Posts tagged cocoa
Easy homemade body butter...the perfect Christmas gift!

In the last few months I've been getting more and more into homemade body products.  

I have no idea why it's taken me so long really, it seems obvious that if you care about what you put inside your body you would also care about what you put on your body since the skin is the largest organ of the body and takes on board whatever your throw at it!

whip 1a.jpg

It's been a slow transition and i'm not quite there yet, I will be sure to do a full round up of my various discoveries in the next few weeks but for now I have a very simple but totally luxurious body whip... perfect for a little Christmas indulgence for yourself or as gifts for others!

It takes two key ingredients and any natural extracts such as lavender or vanilla that you may choose to include.  The proportions of the oil/butter dictate whether you end up with a thick body butter or a lighter body whip.... I adore the whip!!

I have linked a few websites below that I originally found to help guide me in my experiments, they provide slightly different ratios of solid to liquid oils compared to those i have used- i'm not sure if altitude has any bearing on this but I certainly needed a lot less solid than seemed called for to achieve a beautiful fluffy whip. Have a play and re-blend with extra solid or liquid as necessary. You can also substitute for other oils/butters (such as shea) to those I used.

A pretty jar, a ribbon and label would be all that is needed to transform these simple concoctions into a beautiful gift.

I also gave my sister a set of some of these homemade beauty products for her birthday last month. Body butter, face toner, deodorant, face powder, bronzer... some of these are still works in progress, so I will reveal all in due course...

body products 1a.jpg

Recipe: Thick body butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cocoa butter 
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or use extra cocoa butter)
  • ½ cup almond oil 
  • extracts to suit- I used 4 drops lavender and 1 tsp vanilla bean powder

 

Recipe: Fluffy body whip

Ingredients

  • ½  cup cocoa butter 
  • 1 ½ cup sweet almond oil
  • extracts to suit- I used 8 drops lavender (creates a very light fragrance)

Method (same for both)

Melt the solid oil/butter in a bowl over boiling water until melted then stir in the almond oil and any extracts.

Allow the mixture to partially cool (edges beginning to solidify), whip well until thick fluffy and white. Cool and whip again if necessary until fluffy.

Note: the lighter whip will fluff up more easy than the thicker butter.

 

Some links to other blogs recipes:

Great body butter recipe by 'Rawmazing' (great recipe starting point)

Thick body butter by 'Wellnessmama' (she has lots of great natural beauty recipes)

A zest body whip with a difference by 'She Wears Many Hats'  (note this recipe incudes honey so is not technically vegan)

Thick body butter with the higher proportion of solid cocoa butter.

Thick body butter with the higher proportion of solid cocoa butter.

Ingredients for the thick butter...I just love the big chunks of cocoa butter! :-)

Ingredients for the thick butter...I just love the big chunks of cocoa butter! :-)

More whip... my favourite!   

More whip... my favourite!

 

...even more whip!

...even more whip!

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
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.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
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.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF