These malted superfood bars with mango and coconut chocolate are just what’s needed to give a boost when spirits or body are flagging. They are vegan, almost refined sugar free and are loaded with so many nutritious ingredients, it’s hard to stop bouncing around with energetic abandonment once one has been consumed.
These halva biscuits, adapted from a recipe for Sesame Crisps in Bake it Better Biscuits by Annie Rigg, really do taste like halva, only not as tooth achingly sweet.
Having set blueberries as the ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I’ve not managed to get my act together to bake what I had planned and I don’t think I’m going to before the deadline. However, a couple of years ago, I made these rather scrumptious blueberry and white chocolate flapjacks with some local blueberries, but for some reason never got around to posting about them. Here goes.
Random recipe maybe in the title of this post, but it’s actually a random ingredient we had to select this month for the Random Recipes challenge over at Belleau Kitchen. CT got the joy of sticking his arm in the cupboard and pulling something out – a half used packet of hemp flour! Hemp is a gorgeous green coloured flour, but it has a slight bitter edge and goes off fairly quickly. The whole point of the challenge was to use up things that tend to hang around at the back of the cupboard unnoticed, so the box was truly ticked on this score.
The next step was to enter hemp flour onto Eat Your Books. Not surprisingly, I only had one result and that was for Dan Lepard’s Marrakesh express loaf cake from Short and Sweet. As there was no chocolate in his recipe, I had to adapt it and what with one thing and another, it got adapted more than I’d originally intended.
This is how I made it:
- Placed a tsp of instant coffee in a large pan and poured 300ml of boiling water over it and stirred until dissolved.
- Added 150g chopped dried dates and left to simmer gently for a few minutes whilst I added some other ingredients.
- Added 130g molasses sugar, 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup.
- Stirred and removed from the heat.
- Added 75g unsalted butter and 100g Maya Gold (G&B dark orange spiced chocolate) – chopped.
- Grated in the zest of a lemon and then added the lemon juice as I thought the additional tartness would help cut through the richness of the cake.
- Beat in 2 small duck eggs (medium hens eggs).
- Sifted in 150g spelt flour, 75g hemp flour and 2 tsp of baking powder.
- Stirred this in followed by 100g chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds.
- Poured into a 2lb loaf mould and baked for 45 minutes at 180C when a skewer inserted in the middle came out more or less clean.
The result was a dense but moist cake with a lovely fruity flavour. Overall it was quite tart and worked particularly well spread with a good layer of butter. It was hard to detect the dates specifically, but the walnuts had their usual delightful crunch. I felt I made the right decision not to include further spices, as there was plenty going on already. The hemp flour gave a distinctive nutty flavour, but also had a hint of bitterness about it. So if you happen to get the munchies on the night train to Marrakesh, CT reckons this is the ideal antidote – inadvertantly revealing some of his dark past.
Back in January when I saw the We Should Cocoa entry from Carol Anne’s Kitchen for chocolate and coconut granola, I bookmarked it straight away. As usual with these things it has sat neglected in my bookmarks folder along with many much older items. The spur I needed came in the form of this month’s Breakfast Club, founded and hosted by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. The theme is Fairtrade. Now I know fairtrade is not all about chocolate, but chocolate was one of the very first things to be given the fairtrade label and it is this wonderful substance I associate most with Fairtrade. So time to trawl through my bookmarks where I was very sure I had a chocolate granola recipe!
As is my wont, I adapted the recipe quite considerably. First off, I had bought a bar of Divine’s fairtrade 85% dark chocolate specifically for the purpose of this challenge. When I read the recipe however, it was cocoa that was used. Well blow that, mine was going to contain a bar of real live chocolate. As this was for breakfast I wanted something healthy – to me healthy means NO SUGAR. So instead of using sugar, I used a mixture of date syrup, agave syrup and honey. OK I know chocolate has sugar in, but there is very little in an 85% bar, so I let that one go.
Anyway, this is how I did it:
- Put 250g of rolled oats into a bowl.
- Added 30g sesame seeds, 20g sunflower seeds, 60g apricot kernels, 30g goji berries, 50g coconut chips, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt).
- In a pan warmed 40ml date syrup, 40ml agave syrup, 1 flat tbsp honey and 50ml walnut infused rapeseed oil.
- Added 50g of 85% dark chocolate (Divine) and stirred until melted.
- Poured this into the bowl of dry ingredients and mixed until everything was evenly coated.
- Spread this onto a large baking tray and baked for 50 mins at 125C, turning the mixture a couple of times during the process.
- Left to cool
- Stirred in 50g of chopped 85% dark chocolate (Divine). What I wanted to achieve here was to add the chocolate at a point where it would melt a little and clump with the granola mixture, but not so much that it melted completely. I didn’t manage it, so the chocolate remained unmelded.
