Breakfast Beauty Jar

 “In 2016 it is my mission to improve the condition of my skin, nails, hair and creative brain NATURALLY. I have spent a small fortune on all sorts of lotions and potions and never found that ‘magic tonic’. So I’m putting away my wallet and getting out my mixing bowl. Through exploring my love of healthy dessert making, I will be feeding myself beautiful (hopefully). Follow my diary of tailor made desserts, baked snacks and Breakfast recipes for clear skin, glossy hair and hard ass nails. Starting with…”

THE FACE

The Beauty Jar aka The Smoothie Granola jar

Turning breakfast into a one stop beauty shop!

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I can never choose what I want to eat for breakfast more. If my stomach would allow it I’d start with Homemade Granola, then Scrambled eggs with Smoked Salmon and Avocado on Rye, then a smoothie bowl of frozen fruit and veggies with all the toppings, then I would finish with a stack of buckwheat pancakes with cascading berries and dripping almond butter. For this next post I’ve up 2 of my favourite breakfasts together and used my all time favourite toppings. Fear not, I haven’t chosen to add the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. I have eaten some pretty strange concoctions in my time but…

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Why the glass? I eat with my eyes, I eat with my eyes, I eat with my eyes!! The more beautiful and special it looks the more we want to devour it. If your new years resolution is to eat healthier and that sad bowl of Muesli hasn’t got you salivating then pimp it up in your favourite glass and top it up up up!

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Feed me beautiful facts  – What’s it good for?

Blueberries – Helps to prevent signs of aging. The mass of antioxidants in this mighty fruit kick some serious Free Radical ass (Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules created in the body from pollution, smoking, fried food). WHAM!

Spinach – Helps you ditch that frown and relax with the right antioxidants and Vitamins to help with anxiety and good sleep, not for getting that all important collagen that keeps the skin looking plump and young. BOSH!

Yogurt – Promotes clear skin by destroying bacteria and germs in the body. POW!

Sunflower seeds – Moisturizes and gives you that glow factor  with rich vitamin E and minerals to help maintain elastin’s in the skin. OOSH!

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Breakfast Beauty Jar

This recipe is for 1 but double it up like I did for 2.

Bottom layer – Thick Smoothie Feed me beautiful facts  

2 handfuls Frozen Blueberries

2 Handfuls of Spinach

6 tbsp Water/Almond milk

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Middle LayerYogurt

Full fat Greek Yogurt or any delicious thick dairy free Yogurt

Middle Layer 2Granola for one or double it and share

4 tbsp Oats

2 tsp of seeds (I went for one Pumpkin and one Sunflower seeds)

1 tsp of Mixed Spice or if you don’t have that try cinnamon ad ginger mixed.

2 tsp of ground nut oil (or coconut)

1 Tbsp of date syrup (I used this as it has a strong flavour and colour but if I didn’t have it in the house I’d go for Maple syrup).

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Topping 1Peanut vanilla Spread

1 tbsp Crunchy Peanut butter

7 Drops of Vanilla essence

1 tsp of your favourite Sweet Syrup I went for something milder than the date syrup Brown rice syrup, Maple or honey.

Tip Top – All the toppings

Raspberries

Shredded coconut

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Method

 Start with the Granola.

Pre heat your oven to 160.c. Fan 140.c

In a roasting tin throw all the ingredients together and combine well with the liquid ( I like to do it with my hands as it’s just divine to eat the mixture off your fingers when finished). It gives me a lovely sense memory of when Mum would make Granola when I was a child and Dad and I would sneak into the kitchen and eat as much as we could while her back was turned before it went into the oven.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 7 minutes

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Smoothie Makin’

In a blender add all the bottom layer smoothie ingredients.

We want it quite thick so the yogurt sits nicely on the smoothie and is easy to eat with a spoon, plus it looks lovely all layered up which is pleasing to mine eye!

Now you are ready to layer up. Using a nice clear jar or favourite glass.

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I would love to see your Breakfast beauty Jar creations – tag me or #feedmebeautiful on instagram.

Instagram – @thecakediariesofficial

Twitter – @thecakediaries1

Treat yourself well,

The Cake Diaries

xoxo

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Summer Party Desserts

Processed with Moldiv

My go to party sweets

 

My party piece round up

No, I’m not talking about my ability to blow Malteasers into the air or to do the splits whilst balancing a plate on my face or my running man on the dance floor. I’m talking about the kind of treats perfect for a party.

