Tag Archives: Biscuits

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A great teatime treat, these vegan cookies will have even the most ardent peanut butter hater craving more! For non vegans and vegans alike, these cookies are sure to be loved by everyone. Make a double batch and watch them disappear!

These cookies are the perfect combination of caramel, peanuts and chocolate. I’m told it’s ‘just like a Snickers bar’ – but I honestly wouldn’t remember, it’s been so long now! Either way, these cookies are a really delicious, easy, one-bowl-mix-it-all-together recipe. They’re so good I may have eaten 3 in-between them coming out of the oven and being photographed… whoops!

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Continuing my vegan baking streak, these cookies contain no dairy and no eggs, and you honestly wouldn’t know. With all the flavour and fat from the peanut butter, it’s one of those rare times you don’t miss the richness that dairy usually brings to a recipe.

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You can use whatever type of peanut butter you have in these, and the end result will vary accordingly. I use an all natural, no added sugar, crunchy variety; I love the little pieces of peanut in the cookies and personally think the recipe is sweet enough. However, I’m really keen to try it with smooth peanut butter, and if you use a variety with sugar in it, consider reducing the sugar in the recipe a little.

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This recipe is based on a recipe from a vegan baking book that I absolute love and would highly recommend – Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes In Town. Full of all sorts of vegan sweet treats, I’m yet to come across a recipe that hasn’t been a roaring success.

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Dairy Free Digestive Biscuits

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Delicious dairy free imitations of the British classic – the chocolate digestive biscuit! Crumbly, sweet biscuit, generously topped with chocolate makes it the perfect dunker in a  cup of tea.

I will admit that although I generally don’t struggle with being dairy free anymore, I do miss the ease of being able to pick up a packet of something in a shop, and devouring it without giving consideration to the ingredients. I have several things I really miss like this, with Twixs topping the list, and milk chocolate digestives following in a close second. I ate an unreasonable amount of digestives whilst at uni…. they used to be my treat for studying (1 biscuit every time I turned the page… it was an excellent encouragement!).

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I can’t swear that these are an exact replica of the elusive chocolate digestive, but what I can promise is that these are a delicious substitute. Unfortunately, they do require you spend some time baking them as even McVities dark chocolate digestives contain milk (McVities, if you’re reading this – we would all appreciate if that changed!!), but they are worth the effort if you’re looking for a great, dunk-able, chocolate biscuit recipe.

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The other great thing about making these yourself is that you can control the sugar in them. This is not about a health kick! Simply making the biscuits fit to different tastes… although I’m a great lover of dark chocolate, and (despite starting up a baking business!) don’t have a huge sweet-tooth myself, I do acknowledge that some people do. So, if this sounds like you, don’t be afraid to add another 15g of sugar.

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Top these however you like; personally, I loved them plain, just topped with dark chocolate. However, go as fussy as you like! I also topped some with finely chopped hazelnuts, but you could try dried fruit, other nuts, or a mix of different types of dairy free chocolate if you preferred.

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Gingernuts

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Crisp and crunchy ginger biscuits, based on the infamous ‘Gingernut’. These are simple, quick, hard to get wrong, and pack a wonderfully strong ginger punch.

These biscuits came around when I was in need of a quick fix… I really fancied a biscuit, but had very little lying around the house. After a quick, rushed look through the cupboards, I found I still had half a packet of crystallised ginger, and decided I would give ginger biscuits a try.

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Now, I have to admit that I never ate a Gingernut biscuit before I cut out dairy – but many people since have sampled these and tell me they’re even better than the original. The amount of ginger here is not for the faint hearted. By using crystallised ginger and ground ginger, the flavour is unmistakeable, and almost a little on the warm side. I also, controversially, use demerara sugar in my Gingernuts. I love the caramel flavour it adds to any baking dish, and here, it really ramps up the crunchiness.

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Often, I complain that I rarely go back to my good bakes and do them again. I’m always on the hunt for a new recipe to write, and as there are only two of us in our household, we already have a lot of sweet things to eat just from one recipe a week! However, these I can truly say have been the exception to the rule. I have so far made them 5 times since the first trial… and am making them again as we speak! If that’s not testament enough to their greatness, then I just don’t know what is!

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Oreo Cupcakes

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Rich chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream, stuffed with Oreo cookies throughout. From a hidden cookie at the bottom of the cake, right through to crushed Oreos in the buttercream, it seems that the only thing to make a chocolate cake even better is a cookie!

Yes… I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and continued this trend. I was too intrigued not to try! What’s not to like about the idea of combining cookies and cake?!

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I still remember when I found out Oreos were dairy free. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel smacked me in the face! Because not only did it mean I could actually eat Oreos… but I also started checking other biscuit types to see what they were made of. And lo and behold, quite a lot of surprising biscuits are dairy free! Take the classic, chocolate bourbon biscuit. Most of them are dairy free! So if you ever want to butter me up (not literally of course), a sneaky dairy free Oreo or bourbon biscuit is the way to do it.

