Rosewater and cardamom brownies

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I do love brownies. I may not be the biggest super fan of chocolate, but I will probably always say ‘yes’ to a good brownie. Especially the gooey-inside // flaky-outside variety. How could you say no to that?

Then there’s the addition of rosewater chocolate frosting (optional, but tasty) based on a recipe from the Kitchn, and chopped pistachios and rose petals for decoration (again, optional, but also tasty) which essentially makes these brownies into a rather fancy dessert .

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This brownie recipe comes from an adaptation of Iambaker’s recipe that mimics that of a boxed brownie mix (you can find the recipe here). It uses cocoa powder, rather than chocolate, but that doesn’t mean dry brownies. In fact, this is probably where oven temperatures and how long you bake the brownies have more impact on making dry brownies than the cocoa powder. Therefore, in this instance, it’s probably better (and tastier!) to be on the side of under-baking your brownies than over-baking brownies, because dry brownies are also sad brownies. Not even frosting can totally make up for sad brownies.

Makes 9 brownies.  Read More

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Pistachio, white chocolate & dark chocolate chunk cookies

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I know I’ve discussed before how I’m not the best of bakers. That’s not meant to scare you off anything, but it does make me super excited when something goes well for me in the baking department! It’s been a while since I baked anything actually. I know the holidays have just been and the internet was awash with Christmas recipes for baked goods and sweet treats, but I was not one of those people because…I didn’t actually bake anything.

Ooops. I blame too much holidaying by the beach, not quite the scenery for festive baking 😉

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This came about because of the recipe this was adapted from. I was just browsing the internet for one of my articles for a student website, writing up about festive cookie recipes (…does that count instead of baking any?) and though this one didn’t make the cut because it wasn’t quite like the ones looking like mini Santas or anything, it still stuck with me. Because white chocolate and pistachios? Hello.

And on top of that? They’re made with browned butter. If you haven’t made anything with browned butter, I totally suggest you rectify that immediately. It’s a miracle ingredient that smells amazingly nutty and rich, and adds such a wonderful flavour to baked cakes, loaves, and even these cookies. Seriously, go pick a recipe with browned butter, even if it’s not this one. You need to.

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(Above, brunch on New Year’s Eve. Bacon, waffles, maple syrup, quail’s eggs & blue cheese. SO GOOD)

So I ended up making these are the first baked goods for the new year. If this is the start, 2015 should be pretty good, really.

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I’m not even all that much of a chocolate fan (caramel/toffee creations all the way man, but don’t talk to me about banoffee), but I upped the choco-ante and made mine with half dark chocolate and half white chocolate. Delicious.

You should be able to find unshelled pistachios in health food stores, or in larger bakery supply aisles in the supermarket. If not, the 20 minutes or so it takes to shell them is totally worth it.

Makes about 15 cookies, depending on your cutter.  Read More

No-Bake Goji Berry & Date Snack Bites

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I have to admit, doing the whole baking/dessert thing is a little bit more complicated with the whole dairy free/lactose free. I’m not trying to complain and it’s hardly that there isn’t an abundance of recipes that use no dairy, but it seems that all the ones I want to do involve cream of some sort! Butter is a bit of a pain too…which is a pity, since my native Sweden’s baking seems to involve as much butter as possible.

Here, however, is a wonderful compromise. It’s like a tiny ball of dessert, that needs no baking (only a blender and a few hours in the fridge), but is also like your own little energy snack, and with a few modifications, can be made for raw or paleo diets. They have a slightly chocolate-y flavour form the raw (100%) cacao, but are on the whole full of nutty flavour (hardly surprising given the ingredients!), and are just sweet enough to satisfy any sweet teeth around without being a sugar overload.

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And you know, they look so pretty….such lovely colours! Goji berries are my latest favourite, as are pistachios (I mean, how can they not be when you remember this beautiful porridge breakfast?) Their flavour adds a sweet-sour taste to these little snack bites, and the fact that they’re chock full of antioxidants is hardly a negative!

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I adapted these particular snack bites from a recipe from here. If you’ve never heard of Dale Pinnock before, I seriously recommend him if you’re A) interested in eating healthily (but stretched for time, he’s thankfully remembered that aspect) B) in knowing a little bit more on the health benefits of food, and what to eat (but he doesn’t say what not to eat, nor does he use calorie or nutrient counts–rather, he tells you what exactly makes the ingredients you’re using in a certain recipe healthy for you). There’s a good mixture of everyday recipes, vegetarian, more fish than meat, and lots of veggies regardless (though a few sweet treats such as these!) — so in short, I really do recommend his books both from a recipe and nutritional understanding point of view.

Here I’ve included a few options, depending on whether you live a paleo diet, or not (they are not Whole30 compliant, sorry!) but are totally vegan as well (choose agave syrup).

Makes around 15 snack bites.  Read More

Spiced Coconut Milk Porridge

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I woke up super late this morning, at around 1 o’clock. Ooops! No more late nights for me apparently, not if I actually want to see some daylight. I woke up pretty hungry, but a bit disappointed–I’d already decided that I would make this lovely porridge the day before, and then I woke up too late…!

That is, until I decided I was an adult and could have breakfast for lunch if I wanted 😛

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I hated the taste of rose when I was younger, but now love it (I realise I love a lot of things I hated as a kid, apart from peas, and tomatoes–no change there!) in a number of ways. Rosewater/essence, edible rose petals, rose-flavoured Turkish Delight…that last one used to be a real object of my hatred when I was little.

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This is like a bowl of comforting luxury. The coconut milk makes the porridge creamy, almost like a dessert, and the pistachio nuts and rose petals add a lovely crunch and sparks of flavour. Agave syrup adds a little bit of sweetness. And the cardamom pods and cinnamon make it smell like Christmas. I’m in love. Yeah, with porridge, I know. But love does work in mysterious ways…
Serves 2-3, generously Read More