Chocolate Sablé Biscuits – best chocolate cookies ever.

 

the best ever vegan chocolate biscuit

Sometimes there is nothing like a chocolate cookie, it can be the ultimate sweet treat, but so often they’re not quite right, more average than awesome. These are in the realms of awesome. They’re the kind of biscuit that you take a bite of and immediately sigh saying ‘wow, these are good’. Deeply chocolatey, just the right kind of chewy… yep, they’re up there with the best. The fact I’ve made them three times in the past two weeks says something!

the best every dairy-free chocolate cookie

The origins of this biscuit comes from a Pierre Hermé recipe which I’ve tweaked and adapted to our requirements and tastes. But as one would expect from a master chocolatier these biscuits are a chocolate lover’s dream – they’re dark, rich, chocolatey, sweet but a little bit salty all at the same time, .

These tend not to last the day round here as hands swipe them straight off the tray.

the best ever egg-free dairy-free chocolate cookies

Chocolate Sablé Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate sable, egg-free

makes about 12-15

90-100g chocolate, chopped (I use a mixture of dark and ‘milk’)

85g plain flour

15g good quality cocoa

pinch of bicarbonate of soda

75g dairyfree margarine

60g soft brown sugar

25g caster sugar

1/2 tsp good quality flaky salt, such as fleur de sel

  1. Cream together the margarine, sugars and salt. Stir in the chocolate pieces
  2. Gently mix in the flour, bicarbonate and cocoa and combine to form a soft dough.
  3. Form into a sausage shape and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge to chill, you want it to be as cold as possible
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Slice the cookie dough into 1cm slices and place well apart on the baking sheets
  6. Bake for 11-12 minutes. They should have spread out nicely.
  7. Cool briefly on the sheets so they are stiff enough to move and then transfer to a wire rack.

nut-free chocolate sable cookies

 

Brilliant Bubble and Squeak Cakes

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Brilliant bubble and squeak cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free

It’s suddenly all about the leftovers. With Christmas over for another year, it’s time to think up ways of eating all the festive foods without feeeling like you’ve eaten the same meal for multiple days in a row. We’re definitely in comfort food territory, food to warm the soul on brisk chilly days, and potatoes lend themselves so well to this.

D and I are fans of the odd cabbage based dish but I’ve never managed to persuade the girls – I guess it’s always been thus with children and cabbage. But hidden in potato could work?

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The brilliant part of these bubble and squeak cakes is that they’re naturally dairy-free, with no fat included in the recipe to bind them together – sure you have to roast the mini potatoes originally, and then fry them to give a crispy outside but it’s not so naughty. The potato cake is also the most fabulous carrier of any green veg really, enrobing it in comforting mashed and roasted potato. I’ve always found the name very appealing too, the bubble and squeak being from the sound makes while cooking.

I’ve used cabbage here, but this recipe will work brilliantly with chopped up roasties from your Christmas or Sunday lunch, and any leftover veg you fancy. Try these with any left-overs or as part of a full English breakfast. Veggies and non veggies will love these.

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Bubble and Squeak Cakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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free-from potato cakes

Serves 4

2 large baking potatoes, baked and still warm

2-3 small to medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

Green or cabbage of choice, shredded and blanched

Salt and pepper

  1. Roast the potato cubes in oil and seasoning (plus any herbs optional) for about 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade, until golden and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Using a potato ricer (my preference), rice the insides of the large cooked baked potatoes. (Keep the skins to make stuffed potato skins!). Stir in the mini roasties and cabbage/greens, season well.
  3. Press into a ring that is on baking paper and then place in the fridge to firm up.
  4. Fry in flavourless oil until golden on each side and then transfer to a hot oven for 15 minutes.
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veggie full English with bubble and squeak cakes

Christmas Spiced Mini Shortbread Bites

 

vegan Christmas shortbread

I love the warm spices of Christmas, the gentle cosy hug of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice. Not only do they make the house smell of Christmas while baking but they also make me feel like everything is right with the world. Well maybe that’s a bit much, but there’s definitely something emotionally warming with the subtle winters spices.

