No-Bake Dark Chocolate Oat + Nut Snack Bars

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There is something comforting about having cake in the house. A peckish craving springs in the mid-afternoon and a slice of cake with coffee is calling your name. Although, sometimes I want something slightly more nutritious waiting for me.

Whenever I’m working I don’t really have time for a proper sit down breakfast. It’s up and out the door in half an hour and having something I can grab on the way out is really useful.

I’ve been trying to make healthy breakfast-type bars for months now. All of my attempts  were either way too sweet or tasted great but didn’t have the soft chewy texture I was after. I’m kind of put off by shop bought oat bars since they’re usually packed full of sugar and expensive.

These are easy, delicious and quick to make. No oven required, so great to make on a hot summers day when the thought of turning on your oven sends visions of burning hell. Peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate and nuts make these a wonderful filling snack.

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Raspberry + Dark Chocolate Muffins

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Baked goods at breakfast are my top pick to accompany a large dark cup of coffee. Buttery croissants, sweet danishes, warm banana bread and obviously a classic muffin. I’m a sucker for a big blueberry muffin but when I decided to knock up a batch, I wanted to go for a more refined flavour that wasn’t overpoweringly sweet.

Tangy raspberries and dark chocolate compliment each other in this perfectly sweet and tender muffin batter. Alongside orange and toasted almonds, these make a delicate morning treat.

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New York Style Bagels

 

IMG_6446Bagels have always been some what of a mystery to me. I absolutely adore eating them but it’s not something you find a lot around London. My first (and only) attempt a few years ago were such an utter failure that they never even crossed my mind again until last week.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to bagels and I really wanted to get it right. I spent hours reading recipes and watching videos on traditional bagel making methods. The dough needs to be firm and smooth to create a light but tight crumb along with the ability to mould and retain its shape.

What distinguishes bagels from regular bread is the boiling process. It feels almost sacrilege to put fresh proved dough into boiling water but its crucial to achieve that iconic texture. As you boil the dough you release some of the starches in the flour which then gelatinize and form a barrier around the bagel. By cooking the starches beforehand, you won’t lose as much moisture in the oven and have partially set the outside of the bagel resulting in a chewier and denser crumb.

A regular appearance of fresh puffed bagels with a generous schmear of cream cheese is very much welcomed in my kitchen. Since I can’t hop on a plane anytime soon, these will have to transport me to the busy pavements of New York.IMG_6424IMG_6457IMG_6469IMG_6502

 

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Brown Butter Cardamom Morning Buns

IMG_6313With so much going on in the world right now, I find my kitchen is a little pocket of calm and a place that feels like normal in a life not so normal. It’s somewhere that truly takes my mind off things.

I had been wanting to work with dough for weeks and had a crisp idea of how I wanted these buns to turn out. I have to say, I’m very happy. Inside is a soft buttery brioche swirled with a cardamom spiced brown butter sugar. The tins are coated with butter and sugar that slowly caramelises as the brioche bakes, creating a beautiful golden base. You’ll smell these before they’re ready; the beautiful cardamom butter wafting through the house. Once they’re baked; they’re brushed with a mix of brown butter and honey, finished with a sprinkling of sugar to give it a glorious shine.IMG_6263IMG_6275IMG_6280IMG_6301IMG_6308

 

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Vegan Rye Cinnamon Pecan Rolls

I really REALLY wish there was somewhere near me that sold vegan cinnamon buns. Because I would be there every single frickin day. I need more baked goods in my life; its making me mentally unstable. Alas, the only place that has a baked good that’s close to a ‘normal’ pastry is Crosstown Doughnuts who have started doing Vegan Doughnuts every Fri, Sat & Sun. All other vegan places near me are very health focused and their baked goods are either in fact raw, or are made with buckwheat flour and there’s no dough in site.

