Posts tagged spelt
Easter hot cross cookies

Yep, I promised you another Easter recipe... this one is a much easier and actually turned out a lot more 'bun like' than i'd anticipated- winner! (check out the photo at the end to see the crumb)

The inspiration for this recipe actually came from a kitchen homeware company! Let me explain...

I had an exciting commission a week or so ago to develop and shoot and Easter recipe to showcase their new baking range. The recipe had to be really simple made with regular supermarket bought ingredients and showcase their cookie tray.  The recipe I created was indeed really simple but not  necessary as healthy as I'd like since I appreciate this was not aimed at a specifically health conscious crowd. However I loved the concept of the recipe so much I modified it and whipped up another batch this time a more healthified version! I only made a small batch but you could easily double this recipe.

This recipe uses spelt flour but you could try substituting that for a 3:2 mix of GF flour and ground almonds, I usually find that ratio works well and creates a good balanced texture.

p.s on a final note I am off on holiday for a week later today so I have a couple of posts scheduled for next week and then I will be back on the Easter weekend fully refreshed with lots of photos no doubt. I'm taking my iPad (but not laptop) as I have so many books I want to get stuck into that I have simply had no time to read. I'm sure i'll also be popping up on Facebook and Instagram too...so you can always find me there!

Recipe: Hot cross cookies

Makes approx. 6-8 cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 medium mashed banana
  • 1 tbs flax mixed with 3 tbs hot water
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole meal spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • large handful of dried fruit such or dark chocolate chips 

Topping:

  • 1 tbs sugar free marmalade- melted
  • ¼ cup coconut butter- melted (note: coconut butter not oil for a white cross!)

Method:

In a large bowl beat the coconut oil, sugar, flax mix and banana together until soft, fluffy and well blended.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and mix into the wet batter to create a soft thick dough adding the dried fruit/chocolate in the final strokes. Add a small splash of cold water only if needed to ensure a thick smooth batter.

Using your hands, roll golf ball sized dollops of batter into balls and press down on to a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180ºC.

Leave the cookies on the tray and allow to cool slightly before glazing the tops with the runny marmalade and piping crosses with the melted coconut butter. 

Store in an airtight container. Best eaten within 3 days.

crazy bun like texture...yumm!!

crazy bun like texture...yumm!!

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Seeded spelt crackers

I've had crackers on the mind in recent weeks, partly because i've been experimenting with my dehydrator (they'll be a cookie recipe on its way to you very soon!) and dehydrator crackers have been fun to test out.  But even thought these crackers are obviously not made in the dehydrator they still popped up in my head one day when doing some recipe brainstorming.

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These crackers use spelt so are not gluten free, though they are wheat free. I enjoy using spelt as it has so many similar characteristics to regular wheat flour but without the common associated sensitivities. I also loved how flaky these crackers were with the addition of coconut oil, you'll see in the note below that I tried a peanut version which just didn't have the same flakiness at all!

You can use any seeds you fancy, but i will note that smaller seeds are easier to cut/slice though compared to larger seeds! Just saying ;-)

Perfect with a dollop of hummus or how about this raw red pepper ranch dip.... There are more dips and recipes on this page and i reckon you could easily turn these crackers into a sweet variety with a touch of syrup and a little cinnamon. Hmmm, might have to try that out myself!

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Recipe: Seeded spelt crackers

Makes approx 30-40 crackers 

Ingredients:  

  • 200g spelt flour (1 1/2) cups
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 50g coconut oil (1/4 cup)
  • 50g water (1/4 cup)
  • 60g seeds (e.g 2tbs each of 3 types)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper and other spices to taste
  • Glaze (optional) soy yoghurt*

Method: 

Mix the spices and baking soda into the flour in a large bowl.

Mix the coconut oil into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs and then add the water slowly until a firm and slightly sticky dough forms. You can add the seeds add the same time as the water or roll them onto the dough afterwards as preferred.

Roll the dough onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets until approx 3-4mm thick. Slice or cut the dough into squares or shapes.

Bake at 180C for approx 15 minutes or until golden and ‘hollow’ sounding when tapped.

*I used a pastry brush to add a layer of soy yoghurt as a glaze, but this is optional or you could use non dairy milk or a light oil in a similar way.

Note: I also tried this with peanut butter instead of coconut oil and it wasn’t as light and flaky.

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Dog biscuits… Because man's best friend deserves healthy treats too!

This was the first time I've ever made anything other than human treats, so it was a new exciting challenge for me!  

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A couple of weeks ago my trainer brought his new dog to the session, she was so cute and good as gold throughout. The moment I first saw her I instantly thought "I have to make dog biscuits" Yeah, I am a bit strange in that most girls would think automatically think "aw you're so cute i'm going to sit down and have a little cuddle with you". For me that thought comes second. 

