Almond biscotti

These little biscuits are something you should always have in your cupboards at home or desk at work. They’re small, satisfying and healthy, and go perfectly with a cup of coffee for mid-morning slumps. The almonds make them filling, while the slow-release carbohydrates mean you also get energy. Most importantly though, they taste great (and are suitable for vegans)!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups flour of choice
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (muscovado works well)
  • 1/2 cup dates chopped (approx 10-15)
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2tsp almond essence

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients
  • In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go
  • The mixture should become very hard to mix.
  • Form a ball with the mixture. It should stick together easily. If it cracks, add a little more water. If it is too gloopy, add a little more flour.
  • On a floured surface, roll the mixture out into one or two long sausages.
  • Flatten the sausages slightly and scour diagonal cur marks into the tops with a serrated knife (to cut through the almonds). Do not cut all the way to the base.
  • Cook the sausages on a tray for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Cut the sausage into individual biscuits and lay flay on a tray. Cook for another 20 minutes until browning and hard.
  • Let cool and enjoy!
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Scour the sausages diagonally so they look a bit like French baguettes

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Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee!

Lemon & Parsnip Cake

This post is part two of the recipes we learned from the Blogger’s event I held in Bristol with baker and chef Marianne (@mariannebakes). The basic recipe is easy but makes delightful little individual cakes, perfect for dessert at a dinner party! For a more complex and showy recipe, add the glacé icing and candied parsnips.

The recipe is gluten free, dairy free and can be made vegan by using an egg substitute. It also contains no refined sugars. But most importantly, it just tastes amazing!

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Marianne piping cake mixture into the cannelé moulds (ft. chocolate beetroot cake)

Ingredients (Makes 12 mini bundt cakes (made in silicone cannelé moulds) or 8 cupcakes):

Cake:

  • 100g eggs (2 medium)
  • 60g Total Sweet Xylitol
  • 60g honey
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 35g lemon juice
  • 80g sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
  • 150g grated parsnip (from approximately 1 large parsnip)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • ½ tsp ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder

Lemon syrup:

  • 60g lemon juice (from approx 1 lemon)
  • 60g xylitol (or honey)
  • 30g water

Lemon glacé icing:

  • 150g sieved unrefined (golden) icing sugar
  • 40g lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • dried calendula petals or candied parsnip to finish

Candied Parsnip:

  • 1 small parsnip
  • 100g xylitol or regular white cane sugar
  • 50g water
  • small squeeze of lemon juice

 Method:

Cake:

  1. Wash (but don’t peel) the parsnip and grate it using the finer cheese-grating part of a box grater. Avoid the inner woody part of the vegetable and grate around the outside.
  1. Once grated, zest the lemons on top, weigh out the lemon juice and mix this all into the grated parsnip to prevent discolouration. Set aside.
  1. Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 100g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Total Sweet Xylitol and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
  1. Keep whisking the eggs on high speed and gradually pour in the oil a little at a time. Once incorporated, add the honey and whisk in.
  1. Fold through the grated parsnip using a silicone spatula until well incorporated. Sift together the rice flour, ground almonds, psyllium and baking powder, then fold this mixture through the cake batter.
  1. Allow the mix to stand for ten minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional).
  1. Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top. Let the mix sit and rest in the moulds for another 5 minutes before baking.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes, or until browned and the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.
  1. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. De-mould the cakes and either brush with the lemon syrup or let cool and ice with the lemon glaze. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.

Lemon syrup:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until it just comes to the boil.
  1. Brush over the cakes with a pastry brush while they are still warm. The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, so you can re-use any leftovers; just make sure you strain out any cake crumbs!

Baking Tip: For extra moisture, you can re-use the moulds to soak the cakes. Once de-moulded, let the cakes cool slightly on a wire rack, then fill 1 tsp syrup into the bottom of each mould. Replace the cakes inside the moulds and then brush the remaining syrup on top. Let sit 5 minutes before de-moulding.

Glacé icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and make a well in the centre.
  1. Pour in half the lemon juice and stir from the centre using a balloon whisk. Gradually add more lemon juice until you achieve a pouring consistency the texture of custard.
  1. Spoon just 1 small teaspoon on top of each cake and pull the edges out to achieve drips down the sides. Sprinkle dried calendula petals on top before the icing sets, or wait for it to set before topping with the candied parsnip.

Baking Tip: If you prefer not to use cane sugar in this recipe you can omit the icing and just top the cakes with the decorations directly.

Candied parsnips:

  1. Dissolve the xylitol/sugar with the water and squeeze of lemon in a small saucepan.
  1. Wash the parsnip, but don’t peel it. For candied strips, use a vegetable peeler to pare off thin strips from the parsnip, peeling both sides of the vegetable until you have removed as much as you can. For candied flowers, use a sharp knife to cut very thin rounds horizontally through the parsnip.
  2. Place the strips or rounds directly into the hot syrup and cook gently, covered, for 2-3 minutes until the parsnip is just tender and translucent.
  3. Take off the heat and let steep in the syrup overnight at room temperature. Use a flower cutter to cut blossoms from the centre of the parsnip rounds. Store the candied parsnip strips/flowers in the syrup in the fridge for up to a week and drain from the syrup before topping the cakes.

Baking Tip: For pale coloured parsnip crisps use white caster sugar; the xylitol makes them brown slightly.

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Enjoy!