25 May 2018

OVERNIGHT GARLIC KNOTS

Garlic knots are a lovely, soft, flavourful snack, that was originally created as a way of using up scraps of dough in pizzerias. The dough is simply rolled into logs, quickly tied into knots, and then smothered in garlic butter. And if you are a garlic lover, these will be just right for you.
They are very easily tailored; you can make them larger, by dividing the dough into sixteen or less pieces, so they can be a fantastic version of dinner rolls. You can also add more garlic to the butter, if you wish. Moreover, they are amazing with marinara sauce, and all cheese-based sauces.


Ingredients
450 grams soft bread flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
200 grams plain yogurt
120 ml tepid water
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
100 grams unsalted butter
2-3 teaspoons granulated garlic, to taste

Preparation
Sift the flour twice and add it to a large bowl, then pour in the yogurt, oil, water, and salt and whisk it well. Add in the yeast, and mix it well with a wooden spoon, until a creamy batter forms. Then, slowly start adding the rest of the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon at first, then kneading with your hands, until all of the flour is used. Place the dough in a large bowl, and wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, take the dough out and gently knead it on a well-floured surface for a few minutes, then divide it into twenty equal parts.
Shape each dough piece into a rope, then carefully tie a knot, being careful not to tear the dough whilst doing so. Arrange the knots on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter, and let it cool down slightly. Add the granulated garlic, and mix well so it starts to dissolve. Just before baking, brush the knots generously with the garlic butter, then bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for about 15-20 minutes. Check them often so they do not overbake. Serve warm. Yields 20 garlic knots.

18 May 2018

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN FUDGE BROWNIES

Whether you cannot, or you simply do not want to use eggs in dessert recipes, these are the right brownies for you. They are so dense and fudgy, with a fantastic, deep dark chocolate flavour, and a lovely dash of sweetness from the white chocolate. They do not have any sugar added, as there is plenty of sugar in the chocolate.
Serve them with some melted chocolate, fresh fruit, or if you want to, with an ice-cream of your choice; they will be fantastic whatever you choose as an addition. Make sure you check the ingredients for both types of chocolate, because even some dark chocolates can still contain milk or dairy products.


Ingredients
200 grams dark chocolate
250 grams unsweetened applesauce
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
100 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
150 grams vegan white chocolate

Preparation
Place a saucepan on medium heat, and add in the chopped up dark chocolate. Let it melt, then set it aside to cool down slightly. Take a large bowl, sift in the flour and the cocoa powder, then whisk everything really well. You can even sift them together for a second time, if you wish. Add in the applesauce, and vanilla, and whisk everything together again. Once the chocolate has cooled, add it to the batter, and blend well with a whisk. Finally, add in the chopped white chocolate, and fold it through.
Take a square baking pan (20x20 cm), line it with baking parchment, then pour in the batter, and bake them in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 15 minutes. Check them with a toothpick even before 15 minutes is up, because if they overbake, they will be dry and very crumbly. Once they are done, let them cool down in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack completely. Serve them completely cool or even after chilling in the refrigerator for an hour. Yields 12 servings.

11 May 2018

MARSHMALLOW DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

A chocolate mousse is a lush dessert with a gorgeous airy texture. But, in order to have the airy texture, it typically relies on egg whites. Furthermore, because we are talking about a chocolate mousse, for a richer texture, egg yolks are usually added to the batter. If you cannot or will not have eggs, this mousse is the right recipe for you.
Depending on the method of preparation, a chocolate mousse can be even very thick and creamy, which is exactly what this mousse is. Its rich taste comes from the dark chocolate, and the dense and creamy texture is why marshmallows are used. The marshmallows also help the mousse set up quicker, so you can serve it up after only 4 hours.