The minute I got home I started researching recipes. What are the healthiest Ingredients I could use? What ingredients were not suitable for dogs (i.e. quite a few nuts- which I didn't previously know, and also chocolate- obviously). I found a few recipes online particularly this one, and this one, that I decided to tweak to make my own versions. So here you have a carob cookie and peanut butter cookie, both using spelt flour. I had originally intended to make one batch a fully GF version but for my first attempt I decided to play it a bit safer (avoiding potential crumbling scenarios), plus spelt is typically known to be kind on the digestive system and for me that is the main thing.

I wanted to make dog biscuits that were the kind of thing I would also like to eat- if I were a dog… Saying that my mum did steal a couple off the cooling rack when fresh out of the oven to dunk in her cup of tea and I'm told they also got rave reviews on the receiving end, and by that I mean it wasn't only the dogs who enjoyed them…

For those of you with dogs in your life… Enjoy.

And to Scarlett for inspiring me... Thank you. 

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p.s I bought the bone shaped cookie cutter especially and it made me so happy cos they looked cute!

p.s I bought the bone shaped cookie cutter especially and it made me so happy cos they looked cute!

Recipe: Carob biscuits

Serves makes 1 full baking sheets worth

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ½ cup carob powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs crunchy peanut butter (optional- as it ]looks pretty)
  • 1 tbs oil
  • ½ cup water (may need to increase to 2/3 cup)

Method: 

Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and pulse through in food processor or rub in with fingers to achieve a slightly sticky ‘breadcrumb’ consistency (add a tiny bit more water if needed).

Roll out to ¼ inch thick and cut into shapes or squares. I used a bone cutter!

Bake at 180C for approx 20 minutes until just turning golden.

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Recipe: Peanut Butter biscuits

Makes 1 full baking sheets worth

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup WM spelt flour and ¾ cup white spelt flour
  • ¼ heaped cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbs oil
  • ½ cup water

Method: 

Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and pulse through in food processor or rub in with fingers to achieve a slightly sticky ‘breadcrumb’ consistency (add a tiny bit more water if needed).

Roll out to ¼ inch thick and cut into shapes or squares. I used a bone cutter!

Bake at 180C for approx 20 minutes until just turning golden.

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Apple and caramelised pear pancakes

This breakfast does not loook so pretty i'll admit... it was hard to catch its good side and in the photos it's all one colour...but it tasted good and thats the main thing!

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I fancied pancakes for breakfast but I had some pears I bought reduced and so needed using up. Then I remebered this amazing breakfast combo where i'd used mollases to coat and caramelise the pears, so I thought i'd give that same concept a go with pancakes on the side!

The pancakes were not quite as appley as I'd anticpated. I used oatmeal which was maybe a little more dominate in flavour so i think if had opted for spelt flour as per these pancakes then the apple puree and juice would have shone through a lot more. Use the flour of your choice, or maybe a combo of oats and others?

The yoghurt was a very simple but tasty creation as I had some remnants of the blended apple round the bowl and so instead of simply washing that down the sink, I added the yoghurt to it along with a little exra spice and so it became a subtly sweet creamy companion...don't skip it!

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Recipe: Apple and caramelised pear pancakes

makes approx 12 mini pancakes

ingredients:

pancakes:

  • 1/3 spelt flour of for non GF and a more breakfast theme use ground oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 small apple pureed
  • 1 tsp chia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • approx 1/2 cup apple juice (or other liquid) added slowly
  • few drops stevia to taste

Pears:

  • 2 pears- sliced thinly
  • 1 heaped tsp mollasses

Yoghurt sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegan yoghurt ( used soy) 
  • remnants of apple puree (I had approx 1 tbs) 
  • pinch of cinnamon or ginger
  • a touch of sweetener if desired

Method:

Mix all pancake ingredients together to achieve a smooth paste, add the apple juice slowly to get the right consistency (it should be like yoghurt). Use a melon baller (easiest way) to scoop small amounts of batter onto a hot oiled pan, cook for a couple of minutes on one slide and flip to cook for a further minute.*

Stack on a plate and without cleaning the pan add a tsp of mollases and the sliced pear and pan fry for a couple of minutes until softened and caramelised.

Serve over the pancakes.

I added a cinnamon apple yoghurt on the side, quickly mixed up in a matter of seconds as the pears cooked.

*Note- you can make regular sized pancakes but i found them much harder to flip! (that may just be my incompetence at pancake flipping!)

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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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Cinnamon challah

Hello, hello…. A second post on a Sunday? Ah, but it’s the Daring Bakers reveal date and this month’s challenge was Challah bread. A new experience for me!

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Right, let me tell you one thing. Nothing went smoothly for me in this challenge. First settling on which recipe to use caused me much deliberation (ok, well that’s not exactly unusual). I had the usual task of veganizing the recipe, which it itself was not too tricky as suggestions had been given and I found quite a lot of additional inspiration from other recipes already out there (I looked at too many to name specific resources!)

