Vanilla Almond & Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Although I do love traditional chocolate chip cookies that make your mouth water, lately I have been in the kitchen experimenting with all kinds of flavour combinations. I am absolutely loving cookies that are a lighter, more fluffy texture… the kind of cookies that is pillowy and soft in the middle, but still golden and crisp on the outside.

The flavour combination of these cookies actually came along as a bit of an accident. Living in my flat, I have my own cupboard dedicated to housing all of my baking goods (thank you flatmates). I keep all of my baking goodies on the top shelf, generally in containers that are sealed (but hey not everyone is a Tupperware freak like me).

Anyway… all of my items are kept above the area where we prepare and cook our meals. Above the bowls I use when baking. Above the potential mixture I may or may not have been whipping up that afternoon. I think you can see where this is going. Hello almonds falling out of the sky…. and into my basic chewy and glorious chocolate cookie mixture.

Hence, Chocolate & Almond combo.

I am by no means complaining, as I do love the combination of chocolate and nuts together. I actually took a buzzfeed quiz yesterday asking what my favourite thing to pair with chocolate is… and you totally CANNOT go wrong with nuts. Dried apricots… what kind of monster are you?

With the late addition of vanilla, these cookies are super full of flavour and are the light and fluffy texture that I was after. The recipe also uses wholemeal flour, adding to the light and fluffy texture, and also adding to the slightly nutty texture. Adding cocoa is a vital step, so make sure you measure this correctly to achieve a non-dry texture.

You can enjoy these babies un-iced, but who am I kidding, I am a sucker for a rich chocolate icing on just about anything.

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Vanilla Almond & Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients

1 ⅓ cups whole meal flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tbsp melted coconut oil, until running and smooth

2 whole eggs, whisked together with a fork

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup cornflakes (optional)

Healthy Chocolate Frosting

1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used 85% dark but you could use paleo / dairy-free / vegan chocolate if necessary)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup almond milk

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and prepare two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Using a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil and eggs, ensuring fully combined together well. Add in vanilla and then stir through the coconut sugar.
  4. Combine the dry mixture with the wet, stirring just incorporated. Add in the cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), chopped almonds, and cornflakes (I like these for crunch), and stir again until evenly dispersed.
  5. Using a spoon, place small spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure that all are of similar size. Gently press down on the cookie dough if you are after a flat and wide cookie, or leave in dollop shapes for a more rounded, light cookie (this is what I usually do).
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are soft to touch and crisp on the top. Be careful not to overcook – as you want to avoid the smell of burnt chocolate!.
  7. Remove from the over, and allow to cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To prepare the icing, combine and mix together the chopped chocolate, almond milk and coconut oil. Stir ingredients until melted and completely smooth. Add in the icing sugar, and stir until smooth once again. Adjust milk and icing sugar to reach a consistency that you are after, adding more milk if too thick – and more sugar if too runny.
  9. Ice cookies once completely cooled, and sprinkle with crushed almonds or crushed cornflakes.

Enjoy! A x

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Chocolate Banana Coconut Slice

If you saw my latest recipe post, you will be well aware that I am most definitely the world’s biggest advocate for making and eating banana bread. The traditional recipe that I use for my banana bread is incredibly light and fluffy, yet still jam-packed with flavour… and I can assure you that this kind of banana goodness is sure to warm anyone’s heart in an instant.

Lets get serious though… the combination of chocolate and banana bread. How had I not thought to combine the two before? While experimenting in my kitchen yesterday… I noticed that we had the perfect amount of bananas ready to make my traditional banana bread (you can find this recipe on the blog). Naturally, I thought yes… I’ll whip up my old favourite and everyone will be happy. But then I thought… why not try something a little different, and chuck in a few different ingredients to see how things go.

The result. Perfection.

This chocolatey goodness is perfectly tender and gooey. As well as the addition of cocoa, I also added lots of yummy chocolate chips to give a perfectly sweet and comforting bread. Once the bread is baked, the top will remain lightly crisp on the outside and gets super golden, while maintaining its moisture on the inside. Also, I added pistachios for a pop or colour and nuttiness, and cranberries… because I love this combination and think it works perfectly in with the banana and chocolate textures. However, you could totally add whatever nuts or fruits that you like.

