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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Sourdough chocolate chip cookies

IMG_6350I’m a bit obsessed with this cookie.

A few days ago I saw Edd Kimber post on Instagram about using sourdough discard in cookies and I was immediately intrigued. The main reason I’m put off keeping a sourdough starter at home is that I usually don’t have enough time to bake bread every week, so I end up using up a lot of flour to keep it alive but don’t do enough with it. Luckily though, my housemate has been keeping a starter due to all of the extra time we have at the moment.

When I heard about this ingenious way of using sourdough discard, I couldn’t wait to try it out myself. The science behind it is all about water levels in the recipe. 100% hydration sourdough starter is 50/50 water and flour. So for example; if you add 200g of sourdough starter into a recipe, you need to take 100g flour and 100g water out from the original. Flour is easy to simply re-calculate but water is a little more difficult.

I decided to try and adapt Sarah Kieffers iconic ‘pan-banging cookies’. My perfect cookie is crisp and rippled around the edge with a soft centre (which is exactly what this recipe provides.) There are a few ingredients in this cookie recipe that contain water. Firstly; the extra added water, then the egg and finally the butter. In order to add in the starter and its water I took out the original added water, the egg white and browned the butter to evaporate off the water. This all together gave me 100g of water to add back in which meant I could use 200g of sourdough starter. A great amount to use up and enough to impart a lovely flavour.

I also played around with the quantity of salt, sugar and chocolate chips as well as the size and method. It ended up not really resembling the original recipe but I am so happy with the results.

These beautiful cookies are a wonderful mix of nutty brown butter flavour, flaked sea salt and warm oozing dark chocolate. By banging the cookies halfway through baking, they purposely fall and create beautiful ripples along the edges. I’m always thinking about what a ‘perfect’ cookie would be to me, but I’m pretty sure its right here.IMG_6344IMG_6363IMG_6349

 

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Malted Milk Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Cocoa Nibs

IMG_2966I’ve been obsessing over ice cream sandwiches for a few weeks now. I craved them after finding a food truck (Blu top Ice Cream Sandwiches) which made large cookie sandwiches filled with wonderful ice creams. Flavours such as; toast and jam, builders tea and bourbon whiskey feature on their menu. I’ve been dying to visit them at one of their weekly markets but for various reasons, I haven’t been able to go. A future post will pop up when I eventually go.

What does one do in these kind of dire situations? One recreates the desired treat at home!

Why not? Nothing better than a day spent in the warm hug of your kitchen; a treat like this waiting at the finish line.

One down side to having a blog is constantly attempting new recipes. Whenever I bake something, it’s always new. It’s very rare that I ever make something twice. Its my dream to have a cookie or pudding recipe that is my signature bake. I imagine my friends coming over and begging me to ‘make those cookies you make.’ Or I’d have that bread that I bake every week without fail. A constant supply of fresh bread in my house.

After considering this, I looked back through my cookie recipes and chose my rich, dark double chocolate cookie recipe. I remember not being able to resist these. Just pure unadulterated indulgence in cookie form. Both white chocolate chips and dark are required to make the perfect cookie. As is a hell of a lot of butter, dark brown sugar and a good sprinkling of sea salt.

Malt Ice cream is my number one choice for ice cream (honey coming in close second.) It was a no brainer that I’d recreate a Malteser in ice cream sandwich form. Malt ice cream squashed between chewy chocolate cookies, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with roasted cocoa nibs. I’ll leave you to just sit, salivate and think about all that.IMG_2900
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Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake

Proud slice of banana cakeWhat better way to start the new year than with a beautiful piece of Banana Cake and a cup of freshly brewed coffee?

This recipe really reminds me of when I first started training to be a Pastry Chef. My days were filled with making trays of brownie and cutting shortbread like a robot. One of my favourite things to make was this Banana Cake. It was formed into loaf tins and adorned with a sprinkling of Walnut Crumble. The sweet scent of Bananas always wafted through the kitchen after they were taken out of the oven. I usually had to cut these loaves into slices to be displayed under a large glass dome, but always managed to sneak myself the end slice (inevitably drier, but still tasty.) Continue reading “Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake”