Posts tagged almonds
High protein pizza base... in minutes!

I never really worry much about getting protein on a vegan diet as my focus on real whole foods of maximum variety typically does that by default, but it is nice to know that it's easy to put together a high-protein meal when needed- particularly something like this pizza when the base itself gives a great protein boost and you can top it up with anything you like knowing that I've got a well balanced meal in the bag!

vegan High Protein Pizza Base

In addition it's always nice to have an answer to the question 'where do you get your protein?' and also offer a simple option for those who are looking for high-protein veggie-based meals.

oh and did I say... Pizza?

Yay, pizza :-)

The pizza base contains just three ingredients- quinoa, almonds and flax (plus any herbs if you wish to add them). Each ingredient is in itself a great source of protein, amongst other nutrients, Plus it couldn't be easier to make in minutes. Such a winner!

You can top the base with anything you like, I'm not a fan of fake vegan cheeses so I used home-made hummus mixed with tomato purée and then just any veggies I had to hand. This base also freezes beautifully as I have now done on multiple occasions since I first created the recipe. It makes for an amazingly speedy last minute dinner!

vegan High Protein Pizza Base

Recipe: High protein pizza base

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ cup ground almonds

  • 2 tbs flax

  • 1-2 tsp mixed herbs (optional)

  • ½ tsp salt

Pizza topping:

  • 1 tbs tomato puree

  • 2 tbs hummus

  • 1 cup worth finely chopped veggies of choice- tomato, onion, bell pepper, courgette and sweeetcorn work well.

Method:

Process all ingredients together until you have a well blended slightly sticky dough. It should still be easy enough to handle and roll. I found it didn’t stick to my rolling pin at all but if this is a problem for you that’s the running pin with a little dry ‘flour’ of some kind- such as fine almond flour or protein powder. Attentively press out into pizza bases with your hands.

Once you have rolled the dough to approximately 3-4mm thick, bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes until sealed then flip over and bake for a further 10 minutes until just beginning to turn golden.

You can remove from the oven and allowed to cool and then freeze at this point or simply add all your pizza toppings and bake for 10 minutes until cooked and golden.

vegan High Protein Pizza Base
vegan High Protein Pizza Base

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Almond choc-chunk cookies (plus introducing my keto experiment!)

For the last few weeks I have been in experimental mode when it comes to changing up my eating habits. Let's get things straight... I don't believe in 'diets' in the traditional understanding of the word BUT I do believe in being as informed as possible when it comes to knowing what is optimal for your body. My method for this is experimentation.

We are all unique and there is no one size fits all approach to dietary habits. Obviously I write a vegan food blog, but many (most) of my health coaching clients are not vegan or even vegetarian, that's absolutely fine by me since my coaching method is to empower you to find what is right for your heath and your life. Of course there are some factors I feel hold true for everyone and I encourage in our sessions... pack in as many veggies as you can and get rid of as many refined foods as possible.

Even following a vegan diet there is plenty of room for experimentation and its something i've been playing with for the best part of year now, tweaking things to see how my body feels. I've mentioned before I often suffer from digestive issues such as gas and bloating so by eliminating certain foods or eating in a certain way I hope to determine the root causes and find the balance that best suits me. Digestive issues also have emotional connections so this is something I'm learning to heal also.

I have documented a few of my nutritional experiments in previous posts, maybe I'll document them more formally on the blog. So far i've tried... a candida diet, grain free diet, intermittent fasting and now a ketogenic diet.

Nutritional ketosis is where the body is fuelled by fat instead of carbs... you literally switch the source of energy.

This in effect means a high fat and low carb approach to eating. Low carb in this context means super looooow carbs- under 50g net carbs (once fibre has been accounted for).  I decided to do a months experiment (I still have a week or so to go) and then review things.

I initially bought Leanne's book having been a long time reader of her blog, and would highly recommend it as a great introduction and guide to this style of eating. I will talk about it all in a bit more detail at the end of the experiment!

Before I started 'properly', I spend a couple of weeks or so gearing up with a selection of recipes in my arsenal, as well as reducing my carbs in the lead up (to be honest I was already fairly low carb to begin with). The cookie recipe I'm sharing today is a fab low carb recipe and one of my transitional recipes, but not strictly keto. It's pack with protein and good fats to sustain you and contains minimal sweeteners (you could add a touch more if you need to when you've tasted the dough).

I gave my mum a cookie and she loved them, so these are definitely family friendly too! They have a great crisp an crumbly cookie texture even without granulated sugar due to the higher fat content. 

