Posts tagged festive
Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

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What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

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Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

Base*

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Cheesecake

  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)

Method:

Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.


Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!

Method:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

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Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)


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Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge... takes just 3 mins all in!!

This was my epic breakfast last weekend. It looks like dessert, to be honest it is totally worthy of 'bressert' status. For dessert use the juice as noted and sprinkle the coconut sugar. Job done!

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You could prepare the mix ahead of time too and just let it sit for an hour or so, possibly overnight, I haven't tried it that way but I don't see why it wouldn't work. 'Overnight Oats Christmas Pudding Porridge', ha ha! The best thing ever to wake up to on Christmas morning... with absolute minimal prep!

It literally takes three mins to make from start to finish! (if you use a microwave- see my notes below).

I make servings like this using a silicone egg poacher - so handy, the perfect size and they are flexible so the contents come out so easily. I highly recommend investing in one for you single serve cakes and such like (not eggs!) ;-)

What will you be making on Christmas day morning?

Are you more sweet or savoury?

I'm such a sweet porridge girl so that's been my go-to to make for my family these last few years. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying these too- the bakewell pie and the classic festive baked oatmeal that kicked it all off!

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Recipe: Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge!

Serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 2 tbs ground nuts of any kind
  • 1/4 cup apple puree
  • 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit (a mix of some of these: raisins/sultanas/currants/cranberries/gojis)
  • 1/2 tsp spice or more to taste (I used a little of mixed spice & cinnamon)
  • 1 heaped tbs flax
  • 1/4 cup water (or juice for extra sweetness)

Method:

Mix everything together well in a small bowl.

Spoon into a small circular microwaveable domed dish- I use an egg poacher (so great for mini cakes!!) Press firmly and smooth the top.

Microwave for 90 seconds on high power. Carefully loosen and tip out onto serving plate and dress with vegan yoghurt or cream plus any extra fruits and spices, I used gojis, but a cranberry compote or some festive jam would be amazing! If you prefer an even sweeter porridge sprinkle a touch of coconut sugar, it was fine for me without.

*Notes: I rarely use a microwave these days but I didn't want to turn on the oven on for this tiny dish, I also find it crisps/dries up more in the oven and this works best when the moistness is maintained. By all means try the oven but don't overcook- cover loosely in foil and make sure middle is still very moist!

If you try the microwave option but are making multiple puddings- cook one at a time or increase the timing- I have only tried cooking one.

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'Real Food' Easy Christmas recipe collection

We're on the home straight to the holidays now.... I'm seriously going to try and take some time off over Christmas. I'm notoriously rubbish as relaxing and have got worse over the last year BUT I'm determined that will change over the holidays- that's usually the time my head eases off with it's 'Go Go Go' approach as the world as a whole slows its pace and brings me down a notch or two in the process.

I say relax.... well, of sorts!

I have a 'Plant Based Fit-Food' ebook and seminar to write due to be launched in the New Year. You've probably heard me mention this a few time over the last few weeks and months, I believe i actually began muttering comments of this sort many months ago- its just taken along time to get from my head to paper (or computer to be more accurate). More details on that to come but I will be cracking on with that over Christmas whilst I try and shut down distractions from other work related things.

I have struggled to make lots of festive recipes for my blog over the last few weeks- due mainly to Wholeplus taking over my life a little, but also part to recipe development for my book (it will feature some old but also many new ones) and also because I've been creating recipes for the Real Food Source ebooks.

The RFS ebooks are FREE to download and you can find the Coconut Milk Powder ebook here and the most recently launched Christmas ebook here.  Many of the recipe are also featured on their blog and so I wanted to give you a little round up some of the recipes I have recently created for them.  These are all quick and easy, gluten free, unrefined festive themed recipes....that's gotta tick all the boxes right? 

Just 'keep it real people'  Ha ha, I love my tag line for the books. :-)

So here is my mini collection- click the titles to go to direct to the Real Food Source blog for the full recipes.

What festive experiments have you had success with recently? ...Please share, I love to hear what others have been up to!

