biscuits cookies & sweets

fig almond & orange swirl cookies

19th March 2017

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This recipe was quite a journey.  After many attempts and too many references to mention, I persevered, as there seemed too much scrumptious potential in these cookies to give up. It felt like I was conjuring up a kind of magic, from the transformation of ingredients to the finished result – even more so due to the many attempts to get here.  I am now satisfied to share it with you.

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In Ayurveda, sultanas are considered kingly of all the fruits, figs are considered precious and Winter citrus adds colour and zest to the last of these dark and rainy days.

Figs, whether fresh or dried, are an incredibly healthy treat and have favourable levels of calcium, contain iron, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.  They also have a high fibre content, keeping us feeling fuller for longer and have a helpful laxative effect.  When buying any dried fruit, look for organic and sulfite-free.

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fig almond & orange swirl cookies

Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Recipe inspired by here and here.

Not overly sweet, the luscious fig filling is deeply flavourful and the pastry is light and buttery. 

The filling could be replaced with any dried fruit of choice – dates would work nicely.  I used 1 cup whole almonds which I ground in a blender – blanched almonds would give a much more visually pronounced contrast between the filling and the dough.  I wanted to achieve a lighter cookie, so I used white spelt flour, but it can be replaced with whole spelt or for a gluten-free version, rice flour. 

I call this a dough but just to clarify it doesn’t handle like a normal dough – it is very fragile and easily crumbles this is why it is recommended to work between to pieces of baking paper – the end results is delicious and is worth all the fiddliness.

for the dough :

1½ cups/130g almond meal (1 cup whole almonds ground in a blender)

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

tsp fine rock salt

¼ cup/60ml olive oil

2 heaped Tblsp brown sugar/coconut sugar

¼ cup/60ml freshly squeezed orange juice

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

for the fig paste :

180g dried soft figs

80g dried sultanas/raisins

orange zest of 1 orange

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ cup/60ml fresh orange juice

sesame seeds for garnishing

preparation :

Set the oven to 180C/360F.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

to make the dough :

Place in a medium bowl the almond meal, flour and salt, then whisk together. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil and sugar for a few minutes.  Add the fresh orange juice, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk until combined – it will billow up and turn into the most gorgeous, soft, golden colour.  Slowly add to the flour and almond meal mixture, then gently combine.  The dough should be quite moist and soft. Cover and refrigerate while making the fig paste.

to make the fig paste :

Remove and discard the hard stems from the figs, chop in half, then place into a food processor, along with the sultanas, and orange zest, process until the fig are nicely broken up.  Add the cinnamon powder and pour in the orange juice. Process until it forms a thick, sticky paste and starts to come to together.  Cover and set aside.

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to assemble :

Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a piece of baking paper.  Place another piece of baking paper on top and roll out the dough into a rectangle just under ¼-inch thickness, approximately 15-x 9-inches.  (It is fine for the dough to be longer than 15-inches but makes sure it is no wider than 9 – 10 inches.  To make a neat rectangle, trim off any excess dough around the sides and press it into the corners which need more shaping.  Spoon the fig filling over the dough and spread evenly, making sure it comes all the way to the edges.

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Use the baking paper to gently roll the long side of the dough around the filling, so that it forms a neat log. Leave the seam side down as the weight of the roll seals the edge.  Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and use the outer edges of the baking paper to help press the seeds into the top of the roll and the sides, pressing any seeds which have fallen down.  The contrast between the dough and fig paste will be more pronounced after baking.  Place the log in the freezer for 20 minutes – this will make it firmer for easier cutting.

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With a sharp knife, slice into 2 cm thick pieces, wiping the knife after each cut. If wanting a more perfect round shape, rotate the roll after several cuts, then give them a gentle squeeze to reshape them into rounds on the tray.

Carefully transfer them onto the baking tray, laying them flat, with the spiral of the fig paste facing up.

