Vegan Baci, italian hazelnut kisses x

As seen on tv gluten free Baci with reduced sugar and reduced fat

As seen on tv gluten free home made italian chocolate kisses x Baci x with reduced sugar and reduced fat

Nearly every celebration finishes with Baci here, either the delicious ready bought ones all the way from Perugia or home made ones made with condensed milk.  This recipe still produces Baci with a marvelous taste but they contain no added sugar, no fats, no lactose or dairy products and they are vegan ‘

You will need:

2 packets gluten free plain biscuits
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
100g crushed hazelnuts
2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts
3 tablespoons agave
4 tablespoons coconut
2 tablespoons brandy/rum OR Aronia liquid concentrate
100ml coconut milk
200g chocolate with no added sugar [Valor]
50g whole hazelnuts

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Hazelnut italian kisses are a must at Christmas x Baci x As seen on TV
Photo: Roger Azzopardi

Crush the biscuits very finely.
In a bowl mix together the biscuits, cocoa powder, crushed hazelnuts, coconut, honey, rum and skimmed milk. Mix well.
Bind the mixture into very small balls. On top of every ball put a hazelnut.
Leave to set for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge before you cover using the melting chocolate.  Leave to set overnight in the fridge before serving.

The baci you see in the photos are from our live tv show which runs for 2 1/2 hours every afternoon.  Nothing is staged and all the food is prepared from scratch, everything you see is made in real time with the participation of a live audience.    If you make these baci allowing the time required for the filling and then the chocolate to set, your hand chocolates will be even more beautiful 🙂

Chocolate Coconut cake with reduced sugar and no butter

All in one chocolate coconut cake with reduced sugar

All in one chocolate coconut cake with reduced sugar

Some of my readers tell me that they are not able to get used to the taste of Stevia. Of course Stevia is not processed sugar and our tastebuds need to adjust. This chocolate coconut cake which I made during our show this week has equal quantities of sugar and stevia, with the idea of gradually eliminating sugar.

For the chocolate coconut cake you will need:

2 cups self raising flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup stevia
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup olive oil
half a cup plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a few drops vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
3 eggs
1 cup water

In a saucepan gently heat the yoghurt, olive oil, water, coffee powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir and do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir.

In a separate bowl sieve and mix together the self raising flour, coconut and stevia.

Sieve the flour

Sieve the flour

Prepare a 23 cm tin lightly greased with butter and then dusted with flour. Remove excess flour.

Mix the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients and fold in.

Adding eggs :)

Adding eggs 🙂

Stir in the eggs. Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish. Sprinkle coconut on the surface.

Chocolate Coconut cake prior to baking

Chocolate Coconut cake prior to baking

Bake at 160C for 35 minutes.

While it was still hot, i brushed mine with warm honey and dusted more coconut powder. The keep will keep moist for around 10 days if kept well in a air tight container.

Photography Ian Noel Pace

Cakes without butter and refined sugar

I love baking, especially when I develop new recipes and try to perfect them. It takes time and patience but over the past few years I have developed a range of cakes and bakes with no added butter or processed sugar.

Cakes should be fluffy and light. The bulk of processed sugar and the flavour and consistency of butter is often needed to achieve the right consistency in cakes. I am sharing some of my favourite ones this week. I featured them first on television last winter and, to my delight, they were such a success with the audience that many who never made cakes before were sending us photos of their results.

The big secret to achieving that light and fluffy texture is not to overmix. You will not need any electric mixers or gadgets. Simply sift the flour and dry ingredients into a large bowl and the liquid ingredients into another bowl. Then, gently fold in the liquids into the dry mix and fold in firmly, yet gently, as though handling something very fragile, until the batter is barely mixed.

Then just pour the batter into your cake tin and place in the middle shelf of a preheated oven immediately. I use a 23cm cake tin. I have included some recipes using cup measurements… it speeds up preparation and it is a great investment to your baking equipment at home.

Chocolate Rose Cake

250g self-raising flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp oats
1 tsp corn flour
A few drops vanilla essence

You do not need a mixer for this cake, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the liquids and, after baking it, pierce all over with a skewer and sprinkle with rosewater.

Sieve the flour and mix all the dry ingredients together until the appearance is consistent.

In another bowl mix:
4 eggs
1 tbsp apple organic vinegar
250ml ricotta
1 medium, cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped

200g dates chopped into small pieces, or stevia (check the jar for conversion and add equivalent to 200g of sugar)

Use a hand blender or liquidiser to bring the mixture to a very smooth paste. Fold in the dry mix into the liquid mix, gently, a little at a time and work fast. Pour the cake batter into a prepared cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven ay 160ºC for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and, while still warm, pierce the surface all over using a skewer or a toothpick and sprinkle 5 tbsp rosewater. Allow to cool before removing from the cake tin.