Recipe: Almond choc-chunk cookies (low carb)

Makes approx 12 cookies

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • ¼ cup white hemp powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/3 cup cacoa liquor chunks (or dark chocolate if preferred)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil- softened
  • 1 tbs syrup of choice* plus ¼ tsp pure stevia
  • 2 tbs water (to bind)

Method:

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, in a small bowl mix the coconut oil and stevia and mix until very soft and lump free. Mix into cookie batter using hands if needed. Add a drizzle of water so the mixture holds together nicely.

Form walnut sized balls and flatten onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for approx 15 mins on a fairly low heat approx 160C until golden at the edges.  Allow to cool fully before eating/storing as these cookies are quite delicate and a little ore crumbly than regular.

* I used yacon syrup which is a really thick low carb syrup, but any syrup would work here, you could also increase to 2-3 tbs if strict carb control is not necessary.

low carb cookies2a.jpg
low carb cookies3a.jpg

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Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Nutty chocolate truffles... the perfect last minute christmas treats and gifts!

Christmas is so nearly here now… I can't believe it's been a whole week since I've posted, and I had so many things I want to write up for you!

However, I have been struck down with a horrible cold for the most of this last week, not that it stopped me from doing anything I wanted to, but it has reminded me I have to take my health bit more seriously and factor in that crucial downtime.

I'll write a little bit more about this coming days. It's so important for all of us take time to centre ourselves that recalibrate. In the rush and overwhelm of setting up my coaching business and my food business over these last twelve months I realised I had been putting my own wellness on the back burner....yes i'd been eating the right foods, but that plays such a small part in the overall picture as I have personally come to appreciate more than ever before.

Christmas is the ideal time for rest and recuperation. It's as if the whole world breathes a sigh and slows down.

I have more recipes I am prepping today up today for the main meal tomorrow and I hope i'll be able to capture a few photos to blog later in the week if they turn out to be winners!  I really hope they do!

For now a final recipe that I can't believe I haven't already shared (I checked back through my posts and couldn't find them!)  I previously made a version of these with almond butter for The Real Food Source quite a few months back and I have been making countless variations ever since, usually with peanut butter as it's so much more cost effective.

If you make one chocolately treat this Christmas time... make it this one!!

The ground almonds give these raw bites and almost cake texture unlike the regular 'larabar' style raw bite. As I mentioned you can change up the nut butter base for almond, cashew, or even something like hazelnut butter for a ferrero rocher style treat!!

These freeze really well too. I made some about three weeks ago that I put in the freezer specifically for Christmas, but I kept stealing them and now I need to make another batch as I don't think there will be enough! oops...

I also makes these as gifts and they always go down very well!

Recipe: Nutty chocolate truffles

Makes approx. 12 truffles

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other buy butter)
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
  • 12 pitted dates  (this is based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Dark chocolate for coating

Method:

Soak the dates in boiling water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, mix all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not too sticky to handle.

Roll into walnut sized balls and chill until they are a little firmer.

Melt the chocolate and either dip the firm truffles into the chocolate to half coat them,  or just drizzle the chocolate over the top of the truffles on a tray.

Best kept refrigerated. Eat within 1 week or freeze.

 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Battenberg Cake…with a difference

So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge is….Battenberg cake.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Battenburg- the classic chequered sponge cake, sandwiched together with jam and all wrapped up in a marzipan jacket!

Marzipan is a tricky one, the traditional version is full of powdered sugar and although it's generally vegan I still have difficulty in endorsing such a sugary treat here on my blog! I have been trying to suss out a sugar free marzipan for quite some time now, with some degree of success here in my Christmas Stollen and my the toppings for the super-cute Christmas puds.

But when it comes to a rollable marzipan I have not yet had a breakthrough!

However this challenge allowed us to push the boundaries beyond a traditional Battenberg as long as we held true to the chequered sponge concept with a sweet covering whether it be marzipan, fondant or chocolate. So, one idea came to my mind straight away….

….the ‘world’s healthiest chocolate fudge’!

I had tried rolling the fudge dough previously to make these hearts and it worked really well, so I figured it could also work really well as the Battenberg covering.  That then just left the sponge and the flavours to choose. I opted for a plain vanilla sponge alongside a raspberry sponge (although it has taken on more of a brown tinge in the photos), that allowed me to use sugar-free raspberry jam as the sole sweetener in the raspberry sponge.  I opted to try my ‘easiest ever gluten free sponge’ recipe as the basis for this cake as i really wanted to go gluten free for this recipe.