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Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray half way through baking and bake until golden in colour,  remove from the oven.  Delicious eaten warm, or later that same day, or the next.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls

17th December 2016

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These make a wonderful healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are these homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts, if wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls

ingredients :

15 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tblsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder

preparation :

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, (until fragrant, careful not to burn them) roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

Place all the ingredients for the chocolate-hazelnut truffles in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the  fridge for 15 minutes.  Rolls the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  An easy way to do this is place 3 tablespoons of cardamom pods in a high-speed blender or coffee grinder, and roughly grind. Use a strainer to sift the ground pods, discard the shells and grind the bigger chunks again to a finer powder.  

A recipe inspired by Anna

Makes 18 – 20

ingredients :

12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans/toasted almonds

1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tblsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tblsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tblsp grated fresh ginger

preparation :

Place all the ingredients for the pecan-cardamom truffles in a food processor, and pulse for about a minute or until the mixture comes together. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.  Rolls the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

4V7A9372_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

almond quinoa chocolate bars

21st September 2016

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Cool softened air, full moon swell, falling leaves, savouring the light….

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These have been a decadent treat around here.  Loved by all.  Perfect when you need something more than a dried date or fig for a sweet after a meal.  Based on this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories – a wonderful video is included showing you just how easy they are to make.  I altered the recipe slightly, adding ¼ cup hot water to the dates when mashing them. Even though the dates I used were soft, the hot water helped in the overall consistency. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I used extra almonds and toasted them to make them snappy and to bring out their flavour. I prefer using just almonds, as their qualities are less heating than most other nuts and seeds.  You could use a carob topping instead of the chocolate, by melting down carob buttons or using this glaze.

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almond quinoa chocolate bars

Makes 16 squares.

ingredients:

2 Tblsp coconut oil

200g soft medjool dates – approximately 10 dates

¼ cup/60ml hot water

1 cup/250g home-made almond butter

1 Tblsp fresh ginger, grated

a pinch rock salt, optional

½ cup/55 grams toasted almonds/hazelnuts

1 cup/80g puffed quinoa

for the chocolate topping:

100g dark chocolate

3 Tblsp dried unsweetened coconut

preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

to roast the almonds:

Place the whole almonds/hazelnuts on a tray and toast for approximately 8 minutes.  If using hazelnuts – while they are still warm, rub the nuts in a towel to remove the skins.  Allow to cool, finely chop and set aside.

to make the almond quinoa bars:

Line a 7 x 7/8 x 10-inch baking tray with baking paper, leaving 2 inches around the edges.

Remove the seeds from the dates and measure out 200 grams.  Set aside.  Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Take off the heat and add the dates into the saucepan with the coconut oil.  Add the hot water and mash with a fork.  Mix in the almond butter, ginger and salt, stirring until it all comes together.  Remove from heat and add the puffed quinoa, chopped roasted almonds/hazelnuts, incorporating everything evenly.

Using your hands, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat. Using the edges of the baking paper, fold over and run your finger along the edges to create level sides and corners.  Place in the freezer while preparing the chocolate coating.

to melt the chocolate topping:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from heat, then using a spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the slice. Sprinkle with half the shredded coconut, leaving the other half to sprinkle on later.

Place in the freezer for at least two hours, until cold and firm. Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. The bars will keep for a month.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

amaranth almond date bars with carob

17th February 2016

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The sun is shining!  I got to open the door to welcome breezes and beautiful silent visitors.

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These are lovely, chewy decadent bars, for a special treat that everyone loves after a hard day’s work.

Goji berries are earthy, slightly astringent and mildly sweet.  Known to be abundant in antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty flavour and is exceptionally high in protein and calcium.  Which makes these quite the ‘superfood bar’!

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amaranth almond date bars with carob

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square

Inspiration & Recipe slightly adapted from here.