Carrot Orange Cake #goodfoodeveryday

Carrot and Orange Cake

Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl:
200g self-raising flour
100g oats
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix these ingredients together in another bowl:
180g grated carrots
Grated zest of 2 oranges

Blend these ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and consistent:
100ml olive oil
200g golden raisins
4 eggs
Juice of 2 oranges

The cake is moist, sweet with natural sugars from carrots and oranges and laced with the flavour of cinnamon, it is simply divine.

Method

Preheat oven to 160C. Prepare a 23cm cake dish and grease it, if necessary. Add the carrot mix to the flour mix and combine making sure that the carrots are covered with the flour. Add the blended liquids. Fold in using a large metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes without opening the oven for the first 25 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer and, if required, bake for a further five to 10 minutes.

Banana Coconut Cake #goodfoodeveryday

Banana and coconut cake

3 cups self raising flour
2 cups coconut
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Few drops vanilla extract or half a vanilla pod
1 cup ricotta
4 eggs, separated, egg whites beaten until they stand in peaks
4 bananas
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp corn flour

Instead of processed sugar, use 1.5 cups golden raisins soaked in just enough water to cover for a few hours or overnight.

Then, simply use a hand blender to process to a pulp.In a large bowl sieve the flour and cornflour.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and coconut; mix.

In another bowl, use a hand blender to process the bananas, lemon juice, egg yolks, vanilla, ricotta. Add the puréd golden raisins.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix in using a metal spoon. Finally, add the beaten egg whites. Fold in gently.

Immediately pour the cake mix into a prepared cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170ºc for 35 minutes.

Granny’s Fruit Loaf #Goodfoodeveryday

Granny’s Fruit Loaf

250g self-raising flour
100g ricotta
1 spoon olive oil
1 spoon cornflour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 apple, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 eggs separated
6 tbsp stevia or 150g golden raisins soaked in water overnight and pureed
250g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, candid peel, cherries, currants)
A few drops good vanilla extract or half a vanilla pod
Grated zest of a lemon
Grated zest of an orange
A pinch of mixed spice

Sift the flour. Add the ricotta chopped into pieces and olive oil and use the rub in method as you would do with butter. Add the vanilla, the citrus zest and mixed spice. Then add the dried fruit. Puree the apple with the egg yolks and lemon juice. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add the bicarbonate to the ricotta and flour mix. Then add the apple and egg yolk mix and finally fold in the egg whites using a metal spoon. Pour the batter into a cake mould or loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes at 170ºC.

I use ingredients by Good Earth Distributors

Coconut Chocolate Bakes, no added refined sugar, no added fats

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This bake contains no butter and no added refined sugar.  You will need:

  • 200g flour
  • 100g  coconut
  • 125g ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 drops good vanilla extract
  • grated zest of half an orange
  • 1 egg
  • cold water
  • 200g dark chocolate and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to decorate plus roasted chopped almonds (optional)

coconut and ricotta bakes with  chocolate

Preheat the oven to 170C.  Sieve the flour.  Add the ricotta/  Rub it into the flour using your fingertips.  Add the coconut and honey and mix well.  Add the other ingredients except the water and egg and mix.  Now add the beaten egg and mix using a knife.  Add the cold water, starting with three spoons and mix and then add a spoon at a time until you form a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour.  Cut small pieces of dough and press into the almond shaped non stick moulds.  Flatten the surface.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool down. Melt the chocolate and add half a spoon of olive oil.  Place in a small jug.. Hold the jug firmly and drizzle the chocolate over the bakes moving your arm quickly backwards and forwards until they are uniformly and neatly decorated.

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They are soft and moist.

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My kitchenware comes from Tescoma, flour and baking goods from St George’s Brand, chocolate by Valor.

St Peter’s Pool, chocolate and cherries

You can now follow my blog via Facebook

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I had to borrow the photo of St Peter’s Pool in the South of the island. An amazing place and a must to visit if you are here.

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And some more fun with these chocolates studded with cherries. They are tiny, just bite size and great as a treat but also look stunning on a table served with coffee. Rather than moulds, I used cutters and you simply push the chocolates out once they are set to get completely perfect shapes.