 

Cranberry almond flourless cookies:

Soft and chewy with big chunks of fruit and nuts encassed in a golden fluffy cookie shell... the easiest flourless cookies you’ll make this Christmas! in one of the photos below you can see i added the nuts and fruit to the top of the cookie, but they're definitely best mixed through the batter and baked within the cookies.

Chocolate tiffin:

Tiffin is a classic at any time of the year- but at Christmas time the combination of chocolate fruits and nuts come really into their own! Note you could try subbing almond or hazelnut butter for the coconut milk powder and water in the recipe if you prefer- it just needs to combine with the melted dark chocolate to allow the tiffin to set as firmly as possible.

 

Crunchy Buckwheat chocolate melts:

Ok, so this little  experiment is barely even an recipe. This weekend I fancied a treat with a crunch and a crisp bite and so had an idea to toast up a little quinoa and buckwheat to layer up with the melted chocolate....so good! I think the buckwheat was my favourite option with it's large chunky pieces, whereas the quinoa gave more of a 'bubbly' texture. Such a great, simple way to get a healthy wholesome kick!

Vegan 'egg nog':

All the classic Christmas flavours in a creamy but healthy Christmas drink...add a little rum if you fancy. Use a greener banana for a more subtle taste!

 

Chocolate drizzled almond flapjack:

In this recipe almond paste (or other mild nut butter) acts as a binder in conjunction with the apricots and chia. Previously peanut butter was my go-to nut butter, but obviously that imparts a distinctive taste that isn't always appropriate or preferred, here the almond paste allows the flavour of the apricots to do the talking.  You could of course use other dried fruits such as cranberries to suit for an extra festive feel!

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Christmas Cookies!

Christmas is closing in so fast!   I have been so crazy busy making, packing and dispatching Wholeplus goodies, having a stall at a Christmas fair (last weekend) and talking to companies about suppling goodies ready for the New Year I've hardly been creating in the kitchen... plus I still have a backlog of posts I really want to get up for you!

All in good time. ....aaaaand BREATHE!

Today is a quick check in to let you know of a healthy Christmas collection going on over Candida Diet PlanRemember thiese cookies from a few days ago?

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Well, they were my submission for the collection and now there are 17 other healthy, allergy friendly delights to inspire you. Click on the image below and check them out!

A big thank you goes to Sandra at the Candida Diet Plan for hosting the cookie party!

Back soon to squeeze in a few more recipes before Christmas.... I promise!

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Christmas Day…done! (and Chocolate Cream Cranberry sponge)

So how long did you spend in your jammies Christmas day morning?

This year I was actually pretty good and got dressed well before lunch…but not until I’d opened my stocking (which usually includes some underwear and socks!)

Christmas day was spent at home with my family- mum, dad, brother and sister. All the presents were piled under the tree and every year that still seems so magical to me! We spent quite a few hours in the run up to lunch giving out the gifts, interspersed with trips back and forth to the kitchen to manage proceedings.

This year I packaged my gifts in brown paper with a minimal amount of sticky tape to help the recycling process! …but I do love lots of ribbon- it’s not Christmas without lots if ribbon! Part of the gifts to my family were bottles of my homemade  vanilla extract.

I also decided it would be a novelty to give homemade ‘vouchers’ so they could choose they own personalised cakes from my growing list of recipes. It will be interesting to see what they choose!

We all pitched in to help with Christmas lunch.  My main task was the brussel sprouts …so…many….sprouts…to…peel! I blanched them and then pan fried them with shallots and chestnuts. 

My other self-appointed roll was as ‘dessert creator’. I wanted to provide a lighter healthy vegan alternative to go alongside the traditional Christmas pud. It needed to be something pretty fool proof and easy to put together (no dramas on Christmas day thank you!).

I decided upon a combination of many of the recipes I have posted in recent days. The ingredients list may look long but the method is actually so simple.

…light fat-free chocolate sponge (based on this recipe)

...chocolate chestnut frosting (previously mentioned here) or you could use your own favourite.

…cranberry compote (based on this recipe) or any berries could be used.

…all layered up to create one fruity luxurious Christmas chocolate cream sponge! 

I really love the tart berries combined with the sweetly smooth and creamy frosting, topping the light and springy sponge base.  The perfect end to a sumptuous satisfying dinner…even those who claim they ‘couldn’t eat another thing’ could squeeze in a pieces of this!

