Cinnamon Pinwheel Date Scones

Makes around 18 scones / wheels.

Developed from here.

Ingredients:

Dough
  • 2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 60g Butter (straight from the fridge)
  • ¾ Cup of Milk
  • 60-100g dates, finely chopped.
Filling
  • 70g Butter
  • ⅓ Cup Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Glaze (Optional)
  • 1/2  Cup Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Water

Method

  • Preheat Oven to 200C
  • Prepare squares of baking paper (around 8x8cm) , to line a muffins tray.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a medium bowl.
  • Add cold butter that’s been cut into smallish pieces.
  • Using your fingers, or a pastry cutter (looks large a large knuckle duster), rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs and no large bits of butter are there.
  • Add almost all the milk at once, keeping a little aside in case. It should be soft and sticky, if a little dry looking add the remaining milk, stir in quickly, but be careful not to overstir
  • Add the finely chopped dates, and mix in.
  • Tip the dough onto a floured board or bench. Knead and fold 8 – 10 times, sprinkling flour as required.
  • Then roll out to a square about 30 x 30cm, trying to keep the edges as even as possible.

Filling

  • Melt butter in a small bowl (or microwave)
  • Add to this the soft brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Using a spoon or knife spread the butter & sugar mixture over the dough, up to the edges.
  • Roll carefully and tightly, and seal the edge with a little of the left over filling mixture.
  • Using a sharp knife slice the pinwheels between 1-2 cm thick and place in the middle of each square of parchment paper, and then place each within each muffin tray well.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and remove from the oven.
  • While cooking prepare the glaze.

Glaze (optional)

  • In a medium bowl or mixing jug, add the icing sugar
  • Add water a small amount at a time stirring well until you have a smooth but drizzle-able consistency.
  • Once the scones are removed from the oven, using a dessert spoon drizzle the glaze over the pinwheels.
  • Serve still slightly warm.

 

Vegan Gluten Free Belgian Waffles

Quick Background Story

I historically plan ingredients that don’t need to be fresh (and particularly not being kept in a fridge or similar).  So these are all generally ingredients I keep in the cupboard at all times.

These are two current variations of the ingredients.  I’m still fine tuning options, and trying to bring the price down per waffle, and take out as many common allergens as I can.

The ‘lots’ mix was recently used commercially, at the Circus Hub for one of their events.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 @ 1/2 cup of mix per full deep Belgian Waffle
  • 1/4 cup Rice Flour
  • 1/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 2 tbls Cashew Milk Powder
  • 2 tbls Soy Milk Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free version)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda (Gluten Free version)
  • About 20ml Oil (1tbs + 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbls Maple Syrup
  • 1tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbls water
Makes 4 @ 1/2 cup of mix per full deep Belgian Waffle
  • 1/2 cup Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 4 tbls Soy Milk powder (or soy Flour, but that’s not as good)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free version)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda (Gluten Free version)
  • 2 tbls Oil (Rice Bran or similar)
  • 2 tbls Golden Syrup (or Caster Sugar)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 1 tbls water (to get the right consistency)
Makes about 16 Deep Belgian waffles
  • 8 tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free version)
  • 4 tsp Baking Soda (Gluten Free version)
  • 250g Buckwheat Flour
  • 300g Glutenous Rice Flour
  • 60g Soy Milk Powder
  • 2 tbls Ground Cinamon
  • 4 tbls Cocoa
  • 80g Rice Bran Oil
  • 80g Golden Syrup
  • 1 litre (1kg) Water

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients with a whisk.  The mix should resemble the consistency of fresh double cream.
  2. If using the larger mix, you may find it easier to put the liquid ingredients into a bowl first, add then the dry ingredients on top. Mix slowly with a mechanical mixer.
  3. Cook for around 5 minutes in a pre-heated deep Waffle Press (1/2 cup of mix per waffle)

Naked chocolate waffles
with some toppings

Wholemeal / White Sour Dough

A little background

Sour dough is not as easy as ‘instant yeast’ loaves, but the results to me are well worth it. Apparently Sour Dough is easier to digest, plus as you can see it has fewer additives.  More importantly though, it tastes delicious.

It requires a little more planning ahead than an instant yeast loaf, and multiple stages of the process to make the best loaves.  But nothing in this is inherently complex.  Just something you should allow time : I start mine on the Friday evening to have a loaf ready to bake on a Sunday morning.  Or if the weather is reasonable (or if you live in a house) a Friday morning to have one ready to bake on a Saturday morning.

