Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 200g margarine
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 100-120g Chocolate chunks (vegan chocolate if preferred)
  • 120-100g Caramel pieces
  • Freshly ground sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Cream margarine and sugar together in a mixer, until light and fluffy
  3. Slowly add sifted flour & baking powder to the butter mix, to form a dough
  4. Add the chocolate chunks and caramel chunks to the dough, and mix carefully
  5. Roll into small golf size balls, arrange on paper on a cookie tray, and press down slightly.
  6. Freshly grind salt on top of each cookie.
  7. Cook for 12-15 minutes in the middle of the oven (take out just as they start going golden, not when they’re all golden)
  8. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to the cooling rack.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack, and then store in an airtight container when cool.

Notes:

  • In my experience, the best chocolate chunks are actually half or third a ‘square’ of chocolate, so you end up with cubes of chocolate around 1cm square (which are much nicer to eat within the cookie).  Chocolate drops are just a little too small, and so melt too much during cooking.
  • The cookies do not need cooking for quite as long as you may expect.  But if they’re just going golden brown, they’ll still be quite soft when getting out of the oven, but they’ll firm up nicely when cooling.

Vegan pancakes

Vegan pancakes

A few years ago, whilst single and working from home, I intentionally didn’t buy chocolate, sweets, or similar.

Pancakes were therefore my ‘go to’ option for those times I really wanted a sweet fix.  I’d always keep powdered milk, lemon juice, and the like in the cupboard ready (I can’t eat eggs, so I modified my own version with mainly just equal volumes of milk to flour, which worked pretty well by itself).

This is the latest incarnation of the recipe, that’s now vegan.  It also recently proved particularly popular to the build crews at kiwiburn, where there were a good dozen or so vegans (hence the group measurements).

Vegan pancakes

This makes those smaller, slightly thicker, American style pancakes.

If you’d like to make them more like the French Crepes style thin large ones, add a little more oil, a bit more ‘milk’ liquid, and use something to spread the mix gently around your pan as it starts to cook to help it get nice and thin.

Ingredients (to feed four, or there abouts):

  • 1 cup (250ml) plain flour
  • 1 1/3 cups (330ml) soy milk (or other milks)
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • about 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other oils)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A little oil for frying (depending on your non-stick pan)

Ingredients (to feed around 12-15 people):

  • 3 cups (750ml) plain flour
  • 3.5 cups (875ml) soy milk (or other milks)
  • 4 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 heaped tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 3 tbls rice bran oil (or other oils)
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • A little oil for frying  (depending on your non-stick pan)

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl
  2. Whisk thoroughly with a fork (or an egg whisk if you have one).
  3. The consistency should be similar to double cream.
  4. If you can, leave the mix to stand for 20 minutes (or ideally much longer like a few hours, for the best results leave the mix overnight. This helps the mix gel together better).
  5. Have a pre-heated non-stick fry pan, medium hot.
  6. If it’s not that good a non-stick pan, add about a teaspoon of oil before cooking (you don’t need much).  Otherwise ideally no extra oil in the pan.
  7. Pour a little of the mix into three ‘corners’ of the pan (a couple of tablespoons per pancake).
  8. Fry until the bubbles burst on the uncooked top, and the base is a nice brown cooked colour (if the bubbles burst before the base goes brown, turn the heat up.  If the base goes brown before the burbles burst, turn the heat down).
  9. Flip over, and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute more.
  10. Stack on a plate, put in a pre-heated oven at about 70 degrees Celsius, and eat with whatever you like!

Some great toppings:

  • Maple Syrup (the genuine stuff, not ‘maple flavour syrup’)
  • lemon juice and sugar
  • Toffee sauce
  • bananas
  • chocolate spread
  • bananas and chocolate spread
  • chocolate spread and cream
  • fruit purée / compote
  • frozen berries
  • finely sliced apple & cinnamon
  • slices of butter
  • everything  else you can think of!

Other Variations:

You can also use Buckwheat flour instead of the regular flour (although baking powder normally contains gluten too)  I’m still playing around with my favourite variations to the gluten free option at the moment.

chocolate drop pancakes
You can also add chocolate drops to part of the mix, for a delicious sweet variation.
You can stack a bunch of crepes together, layered with whipped cream, syrup, fruit, and whatever else you like.
You can stack a bunch of crepes together, layered with whipped cream, syrup, fruit, and whatever else you like.
You can fill your thinner pancakes with a savoury filling too. This was a chickpea salad mix topped with finely grated cheese.
You can fill your thinner pancakes with a savoury filling too. This was a chickpea salad mix topped with finely grated cheese.  Delicious 🙂

Soft vegan chocolate brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/3 cup raisens
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C
  2. Put everything but the nuts and fruit in a mixing bowl
  3. Mix thoroughly
  4. Add the nuts and fruit, and mix again.
  5. Pour into a lined tray
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes
  7. Leave it to cool for a bit
  8. Chop it into squares
  9. Eat and enjoy!

Butterbeer for adults .. the way I think it should taste

Butter BeerAfter a recent trip to ‘the making of Harry Potter’ at the Leavesden studios, I’ve been trying to track down a recipe that tastes the same (if not better) than the one on sale, and also one that tasted like I thought it would from the books!

(The recipes I found with variations of ‘rum essence’ really don’t work well, and some of the more complex versions just get way too involved!)

This one’s simple though, and it works like a dream!

Ingredients:

(serves two, 10 fl oz cups/glasses)

  • 2 teaspoons real butter
  • 2 big tablespoons toffee or butterscotch sauce (the ice-cream topping stuff)
  • Two big squirts of whipped cream  (I have a commercial aerosol whipper, but the ‘squirty-cream’ type one should work fine too)
  • 25ml  Baileys (optional, for adults only)
  • About 15 fl oz Cream Soda  (i.e. 2/3 of each serving cup)

Method:

  1. Put the butter and fudge sauce in a microwave dish, and microwave for about 30-40 seconds to melt and heat (mixing half way through, to help save the butter bubbling).
  2. Whisk thoroughly with a fork.
  3. Add the single measure of Baileys (optional), and then the two big squirts of whipped cream.
  4. Blend well with the fork (until it’s a consistent colour, it’ll look a delicious butterscotch colour)
  5. Carefully add the measures of cream soda to the cream mix  (it’ll froth up a bit).
  6. Then carefully pour into your serving glasses, and drink immediately.
  7. Don’t down it too quickly though!

This gives you a slightly warm, slightly warming, frothy, sweet, and delicious drink which tastes like you think it should after reading it in the books.

If all beer tasted like this, I would have started drinking years ago!