Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies as a concept are not that bad for you, its just the copious amounts of unnecessary sugar manufactures and recipes call for that has given them such a bad press. Try this really simple, loved by young and old recipe and use it as a basis for loads of excellent cookie combinations such as apricot and cinnamon, cranberry or orange and hazelnut.
Serves: 16 cookies
- Basic cookie dough ingredients:
- 100g/31/2oz organic butter, at room temperature
- 1 free range gg
- 100g stevia, xylitol
- ½ vanilla essence/extract or if you'd prefer the vanilla seeds from ½ a vanilla pod
- 150g/51/2oz unrefined flour, I used coconut flour. For a flourless version use 150g/51/2oz rolled oats and ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g dark 70% minimum cocoa chocolate chips/broken chocolate
- preheat oven to 180C/350F
- line two trays with greaseproof paper
- in a large bowl whisk together the butter and egg then add the sugar and vanilla
- using a wooden spoon fold in the flour/oats & bicarbonate of soda until you have a soft dough, lastly fold though the chocolate chips.
- roll the dough into 16 even balls, space evenly on the prepared trays
- cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30mins
- bake for 15 mins in the preheated oven
- cool on a rack
There are certain recipes where you really really really don't need sugar, and scones is one of them. Clearly if you have a sweet tooth the addition of dried fruit gives you a natural fructose kick, and if you really must a smudge of good quality/homemade conserve will provide all the sweetness you need to make this a super filling, tasty, moorish treat.
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Serves: 12 scones
- 450g/16oz self raising unrefined flour (i used wholemeal)
- 100g/4oz chopped apricots (you can used any dried fruit you like or leave plain)
- 150g/6oz organic butter
- 2 free range eggs, beaten
- 6-8 tablespoons almond milk (you can use organic milk if you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 425f/220C
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour until you have coarse breadcrumbs
- sprinkle in the dried fruit
- pour in the beaten egg and milk and stir to combine
- form the dough into a ball and turn onto a lightly floured work surface
- press into a rectangle about 1inch (2cm) thick
- either cut into 10/12 squares/triangles or use a pastry cutter to cut out 10/12 scones
- place on a greased baking sheet
- bake in the top of your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
- Leave to cool on a cooling tray
- Serve with good conserve or homemade jam.
You can substitute the 100g of dried fruit for 100g of grated cheese for a tasty savoury option.
Be My Valentine Cake
Dark chocolate and raspberries are the perfect marriage. I've kept this cake light by using a genoise sponge base, try different berries and/or boozy combinations morello cherries and kirsch work really well.
Serves: 8-10 slices
- For the Genoise Sponge
- 15g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 free range eggs
- 60g stevia/xylitol
- 50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g cocoa powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 20ml brandy (optional)
- For the mousse
- 175g 70% minimum organic dark chocolate
- 4 eggs, separated
- 100g stevia/xylitol (natural sugar substitutes)
- 3tbs strong coffee (add 1 tbs of strong coffee granules to 2 tbs of boiling water)
- 175g organic butter, diced
- 60ml brandy (optional)
- 150ml double cream
- 1tbs organic cocoa powder
- To decorate
- 2 punnets fresh organic raspberries
- For the Genoise Sponge:
- preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line 20cm sandwich tin
- put the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk, using an electric hand-held whisk, for at least 7 minutes until the mixture is trebled in bulk, very pale and thick enough to hold a trail when the beaters are lifted.
- sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together over the mixture and fold in gently, keeping in as much air as you can. Finally, very carefully fold in the melted butter.
- spoon the mixture into the prepared sandwich tin and bake for 25 minutes until golden and slightly shrunk from the sides of the tin.
- leave the sponge to cool in the tin
- For the mousse:
- break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water,add the coffee melt and then remove from the heat and stir in the diced butter until melted.
- beat the egg yolks and 90g of xylitol together
- pour in the melted chocolate mixture and combine
- in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form then add the remaining 10g of xylitol and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form (please make sure they are stiff, for the brave tip the bowl upside down, the egg whites should stay in the bowl!)
- Carefully fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture until all the white has disappeared, be careful not to beat the air out of your mousse
- To construct the cake: (see notes)
- Leaving the cake in the tin brush the surface with 20ml of brandy
- Carefully spoon over the chocolate mousse levelling it off with a palette knife
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours
- To unfold slide a warmed palette knife (dip in hot water) around the edge of the sandwich tin and carefully release the cake from the pan.