Recipe: Chocolate cream cranberry sponge

Makes one 10x15 inch pan (or a thicker sponge for a slightly smaller pan)

Ingredients

Sponge base: (this can be made a day in advance)

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water (see egg replacer note below )
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chestnut cream frosting: (Can be made in advance). I used a two-layered approach with mychocolate frosting smoothed directly over the sponge (I had some reserved in the freezer) and then this chestnut frosting over that.

  • 100g silken tofu
  • 20g agave or brown rice syrup plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chestnut puree (I used canned puree)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder

Cranberry compote:

  • Approx. 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbs rapadura (extra if you don’t like your cranberries too tart)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment. In food processor, mix the tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly into pan and bake  for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before lifting from the pan. The sponge can be made up to a day in advance.

To prepare the frostings, blend all ingredients listed together in a food processor until a smooth consistency forms. Layer the frostings up on top of the sponge.

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura, cinnamon and water. Simmer and stir every minute or so for 10- 15 minutes until the berries have softened and formed a thick compote.

Spoon the compote on top of the frosting and serve immediately.

The dessert can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

P.S. I know I also promised a boxing day pasty recipe!  We made the pasties for lunch today and now I just need to get it all written up…I promise this is on its way! It maybe too late for your Christmas day leftovers but it is also the perfect recipe idea for any ‘roast’.


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Buffet Bites and the ‘Egg’ nog experiment

Well, these last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirl-wind.

Cake still adorns all surfaces- waiting to be eaten, unwrapped presents lounge in boxes and bags, post-it notes and ‘to do’ lists remain half ticked off….

…..but this evening I relaxed! Work in the office is over for the rest of the year and now I can look forward to the holiday season with increasing excitement and last minute preparations!

egg nog smoothie

Actually I have been getting quite excited this year, since the festive recipes have swung me into the holiday spirit, but some years Christmas is literally knocking at my door before I realise that time has come around.  That’s the problem with being ‘too busy’… if you’re not careful it’s easy to miss all the fun, particularly all the build-up and anticipation which is often just as much fun as the big day itself.

Sometimes you just need to take a little time out. Take a step back and spend just 5 minutes looking around you. Smile from within. Calm.

I’m always busy, always rushing and always have another plan up my sleeve. It’s the way I love to be, but I also know I can be my own worst enemy when things don’t go to plan. I am not very good at creating some flexibility and allowance for if things take a ‘slightly different turn’ from how you anticipated. It is very easy to blame others or to blame the situation, which only serves to leave you frustrated when in actual fact you simply need to build in a little contingency plan. That way you can’t lose…and if it does all go to plan- bonus!

This statement is definitely a case of ‘do what I say and not what I do’. I really need to learn to listen to my own advice. It’s crazy that I can see this so clearly sitting here on the sofa, as I type with a clear and peaceful mind, the house is quiet and it’s almost time for bed. Why is it that in the flow of day to day chaos my mind seems set in a permanent state of ‘fast-forward’. Stop…rewind…so what was it I said?

Sometimes you just need to take a little time out. Take a step back and spend just 5 minutes looking around you. Smile from within. Calm.

Ok, ok I’m listening. Practice makes perfect. Hopefully one day I’ll master the balancing act.

But now for food, since that’s probably what you came here for? Although you may find my questioning mind creeping in a little more! Sometimes simply writing it down helps.

I’m all caked out. So this is a savoury post…a round up if you like of savoury nibbles or buffet bites (as it sounds cute).

These healthy nibbles should help see you through the holidays and beyond. I have here a combination of my previous posts, plus the outcome of my ‘egg’ nog investigation and experiments that some of you will be aware of from my facebook page- we simply cannot get soy-nog in the UK!

Some savoury nibbles to get the party going….

Speedy seedy crackers - Great for dipping, also great cut into strips as a healthy alternative to cheese straws!

Coconut cashews - Er, no explanation needed!

‘Meat’ balls - Serve these instead of scotch eggs or sausage rolls, satisfying finger food!

Plus I came across a great idea for using up Christmas Day ‘leftovers’….. Pasties!