‘If popping your own amaranth feels a little challenging, you can purchase it already popped/puffed or if amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.  The goji berries can be replaced with dried raspberries, sultanas, or any dried fruit of choice.’

ingredients for the amaranth bars:

1 cup popped amaranth

100 grams pitted, soft medjool dates(about 5 large dates)

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted

½ cup almond butter, store-bought or home-made

pinch salt

zest from 1 large lemon

1 ½ tsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tblsp coconut flakes

3 Tblsp finely chopped almonds

3 Tblsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 Tblsp (for garnishing)

1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnishing)

for the carob coating:

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup carob powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla essence(optional)

popping the amaranth:

Directions from ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen’

‘Popping amaranth seems challenging at first, so if you burn your first batch, which I did, and the second, but by the third I got the hang of it.  It’s easy and fun.  Once you get the temperature of the pan correct, the popping happens fast (in about 15 seconds).  You need to remove the popped grain from the pot immediately to avoid burning.’

makes about 1 cup

¼ cup amaranth

Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover pot immediately.  Count 5 seconds and shake pan; You will hear the grain popping rapidly.  Shake again, or until all the grains are popped.   I could never get all the grains to pop, but this is no problem, as even the unpopped grains are crunchy.  Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Set aside.

to make the amaranth bars:

Line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper.

Remove the seed from the dates and measure out 100 grams.  Place them in a bowl and mash with a fork.  If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash.  Add the melted coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes.  Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork, until combined.  Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly.  The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.

Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat.  Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.

to make the carob coating :

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat. Add the maple syrup and carob powder. Mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth. Stir in the vanilla essence and set aside.

Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice.  Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour, until cold and firm.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  The bars will keep up to 2 weeks, probably longer if they last that long.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

wonderfully crunchy gingery ‘snaps’

31st January 2016

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Wispy golden clouds in the horizon, waiting for a new day to arrive.  A warm teacup in hand, birds singing joyously.  Every day, new sounds, more colours and new life.  A kitchen filled with heady scents of aromatic spices.

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Armstrong Redwoods State Park, Guerneville CA

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Anna – gracious and heartfelt.  A gift.  Thank you for looking after me while I was with you and sharing those special places you knew so well that I would appreciate. These are for you.  So simple, healthy, gingery with a wonderful, crunchy, “snappy” texture.

ginger snaps

wonderfully crunchy gingery ‘snaps’

makes 24

I have made these weekly since discovering this recipe.  I love their wonderful quality to stay crunchy for days and days, as they sit in a jar waiting for a tea or almond milk moment – a break from work. Depending on the strength of your molasses, the colour may vary.  I use a light molasses which is also in the gingerbread spice cake.

Recipe taken from ‘Angelica Home Kitchen Cookbook’.

ingredients :

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup blanched, slivered almonds

1 cup whole spelt flour

1½ Tblsp powdered ginger

1 tsp cinnamon powder

¼ tsp nutmeg/mace

½ tsp fine rock salt

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup mild-flavoured molasses

1 tsp vanilla essence

cup olive oil

preparation :

Preheat oven to 160C/325F.  Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Spread the oats and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Place the oats, flour, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor and grind to a very fine meal.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and oil, until well combined.  Stir in the dry ingredients until a thick dough is formed.

Take a heaped teaspoon of the dough, roll into a ball and place on a lined baking tray.  Press down to flatten into a 2-inch circle, approximately 3mm thickness.  To flatten, I used a small piece of parchment paper between the underside of a glass and the cookie. You may have to use a combination of the glass and fingers to flatten.  It is a bit fiddly, but the finished biscuit is well worth it.  Once one tray is finished, place in the oven and bake for 18 minutes while continuing with the rest of the dough, spreading out onto the second baking tray.

Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

chocolate covered ‘caramels’

20th December 2015

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The rain has been heavy and relentless these last days.  The air thick with mist & fog, so much so I cannot see the vegetable garden from where I sit.  No choice but to stay inside, to go inside.  It feels like an offering, one where everything must slow down.  A reminder to appreciate and be thankful for all these blessings which tend to pass by.

A few photos taken awhile back, on drier sunnier days

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These are a lovely gift to give to family & friends for the holiday season, just wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere.  Some other ideas are these homemade raw halvah & zesty mango bliss balls.  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate covered ‘caramels’

makes 14 bite-sized balls

Recipe inspired from ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen’

These are a really special indulgent sweet, a favourite with my husband.  

Once set, the texture is a lovely chocolate crunch on the outside with a soft gooey caramel on the inside. And no nasty sugars or additives. To speed up the process, you could easily melt down your favourite chocolate bar.

