Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walnut & Raw Cacao Nib Bliss Balls

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I love raw cacao nibs. 

Yesterday I was trying to think of what I could make with my stash of cacao nibs (which I got for my birthday), and I decided they'd be great in bliss balls. When you need a 'pick-me-up' type of snack, these are just perfect. The mixture of dates, nuts and raw cacao make these balls like mini 'high protein power bars' - but they're much better for you than commercial power bars

So do you know why these are called 'bliss balls'? Because raw cacao just makes you feel so good!! Know why? It's not just the delicious taste... Raw cacao contains "naturally occurring phytochemicals like theobromine (considered an aphrodisiac), phenylethylamine (PEA – released when we fall in love), and anandamide (the ‘bliss' chemical)." (Quoted from the Power Super Foods website - you can order your raw cacao nibs here!) There's some more info about raw cacao with my recipe for Treat Balls, which are another version you might like to try.

I ground up the raw cacao nibs in my Thermomix, then added the other ingredients, including a little Rapadura to balance the slightly bitter taste of raw cacao. After making half of them into balls, I decided they'd be nice with a little bit of 'crunch', so I added some more walnuts and cacao nibs to the rest of the mixture. Yum! My favourites were definitely the crunchy ones, but the smooth ones were pretty good too. So take your pick - crunchy or smooth. :) Enjoy.

1. Grind up in Thermomix on speed 9 for 15-20 seconds, or until fine:
- 85g raw cacao nibs

2. Add and grind on speed 8 for 5 seconds, until dates are chopped up:
- 250g fresh dates, deseeded (eg. Honey or Medjool dates)
- 20g Rapadura
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbspn vanilla extract (preferably a good, organic one!)

3. Add walnuts and grind on speed 9 for about 1 minute, or until mixture comes together and is smooth:
- 230g fresh walnuts (make sure they're not old and bitter!)
You could also use pecans if you'd rather.

4. If you like these smooth, go ahead and roll them into balls. If you like them with a bit of 'crunch', add the extra walnuts and raw cacao nibs and mix in on speed 5 for a few seconds, until roughly chopped:
- handful or two of walnuts
- handful of raw cacao nibs

5. Roll into balls and keep in the fridge. 

I was really glad to find some of these still left in the fridge when I got home today from a demo - I desperately needed energy! Hope you like them :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Biscuits (Vegan)

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It's Anzac Day today. We've been to the Anzac Day parade, and when we got home we decided to make some Anzac Biscuits in memory of the Anzacs! "Lest we forget!" (You can read about the history of Anzac Biscuits here.)

After all the treats at Easter, I wasn't actually going to do any more baking for a while, but I just couldn't help myself. :) I decided that if I was going to make bikkies, I'd better make them without butter - I've had enough of that in the last few days, what with Easter pull apart breads and all... So I'm happy to announce that these biscuits are dairy free, wheat free, egg free, vegan, nut free and naturally sweetened! And they could be made gluten free if you use gluten free flour instead of the spelt, and quinoa flakes (or gluten free oats) instead of the rolled oats.

This recipe makes about 20 - 25 biscuits, depending how big you make them.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

1. Mix in Thermomix on speed 3 until combined:
- 160g spelt flour (or gluten free flour)
- 100g Rapadura
- 100g rolled oats (or quinoa flakes)
- 70g dessicated coconut
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

2. Mix together in a cup:
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 Tbspns boiling water

3. Add remaining ingredients to Thermomix and mix on speed 3 until combined, and beginning to clump together:
- 140g coconut oil (slightly melted)
- 1 Tbspn black molasses
- water & soda
The mixture should be able to be pressed together with your hands, and not fall apart.

4. Form mixture into walnut sized balls and flatten (with your fingers) on the greased trays, to about 5mm in thickness. Bake in moderate oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then cool on the trays so they'll get nice and crisp.

These are great dunked in a cup of tea!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hot Cross Bun Monkey Bread

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I've been having fun thinking up yummy things to bake and cook for Easter... Today I decided to use my hot cross bun dough to make Monkey Bread! My mum used to make this for us when we were kids (but not with hot cross bun dough). I often asked for it for my birthday cake. I mean, you just can't beat a pull-apart bread made of soft yeast bread, all stuck together with sticky cinnamon-sugar goo - chewy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside! Mmmmmm...