In hindsight I wish I’d gone for a different sponge recipe, as whilst that simple sponge works well as a small super-simple mug cake, it just didn’t really do it for me as larger oven baked sponge. There was nothing drastically wrong with it, I just felt it could have been a lot more delicate with a lighter crumb. I also wish now that I’d rolled the fudge wrap a little thinner before wrapping the sponge slices.

The overall concept was a great success and the chocolate fudge coating worked a treat (particularly if I’d rolled it more finely), however after eating a slice with the sponge, I got the feeling that the sponge was not doing the cake justice. So what did I decide to do?  Peel the fudge off and reform it into fudge balls of course. Mmmm…much better!

Try this frosting…go on give it a go! It is so easy to form and model that you can cut it into rounds, bars, roll it out as an icing layer or even turn it into a soft piped healthy frosting as I did here with thes cupcakes.

I will give the Battenberg another go with an alternative sponge recipe at some point soon. This fudge frosting is so versatile that I want to give it a proper chance to do my Battenberg proud!

This link takes you to the original Daring Bakers Challenge notes with  plenty of alternate recipes for battenberg to try.

Recipe: Healthy Battenberg Cake

Makes 1 approx. 7” long cake

Ingredients: chocolate fudge frosting

  • ½  can black beans- rinsed and drained
  • 1 mashed banana
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacoa powder)
  • 1/3 cup dates
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp stevia
  • ½ cup ground oats
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 2 tbs chia seeds

Method

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth pliable dough is formed. The dough should be fairly tacky but not sticky and should easy to handle.

Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment or similar for easily handling. Roll to achieve desired thickness and then, using thr parchment to assist, carefully drape across the jam coated sponge to create the finish Battenberg.

Ingredients: simple vanilla sponge

  • ½ cup buckwheat flour (or other GF grain)
  • 3 tbs ground almonds
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup plain soy yoghurt (or regular)
  • 2 tbs agave (for vanilla version)
  • 2 tbs sugar free raspberry jam (for raspberry version)

Method

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then add wet ingredients (other than agave and jam) and mix together well.  

Divide the mixture between two bowls and then add the agave and jam to a bowl each.  Note: to achieve a deeper red/pink colour you may need to add a few drops of food colouring.

You will now have two different coloured/flavoured mixtures. Spoon each into a 7” square  baking tin divided down the centre with parchment paper and foil to prevent the batters mixing (foil helps make a more ridged central partition).

Bake in  pre-heated oven  at 180C for approx. 15 mins until very lightly golden.

Assembling the Battenberg: 

Cut the slices of sponge into neat squares and arrange in a larger square with each flavour on the diagonal. Paint each edge with slightly runny sugar-free raspberry jam and then firmly wrap the chocolate fudge frosting around the entire cake, ensuring an overlap to seal.

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Raspberry ripple chocolate torte slices (fat free)

These chocolate torte slices are the perfect summery twist on my tried and tested chocolate brownie torte recipe. Super healthy and indulgent…yet light and fruity!

The perfect summer snack to put a smug smile on your face, knowing that you can indulge guilt-free without worrying about undoing all your hard ‘beach-body’ work.

These are also the perfect pick me up….or in this case the ideal ‘get well soon’ gift. The recipe below makes a small batch of 4 slices (you could easily double the recipe) as I created this recipe for a friend who was laid up and recuperating after an accident. The criteria was simple….low fat but not low taste!

I often use coconut oil or coconut butter in my recipes, as a healthy good fat which I rarely skimp on, but in this instance I wanted to lower the fat as much as possible or even eliminate it. The obvious choice was the brownie recipe, and so to change things up a bit and create a unique dessert, here you have the raspberry almond version. 

I used crushed frozen raspberries to mix through the batter as they hold up better when they are mixed through (although you can barely see the pieces in the photos). I also sprinkled a few extra pieces on the top and then once out of the oven I glazed them with a layer of sugar free raspberry jam.  I made sure these brownies were not too overly sweet as I love the richness of the dark chocolate and tartness of the raspberries contrasting with the sweet topping, but you can increase the agave/stevia slightly to taste. If you add more agave (up to 1/3 cup it might be advisable to increase the flour by a couple of tablespoons also).

These chocolate slices  are by nature more dense and gooey than cakey when bitten into, although they do have a lovely firm texture. I think they are best served warm as a dessert, maybe with a little vegan icecream or cashew cream with some extra berries on the side.

