Almond butter choccy egg bites

Does anyone still dye boiled eggs yellow at Easter with (now this is Mother Duffins name for this so there is a high possibility it’s made up…) ‘whin bush’ petals, then roll them down a big hill and chase after them???   Ahhh, the memories….

Here’s a tastier version, I wouldn’t roll them down a hill though.

Enjoy!

Keen Almond butter choc eggs Keen Almond butter chocolate eggs Keen Almond choccy eggs Keen Almond chocolate eggs

 

Keen Nut Butter Eggs

240g Keen smooth almond, cashew would also work gloriously

125mls maple syrup

1tbsp melted coconut oil

4tbsp ground almonds

dash of vanilla

pinch of salt

 

Chocolate coating

340g dark chocolate

50g coconut oil

 

In a big bowl mix together the nut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil.  Add the ground almonds, salt and vanilla.  You can chill the mixture for a bit now if it’s too soft to shape into eggs or if you’re good to go take a teaspoon for small or a tablespoon for large eggs.  Use two spoons to shape and push the mixture of the spoon and onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.  Large will make about 10, small 20.  Chill in the fridge for an hour or two.  When they are firm, melt your chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Set aside to cool off.  I found it better if there is no heat in the chocolate before starting to coat your eggs, but it’s still a liquid obvs!  Spoon the chocolate over the eggs, or dip them – whichever works best for you.  Stick them back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.  There you have it, healthy chocolate nut butter eggs to feast upon!  Additions to these moreish mounds can be anything from a hazelnut center, made with Keen hazelnut and dark chocolate (oh I’m trying that!) dried fruit, seeds, rolled in chopped nuts, Keen macadamia and white chocolate and dipped in white chocolate…the possibilities are endless!

 

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NOTella Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake

I was reading something online the other day, the sentence started “I don’t like cheesecake…” and I don’t know what happened after that.  I don’t quite trust people who say they don’t like cheesecake…..it’s weird….what’s not to like?!?  Okay, so everyone can’t like the same things but, but cheesecake?  It’s like saying you don’t like puppies or being happy!  Anyway, if like me you ARE a cheesecake lover and would like to try making your own, here’s one recipe that will leave you a little bit more nuts for the stuff.  It was Nutella day last week, which totally came by surprise to me as I didn’t know there was such a day, most likely invented by Nutella.  Now, I do like Nutella but it’s not the healthiest thing on the planet and to be frank – it’s laden with sugar, very little percentage of nuts and more sugary chocolate.  Step up Keen.  They have made their version of Nutella using 83% hazelnuts and 17% decadent dark chocolate.  Now that’s what I call a nutty spread!  I took a recipe for Nutella cheesecake and replaced yes you guessed it, the Nutella with Keen and my word,  you are gonna love this….

Dark Choc Nutty Cheesecake Nutty choc cheesecake slice

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits

75g butter or coconut oil (the firm stuff)

450g cream cheese (full fat)

350g Keen hazelnut and extremely dark choc

60g icing sugar

100g chopped toasted hazelnuts

 

Method

Blitz the digestives in a food processor.  Meanwhile heat the butter and 1 tbsp of nut butter over a medium heat.  Add the blitzed biscuits and a couple of spoonfuls of chopped nuts to the butter mixture.  Mix well until combined and then press into a loose bottomed 8inch tin.  Press the mixture down firmly and up the sides of the tin a little to create a lip and smooth the surface with a spoon.  In a big bowl soften the cream cheese.  I used full fat as it’s what I had at the time but I will try this with a lighter version or maybe Quark in future?  Add the icing sugar and beat together. The mixture should start to stiffen a little at this stage.  Add the rest of the nut butter and beat to combine well.  Give it a few folds with a large spoon to make sure you get everything all in there and then tip onto the base.  Top with the chopped nuts and let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight preferably.  Loosen the sides by running a knife round if you need to, remove from tin and enjoy!  Try using half and half different nut butters (or use half Nutella for a little naughtiness) to create different flavours, use pecan nuts and try gingernuts, oreos or hobnobs for the base instead 🙂

 

Almond Nut Butter Protein Bars

All good things come in small packages, right?  Well these little wonderbars (or not so little depending on how generous your portions are!) pack a powerhouse of nutritional yummy goodness that will satisfy any chocoholics craving, in a not so sinful choccy way.  Crammed full of nuts, seeds, yummy almond butter and rich dark velvety chocolate, I have to admit, I really really enjoyed licking the spoon on this occasion!  Not to mention a few sneaky extra spoonfuls of delicious almond butter of course 🙂  Even those who aren’t fans of dark chocolate will find themselves wanting more.  I’ve already been ordered to make another batch by a dark chocolate loather!