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Mini Vanilla Doughnuts with dark and white chocolate

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It’s summer, you’ve invited friends round and it’s inevitably going to turn into a bit of a party. Forget the plates of cake balancing act. The awkward hand swapping dance, glass, plate, fork, napkin malarkey.

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Double Chocolate Cake pops

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For my events this summer I have been making treats which are pretty, fun, quick to eat and can easily be eaten while holding a glass of wine in your hand. TOP TIP! Make it small or put a stick in it and it becomes the perfect party dessert which equals less lip stick smudging! All of these desserts bar the Banana Popsicles (because they will melt) can be stored easily to take out and about or to a summer festival.

Here’s my party treats instagram round up!

Quick Banana Popsicles

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Frozen Banana, Chocolate Popsicles

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This is the perfect sweet treat for a BBQ.

Ingredients/What you need – Banana’s, 85% Dark chocolate, Walnuts and Vanilla pods, pop cake sticks or wooden skewers and baking paper.

Method – Cut ripe banana’s in half. Insert pop cake sticks or wooden skewers into the base of the banana’s about half way up so they feel secure. Store banana’s in a plastic sandwich bag sealed well and freeze over night.

Crush a handful of Walnuts. In a pan toast them over a medium. Keep an eye on the them and stir regularly to stop them from catching.

On a board with a small sharp knife slit a Vanilla pod down the middle of it’s length. Scrap out the vanilla paste out of it’s insides and add to the toasted nut. Sprinkle Cinnamon into your nutty vanilla mix and stir in.

Melt Chocolate in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiled water. Keep stirring until all chocolate has melted. As soon as the chocolate has melted turn of the heat or it will burn and turn lumpy.

Dip the frozen banana’s in the chocolate and sprinkle the nutty mix over the top. Lay your decorated banana’s on a board covered with a sheet of baking parchment and stick these back in the freezer until set (about 5-10 minutes). When it’s party time  – enjoy!

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Healthy Caramel and Black bean Brownies

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If you have a little more time and friends with dietary requirements these are a great indulgent treat that look  impressive but very simple to do. Healthy, Vegan, wheat and gluten free. If you would like to make these you can find my recipe here –

http://thecakediaries.com/2015/05/14/caramel-and-chocolate-black-bean-stacks/

Enjoy your summer and pimp it up  a party with some of these festive summer treats. If you haven’t got the time and need your treats a-sap you can order from me at the Cake Diaries thecakediariesofficial@gmail.com

Treat yourself well,

Yours Truly,

THE CAKE DIARIES…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies.

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Brick lane, London

Judging by all the Valentine hearts that were pasted on shop windows, men in the high street carrying huge paper Michael Kos shopping bags, the ‘make your own card’ commercials on repeat all over the T.V and all the lovely Instagrams and Facebook photo’s, we gave a lot of love away this Val’s day. But this next recipe I have developed and am going to share today is about taking the LOVE IN! It’s all about us.

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The Hoxton Hotel, London

So let’s put the good stuff in and let the good vibes out. Happy, healthy treats that make you feel naughty but then…’oh, it was completely nutritious! Nourishing mind, body and soul and perfectly balanced for a healthy life style. Better eat two then to take full advantage of the goodness’.

If you regularly read my blog then you know I’m a big fan of ‘afternoon tea’. My mission is to bring afternoon tea back to 4pm! To all my friends in Europe and those State side who are wondering what on earth I’m going on about – it’s an old British tradition of coming together and eating cakes and sandwiches at a certain time of day (the afternoon). For a more detailed description of its origins scroll back to my Sweet can be healthy blog with a recipe I have developed for Sugar free, fat free Scones. In fact everyone go and have a look back at this blog post right now (bossy pants alert!) as it’s such a lovely recipe. Spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with shredded apple and dates. It also contains my secret ingredient, avocado! Ok, miss bossy boots is leaving the building. She’s gone. In fact I see her sloping off through the door rather sheepishly. The fire exit, as she is a bit embarrised. Apologies about her. How rude!

Afternoon tea is and was a big part of my life and I try and have it every day, so that between lunch and dinner I am energised all afternoon and stay productive right until I put down my spatula or shut the lap top in the evening. You may feel a little dip at about 4pm, feel fatigued, watching the clock as it ticks slowly up to home time, totally unfocused and lack lustre.

