chewy double chocolate vegan cookies

Chocolate biscuits are up there as one of the best things to munch on with a cup of coffee or tea, and I love to have a snack on the go at all times. These biscuits are really chocolatey and chewy because they are made with golden syrup. They have quite a grownup taste because the flavours are quite intense and very chocolatey, which I like. You really know you have had a hit of chocolate when you have had one of these. Ralph and I think they are beyond delicious and really moreish.

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chocolate avocado ganache

This chocolate ganache is super healthy and tastes like a very rich chocolatey ganache made with dairy, this is because the avocados give it a thick and rich creamy consistency. It’s so rich you only need a small amount. You can frost vegan cupcakes and cakes with it and it’s super healthy. It’s also great served as a pudding with coconut cream, desiccated coconut, berries, or bananas. You can even serve it with frozen berries which look amazing next to the dark chocolate ganache and it looks great served in little espresso cups or small shot glasses.

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chewy vegan florentines

I took a Mary Berry recipe for Florentines and converted it to a vegan recipe, so they are dairy free. What is missing in some vegan baking is the luxurious taste of fine ingredients and interesting textures. These Florentines are chewy, tasty and very lux, perfect for a special occasion or just with coffee as a treat.
I’m testing them out later on friends, and I won’t tell them they are vegan then I’ll get back to you…..yay! They loved them and couldn’t tell they were vegan.

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jamaica ginger cake

Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven… but shhh, you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice!

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pear cake

This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey or maple syrup
1 egg and one egg yolk (or if you want to make it egg free, use egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store))
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour or plain flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil

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mince pie apple crumble

A really delicious way to use up the Christmas mince pie mountain over the festive period, even the stale ones. This is my own invention and it pimps up the mince pie, turning it from a Skoda into a Ferrari. The tartness of the apple counterbalances the sweetness of the mince pies, which caramelise on top of the apples and it really works as they are a marriage made in heaven. It has all the Christmassy flavours of orange zest and mixed spice then the mix of crunchy top with the creamy apples combo, which for me is pretty perfect. My friends think this recipe is a work of genius.

Recipe

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
700g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
25g soft brown sugar
Zest of an orange and two tablespoons of its juice
2 teaspoons mixed spice
(sometimes I double up the filling because I love a lot of apple, this will mean another 15 minutes approx of baking time)

Crumble topping
Several mince pies or more if you are a big mince pie fan
75g butter
175g plain flour (I use wholemeal spelt)
50g soft brown sugar

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ethical mince pies

There really isn’t anything as delicious and comforting as a home made mince pie that’s still warm from the oven. It’s totally evocative of Christmas with the smell of all the spices, dried fruit and brandy. These mince pies are totally vegetarian and don’t use beef suet or the unethical palm oil which are in most shop bought mince meat jars and mince pies. They are easy to make, you use shop bought pastry if you can’t, like me, be bothered to make it and because the filling is so good, no one will notice. They are fun to make with kids too as they can decorate the top their way. I use a Christmas tree cookie  cutter, but there are lots of different Christmas themed cookie cutters you could use.

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chocolate and pear ice cream

My challenge was to make an easy chocolate ice cream that was a proper hit of chocolate, rich and creamy and really healthy. You don’t need an ice cream maker and the ingredients are simple. The pears make the flavour and texture work really well. My friends really like it… and it’s delicious with strawberries or raspberries. Perfect if you want a chocolate fix and still want to fit into your bikini (or speedos). A lovely follower of mine on Instagram called Sue added a smashed up bar of good quality dark chocolate at the end and said it made it deluxe.

Makes 1/2 litre.

Ingredients:
1 big pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ripe pears
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup soya milk (I use Bonsoy) or coconut milk/cream
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

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chocolate tarts

These tartlets take about 10 minutes to make and another 2 hours to chill. Buy good quality ready made sweet tartlet shells (available at supermarkets) to save time. After they have been chilled, dust with cocoa on top with raspberries or strawberries or decorate with whipped cream blobbed on top with chocolate shavings.

Makes approx. 32.

Ingredients:
200ml double cream
A few drops of vanilla extract
50g of caster sugar
200g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken into small pieces
1 ounce butter

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