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)

Sweetshop

Old Fashioned sweet shop: Lemon and Orange sherbet dips

Sherbet Lollypops

The first month of a whole new year and I am hoping that this year will be another exciting year.

I love making and eating sweets so I decided to start my 2019 with something that I was excited to try for a while, both because of its simplicity and because there really is nothing more that epitomises a classic sweet shop item – Sherbet dip lollies!

When I was a kid, I usually bought these for 20p from the local shop (from that you can probably work out whether I am younger or older than you) although honestly age is very irrelevant with sweets anyway, just ask my dad!

For these I used a recipe from The Vintage Sweet Book by Angel Adoree to create both the lollies and the sherbet.

For flavouring I went for a classic lemon sherbet, though I decided not to colour it yellow and for the lollies I made them orange flavoured and coloured them using a peach gel colour. Orange and lemon, you can’t really go wrong with that can you?

I have an idea for a fun children’s party – bowls of different flavour sherbet, sugars and lolly pops.

Different colours and flavours with scoops and bags so people can mix and match to their liking. The flavours and colours could be endless and they would beautiful to display.

Although the lollies aren’t fragile, I have not found a way of storing them easily as they tend to go a little sticky. I’m sure that there are ways to do this but I need to look into it more.

Just a little word of warning – although these are simple and cute to make they do involve boiling sugar to a very high temperature so aren’t suitable for kids to help out with.

You may not have the book I used so here are some links to good recipes:

Peppermint lollies

Sherbet dips

Muffin, Sweet

Banana “‘Nana! ‘Nana!” Muffins

Oh dear, I’ve been very lax in writing the past few weeks.  With the post Christmas lull and my ‘get slim before 30’ diet (I’m hurtling towards my 30th birthday in August!), my mind has been otherwise occupied.

I have still been baking, a little, despite not having many left who aren’t on diets to eat my baking.

The littlest baker is now 15 months old and learning new words at an alarming rate.  Two of her current favourites are:
Din-dins meaning dinner.  It is best shouted any time you think someone is even thinking about making something to eat, just in case they don’t bring you some. 
Nana meaning banana.  This is squealed in delight at the sight of this yellow fruit. Also combined with pointing and saying word repeatedly till you receive… a ‘nana.

Unfortunately, as you are probably more than aware, bananas ripen at a ridiculous rate and even a small bunch becomes over ripe very quickly.
So to counter this I’ve made the over ripe bananas into banana muffins.

It’s a staple recipe that every baker probably should have made but I never have.  Although this is my first time making them they have come out very light and tasting of banana.

The littlest baker might not automatically shout “nana!” upon sight of them but they should make a nice little treat for her.


This is the recipe I used but I only had 2 smaller bananas so I reduced the flour to 8.5oz instead of 9oz.
I did not add any nuts to this either.

BBC Banana Muffin

Fudge, Sweet

The joys and pitfalls of making fudge

Fudge PartySince I am still at home waiting for HR to sort out everything for my new job I have been spending my time with my family and my stove, specifically I have been making fudge – a lot of it!

I have been really thinking about making it into a little business that I can do part time running the occasional stall here and there. Its really exciting and I’ve always fancied the idea of being my own little boss so now I am really looking it. I have contacted our local environmental health about my kitchen and whilst waiting for them I have been practicing.

Vanilla and Cranberry BrandyI have encountered a lot of issues and was kinda lulled into a false sense of security because my first few batches of fudge came out so well that I thought, “hey, this is easy!”. How wrong I have been. I am currently writing this as a failed batch of simple vanilla fudge has split and is cooling in the kitchen ready to make its way swiftly to the bin. For some reason this time it has split and I have no idea why! Still, I will get back on my fudge horse and try again.
I have learnt a lot though and every mistake tells me what I did wrong so that next time I can fix it. I’ve learnt you can re-cook over heated fudge, not to stir too early to stop crystal formation, the right pan to use, altering the temperature to suit your thermometer. It’s no wonder there is no one recipe that is fool proof.

I will get this and some of the fudge that has worked has been fantastic, my dad even said it was the best he’d ever tasted (my dad will eat anything though!) and my fudge party that I held so friends and family could help me eat some of the mountain was very well received. Now I just need to keep at it… practice, practice, practice and then one day I might be at a stall near you.Whisky and After 8 Fudge