Fragrant Stewed Apples (and the best ever apple sauce!)

Such simple comfort food!

We often wind up making this recipe when the apples (or pears!) we’ve bought are really floury or soft but we don’t want them to go to waste. My biggest little one is very excited whenever this recipe appears. He has Oral Allergy Syndrome and reacts quite badly to raw apple, but cooked he can handle it!!

Like most of my recipes I take the simple (lazy?!) option!

As well as taking less time, leaving  the skin on the fruit is terrific for the added fibre and nutrients. Very simple, and you don’t need to add any extra sweeteners.

  • 6 apples (whichever kind you like)
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/4 cup water

Thermal Cooker Method: Core and slice the apples, place them in the machine, sprinkle over cinnamon and cloves. Then use a peeler to remove the yellow layer only of the lemon. Add the strips to the top of the apples.

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Add in the water and set for 15 minutes, speed 1, ST.

Stove top method: place all of the ingredients into a large sauce pan, cook, stirring frequently, with the lid on in between stirring. Will take about 15-20 minutes on the stove.

If you want a sweeter fruit desert, add in a handful of sultanas during the last few minutes of cooking.

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Place in an air tight container in the fridge and use for up to a week. Remove the peel and cloves before serving.

If you want a most delicious, fragrant, thick apple sauce instead, follow the same steps as above, then remove the lemon rind and either transfer to a blender or set a speed 4 for 15 seconds, scrape down and repeat.

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How can I use stewed apples?

  • Eat them on their own!
  • Mix it with yoghurt for breakfast or dessert
  • Use it as a topping for your soaked overnight oats
  • Add it to your cereal
  • Add in some roasted, crunchy nuts and have it for an afternoon ‘pick-me-up’
  • Serve it as a side to a soft tea cake

And the sauce?

  • Perfect if you’re doing baby food
  • Mix it through yoghurt
  • Use it as an egg or sugar replacer in cakes and baking (check out my Apple, Pumpkin and Oat muffins, or my Maple Cinnamon Weet-bix slice)
  • Use it with you next pork roast or pulled pork burgers.
  • Freeze it in ice cube trays so you can grab it out at short notice
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Delicious with yoghurt for dessert!

Enjoy 🙂

Light Lemon Cheesecake

Recently we had our traditional, school holidays Girls Lunch. And for the first time my lovely almost sister in-law was able to come. Man can she cook … with the beautiful cheesecake she brought along, she seriously raised the standard for dessert!

Since it was school holidays my bigger boys were there and my biggest boy, Will, was particularly enamoured with this cake. When we saw fresh raspberries on sale in the shops the following day he begged me to make him one ‘like Aunty Michelle made’. How could I resist?

Trouble was, that there was almost no safe ingredients in it for us – so we set about experimenting. For the first time I tried something really cool …. replacing pouring cream with whipped aquafaba. Yep, allergy friendly and it just about halved the calories for the dessert – win!! Hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

  • 350g soy cream cheese (we use Tofutti)
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba (the liquid drained from a can of chick peas), slightly warmer than room temp
  • pinch  of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar (increase to half a cup if you like sweeter, less tart desserts)
  • zest 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 60 mls warm water
  • 350g GF/DF/EF gingernut biscuits (we use the Leda brand)
  • 110g Nuttelex or other vegan butter
  • 200g fresh raspberries
  • fresh mint to garnish

In your food processor place the gingernuts and process until they are a fine crumb (Speed 6, 8 seconds).

Add in the Nuttelex and pulse multiple time until you have a crumb that resembles wet sand.

Grease your dish and tip the crumb into it. Press down firmly into the tin, making sure that you press the mixture a little way up the side of the dish too. Place in fridge.

Mix together the gelatine and warm water and whisk with a fork until dissolved. Set aside. Then work quickly so the gelatine isn’t sitting for too long.

In the small bowl of your stand mixer, place the aquafaba and the cream of tartar and beat on very high speed until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

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In the large bowl of your mixer place the soy cheese, lemon juice and zest, sugar and beat until smooth, soft and creamy. Add in the gelatine mix and beat again until well incorporated. (Use the blunt blade for 20 seconds on speed 4, the add gelatine and use speed 4 for for a further 8 seconds).

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Pour in the beaten aquafaba and fold through until evenly distribute. (Attach butterfly/mixing tool and use speed 3 for about 20 seconds).