Once baked, I like to ice this slice with a coconut cream frosting, something that I have been experimenting with lately and am now genuinely in love. It’s perfect rich and creamy texture balances with the gooey chocolatey bread, so I have included the recipe for this below. Ensure you ice the bread once its fully cooled, and then if you like (I highly recommend), top this slice with a dark chocolate icing. Then my friends, you have a matrimony made in heaven.

Chocolate Banana Coconut Slice

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and left to sit at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup chopped cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

 

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (can use coconut cream)
  • 3/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

  • 1 cup cocoa butter, chopped
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method

For the Chocolate Banana Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a long flat brownie or loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Using a large bowl, combine the melted oil and syrup together with a wooden spoon, adding eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add in mashed bananas, vanilla and almond milk, then stir.
  3. In another bowl, combine baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and flour and whisk to mix well.
  4. Combine dry ingredients with the wet using a wooden spoon, folding until just combined. Add the chopped nuts, fruit and chocolate chips, and stir once more.
  5. Pour batter into your greased or lined pan, and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a stick inserted into the centre is removed clean. Remove from oven and leave to cool at room temperature completely before icing.

 

For the Coconut Cream Filling

  1. Add thick coconut milk/cream to a large mixing bowl. Set aside icing sugar and vanilla in a seperate bowl.
  2. Using an electric hand beater, mix the coconut cream for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Note, it will have a similar consistency to cream cheese when whipped. Add in sugar and vanilla and mix again until light and fluffy. You may need more icing sugar if the mixture is to runny, and you may need a little water if the mixture is to thick. Adjust and taste as you go.
  3. Once mixed well, turn out onto cake and spread a thick even layer on top of the cake. Set icing in the fridge for 30-40 minutes, while preparing the chocolate topping.

 

For the Chocolate Top

  1. In a mixing bowl, add finely chopped cocoa butter and melt in microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring until melted through.
  2. Once melted, add maple syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add cocoa powder and vanilla, whisking again to combine until there are no clumps.
  3. Top the cooled coconut icing with chocolate, and if you like, sprinkle with a few more nuts, fruit and chocolate drops, before leaving to harden in the fridge until set.
  4. I like to chop the slice into large pieces, and store in an airtight container until ready to eat. Making it last more than a day is harder said than done!!

Healthy Chocolate & Coconut ‘Bounty’ Bars

Healthy Bounty Bars anyone? Hell YAAA

Chocolate staples in our family have always been relatively predictable. Dad would always choose a Bounty Bar, mum never went past a Crunchie, and for me… well it was always a bar of Whittakers Creamy Milk or Dairy Milk Chocolate (lol yes such a plain child). Dad and I would always end up going halves however… my mad FOMO for chocolate meaning he could never enjoy a whole bar of Chocolate Coconut goodness to himself.

Being slightly older now, and slightly less inclined to buy multiple chocolate bars in a week… it would still be wrong of me to say that I don’t miss these times. We all know that cheap and store-bought chocolate bars have a reason to be cheap… But sometimes you just want a little chocolate therapy in your life.

The answer? Healthy Bounty Bars,

Combined in a rich and decadent outer shell of dark chocolate, the creamy coconut filling tastes remarkably similar to the original. In addition, the base is made from almond and coconut, making it taste way much better than the commercial version.

Not only are these far better for you, but they are also super fun to make. I have made them using a large slice pan, and then cutting into bars to take to uni or snack on. However, instead of making these bad boys as a full slice and then cutting them like this, try cutting the set coconut and almond layers into bite size pieces, and then dipping in chocolate for fully-fledged Chocolate heaven.

Thats what I call a combination!