Energise that brain with a healthy, happy, body loving treat. These Butternut squash brownies are soft, melt in the mouth, feel good food. The texture is so chewable and dreamy, it makes the brownie. Texture is half the pleasure of a good brownie and the squash makes it…well squashy. Sorry, I literally can’t describe it any better. You will fully understand when you sink your teeth into one of these bad boys. These may be wheat free, butter free, contain very little sugar and made using a vegetable, but I do not compromise on taste here. This recipe was developed after thinking of the dietary requirements of a friend and thoughts and needs from other friends and family members.

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Butternut squash and roasted Pecan Brownies. Are they healthy? Yes. Clean eating? Yes. Dairy free? Yes. Are they fat/oil free? Yes.  Wheatfree? Yes in deedie. So what’s in them?? This recipe uses butternut squash as an alternative to butter, oats and buck wheat as alternative to wheat and raw cocoa powder, cinnamon, dried fruit and a touch of Carob maple Syrup for sweetness (you can use any naturally occurring sugar you like. This is just my preference)

Why are these so good?

My dreams are made of butternut squash brownies! If I’m not eating them, Im sharing them or thinking of them. Seriously I think I may need professional help. “Doctor, doctor I think I’m turning into a butternut squash and roasted pecan brownie.  I’m turning orange and I gotta gooey centre”.

I’ve got it bad.

I’m in love!

This is a ‘no fear’ recipe that’s simple and quick to make with absolutely no bother. It all goes in the bowl at pretty much the same time. It’s the perfect fix to a 4pm slump or sweet tooth craving. You will need to cook your squash first. You can do this just before you make the recipe or the night before. Roasted Pecans and buckwheat gives this a real smoky taste and the cinnamon is added to compliment these two. Let’s not forget the chocolate. I use unsweetened cocoa powder and a table spoon of 85% dark chocolate for extra depth.

Let’s get started! As I am gonna have a craving in exactly 45mins time.

NOTE – Naturally occurring sugars? Carob syrup, Maple syrup or Date Syrup. You could also use pure honey.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies – makes 6, bake 25 mins.

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Ingredients

40g Oats

50g Buckwheat (if you are not a fan use Wholemeal Spelt or wholemeal flour)

25g Raisins

30g dates

300g  butternut squash

3 tbsp Cocoa powder

2 tbsp Maple or Carob Syrup

1 heaped tbsp 85% Dark Chocolate (melted)

50g Baked or pan fried Pecans ( no need for oil to pan roast).

MethodPre heat on to 180.c/350.f

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1 – Boil or steam your Butternut squash until mash-ably soft.

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2 – In a large bowl add the mashed Squash and sift in the Buckwheat flour and cocoa powder,

3 – In a food processor add the oats, raisins, dates and Maple Syrup (or whatever naturally occurring sugar you prefer)

4 – Add the blitzed ingredients to the butternut squash ingredients and mix well.

5 – For the nuts you can grab yourself a small frying pan and after breaking up a big handful of pecans toast them over the heat and toss them every so often. As soon as they have started to brown, your done. Or you can grab a baking tray, add baking paper and add the pecans and toast in the oven, regularly tossing and checking or checking and tossing!

6 – After you have added the nuts to your mixture put your dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl and (depending on your microwave) melt for 30 secs or keep checking until the chocolate has just melted.

TOP TIP – regularly check your chocolate and stir. Only melt the chocolate until JUST melted any longer then the chocolate will turn lumpy and gritty. It’s burnt!

7 – Mix in the melted chocolate to your big bowl of deliciousness and do a taste test to make sure your batter has enough chocolate flavour for you.

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8- Add the mixture to a prepared baking tray or dish lined with baking paper and greased. I use coconut oil to grease mine.

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9 – Add the dish to the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

10 – After 25 mins test with a tooth pick and if it comes out clean we’ve won!!

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Allow to cool if you can bear it and then attack attack!!

IMG_4323I love the way the orange colour of the squash still comes through the deep chocolate. These have great brownie texture which feels like eating velvet. In perfect contrast you get the crunch of the pecan. In the words of Jamie Oliver and Dell Boy ‘Lovely jubbly!’

Lets have a look in close up of this Butternut Squash and roasted Pecan Brownie.

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Butternut squash – Vitamins – A, B, E and K. Minerals – magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. It’s also high in fibre.

Looking for more healthy treat inspiration ? – Check out my Wheat-free, Sugar free Scone recipe, on my Sweet can be healthy blog post that I spoke about earlier.