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base, top with fruit and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

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Garnish with mint and serve.

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Makes about 12 slices.

To make this a vegan dish you just need to replace the gelatine with agar agar, probably 2 tsp … but I haven’t experimented with the liquid quantity required yet (as you need to bring the powder and liquid to the boil and then simmer for a few minutes before using the gel it forms). Please let me know if you do!

Enjoy 🙂

Mini Cherry tarts

Christmas in Australia may not have snow and all of the wintery things that we are always seeing in movies and on Christmas cards – but we do have amazing fruit, stone fruit in particular.

It’s a tough call for me between cherries and mangoes, but invariably, close to Christmas, cherries go on sale at the markets …. and I wind up with a tummy ache from over-indulging 😉

These little tarts are made with the same pastry as my Fruit Mince Pies .

  • 1 1/4 cup plain GF flour (or 1 1/3 cups spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp psyllium OR 1 heaped tsp almond meal (omit this if you use spelt/wheat)
  • 1/3 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pure cornflour
  • 1/4 cup custard powder (Well and Good make a good allergy safe mix)
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • 125g Nuttelex, or other vegan butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas) OR the yolk of 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp port or sherry

Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse briefly to combine.

Add in Nuttelex and pulse several times, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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Mix together the aquafaba and port and add it into the mix whilst processing (Speed 3 on a themal cooker). Add a little more flour if dough is too wet.

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Tip mixture on to a floured surface and knead gently (Speed 1, 20 seconds).

Bring into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1-2 hours).

Roll 2/3 of the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3-4mm thick.

Cut into circles, large enough to cover the base and sides of your tart shells. I used my muffin tin, so a  scone cutter was a good size.

Line the muffin tins and place the pastry base inside.

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To make the Cherry Filling

  • 220g fresh cherries, pitted (weigh after you remove seeds)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp pure corn flour
  • 1/3 cup water.

Place the cherries, sugar, vanilla and water in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the cherries are quite soft and have released a lot of their juices, use a fork to help break them down a bit – don’t mash them though. (90C, Speed 2, 12 mins in a Thermal cooker).

Add in the cornflour and mix very well until completely dissolved. Cook over low heat, stirring for a further 2 minutes. (Speed 2, 90C, 2 minutes).

Place a spoon of the warm cherry filling inside the tart shells.

Roll out rest of the pastry and cut out in the shape of stars, place them on top of the pies.

Bake in 180 C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool completely before dusting with pure icing sugar and eating.

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Makes about 16 and they’ll last for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge

Enjoy 🙂

Fruit Mince Pies

These little bites are a regular feature at Christmas time in Australia … in fact, I’m pretty sure that they start appearing in shops about September … so hard to resist them!

I have posted previously a healthier version but I had a request from my biggest boy to ‘please just make them normal, like with the pastry from the shops’. Ok. I know when I’m beat!

I was lucky enough to be given a jar of my mum’s amazing fruit mince so I still haven’t gotten around to making my own … one day 😉

So you’ll need a fruit mince filling as well as the pastry.

  • 1 1/4 cup plain GF flour (or 1 1/3 cups spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp psyllium OR 1 heaped tsp almond meal (omit this if you use spelt/wheat)
  • 1/3 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pure cornflour
  • 1/4 cup custard powder (Well and Good make a good allergy safe mix)
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • 125g Nuttelex, or other vegan butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas)
  • 1 tbsp port or sherry

Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse briefly to combine.

Add in Nuttelex and pulse several times, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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Mix together the aquafaba and port and add it into the mix whilst processing (Speed 3 on a themal cooker). Add a little more flour if dough is too wet.

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Tip mixture on to a floured surface and knead gently (Speed 1, 20 seconds).

Bring into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1-2 hours).

Roll pastry out on a floured surface to about 3mm thick.

Cut into circles, large enough to cover the base and sides of your tart shells. I used my mini muffin tin, so a small round scone cutter was a good size.

Grease the muffin tins, place the pastry base inside, then fill lined tart shells with about a  teaspoon of the fruit mince.

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Roll out rest of the pastry and cut out in the shape of stars, place them on top of the pies.

Bake in 180 C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool completely before dusting with pure icing sugar and eating. Makes about 14 and they’ll last for about a week in an airtight container.