Then came the debate as to how to actually make the challah. I have a Thermomix and in the Thermomix cookbook there is a specific Challah bread recipe. So, was I to go with the more traditional kneading/rising  methods and times suggested in the Daring Bakers Challenge and elsewhere  online, or was I to go with the Thermomix method (a swifter process).

So I went with the Thermomix method. In hindsight that was probably a mistake as I had no gauge against others results and it required more guess work in translating my ingredients to their (simple) method and that therefore meant more room for things going awry!

My first stumble: I killed the yeast (oops!) I added it to milk that I warmed just a little too much. Move onto second trial where I didn’t add the yeast to the liquid prior mixing.

My second stumble: On to my second attempt and it all went smoothly until the point at which I had to braid. I prepared a 4-strand braid and then realised I had no clue how to create a braid with 4 strands …ha ha! The stands got a bit stretched and mauled whilst I figured it out…I got there in the end*

My third stumble: Without having the option of using egg wash for the surface, I went for a soy milk with brown rice syrup combo. This was ok I principle I think, but I’m not sure whether it contributed to the over-browning of the top.

My fourth stumble: The cookbook I used stated bake for 20 minutes at 220C. I checked after 15 and it was very much done! I took it out at this point and it was saved…but had I left it longer….

My fifth (and final) stumble: I had added a ‘sweet cinnamon butter’ centre to the inside of each strand. I had high hopes for a lovely swirly effect when I cut into the loaf. Hmmm…not so much..it was barely noticeable.

Anyway, it was a good learning experience…and for the all the things that ‘challenged’ me there were plenty of good bits too…

The good bits:

Using the banana as a binder (instead of an egg) worked really well and assisted with the light sweetness. The addition of cinnamon and coconut sugar was delicious. I learnt how to braid with 4 strands…and you know what…

Most importantly, the bread tasted YUMMY! Yes, I said it tasted yummy…perfect when lightly toasted with a mug of tea. Let me tell you I sure needed that mug of tea!

Please feel free to have a go yourself…here is a link to the original Daring Bakers Challenge, which may assist with the process and also give other ideas for ingredients and tips above and beyond my own.

Recipe: Cinnamon challah Bread

Ingredients

  • 400g mix of white and wholegrain spelt flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 sachet instant yeast
  • 200g warm soy milk (or water)
  • 1 banana
  • 30g coconut oil
  • 20g coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • To glaze- approx. 3tbs soy milk plus ½ tsp brown rice syrup, extra coconut sugar for sprinkling
  • Filling- (optional) 3tbs melted coconut butter, 1tbs cinnamon 2 tbs agagve syrup

Method

Add all ingredients to the Thermomix and mix for 20 seconds/speed 3.

Knead for 2 mins of the dough setting. Remove the dough and place ina  large oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for approx. 1 hour.

On a flour surface, remove the dough and punch it down. Divide into 4 equal portions and roll each piece into a long sausage shape approx. 40cm long.

For a filled bread- i.e cinnamon as I have done or an alternative sweet or savoury filling, flatten the strands and add a line of filling before pinching together to seal into a thick round strand.

Press the 4 ends together and loosely plait the length of the strands before pressing the ends together to complete the braid. Form into a circle if you wish

Allow the challah to rise for approx. 30 mins and pre-heat the oven to 220C (based on my experience I would now suggest 200C I would also suggest a longer rising time of 1 hour).

Brush the bread generously with the soy milk/syrup glaze and bake for 15-20 minutes  or until the glaze is golden (keep a close eye to prevent burning).

*for a 4-strand braid, think of the 4 strands in two pairs. Cross the inner strands first (one from each pair) and then cross both of the outer stands individually (each pair), repeat the procedure with the inner strands (which will now be the other strand of each pair) then repeat with the pairs…..does that make sense. Basically you are just crossing the inners and then both outers in repetition. If you’re still confused…Google it like it did! 

 Flattened strand recieving its filling

 Flattened strand recieving its filling

barely there cinnamon butter swirls!

barely there cinnamon butter swirls!

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Armenian nutmeg cake

Is it that time of the month again already?!

Time for the Daring Bakers Challenge reveal…  this month Armenian Nutmeg Cake! There was also an option of creating Armenian Nazook, which looked deliciously intriguing but sadly I did not find the time to attempt a vegan version of this recipe also.

You can find the original recipe outline and instructions here.

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

There were a few things I changed in order to veganize and healthanize this recipe: I used soy milk to replace regular milk, I reduced the quantity of sugar and added some polenta so that the base layer maintained some crunch, I use coconut butter and reduce the quantity by adding soy yoghurt to substitute in part. Lastly I used wholemeal spelt flour as my usual flour of choice when baking.