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My Apple, Date & Avocado Scones

If you are like me and fly out of the house first thing in the morning these might be a perfect breakfast on the go or just a great feel good treat for you. Have a quick look at my Good morning sunshine bars blog.

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Bursting with seeds, nuts and fruit.

It would be great to meet you all. You can find me on Instagram @thecakediariesofficial or Tweet me @thecakediaries1

Stay happy and healthy and know that spring is on his way! He told me.

Yours truly

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Sweet can be Healthy! Afternoon Tea with a twist.

I love, love afternoon tea! I always have. Call me old fashioned but I still try to uphold it everyday.

To those unsure of what ‘tea time’ is, it’s a small pause in the day, it’s around 4 – 5pm. It’s not lunch and it’s not dinner, it’s that hungry time of day when nothing but a cuppa will do and you fancy a treat. According to Afternoontea.co.uk (and I quote straight from their website) Tea time became popular around the early nineteenth century when the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of ‘that sinking feeling’, during the late afternoon.

Amen sister!! We hear you!

(But I’m not talking about High tea and champers darling. Delicate morsels and genteel conversation, no that is a whole new blog for another time).

I’m talking good old fashioned British afternoon tea. I’m talking crumpets, toasted English muffins Eccles cakes, hot buttered toast oozing butter and marmalade, rock cakes and…..wait for it…. Scones! My all time favourite. Tea time has a lot of memories for me as it was the one sure time of day I would have my mother all to myself. It was the same thing most afternoons and it went a bit like this –
Slam front door.
Shout ‘Mum, I’m hooooommme’.
Thud upstairs as loud as an elephant.
Throw School uniform in all directions around the room.
Dress in ‘cool’ teenager clothes ( this usually meant gluing glittery stars to the side of my face, lots of bangles and large hoop earing) cringe, oh the 90’s!!
Be brought down the stairs by dreamy smell of baking coming from the kitchen.
Throw self on couch.
Search for TV remote always expertly hidden from sibling down back of sofa.
Door opens.
Heavenly mother enters with a tray laden with home made jams, a pot of tea with tea cosy!! And fresh from the oven something light, fluffy and Doughy, preferably with currents or chocolate chips. Then my mother would try her best to prize information from me about my day as I grunted teenage replies and got stuck in. Ahhhh, bliss!

Sadly, my mother is no longer with us and I am quite sure that is the reason that tea time is so special to me. It helps me to remember her and the happiness and warmth that always surrounded her. She was a real peach my mother and the sweetest kind. Though as a teenager I never told her, it really was the happiest part of my day and I wouldn’t have shared it with anyone else.

Now, eating tea time treats everyday may seem like a rather unhealthy pass time, but no!! It’s not and I won’t hear you say ‘I’d love to, but I really shouldn’t’ as you stare longingly at my chocolate brownies, strawberry tart or my beloved scones! You are not getting away with it I tell you and you shall have scones and feel damn good about it afterwards. There is nothing that pains me most than to see someone eat something they truly love, which gives them so much pleasure for all of 3 minutes then to see them end in complete misery and guilt about it. In my mind treat means special. Something to be taken time over, feel indulged by. So I’m flying the flag for ‘sweet can be healthy’.
What interests me most about baking is how versatile it can be. It’s not all about the sugar and butter and I’m not all about the sugar and butter either (see my Good morning Sunshine bars for more inspiration). So here is another recipe to feel truly good about.

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I am making my wheat-free, sugar-free, virtually fat free scones……. again for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.
I am tweaking the recipe as I go and have recorded with photo’s. I say virtually fat free as my first experiment with them was to make them totally fat free (no butter/Margarine) though in the back of my mind I knew that they would need a little fat to keep them as fluffy as possible and keep them ‘Scone like’. With no fat they are rather dry and tough. So in this recipe I use only 25g organic (vegan) margarine and the other 25g I make up with mashed avocado. There it is again my third blog recipe with avocado. My very own super food. Hopefully if you have never baked with avocado before and tried baking my Chocolate and Avocado cookies last week, this idea will be less scary.

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These Scones are my favourites right now as they are so quick and easy. A perfectly healthy and nutritious treat for mum’s looking for a healthy after school snack for the kids, an easy Vegan recipe for those eating clean and a sure fire way for a Polly like myself to get her girlfriends to stay for afternoon Tea!

You can have them steaming on a plate in 30mins flat. Using dried dates, and grated Apple for sweetness, keeping it wheat-free with wholemeal spelt flour for fibre and putting some really good natural fats into the mix with avocado. I will also tell you how I serve them best for a filling and nutritious meal.