Since shortbread is such a great carrier of flavour and makes really yummy little biscuits I thought some spiced shortbread would go down a treat. I’ve made these extra Christmassy with red sprinkles and cut into bite sized morsels. They little sweet bites are perfect as a little snack with coffee, drinks or tea, or even as a homemade present. I think even Father Christmas might even like a few when he visits on Christmas Eve 🙂

egg-free, nut-free spiced shortbread

Christmas Spiced Mini Shortbread Bites

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Christmas Spiced shortbread, dairy-free, egg-free

makes about 20

225g plain flour

75g soft brown sugar

150g dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp salt

Christmassy sprinkles [optional]

  1. Heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 3
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment – Stir the sugar, spices and salt into the flour.
  3. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips (you need a light tough with shortbread). Squeeze together to form a crumbly dough.
  4. Roll out and then cover with the sprinkles. Roll out a little more and stamp out or cut out shapes. Place on the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool on a wire rack.

dairy-free Christmas shortbread

Christmas Cupcakes

 

christmas lights cupcakes

Is there any time of the year more about decoration and glitz than Christmas? So when everything from houses, trees and Christmas jumpers are adorned with lights, baubles and bells, why not also decorate some cupcakes to fit into the generally merriment?

These little chocolate cupcakes decked with Christmas lights make a wonderful addition to the Christmas fare. They look delightfully festive whilst also being a crowd pleaser; not many people can resist a delicious chocolate cupcake. The decoration is pretty effective but very easy: vanilla buttercream is piped into a smooth swirl, which is then drizzled with a ‘string’ of melted chocolate along which colourful decorations or sweets are placed to represent the twinkling lights on a tree.

Christmas Lights Cupcakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

christmas cupcakes, dairy-free, egg-free

makes 18

350g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

200ml sunflower oil

300ml oat milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the oat milk, lemon juice, vanilla and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Fluffy White Buttercream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

enough to ice 24 cupcakes

1/4 cup vegetable fat

3/4 cup dairy-free margarine

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 or 2 tbsp dairy-free milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.
  2. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the oat milk and the vanilla, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.
  3. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.
  4. Melt 20-30g chocolate, pipe a line onto the buttercream. Stud with decorations or sweets.

vegan Christmas cupcakes

Cherry and Sultana Christmas Cake

 

cherry and sultana Christmas Cake

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a cake, right? But a Christmas cake that is free-from eggs, milk and nuts is almost impossible to buy.

Fruit cakes don’t really feature on my blog since my girls have an aversion to dried fruit, mainly I think due to the fact that it was so hard to find them safe snacks when they were tiny that they ate far too many little boxes of raisins! But it’s Christmas time and fruit cake might not be popular,  but they’re so very traditional that they really do have to feature somewhere along with the other sweet treats.

This is a variation on my previous Christmas cake, just to add a bit of excitement and variety to the Christmas teatime centre piece. I think this version which is jam packed full of cherries and sultanas hits just the right note of slightly out of the ordinary. It is a lighter fruit cake variety which is more to my taste as I do find the really dark intense fruit cakes a little challenging!

You may find the method odd, and it is unusual for a cake mix but the finished cake is beautifully light whilst being loaded with dried fruit.

Try and make it as early as you can and then feed once a week with a table spoon of brandy, apple juice or perhaps Chambord blackberry liqueur as I did here for an extra fruity hit.

When it’s time to decorate, paint with a layer of warmed apricot jam and cover with a thin layer of marzipan and fondant icing. If you avoid tree nuts just leave out the marzipan, it really won’t detract from the cake at all!

I haven’t yet iced this cake, so i’ll add a photo of the finished article in the next week or so 🙂

Cherry and Sultana Christmas Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegan and vegetarian)

egg-free, dairy-free Christmas cake

makes 1 12″ cake

125g glace cherries, roughly chopped

300g sultanas

50g mixed peel, chopped

100g dates, stoned and chopped

2 tbsps brandy (or apple juice)

350g plain flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

70g dairy-free margarine

zest of 1 lemon

170g light Muscovado sugar

250ml dairy-free milk, warmed to hand hot temperature

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  1. Grease and line a 12″ cake tin
  2. Pour the brandy/apple juice over the dried fruit and leave to steep for at least a couple of hours, or preferably overnight
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice. Add the lemon zest.
  5. Rub in the dairy-free margarine
  6. Stir in the sugar, and the dried fruits
  7. Add the bicarb to the warm milk and stir until dissolved
  8. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough (it will be surprisingly stiff)christmas cake mix egg-free
  9. Turn into the lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to gas mark 3/160 degrees Centigrade and continue to bake for a further 15-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Keep wrapped in baking paper, in an airtight container until ready to decorate (if desired) just before Christmas
  12. For added moisture and flavour, pour 1 tbsp of apple juice or brandy onto the cake each week until ready to use.

vegan christmas cake

Gingerbread Spiced Swirl Buns

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Gingerbread cinnamon swirl buns

I reckon it’s about time to get a little bit festive and Christmassy round here – I’ve got so many ideas which have been simmering away since last Christmas and I just didn’t get time to action, and despite all my best intentions to be prepared, there’s just something that prevents me from Christmas cooking before the start of December!