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Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

 

Looking forward to sharing more with you in the New Year!

Chocolate Tarts

My precious girls turns 4 this week.

That tiny, fragile bundle that arrived into such a boisterous house has had massive impact on our lives. Despite her size (which she will quite happily stamp her foot and tell you is ‘just the right size for me!’) she is strong, feisty, fiercely determined and independent as well as being funny, clever and kind. She is an absolute delight and the way that she deals with all of the challenges life has thrown at her is admirable to say the least!

She requested a High Tea for her Birthday … so an Ellie Safe High Tea it was. Watching her be able to serve herself and hearing her squeal ‘I can eat EVERYTHING!’ was worth every second of baking!

We had Chocolate Truffles, Mini Doughnut Muffins, Blueberry friands, Sweet and Salty Puffed corn, Chevup Sausage rolls, Gingerbread muffins, Chocolate tarts, Cucumber and soy cream cheese rye sandwiches (crust off of course!) and wholegrain rice crackers piped with hummus.

Don't think she could be any happier!
Don’t think she could be any happier!

The chocolate tarts were new to us and they were very tasty!

I used the vegan version of my Sweet Shortcrust Pasty. Half the quantity in the recipe makes 12 mini tart cases.

Use a large scone cutter to make circles of pasty, then press into a lined muffin tin and bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 12-15 minute.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from patty pan.

While the cases cool, make the chocolate custard.

I made the chocolate version of my Thick Custard, but I used chocolate almond milk this time for a bit more flavour. Reduce the cornflour to 25g. (The 12 tart cases use only half the quantity of custard made by this recipe).

As soon as custard is ready, pour it into the cooled tart cases and place in the fridge for 2 hours to set.

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Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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Makes 12 and they last (if there are any left!) for several days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Choc chip Gingerbread Muffins

I love any excuse to bake … and Christmas provides SO many opportunities!!!

These delicious little morsels are a cross between my doughnut muffins and my Christmas pancakes.

See below the recipe for a gluten free Coeliac friendly version too.

  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp No Egg powder
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 65g rice bran oil
  • 240g milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup vegan choc chips

In a large bowl place the flour, sugar, salt, spices, egg replacer and baking powder. Use a whisk to combine the dry mix. (or Speed 4 for 6 seconds)

In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the oil and milk.

Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and whisk vigorously to combine mix until smooth. (Speed 5, 8 seconds)

Mix through the choc chips (speed 4, 5 seconds)

Place into lined/greased muffin pans and bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 20 minutes.

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Mini muffins take 12-15 minutes.

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To make these Coeliac friendly replace the spelt flour with 200g of a gluten free flour mix plus 1 tsp of psyllium.

Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins.

These freeze and defrost really well.

Enjoy 🙂

Gingerbread (that will also stand up in houses!)

A few years ago Libby posted this amazing Gingerbread recipe and it has been my go to Christmas cookie recipe ever since.

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Everyone loves this gingerbread, but it can be a little soft for construction work! Since we make our own Gingerbread houses, I’ve been playing around with the recipe to come up with a slightly harder gingerbread that can stand up to the building process a little better but still meets all of our allergy requirements and this is it.

If you are making this mix in a Thermal Cooker, you will need to be mindful of the weight capacity limit of the machine – I do only a half batch at a time in my Bellini. This recipe does make a large quantity of dough, and half is more than enough for a house and some cookies.

  • 250g vegan butter
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs worth of egg replacer (or 5tbsp aquafaba)
  • 300g golden syrup
  • 800g plain GF flour mix (or closer to 900g of you use wheat flour)
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 120ml boiling water

In your stand mixer, cream dairy free spread and sugar until light and fluffy (Speed 5, 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat twice).
Add in the egg replacer. If you are using the aquafaba here, you need to add in this extra step: in the small bowl of your mixer place the aquafaba and beat it until frothy – you don’t need to go quite as far as sort peaks forming. Add this mix into the beaten sugar mix and beat to combine. (Speed 4, 8 seconds)

Add in the syrup then mix well (Speed 4, 12 seconds)

Dissolve the bi carb in the boiling water.