The process is not an exact science, but working with something living that might want a few variations as you work with it.  In my experience it gives good feedback when you have a feel of what to look for, and I’ve not had any disastrous loaves yet.

I’ve also found wholemeal sour dough to be pretty easy, even living on a boat and without a fridge or a warm cosy place, it just requires a bit more patience and working with your environment.  Just try to keep it away from cold drafts.

Some of my wholemeal loaves have taken 3 days to make in the winter.  You can also mix partial wholemeal with white flour to make it a bit quicker.  Or use the same process for 100% white flour.

The better the quality of flour you use, the better the results.   Even the best organic stoneground flour is not significantly priced, so the cheapest flour is a false economy.  Especially when you’re giving the loaf a lot of attention, why skimp on virtually the only ingredient?

Sour Dough Starter : Ongoing Care

  • Feeding is normally a heaped teaspoon of quality flour, with a dash of water.  Personally I like to feed it the flour I’m going to make the loaf with, so if I’m mainly making wholemeal loaves, I feed the starter with a little wholemeal flour each day.
  • I generally feed mine every day at my own breakfast time.   You can also keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week, but depending on what else you keep in the fridge, this can adversely affect the starter due to the cross-contamination in the space.
  • I try to keep my starter around 1/2 cup (125ml) in volume, plus/minus 50ml or so each way, depending on the season (because our boat is not inherently well insulated).
  • In the winter period, I normally maintain my starter to be a little larger (around 175ml).  In the summer when it’s warmer and thus more hungry, around 80ml in volume.  This way, I can just continue to feed it around one heaped teaspoon of flour each day, with a little water.   Discarding any excess starter to maintain an even size either at the end of each week in the winter, or multiple times a week during the summer.  
  • Of course if I made a loaf every day, I probably wouldn’t have much starter to discard.  But these days I don’t make a daily bread.
  • I keep my starter in a small ceramic jar/pot, with a bit of waxed fabric as a lid.  You can also use a regular glass jam jar.  Don’t every seal the lid on tight though, due to the gases produced (and thus pressure build up).  A bit of fabric held in place with an elastic band, seems to work well.
  • Once a week or two, when the starter is on the larger side particularly, I transfer it to another container, give the normal home a good clean (scraping off the grey dry caked on stuff, above the waterline), and then return it home again.
  • If you forget to feed it for a few days, and a vinegary liquid pools on the surface, all is not lost.  Don’t mix it in.  Just pour the wateriness away, and possibly the top layer of the starter as needed.  Then feed it well for the first few days particularly.

Ingredients:

Makes 1 regular loaf

For the leaven:
  • 1-2 tablespoons living sourdough starter
  • ~40 grams flour
  • ~40 grams water
For the dough:
  • 200-300 grams water (or 1 cup at 250ml)
  • 300-400 grams wholemeal/white flour  (around 2 level cups, plus around 2-4 heaped tablespoons more as you mix)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (dissolved in about 1 tablespoon of warm water and set aside, mixing occasionally to ensure it’s dissolved)

Method:

