We have another no-bake goody for you; this one to add a bit of fanfare to lunchboxes and comfort to afternoon tea.
The humble chocolate crackle can be traced back to an advertisement in the Australian Women's Weekly, in 1937. The ad and accompanying recipe were created by the company behind COPHA, which is a solidified, hydrogenated coconut oil.
That's right - COPHA is coconut oil! All these years I thought it was some kind of chemical margarine-type creation.
But before you go running to the supermarket to stock up on COPHA, pay heed to an important word in its description: hydrogenated. Hydrogenated coconut oil helps keep the oil solid in warm temperatures but also increases the amount of trans fats, which is not good for us.
Our recipe uses untreated extra virgin coconut oil instead. The crackles still set and are transportable and don't have to be eaten with a spoon.
Makes 24 small or 12 regular
2 cups Crispy Rice Puffs
1/4 cup Rapadura Sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup Desiccated Coconut
1/4 cup Alkalised Cocoa Powder*
1/2 cup melted Coconut Oil
Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, then pour in the coconut oil. Stir gently to combine.
Place spoonfuls of mixture into mini baking cups and pop in the fridge. They'll take about 30 mins to set.
Chocolate crackles will keep in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3 days, or for up to 6 weeks in the freezer.
*alkalised cocoa powder and raw cacao powder are interchangeable in this recipe.
When the weather heats up and I fancy making a sweet treat, I inevitably turn to raw desserts. The benefits: no oven needed, and the recipes are quick and simple.
These are my family favourites: Peanut Butter Cups. Half an hour and a bit of stirring is all it takes to make these delicious morsels.
Makes 12-16 small cups
EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED
I use a silicone ice cube tray to set my peanut butter cups, any shape or size will do. If you use a tray meant for standard sized ice cubes you'll get 12-16 peanut butter cups from this recipe. If you have chocolate molds feel free to use them. I have also successfully used a small square container lined with baking paper; doing it this way means you'll have 1 large peanut butter cup slab, which you can then cut into squares when frozen.
For Chocolate layer:
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp raw cacao or alkalised cocoa powder (or more depending how rich you fancy it)
2 tbsp rice malt syrup, honey or maple syrup
For Peanut Butter layer:
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp rice malt syrup, honey or maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Step 1. CHOCOLATE LAYER: Combine chocolate layer ingredients in a small saucepan and melt over low heat for a minute, just to enable the blending of ingredients smoothly together.
Using a teaspoon, spoon chocolate mixture into your silicone tray/container of choice. You'll use about 2 tsp of mixture per peanut butter cup.
Place the silicon tray in the freezer so it can freeze while you make the peanut butter layer
Step 2. PEANUT BUTTER LAYER: Combine peanut butter layer ingredients in a small saucepan and melt over low heat for a minute, just to enable the blending of ingredients smoothly together.
Retrieve your silicone tray from the freezer. Use a teaspoon to spoon peanut butter mixture on top of the now set chocolate layer. Return tray to freezer.
In 15 mins your peanut butter cups are ready to devour! Remember to keep uneaten ones in the freezer - any desserts made with coconut oil rely on being frozen to keep their form.
Tip: spray measuring cups, measuring spoons and silicon mould with oil. It makes the syrup and nut butter behave much better, and you leave no residue behind.
PIMP MY RECIPE
*Use almond butter instead of peanut
*add a few drops of vanilla to the chocolate mixture
*instead of cocoa powder, use 2-3 tbl chocolate drops. They will take a bit more melting but the result is deliciously decadent.
It's not officially the holiday season until that first gingerbread biscuit has been wolfed down, am I right?
We wanted to bring you the perfect gingerbread biscuit recipe. But that statement alone is plagued with trouble - we all have a different idea of perfect! However we think we've nailed it with this recipe.
May the streets of your neighbourhood be filled with the salubrious scent of baking gingerbread over the next couple of weeks.
Makes approx 30
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp mixed spice
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
Preheat the oven to 180C-200C.
Place butter, honey/maple syrup/rice syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan, and heat until melted. Cool in a saucepan for approximately 20 minutes.