To make 12, you will need:

300g white chocolate
1 spoon Olive oil
6 cherries, stone removed, cut in half
12 Cutters
Baking paper

Line a dish with baking paper. Place the cutters on top of the paper.
Melt the chocolate. Add a spoon of olive oil and stir.
Use a measuring jug to pour the melted chocolate into the cutters.
Before it solidifies place half a cherry in the centre of each cutter.
Place in the fridge for an hour.
Push out of the cutters and serve.

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Flourless, no added sugar, no added butter chocolate cake

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One of my listeners on the radio show asked me if I had a recipe for a chocolate cake without flour and after two trials today, here is the best version:

1 1/2 cups pure ground almonds
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2cup dates, chopped up
1 cup prunes, chopped up
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
Few drops good vanilla extract
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 170 C.

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. Use a hand blender to combine into a smooth paste.

Prepare a cake tin 20cm greased with a touch of oil.

Add the baking powder into the batter.

Stir gently.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 35 minutes.
Leave to cool before removing from the pan.

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Another day with clear skies, as though it is the start of summer. This is a glorious country, no words to describe.

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Mincemeat with dark chocolate bits

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I really like this mincemeat filling with dark chocolate pieces.  I use vegetable suet and this is mincemeat that you can use straight away without maturing.  You will need:

500g currants
500g raisins
500g sultanas
250g apples, peeled and cored
200g chopped almonds
1 lemon, juice and zest
100g vegetable suet
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2teaspoon nutmeg
100g Grated dark chocolate
Pinch of Salt
6 tablespoons brandy

Thoroughly mix everything well in a large bowl. You can use this mincemeat immediately without leaving to mature !

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Chocolate Baci and Pink Princess Ponsiettas

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My recipe for Chocolate Baci contain no sugar and no butter, ideal for any celebration. Typically here, condensed milk is used to sweeten and bind the chocolate but you will not notice the difference with this recipe!

You will need:

2 pkts Morning Coffee biscuits
4tbsp cocoa powder
100g crushed hazelnuts
50g whole hazelnuts
2 tbsp ground hazelnuts
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brandy/rum
100ml skimmed milk
200g melting chocolate
4tbsp ground coconut
Method

1. Crush the biscuits very finely.

2. In a bowl mix together the biscuits, cocoa powder, crushed hazelnuts, coconut, honey, rum and skimmed milk. Mix well.

3. Bind the mixture into very small balls. On top of every ball put a hazelnut.

4. Leave to set for 4 hours before you cover using the melting chocolate.

And I have been treated to the hottest flowers of the season with this lovely bright shocking pink Princess Ponsietta. I just love it, a change from the traditional red or white, so pretty …

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Gluten Free Quinoa Cookies

 

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No added refined sugar, wheat free and you can swap the chocolate chips with dried fruit.

And for the biscuits you will need:

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35g Ground Almonds
280g Cooked Quinoa, according to instructions on pack
1 teaspoon baking powder (gf)
50 g dark chocolate chips or chopped
100g coconut
2 egg whites
100g peanut butter
100g applesauce
85g honey
a few drops good vanilla extract
Pinch Sea Salt

Combine the peanut butter, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract.
Mix together separately the ground almonds, quinoa, baking powder, chocolate chips, coconut and salt.
Stir in the egg whites and mix well.
Add the peanut butter, applesauce mix and combine.
Shape into balls and flatten into cookie shapes.
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 170C for about 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool as they are quite soft when they come out of the oven.

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Basic Pound Cake

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With Christmas just a month away I am using star cake frames to make chocolate, orange, cinnamon and vanilla stars.

This is one of the oldest and most basic of cake recipes but always a winner and so easy to remember without having to refer to a recipe. I find that this recipe produces the most perfect consistency for shaped novelty cakes. I have reduced the sugar content, but it is all about personal preference.

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For my recipe here, you will need:

23 cm loaf tin or your choice lightly greased or covered with baking paper

250g unsalted butter, soft
250g self raising flour
250g caster sugar but I reduced this to 200g
250g eggs (without the shell here each egg here weighs around 55g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few drops good vanilla essence

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For chocolate and orange pound cake
I added the grated zest of one orange and swapped two spoons of self raising flour with two tablespoons of cocoa powder.

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For the vanilla and cinnamon cake
I added 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
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Icing sugar (optional), to serve
Powdered cocoa (optional) to serve

Preheat oven to 170°C.
Measure all your ingredients.
Beat butter using an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the caster sugar and vanilla essence and beat until nearly white) and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure the ingredients are combined.
Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a spatula or large metal spoon until combined. Be careful not to over-mix or the cake will develop a tough texture.
Spoon the cake mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Smoothing the surface will help the cake rise more evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake until it comes out clean.
Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool if desired.

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