The cake turned out quite well, it was light and airy although not very deep, I think if I made this again I would use a 7” or 8” pan. It ws delicately spiced and not over sweet which I really liked. However, I made a bit of a silly mistake by not fitting the base of the pan tin correctly so that some of the mixture leaked through. Silly me! This meant my crust was a little messy and it was also a bit crumbly.  I was keen to have another go at getting the crust sussed! In my second attempt I added a little ground chia to help the mixture stick together. This time I also decided to go down the route of mini muffins with a little base mixture pressed into each muffin mould with the end of a rolling pin.  This time the mixture was not crumbly at all but it was not very crisp either- I wasn’t sure if it should be?  I have therefore come to the conclusion that in order to get a crisper denser crust you would need to include nearer the full quantities or sugar and butter. I’d be interested to get thoughts on how the base turned out for you?

Either way I really enjoyed the taste of this cake, a lovely change from the norm as I usually opt for fruity flavours. Even though the name of the cake is ‘nutmeg’ you can use any warming spices you wish such as cinnamon and cardammon depending on you preferences. I used a combo of cinnamon and nutmeg (I just had to get cinnamon on there somewhere!) Similarly you could decorate the top with any nuts you wish (or go crazy with some chocolate shavings!...shhhh you didn’t hear that from me!)

Recipe: Armenian nutmeg cake

Makes  a  9” cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • Just under 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups spelt flour- mix of whole and white
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup rapadura plus a pinch of stevia
  • ¼ cup polenta (to add crispness)
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter/oil
  • 1/3 cup soy yoghurt (or apple puree)
  • 1 tbs ground chia or flax and 2 tbs hot water
  • ½ cup flakes almonds and desiccated coconut

Method

Mix the soy milk and baking soda and set aside.

Mix the flour, baking powder, spices, rapadura and polenta in a food processor. Add the coconut butter and yoghurt/apple and mix to form crumbs.

Press half the mixture into a cake pan (or in the bottom of cupcake moulds) to form a base.

Add the chia egg and milk mix to the remaining dough in the food processor and mix to form a lumpy batter. Pour the batter over the base mixture in the pan. Sprinkle nuts over the top.

Bake at 180C for approx. 30-40 mins until lightly golden and a skewer comes away clean.

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Valentines choc-orange cupcakes with healthy 'fudge' topping!

I love all the blood orange ideas that are making their way into a few recipes at the moment, the perfectly healthy and natural way of bringing a little bit of pink into your life… what a coincidence that Valentines Day is just around the corner!

So, I wanted to create a little bit of pink and chocolatey indulgence of my own. I couldn’t track down any fresh blood oranges in my part of the world so I had to make do with some fresh blood orange juice instead. All the liquid in this recipe comes from the juice, and being such a vibrant pink colour I had hoped the batter would also be a gorgeous pink shade….hmmm not so much! So at this point I have to admit that I had to supplement this with about 5 drops of red food dye.  The batter was a real rich fuchsia colour at this point, although once cooked the colour was much more subtle.

The cupcake sponge is lovely and light, based on this original recipe but substituting the liquids. I love the combination of chocolate and orange in any form. To emphasise the pink theme without having to resort to playful sugary toppings etc, I sprinkled the tops of the cupcakes and the serving plate with pomegranate seeds. Beautiful…and so much better for you than sugar!

This recipe also showcases my newest healthy chocolate frosting!

Can you guess what it contains…

…yep, more beans!

I love this recipe as it simply another step on from my black bean fudgeYou can make both the fudge and the frosting in a matter of minutes without having to wash anything up in between. My perfect kind of recipe! The key is to really blend it well.

If you’re a little bit beaned out, you could use this frosting as an alternative, its also quick and simple to make!

Recipe: Valentines choc-orange cupcakes

Frosting ingredients:

  • 200g prepared
  • fudge mixture
  • 80g soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tsp agave (or more to taste)

This makes enough to frost approx. 12 cupcakes.

Method:

Simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until really smooth. Adjust the ‘milk’ to achieve the desired consistency.

Cupcakes ingredients:

  • 200g white spelt flour (or GF flour mix)
  • 75g potato starch
  • 1tsp flax seed mixed with 1tbs hot water
  • 3tsp baking powder 
  • 1tbs bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g agave syrup
  • 70g rapadura
  • ¼ tsp stevia
  • 100ml melted coconut oil
  • 50ml soy yoghurt
  • 300ml blood orange juice (the pinker the better)
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 drops natural red food colour

Method:

Blend all liquids in food processor and melt coconut oil separately then mix in. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl then pour into the wet ingredients and beat well to get a smooth mixture. Pour into lined cupcake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C. Turn half way through to ensure an even rise. A toothpick will come away clean when cooked.

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