Mix together dry ingredients and then add to the wet mix mixture in parts, alternating with the bicarb water. Start with 800g of flour then add more 1 tbsp at a time if the mixture feels too soft. I used a full 900g last time. (Set machine on speed 4 for about 3 minutes to allow you to add mix through the measuring cup opening while the machine mixes). *Note that the mix will still be fairly soft when it is ready to go in the fridge – it is not a really stiff dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours – overnight
Remove dough from fridge and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then roll dough out (use a little pure cornflour to dust the surface) and cut out to shape.

Lay on lined baking trays and place in a preheated 170C (or 160C fan forced) oven for about 15 minutes.

They will be browned and still slightly soft to touch when removing from oven
Remove from oven but leave on tray for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack.

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For your reference – this is a big quantity of dough – it makes about 130 small gingerbread men!!

Then if you’re making a house you just need to get building!

For a fabulous egg free Royal icing (to use as your cement) check out this one. I made and used 2/3 of this recipe to construct and decorate our house. (For a thermal cooker: place icing sugar in bowl and set machine to speed 4 for about 2 minutes, add lemon juice and glycerine through the measuring cup opening in the top. Mix until thick and well combined … you probably won’t need all of the 2 minutes!)

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My 3, 5 and 7 year old decorated ours this year and they are very proud of the outcome!

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Hope you are enjoying Christmas baking as much as I am 🙂

 

Sweetened Condensed Almond Milk (and Dulce de Leche)

Sweetened Condensed milk is so useful in baking – but when you can’t have dairy it rules it out.

The fats in dairy milk and coconut milk make them really good for reducing into condensed milk – but we’re not huge fans of coconut, so I have tried to condense oat milk and rice milk before but without huge success.

More recently I had a go at almond milk. I was a bit hesitant at first but it seemed to be taking forever  but I was patient (well … probably just stubborn!) and it worked – and worked beautifully!!! And even better, this one is free of refined sugar – Yay!

It isn’t super sweet (on purpose) but if you prefer a much sweeter version increase the syrup to 150g.

  • 500ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 100g rice malt syrup

Place both ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and allow to reduce by half, stirring regularly. Takes close to 2 hours.

In a Thermal Cooker, bring to the boil by using ST temp, on speed 1 for about 6 minutes, then, remove the measuring cup to all the steam to escape, turn the temperature down to 90C and leave on speed 1 for an hour. Check on it after an hour and set for another half an hour, then 5-10 minutes at a time after that, until the liquid has reduced by about half. Will take close to 2 hours

So simple! 500ml of milk gives about 240ml of condensed milk (equivalent of 1 tin). Store in the fridge for a few days.

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If you allow the liquid to reduce even further (about another 20 or 30 minutes) you will get an amazing, thick, creamy dulce de leche that you can use as a caramel in baking, a dip for fruit …. or just eat with a spoon!! I’ve added some Himalayan salt to mine at the beginning of cooking to give a salted caramel. Mmmmm!!

500ml of milk gives about 100g of Dulce de Leche.

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Enjoy!!

Choc-Almond Raspberry Brownies

My mum makes phenomenal Chocolate Raspberry Brownies … as in Fancy Dinner Party quality brownies. Sadly for us, they are a no go zone as they are filled with all of your normal brownie ingredients.

I have been experimenting to try and come up with a lovely sweet, dense brownie that reminds me of Mum’s, but is lower in sugar and fit our allergy needs.

There have been a few rather unsuccessful attempts along the way, some that went straight in the bin (ahem …. sweet potato and quinoa … let’s not go there!), but this one … well, this one is lovely!!

  • 2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (or 1.5 Cacao)
  • 2 tbsp Chia meal, mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 1  tsp GF Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 270 ml tin Coconut milk (I like the Aayam brand)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 100g raspberries (fresh is best but frozen works too)

Place the coconut milk, syrup, vanilla, chia meal with water and oil into your processor. Mix until well combined (Speed 4, 10 seconds)

Add in the Baking soda and powder, salt, cacao, coconut sugar and process again to combine (Speed 4, 10 seconds). Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add in the buckwheat and half of the almond meal, process to combine and then add in remaining almond meal. Process until well combined and very smooth (Speed 5 for 10 seconds, scrape down, then repeat twice).

Pour into a large lined baking tray and press berries into the mix.

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Place in a preheated 180C oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out just clean. You still want them to have a dense fudgey texture.

Allow to cool before slicing.

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These are yummy served warm and sprinkled with some pure icing sugar …. but if you’d like a more decadent version with chocolate icing, then read on!