These delightfully gingerbread scented swirl buns give a nod to the forthcoming festive season without seeming too full on Christmassy. In fact you could happily eat them at any time of year. I think spiced swirl buns are such a successful and rewarding bake – they take time but are essentially very simple, look delightfully irresistible and make the house smell heavenly! You can’t get better than that!

gingerbread spiced swirl buns, dairy-free, egg-free

Gingerbread Cinnamon Swirl Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan gingerbread spiced swirl buns

makes about 24

250ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine, such as Pure

1tbsp black treacle

450g plain flour

2 tsp dried yeast

60g sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine

christmas swirl buns, vegan

For the glaze:

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp pearl sugar/sugar crystals

And/or:

1/4 cup icing sugar

Sprinkle cinnamon

Water to make into a runny paste

  1. Melt the spread and milk together – you want it to be warm and melted but not hot, stir in the treacle.
  2. In a bowl mx together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mix
  4. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked
  5. Cover and let double in size
  6. Knock back and roll out to a large rectangle
  7. Smear on the dairy-free margarine. Sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon and ginger, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  8. Cut into even slices – I managed to get 24 small slices from mine
  9. Place on lined baking sheets and leave to rise again for another half an hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F. Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through
  11. Melt the brown sugar with the water and brush over the top and sprinkle with the pearl sugar (if using). Remove from the pans and peel off the paper. Drizzle with the cinnamon water icing.

dairy-free christmas spiced cinnamon swirls

The Best Chocolate Birthday/Celebration Cake (dairy, egg, soya and nut-free)

Unicorn birthday cake, dairy-free egg-free

I’ve realised that although I make multiple versions of this cake every year, I’ve never posted it as a recipe. Silly really because it’s a fantastic recipe and everyone needs a great birthday cake up their sleeve!

Birthday cakes were one of my first big challenges as a dairy and egg free cook. I was determined that my girls could have a pretty ‘Wow’ cake like all their friends, that could challenge the popular store bought versions that everyone gasped over at the countless birthday parties we’ve attended. So I needed a great, fail-safe reliable recipe, and this one ticks all those boxes

My first versions, despite trying my very hardest were not particularly great (totally round cake shaped bumble bee anyone?) but as the years pass they’ve improved, I think!

I use this lovely chocolate cake recipe which gives just the right crumb to turn into an iced sandwich cake. You could make two sponges and sandwich together but my preference is to make one large cake and then split it in half when it’s cool. I find that way gives a better finish when the whole cake is iced.

sliced chocolate celebration cake, dairy-free, egg-free

As I make a chocolate sponge, I sandwich it together with vanilla buttercream and also coat the top and sides with a thin layer of the buttercream to help the icing stick.

Next it’s a layer of fondant icing which is then decorated for the chosen theme.

underwater dairy-free cake

Chocolate Celebration Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

make up cake, vegan

makes one cake

330g self-raising flour

5 tbsps cocoa powder

220g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsps bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

290ml dairy-free milk

2 tbsps dairy-free yogurt

100g dairy-free margarine, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Grease and line a deep cake tin
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt
  3. Stir in the sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the oat milk, melted dairy-free margarine, yogurt and vanilla.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix gently until well combined.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a knife comes out clean
  7. Cool in the cake tin.

chocolate celebration cake, egg-free

 

Fill and cover with buttercream:

Vanilla Buttercream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate birthday cake, vegan

makes more than enough for the cake!

2 tbsp vegetable fat (such as Trex)

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Pure)

1 1/2 to 2 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 or 2 tbsp dairy-free milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.
  2. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the oat milk and vanilla, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.

Here’s a gallery of some of my other favourites over the last few years.

