Biscuit, Sweet

No sugar chocolate orange shortbread

My sister is currently pregnant but despite her healthy life (including running a half marathon just before getting pregnant) she has gestational diabetes.

Unfortunately, she also has a sweet tooth just like I do and the lack of chocolate, cakes and biscuits has been really hard for her so I’ve started looking up recipes that she may be able to eat.

One I thought that would be extremely simple to do would be to make shortbread and swap the sugar for sweetener. Now I don’t advocate sweetener being any ‘better’ or healthier for you than sugar but it’s a way to enjoy a little treat when you can’t have sugar.

I can’t say this recipe will be good for everyone with diabetes as you’ll know your diet better than anyone but it has certainly worked for my sister.

I decided to make the recipe chocolate flavoured by using cocoa powder as this doesn’t actually contain any sugar. If you’ve ever been curious and tried cocoa powder you’ll realise it’s extremely bitter on its own. Remember – cocoa powder, not drinking chocolate. There’s a big difference between the two. Unless you can have sugar, don’t use drinking chocolate for this recipe!

To also try and take a little of the bitterness away I wanted to flavour the chocolate so used orange blossom water (Nielsen Massey Orange Blossom Water is the exact brand) and I checked out the ingredients to make sure it didn’t include sugar.

The end result was a little box of biscuits, which although may not taste as sweet as you’d expect, they’re a nice biscuit treat when you can’t have sugar.

No sugar chocolate orange shortbread

This made 7 cookies. Recipe easily doubles

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons Canderel (I used this as it’s the one I had but try other types of sweetener) If you wanted to make this recipe with normal sugar it would be 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar which equals 1oz.
  • 2oz butter
  • 3oz plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1. 5 teaspoon orange blosson water (you can flavour with anything you like but check to make sure it doesn’t contain sugar in the ingredients) It might be even better if you finely grate the zest of an orange though I haven’t tried it yet

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c

Make sure your butter is at room temperature or soften in the microwave before using

In a bowl mix the Canderel, butter, flour, cocoa powder and orange blossom water. Basically all of the ingredients.

Mix till they just combine, you don’t want to over work the dough as this will make it tough.

Use your hands to bring the last part of the dough together and on a lightly floured surface roll out to about the thickness of a £1 or euro. I’m afraid I don’t know the American coin equivalent, but you don’t want these too thick or thin.

Cut out using your cookie cutter of choice and continue till all the dough has been made into biscuits. Try and get as many shapes cut out each time as the less times you re-roll the better.

Line on a tray with non stick lining on and chill in the fridge for 30 mins-ish. It’s not imperative you do this, it just helps the cookies keep their shape whilst baking.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes.

The biscuits will seem soft when they first come out so don’t try and remove them immediately. Let them cool for 10 minutes then you’ll be able to move them onto a wire rack to cool.

There you have it! A rediculously easy shortbread recipe, sugar free.

Enjoy…just don’t eat too many too quick.

Chocolates/Truffles, Sweet

Dusted Cherry Truffles

Cherry Truffles

Due to the usual Christmas lull I’ve reduced the amount of sweet making and baking down to a minimum but after I made a Black Forest Gateaux inspired cake I was left with 300ml of double cream.

I decided that it was a sign, a sign to make chocolate truffles! Not that I really needed a sign but you know, inspiration comes in many forms and this time it came in exactly 300ml of cream.

I love to make truffles but the part I don’t like is the rolling and shaping, it is messy and I never seem to do a really good job of it. This time I am going to try different methods one day – rolling in cocoa, coating in chocolate and piping into chocolate moulds.

I have found the ones coated in a dusting of cocoa powder to be the most successful ones to eat so far but they are not the prettiest. I think this is because the truffle mix was a little too soft when I tried to shape and because I am not very good yet at tempering chocolate.

Rolling them in cocoa powder is the easiest to do.

I flavoured the inside of the truffle mix with cherry and rolled in cherry cocoa powder, from the company Sugar and Crumbs. Although these are a little bitter (maybe some icing sugar added next time) they look more like truffles and are easier to shape.

I might be a long, long way from master chocolatier but these look a lot more impressive than the skills required to make them.


Dusted Cherry Truffles

Ingredients

  • 300g Dark Chocolate
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 tablespoon cherry liquor
  • Cocoa Powder (ideally cherry flavoured)

Method

Chop up your chocolate and put into a large bowl and set aside

In a pan heat up the cream and butter slowly till the butter melts and the cream begins to simmer. This is where you start to get a few gentle bubbles on the top, try not to boil it!

Immediately pour over the chocolate and stir until it the chocolate has melted

Add in your cherry liquor, or any other flavour you fancy. Add it a little at a time and taste as you don’t want to add too much and make it too strong.