The aroma of chocolate, coconut and roasting seeds emanating from the kitchen whilst this was cooking was mouthwatering and it scented the whole house wonderfully. Of course, I couldn’t wait until breakfast the next day to try some, so out came a bowl, spoon and milk and in went the granola. It was delicious and not too sweet; crunchy with the kind of texture which encouraged you to chew and enjoy the diverse flavours. I don’t think it will last long.
Before we got to tuck into the matcha cake of my previous post, we had the enviable task of spending a few hours having fun on a mostly deserted Cornish beach. Despite being a local lass, I had never been to this beach before so it was a particularly exciting adventure. Down the long, winding and sometimes steep cliff path we went, with no sight of the beach or the group of friends we were there to meet. Was this beach a piece of fiction made up to give us an added adventure? The views were fantastic though and CT was botanising and enjoying the coastal flora. At last, around a corner, we spotted a hidden gem – a large and virtually empty beach. Apparently when the tide is in, there is no beach, but our more knowledgeable friends had timed our visit for maximum benefit. Despite the threat of rain, we remained dry and for a couple of hours we even enjoyed blue skies and sunshine.
As we don’t get to have picnics on special beaches very often, I thought something other than my normal work rye sourdough sandwiches was called for. So I pulled out the stops and made some milk bread rolls, inspired by Joanna of Zeb Bakes but actually using Andrew Whitley’s recipe in Bread Matters. But what for pudding? Something for all to share, but something that was not too heavy to carry and would travel well. I didn’t wonder for too long. I’d recently seen Dan’s wonderful recipe for Halva Flapjacks, first on Suelle’s blog Mainly Baking and then on Foodycat. It appealed straight away and I reckoned would be just perfect for a beach party. The theory is that using tahini means the butter content of normal flapjacks can be reduced. Well this maybe so, but I don’t think anyone could kid themselves these were healthy snacks. Even less so with my adaptation to include white chocolate!
- Melted 100g of unsalted butter with 50g brown sugar and 200g condensed milk in a large pan.
- Took off the heat and added 50g chopped white chocolate and left to melt.
- Added 75g tahini and 50g honey and stirred until all incorporated.
- Stirred in 100g chopped dates, 100g chopped walnuts and 20g sesame seeds.
- Worked in 225g rolled oats.
- Packed the mixture into a 9″ square mould and scattered a few more sesame seeds over the top.
- Baked for 20 minutes at 180C until golden.
- Left to cool, then cut into 16 squares.
A cross between fudge and flapjacks, these were a very sweet and sticky but delicious treat. Those middle eastern flavours of dates, sesame and honey worked really well together and the nuts were plentiful giving a lovely crunch to the texture. Luckily, I remembered to take some photos before we polished them all off. The party ended with a flapjack powered Frisbee session before clambering back up the cliffs and home for tea.
The meal that was cancelled due to the ice and snow just before Christmas was reorganised for early February. Luckily, the weather was mild, if a little damp and we finally had our meet up with friends. As some of these friends are virtually vegans, I thought I’d try something a little different. Out came Paul A Young’s Adventures with Chocolate and I set to.
- Simmered 80ml of water with 1 tbsp of honey (Vegans can use the equivalent amount of sugar or agave syrup or date syrup etc).
- Stirred in 2 tbsp of tahini until smooth and simmered for a couple of minutes.
- Poured over 125g of chopped 81% dark chocolate (Ecuadorian Arriba) and left to melt.
- Stirred carefully with a metal whisk to avoid splitting.
- Left to cool then placed in the fridge for an hour.
- Toasted 50g sesame seeds in a frying pan and left to cool.
- Dipped a tsp in hot water and scooped out spoonfuls of ganache, rolling them in the sesame seeds and dipping the spoon back into the hot water each time to avoid the ganache sticking to the spoon.
Just after Christmas, friends were having an “open house”. You know me, I didn’t feel I could just turn up empty handed, but I also didn’t have a great deal of time to bake anything elaborate. I also felt with all the goodies going around at Christmas, something simple would be welcome. Flapjacks seemed to fit both of these criteria, so flapjacks it was.
- Melted 5oz unsalted butter in a large pan with 1 large tbsp golden syrup.
- Added 2 tbsp orange syrup (left over from candied orange peel)
- Mixed in 10oz rolled oats, 2oz chopped nuts (mixed), 2 teaspoons of dried powdered orange peel, 2.5 oz demerara sugar and 2oz chopped Maya Gold chocolate.
- Pressed into a buttered 9″ x 7″ tin and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
- Baked at 175C for 20 minutes.