  1. Make sure your sourdough culture is active:
    This normally means for me, giving it slightly larger meals the couple of days before. If you keep yours in the fridge, you’ll want to take it out a few days before, and go back to feeding daily again to re-energise the starter.
  2. Make the leaven and leave overnight or longer: 
    (I normally do this on a Thursday night, to make a loaf on a Saturday late morning.  If it’s a warmer environment, you may be able to do this the night before, for a lunchtime loaf the following day):
    Combine a good tablespoon of active sourdough culture with the flour and water for the leaven. Mix thoroughly to form a thick batter. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight+, ie for about 8-15 hours.
  3. Test that the leaven is ready:
    Generally, if the surface of the leaven is bubbly, it’s ready to be used.  You can also check by dropping a small spoonful of the leaven in a cup of water; if the leaven floats, it’s ready. If it’s not bubbly yet, don’t worry too much if it looks like it’s happy and the yeasts have combined throughout the leaven mix.
  4. Mix the leaven and water:
    Combine the leaven and 1 cup of water, in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a spatula or use your hands to break up and dissolve the leaven into the water. It’s okay if the leaven doesn’t fully dissolve and a few clumps remain.
  5. Add the flour & oil:
    Stir in around 1.5 cups of flour into the water mix, along with the quality oil, with a spatula until you see no more visible dry flour and you’ve formed a very shaggy (wet) dough. Don’t expect the mix to be dry enough to knead by hand at this stage, it’ll probably be pretty stringy.
  6. Rest the dough (30 minutes, or up to 4 hours):
    Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes or ideally a few hours. This is the autolyse stage where the flour is fully absorbing the water and enzymes in the flour begin breaking down the starches and proteins.  
  7. Mix in the dissolved salt:
    Pour the salt over the dough. Work the liquid and salt into the dough by pinching and squeezing the dough. The dough will feel quite wet and loose at this point.
  8. Begin folding the dough (2 1/2 hours):
    To fold the dough, grab the dough at one side, lift it up, and fold it over on top of itself. Fold the dough four times, moving clockwise from the top of the bowl (or giving the bowl a quarter turn in between folds).
    Let the dough rest 30 minutes, then repeat.
    Do this ideally 6 times, every half hour, so  a total of 2 1/2 hours.
    The dough will start out shaggy and very loose, but will gradually smooth out and become tighter as you continue folding. You’ll probably want to add a few spoons of flour with each kneading stage, to get a dough that’s more manageable.  You may can also use a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook, but don’t over-mix.
  9. Let the dough rise undisturbed again (30 to 60 minutes):
    Once you’ve finished the folds, let the dough rise undisturbed for 30 to 60 minutes, until it looks slightly puffed. This dough won’t double in size yet, the way regular, non-sourdough breads will; it should just look larger than it did when you started.
  10. Shape the dough into a loose round, and rest again for 20-30 minutes:
    Sprinkle a little flour over dough. Use your pastry scraper to shape each one into a loose round — this isn’t the final shaping, just a preliminary shaping to prep the dough for further shaping. You can also flour your pastry scraper as needed to keep it from sticking to the dough. Once the dough is shaped, let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes to relax the gluten again.
  11. Prepare bread proofing baskets, colanders, or mixing bowls:
    Line bread proofing basket, colander, or mixing bowl with clean dishtowels. Dust them heavily with flour, rubbing the flour into the cloth on the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Use more flour than you think you’ll need — it should form a thin layer over the surface of the towel.
  12. Shape the loaf:
    Dust the top of the ball of dough with flour. Flip it over with a pastry scraper so that the floured side is against the board and the un-floured, sticky surface is up. Shape the loaf much like you folded the dough earlier: Grab the lip of the dough at the bottom, pull it gently up, then fold it over onto the centre of the dough. Repeat with the right and left side of the dough. Repeat with the top of the dough, but once you’ve fold it downward, use your thumb to grab the bottom lip again and gently roll the dough right-side up. If it’s not quite a round or doesn’t seem taut to you, cup your palms around the dough and rotate it against the counter to shape it up.
  13. Transfer to the proofing basket:
    Dust the tops and sides of the shaped loaf generously with flour. Place into the proofing basket upside down, so the seams from shaping are on top.
  14. Let the dough rise (3 to 4 hours, or overnight in the fridge):
    Cover the basket loosely with plastic, or place it inside clean plastic bags. Let them rise at room temperature until they look billowy and poofy, 3 to 4 hours. Alternatively, place the covered basket in the refrigerator and let it rise slowly overnight, 12 to 15 hours. If rising overnight, you can bake the loaves straight from the fridge; no need to warm it before baking, unless your fridge is too cold then you may want to leave it out for a bit.
  15. Preheat the oven to 260°C:
    If you have one, place a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pots with lids in the oven (i.e. casserole dish), and heat to 260°C.  You can also use a good heavy baking sheet or a clean roasting tray.   
  16. Transfer the loaves to the Dutch ovens / baking sheet:
    Carefully remove the pre-heated Dutch oven from the main oven and remove the lid. Tip the loaf into the pot so the seam-side is down.  Or just tip out onto the baking sheet.
  17. Score the top of the loaf:
    Use a sharp or serrated knife to quickly score the surface of the loaves. To be fancy, you can score the surface at a slight angle, so you’re cutting almost parallel to the surface of the loaf; this gives the loaves the distinctive “shelf” along the score line.
  18. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes (part 1 of 3):
    Cover the pots and place them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
  19. Reduce the oven temperature to 230°C and bake another 10 minutes (part 2 of 3):
    Resist the temptation to check the loaves at this point; just reduce the oven temperature.  If you didn’t have a lid because you’re using a baking sheet, just carry on with these timings sans-lid.
  20. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 25 minutes (part 3 of 3):
    Continue baking until the crust is deeply browned; you can aim for just short of burnt. It might feel a bit unnatural to bake loaves this fully, but this is where a lot of the flavour and texture of the crust comes in.
  21. Cool the loaves before slicing:
    When done, lift the loaf out carefully.
    Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Wait until it’s cooled to room temperature before slicing (otherwise the loaf may still seem too soft in the middle)
White flour loaf
White flour loaf

