and cocoa to this mix and whisk it together til it’s all evenly distributed.

    Push to one side and get a decent size bowl and make sure it’s grease free….I have a medium sized glass bowl I use all the time when making meringues…got it from Morrison’s for about £2! For this amount of egg white I use a hand mixer, if I was doing more egg whites then I’d use my stand mixer.

    Whip these up and when they are foamy slowly add the caster sugar and then whip these guys up until they are thick and glossy and loverly! They are done when you can hold the bowl over your head and if you don’t end up with an egg white hair conditioning treatment then they are done :)

    Now comes the deciding factor in how they turn out….gently fold the egg white into the dry mix. Turn the bowl and lift the spatula through and keep repeating until it’s thoroughly and evenly mixed.DO NOT be tempted to use a mixer…this needs to be done with a spatula or you’ll beat the air out of the whites. To tell when it’s ready….it should roll off the spoon and flow like molten lava. If you drop some onto a plate and jiggle it it will flatten down. If you don’t get flat then you’ll have to fold some more. Now draw some circles on some white paper in the diameter you want your macaron. Ours were about 4 cm. Then get your baking tray, put your template on the tray and put some baking parchment over it.

    Get a piping bag and either use a plain nozzle with about a 1 cm hole tip or do what I did and just cut the piping bag and don’t use a nozzle. Fill your piping bag, now be careful as this will start to flow out right away….my tip here is fold the end over so nothing can escape, then when you pick up the piping bag the mix will start to flow and you have a bit of hang time before it’s everywhere!

    Now you need to work fairly quickly…hold the bag over the centre of the circle and gently squeeze….when it’s nearly at the edges of the template, pull up and move on to the next one…keep going until the bag is empty. I got enough to make about 12 full ones…24 discs in total. Give the tray a gentle jiggle and put to one side. Get the oven heating up to 140 c and go make a brew and grab a magazine, catch up on Facebook, have a shower…..do whatever ya like for about 30 minutes until there is a kind of shell on top of the macaron. When you have the shell then you can pop them into the oven….make sure you take the paper template out…very carefully! Don’t let this go into the oven. Carefully pop the trays into the oven.

    In about 10 minutes open the oven and turn the trays around and then give it about another 10 minutes and check for doneness, if you gently touch the top and they jiggle…if the top and bottom move independantly then they aren’t ready. Pop them back in and give them a couple of minutes more.

    When they are done take them out of the oven and immediately take them off the hot trays and slide the parchment onto the counter. If you leave them on the trays then they will keep cooking. Now as much as you want to poke prod and sample them they must be left to cool completely! Use a metal spatula and very carefully take them off the parchment.

    Now for the fun part…preparing the filling and making the sandwiches. I used a dark chocolate ganache for the filling for this one.

    100 g dark chocolate…if you can get the Montezuma Chocolate with Ginger get that one as it’s yummy!
    100 ml double cream

    Heat up the double cream and while it’s heating up break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Sample a bit of course :) When the cream is very hot but not boiling…take off the heat and pour over the chocolate pieces and mix thoroughly until completely smooth. Let cool until a nice creamy consistency and it’s cool enough to spread on the macarons.

    Now pair up your macarons so they are all ready to go. Take a teaspoon or put in a piping bag if you can be bothered and put the ganache on one cookie and top with the other cookie and GENTLY squish together and voila…a macaron…repeat until all done…and leftovers are cooks perks for testing of course!
    Dust with cocoa if you fancy!



  • Scrummy Banana Walnut Muffins

    2014-03-03 22.05.40-1

    Ya know when you kinda forget about the bananas in the fruit bowl and the skins go all black and yukky looking and you pick them up and they automatically start to peel themselves? Don’t chuck them out…they are perfect for this recipe!

    Ingredients:

    2 c self raising whole wheat flour
    1/2 c dark brown sugar
    2 t baking powder
    1 t cinnamon
    1/4 t salt
    3 rather ripe bananas
    3/4 cup almond milk…regular milk is ok too
    1 medium egg
    1 t vanilla extract
    3/4 c chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 160 c
    Prepare your muffin tin…we use a big ass muffin tin and if you can find liners go for it if not we just use cake release spray or good old butter to grease the tray.
    In a big bowl combine all the dry ingredients, whisk em up to distribute all the goodness evenly.
    In a smaller bowl mush up the bananas and add the wet stuff. Mix til smooth.
    Make a hole in the middle of the dry stuff and pour in the wet stuff… mix til combined. Don’t over mix!
    Fold in 1/2 c of the walnuts.
    Pour evenly into your muffin tray and elegantly decorate the top with remaining walnuts….sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar on the top….pop in the oven and 23 minutes later (give or take) you have 6 lovely tasty fairly healthy muffins!