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Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

sinful chocolate cupcakes, dairy-free, egg-free

These cupcakes are chocolatey, really chocolatey and topped with a rich sticky ganache that turns to a fudgy set icing when it’s cooled, somewhat reminiscent of shop bought chocolate cupcakes, but far far better. If you’re in the mood for a good dose of chocolate power then this is the recipe for you! Besides there is something rather elegant about those shiny chocolate tops, making them equally at home when served as a dessert or tea time treat.

Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate cupcakes vegan

makes 18-22

350g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

200ml sunflower oil

300ml dairy-free milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the dairy-free milk, lemon juice, vanilla and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3 rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

the best chocolate cupcakes, dairy-free and egg-free

Fudgy Chocolate Icing

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate fudge icing

85g dairy-free dark chocolate, such as Kinnerton

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine

3 tbsps icing sugar

  1. In a saucepan, gently melt together the ingredients
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened, stirring all the time. This will only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Cool slightly and then spread on top of the cupcakes
  4. Decorate as desired

nut-free chocolate fudge cupcakes

Cake Pops

cake pops, dairy-free, egg-free

My girls have often asked to try cake pops but I always presumed they were difficult to make – surely an orb of sponge is fairly tricky with no gadgety cake pop maker? As it happens, cake pops are a doddle to make, the spherical form is molded out of cake crumbs mixed with buttercream. If I’d known they were so simple I’d have made them ages ago!

The popularity of these spherical shaped cake treats is no doubt due to both the lollipop shape, and the tempting decorated chocolate coating  – surely irresistible to any in possession of a sweet tooth. This version features vanilla sponge, mixed with fluffy vanilla buttercream and coated in dairy-free chocolate. Recipes for the cupcakes and buttercream can be found here.

Cake pops totally fit the birthday party brief, small desirable little treats that are meant to be eaten by hand. These little beauties are easily assembled from a few leftover cupcakes and some extra buttercream, perfect for when you want wow factor with only minimal fuss.

making cake pops

Cake Pops

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

cake pops, vegan

makes approximately 8, multiply as necessary

1 cup cake crumbs, I found 3 cupcakes did the trick

1/3 cup buttercream

50g dairy-free chocolate, melted

sprinkles or decorations of choice

  1. Crumble up the cakes to make fine crumbs. Either use a food processor or by hand
  2. Mix in the buttercream and form into even sized balls, insert the cake pop sticks
  3. Place in the fridge to firm up cake pop centres, nut-free
  4. Dip in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with decorations. Place in a cup to set.
  5. Enjoy!

dairy-free cake pops, no egg

Dairy-free Chocolate Cheesecake

vegan chocolate cheesecake

Now, obviously you can’t make a really authentic cheesecake if you don’t eat dairy – you do need plenty of cream cheese after all! I’ve made plenty with soya cream cheese which makes a fantastic fruity cheesecake. This chocolate based recipe is pretty inspired as it’s made made using silken tofu, which was kindly supplied by Mori-Nu. It’s a particularly versatile and good quality tofu and my preferred brand of choice when either making savoury dishes such as salt and pepper tofu, or a sweet dish as found here.

The tofu base is quite a revelation, on first reading it doesn’t sound good does it? Tofu cheesecake, it sounds bland and a bit meh. But in fact the results are inspired and delicious. The texture is as smooth and creamy as a cheesecake should be and the chocolate flavour is happily soaked up by the tofu to make a wonderfully rich and decadent filling. All this from six simple ingredients, you can’t go wrong with that!

chocolate cheesecake

Dairy-free Chocolate Cheesecake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cheesecake

makes one 12 inch cheesecake, enough to serve at least 8

200g crushed biscuits, I used Lotus Caramalised Biscuits

50g dairy-free spread, melted

350g pack firm silken tofu

170g dairy-free chocolate, such as Kinnerton

4 tbsps golden syrup/maple syrup (or use honey if you’re not vegan)

1 tbsp sunflower oil

grated chocolate to decorate

  1. Melt the dairy-free spread and stir into the crushed biscuits. Press into the bottom of a loose base tart tin. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender pulse the silken tofu with the syrup/honey until smooth.
  3. Melt the chocolate and oil together either over a bain-marie or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
  4. Carefully stir the chocolate into the tofu mix until well combined.
  5. Pour over the biscuit base. Smooth over the top and then leave to set in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  6. Decorate the top as desired, I used shaved white chocolate.

egg-free, dairy-free cheesecake

Disclaimer: Mori-Nu sent me a pack of tofu which I used to create this recipe.