Banana bread muffins

Banana bread muffins

Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 50 mins

Makes: 6 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp  oil (rice bran, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 100 ml vegan eggy milk (see below)
    • 100ml water
    • 1 tsp flaxseeds
    • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
    • a sprinkling of oats
    • a few cashews
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup (112 g) gluten-free oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.  If not using a silicone muffin tray, line the metal with paper muffin cases.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the bananas, baking powder, and baking soda. Mash until only small chunks remain.
  3. Add vanilla, oil, sugars, maple syrup, sea salt, and cinnamon and mix vigorously to combine.
  4. In a high power blender (nutrimix or similar), separately make the ‘vegan eggy milk’:
    1. Put 100ml water, 1 tsp flaxseed, 1/2 tsp chia seeds, a sprinkling of oats, and a sprinkling of cashews.  Pulverise for about 30 seconds
  5. Add the ‘eggy milk’ to the mix, and mix once more to combine.
  6. Add flour and oats, and stir until just combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the silicone muffin tins, filling all the way – this should make about 6 muffins.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean and the edges are dark golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in the tin for 5 minutes (they’ll still be lovely and warm for eating for a while yet).
  10. Finally remove from the tin and let them cool further on a cooling rack.
  11. Serve with butter, or as is.  It’s delicious either way.
  12. Store leftovers in a sealed container for up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Choc Oat Chewies

These are based on a ‘Special Oat Chewies’ recipe I picked up from somewhere many years ago.  So when a friend asked for some chocolate chip cookies with oats this morning, this recipe came quickly to mind.  Because of some new dietary restrictions amongst friends, I was able to modify the recipe accordingly below, and they’re delicious!

This makes a good 24-36 ‘biscuit’ sized treats (as I tend to cook them in baking trays of 12 at a time. Smaller is normally better)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup     rice bran oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup        white sugar
  • 3/4 cup     agave syrup (honey, or golden syrup)
  • 1/2 cup     non-dairy milk (soy, rice, etc.  or regular dairy if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp          vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups buckwheat flour (or wholemeal flour if you’re not worried about the Gluten Free aspect)
  • 1/2 tsp       baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp       salt
  • 3 cups       rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp       cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup      sultans or raisins
  • 1/3 cup      hazelnuts
  • 1 cup / 125g         large chocolate chunks (such as 1/2 bar of Whitaker’s Dark Ghana, chopped roughly into half the regular sized chocolate squares)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to around 180 degrees.
  • Blend the oil, sugar, syrup/honey, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add the powdered ingredients slowly (mixing in well to the liquids as you go along).
  • Finally add the raisins, whole hazelnuts, and chocolate chunks, and mix in well.
  • Place large spoonfuls of the mixture onto baking parchment, around 12 cookies per sheet.
    • They largely keep their shape, so will look pretty rugged even after baking.
  • Bake them for around 11-14 minutes until just going golden on the peaks and base (rotating the baking trays as necessary).
  • Remove from the oven, and leave to cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes (to help keep their shape).
  • Then remove carefully from the baking parchment, and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes or so.
  • Enjoy slowly!

Storage:

  • You can store them in an airtight tub for up to a few days easily.
  • I haven’t tested them beyond 4 days yet, because they always get eaten up by then!

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 🙂

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 75g Vegetable or Sunflower oil (by weight, not volume)
  • 50g Dried fruit or nuts (optional)

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  • Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil and sugar.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and combine well.
  • Add any additional ingredients.
  • Baked in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).
  • Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked but even yummier when it goes gooey the next day!

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!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favourite cookie recipe, modified and improved over the years.  For a while it was sold commercially as the base of the ‘cookie dough’ dessert option at the luxury boutique hotel I owned/managed for three years.  These days is a very popular choice for Pot Luck events.