Healthy Chocolate and Coconut Bounty Bars

 

Ingredients

For the Almond Base

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed tightly into cup)
  • 1/2 cups
  • pinch of salt

For the Creamy Coconut Filling

  • 2 cups unsweetened natural desiccated coconut (finely desiccated works best)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted till liquid form is reached
  • 2 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water

For the Dark Chocolate Topping

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp melted cacao butter
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup honey

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a brownie pan or baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer and large bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy – will usually take around 1 minute. Stop the mixer, and add the two flours to the bowl, followed by the brown sugar and salt. While the beater is on low speed, slowly beat the mixture together until fine crumbs are formed, ensuring to scrape the sides of the bowl where necessary. If it seems a little to crumbly, simply add a little more melted butter and stir through.
  3. Once the mixture is combined and crumbly, press into a slice or brownie pan firmly using your hands. Evenly spread the mixture across the bottom, and place in your oven to bake for 5-10 minutes. The base will not rise, but will be golden brown and hold shape.
  4. Using a microwave or double boiler, melt coconut oil until liquid. Stir in the honey, maple syrup and vanilla, and using a whisk, mix until all liquids are incorporated together.
  5. In a blender, whizz the coconut until super fine.
  6. Using the same blender, pour the coconut oil mixture into the raw coconut and whizz again to combine. Add the water, make sure all ingredients are mixed well. Scrape edges regularly, and mix until creamy and smooth.
  7. Spread the coconut mixture over your almond base, and place pan in freezer to set. This will take at least 30 minutes – 1 hour while you prepare chocolate topping.
  8. While the bars are setting, melt coconut oil and cacao butter over a double boiler. Add your honey, and stir briskly until the liquid is all combined. Remove bowl from the heat, and sift in the cacao powder, stirring until it is dissolved and liquid.
  9. Once the bars are set and the coconut is firm, remove from the freezer and pour over chocolate mixture. You can sprinkle with coconut over the top at this point if you like, but I like to keep mine plain. Keeping your tray completely flat, place back in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to set.
  10. When set, cut the slice into bar or bite size pieces. Store slice in fridge or a cool area.

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have been keeping up with me on Instagram lately, you will be aware that I have recently been hired to work in a fabulous little cafe in Wellington. I am working as assistant head baker there, and I can excitedly say that the things I have learnt over the last few weeks are nothing short of amazing.

Experimenting with new ingredients, using fail-proof recipes that have been around for 25+ years, and investigating the ways in which we can ‘healthify’ traditional old recipes… what more could a girl ask for?

The recipe for these bad boys was the result of one of my exciting days in the kitchen at work. Each day requires a different cookie of the day… and who doesn’t love a damn good FAT chocolate chip cookie (especially when they are straight out of the oven)? Everyone who has tried these cookies loves the light, buttery texture, and being gluten free, they truly are even fluffier than traditional cookies we all know and love.

Now before you go and disregard this recipe because its gluten-free, read here. Most gluten free cookie recipes will note using various flours, blending nuts till they are fine, or just a damn long time consuming process that no one really wants to put in the effort for. This recipe however, is simple, and requires none of the above.

Minimal effort. Maximum result.

Gluten free flours and almond meal can be brought in most supermarkets, and are both relatively cheap (for my students out there, these alternatives are often actually more budget friendly than other flours). Also easily adapted to meet vegan recipe standards, these cookies can also be altered to meet your dietary requirements if you are that way inclined.

All you will need is one bowl, a hand mixer, and a lil bit of love! Enjoy these with your family or flat mates, make or gift them for a friend… and make sure you enjoy them straight out of the oven once cooked, while the chocolate is still gooey and warm.