- Place on a serving plate and decorate with the raspberries
- Serve with a splash of double cream or spoon of creme fraiche
I have used the standard method of chilling and unmoulding in this recipe but if you prefer you can remove the sponge once cooked and cooled and place on your serving plate, if you are using it brush with the brandy. Using the original sandwich tin ring, wrap in cling film and carefully replace around your sponge. Next spoon the mousse on top of the cake cover with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours. Carefully release the sandwich tin ring and decorate with the raspberries.
The classics are often the best and I have spent a long time finding and perfecting the ideal recipe to ensure a well risen, beautifully light and fluffy Victoria Sponge. I adapt this recipe throughout the year to include fresh berries, various flavours of jam or lemon curd.
Author: Mary Berry (adapted)
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Serves: 12 slices
- 4 free-range eggs
- 225g/8oz stevia/xylitol sugar
- 225g/8oz wholemeal/unrefined self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 225g/8oz soft organic butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins
- To serve
- good-quality/homemade strawberry or raspberry jam
- whipped double cream (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins: use a piece of baking or silicone paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated. Line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking or silicone paper (to do this, draw around the base of the tin onto the paper and cut out).
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the xylitol, flour, baking powder and butter
- Mix everything together until well combined. The easiest way to do this is with an electric hand mixer, but you can use a wooden spoon. Put a damp cloth under your bowl when you’re mixing to stop it moving around. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency – it should fall off a spoon easily.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the tins: this doesn’t need to be exact, but you can weigh the filled tins if you want to check. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
- Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don't be tempted to open the door while they're cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
- The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
- To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack.
- Set aside to cool completely.
- To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it with plenty of jam. If you want to, you can spread over whipped cream too.
- Top with the second cake, top-side up.
Chocolate & Banana Squares
These are a Davina McCall recipe, I liked the simplicity of this recipe, the fewer the ingredients for me the better and most importantly these ingredients are unprocessed and natural....oh and by the way they taste delicious and that's not just my opinion but those of my three sweet toothed daughters! I included coffee and walnuts in mine, just a persona preference but it worked really well.
Recipe type: Cakes and Bakes
Serves: 16 squares
- 200g wholemeal flour
- 50g organic cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 180g organic butter
- 180g maple syrup
- 3 small fairly ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
- 5 free range eggs
- 2 tbsp strong black coffee
- 50g chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180C/325F, 160C/320F fan/gas 4. Line a 24cm x 24cm traybake tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Put the butter in a small pan and melt it over a gentle heat. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the maple syrup, then mix in the mashed bananas,coffee and chopped walnuts if your including them.
- Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Add the dry ingredients, then the butter, syrup and banana mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared tin and spread it into an even layer.
- Bake the cake in the oven for about 40 minutes until it is well risen, springy to touch and shrinking away from the sides slightly. Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cut the sponge into 16 squares – or smaller pieces if you want to reduce the calorie count per serving. Store in an airtight tin.
Carrot & Pineapple Cake
This is a moist, bursting with fruit, nuts kind of cake which keeps really well for up to 1 week. Its important to use quite a shallow cake tin otherwise it will take longer to cook, would work equally well baked in a tray and sliced into squares once cooled.
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Serves: 10 slices
- 180g carrots, grated
- 100g fresh/tinned pineapple diced into 2cm chunks
- 80g xylitol/stevia
- 75g walnuts, chopped plus 50g whole for on top
- 50g raisins
- 200g unrefined self-raising flour (I used wholemeal)
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 150ml mild olive oil
- 2 medium organic free-range eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350F/180°C (gas mark 4) and line a 23cm sandwich tin.
- Peel and grate the carrot and set to one side.
- Sieve the flour, bicarbonate and mixed spice and mix with the xylitol/stevia in a bowl then fold in the oil and eggs until combined.
- Stir in the grated carrots, pineapple and chopped walnuts.
- Pour into the tin and bake for 40/45 mins - the cakes are done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Fruit Bowl Flapjacks
I hate waste, particularly expensive fruit. So I decided to use my overripe fruit bowl to create these really good flapjacks. Basically any fruit goes, just remember fruits like apples and pears need to be grated, otherwise your flapjacks won't bind as well, whole fruits like nectarines, pineapples need to be sliced into small cubes. This recipe also works well with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Serves: 16 slices
- 4oz (100g) maple syrup/ honey (or half and half)
- 4oz (100g) butter
- 500-700g mixed fruit (for this recipe I used 150g pineapple, 2 apples, 1 pear & 1 nectarine) grate apples or pears and dice all other fruit into 1cm cubes.
