Monday, 27 May 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

It's the last Monday of the month which means that it's Secret Recipe Club Group D reveal day! This month I was particularly organised and made my recipe early so I've been waiting for what seems like months to share this amazing recipe with you. A quick recap on the secret recipe club for my new readers - each month we are assigned a blog and we get to choose a recipe to make but we have to keep it a secret until reveal day. It's fun to find out who had who and what recipes were chosen. 

This month, I had the pleasure of looking through The Healthy Beehive written by Jane who lives in Colorado with her husband and chihuahua. Jane writes about her adventures in a whole foods lifestyle including canning, cheesemaking, gardening and herbal remedies.  She is an inspiration herself as she lost over 90 pounds in weight and tells her readers to "go out there and achieve your dreams! If I can do it, anyone can". You can read more about her story here.

I headed for the dessert section and as soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I've seen chocolate and avocado recipes for a while now and it has been on my to try list for ages. I was really curious as to how it would taste and it seemed very similar to my chocolate tofu mousse recipe. I added a little honey as I have quite a sweet tooth and omitted the coconut oil as I didn't have any and figured the avocado should be oily enough. The result was a lovely firm mousse which tasted of chocolate and banana and there was a subtle bitterness from the avocado. I tried it before adding the honey and it was too bland and slightly bitter for my taste hence the addition of honey. I ate it with fresh strawberries and it made for a lovely dessert without the guilt of a real mousse. 

Jane has a great selection of recipes on her blog. Other recipes that I bookmarked are carrot cake cookies,  grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, lemon blueberry almond flour pancakes and double chocolate strawberry mini cupcakes. Please visit her blog and have a look around particularly if you are interested in cheesemaking or herbal remedies.

 cocoa powder, avocado, banana, honey (optional) 

Recipe adapted slightly from The Healthy Beehive

2 avocados
1 large banana
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries to serve

(original recipe also had 3tablespoons coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt but no honey)

  • Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  • Spoon into a ramekin or something similar and serve. 
  • If there are any leftovers, you can chill it in the refrigerator. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cornflake and raisin cookies

This is a really quick and easy recipe using store cupboard ingredients. It tastes like breakfast in cookie form! The cornflakes were soft after baking but definitely added texture to the cookie. I think I might try rolling the dough in cornflakes before baking next time to give more of a crunch - has anyone tried this? 

I'm sending these to Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and co-hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked. The theme this month is The Biscuit Tin and Cookie Jar. 

I'm also sending these to Credit Crunch Munch created by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All. This month Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen is the guest host.  These cookies can easily be made on a budget and is a great way to use up leftover cornflakes and raisins.

As cornflakes are traditionally eaten for breakfast, I think these would be suitable for the Breakfast Club this month which has a theme of 'Bakes'. The breakfast club was created by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and is guest hosted this month by Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.


 adding cornflakes to the mix 

Makes approximately 45 cookies

113g butter
125g brown sugar
245g raisins
220g plain flour
75g cornflakes
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 170C. 
  • Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. 
  • Add in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour then add the raisins to the flour and stir. 
  • Add to the butter mixture and mix well.
  • Finally stir in the cornflakes.
  • Place coops of cookie dough spaced apart on a baking tray.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom is cooked - these cookies don't brown much so be careful not to overcook them.
  • Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Banana, mango, white chocolate and nutty spelt bread (sugar free)

It's no big secret that I love baking banana bread. I'm always looking for new recipe ideas and often create my own recipe based on ingredients that I'd like to use.  This month's We Should Cocoa challenge which was created by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and Chele from Chocolate Teapot challenges us to create something with chocolate and mango. We have Shaheen from Allotment to Kitchen to thank for the special ingredient (mango) as she is our lovely guest host this month.  As I had a lot of brown bananas to use up, I decided to create a recipe that incorporated bananas, mango & white chocolate.  I also made it sugar free by using honey and used spelt flour instead of plain flour. The result was a moist and flavourful bread. My mango was quite raw so it stayed intact during baking and was still visible in the bread. The white chocolate added a nice sweetness to the bread and the nuts added extra crunch and texture. Everyone seemed to enjoy the bread and there wasn't a crumb left by the end of the day. 

This recipe also gave me the opportunity to review an all purpose measuring jug with digital scale by find me a gift. It has a sturdy design and a slip-free base. The scale worked beautifully and was particularly handy for a recipe like this where I had to measure out different liquid and solid ingredients. It has measurements in different units and has a re-set function so you can set it back to zero after each ingredient. It does warn you not to submerge the base and handle in water as this may damage the digital scale function. I had no trouble washing and drying the jug and the digital scale is still fully functional. 

 total volume is 1L or 4 cups which is a decent size. The cup measures are divided into thirds (1/3) and quarters (1/4) and the liquid measures are divided into mls (50ml per marker) and ounces (2 oz per marker)

 It has a very handy preset weight measurements for sugar, flour, milk, water and oil (based on their density). The units can be switched from grams, mls, cups, ounces.

