Healthy Lamington Balls

This week’s healthy lunchbox treat was named by Miss C. For she is a big fan of lamingtons, and declared these little balls to be rather similar to lamingtons when I packed some in her lunchbox.

But, unlike their cake counterparts, these little balls have no butter, sugar or flour. Rather, they are sweetened with medjool dates, and given their chocolate flavour with some cacao powder.

Some I rolled in coconut….

Others I kept ‘plain’…

But both came together beautifully, and we now have a big bowl of these lamington balls in the fridge to ‘grab and go’ when the afternoon slump hits.

Kid approved!

Print Recipe
Healthy Lamington Balls
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
balls
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
balls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Process the oats and sunflower seeds in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add the dates, coconut, honey, chia seeds, coconut oil and cacao powder- and process until combined. Add a little water if you think the mixture needs more liquid.
  3. Roll into balls (and coat with extra coconut if you like). I wet my hands a little to help with this step.
Recipe Notes

These balls are best stored in the fridge.

Share this Recipe
 

Snickers Rocky Road

I’m interrupting my ‘healthy snack’ series this week, to bring you an extra special treat. I say “interrupting”, as this treat far from healthy, and its nut and sugar content would probably entice a sternly worded letter from your child’s teacher if you sent a piece along in their lunchbox.

But it is delicious.

And sometimes, particularly when one’s sleep is being interrupted by the overnight feeding demands of a newborn, we need to treat ourselves with a little deliciousness.

This rocky road still has the all chocolate and marshmallow hallmarks of the traditional version , but is jazzed up with snickers bars – creating a rather tasty chocolate / nut / caramel combination. The added bonus being that a batch can be made in a matter of moments.

So friends, I suggest you go and make a batch of this snickers rocky road and treat yourself today. Bearing in mind that because it is not school lunch-box friendly, there will be plenty for the grownups to indulge in at home!

You’re welcome!

Snickers Rocky Road

  • 280g marshmallows
  • 280g chopped snickers bars
  • 1 cup rice bubbles / puffed rice
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 350g milk chocolate, melted
  1. Line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the marshmallows, snickers bars, rice bubbles and peanuts in a large bowl. Pour over melted chocolate, and stir to combine well.
  3. Spoon into the prepare tray, and place in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) to set.
  4. Slice and serve.

 

Apricot and white chocolate bars

After the success of last week’s school snack baking session, I was eager to add another homemade treat to our list.

As Miss C, in particular, is a big fan of dried apricots, I hoped that an apricot treat would be well received. While she was a little hesitant to try these apricot and white chocolate bars at first, they did not return home when I packed a couple in her lunchbox – so I’m calling it a win (either that or a school buddy had an extra snack that day). Either way, the speed at which they are disappearing from our kitchen counter suggests that they may also be a hit with the older members of our family…

Somewhere between a bar and a cake, these treats are sweetened simply with a little brown sugar and white chocolate.  They may not be the ‘healthiest’, as such, but they are not overly sweet and the ingredient list is modest.

They slice nicely too, making them perfect to pack into little lunchboxes, and could easily be jazzed up with the addition of walnuts or the like (if you don’t have any school nut-bans to be mindful of, that is). 

Oh and in case you were wondering, I most certainly had my little kitchen helper on hand when making these too!

Apricot and white chocolate bars (makes 18)

  • 1 cup dried apricots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 120g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a slice tray.
  2. Place apricots and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer until the water has been absorbed. Add the butter and brown sugar, and cook over a low heat – stirring – until the butter and sugar have melted.
  3. Combine the flour and oats in a mixing bowl. Add the apricot mixture and stir to combine.  Fold through the chocolate bits.
  4. Press into lined pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice.

Caramel chocolate celebration cake

img_1354It’s been a while since I put my ‘cake creation cap’ on. But when I was tasked with supplying dessert at a recent family dinner, well I figured it was well and truly time to dust off the ol’ cap and get to work.  Particularly when it was to be a birthday and “bon voyage” cake all in one.

img_1351I’ve seen lots of layer “drip” cakes doing the rounds, and decided to give one a try. I think my ganache was a little runny (resulting in rather drippy drips that were far from their picturesque pinterest cousins), but the flavour was still there. And I even went so far as to try my hand at Italian meringue buttercream in place of the usually sickly sweet American buttercream – and boy I’m glad that I did. For it worked just beautifully at mellowing out the otherwise rich caramel mudcake hidden inside – and meant that we reserved our sugar overload for the other goodies piled high on the cake – twix bars, jersey caramels, chocolate stars, malteasers and butterscotch popcorn.

img_1342

Yes, I think this was very appropriately dubbed a celebration cake – for it had a little of everything!        img_1358Caramel chocolate celebration cake

For the caramel mud cakes:

