Tag Archives: hazelnuts

Salted Caramel Nuts

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Salted, caramelised nuts; a great skill to have up your sleeve – use to top desserts or bakes, or even just eat straight as they are!

These nuts are simply delicious. They are dangerously moreish and unfortunately simple. Sugar work is made out to be an extremely complex thing- but as long as you have plan white caster sugar and a thick bottomed, scrupulously clean pan it’s a doddle.

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I first made these with Christmas in mind, but now find myself fantasising of all sorts of bakes which could involve these. You could use any nuts; I tried hazelnuts and pecans and both were brilliant. Think of the hazelnuts with delicious, vanilla ice cream. Think of pecans on a stack of pancakes!

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I’m not going to give you the best step-by-step instructions of making caramel in this post. Perhaps I will at a later stage when I can master taking photos and watching the sugar like a hawk at the same time! If you’ve never done it before, I would take some time to google making caramel, so you get a feel for what to do – but the best thing you can do, by far, is practice. Be prepared that it might be slightly over or under caramelised the first time – but trust me, perfection will come quickly, and it is so worth it once you get there.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Sweet treats, vegan

Dairy Free Brownies

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Sweet, chocolatey, dangerously indulgent chocolate brownies. Simple and quick to make, they are the perfect dessert or sweet treat. Another seemingly impossible dairy free bake!

Oh brownies. Oh sweet chocolatey brownies. Sweet sweet fudge-y, gooey brownies… they’re just the perfect treat no one can resist! I can’t put into words how much I love this recipe, and keep thinking to myself how funny it is that it has taken me this long to put it on the blog! It’s a recipe I make really often (we’re talking at least twice a month!) and it’s just perfect.

These brownies make a fabulous low effort dessert (I love to drizzle a little chocolate sauce on top with a scoop of dairy free ice cream on the side), or when baked for a few minutes longer they come out as the best cold brownies you will ever have eaten. Still moist and fudge-y like a brownie should be, also like the most indulgent chocolate cake.

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I remember bringing these brownies into work once, and two amazing things happened; they disappeared like lightning, and no one could genuinely believe they were dairy free. One of my biggest fears of giving up dairy was giving up chocolate. And, probably very unsurprisingly, whenever I tell people that I’m allergic to milk, they also think this must mean a life without chocolate…. Wrong!

In come the heroes of this story…. dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Most dark chocolate is made without milk, so by adapting a recipe ever so slightly, you can still get that wonderfully creamy, sweet chocolate taste – just without the milk! Cocoa powder, the other saviour, is rather the same story – always be careful and check the label, but usually it doesn’t contain any milk. Cocoa powder is different from hot chocolate powder (which often does contain milk, and a very high amount of sugar), and being pure cocoa, a small amount goes a long way to provide a chocolate kick.

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This recipe is my go to standard – a recipe from my Boyfriend’s mum, Sue – and it’s so good, so reliable, that it would feel like cheating to even peek at another recipe. It’s also very quick, and you can make them as fussy or simple as you like. I’ve added hazelnuts and dried cranberries as these are some of my favourite things to add to a chocolate recipe (see my Rocky Road recipe to see what I mean!) but they really are perfect without them, just dusted with icing sugar.

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Filed under cakes, Chocolate

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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Filed under Biscuits & Cookies, Chocolate

Chocolate Truffle Cake

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Deliciously rich, moist and intense chocolate cake with a hazelnut truffle buttercream filling and covered in chocolate ganache, it’s perfect for any special occasion. No one will ever believe this is dairy free!

Is there any cake as universally loved as chocolate cake? Certainly not in my experience, and what’s wonderful about chocolate cake is the huge variety you can make. A chocolate cake can be light, sweet and perfect for an afternoon treat or it can be rich, dark and decadent. This cake without a doubt falls into the second category.

The chocolate sponge gets its depth of flavour and soft texture from some surprising ingredients – melted chocolate, coffee and coconut yoghurt. The chocolate and coffee provide the intense chocolate flavour – be sure not to skip the coffee, you really can’t taste it but it helps bring out the chocolate flavour like nothing else. The coconut yoghurt is added to help the cake stay soft and moist and it provides a slightly tangy unsweet flavour which works well in such a rich cake. You could use any type of plain non dairy yoghurt but I preferred coconut. You can’t taste the coconut flavour, but it provides the tang of normal yoghurts which I find most non dairy yoghurts lack.

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The hazelnut truffle buttercream filling has to be one of my favourite things about this cake and no words will do it justice. Naughtily smooth, sweet and chocolatey but less rich than the ganache, it is the perfect filling to provide sweetness to the rest of the cake. It’s called ‘truffle’ filling because you could refrigerate this buttercream and when cold, spoon it into little truffles… Not that I did that of course…

To finish off the cake I’ve covered it with chocolate ganache and chopped roasted hazelnuts. Ganache is just chocolate and cream but it makes the perfect cover for a special occasion cake, shiny and smelling divine it makes the cake irresistible to all… even to those rare people who say they don’t like chocolate cake!

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Filed under cakes, Chocolate

Hazelnut Shortbread

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As I mentioned in my Christmas Fruit Loaf post, I spent this Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and it was wonderful. One of the best things was the sheer amount of thought and effort my boyfriend’s mum had gone to to ensure that there was always a dairy free sweet treat for me around the house.

One of the many bakes she made were these delicious Hazelnut Shortbreads. Light and melt in the mouth (like all shortbreads should be) with small pieces of chopped roasted hazelnuts throughout, they were just perfection. These are required to be eaten sitting down, with your full attention, with a cup of tea or coffee on the side. No cheating allowed – these are not your average biscuits!

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As well as chopped roasted hazelnuts there is also a small amount of hazelnut syrup. I have used Monin Hazelnut coffee syrup which works perfectly and ensures an extra hit of hazelnut flavour – you can find these types of coffee syrups in the coffee aisle (who would have thought such a logical place!) in most big supermarkets.

The only tiny addition I have made to the recipe from my boyfriend’s mum is to introduce a small amount of cornflour, which according to the Scottish inventors of shortbreads is used to ensure melt in the mouth perfection. Although, as my boyfriend’s mum proved, it is possible to get this effect without using it, if your touch is not super light it helps the biscuit be a little more forgiving and still give you the most melt in the mouth shortbread as possible.

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Filed under Biscuits & Cookies, vegan