Ingredients
200 grams miniature marshmallows
100 ml hot water
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
50 grams unsalted butter
100 grams dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
50 ml Kahlúa (optional)
150 ml heavy cream


Take a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium heat. Add in the marshmallows and the water, and melt them together, stirring often. Sift in the unsweetened cocoa powder, and mix it in very well, then add the butter, and let it melt slowly into the chocolate batter. Finally, add in the dark chocolate, and Kahlúa (if using), and melt it in, whilst stirring constantly, until the batter becomes smooth and silky. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let it cool down at least to room temperature, but do not place it in the refrigerator.
Once it has sufficiently cooled down, so it doesn't melt the cream, take a large bowl (glass or metal works best), pour in the heavy cream, and whip it until stiff peaks form. Very gently fold the cream into the chocolate batter, being careful not to overmix and deflate the mousse, and immediately divide it between four small serving glasses, then place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. The longer you chill the mousse, the thicker the texture will be. When ready to serve, top with some additional freshly whipped cream, and a dusting of cocoa powder. Yields 4 servings.

04 May 2018

RAW HONEY & VANILLA BREAKFAST BUNS

Few things are as good as warm vanilla pastries for breakfast, with a bit of clotted cream and some jam, along with a mug of tea or a cup of coffee. Very crunchy on the outside and perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside. But the most important part about these breakfast buns are the honey and the vanilla.
Use whole vanilla beans and a high quality raw honey, for the best taste possible. But, of course, if you cannot get whole vanilla beans, use a good vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. The breadcrumbs add such a lovely crunch to these buns, so do not omit them. They are best served fresh and hot from the oven, on their own or even dusted with a bit of icing sugar.


Ingredients
For the buns
400 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
50 grams raw honey
1 teaspoon salt
250 ml warm water
1 whole vanilla pod
2 tablespoons oil
For the topping
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs

Preparation
Sift the flour, then reserve about 50 grams and set it aside. Put the rest of the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and yeast and whisk very well. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water, raw honey, and oil. Take the vanilla pod, slice it down the middle, then scrape all the seeds right into the honey mixture. Blend well. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the wet ingredients. Start mixing with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, then transfer it to a floured surface and continue to knead with your hands for about 5 minutes, adding the reserved flour as you knead. Depending on the flour, you may not need all of the reserved flour.
It is better to leave the dough on the soft side, then to add too much flour. Once kneaded and ready, transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Flour your work surface, turn out the risen dough, gently knead it, and then divide it into 12 equal parts. You can use a scale to make sure they are all the same size. Roll each piece into an oblong shape, then let them rest for about 30 minutes. To make the topping, mix together the honey and the water, then dip each bun into in, and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, then sprinkle them evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for 18-20 minutes and serve warm. Yields 12 buns.

27 April 2018

BROWNIE BATTER TRUFFLES

Brownies are a dessert pretty much everyone loves, and they are always a hit at gatherings; but if you do not feel like baking, or you want a no-bake treat, brownie batter truffles are just the thing you need. These truffles do not have any eggs, nor do they have any raw wheat flour. Instead, they have almond flour - very mild in taste, and does not affect the deep chocolate flavour that is expected from brownies.
Other than hazelnuts, you can embellish these truffles with chopped or ground peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, or even miniature chocolate chips! And, you can place them in the freezer for half an hour to an hour, so they get a lovely ice-cream texture. One other good thing about these truffles is that they can be very easily made completely vegan - by using vegan butter and unrefined sugar, of course.


Ingredients
120 grams almond flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
100 grams brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 grams unsalted butter, softened
50 grams ground hazelnuts, optional
250 grams cooking chocolate, for the coating

Preparation
Take a medium bowl, and sift in the cocoa powder and the almond flour. In another bowl, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on high, until it becomes lighter in colour and creamier in texture. Add in the brown sugar, blend really well, then add in the vanilla, and mix again. Start adding the dry ingredients, and the hazelnuts, if using, and mix until a soft dough starts to form. Tightly cover the top of the bowl and place it in the refrigerator about 30 minutes, so the dough firms up.
Take out the chilled dough, then scoop the batter using a small cookie scoop, and roll it into truffles. Place the rolled truffles on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment, then place them in the refrigerator whilst you melt the chocolate. This is not a requisite, but it will make the coating process much easier, and the chocolate will set much quicker. Carefully dip each chilled brownie truffle into the melted chocolate, then place it back on the cookie sheet. Let the chocolate coating set, then refrigerate. Yields 15 truffles.