  • 400g butter, cubed
  • 400g white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line 2 x 22cm cake tins.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, water, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over low heat, stirring, until the butter and chocolate melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Place the cooled chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the sifted flours and stir until combined.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the caramel Italian meringue buttercream:

  • 1 sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 egg whites
  • 500g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (or more to taste)
  1. Place the water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan, and stir to combine. Heat over a low to medium heat. Clip on a candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of cream of tartar if you like. Start the mixer on medium-low to begin frothing the whites
  3. When the sugar begins to boil, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high. When the whites are at soft peaks, gradually add the 1/4 cup of reserved sugar. Continue beating until they become stiff peaks, then change to the beater attachment.
  4. When the sugar reaches 120C, turn off the heat. With the mixer running on a low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar in a fine stream down the side of the bowl with the egg whites
  5. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has almost cooled (this takes a good 5–10 mins).
  6. When the meringue has cooled, start adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running on medium.
  7. When all the butter has been added, increase the mixer to high to beat until the buttercream forms and is smooth. Change to the whisk attachment, add the caramel sauce, and whisk for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Heat the double cream in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and smooth, without any remaining lumps of chocolate. Place in the fridge until the desired “drip” consistency is reached.

To decorate

  • Prepared buttercream icing and ganache
  • Leftover caramel sauce
  • malteasers
  • butterscotch or caramel popcorn
  • chocolate stars
  • jersey caramels, halved
  • twix bars, halved

To assemble:

  1. Trim the tops off the cakes, so that they are even.
  2. Put a small dot of the buttercream on your serving plate, then place one of the cakes on top. Spread with a good amount of the buttercream, a little caramel sauce, then place the other cake on top.
  3. Using a palette knife, cover the cakes completely in the buttercream, starting with a crumb layer then a smooth outer layer. Place in the fridge for one hour to chill.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge and pour the ganache over. You can do this using a disposable piping bag , or by gently spooning the ganache onto the centre of the cake and encouraging drips to fall down the sides.
  5. Top the cake with the various edible decorations, and place back in the fridge.
  6. Remove the cake from the fridge about half an hour before serving.

White chocolate and macadamia cookies

img_0057

Canberra feels more like Melbourne at the moment – warm Spring days one minute, and cold overcast days the next.

And rain.

So much rain.

So with two kids who are also a little under the weather, there has been lots of time spent indoors. Lego, puzzles, dress-ups and a personal favourite, baking!

Cookies were on the agenda the other day. But rather than turn to our regular spelt chocolate chip or freckle cookies, we went with a white chocolate and macadamia version instead.

img_0060

As is usually the case, Miss C had a great time helping me measure out the ingredients and control the mixer speed, and Little J loved flattening down the cookies when they were placed on the trays. Although both kids quickly disappeared when they realised it was time to do the dishes!?
img_0066

The cookies kept well for a few days, and I suspect they would keep for longer if they weren’t gobbled up so quickly!

White chocolate and macadamia cookies (makes 12 large)

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 120g white chocolate chips
  • 120g chopped macadamias
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and brown sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg, and continue beating until combined.
  3. Stir in the sifted flour, chocolate and nuts, and mix until well combined.
  4. Roll out heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls, and place on the prepared trays (well spaced). Gently press to flatten slightly.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

What about you? Do you have a favourite cookie recipe?

Edible Gifts: Chocolate Bark – 5 ways

IMG_5585

With two little ones, and the growing number of daycare teachers, swimming teachers, gym teachers and the like, buying gifts for all of them at Christmas time can get a little pricey.  So we went down the home-made route this year (or should that be ‘last year’?) and chose to make a variety of chocolate bark.

And yes, while it meant a little extra work, it was great to be able to involve Miss C in the whole mixing / sprinkling process.

IMG_5556

We actually made five varieties – which does seem a bit overkill, but once they were cut and divided, it allowed each recipient to get a little sample of each.

Our chosen flavours?

White chocolate peppermint.

IMG_5557

Dark chocolate, cranberry and pistachio

IMG_5558

Milk chocolate, caramel and pretzel

IMG_5572

White chocolate, apricot, walnut and coconut

IMG_5574

Milk chocolate and honeycomb

IMG_5577

And while you could certainly break the bark into ‘shards’, I sliced the mixture into ‘bars’ after it had been in the fridge for 5 minutes or so, making nice and even portions to fit into the gift boxes.

IMG_5578

Divided with some pieces of baking paper, and with a little ‘list’ indicating the various flavours, I was really pleased with how these turned out.

IMG_5581

All wrapped up and ready to go!
IMG_5583
What about you? Do you have a ‘go to’ home-made gift?

Dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart

IMG_3454This year, it took me quite a while to decide what to make for dessert for the family’s Good Friday lunch.  I trawled through many cookbooks and websites, as I normally do, but my mind keep wandering back to a recipe I had printed off early in my search. IMG_3427 And, while I usually lean towards a lighter dessert at Easter (owing to the expected richness of the other menu items), this this dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart captured my imagination. Or perhaps it captured my ‘newborn-induced-sugar-cravings’?? IMG_3428 Either way, I decided that it would be the contributed dessert this year. And luckily for me – I had my trusty sidekick on hand to help put the tart together… IMG_3446 (Brushing one’s hair is discretionary in our kitchen lol) The tart base was made with crushed chocolate coated digestive biscuits, mixed with melted butter then pressed into a pan and cooked for 10 minutes. IMG_3436 IMG_3441 While the tart filling was little more than two rich chocolate ganaches (one white, one dark), poured atop the cooled base, and swirled for effect. IMG_3442IMG_3447IMG_3452 When I say that this tart is rich, I mean RICH! But then again, with ingredients such as double cream, 90% cocoa, lindt white chocolate, egg yolks and sugar ….well there is no surprise that a small slice was more than enough to send our sugar senses into overdrive. IMG_3453 Served with berries to try and cut through some of the sweetness – and overall a tasty end to a lovely lunch with family. IMG_3510 You can find the recipe here. What about you? Bake anything fun over Easter?

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

IMG_0711 Thankyou all for your words of support on my last few posts. Sharing such personal experiences is often never easy, but then it can also be incredibly therapeutic at the same time. And given our pregnancy ‘journey’ has been so very all-consuming over the last couple of years – physically and emotionally – to downplay or ignore it would just be…well….silly. One of the biggest changes I experiences during the first trimester – was a complete lack of creativity when it came to food. I’ll explain more another day – but spending time in the kitchen just had no appeal. Which was so very strange given it is normally my favourite place to be! But I am pleased to report that a sense of normalcy is starting to return, slowly but surely, and I even got my ‘bake’ on over the weekend. IMG_0687 With the RSPCA cupcake day as my inspiration, I couldn’t say no to baking a batch to share at my work’s morning tea. IMG_0689 And, instantly, I knew what flavour I would make. Chocolate and peanut butter – aka one of my favourite flavour combinations! IMG_0709 Beautifully light and fluffy chocolate cupcakes… IMG_0690 And the most indulgent peanut butter icing I’ve ever made. Yes, lovely people, there was nothing healthy about this – let me assure you! IMG_0698 Piped and finished with a halved peanut butter cup and…well…I must say I was rather chuffed with the result! IMG_0707 My little “army” of cupcakes – all ready to be shared and consumed! IMG_0700 And consumed they were Smile  IMG_0710 You can find the recipe I used here (sans the chocolate icing, and cookie). What about you? What is your favourite cupcake flavour?

A “lighter” treat for the Cookie Monster

IMG_0081 I found a recipe for cookies, recently, that had me intrigued. Instead of butter – it used apple sauce and rice bran oil.  And, instead of a whole egg, it used an egg white only. IMG_0083 And although I didn’t have any cocoa powder (which would have resulted in the “double chocolate” its title suggested), I did throw in a good amount of dark chocolate chips. IMG_0087 Aka – sweet tooth satisfied. Even if they were a little on the ‘rustic’ side. IMG_0082 Makes 14 (adapted from Recipes +)

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup raw caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice bran oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1.5 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark choc chips
  1. Preheat oven to 160C fan forced, and line two trays with baking paper.
  2. Whisk egg white until soft peaks form, then add sugar in stages, and continue whisking for 4 minutes or so. Add the oil, vanilla and apple sauce, and stir to combine.
  3. Add sifted flour and bicarb soda, and chocolate chips, and fold to combine.
  4. Spoon tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays, and press tops to flatten slightly. Cook for 12-14 minutes – then cool on the trays.

What about you? Baked any fun cookies lately?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

With Dad in town over the weekend, timed with his birthday nonetheless, I couldn’t resist getting my bake on. For a birthday is a perfect excuse to create something rich and indulgent. I found this recipe online – and, well, it fill the bill just nicely. Particularly as there was chocolate and peanut butter involved. The cake, itself, turned out rather grand indeed. A little on the rustic side (I was not paying proper attention when turning it out of the tin). IMG_9386 But the peanut butter filling…..oh my lord. IMG_9395 It was impossible to not lick the beater when this creamy, luscious peanut butter frosting came together before my eyes! IMG_9396 Sandwiched between the two chocolate cake layers, then topped with peanut butter-infused dark chocolate ganache. IMG_9402 As far as presentation goes, I am the first to admit this cake turned out more on the ‘rustic-homemade’ side of things. It was wonky, and a little crumbled, but I don’t think anyone minded. IMG_9404 For despite its less than pretty appearances, it sliced beautifully after a little time in the fridge, and was a rather lovely end to a meal with family. IMG_9498 Delish! What about you? Cooked any fun cakes recently?