Makes about 12 good (big) sized cookies, or 18-24 or so regular cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 200g margarine
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • 300g plain flour, sifted
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 200g Chocolate chunks (easy to make totally vegan using vegan chocolate)

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 to the dough, and mix slowly and carefully
  5. If making larger cookies, roll into golf size balls, arrange on paper on a cookie tray, and press down slightly.  Otherwise divide the mix into about 12 – 18 cookies.
  6. Cook for 12-15 minutes in the middle of the pre-heated oven.
  7. 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 a ‘square’ of regular chocolate bars, like ‘Whitakers, Dairy Milk, etc.’.  This way you end up with cubes of chocolate around 1cm square (which are much nicer to eat within the cookie).  Chocolate drops are just a bit too small, melt too much during cooking, and so become more of a background total flavour rather than a satisfying chocolate hit in most bites of the cookies.  The chocolate doesn’t always break evenly, so don’t worry about the irregular sizes, just put it all in the bowl.
  • The cookies do not need cooking for quite as long as you may expect.  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 after a few minutes out of the oven on a cooling tray.  So also don’t try and take them off the hot baking tray too quickly.  Just give it a few minutes on the tray, before moving onto the cooling rack.
  • You can prepare larger amounts of ingredients in advance, and then freeze the raw cookie dough in batches to bake later.  To defrost, just move it from the freezer to the fridge the day before baking, and use as you would normally.  Or if you just want to make giant cookies one at a time on demand, just freeze individually wrapped portions, pre-flattened to size & shape.  You can also just make it up to a couple of days in advance, and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  • Particularly when you’re making multiple batches of cookies, always place the raw dough onto a cool baking/cookie sheet, rather than one recently fresh out of a hot oven.  If you put it onto a hot baking tray, it starts to melt the margarine element before the flour starts cooking and binding, so you end up with very thin merged cookies that really aren’t so good in my opinion.
  • These times are based on a regular thin metal baking tray, lined with baking parchment / paper.  If you use one of those thicker reusable silicon baking sheets instead of the paper, the cooking time may need to be extended by up to 5 minutes (depending on your oven and the silicone sheet) and this slower cooking time will also result in drier and flatter cookies.

Cookie Dough to Share – Boutique Hotel Style

‘Cookie dough to share’ at the hotel was around 100g of raw mix, topped with four balls of ice-cream, about half a tub of then freshly whipped cream, fresh chocolate shavings, and a quick decorative lattice of melted chocolate as a type of sauce and decoration.

Each ‘cookie dough’ was cooked from frozen (a pre-wrapped portion, made in advance, weighed, shaped, and then individually wrapped in clingfilm before freezing), for 12 minutes into a commercial pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C.

It was pulled out just before it started going brown, transferred to a cool deep serving plate, topped quickly with the cold ingredients in a stylised way, and then served immediately.

It was always greatly enjoyed by the hotel guests.

Sunday Chocolate Cake

This is a recipe recently tried out from the ‘Green and Blacks’ Chocolate Recipes cook book, but with a few minor modifications for me (of course using egg replacement powder isn’t normally the way I try to do these things.. but this works well under the circumstances. I will work out a vegan version soon though):

Ingredients

Main cake:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g margarine
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 40g vegan egg replacement powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Syrup:

  • 4 tablespoons of marmalade
  • 3 tbs lemon juice

Butter cream filling:

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 50g margarine
  • 100g icing sugar

Icing:

  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 25g margarine

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C

‘butter and flour’ the cake tins, and/or use non-stick tins, but add baking paper to the base section

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and bicarb (from the main mix), and egg powder, three times, to thoroughly mix but also make it particularly light and fluffy.

In a separate small jug, mix in the lemon juice to the milk to curdle it.

Into another large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, until fluffy. Then alternate the liquids and flour mix, mixing thoroughly all the time between each addition (not necessarily putting in all the liquids in, as it may start to  get too runny.  You can also add a little extra water though if necessary).

Divide the batter into the two tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes (until a skewer comes out clean, the cakes should also be slightly springy to the touch).

Once removed from the oven, leave in the tins for a short while, and then turn out onto a cooling rack (one face down, one face up).

 

To make the syrup, gentle heat the marmalade and lemon juice in a small pan, mixing well.  Then place the base part of the cake (flat side up) on your serving plate, and pour the syrup over the ‘top’ so it soaks in.

 

For the butter cream filling, first melt the chocolate over a double pan (or if you’re very careful, in a microwave, mixing well), and then allow to cool slightly (so warm, but not hot).  In a separate clean mixing bowl, blend the icing sugar and butter until fluffy, and then mix in carefully the melted chocolate.