Recipe: Raspberry ripple chocolate torte

4 slices (approx. 3x9” pan)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • ¼ cup agave and a pinch of stevia
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup black beans
  • 1tbs ground chia plus 2tbs hot water
  • ½ cup wholemeal spelt (or GF mix)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup frozen raspberries- crushed
  • Handful cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks- optional
  • Handful flaked almonds
  • Handful frozen raspberries- crushed

Method

Blend all wet ingredients together in food processor until well mixed and smooth. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add the wet ingredients, mixing lightly until well mixed, add the cacao nibs (if using) and the ¼ cup crushed frozen raspberries last and fold through the mixture.

Spoon the batter into a smallish tin or mini muffin pans, scattering the remaining frozen raspberry pieces and flaked almonds across the top

Bake in a preheated oven for approx. 25 mins (less time for mini muffins). Test with a toothpick in the centre to check when done.

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Blueberry pie breakfast cookie

Remember my chocolate chunk breakfast cookie?

…How could you forget! It was very good.

Well, for those among us who simply cannot contemplate chocolate in any form for breakfast, I now have a little fruity offering. The perfect breakfast… or brunch.  I also have a little admission to make here, when I woke up this morning  I was so busy with bits and pieces on my laptop upon waking that I didn’t actually make it out of my bedroom until just before midday when my stomach started shouting at me for food…I had no idea how late it had got! So, I doubled the recipe and had one massive cookie. It was very filling indeed. Ok so that’s my little guilty admission!

So, the photos below is for one biiiiiig ‘double’ cookie however the ingredients below are for a regular sized cookie more like the original choc chunk version…. Double it if you dare!! (p.s if you do you’ll need to microwave it for longer- mine took approx. 2 ½ mins to cook through in the middle, no dramas if it is a little soft. Also it will be too big for your hands so you'll simple need to spoon and spread it onto the plate in a neat circle). I had another thought once I made this cookie, and I’ll give it a try on another occasion but I reckon you could substitute the yoghurt for a small mashed banana for a blueberry-banana combo, this will also help to sweeten and you can reduce the maple syrup. Let me know how it works out for you if you try this.

The photos look much less ‘oaty’ than the previous chocolate cookie, I think that’s simply because I whipped the ingredients together fairly ferociously, so it had more of a cakey texture. Either way tastes good to me.  I used blueberries but you could use any berry you fancy. I advise using frozen blueberries as they will hold their shape as you push them in and they will be perfectly cooked through after 1 minute in the microwave, no need to thaw first.

One last note- I suggest you taste the batter before cooking to test for sweetness. As its for breakfast I prefer a mildly sweet cookie but you may prefer to modify this, particularly if you make it for a dessert or snack.

Well, I think I’ve just about caught up with my life now that I’m back from my holiday. It’s been a day of bits and pieces, I was so glad for the Easter bank holiday!  I still have a few things to tick of the list for today, not least dinner that is currently in the oven.  If successful that will a post for later this week…Oh the excitement!

Recipe: blueberry pie breakfast cookie

Makes one fat cookie

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup oats
  • 2 tbs buckwheat flour (other flours  would probably be fine too)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs ground flax/chia
  • Ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste (approx. ½ tsp each)
  • 1 tbs flaked almonds (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 3 tbs soy yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non-vegan)
  • Handful of frozen blueberries

Method

Mix and mash all ingredients (other than almonds and berries) together well to form a thick sticky ball of dough. Roughly flatten the ball with your palms and place on a small microwaveable plate. Push the frozen blueberries into the surface evenly across the cookie dough. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and dust with a little extra cinnamon if desired.

Cook on full powder in the microwave for 1 minute. Press with your finger and if it springs back and there are no visibly sticky bits and the berries are fully cooked you’re done!

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‘Twelve Days’ day 10: ‘sugar’ cookies

So what’s so special about these cookies you may ask? 

Well, if I said these ‘sugar’ cookies actually contained no refined sugar, and if I went further to say that these cookies were even gluten free and packed full of wholesome ingredients… I hope you would agree that it makes for a pretty special Christmas cookie!

So I guess these are not really sugar cookies at all but I think they still bare a pretty close resemblance, as the combination of almond and coconut gives these cookies a delicate bite without the need for refined sugar to do the job.  The cookies are best eaten on the day they are made or frozen to maintain their delicate texture. They only take a few minutes to defrost…so make a big batch!

