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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Sweet and Salty puffed corn

I’ve seen a few versions around for sweetened puffed corn so I decided to give it a go.

It was super simple and very well received – happy kids!

  • 1 tbsp Nuttelex/tasteless coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp pink flaked salt
  • 170g puffed corn

In a large bowl melt together the Nuttelex and syrup.

Add in the salt and mix well.

Add the corn to the bowl and use your hands to mix until the puffs are thoroughly coated.

Place in a lined baking tray and cook in a 150C preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

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Allow to cool and store in an air tight container for a few days.

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Enjoy!

Fridge Jam

I came across the idea for this easy fridge jam at thankfulexpressions.blogspot.com 

I love that it is healthier and much faster than the normal jam making process!

  • 4 small apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar/maple syrup (Optional)
  • 40ml water
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds

Stew the apples together with the water and sugar (if using). (100C on speed 2 for about 10 mins in the Bellini)

Add strawberries and blend until you reach your desired consistency for jam

Add the chia seeds and stir until well combined.

Pour into sterlized jars and place in the fridge. The chia will swell and help the jam to set.

This jam doesn’t have nearly as much sugar as regular jam so it will not keep as long, but that’s not so much of an issue when you can make it so quickly and in smaller quantities!

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This also works well with mulberries in place of the strawberries.  For the mulberry version I add in the sliced skin of a lemon or an orange to the stewing apples, then remove then skin when I put the jam into jars.

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Enjoy 🙂

Christmas pancakes

No pretending here …. chocolate chip, gingerbread pancakes are a sometimes food!! Definitely for special occasions … and what better occasion than the celebration of the birth of our Saviour?!

I have adapted these from My Whole Food Life and you can find the original here

  • 1 3/4 cups GF SR flour (or 2 cups spelt)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba OR 2 flax eggs OR 2 small eggs
  • 1/4 cup pureed apple (or unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup chopped dark choc of choice

Mix together the flour, sugar, spices and salt in one bowl. (Speed 4, 6 seconds, then set aside).

In another bowl combine the milk, syrup, apple and aquafaba (or eggs). Whisk until well combined. (Speed 5, 10 seconds).

Combine the dry and wet ingredients and then stir through the chocolate. (Add the dry mix back into the thermal cooker bowl that contains the wet mix and speed 4 for 10 seconds, then add choc and use speed 4 for 5 seconds).

Cook tablespoons of the mixture in a hot frying pan – turn when bubbles appear and cook until both sides are golden brown.

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Serve warm … with some extra syrup if you want to be really decadent!

My preference for this recipe now is to use the Aquafaba because they give a lighter more ‘normal’ pancake. They also make the mix more liquid so it is easier to just pour into the hot pan.

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Makes about 16-18.

Enjoy!

Heartily approved of his special taste!
Heartily approved of his special taste!

Summer jewel salad

I love summer salads – fresh and juicy and bursting with flavour. The perfect accompaniment to Aussie bbq’s.

This is a super simple one and so pretty to look at … William thinks the seeds look like jewels and I tend to agree!

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  • 2 small, ripe mangoes, diced
  • 2 small, ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice.

Mix all ingredients together and serve cold.

Yum!