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However, getting back to the point of these cakes – I really was intrigued by the idea of combining biscuits and cakes. Like a good mash-up song, it seemed like something that should really work, and great news – it did! The cakes are typically moreish, and with a soft, vanilla flavoured buttercream, it would have been hard to go wrong. But then add in a crunchy, surprise oreo hidden at the bottom of the cupcake. And add some crushed oreos to the cake and buttercream for little, crispy nuggets of flavour and you are on to an absolute winner!

 

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I can by no means claim to be the genius who first came up with this idea… however, it has left me with a lot of thoughts of what else could we make a hybrid out of…. watch this space!

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Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti

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A delicious, Christmas-y bake! Of course these would be appropriate at any time of year, but adorned with red and green jewels, it is hard not to associate these with Christmas! These would make an ideal last minute gift or treat for unexpected visitors!

So Christmas is very almost here, and I’m breaking with tradition of a Sunday post to give you an early present! These Cranberry and Pistachio biscotti are the perfect thing if you are still in need of a present for someone. I promise they’re fool proof, and the great thing is if you don’t have cranberries or pistachios, then you can easily substitute them for another fruit and nut combination.

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December always flies by, and this year has been no exception. I’m therefore really quite pleased with myself for having made the plethora of home baked gifts this year. That was what inspired this post – I wanted to make a Christmas worthy biscotti. Biscotti in Italian literally means twice baked, and in Italy, there is no association with Christmas at all. However, here in the UK, biscotti have become a sort of ‘only at Christmas time treat’, and to be honest, I can see why! Versatile in the sense you can use lots of different flavourings (read – whatever you have lying around the house!) and they last really well. They can easily go a week in an air tight tin with no issues at all, which is also partly what makes them such a great gift to give.

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I decided to use cranberries and pistachios for flavours here – there I was thinking “how original” until I googled it and found everyone has already done it! But, original idea or not, this is a great flavour combination. The slightly sweet and soft pistachios contrast with the sharp cranberries; the small amount of orange zest just lifts the whole biscuit and makes it perfect to go alongside a black tea or coffee (or do like the Italians and dip them in wine!!).

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So, if you find yourself in need of a simple bake with household ingredients, or worse still, need a quick present you can rustle up for an unexpected visitor, look no further! I can promise these will be ever so gratefully received.

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Merry Christmas!

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Chocolate Orange Shortbread Biscuits

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Deliciously like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in biscuit form, these sweet but zesty shortbreads work for just about any occasion. Chocolatey and packed with orange zest whilst being simple to bake, these biscuits will appeal to everyone and can be made in just a few minutes with store cupboard ingredients.

Of all my bakes so far for this blog, these have to be one of my favourites. I just can’t resist the combination of orange and chocolate – it brings back so many childhood memories of waiting on Christmas day to find that Terry’s Chocolate Orange in your stocking from Father Christmas. Chocolate Oranges (along with Twixes) are still, to this day, one of the few foods I wistfully look at, thinking about how bad would it be if I ate a piece….

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As well as hitting that chocolate orange sweet spot, these shortbreads are also really simple to bake. Relying on almost all store cupboard ingredients, it makes them dangerously easy to make at anytime. For all their simplicity, the finishing touch of melted, drizzled chocolate seems to turn them from a simple concept to an almost premium looking biscuit. In the right packaging these could certainly pass for a Marks and Spencer’s biscuit.

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The other great thing about these is that there is always time for a biscuit. AM or PM, it just can’t go wrong – on your own, or with your family round, there’s always a good reason to eat a biscuit. So although these keep extremely well for a few days, it really is quite unlikely you will have any left…

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Chocolate, Almond and Orange Biscotti

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Classic Italian Biscotti recipe flavoured with chocolate, almonds and orange, perfect for a treat anytime of the day. Ideal for dipping in a hot drink or a cold, sweet glass of wine if you prefer! 

Biscotti are something I’ve always been curious about making- and not something I’ve eaten very often. I tend to think of them as something reserved for Christmas, or posh restaurants where they are served alongside your after-dinner coffee. However, I stumbled across a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ on the internet and thought they just sounded too tasty not to give them a try. Paul makes a trio of biscotti, and I just couldn’t resist the sound of chocolate, almond and orange.

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Biscotti come in lots of different flavours, but are very recognisable from their traditional shape and texture – always an elongated half moon shape with a very dry and crunchy texture. They are also surprisingly sweet, and so my favourite way to eat them is dipped in steaming black coffee. The bitter coffee and sweet biscuit compliment each other perfectly, whilst the almond provides more crunch and the orange zest really brings out the flavour of the coffee, chocolate and almond.

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The name ‘biscotti’ originates from Latin and means twice baked. Confusingly, biscotti in Italian simply means biscuit; this could lead to a great disappointment if you were hoping for the twice baked variety (in Italy twice baked biscuits are called ‘cantuccini’)! However, despite their fancy name, they’re very simple to make. By shaping the dough into logs for the first bake, and then cutting them into fingers for the second bake there is no need to be precise or pretty about it – which makes a nice change from the things I usually bake!