Similarly to my gingerbread dough experiment, this dough was initially quite crumbly to roll out but it was fine with a bit of work once the dough become flatter, and they also cut out and baked perfectly.

These cookies are only very lightly spiced as I wanted to create a traditionally neutral sugar cookie base to be iced or frosted as you wish.  The simplest icing is traditional glace icing made with powdered sugar and water. But for me this was a sugar overload and so instead I used a little melted dark chocolate to trace some shapes. So little is needed this way (I think I used four melted squares for the whole batch) but it still gives you that little chocolate kick and transforms the cookies into so much more.   

My cookies were based on this recipe by Whole Life Nutrition which also notes a healthy icing option as an alternative to glace icing which I am intrigued to try.

For this experiment, I also tried making a cinnamon mousse to dip the cookies in (loosely based on my ‘go-to’ chocolate frosting recipe). It’s shown in the photos but i’m not yet providing the recipe here as I don’t yet think it’s quite good enough!  But you get the idea, the options are endless…..iced cookies…frosted cookie ….sandwich cookies

…..Just let your imagination run free!

Recipe: ‘Sugar’ cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely ground almond meal
  • ½ cup shreddedcoconut
  • ½ cup arrowroot
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 3 tbs coconut butter (or use another 3 tbs coconut oil)
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ tsp stevia powder
  • 3 tbs soy yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • Makes roughly 15-20 cookies depending on their size.

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry. Get you hands in and press together to form a stiff slightly sticky ball of dough, if it is not sticky enough to hold together to roll then add a tiny bit more soy yoghurt or water.

Chill to the dough if you find it easier to work with this way but I didn’t find I needed to.

Roll out on a floured surface or between two layers of baking parchment. Cut out shapes and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for approx. 10 minutes keeping a close eye to watch they don’t burn.

Allow to cool fully before decorating as you wish. They can be frozen either plain or decorated.


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‘Twelve Days’ day 6: Mini Christmas puds

So, a couple of days ago I told you there was another marzipan inspired treat coming up….no more waiting…. it’s here!

So cute it seems cruel to eat them!

These are a combination of my chocolate orange smoosh bars and the marzipan to create a mini Christmas pudding with custard top. I added some ’holly ’using a little bit of green colouring to the marzipan and a topped with a clove for completeness.  Because cloves are so powerfully fragrant, they added a slight spiced taste to the whole pud. I really liked this as It made it all the more Christmassy flavoured, but if you are not  keen on the taste of cloves I suggest you omit or just use for decoration right before serving so they aren’t in place for so long.

These will store well for a couple of weeks, perfect to make in advance for guests throughout the holiday season. They are also gluten free, raw, super simple, super healthy and just…well…super all round! If you used the marzipan recipe I gave for the stollen you should have enough left over to easily make about 20 custard tops (maybe more). To make 20 puds you will need to double the recipe below.

See my original posts highlighted above or simply refer below where I have included the recipes again for efficiency.

Recipe: Mini Christmas puds

Ingredients - Pudding:

(makes approx. 10 puddings)

  • 100g dates
  • 60g cashews
  • 45g raisins
  • 20g coconut flour
  • 10g ground oats
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • Grated rind of 1 orange or ½ tsp orange extract

Ingredients - Marzipan:

(you will need only 1/3 of this amount for the topping- use or freeze the remainder)

  • 100g finely ground almonds
  • 100g white coloured ‘healthy flour’ e.g spelt or other GF flour
  • 100g coconut butter
  • 50g agave (tiny pinch stevia)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (more if needed to taste)

Method

The method is so simple! Blitz together each batch of ingredients in a food processor until a fine sticky powdery crumb is formed. Create the balls by pressing together with your hands. Make sure there is no contamination between the batches (or from your hands) otherwise the marzipan will be discoloured.

Make the custard tops by taking smaller balls then flattening them out over the top of the pudding balls smoothing the edges down and to give the effect of poured custard or cream.

Mix a little bit of green food colouring to part of the dough, mix through well then pull off small pieces to pinch into shape as holly leaves. Press the leaves onto the top of the ‘custard’ and add a clove for decoration.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a little while to fully firm up but then these can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Note: you will probably find the marzipan dough feels oily as you mould it, this is just the oils from the coconut in the warmth of your hands. Once cool the marzipan will not be oily.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.

These make great little gifts... which reminds me I had planned on linking to a few of my favourites Pinterest pins that i'd come across for the holiday season. There is still plenty of time to get crafty.... I know i'll be using a few of these myself!


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