I will try and post this recipe and my results on boxing day as I plan to make the pasties, but in essence the method is simple….

Use four smallish plate sized rounds of rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (it’s usually vegan anyway but check the label). Add a mug of veggies and up to a mug of nut roast/stuffing all crumbled up together. Add a few dollops of sauce (whatever type you had with the meal- cranberry, bread sauce, gravy). Lastly add a few pinches of herbs. Spoon ¼ of the mixture in to the centre of each pastry round leaving 2-3cm of pastry round the edge. Lift up and seal the edges together making a semi-circle with the seam at the top. Place on a baking sheet, brush with soy milk and bake at 180C for approx. 40 mins until golden. Serve warm or cold.

So simple… I’ll try and post pictures on boxing day.

Now, for my ‘egg’ nog experiment 

(Gosh this has ended up being a long post- hope you're still with me!)

I checked out various recipes and they were all so diverse!! Some used tofu, some used nut butter, and some used banana.  There seemed to be various options to obtain the desired thickness.  I wanted to create a nog not using tofu, no real reason for that other than I fancied the challenge. A banana and nut butter combo inspired me as I didn’t want there to be an over-dominant banana-ry taste. I also used a thickener to ensure light and delicate flavours but it may also work by doubling the amount of banana and nut butter and omitting the thickening stage- note this has not been tested!

The result….? A  thick milk-shakey frothy drink that is creamy and lightly spiced. It tasted good to me but then I have never had real or soy egg nog before….maybe you can be the judge?

Recipe: Christmas Nog

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond butter
  • ½ a large banana- chopped (I used a frozen one but fresh should be fine also)
  • 4 dates
  • 2 cups ‘milk’ (I used a combination of 1 1/3 cups rice milk and ½ cup soy milk)
  • 2 tsp thickener (I used cornstarch but arrowroot/tapioca should also work)
  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • Spices- 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon

Makes approx. 2 large glasses

Method:

Mix thickener with approx. 2 tbs of water for form a paste. Pour the ‘milk’ with the thickener paste added into a small saucepan and also add the dates. Simmer until it boils and thickens and the dates begin to soften. (note: it should be at least half as thick as the nog will end up). Add the ‘milk’ mixture to a blender along with all the remaining ingredients. Blend until totally smooth and creamy and frothy on top.

Chill until cold and then pour into glasses to serve. Sprinkle some extra grated nutmeg to the frothy top if desired.

Cheers!!


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‘Twelve Days’ day 12: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote

It’s come around at last…day ‘12’ is here!

So that must also mean that Christmas is just around the corner. (*super excited face*)

However, I must make one small apology…. 

When I announced my ‘12 days’ I also mentioned throwing a few savoury recipes in too….hmmm not so much! It wasn’t planned that way, it was simply that cake overwhelmed me and I got a little carried away. Oh well. There are worse things than cake and it is the name of this blog after all!

I will try to make it up to you little in the last few days before Christmas, as I am planning on a savoury round up- a ‘buffet bites’ type post if you like to give a little boost of inspiration to carry you through the Christmas period. I for one need a bit of a savoury kick- the amount of cake, cookie, frosting and pancake testing I’ve had to do in these last few weeks…it’s a hard life!!

So here you have it- the recipe for today. The perfect Christmas pancake brunch, sweet chestnut pancakes with a cranberry compote. Sweetly spiced and fruity, the perfect warming start to Christmas morning.

I bought my chestnut puree in a can in the local supermarket, I would assume this is readily available wherever you are- if not I guess you could blend your own (but that is just a guess!) or you could try an alternative pancake recipe along the lines of this blueberry pancake recipe , I imagine this would work just as well substituting the blueberries for cranberries and adding some Christmassy spices.

Recipe: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1/3 cup mix of wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tbs ground flax plus 2 tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup chestnut puree
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½  tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs agave (omit if you prefer a more savoury pancake base)
  • Approx. ½ cup soy milk (or milk of choice) use more or less to achieve a batter that pours thickly.

Topping:

  • 2 large handfuls fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbs rapadura
  • 4 tbs water
  • Soy yogurt (or others yoghurt/cream)
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Makes approx. 4 pancakes to feed one or two (feel free to double, quadruple of whatever multiples you need to feed the crowds!)