To make the chocolate icing, as a base I adapted Quirky Jo’s Dairy Free Raw Chocolate (you can find the link here … and if you haven’t checked out her site before … you really, really should!)

  • 200g cacao butter
  • 40 raw cacao powder
  • 140g pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • pinch Himalayan salt

To this base, then add;

  • 1 tbsp cold coconut cream (don’t shake the jar, just use the thickest cream from the top of the can)
  • 2 tbsp powdered Stevia (milled so it resembles icing sugar)

Roughly chop the cacao butter and place in mixing bowl. Process on Speed 8 for 20 seconds.

Then melt gently (37C, Speed 2, 10 mins or until completely melted). Scrape down to ensure it is all melted.

Add remaining chocolate ingredients and cook for 10 mins, 37C, speed 1.

Mix on Speed 5 for 10 seconds.

Add in the coconut cream and mix again on speed 5 for 10 seconds, scrape down, then add the milled Stevia, then a further 15 seconds on speed 5.

Allow icing mix to cool (and thicken) for about 15 minutes then spread on top of cooled brownie and place in fridge to set.

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Cut into slices and serve ….

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*I haven’t made a nut free version yet, but I suspect that you could replace the almond meal with sunflower seed meal. Given that the almond meal is such a large part of the batter, the taste would be quite altered – let me know if you give it a go!

Enjoy 🙂

A little note on coconut oil: I have been using a bit more coconut oil lately…. however, neither Peter nor I like the taste of coconut much (or actually, at all). We’ve adapted to using the milk and cream in some things, but for some reason the flavour of the oil is just too overpowering for us. So we have been using the tasteless oil. I know that means it is more refined and has lost some of the health benefits of the raw oil but it still has some of the beneficial fatty acids that are special to coconut oil. We have opted for an organic, non-hydrogenated oil that uses a chemical free refining process. So if you are using a raw coconut oil in these recipes, you will notice a more coconutty taste – which you might love, but if you are like us, the tasteless version (if you choose it carefully) can be a great alternative!

Chocolate ripple bikies

We had a little bit of heartbreak here yesterday.

The ice-cream van came around, and as a school holiday treat, for only the 2nd time in their lives, my kids were allowed to go. They waited ages, just bursting with excitement, but when we got to the front, their snow cone machine was broken and so there was nothing that Ellie could eat. She was crushed and cried quietly by my side while the boys got their treats. Thank goodness for a stash of special treats at home!!

I felt so bad for her and I was so pleased with the way that she didn’t make a fuss that when she asked for ‘special chocolate bikkies’ to take to morning tea at the park, I was pretty well inclined to make her anything she wanted!!

I’ve seen lots of recipe for chocolate ripple biscuits so I decided to give them a go for her.

This is the version I based mine on here.

  • 200g GF flour ( or 230 spelt)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Himilayan salt
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 100g Nuttelex
  • 1 ‘no egg’ egg OR 3 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 whole egg**
  • 1 heaped tsp each pysillium huskr and rolledquinoa
  • 2 tsp, heaped, flax seed
  • 50g sunflower seed butter

*You can use equal quantities of shredded coconut to replace the psyllium and quinoa if they aren’t pantry staples for you.

In your processor, grind down the sugar to resemble castor sugar (Speed 8 for 10 seconds in a thermal cooker)

Add in the baking powder and soda, cocoa, salt, psyllium, quinoa and flax and blitz until fine (speed 10 for 10 seconds)

Add in the flour and mix again (speed 6 for 10 seconds)

Add in the Nuttelex and nut butter substitute and pulse several times to combine.

Add in the egg replacer and pulse to combine, then scrape down sides and process until mix resembles wet sand (speed 5 for about 20 seconds).

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Form teaspoons of mix into balls and place on lined baking tray.

Press down with hands and place into pre heated 180C oven for about 12 minutes.

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Biscuits will be soft when removed from oven, but harden on cooling. My kids are so delighted -they are delicious and are honestly one of those times you can’t tell that something is ‘everything free’!

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Makes about 24 biscuits – store in an airtight container for about a week.

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Enjoy – like my very happy girl did!!

** Recently I’ve had a few questions about the egg replacement options. I have tried flax eggs but they don’t work so well here. If you can’t use any of the above, suggestions then leave out the egg replacement and increase your vegan butter and seed butter each by 25g… Works really well!

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