Marshmallow Filled Chocolate Cookies

Cookies are a perennial favourite in this household, and for the majority chocolate wins every everytime. So as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time thinking up new exciting cookie ideas. I can think of a lots worse ways to spend my time!

So picture a deep, intense freshly baked chocolate cookie, with crisp edges and a soft and slightly chewy interior? Sounds good? Well, let me make it even better….. Now picture a deeply chocolatey freshly baked cookie, with crisp edges and a soft and slightly chewy interior, wrapped around a sweet vanilla melted marshmallow with has remained gooey even once it has set. That does sound better doesn’t it!

These mallow stuffed cookies are a revelation, they’ve quickly become a firm favourite. Little S took one into school in her packed lunch and her friends all asked for a nibble and then asked where to buy them. High praise indeed 🙂

Marshmallow Filled Chocolate Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan [if using vegan mallows])

makes about 9

200g (1 cup) soft brown sugar

115g (1/2 cup) dairy-free spread

2 tbsps golden syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder

150g (1and1/4 cups) plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

standard size marshmallows

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Cream together the spread, sugar, syrup and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt and mix to a stiff dough.
  3. Take tablespoon or two sized amounts of the chocolate dough and pat out to a small round. Place a marshmallow in the middle of each and bring the sides up and around to form a chocolate ball with no gaps.
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet and slightly press down with the fronts of a fork.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for a couple more minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  6. These cookies keep well for a few days in a sealed container, and are lovely warmed for 20 seconds in a microwave before eating.

 

Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

This time of  year is perfect for a culinary road trip, a way to pretend you’re in sunnier climes that the cold grey of February. Although to be fair it’s been pretty sunny this week, but not as sunny as the Caribbean where I’m taking you today (without leaving home).

We used to visit a small local farmers’ market when we lived in South London at which there was a family-run stall selling only home-made Jamaican loaves and breads. They were fabulous. I seem to remember one banana loaf being the perfect food after giving birth to my eldest. And they were vegan too – it was my first introduction to vegan cakes and how wonderful they can be. I’ve since searched and searched for a suitable recipe but not found one. The family in question stopped selling at this market, and we moved away from the area anyway. So here’s my take on a spiced banana bread… It’s really wholesome and tasty, with warm spices and tons of banana flavour, but still not quite like the one I remember. If you were that family who sold those spiced loaves at Abbeville Road farmer’ market, Clapham or know who they are, do get in touch. I’d happily travel to get hold of more!

The spicing in this recipe is quite mild so if you’re a spice fan I’d recommend doubling the spices for extra oomph! I particularly like the half banana on the top of the loaf, it certainly says what is in the tin, and a little crunchy sugar gives a nice contrast in texture, but both are totally optional and won’t alter the inherent spiced banana nature of the loaf.

Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

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

 

makes 1 loaf

225g plain flour

2 heaped tsps baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g muscovado sugar

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp rum or oat milk

1 tbsp Demerara sugar

A banana sliced lengthwise for decoration (optional)

Pearl or Demerara sugar for extra crunch

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5. Line a loaf tin and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the mashed banana, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices and salt.
  4. Mix to a dough, adding the rum/oat milk if it looks a bit dry.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle the top with the halved banana and some Demerara or pearl sugar
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.
  8. To freeze, wrap well and freeze whole. Defrost at room temperature before unwrapping.

 

Salted Caramel Sticky Buns

Imagine a cinnamon bun, but better? Difficult? Yes. Impossible? NO way, not when you’ve tasted these stunning salted caramel sticky buns.

These salted caramel sticky bun made out of cinnamon swirl buns so you get all the benefits of a deliciously spicy swirl bun which is then cooked in a lake of salted caramel, you can’t get much more exciting than that! Not only are these buns the epitome of luxury and comfort at the same time, they also reheat wonderfully to give the perfect winter pudding or snack. Honestly, you must try them, you’re life will not be complete until you have 🙃

Salted Caramel Sticky Buns

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

makes 14

250-300ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine, such as Pure

400g plain flour

2 tsp dried yeast

50g or 1/4 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp cornflour

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine

For the salted caramel:

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine

1 cup soft dark brown sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

  1. Melt the margarine and milk together – you want it to be warm and melted but not hot
  2. In a bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, cornflour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mix
  3. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked
  4. Cover and let double in size
  5. While waiting for the dough to prove, make the caramel. Melt together the sugar, margarine and salt until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Grease two cake tins, pour the caramel into each tin so the bottom is entire covered.
  7. Knock back the dough and roll out to a large rectangle
  8. Smear on the dairy-free margarine. Sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  9. Cut into 14 even slices. Place 7 in each caramel lined cake tin, 6 in a circle and 1 in the middle.
  10. Cover and leave to rise again for another half an hour
  11. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F
  12. Bake for 20-30 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through. They’ll look like traditional cinnamon swirls at this stage
  13. Now comes the magic! Invert onto a plate, being careful not to get caramel on yourself. Serve warm.
  14. To reheat: place in a warm oven for 5-10 minutes or microwave for 1 minute

 

Krispie Kreme Doughnuts – no dairy or eggs here.

Where do you stand with Krispie Kreme doughnuts? Most people can’t seem to get enough of them, in fact at our workplaces and schools they seem to be the luxurious treat of choice. I find them a bit too sickly and sweet!