I have yet to venture to Crosstown to try the Vegan doughnuts but the dough (via instagram) looks so bloody tasty, I need to get there ASAP.  (You’ll be seeing an update on that very soon via my instagram.) If anyone knows of any good bakeries in central London near the Victoria/Westminster/Mayfair area, PLEASE let me in on it.

I made these cinnamon rolls with the intention to freeze them in order to sustain me during the week ahead, but they never made it even close to the freezer. I shouldnt be surprised as that’s typical me, but you can’t blame a girl for trying.

This recipe is actually really similar to your average cinnamon roll recipe, and it was really easy to create a vegan version. I gave one of my non-vegan friends one and she soon sent through a lovely text about how amazing they were and how you would have no idea they were vegan. Those kind of words make me so happy; to know that living a vegan lifestyle you don’t need to miss out.

So here you are; a cinnamon roll that both you and your non-vegan friends and family will love. Ssh don’t tell them its vegan and I 100% guarantee they wont even know.

 

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Peanut Butter, Date and Fig Granola (Vegan/GF)

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Breakfast is by far my favourite meal. It’s maybe the only thing I’ll get up early for in the morning. Theres not a better prospect going to bed at night, than knowing that there’s a beautiful planned breakfast awaiting you in the morning. However, on a week day working 60 plus hours, something I’m short on (as many of you probably are), is time.

I simply don’t have time to stir porridge on a stove top or whip up a batch of pancakes. Especially on only a few hours sleep after staying up late in bed scrolling through the internet (I’m sure we can all relate.)

Something I really love to make is Granola. Make a large batch to last you the week on your days off and you have one less worry for the week ahead. Weekday breakfasts needs to be quick, filling and satisfying. Bland, sugary, box cereal simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

So venture into your store cupboard, follow my recipe or pick out what you love and make it your own. Change the peanut butter for almond butter or switch out the dried cranberries and add in some cocao nibs for some chocolatey crunch. Now I’ve typed that, that sounds damn good! Definitely going to throw some of those in my next batch.

Heres to easy fulfilling breakfasts which hit the spot on a monday morning.

P.s my recipe and video use honey as part of the ingredients, but for a totally vegan granola, change the honey to another sweetener (agave syrup/coconut nectar/maple syrup.)

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Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

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Gingerbread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Roasted Pear

img_4275I had big plans for this post. I was going to blab about my recent trip to Iceland and post this finger licking recipe with it. However, after having a quick hour long peek gaze through my photos, I’ve realised how many photos I want to share and that it’s completely incomprehensible to put it all into one post. You’d probably fall asleep on your keyboard by the end. All the while thinking, where the f is this recipe?!

So to save those of you who’re here for the recipe, I’ll save my romantic Iceland babble about how I want to repeatedly travel there forever and ever and ever, for another post.

I’m sure a lot of you are pretty ecstatic that November has finally arrived. I adore Autumn. The coziness, the hot drinks, the shameless eating begins. I swear that my body just needs an extra layer of fat every year. This is why it craved a biscuit tin of 40 Bourbon biscuits… (you probably think I’m joking but the tin of biscuits next to me right now says otherwise.)

I’m having to show real restraint with christmas decorations this month. I can’t stop going into Oxford Street every week and staring at the same christmas decorations, revisiting the same shops I went into the week before. I desperately wanted to haul them up this week but my co-workers have repeatedly chimed that its way too early. I’ll wait one more week.

As the cold weather approaches, so do the spices, chutney, cheese, nuts and old music. There aren’t many breakfasts I can think of that scream autumn to me, but this one certainly does.

Whenever I go home to see my Mum, she makes me fluffy American blueberry pancakes. She uses a Jamie Oliver recipe and I love them so much I decided to tweak them a little to taste like gingerbread. Queue black treacle and ginger. Sprinkling flaked almonds on one side of the pancake adds a lovely note of nutty flavour and texture. A warm, sticky, sweet roasted pear permeated with maple syrup couldn’t be a better accompaniment to this gorgeous breakfast treat.

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