Thursday, 13 February 2014

Innocent Carrot Muffins



I'm a traditionalist. I believe patisserie is all about sugar and chocolate and butter and cream and all those other nasties that dieticians would have you avoid. If I'm going to order a dessert, I'm going to order the most indulgent, the most sickly, the most naughiest one they have on the menu. None of this half-arsed bullshit. It's all or nothing. If you're going to be all 'how many calories does that have in it?', then why even bother? 

Whenever my boyfriend, Steve, and I have dinner plans I always tell him, 'why not skip the main and go straight for dessert?'. There's not point in hiding it, I have a sweet tooth. It's the main reason I never get an entree at a restaurant. Because I know, without a doubt, I would not be able to fit dessert in (which for me is the most important meal on the menu). 



However, my love for sugar and spice and all things nice can not deter my attention from the latest craze that is whole food diets. This means food that is as close to their natural form as possible. With the increasing number of people consuming whole foods such, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes it makes it hard for an avid baker, like me, to appeal to this growing epidemic.

So, if you can't beat 'em, join em. 


This recipe is slightly adapted from one I got from my Mum. These muffins are gluten, refined sugar and dairy free, making it the perfect snack for people on whole-food diets, or those with allergies/intolerances. I'm a bit of a health nut at times, and even though my love for pure indulgence is ever strong, I don't mind eating something sweet without the added guilt. 

In saying that, these are not your ordinary muffins. They are quiet dense and moist and definitely not as sweet. I've only used a tablespoon of sweetener but by all means you add as much, or none, as you like. Change the spices, add some nuts, coconut, pineapple. There are so many way's you could adapt this recipe, just keep the base ingredients the same and the world is your oyster. 

My aunty, being gluten intolerant, asked me for more gluten free recipes on my blog. Well Tommy, this one is for you. I hope you all enjoy! 



INGREDIENTS
3 eggs
1 cup Pie Apple
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
200g Almond Meal
2 teaspoon Cinnamon 
1 teaspoon Ginger
3 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup grated Carrot
1/3 cup unsweetened Sultanas
Walnuts (for decorating) 

To make the muffins...
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. 

Firstly, separate the eggs with the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside. 

In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the pie apple, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Blend until reasonably smooth. You can do this in a food processor or with a stick blender, like a bamix. 

Place all the dry ingredients and the carrot in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add in the apple puree and mix until it just starts to come together. Add in one third of the egg whites and fold through (this will help break up the mixture without letting to much air out of the whites). Add the remaining egg whites and fold gently until well combined. 

Fill each muffin case 1/3 full with mixture and place a whole walnut on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool, if you can wait that long, and eat. 

Why not try...
Re-heat muffin in the microwave. Serve with extra apple, maple syrup and yoghurt for a scrumptious breakfast. 




Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Mocha Sandwiches


12 months ago, I didn't like coffee.

Loathed it even! 

Loved the smell, hated the taste. 


Like I said that was 12 months ago...how times have changed.

It all began when I started doing sleepover shifts for a quadriplegic chap. I'm not at night owl so I knew, in taking them on, it was not going to be much fun. I had to stay up to midnight, sometimes even 2am when the man I was looking after would come home drunk (yes, you read correctly), be awake by 7am and then do it all again the next night.

In order to survive these nights, something had to be done, and coffee became the answer. Initially, I started with mochas, the little hint of chocolate just cut out some of the bitterness that coffee posses. Then one day I just decided to have a latte, bite the bullet and just do it...it has been VERY DIFFERENT since then.


I'm hooked now! Probably addicted. 

I don't even have sugar. And I think instant is foul. It's espresso or nothing. 

I made a trip down to Melbourne after work one day and needed a double shot latte just to get me through the drive. Boy was I buzzing after that!! I was having a little disco in my car. 

My boyfriend, Steven, and I were discussing the other day that I probably need to go to Coffeeholics anonymous, "Hi my name is Heidi and I'm a coffeeholic."

Anyway, my new found love for coffee has inspired this recipe. I've used coffee grounds to really give the biscuit a good coffee kick! And it's very dear friend chocolate can be found in this slightly whipped ganache. They are so more-ish, you'll have to get a impartial party to hide them. 


INGREDIENTS
185g Butter, softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
1 egg
2 cups Plain Flour
3 Tablespoons Coffee Grounds
Coffee Grounds, extra 
Ganache
95g Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Instant Coffee
80ml Cream

To make the Biscuits...
Pre heat oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer until pale in colour. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat further until light and fluffy. On a slower speed, beat in the flour and the coffee grounds until combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together. 

Wrap dough in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden slightly. 


Once the dough has hardened, place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is approximately 5mm thick. I like to do it between baking paper as it stops it from sticking to the bench without adding extra flour to the dough. 

Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. I've used a flower here but you can use whatever shape you like. To get the hole in the middle of the flower (as I have done) use an apple corer. Ensuring that you only do this with half the biscuits. 

Place the shapes onto the prepared trays and sprinkle with the extra coffee grounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. 

Allow to cool before sandwiching with whipped Mocha Ganache. Make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy! 



To make the ganache...
Place the instant coffee and cream into a saucepan and heat until boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. 

Once cooled, place in an electric mixer and beat until fluffy and pale in colour. Ensuring you don't whip too much or the cream with curdle.