Most of the Monkey Bread recipes I looked at on the internet used dough which was rolled in cinnamon and sugar, then placed in a bundt tin, and a syrup made of brown sugar and butter was poured over. I thought this was a bit of a 'sugar over-kill', so I made it the way I remember Mum making it, rolling each piece in melted butter, then in cinnamon and sugar. It makes it's own sticky syrup as it cooks, and uses way less sugar!!

I did try to make my version of Monkey Bread as healthy as I could - I used Rapadura instead of sugar, lots of cinnamon (I love cinnamon, and it's good for you!), and homemade butter... but if you can't have butter you could use ghee. Or for a lower fat, dairy free version, just roll the dough balls in warm rice-almond milk, then in the cinnamon and Rapadura. You can even use a mixture of warm milk and butter if you like.

Monkey Bread made in a small loaf tin

Okay, so here's how to make Monkey Bread:

1. Make a batch of Hot Cross Bun Dough, but leave the Rapadura (or sugar) out - you won't need it, since it's going to be rolled in Rapadura anyway. Or if you like you can just use plain bread dough. (I make my dough wheat and dairy free, but you can use just a regular hot cross bun recipe if you want to.) Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.

2. Melt about a cup of butter or ghee in the Thermomix at 80 degrees, 2 minutes, speed 2 (or until all melted). Pour into a bowl. [If using rice-almond milk instead of butter, warm it up a little.]

3. Prepare tins by greasing with a little butter/ghee. I used 6 mini Bundt tins, and 1 loaf tin. You could use 2 loaf tins, or 1 big Bundt tin.

4. In another bowl, mix together about a cup of Rapadura and 2-3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

5. Pinch off small pieces of dough, roll them into balls, and roll them in the melted butter (and/or milk)...

... then in the cinnamon-Rapadura mixture.

6. Place the balls into the prepared tins, using smaller balls to fill in spaces. Only fill half full, or they'll overflow a bit like mine did! Oops!

7. Drizzle with any remaining butter/ghee/milk...

... then let them rise until they're nearly at the top of the tin.

8. Place in a cold oven and turn it on to 180 degrees C, and cook for about 30 minutes (depending on how big the tins are you're using). They should be nicely browned when done.

(Mine were a little too full!)

9. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then tip them out, upside down, onto a plate.


(But be careful not to burn yourself because 
you can't wait til they cool down!!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Pull Apart Bread with Orange-Cinnamon Syrup

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Easter Pull Apart Bread - a delicious Easter treat!

Aaaah, there's nothing better than homemade bread, hot out of the oven... except maybe homemade hot cross buns hot out of the oven!! But if you really can't be bothered with making buns and piping all those crosses onto them, try this recipe instead for an Easter treat... It's so easy and delicious, and one recipe makes two loaves of pull apart bread - one to keep, one to share! (Or maybe one for morning tea, one for afternoon tea - it's very addictive!)

*     *     *     *     *

First you need to make a batch of hot cross bun dough and rise it in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. (I roll it up in my Thermomix silicon bread mat and let it rise in there.)  Your dough should be nice and soft, even slightly sticky - if it's too dry you'll end up with tough bread!

While your dough is rising, make up a batch of honey-cinnamon butter in the Thermomix and set aside. Prepare two bread tins by lining with baking paper.

Once your dough is risen, punch it down on the bread mat, and spread it out flat with the heels of your hands into a large rectangle. The thickness is up to you - I like it about 1 centimetre thick. (You can use a rolling pin if you like, but I find it's quicker to use my hands, and doesn't stick like it does to a rolling pin.)

Next, spread on some of the honey-cinnamon butter, then cut it into four strips, using the spatula so you don't cut your silicon mat!

(Like this...)

Stack the four strips on top of each other, and cut them into six pieces (cut in half, then in two lots of thirds)...

 Place three of the stacks into each lined bread tin, cut sides facing up...

Using your spatula or fingers, fan the pieces of dough apart... it looks like this.