Add egg to the butter mixture and whisk well.
Place ginger, mixed spice, bicarb and flour in a mixing bowl and mix well.
Add butter mix and stir to combine into a sticky dough.**
To make gingerbread shapes, roll out the sticky, thick mixture between sheets of baking paper, to ½ cm thick, and use a biscuit cutter to cut out shapes. The thinner you roll the crunchier the biscuit will be. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper or a reusable silicone wrap. Place gingerbread shapes on a tray leaving 3cm between each biscuit.
OR to make plain roundish biscuits simply place teaspoon sized balls of the dough onto the lined tray, spaced apart.
Bake for 8-10 mins. Leave on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to a week or you can freeze them for up to a month.
**At this point you can roll the dough into a log and wrap in cling wrap (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 6 months. You can then simply thaw, cut and bake fresh when required.
For a Gluten Free Version:
You can substitute the cake flour for an All Purpose Gluten Free Flour but you may need to add a bit more liquid sweetener to balance the dough texture.
Wattleseeds are Australia's beloved Golden Wattle tree's gift to the culinary world. Roasted and ground much like coffee beans, they resemble coffee in appearance and even a little in taste - although much milder in flavour - along with a subtle note of hazelnut.
So with a flavour and aroma reminiscent of coffee and hazelnuts, you can imagine how well it lends itself to all sorts of baked goods: try adding a spoonful or 2 to your favourite banana bread recipe, Anzac biscuits, choc chip cookies or pancake batter!
Here is the ultimate breakfast muffin recipe.
2 cups wholemeal or white self raising flour
1 generous tbsp ground wattleseed
1/2 cup sugar
100g salted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
Few drops Bloomfield vanilla essence
½ cup 55% dark chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
Combine the flour, baking powder, wattle seed and sugar in a bowl.
Add melted butter to the dry ingredients, along with the eggs. Beat with a whisk or an electric beater until smooth. Gradually add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Fold chocolate chips into the mixture.
Pour into the wells of a greased muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched.
PIMP MY RECIPE
This pumpkin scone recipe is an old family one of mine, passed down through the generations. It won many a medal for my foremothers at the Brisbane Ekka over the span of the 20th century.
For a different spin on it I have added lemon myrtle, and it brings a whole new element! I can almost hear my great grandmother gasping as she clutches her peacock blue beads...but i think it’s a good gasp :)
"But wait", I hear you say, "that photo - surely that's not a scone! It's baked in one piece! Controversial!" Home bakers of the Inner West, remain alert but not alarmed; I am here to assure you that scones can indeed be baked in one piece.
Not only does it ensure the most sublime texture and crumb, but it cuts out so much faffing about with cutting the scones into circles and transferring them to the baking tray. You just pile the mixture onto your tray, bake, cool and cut into wedges or squares.
1 cup roasted mashed pumpkin, still hot
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten into the milk
3 cups wholemeal SR flour
(Can add cinnamon to flour if you fancy)
1 tbsp Lemon Myrtle
Place in a mixing bowl the pumpkin, sugar and butter. Stir to blend. Add egg and milk then add flour & salt.
Now, I can't stress this enough - Do not over mix! Stop mixing as soon as ingredients are blended.
Now, here is the plot twist: compared to your garden variety scone, this mixture will be less like a dough and more like a batter. So instead of cutting out individual scones, place the whole mixture onto a baking tray lined with paper or an Agreeno baking mat, then bake in a 220C oven.
It takes about 20 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the centre. When it comes out clean, it's ready to come out. Let it cool on the baking tray for 15 mins before cutting into squares or wedges.
They're perfect with butter & golden syrup or honey.
PIMP MY RECIPE
Look, I have to tell you that this recipe is amazing as is. But you can definitely add some different dimensions to it. Try a teaspoon of cinnamon added to the flour. Lemon zest and dried lavender also work beautifully. I'd even be so bold as to suggest folding a sprinkling of chai tea into the mix. Make it your own. And please let us know how it goes!