Method

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura and water. Simmer and stir ever minute or so for approx. 10 mins.

Meanwhile to make the pancakes, mix the flax with the hot water an set aside to gel for a couple of minutes. Mix the chestnut puree, soy milk, agave and vanilla in a small bowl then add the flax mix. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add the wet and mix to get a thick but smooth batter. Spoon large dollops on a lightly oiled hot frying pan and fry till golden for a minute or so each side.

Serve topped with soy yoghurt and cranberry compote along with maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon as desired.


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‘Twelve Days’ day 11: mini choco-nog sponges

I had really enjoyed my chocolate yule log, it was so indulgent yet not at all heavy and sickly sweet (meaning I could eat a lot in one go). It was the combination of the light and airy fat-free swiss roll sponge combined with the luxurious (but healthy)

chocolate frosting that made such an amazing pairing and so it got me thinking….how else could I achieve that same effect?

Frosting is the obvious answer, so this time instead of going for the obvious cupcake and frosting scenario, I decided to make another tray of swiss roll sponge but this time instead of rolling it up, I cut out circles with a cookie cutter and frosted those instead. So then you have mini chocolate sponges.  But the chocolate sponge needed something a little bit special and a little bit (ok, a lot bit) seasonal to top it. 

I’ve already given you a number of cranberry and mincemeat inspired creations (and I haven’t quite finished with the cranberries yet!) so I didn’t really want to go down the fruit route again.  This left the Christmas spiced combo up for grabs. Not that I mind…I love ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla- all warm and creamy dreamy. Mmmmm.

So egg nog anyone? Or maybe more accurately in this case, simply ‘nog’. Or even more appropriately… choco-nog mini sponges!

Ok, so now you’ll think I’m crazy…but…I have never actually tried egg nog. I’m not sure I’ve ever even come across it on the shelves (although often if you’re not looking for something you don’t realise it actually exists when its right in front of you face!)  So, here I am making what I call a ‘nog’ frosting having never actually tried egg nog before!  This may be nothing like real ‘nog’ but it’s a warm and creamy nutmeggy-vanillary frosting and to me that sounds like a noggy creation…or what I imagine one to be!

I’ve used banana in this recipe which does give a little bananary taste. If you would prefer a more neutral base to let the spices shout more loudly then feel free to reduce or omit the banana and substitute for more cashew (or other neutral) nut butter instead.

I know…I really must find some egg nog to try this Christmas, I’ve heard the vegan versions are pretty good so I just need to track some down! In the meantime whipping up a bit of this frosting with some almond milk and a dusting of nutmeg on the top may well just do the trick- I’d certainly recommend it and it's definitely the best way to clean up the remnants in your blender!

Recipe: mini choco-nog sponges

Ingredients

Frosting

  • ¾ cup cashew nut butter
  • 4 dates
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp rum extract
  • ¼- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ a frozen banana (or another ¼
  • cup nut butter)
  • ½ cup firm tofu (water pressed out)
  • 3 tbs maple syrup/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
  • Pinch of stevia powder (approx. 1/6 tsp or to taste)
  • 3 tbs coconut butter melted- if you want a thicker frosting (omit for a soft whippy frosting)
  • Makes approx. 1 ½ - 2 cups

Sponge

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Makes approx. 20 mini sponges (depending on their size and shape)

Method

Prepare frosting by adding all the ingredients to the food processor and blending together until smooth. If your blender is less powerful you may want to chop up the dates and soak them in a little hot water first. Once fully blended, the mixture will be thick but fairly runny. Set aside to use as a soft frosting or if you added the coconut butter for a thicker frosting, spoon into a bowl and allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or two.

To make the mini sponges. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment.

In a food processor, mix tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix (see note below). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter evenly and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Once the sponge is cool, lift out of the pan, place on a cutting board and using a circle (or any simple shape) cutter, cut rounds of sponge out of the slab. There will be a little wastage (or nibbles), so to avoid this you could cut the slab into squares.

Once the frosting is prepared, drizzle, spoon or pipe the nog frosting onto the individual sponges and serve immediately. The frosting and sponges can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored separately for last minute frosting.


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