Rise again until nearly doubled, then place in cold oven and turn it on to 180 degrees C and let the bread rise and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until golden brown, and browned underneath. (Pull it apart slightly in the centre to check that it's done.)

Now for the syrup. 
Juice the orange that you used the zest from for the dough. Measure 50g of the juice into the Thermomix bowl, add 50g Rapadura and 1 tsp cinnamon, and cook at Varoma temp for 2 minutes, speed 2. 

Drizzle the hot syrup over the pull apart breads.

Enjoy it while it's warm! 
Or wrap some up for later... it won't last long!

Variation: You can make a glaze to go over the top instead of the orange-cinnamon syrup - just use 50g finely ground Rapadura (or raw sugar) and 50g rice-almond milk, whizz it up, and drizzle it over.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rainy Day Baking...

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The weather is so wet and cool and dreary here at the moment... but I know the secret to cheering everyone up!  Turn on the oven and bake!

Today I made Gluten Free Orange Almond Cakes with Orange Syrup in my mini Bundt tins ~ they look so pretty, and the whole house smells of orange. Mmmm...

This is such an easy recipe, it takes almost no time at all - there's no need to boil the oranges as in the usual gluten-free-orange-almond-cake recipes - not if you have a Thermomix, anyway! Just quarter the fresh oranges and throw them in, peel and all, and whiz it all up!

So if your weather's dreary like ours, get a cake in the oven, get out the pretty dishes and tablecloths and silverware, make yourself a cup of tea, and sit down and enjoy your cake! Have a great day :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Princess Sorbet... and Dreamy Dragonberry Delight!

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'Princess Sorbet' ~ Dragonfruit & Lime

All princesses deserve 'fairy tale' food ~ 
and what could be more 'fairy tale-ish' than dragonfruit? 

The colour and texture of this fruit are enough to delight any princess, but with your trusty Thermomix you can magically transform it into a jewel-coloured sorbet, or a delightful, dreamy dessert! Your little princess is sure to be enraptured!

Dreamy Dragonberry Delight ~ Dragonfruit & Strawberry

What princess could resist this amazingly dreamy Dragonberry Delight?
(Actually, not even dragon-slaying boys can resist this one, 
even if it IS hot pink!)

Princess Sorbet 
(Dragonfruit & Lime)

1. Place lime zest and Rapadura into Thermomix bowl and grind on speed 9 for 30 seconds:
- zest of 1-2 limes (depending how 'zingy' you want it)
- 90g Rapadura

2. Add lime juice, dragonfruit & first batch of ice and grind on speed 9 for 10 seconds:
- juice of 1 lime
- 200g fresh dragonfruit
- 350g ice

3. Add second batch of ice and egg white, and grind on speed 9 for about 1 minute, using spatula to push ice onto blades:
- 350g ice
- 1 egg white

Dreamy Dragonberry Delight
(Dragonfruit & Strawberry Fruity Dream)

1. Place frozen dragonfruit into Thermomix bowl and grind on speed 9 for 20 seconds, helping it along with spatula:
- 350g frozen dragonfruit (chopped into small pieces)

2. Add strawberries and lemon juice, and grind on speed 9 for 20 seconds, until all the fruit is finely ground:

- 250g frozen strawberries
- juice of half a lemon
[Note: you can use any combination of dragonfruit & strawberries, just so it adds up to 600g]

3. Add honey & egg whites, insert butterfly, and whip on speed 4 for 4 minutes:
- 60g - 80g raw honey
- 2 egg whites

How's that for a snack fit for a princess!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm Back!!

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My computer has been in the shop and I haven't been able 
to do any blogging... 
but now it's fixed and I'm back!! 

Still didn't manage to get the recipes posted that I've promised to so many of you... I did get to go for a walk in the rainforest with the kids today though, and made some coconut butter chocolate fudge, and went to a birthday party, so it wasn't a wasted day :)

I'm loving this homemade coconut butter - especially in coconut butter chocolate fudge... yum!

Tomorrow I MUST get a photo of that beautiful dragonfruit sorbet - 
you won't believe the colour!!


Anyway, just wanted to say hi, and hopefully I'll be back 
tomorrow with some recipes!
Jo :)

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