My fave is with a cup of tea or coffee, where you can dunkkkkkk them right in!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of butter at room temperature (you can use vegan butter for a vegan alternative)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed tightly into the cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (or 2 flax eggs for a vegan alternative)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder (GF)
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (for a vegan alternative, make sure the chocolate used has at least 70-80% cacao content, and simply omit the white chocolate)

 

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using a hand beater, place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. This is an important step in getting light cookies that will rise, so be sure to blend for five minutes minimum, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  3. Add egg (flax eggs if vegan) and vanilla, and continue to beat the mixture until well combined.
  4. Add gluten free flour, baking powder and almond meal in two stints, and be sure to keep scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed. Blend until the mixture appears “doughy”, however, at this point I sometimes find it easiest to use your hands.
  5. Stir through the chocolate chips, and refrigerate your cookie mixture for 1-2 hours until chilled. This process helps you roll your mixture into balls easily, however if you are in a rush – wet your hands slightly when forming the balls to avoid sticking when rolling.
  6. Once chilled, scoop out small amounts of dough and roll into balls. Place the balls evenly on the baking tray, leaving enough room for them to expand slightly.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling tray.
  8. Cookies are best stored in an airtight container, and can be kept for several days (if they last). They are my favourite when they are still warm, or with a cup of tea in the evening.

Raspberry & Cacao Brownie

Hello All! I am back (and god it feels good).

To say its been a busy last few months would certainly be an understatement. My last blog post was a long time ago, and I have since relocated back down to my life in Wellington, with Uni taking a hectic toll on my work schedule. I have also moved into a new flat, which I love… the people, the kitchen and all it has to offer. I have slowly been getting back into my running which is a long but exciting process, and I have also started work at a fantastic little cafe in Wellington.

I may have put my recipe blogging on the back burner, but by no means have I reduced the amount of recipe experimenting I have been doing. In actual fact, if the word procrastination means anything to you, you will know that I have probably done the most baking I ever have, over the last few months. Filling any spare moment I have in the kitchen, I have definitely created some super exciting recipes to share with you.

One of the many recipes I came up with over the last few months, was my Raspberry & Cacao Brownie. Due to some pretty nasty digestion issues, a family member of mine recently started to reduce the amount of gluten they eat. Naturally, I saw this as a challenge, and knew that I wanted to create a Gluten Free alternative for brownies. These ones follow a method that seemed slightly strange at first, using black beans as a source of protein and also making up the gooey texture of the brownie. Because these are also completely vegan, they are healthy and can work in most households for anyone with dietary or digestion issues.

The addition of fresh raspberries during summer seemed like a perfect fit, and cuts through the extremely rich chocolate texture of these brownies. However, if you can’t get your hands on berries, or simply don’t like them… you cant totally experiment with what you add. Walnuts or almonds, adding different dried fruits or jams, or giving different crunchy bits a go would work really well in this recipe, so definitely experiment with the things you personally love.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150grams of melted dark chocolate (I use Whittakers Super Dark Ghana Chocolate 72%)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder (GF if need be)
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries (if you are using frozen, make sure you thaw the berries before using to prevent extra liquid and brownies that will not set)
  • 1/2 cup vegan or dairy free chocolate chips

Method

  1. Place coconut oil, syrup and extra dark chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, and gently stir until the chocolate and oil is melted. Stir the mixture frequently, in order to ensure that all the liquids are incorporated well. Set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Using a blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix), combine the drained black beans, flax eggs, and baking powder and blend until smooth. Be sure to stop the mixer every so often and scrape down the sides, making sure all beans are pureed.
  3. Add in your chocolate and syrup mixture, then blend until just combined.
  4. Once mixed well, stir through the chocolate chips and place mixture into a prepared and lined brownie pan. Place berries on top of the brownie, and press into the mixture slightly to ensure that when baked they remind set.
  5. Bake the brownies for 20 minutes for a super gooey and fudgey consistency, leave a little longer if you like a slightly firmer and crispier style. The brownie will remain relatively gooey regardless, but ensure it is mostly set around the outsides before removing from oven.
  6. Cool the brownies for 10 minutes at room temperature, before setting in fridge for a further 20-30 minutes until firm. Slice into pieces, and enjoy!

Radical Rocky Road

Hello 2017! And welcome back to my blog!

As we farewell the beloved Christmas season filled with treats and goodies, I can happily say that I am back and ready to create even better recipes to share with you all this year. Not to mention ready to hit the gym and create an even better healthy lifestyle. With Rocky Road being a festive favourite in my household, and with lots of orders flowing in before Christmas, I endeavoured to create a healthier version.