Spread the butter cream mix over the flat base of the cake, and then sandwich it with the other cake as a topping.

 

To make the chocolate icing, melt more chocolate as before, and add a little melted butter.. mix well, leave to cool slightly, and then ice the very top of the cake.

 

Leave the whole thing to settle a little more (if you can wait), and then enjoy responsibly!

Banana Victoria Sponge (Egg Free)

Ingredients:

  • 175g – margarine
  • 175g – caster sugar
  • 150g – Natural Yoghurt
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 250g – Plain Flour
  • 5 tsp – Baking Powder

Icing:

  • Strawberry jam & Freshly whipped cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees Centigrade (350F)
  2. Prepare two non-stick 8 inch round cake pans (or grease and line if not using non-stick)
  3. In a mixer if you have one, (or a large bowl if not), combine the sugar and margarine until creamy.
  4. Add the yoghurt and mashed bananas, and mix well.
  5. Add the sifted flour & baking powder, and fold in carefully.
  6. Split between the two tins (around 500g of mix per tin)
  7. Bake for around 40 minutes (until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean).  Ideally leave in the oven to cool with the door open (to help reduce slight sinking).
  8. Add the middle filling when mostly cooled, and then dust lightly with icing sugar.

Notes:

  • This is a surprisingly sweet recipe, so don’t be tempted to add butter icing (like I did the first time), it’ll make it too sickly!

Printable PDF Version

Egg Free, Vegan, Moist Chocolate Cake!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Being a lacto-vegetarian for health reasons (I can’t eat eggs, or any of the meat/fish/poultry stuff), I’ve been on the lookout for a great chocolate sponge cake for a while.

This is an adapted recipe from Lisa Glanville, but as she used eggs and cup measures, I needed to find an alternative way around, plus I use weights and ml. 🙂

This recipe has proved so successfully, it’s now available and rebranded as ‘metta cake’ (‘love and kindness cake’) after being picked up by one of the volunteers at the Vipassana training center.  So after 10 days of meditation, this is one of the items to help reground the participants.

N.B., don’t be put off by the fact it’s an egg free, vegan recipe.  Everyone I’ve had try it haven’t noticed, but they all comment on how deliciously rich, moist and delicious it is!

Printable PDF version

Makes 16 adult slices.

Ingredients:

Main Cake:

  • 225g – Plain Flour
  • 75g – Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp – Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 4 1/2 tsp – Baking Powder
  • 275g – Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp – Vanilla Essence
  • 300g – Egg Free Mayo (ie Mayola by GranoVita)
  • 250ml – water

Icing:

  • 250g – Icing Sugar
  • 4 tbls – Cocoa Powder
  • 100g – Vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp – Vanilla Essence

(you may want to multiply these icing levels, by 1.5 times, if you want to cover the cake fully more easily on the sides, middle and top).

 

Method:

Main Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees Centigrade (350F)
  2. Prepare two non-stick 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (or grease and line if not using non-stick)
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder, and mix lightly. Then set-aside
  4. In a mixer if you have one, (or a large bowl if not), combine the sugar, vanilla essence, and tub of egg free mayo.
  5. Mix together for a couple of minutes (but don’t be put off by the strong mayo smell.. that disappears quickly with cooking)
  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients slowly, alternating with the water, into the mixer, and combine slowly but thoroughly.
  7. Pour into the two prepared cake tins (about 550g of mix per tin), and bake for 35-40 minutes (until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean).  Try not to open the oven too early though.
  8. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, before turning out onto wire cooling rack.
  9. You can eat it without the icing, but if you do want the icing, wait until it’s almost cool before adding (otherwise it melts).

Icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a clean mixing bowl
  2. Add the butter, and vanilla essence.
  3. Whisk thoroughly (ideally with an electric mixer on slow)..  It will seem too dry for a good few minutes, but keep with it, it will suddenly change to lovely smooth icing.
  4. Add about a third of the icing between the layers, another third on top, and the remaining icing around the sides.

 

Serving:

  • This cake seems to last 3 days without any loss to taste or texture, if kept in under cover (ie an up-turned large bowl).  I can’t tell you how much longer though, it’s always eaten pretty quickly!
  • Don’t try and eat too much too soon. It’s surprisingly rich, and very moorish, but pace yourself!
  • You could also add some thick clotted cream or rich vanilla ice-cream when serving, but it works just as well without too.