The original recipe used 2 tablespoons of Lucama powder (a dried, sweet fruit packed with nutrients and goodness) into the caramel.  A great way to add a superfood into your diet. 

for the caramel bites

100g medjool dates, pitted – about 7 large dates (can use regular dates, but keep in mind soaking time will be longer)

4 Tbsp coconut butter

for the dark vanilla chocolate

25g cocoa butter

15g cacao powder

2½ Tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

chopped toasted almonds & coconut for garnish

preparation:

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

Soak the dates for at least an hour in filtered water.

Drain the dates and blend with the coconut butter.  Use a hand blender/immersion blender as this seems to work best.  You will have to scrape down the bowl and blade as you blend.  Place the mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to thicken a little before rolling.

After fifteen minutes, take the caramel mixture from the freezer.  Using a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, roll into a small ball about half the size of a golf ball.

Place the balls onto the lined tray and place in the freezer for half an hour (This will make the chocolate dipping easier).

Prepare the vanilla chocolate dipping sauce.  Put an inch or two of water in a small saucepan and bring to a faint simmer.  Place another small non-reactive bowl (glass works well) on top so that it sits over the water, but is not touching the bottom of the saucepan.  ‘Shave’ the cocoa butter with a sharp knife and place into the bowl (shaving the coconut butter will make it easier to melt).  Add the coconut sugar into the bowl and stir to combine.  When the cocoa butter has melted,  sift in the cocoa powder, drizzle in the vanilla essence and whisk until completely smooth.  Remove from the stove, cool the chocolate mixture ever so slightly, keeping it runny, but not too runny for dipping.

Dip the caramel balls into the chocolate mixture.  I find using a fork helps scoop them out of the chocolate and to place them back onto the tray. Sprinkle with chopped almonds or coconut and repeat with the remaining caramel mixture.  Place in the fridge to set for half an hour.  Once the caramel balls have set, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

raw carrot cake slice with lemon cream

13th August 2015

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Packed up and ready to go home to Portugal, after being in Australia for three magical weeks with family.

Winter here – Summer there.

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Just before I left home, I photographed and experimented with this recipe for a series of raw foods I compiled for ‘Holmes Place Magazine’.  I made it a few times for the Jivana Yoga Diploma course with an all-round enthusiastic and thumbs-up response.  I am looking forward to making it again on arrival.

Simple and grounding when life seems anything but – in between places and planes.

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raw carrot cake slice with lemon cream

serves 12

You can use spice powders that have already been ground,  just reduce the amounts, but I find that the freshly grated ginger and ground spices make a huge difference in the aromatic taste of this heavenly raw carrot cake slice.  It is well worth the extra effort.

Recipe slightly adapted from here and here

ingredients :

2 cups finely grated carrots – approximately 4 medium carrots

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup dried coconut

1 cup raw walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 Tblsp freshly grated ginger

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (can use the smaller side of a box grater)

¼ tsp/3 pods freshly ground cardamom

a pinch of salt

1½ cups medjool or soft dates (about 11 dates), pitted

¼ cup dried cranberries

lemon cream

1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight or for at least four hours)

1 vanilla bean

1 Tbsp solid coconut oil

4 Tblsp lemon juice

4 Tblsp maple syrup/honey

zest from two lemons

preparation :

Line a 9 inch square tart pan with baking paper or if you have a 9-inch square loose based pastry tray.

Wash and peel the carrots, then grate them by using the smaller grater attachment of a food processor or the smaller side of a box grater. (If using the box grater, you may have to squeeze out any excess juice). Measure to make sure you have two cups.  Set aside.

In a food processor, or high-speed blender, process/grind the oats until they begin to make a coarse flour. Add the dried coconut and process for 15 seconds more.  Place into a medium-sized bowl.

Process the walnuts until they begin to turn into a coarse flour.  Pour into the medium bowl with the oat and coconut flour.  Remove the outer pods from the cardamom.  Place the seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind until you have a rough powder.  Grate the nutmeg and ginger using the smaller side of a box grater.  Add all the spices and ginger to the oat mixture along with the salt and cinnamon powder. Mix well to combine.

