Everyone has the one baked ‘goodie’ that they always search for when they go out. The one item they can’t walk past and say no to. That one thing for me is ginger crunch. I have to try as soon as I see it on display. It’s something I can’t control, it happens, I accept it. The world keeps turning.
So far the best ginger crunch I’ve had is from a cafe called The Lotus Heart on St Asaph Street in Christchurch. It’s one massive slice of delicious, spicy ginger goodness with enough pistachios to satisfy any craving. I would highly recommend it if you live in, or are visiting, Christchurch. The other amazing thing about it is, it’s only $4.50. I have never seen ginger slice so cheap, so large, and so delicious at any other cafe.
With the slice fresh in my mind I really, really wanted to bake it myself. It didn’t come close but it was still exceptional. It’s different from The Lotus Heart but in a great way. It’s crunchy, buttery and melts in your mouth – basically a perfect shortbread. Topped with a thin layer of ginger icing and pistachios for good measure I created a typical cafe slice (although it really is a lot better than most; I’m still dreaming of the original slice that started it all *sigh*) fit for mass consumption!
There are a few things I would love to experiment with. Firstly, brown sugar in the base instead of white. I think a half teaspoon of mixed spice would also be wonderful thrown into the base. Maple syrup would make a delicious substitute for golden and if you’re into crystallised ginger, chop some up and chuck it on top with your pistachios.
Or just go to The Lotus Heart, maybe I should see if they will give me their recipe….
I just couldn’t resist. After making the no-bake peanut butter slice I knew I had discovered a huge section of unbaked goodies that I had yet to explore. A section I plan on expanding in the near future (Somehow no-bake treats become more and more appealing as Summer approaches. Maybe I just don’t want to make the kitchen hotter than it already is, maybe the heat is making me lazy.)
Either way, i’m loving the minimal dishes and no-fuss ‘whip it all together in a bowl’ attitude this category of baking flaunts. Did I mention a typically short ingredient list paired with an even shorter prep time? No wonder I’m in love.
While I would have loved to have posted a cake to me, it’s bad luck. That and I’ve been so busy making an entire week out of my birthday that I haven’t actually made anything this week… This lemon slice was made a couple of weeks ago that I never got around to posting so decided it would be a good one for a rainy day. Mum made me a most beautiful oasis pound cake (Coconut and pineapple) as well as a butterscotch no-bake (very on topic) cheesecake!! It was so delicious, creamy and smooth. A perfect way to end a perfect day #2 of my birthday week.
I can honestly say I never thought that tea leaves in baking would, or could, result in deliciousness. I was pretty wrong about that. The cookies have a delicious lemon flavour and then after a few seconds the tea starts to shine through. If you don’t like tea, or the caffeine that comes with them, you can always substitute it for a herb like rosemary or sage. That or have it without anything at all and I promise you it will still be delicious.
It would appear today is a lazy day, so you know what? This is me, over and out. Enjoy your tea in a cookie!
Mighty Ape recently had a massive sale on cook books and me, being me, decided it was my time to pounce on some great deals. While Sweet Treats by Julie Biuso normally retails for $38.99 I got it on sale for $11.00 with no extra charge for shipping. It was a bargain I simply could not resist and I am so glad that I bought it! This is the first thing to come out of my impulse buy and I’m very much in love with it.
The cake is gluten free without actually trying to be at all. There isn’t even a butter cake layer thrown in for good measure. While it may not be nut free this is an easy fix – don’t put in the hazelnuts. It will remove my claims of it being sister to the great fererro rocher but it will mean you don’t end up having to admit yourself to hospital. So if you’re going to a party soon and you KNOW that there will be people who have allergies towards gluten and nuts then this is the cake that will win you smiles and a whole lot of gratitude.
Instead of hazelnuts you could probably put in some delicious freeze dried berries, add a bit of jam in the middle (when you come to cake assembly) and fold in some fresh berries into the cream to make it as people friendly as possible.
If you have the unfortunate luck of being allergic to dairy then I am sorry, this cake isn’t for you. If you are pushed for dairy free cake ideas try either of my carrot cakes. The ‘apricot carrot’ is super light and fluffy and the ‘carrot’ is far more moist and dense. What texture of cake you like will dictate your choice, both are delicious though and completely dairy free – just dust with icing sugar and you’re away.
If you find yourself constantly trolling the internet for baking inspiration I highly recommend picking up the nearest cookbook and flicking through it. Even if it isn’t a great recipe, or book, what it will do is give you a myriad of ideas for what to bake on your next adventure. I never would have thought to search ‘meringue cake’ in a million years but as soon as I saw the recipe I knew I couldn’t pass it by. While the internet is amazing for finding awesome food bloggers with recipes that are to die for, sometimes you have to know what you’re searching for in order to stumble across them.
Ah the ever lasting joys of no-bake baking! That combined with the excessively minimal ‘pantry staples’ ingredient list, makes for one deliciously easy treat that even a five year old could whip together. Well a five year old that had an adult near to help them with the microwave (in case you remembered the food processor, the biscuits would be crushed the way my mum used to get my brother and I to do it – with a rolling pin and a bag).
I actually had intended to post last week however the no-bake treat set to wow with it’s simplicity was promptly eaten before any photos could be taken. A bit of a bummer but it was pretty delicious and the next time I make it, it will be surrounded with barbed wire until pictures have been taken. Otherwise I see the past repeating itself. That would not be ideal.
