Homemade Crunchie Bars – dairy-free

 

Thank Crunchie it’s (almost) Friday!

Whilst the range of dairy-free chocolate is getting better all the time, it pales in comparison to the ‘regular’ chocolate selection in any shop. So regular blog followers will know that every now and then I try to experiment with an everyday and iconic bar to enable the girls to get a taste of what their friends eat.

The most popular so far have been my dairy-free KitKats and Creme Eggs – I was pretty pleased with both of those (excuse the boast). This time I thought I’d experiment with Crunchie bars, yet another ‘classic’ and a childhood favourite.

Homeycomb in itself is pretty easy to make, and it’s lots of fun watching the caramel turn into a bubbling volcano of sugary foam ( but do be extremely careful as honeycomb is burning hot).

It’s also very easy to make uneven shards of honeycomb but I wondered how to make it into even bars like real crunchies. The answer is to pour the honeycomb into oiled silicone chocolate bar moulds and once set you have the most perfect honeycomb bars. Not that it makes any difference to the taste but as my goal is to recreate the original as best I can, it seems important.

I know original Crunchies are coated in milk chocolate but the dark chocolate contrasts really well with the ever-so-sweet honeycomb and actually makes a far better bar. Have fun dipping the honeycomb into the chocolate… messy but satisfying.

Dairy-free Homemade Crunchie Bars

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

makes 12 bars

200g caster sugar

 4 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g chocolate, melted

  1. Oil the chocolate moulds, or a baking tray with sides.
  2. Gently melt together the sugar and syrup (in a high sided saucepan which has plenty of spare space) until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a bubble and simmer until it turns lightly golden (this won’t take long).
  3. Remove from the heat and pour in the bicarbonate of soda, stir briefly to ensure the whole thing is foaming.
  4. Pour into the moulds or onto the baking tray. Leave to set.
  5. Un-mould or break into shards.
  6. Melt the chocolate and dip the bars/shards to totally cover.

 

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

 

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

Millionaire’s Shortbread

millionaires shortbread, dairy-free, egg-free

Millionaires shortbread, or chocolate covered caramel shortbread – is it a thing all round the world? Here in the U.K. you seem to get it everywhere, its so often the luxury baked item by the till in sandwich shops, right next to the brownies and flapjacks. It’s very popular, and rightly so, anything as naughty as caramel and chocolate topped shortbread must be rather tempting.

I’ve made homemade versions before but the caramel tended to get a little too chewy, it really needs to be set but gooey – you don’t want a toffee like texture. This recipe uses soya condensed milk which gives an extra creaminess to the caramel and perfect gooeyness – I’d actually advise to set the caramel in the freezer for an hour or so to enable a perfect slice. Be warned though, this shortbread is very rich so small squares should suffice!

Millionaire’s Shortbread

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

vegan millionaires shortbread

for the shortbread:

dairy-free shortbread

225g plain flour

175g dairy-free margarine

80g caster sugar

  1. Pour the flour and sugar into a bowl and rub in the margarine until you have formed a soft dough. Or pulse the mixture in a food processor until a dough forms.
  2. Press into a lined baking tray and bake at 160 degrees Centigrade for 30-40 minutes until lightly golden
  3. Cool

Next make the caramel:

caramel, dairy-free, nut-free

330g tin of condensed soya milk

100g dairy free margarine

100g golden syrup

  1. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until turned lightly golden and thickened.
  2. Pour over the shortbread base and place in the fridge to setchocolate over caramel
  3. Once cool, melt 150g dark dairy-free chocolate and pour over the caramel layer. Evenly spread and leave to set.
  4. If possible place in the freezer to firm up the caramel and they cut into small bars.

vegan caramel chocolate shortbread

Viennese Whirls

dairy-free egg-free viennese whirls

With the Great British Bake Off in full swing, I’m determined to bake along and prove nearly everything can be made friendly, delicious and beautiful. I’m a bit behind with my writing up so don’t expect recipes to be in sync with the series – my raspberry Jaffa Cakes will feature at some point down the line!

dairy-free chocolate Viennese whirl biscuits

Last week’s technical challenge was Viennese Whirls, the ideal biscuit recipe to recreate for our picnic today. Viennese whirls are pretty filled cookies – a short crumbly biscuit piped into a cute shape and mine filled with dairy-free buttercream. This version contrasts a dark cocoa-rich cookie with light fluffy white buttercream giving a dramatic effect. Also the bitterness of the cookie works well to balance the sweetness of the buttercream. These would be perfect for any elegant tea party, for people or teddy bears!

vegan Viennese whirls

Viennese Whirls 

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

IMG_6438

makes about 6 sandwich cookies, multiply for more!

100g/ 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine

25g/ 2tbsp icing sugar

25g/ 2tbsp cocoa powder

100g/ 3/4-1 cup flour

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Cream together the margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Sift in the cocoa and flour and add the milk. Mix to make a stiff dough
  4. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the baking sheet, or simply roll out even sized balls
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  6. Cool on a wire rack
  7. Sandwich together with fluffy buttercream (see recipe here)

IMG_6436

Homemade Toffee Crisp Chocolate Bars

 

vegan homemade toffee crisp

While dairy-free chocolate bars have improved enormously in the last few years thanks to brands like Moo Free and supermarket own brands, they’re still not especially exciting or child friendly. Most of the more interesting varieties are either extremely difficult to come by or they’re suitable for vegans but not if allergic to milk.

The girls are always utterly delighted when I make exciting chocolate bars, so to add to previous KitKat and Twix recipes already on my site, here is rather thrilling Toffee Crisp recipe. Sweet caramel coated Rice Krispies encased in smooth rich chocolate, who could resist that? The Toffee Crisp was certainly one of my favourites while growing up. Somehow the Rice Krispies remain crunchy and are a fabulous sweet and crispy centre to the bar.

dairy-free nut-free toffee crisp chocolate bars
My recipe is slightly different to the original Nestle bar as it is enrobed in smooth, dark chocolate, not sweet creamy chocolate. Feel free to mix that up, I just find that dairy-free milk chocolate gives less of a smooth shiny end product and as my girls are more used to dark than milky flavours, it’s what they prefer.
It may seem to be a total pain to make your own chocolate bars but as long as you have a little time and some silicone moulds they really are pretty simple, and you do feel very satisfied in the end. In fact, these bars went down so well that I’ve been requested to make a bubbly Aero next – I have no idea how I can manage that?

coating chocolate moulds

Homemade Dairy-free Toffee Crisp Bars

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

homemade dairy-free toffee crisp chocolate bars, vegan

makes about 8

100g dairy-free chocolate

40g dairy-free margarine

125g caster sugar

Dash of water

30g Rice Krispies (use gluten-free if you need)

  1. Melt and temper the chocolate using these guidelines
  2. Coat the silicone moulds with two layers of chocolate, leave to set in a cool place
  3. Melt together the sugar, margarine and water. Bring to a boil and cook until it just turns golden, between 260 and 265 degrees Centigrade. Make sure it doesn’t turn too dark of it’ll taste bitter. Pour in the Rice Krispies and stir so they are totally covered in the caramel.
  4. Fill the chocolate coated moulds with the caramel Rice Krispies and leave to harden. Once set, coat with another layer of chocolate, making sure all the gaps are filled.
  5. Once set, turn out of the moulds and trim off any edges. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

making toffee crisp bars