Since my girls can’t have them and they see their friends excitedly tucking in, I decided that I had to make a home made variation. It’s good to know what everything is like isn’t it? I chose to make mini ones which was actually a good plan as it avoided the sweet overload whilst still getting the Krispie Kreme effect.

I personally think these are even better than Krispie Kremes- the dough is light and airy and the glaze give a pleasing sugary shell which shatters nicely when you bite in, and also serves to keep them fresh until the next day – genius!

Enjoy 🙂

Krispie Kreme Doughnuts

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

makes about 18-20 mini doughnuts

2 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp dried yeast

1 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

1 and 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

for the glaze:

2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp dairy-free milk

1 tbsp golden or maple syrup

  1. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the caster sugar. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other.
  2. Pour in the melted margarine and water
  3. Bring together to form a dough, knead until smooth.
  4. Cover the bowl and let rise for an hour or two
  5. Roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick and cut out circles or rings with cutters.
  6. Place on a floured baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for an extra 15 minutes
  7. Bring a pan of flavourless oil up to heat (360 degrees Centigrade – it’s the right temperature when a piece of bread bubbles on contact)
  8. Deep fry 2-3 doughnuts at a time until well browned all over. this will take a minute or two on each side.
  9. Drain on paper towels
  10. Make the glaze by heating all the ingredients in the microwave for 30 seconds, then whisking until smooth.
  11. Roll the warm doughnuts in the glaze until fully covered, then place on a wire rack to set.
  12. Eat as soon as possible!

Pizza Marinara – the perfect naturally dairy-free pizza choice

***Disclaimer***

*This is a sponsored post by Hans Grill whereby I received a free pizza stone in return for a review.*

I’ve always wanted a pizza stone but never got round to buying one, so I was delighted when Hans Grill offered me the opportunity to receive a free stone. They really are a great addition to your kitchen if you like making pizza, and I’m a big pizza fan.

With a stone baked pizza you get such a delicious crust which has bubbles, charred bits and tastes just right. They’re not too much bother either – you just need to place it on one of the wire racks (not the bottom of the oven) and heat on full temperature for about 40 minutes. Then dust with flour and slide on your pizza using the handy wooden peel. You could of course make this pizza without the stone, by simply placing it on a baking sheet, but you will get the improved flavour and texture of a stone baked dough which I really like.

There are more and more vegan pizzas available to buy which is a great thing, but my girls don’t really like vegan cheese, so we usually opt for homemade and then everyone can be happy with the choice of toppings.

A marinara pizza is a traditional Italian recipe and the perfect option if you’re avoiding dairy – the combination of tomato sauce, garlic, oregano and olive oil is a match made in heaven and is rightly classed as a classic. Enjoy it as it is or pep it up with veggies, olives, or the usual pizza toppings.

 

Marinara Pizza

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

makes 4 to 5

for the dough:

450g OO flour

1 tbsp dried yeast

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

250-300ml warm water

for the topping:

150ml tomato paste or pizza sauce (try Pizza Express passata)

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

oregano

extra virgin olive oil

  1. First make the dough. Add all the dough ingredients and knead well. Leave to prove in a covered bowl in a warm place. You want it to double in size and that will take a couple of hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to the highest setting. If using a pizza stone, place it on one of the wire racks in the oven and heat for 40 minutes.
  3. Portion the dough into 4 or 5 pieces. Roll onto out using a little extra flour. Flour the peel and place the dough on top, making sure it can freely move. Or place the dough on a baking sheet.
  4.  Swirl on some tomato passata, top with chopped garlic, sprinkle with oregano and then drizzle with a little oil.
  5. Season. Slide onto the pizza stone, or place the baking sheet into the oven.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes on the stone or 10-12 minutes on the baking sheet.
  7. Serve hot.

 

Brownies with a Biscoff Swirl

Brownies are such a popular and useful sweet treat. They work equally well as a cake, snack or a pudding; we particularly like a warmed brownie with ice cream and caramel or magic chocolate sauce – mmmmm pure pudding heaven.

I have’t posted a brownie recipe for absolutely ages, but last week I came across some pictures of beautiful brownies which featured a yummy swirl. This got me thinking, brownies are delicious but they’re not overly sweet, so a swirl to sweeten the overall effect would work a treat. Biscoff spread is such a great nut-free spread and is delicious with chocolate, so my decision of flavour combos was a real no brainer!

To counter the sweet swirl, I have made these brownies extra rich and decadent with plenty of melted chocolate stirred in, giving a luxurious and intensely chocolatey effect. There are what you may call brownie perfection.

Brownies with a Biscoff Swirl

 

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

4 tbsp cocoa powder

150g self-raising flour

110g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp flavourless oil, I use sunflower

250ml dairy-free milk

100g dairy-free chocolate, melted

4 tbsp Biscoff spread

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a brownie tin with parchment
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa, self-raising flour, caster sugar and salt.
  3. Pour in the oil, milk and vanilla and mix to form a smooth batter
  4. Stir in the melted chocolate (this will make the batter much stiffer)
  5. Transfer to the lined brownie tin and level off.
  6. Warm the Biscoff spread so it becomes runnier, dollop over the brownie batter and using the handle of a wooden spoon swirl it though
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. It should be a bit gooey looking in the middle. Cool fully in the tin before cutting into portions.