When the mix has cooled a little, refrigerate for at least 4 hours

Take the mix out of the fridge and either using a teaspoon or a melon baller, spoon out truffle sized pieces and working very quickly roll them in your hands till they are ball shaped

Once you have the shape roll them into the cocoa powder and set aside

After all of them are finished, keep them in the fridge in an airtight container and they should last a couple of days (if you don’t eat them all in one night and feel completely sick)

Sweet, Traybake

Chocolate Fudge Mountain

The other day the little-ist Baker went for a walk to the park whilst I stayed home to keep an eye on the workmen who were fixing a window. It was the first time I was kinda alone in the house since she was born so I felt a little excited and decided that I was going to try and make something that I had wanted to do since I was a kid… make fudge!image

When I was about 13 years old I found a recipe to make fudge in a magazine. It looked so easy to do and I had visions of an endless supply of fudge I could make myself. Sadly, it didn’t work so all I got was a large bowl of melted, sticky sugar. I was heartbroken and until a few days ago I never tried to make it again. I knew where it had gone wrong, it was because I had no sugar thermometer to get it to the magic 114c, aka Soft Ball Stage. I tried dropping the bit into a glass of water but it wasn’t accurate enough to get it to work.

This time I was armed, sugar thermometer clipped to the side of my pan… I was ready.

And low and behold – I made chocolate fudge. Not just a little chocolate fudge, a lot of chocolate fudge. In fact, I made enough fudge for a small chocolate fudge mountain in my kitchen. If I wasn’t on a diet it would have been heaven but instead it called me to eat it knowing I had to be a little bit good that week. I decided to bag it up into little individual bags and gave it away to family.

I might have a go at doing this again at Christmas as it would make a lovely little present to give to everyone. The recipe I used was from the Home Made Sweet Shop book which I’d recommend to anyone with a love of old fashioned sweet and a burning desire to make them yourself.

Don’t forget to keep any crumbly bits that break off when cutting. I used these to put into vanilla cupcakes.

Cake, Sweet

Happy… Cake

As the little-ist baker had gone to her grandparents for the night, I took the opportunity to bake and decorate a cake.
I really fancied a ‘birthday cake’ meaning sponge cake, icing, buttercream and all decorated quite pretty.

image
Not my best decorating but the best I could muster at nearly midnight!

As it wasn’t my birthday, or anyone else’s who would share cake with me, and I had no other occasion to celebrate I decided to make a happy…cake.  The idea is that eating cake makes me happy (that is until weigh in day!) and you could fill in the blank with whatever you want to celebrate:
– Happy Tuesday Cake
– Happy Sausage sandwich for dinner Cake
– Happy “oh someone just gave me a piece of” Cake

…you get the idea.

The cake I made was a chocolate sponge with chocolate spread and buttercream filling.  Silly me for deciding to ice a chocolate cake in white icing, on a hot evening whilst sleep deprived at 11:30pm.  I don’t always think too far ahead.  So please forgive the poor icing as it did taste good.

Biscuit, Sweet

The best biscuits in the world: Chocolate, Almond and Marzipan

…in my opinion anyway!

Australians Womens Weekly
The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits – A nice bit of alliteration from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

This week I have finally managed to get around to doing a little bit of baking. I did this by waiting till the little-ist baker was asleep and then rushed to the kitchen and started grabbing out ingredients and then seeing what I could make.

I made some chocolate muffins the other day and I didn’t fancy anything as time consuming as decorating pretty cupcakes so I decided to make some biscuits (cookies to Americans).
I was going to just make some very basic shortbread but I wanted something a little more interesting, then I remembered a recipe in my Australian Women’s Weekly “The big book of beautiful biscuits” that I made for my mom on mother’s day. These used ground almonds and egg yolks, which you would think would make them very cakey in texture, but they are actually quite short.

The recipe in the book is nothing like how my biscuits came out because I only used the base for them. If you have this cookbook then they are on page 4 titled Almond Maraschino Biscuits!

I’m sorry for anyone in the uk that this recipe is going to be in cups; as this is what was used in the book I used them to as I couldn’t be bothered to work out the weight into pounds and ounces or grams.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did?


Chocolate, Almond and Marzipan biscuits

1 1/4 cup Plain Flour

Chocolate Marzipan cookies

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Ground Almonds
1/2 cup Sugar
4oz Butter
2 Egg Yolk
Two big splashes of Amaretto Liqueur
About a large piece of Marzipan cut into very small squares (think the size of chocolate chips)

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC

In a bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds and sugar.
Rub the butter into the mix until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the 2 egg yolks and Amaretto liqueur and combine with your hands till it just starts to come together.
Mix in the Marzipan till it is roughly distributed in the dough. Try not to overwork the dough at this point.
On a floured surface roll out the dough till it is about an inch thick and cut out whatever shapes you like. I used a round cutter with scalloped edges.
Position onto a baking try and bake in the oven till they feel just soft in the middle – this will take about 12-15 minutes. It is difficult to see whether the edges have turned a little brown because of them being chocolate.

Once baked, take out of the oven and allow to cool. If you want to you can decorate them with icing sugar or icing or just be like me and eat them with a cuppa tea.