Add the grated carrot, dates and dried cranberries to the food processor, and mix until the dates become well incorporated and chopped. There will be chunks of dates pieces.  Combine this with the oat mixture, mixing everything together by using a pressing motion with the back of a metal spoon.  Make sure everything is well incorporated, ensuring you break up the grated ginger.

Press the cake mixture as evenly as possible into the square pan.  Set aside.

prepare the lemon cream :

Drain the cashews and place in a high-speed blender.  Run a knife down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.  Add to the blender along with the coconut oil, lemon juice, zest and maple syrup. Puree until smooth.  Taste and adjust the amount of lemon or maple syrup.

Spread the lemon cream evenly over the cake. Garnish with coconut, lemon zest, roughly chopped pumpkin seeds or walnuts and edible flowers.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours before cutting into small squares.  Find a quiet corner in the garden and enjoy the vibrancy of this food!

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Goodness shared by Stacey

apricot coconut bars

12th May 2015

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” Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draw’s all good things towards you “……

~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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apricot coconut bars

Recipe adapted slightly from here

I normally don’t go out and buy special ingredients for recipes instead I try to improvise with what I have but with this one something told me it was going to be special and it didn’t disappoint.  This base is rich and buttery with a flavourful apricot filling and a delicate almond, coconut topping. Don’t be intimidated by the three layers it is very easy to make.

makes 16 bars

crust

1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut

½ cup regular oats

¼ tsp aluminium-free baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup of whole wheat spelt flour ( or ¾ barley & ¼ whole spelt flour)

¼ cup melted coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

filling

cup thinly sliced dried unsulfured apricots

½ cup unsweetened apricot jam

topping

¾ cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut

cup almond (with skin)

¼ tsp aluminium baking powder

1 Tblsp maple syrup

1 Tblsp melted coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

zest of one lemon

¾ cup dried, unsweetened, coconut flakes

preparation :

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.

For the filling place the thinly sliced apricots in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Set aside to softened for 5 minutes while you make the crust.

To make the crust place the coconut, oats, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; blend until fine, about 45 seconds.  Add the flour; blending for a few seconds until combined.  In a medium bowl, place the oil, maple syrup and vanilla, whisk until combined.  Add the coconut and oat mixture, and mix with a fork until combined.  Dough should be moist but not sticky. With your hands press the dough thinly and evenly over bottom of prepared pan.  Prick crust with a fork, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside; keep the oven on.

While waiting for the crust to bake, drain the apricot slices and set aside to drain well.

To make the topping place the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest in the medium bowl. (Use the same bowl used for making the crust – no need to clean).  Whisk to combine and set aside.  In the food processor place the shredded coconut, almonds, and baking powder, and blend until ground and moist, about 45 seconds; transfer to the bowl with the wet ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Mix in the flaked coconut.

When the crust is ready (It doesn’t need to cool.) Spread the apricot preserve over the crust and sprinkle over the apricots. Crumble the topping over the apricot crust, leaving some filling showing.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden on top.  Remove from oven, and set aside to cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

vanilla & citrus panna cotta with honey hazelnut cookies

15th March 2015

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early morning light in the garden…

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‘Thus yoga is not something which is confined to morning or evening meditation, but something which is, all the time.’ –   The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

citrus panna cotta

I made this a few times until it was just right.  Lovely light dessert for a special dinner.  Served drizzled with an orange, infused honey cardamom syrup and a crunchy honey hazelnut cookie, it can also be equally delicious with seasonal berries or fruits.

Yields 8 small glasses depending on the size of your cups.

Recipe inspired.
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for the panna cotta :

¾ cup nut milk (I used a mix of almond and  hazelnut)

600ml coconut milk

4 Tblsp light brown sugar/sweetener of choice

¾ tsp agar agar powder (if using flakes will need to add more)

1 tsp vanilla essence

one vanilla bean pod

 extra batch of citrus syrup (recipe below)

preparation :

Combine the nut milk and agar agar powder in a saucepan.  Scrape the vanilla bean along its length with a knife and add that bean “paste”, along with the bean itself to the pot (when using vanilla essence stir it in at the very end).  Allow to sit with no heat for 15 minutes.  Add the sugar, coconut milk and whisk together.