My verdict - a very useful and handy kitchen gadget which does what it says on the box. I think it would make a great gift for a baker/gadget lover and is ideal if you have a tiny kitchen and want to save space as this will easily double up as a measuring scale. It's also great when you're baking from an American recipe with measurements in cups - no conversion scales required! It's easy to wash although you have to be careful not to submerge the base and handles in water. I got a bit of water into the base whilst rinsing but dried it immediately and the scales were not affected. You have to use it on a flat surface otherwise the scale will read 'unst' (unstable) but that's the same with a normal measuring scale.

 spelt flour, walnuts, pecan nuts, honey, mango & passion fruit yoghurt, fresh mango, white chocolate chips, very brown bananas 

 adding the mango and white chocolate chips

 stir in the nuts 

 I got my banana bread pan out of the cupboard for this 

 ready to go in the oven 

 I love that you can see whole mango pieces in the bread!

An original recipe by bakingaddict

Makes 2 large loaves as shown - if you prefer a sweeter bake, add 50 - 75g brown sugar

 5 brown bananas, mashed
125ml vegetable oil
100g honey
450g yoghurt (I used mango & passion fruit but you can also use plain yoghurt)
1 medium sized mango - peeled and chopped
100g white chocolate chips
100g nuts (I used a mixture of pecans and walnuts as I had a bit of each left in the cupboard)
450g spelt flour
4 eggs
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Measure out the oil, honey and yoghurt and mix well.
  • Add in the eggs.
  • Pour into a large bowl and add in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stir in the mango and white chocolate chips.
  • Finally stir in the nuts.
  • Divide into 2 loaf tins and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the loaf is browning quickly, remove from the oven and cover with foil to prevent the top burning. 
Disclaimer: I was sent the measuring jug to review free of charge. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Cinnamon and Caramel Cookies

It's been months since I last participated in the Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. It's a monthly party where everyone is assigned the same 2 ingredients and creates something with it whether it's sweet or savoury. This month the 2 ingredients are cinnamon and sugar which immediately made me think of cookies! I found this delightful recipe which uses soft caramel in the cookies but as I didn't have any to hand, I used caramel buttons. The cookies were fragrant and smelt amazing whilst baking. I would not have combined cinnamon and caramel previously but they do go well together. 

I'm also sending this to Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and co-hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked. The theme this month is The Biscuit Tin and Cookie Jar so I think these would fit perfectly. 

 ground cinnamon, mixed spice and caramel drops 

 ready to go in the oven

 place a caramel drop in the centre when it's almost done and bake for a further 6-7 minutes 

Makes 40 cookies
225g butter
140g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
pinch of salt
40 caramel drops or caramel sweets
  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Add in egg and vanilla extract.
  • Sift flour, cinnamon and mixed spice and add to the mixture. 
  • Scoop small balls of dough on to the baking tray spaced apart.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and place a caramel on top of each cookie and bake for a further 6-7 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

When my co-host for AlphaBakes Caroline announced that this month's letter is 'K', the first thing I thought about was kiwis hence my kiwi and strawberry muffins.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that K was not that difficult as quite a few things start with and/or contains the letter K. One of these is Kinder Bueno which is a milk chocolate covered wafer with a milky and hazelnut filling. I decided to re-create this chocolate bar in a cupcake form and came up with these! A white chocolate and ground hazelnut cake filled with nutella and finished with a generous swirl of milk chocolate frosting and a square of kinder bueno. 

It's always nerve wrecking creating a new recipe as you're never sure if it will work or not so I was pleased that these cupcakes turned out beautifully.  I hope I'm not the only one who finds melting white chocolate a pain. It's much easier working with dark chocolate so I used a white chocolate mix which I found successful when making my maltesers cupcakes previously.  If you prefer a stronger white chocolate taste, I'd recommend melting white chocolate or using white chocolate chips. The cake itself was light and nutty. The cake really tasted like Kinder Bueno in cake form! 

I'm sending this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes this month and by myself on alternate months. The letter as mentioned is K. 