Originally this recipe didn’t have golden syrup but I bought peanut butter that had no added sugar so after tasting a wee bit of it I felt it needed a boost. Perhaps I am developing a sweet tooth at last (for better or worse). I have also reduced the butter by nearly 100grams as when I dumped in my 225gram total butter, it definitely was too much. It didn’t resemble cookie dough at all and ended up being a very wet mixture and having a complete lack of extra biscuits meant it went in the fridge as it was with fingers AND toes crossed.
Despite my slight hiccup, this blog I have discovered as a direct result, is AMAZING. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of High Tea With Dragons before especially since we live in the same country. All in all, definitely a blog to rummage through if you love scrumptious baking and reading well written, interesting posts.
Spring has officially arrived. It’s almost impossible to look anywhere and not see the tulips, daffodils, blue bells lighting up the garden as well as the magnolia, nashi and sour cherry tree in full bloom. It’s just beautiful.
These mini loaves are my epitome of Spring. They are light, buttery, soft, intensely lemon flavoured and has subtle bursts of elderflower. It’s a recipe I am definitely going to be using again, very, very soon.
My loaves made little mountains in the middle which isn’t always a desired effect. The way to combat this is to set your oven at 150˚C instead of 180˚C (in the recipe below I have said to set the oven at 150˚C but know that both work, it depends on how you want them to look in the end). The lower temperature means that even after the outside edges of the loaf has cooked, the middle won’t have the high temperatures to send it soaring up higher than the edges. It should also give you a more even colouring on top – I simply did not have enough time to let it bake for longer so turned up the heat.
This went down an absolute treat, the entire batch disappeared overnight. In my opinion that’s the seal of guarantee right there.
This is a fantastically easy, delicious, energy fueling recipe. It’s gluten free, nearly vegan (honey can be substituted with agave nectar and the butter for margarine) and absolutely delicious. It’s sweet, caramely and nutty with a hint of chocolate and the seeds make you feel like you’re eating something a little bit more on the healthy side (it’s not really).
PLEASE use this recipe as a base; add whatever you want! The only “must haves” are the butter, peanut butter (but it could easily but almond, hazelnut, or a seed butter), a dark unrefined sugar, honey and oats. Everything else is totally up to you. There’s space in this recipe to add even more to it than I did but beware of going overboard and having a bar that doesn’t stay together. The original recipe had banana chips in it which would go really well with the peanut butter but I didn’t have any so had to get creative instead.
Sultanas, cranberries, apples or any other dried fruit, as long as they are chopped down in size, would offer a juicy boost. Other nuts, seeds or even a touch of spices such as cinnamon would work nicely in this bar. As I said it’s completely up to you, your tastebuds and your creative flair.
I actually made this on the same night I made the bliss balls, well I made it first and then felt like I was on such a roll that I had to make something else while the cheesecake was patiently baking away.
Patiently was probably a bad word to use, I am never patient when it comes to cheesecake. I ended up eating cheesecake the next morning right after my breakfast and neither events happened past 10am. I was horrified with myself but not enough to stop from gorging on my absolutely favorite dessert (or cake – depending on how you look at it). You might remember my previous cheesecake which sported a much more intense lemon flavour, matched with a sour rhubarb top.
The differences between these two would be the way I baked them and the biscuit base coming up around the sides. It was also not quite as tall as this classic New York Cheese Cake. I actually had too much filling due to a lack of reading on my part. I used a smaller cake tin than required, my bad. I only had the smallest amount left over but it still felt like such a waste.
The use of high and low temperatures are meant to stop your cheesecake from cracking. I was unable to do this successfully as I didn’t keep a close eye on the top of my cheesecake, resulting in superficial burning but I completely freaked out and opened the oven door to let out lots of the heat so it would stop burning. Big mistake. Luckily this cheesecake is most delicious with a berry topping and completely covers any damage incurred during the baking process. I did however use the water bath baking method quite successfully but I will be sure to try this high-low method again and not do silly things like opening the door. I am sure it will work perfectly next time. It’s exciting that there’s a next time.
I hope your day has been as beautiful as the morning is Christchurch is turning out to be. 18˚C high, light winds and a whole lot of sun. Next on the agenda, lunch with my brother having dim sum!
I was first introduced to these vegan, gluten free, (processed) sugar free delights sometime last year when my flatmate was given a magazine with healthy yet delicious treats packed inside it. Since then I’ve made a few variations however bliss balls have the unhealthy tendency to attack your wallet. I’m only referring to the recipes that use fresh, scrumptious, rich medjool dates. Personally the recipes that use them have been my all time favorite ones however, it’s a financially unsustainable practice. Especially when you’re a student.
This recipe uses dried, pitted dates which are unimaginably cheaper. Much more wallet friendly and still delicious. Think of this recipe as somewhat of a base. Even the nuts can be swapped out. Experiment with your own flavours (cashew and apricot is out of this world) or add a whole host of seeds into the mix. Just make sure your blender is big enough or you’ll be doing it three or four lots!
It takes more or less 10minutes to see these delights go from ingredients to the finished product. If you can wait I strongly recommend putting them in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. It will firm them up and let the flavours develop and mingle.
The perfect, healthy (without tasting like health if you get what I mean) snack, treat, on-the-go pick me up or breakfast (you can make them bigger than I made mine) I have found so far.