Traditionally jam packed with sugar, full-fat chocolate, marshmallows, and gummy bears, it was reasonably hard to recreate this slice without losing the traditional texture and taste. However, with the addition of coconut butter and raw cacao, the creamy finish of this slice is decadent and rich. The suggestions below are what I like to fill my slice with, however you can have a play around with your favourite nuts, seeds and treats to create your families perfect version.

The addition of chocolate rice puffs creates a lighter, less intense version of the slice (meaning you can have more yay), and the mixture of hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios is perfect for Christmas time. Plus, when adding craisins and goji berries, the green and red colours are very fitting for the Christmas season. Make this slice as a whole and cut into pieces, or use muffin tins and create little bite size chocolate clusters for the whole family to enjoy!

Much Love x

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of puffed rice, plain or chocolate flavoured (i use cocoa puffs)
  • 1 cup of chopped mixed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios are my fave combo)
  • ½ cup of cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of nut butter of choice
  • 3 tbsp coconut butter
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • ½ cup of craisins or goji berries
  • ¼ cup of agave syrup
  • ½ cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil until runny. Add the agave syrup and raw cacao powder to the pot, and stir until a thick chocolate consistency is formed.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through remaining ingredients one by one, mixing thoroughly to evenly disperse throughout the chocolate mix.
  3. In a medium sized baking tray or muffin tins, line with baking paper. Fill each muffin hole with a large spoonful of the rocky road mixture, or in a large pan, fill until evenly spread across the pans base.
  4. Once spread evenly, place tray into the freezer for 2-3 hours before serving. Freezing over night also works well, however be careful when cutting into slices as this can make the mixture very tough and crumbly when slicing.
  5. Once set, cut into slices and store the rocky road pieces in the fridge in an air tight container.

Chocolate & Caramel Combo Cookies

Here is how it’s gonna go down today.

Gooey and super rich chocolate cookies on one side.

Honey caramel chewy cookies on the other.

I made these for my friends birthday last week, and they went down an absolute treat. Not only are they a combo of two wonderful flavours and textures, but also perfect for people who can’t decide which flavour they want (AKA ALWAYS ME).

The chocolate base of one side comes from three types of chocolate; cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and also a bit of crunch from cocoa puffs. The depth of this flavour is developed by combining all three of these chocolate mediums, and while the edges will be super crispy and crunchy, the middle will maintain that glorious ‘goo’ we all love. I like to use dutch cocoa powder as I think its slightly more rich, however any regular cocoa will work perfectly too. Also, if you are going to make these cookies vegan, ensure that you use either vegan chocolate chips or stick to cacao nibs. Also, ensure the cereal is vegan.

The vanilla half of these cookies will remain gloriously crunchy with every bite, and provides a lighter, less rich alternative to its chocolate partner in crime. Instead of using some refined white and brown sugar like most other cookie recipes, the addition of maple syrup adds a satisfying and dark nutty note to the cookie.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee in the arvo, or even when you just need a pick me up (lol all the time am I right)?

Ingredients

Cookie Base

  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or you can use vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup agave, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup packed light brown or coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (or flax eggs if making vegan)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Chocolate half:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa puffs or chocolate crackle cereal

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt together and mix well. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat butter, maple syrup and sugar together until super fluffy and light in colour. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Combine well.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl where necessary. This should be a thick and tight mixture!

Divide the base recipe into two seperate bowls. For the chocolate side, add cocoa, chocolate chips and cereal puffs. Mix to combine evenly.

Roll the vanilla and chocolate mixture into relatively small balls, (i went for teaspoon size), and set onto tray. To combine, grab one of each flavour and press firmly together, then press down onto a tray with fork or thumbprint.

Bake the cookies in batches for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Half way through, rotate the tray to ensure the cookies bake evenly. Remove from oven when done, and allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The baked cookies will still be extremely soft (especially in the middle) when you remove them from the oven, so this step is crucial to avoid breaking!

Leave to cool completely and enjoy

A x