 Kinder bueno chocolate bars, ground hazelnuts, white chocolate mix, nutella 

 make a small hole in the centre of the cupcake and fill with a teaspoon of nutella 

 cover it up

 and add frosting on top

 the finishing touch

 cross section 

 I found this lovely presentation box at Sainsbury's 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcake
250g butter
200g caster sugar
100g ground hazelnuts
120g self raising flour
2 x 11g packs of instant white chocolate drink mix
2 eggs
60mls milk

Milk chocolate buttercream frosting
225g butter
200g icing sugar
175g milk chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 170C. 
  • Line 2 muffin trays with cupcake wrappers.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at time, mixing well with each addition. 
  • Mix in the flour, white chocolate mix and ground hazelnuts. 
  • Finally mix in the milk. 
  • Spoon into cupcake cases and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely. 
  • Make a small hole in the centre of each cupcake and fill with a teaspoon of nutella. Replace the hole with cake as shown.
  • Make the icing by beating the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add the milk chocolate and vanilla extract and continue beating until light and fluffy. This could take up to 5 minutes with an electric mixer. 
  • Pipe a swirl of buttercream icing on top of each cupcake and decorate with a square of kinder bueno chocolate bar. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Lemon Cake with homemade Lemon Curd

The lovely people at Dr Oetker sent me some wafer butterflies to review.  As the weather is warming up and we are finally moving from winter to spring I decided to make a lemon cake with a homemade lemon curd filling. Initially I thought about making cupcakes but as I wanted a celebration cake, I decided a big cake would look more impressive.  If you like lemons, you'll love this cake. It's light, fresh and very zesty. The lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream on top added even more zing to the cake. 

The wafer butterflies come in a pack of 9. There are 3 different colours - blue, pink and green.  The wafer is edible and the butterflies are quite sturdy. You can shape the wings and they hold their shape well. They definitely added a 'wow' factor to the cake. I would be happy to buy these for myself and use them to decorate cakes and cupcakes. It's simple yet effective and everyone was impressed with the cake and decorations. 

 lots of lovely lemon zest 

 homemade lemon curd filling 

 piped buttercream roses

 a touch of butterflies 

For the cake
225g golden caster sugar
225g self-raising flour, sifted
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
25g cornflour
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
grated zest and juice of 2 large juicy lemons (otherwise use 3 lemons)

Lemon Buttercream icing (make a double portion if you want to cover the whole cake)
110g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons (you need 2 teaspoons)
300g icing sugar, sifted

Lemon curd
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
115g sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
85g butter

  • Preheat the oven to 170c.
  • Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and pale.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition, alternating the dry ingredients, and finally the grated zest and lemon juice. 
  • Beat well after each addition, but again do not overbeat. 
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until raised and golden brown. 
  • Insert a skewer into the centre of one of those cakes - it should come out clean if it is cooked. 
  • Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool. 
  • To make the lemon curd, place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium pot, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks and pinch of salt.
  • Place the pot over a medium-low heat and add the butter.
  • Stir the mixture with a whisk. You may want to use a spatula to scrape down the edges. 
  • Cook the curd until the butter is melted and the mixture is the thickness of warm hot fudge. 
  • Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. 
  • Press through the sieve leaving any cooked egg bits in the strainer. 
  • Sandwich the cakes together with the lemon curd and pipe the buttercream on top. 
  • Decorate with wafer butterflies. 
Disclaimer: I was sent a pack of wafer butterflies to review free of charge. I was not required to write a positive review, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Kiwi and Strawberry Muffins

I usually make my own lunch for work which includes a portion of fruit. My favourite combination at the moment is strawberries and kiwis but I do alternate with strawberries and blueberries. I obviously thought about how I could convert this into a bake and decided that muffins were the best way forward. I've tried baking with kiwis before and it didn't work very well. It has quite a soft texture and can sometimes be very slightly bitter. I remember the previous cake being too wet probably because I used yoghurt so I made sure to steer clear this time. I'm pleased to report that this experiment was a huge success.  The muffins were moist but not soggy and you could clearly taste the fruit.  The spelt flour made it feel healthier and gave it a nice texture. I was surprised when one of my colleagues asked if there was cinnamon in there - clearly she has a more refined palate than mine! 

I'm sending this to AlphaBakes a monthly blogging challenge that I co-host with Caroline who is our gracious host this month. The letter is 'K' for kiwi.  There's a lovely prize up for grabs this month so do get your entries in via email. 

I'm also sending it to Made with love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior. This recipe uses fresh ingredients so I think it fits the bill nicely. 

I'd also like to introduce you to a new blogger friend of mine. Her name is Emma and she blogs at Cakes for Dorothy. Today, one of my posts is being featured on her blog as a guest post - my cookie monster cupcakes. She has a lovely UK based blog where she shares her baking successes and failures and lessons learnt. She also has a Wednesday Wish segment featuring her baking wishlist. Please visit and show her some blogging support. 

 my usual lunch box fruits

 mix wet and dry ingredients 

 ready to go in the oven

 you can still see the fruit! 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

250g plain flour
125g spelt flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
200g brown sugar
50g honey
180g strawberries - washed, hulled and roughly chopped
4 kiwis - peeled and roughly chopped
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
juice from 1/2 orange 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the centre of the bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients and mix well. 
  • Scoop into baking cases and bake for 18-20 mins or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.