 

Go on, move over to the dark side 😉

 

protein barsAlmond butter protein bars

Ingredients (Makes 16 pieces)

1 cup mixed chopped nuts

1/2 cup ground almonds

3 scoops protein powder (I used chocolate but vanilla  or banana could work also)

1 cup dried cranberries

2 tbls flaxseeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

2 x 100g bars of 85% cocoa solids dark chocolate

2 heaped tbls any flavour smooth nut butter (I used Keen Almond Smooth Nut Butter)

 

Method

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof dish over some simmering water (do not let the water touch the bowl).  Once the chocolate has melted. take it off the heat and stir in the nut butter.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  Line a square 8in x 8in dish with baking parchment.  Pour in the chocolate mixture, push into the corners of the dish and smooth over the top.  Place in the fridge until set and then cut up into equal squares.

 

 

Well that takes the biscuit!

Did you know that a team of professional scientists have actually conducted experiments to discover which biscuit is the best biscuit to dunk in a cup of tea?  Yes, really!  The result?  Good old Rich Tea apparently.  Not my personal go-to biscuit but then I’m not much of a dunker.  However, when it comes to the Italian’s favourite biscotto (the Italian word for biscuit)  biscotti beats Rich Tea’s ass like Rocky Balboa vs Julian Simmons.  Often crammed full of little gem like clusters of dried cranberries, crunchy roasted almonds or delicious chunks of nougat.  I baked mine strewn with flashes of bright green pistachio, rich dark chocolate chips and a hint of vanilla.  Behold a biscuit made for dunking!  The Italian’s always get it so right.  Enjoy with hot, velvety coffee, sweet dessert wine or even a glass of cold, creamy milk would entirely compliment these wonderful little biscuits.  If you haven’t tried biscotti yet, it is honestly one of the simplest things in the world to make and after you’ve made it, you’re thoughts will be consumed with the endless possibilities of ‘what can I make it with next…?’.  Enjoy!

 

Double chocolate & pistachio biscotti perched on a coffee cup

Double Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti

 

Ingredients List

90g plain flour (if you want to make chocolate like I did replace 2tbsp with cocoa powder)

1tsp baking powder

55g sugar

35g shelled pistachios (leave whole)

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

25g dark chocolate chips

dash of milk

 

Method

Heat oven to 160 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Put all the dry ingredients into a baking bowl and mix together.  Add the egg yolk and mix to form a dough.  I found the mixture a little dry so if this is the case do like I did and add a little milk until it comes together (be careful not to make the dough wet though).  Shape into a log (about 6inches approx), place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cut into slices then place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes to crisp up.

 

Serving suggestions as above, enjoy!

 

Puddles and Pudding

Yesterday I took a little walk through Belfast city centre, looking for inspiration but mostly getting soaked as I failed to dress in a wetsuit that day – weather! Anyhow, whilst hopscotching up the street trying to avoid puddles I landed upon a window dressed with colour, decadence and the pure indulgence one would suspect to find only on les rues de Paris.  It was of course one of Belfast’s newest bakeries Patisserie Mimi.  I must have stood slack jawed gazing into the window for at least five whole minutes before finding the use of my now sodden legs to go in and purchase a delicate treat.  And that I did!  May I present to you Taïnori Chocolate, Raspberry Financier, Pistacchio Truffle – a masterpiece of bittersweet silky chocolate mousse, tart raspberries and short, sweet buttery pastry that melted like candyfloss.  The best thing about taking this picture?  The satisfaction of devouring every crumb once I was finished!

Patisserie Mimi