- 16oz whole oats (or porridge oats)
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cinammon
- Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas Mark 2
- Place all the ingredients except for the oats in a large saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted
- Stir through the oats, ensuring the ingredients are well combined
- Now pour the mixture into a lined square/oblong baking tin (approx 18cm/7inches) and at least 4cm/11/2inches deep.
- Ensure you press the mixture down well with the back of a spoon or your hand, this helps the flapjack to hold together once baked.
- Bake on the centre shelf of your oven for 40-45 minutes.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes slice into squares or bars then leave (if you can resist!) till the flapjacks have cooled.
Decadant Chocolate Log
This is one up from a swiss roll and makes a lovely change from making another cake. You can try adding diced strawberries or whole raspberries after you've spread the cream for an even more impressive result. Great as a yule log at Christmas.
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Serves: 10 generous slices
- 8 oz dark plain chocolate (225g)
- 4 oz caster sugar (110g)
- 8 size 1 eggs
- 2 oz good quality cocoa powder (50g)
- ¾ pint double cream (425 ml)
- 2 tbsp brandy/cherrry liqueur (optional)
- 2 tbsp water
- grated chocolate for decoration
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (350 F) (180 C)
- Grease and line an oblong baking tin, approximately 11½ x 7 inches (29 x 18 cm) and just over 1 inch (2.5 cm). Oil the greaseproof paper lightly too.
- For the chocolate filling:
- break the plain chocolate in pieces into a basin with the water
- Place the basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water
- Wait for the chocolate to melt
- Then remove it from the heat
- Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth
- Separate two eggs and beat the yolks, first on their own, then into the warm chocolate mixture
- Let it cool a bit
- Then whisk the egg whites till stiff
- Fold them into the chocolate mixture
- To make the roulade:
- Separate six large eggs, putting the whites into a large mixing bowl and the yolks into a pudding basin
- Whisk the yolks using a hand whisk or an electric whisker until they start to thicken
- Then add the caster sugar
- Whisk briefly just until the mixture feels thick
- Now, still whisking, add the cocoa powder
- Next, using a clean dry whisk, beat the egg whites till they are stiff and form little peaks
- Using a metal spoon carefully fold them into the egg yolk mixture, gently and thoroughly, making sure you get right down to the bottom of the bowl with the spoon
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it evenly and bake on a highish shelf in the oven for about 20-25 minutes
- Remove it from the oven it will sink and when it is cool, it will look crinkly on the surface
- To turn it out, place a piece of greaseproof paper on the table sift over some icing sugar
- Loosen the edges of the cake all round with a knife
- Then turn the tin upside down on to the paper
- Give a few sharp taps
- Lift the tin away from the cake
- Carefully peel off the greaseproof paper
- Now spread the chocolate filling over the entire surface of the sponge
- Whip up the cream until quite thick, add the brandy/cherry liquor if using
- Then, using a palette knife, spread the cream over the entire surface
- Carefully but firmly use the greaseproof paper to roll the roulade up and turn out onto a serving plate, don't worry if it cracks, simply sift over a little more icing sugar
- Serve with a selection of seasonal berries
I have a sweet tooth but I've never understood the need for so much sugar to make a brownie taste good. This recipe literally uses 60% less sugar than most brownie recipes and you would never know. Great as a snack or served warm with good quality vanilla ice cream or a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of fresh raspberries.
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
- 185g unsalted butter
- 185g best dark chocolate
- 85g plain unrefined flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 3 large free range egg
- 150g xylitol/stevia
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g (10 oz) pecan nuts, chopped optional
- Grease and line the base of a baking tin with baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F gas mark 4
- Break the chocolate into a bowl
- Add the chunks of butter
- Melt the butter and chocolate over a saucepan of barely simmering water
- Stir occasionally
- Remove the bowl from the heat
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly
- In a separate bowl sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt
- In a third bowl, beat the eggs and then add the xylitol and vanilla extract
- Stir the ingredients together until they are just combined
- Fold the melted chocolate into the beaten egg mixture using a spatula
- Then gently fold in the flour mixture and nuts, if using
- You shouldn't be able to see any flour once it's all mixed together
- Spoon the mixture into the tin
- Smooth the top with a palette knife
- Bake for 25 minutes
- Allow it to cool in the tin before cutting into squares