Triple Chocolate Swirl Buns

triple chocolate swirl buns, dairy-free and egg-free

I love making sweet swirled buns, there’s something magical about using a yeasted dough and making the swirls, then watching them come’ alive’ in the oven. They’re also a fantastic bake because they’re simple but look mightily impressive. As I’ve mentioned before Little S’s class gets a home-baked treat every Friday partly so she can enjoy sharing nice treats that she can have with her friends and partly to install in her friends that ‘friendly’ foods are also delicious (and I get to bake too)!

Since everyone always loves chocolate I thought we’d bring a ray of sunshine to cold dark January with these rather exciting and original triple chocolate swirl buns. Whilst we all love cinnamon buns sometimes it’s nice for a bit of variety and triple chocolate certainly hits the mark. The dough is subtly flavoured with cocoa, the swirl is a sugary cocoa paste flecked with chunks of white chocolate and the whole thing is drizzled with dairy-free milk chocolate. It makes for a stunning combination both to look at and eat. These have now been declared an all time favourite by some recipients so they must be ok!

making swirl buns

Triple Chocolate Swirl Buns

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

vegan nut-free chocolate buns

100ml dairy-free yogurt, I used Alpo

220ml water

3 tbsp dairy-free spread, such as Pure

475g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp dried yeast

75g soft brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp cornflour

For the filling:

1/3 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp chocolate extract [optional]

75g dairy-free white chocolate, finely chopped [optional]

For the glaze:

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp pearl sugar/sugar crystals

And/or:

50g dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate, melted

  1. Melt the margarine and water together – you want it to be warm and melted but not hot, stir in the yogurt
  2. In a bowl mx together the flour, yeast, sugar, cornflour and salt
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm liquid mix
  4. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked. Cover and let double in size in a warm place.
  5. Mix together the filling ingredients (except the chopped chocolate) and set aside.
  6. Knock back and roll out to a large rectangle. Spread on the chocolate filling. Sprinkle over the chopped white chocolate, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  7. Cut into even slices, probably about 1.5-2cm each – I managed to get 25 small slices from mine
  8. Place on lined baking sheets, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again for another half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F
  9. Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through.
  10. Melt the brown sugar with the water and brush over the top and sprinkle with the pearl sugar (if using)
  11. Remove from the pans and peel off the paper. Drizzle with the melted chocolate if desired.

triple chocolate swirl yeasted buns

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