Heat the mixture on a medium-low heat and slowly bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla essence.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then take out the vanilla bean pod. (I keep the pod and add to the blender when I make nut milk.)

Pour equal amounts into small jars.  If wanting a cold dessert place the panna cotta jars in the fridge, otherwise they will happily set outside at room temperature within the hour.

Make an extra batch of syrup, (recipe below).  I double the syrup, glaze the cookies first and use what is left for the panna cotta.

To serve, garnish with fresh mint, orange zest and drizzle with a serving of honey & orange infused syrup and serve with a honey hazelnut cookie. (recipe below)

 

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honey hazelnut cookies

Recipe slightly modified from Good to the Grain and brought to life by Noa.

I love these biscuits with toasted hazelnuts and a warm honey and orange infused syrup which is brushed onto the still warm cookies.

Makes 15 x 3- inch round cookies.

ingredients :

½ cup raw hazelnuts, skin on

115 grams / 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

dry mix :

¼ cup whole wheat spelt flour

1 cup white spelt flour

½ cup sugar

1 tsp fine salt

syrup :

¼ cup honey

5 pods cardamom, smashed

zest of 1 orange

2 Tbsp orange juice

preparation :

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Spread the hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 16 – 18 minutes.  Until the nuts are fragrant and dark brown but not burnt. Remove from oven, cool, grind them, skins and all, in a food processor until finely ground.

Rub one baking sheet lightly with butter.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add the butter and ground hazelnuts and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers.  The dough should barely just come together.  Dump the dough onto a work surface and press it together.

Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough out to a thickness of about 4 mm.  If the dough seems to be cracking, push it back into place and continue rolling.  You probably won’t need any additional flour to roll out the dough as it will be quite dry.  Using a 3-inch cookie cutter or as I did a drinking glass, cut the dough into circles and transfer to the buttered baking sheet.  I fitted them all snugly on one tray.

Bake for 20 – 24 minutes.  Rotate the pan half way through.  Watch them closely towards the end and be careful not to over bake.

While you are waiting for the cookies to bake make the syrup.  In  a small saucepan over a low flame melt the honey, cardamom and orange zest.  Do not allow the syrup to boil as you don’t want to reduce the honey and risk crystallization.  Stir the syrup and remove from heat, letting it infuse for 15 minutes.  Add the orange juice.

To glaze the cookies, brush each one twice while they are still warm to give a chance for the glaze to soak into them.   The left over syrup can be drizzled over the panna cotta.  Delightful as they are or as a special treat serve with a vanilla panna cotta.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

raw halvah

7th February 2015

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unexpected magic

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in unexpected places..

 

raw halvah

Makes 20 -25 pieces.

Original recipe found here

Use raw organic nuts and seeds that have not been roasted.  When buying sesame seeds, purchase the tan ones as opposed to the white.  The white ones are hulled, and may even be bleached.  It’s the hull that keeps the oil inside from becoming rancid.

ingredients :

cup sesame seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ tsp vanilla essence

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

tsp rock salt

3 Tbsp tahini

3 Tbsp thick honey

¼ cup pistachios, chopped

preparation :

Process the sesame and sunflower seeds in a high-speed blender or food processor until you have a coarse mixture.  It’s important not to over-grind, otherwise the halvah will be too moist and affects the final result.

Pour the seed mixture into a medium bowl.  Add the cinnamon and salt and mix well. Combine the tahini, honey and vanilla.  Add this to the bowl and using your hands, mix well.  If the mixture is not sticking together, add an extra half tablespoon of honey.  Continue to mix well.

Add the pistachios until well incorporated. Form into your desired shapes by firmly pressing the mixture into a round tablespoon measure, flattening with a knife, and tapping them gently on a board until they pop out.  After the first one, dip the spoon into a bowl of sesame seeds. This leaves them with a flat bottom and a gently decorated sesame-seeded dome top. Perfect little bite size pieces!

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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