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Chocolate Viennese Whirls

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Sweet, buttery, melt in the mouth Viennese Whirl biscuits sandwiched together with a chocolate truffle filling; these are perfect for a special occasion and would be a great alternative to cake. You’d never guess how simple these are to bake just by looking at them! 

Sometimes, I just don’t fancy cake. There, I said it! Sometimes something a little more sophisticated, a little less sweet does the trick. And just like there is a cake for every occasion, the same can be said for the humble biscuit… right the way from a rough and ready chocolate chip cookie to these splendid Viennese Whirls. They look so impressive, so time consuming, so “did you really make these at home?!“, but they are so so simple! IMG_1359 In texture, these biscuits are like an extremely short shortbread. A very buttery texture, they drift away in the mouth (because to even suggest melt would make them sound too heavy!) leaving behind a sweet buttery taste – yes, even without real butter!

These are Chocolate Viennese Whirls; unlike their familiar counterparts which are usually filled with jam and buttercream, they are less sweet, slightly more rich, and far more decadent. The chocolate filling is simply melted chocolate, then mixed with butter and caster sugar. I was surprised at the addition of caster sugar, but the texture of it really works and compliments the smooth biscuits with the smallest amount of pleasant crunch. And if you have some filling left over, you can roll it into balls and coat in cocoa powder for a quick and easy chocolate truffle! IMG_1370 I found this recipe a long long time ago in You magazine, and had it hoarded away in a pile marked ‘to try’. I’m so glad I did. The recipe was perfect and the only tweak I made was to the cooking time – I found mine needed a little longer in the oven to completely dry out, which is important as this is what gives them their lighter than light texture. IMG_1381 The trick to the shape of these fancy biscuits is a piping bag and nozzle. This might make you shy away in horror – but trust me, this is not a recipe where you need to have piping skills! The nozzle does all the work for you; pipe any shape you want and with a slightly damp finger, smooth over any edges you want to hide. If this really does fill you with fear, pipe some practice shapes onto a plate until you’re happy, then scoop the dough back into the piping bag to make your final biscuits.

If you don’t want to go as far as making the filling you can simply melt the chocolate and dip the biscuits in, as I did with some of mine – or, even easier, use a dairy free chocolate spread thickened with a little cocoa powder or icing sugar to sandwich them together! IMG_1393 Continue reading

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Rocky Road

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A rich chocolatey treat that’s ideal to make in advance for a crowd. A chocolate lover’s dream that will surely delight anyone, and really no one will believe this is dairy free!

Rocky Road is one of my favourite recipes to whip out whenever we have a big group of people over. Whoever they are, whatever their age, whatever their tastes – no one says no to a piece of Rocky Road! With chunks of biscuit, marshmallow, nuts and cranberries enveloped in a chocolate blanket you can quickly produce something with universal appeal in advance – which is a winner in my book when a large number of people descend on your house!

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I also think Rocky Road is the ultimate chocolate treat, duly satisfying the biggest of chocolate cravings. It is rich and dense, packed with tasty sweet treats making it very moreish. The pieces might look small but trust me when I say they pack a serious chocolate punch! The perilous thing is that it is so easy to make, and worse yet, you probably have most of these ingredients in your cupboard at any one time… you have been warned!

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For this Rocky Road I used Hobnobs as the biscuit for crunch (For those of you not in the UK and perhaps not familiar with Hobnobs, they are an oaty biscuit – a bit like a flapjack in cookie form. The most important thing, of course, is that they don’t contain any milk, which can be a hard thing to find in a good biscuit) and added hazelnuts to compliment the chocolate and give additional texture. I’ve used dried cranberries – but any dried fruit with a sweet/sour edge would be perfect, such as dried sour cherries. The fruit is a sweet relief that cuts through the thick, luscious chocolate.

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So, next time you need to bake for a crowd or just want to make yourself a chocolatey treat, give this Rocky Road a try!

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Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies

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Soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies with crunch hazelnut pieces throughout. You’ll never go for a shop bought cookie again!

Oh cookies… Even just the word makes my mouth water, my attention drift towards thoughts of warm, chewy, soft, chocolatey bites of goodness. At least that’s certainly how I felt about cookies before giving up dairy! Now, the best I’ve managed to find are Sainsburys’ Free From Chocolate Chip Cookies; However, also being free from gluten and wheat, they’re missing some of the best characteristics of a good cookie in my opinion.

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And so the long quest started to find the recipe for the perfect dairy free cookie. I’m still not sure I’m there, but these are pretty darn close – and a considerable improvement to any ‘free from’ cookies I’ve eaten. These are best eaten warm from the oven, and the best way to do this is wrap any chilled cookie dough you won’t eat immediately in clingfilm, roll into a sausage shape, freeze, then when you want cookies simply slice off into rounds and bake. And voilà!

These cookies are the perfect mix of crisp, crunchy outside with a soft chewy centre. I’ve added hazelnut pieces and syrup into the dough to give some extra flavour to compliment the chocolate, but you could leave this out if you wish.

What could be better than a freshly baked cookie… go on, give it a try and treat yourself!

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