Ingredients –

225g Wholemeal Spelt ( I use Doves Farm)

25g Avocado

1 Apple

50g dates

25g Organic Vegan Margarine

1tsp Cinnamon

1 & a half tsp baking powder

100m Almond milk

Pinch Salt

Almond milk (or Skimmed/semi skimmed milk).
Method –

0 – Pre-heat oven to 220.c / Gas mark 7/ 425.f

1 – Mix together the Flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

2 – Mash the Avocado. Add the Avocado and Organic Margarine and rub into the flour.

3 – Grate 1 apple and stir into the mixture and add your dates.

4- Gradually pour in the Almond milk until you reach a nice soft dough.

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5 – Kneed a little and with a rolling pin roll to about 1 inch – 1 inch & a half thick.

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6 – Using a round cookie cutter of 5cm or 6cm cut about 10 Scones.

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7 – Grease a baking tray and place the scones in the middle of the Oven and bake for around 12 Minutes.

8- As you wait with baited breath for them to rise, bake and the timer to ping I do the washing up to stop my complete frustration at having to wait 12 whole minutes for then to be ready!!

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Washing Up!

9 – My mother always use to tell me that after taking anything baked out of the oven you should wait until they cool. Sorry Mum! this is just not a possibility. Time waits for no scone!

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10 – Eat it hot and eat it now. I love slicing a scone open and watching a little steam rise from it’s belly and burning my finger tips a little as I prize it open. This is my scone ritual.

How I ate them (keeping it clean)  –

For afternoon Tea I had them fresh out of the oven with Greek yogurt and honey . Also perfect first thing in the morning sprinkled with Chia seeds.

The next day I warmed them up a little and had them for lunch topped with cream cheese and smoked, flaked salmon and salad. The Apple and date sweetness goes so well with the creamy cheese and smoked salmon fillets ( serve the salmon cold). So delicious.

They are a healthy alternative to the traditional teatime scone (depending on what you choose to put on them of course) I felt no guilt after eating 3 in a row!

So take a pause each day, linger over the wonderful tastes and textures and raise your china tea cups to cheers all the mum’s for this late afternoon treat. Up hold British tea time, stay healthy and love every mouthful, because baking is an adventure!!

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries…

 

 

Cookie Credentials

Ode to Tea –

Dearest Tea you have a lot on your shoulders and have a huge responsibly to the human race. You warm our cockles, you mend our broken hearts, you bring us together, break the ice and make me smile when I am grumpy. You are Tea! And you are great! But everyone needs someone to lean on and most frequently its biscuit!

I am a big fan of tea and inevitably it’s dear friend and partner in crime the biscuit!  All teas – (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady grey, Assam, Ceylon, green tea, fennel tea, Camomile and all you other life savers (yes I said Life savers!) need a companion. From the Sturdy and crumbly shortbread finger to the delicate and zingy Ginger Snap every tea has its dearest and bestest bud.

In fact in my humble opinion all you hot beverages out there need someone who compliments you and your distinctive flavour, someone who gets you, makes you the best and most of what and who you are. Just like coffee, who also has a big job. Getting us up in the morning and out the door, running faster and longer on that treadmill, helping techie media types work longer in over priced and fancy cafe’s, helping American cops do good jobs and bring down criminals and not to mention the perfect place to dunk a doughnut.

As the nights are drawing in and the cold snap is starting I will be looking at and making the perfect hot beverage accompaniments.

The first culinary adventure comes in the form of the cookie! So….. looking back 3 months I took a little trip over the pond to New York and L.A in search of inspiration for my own signature cookie.

Boy, did I find inspiration and heaven?!

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Miss Cake Diaries herself taking a rest with her friend in Central Park after much cookie eating!

I experienced many a cookie on my travels, the good the bad and the ugly, not forgetting the own right sublime. From crisp and crunchy to melted, doughy and as fat as a Scone. Fresh out the oven or a day old for only a dollar. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, M&M filled, cranberry, sour cherry, pecan, peanut, salted caramel, butter scotch, ice cream and even bacon! I said bacon people!!

I ate them, I ate them all.

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In consideration of my American cookie  adventures I have come up with my next recipe and new must have purchase on my website.
The Dark Chocolate, Avocado Scone Cookie (gorgeous scone like cookie with the good vibes of California, my dear friend Effie and the skin loving avocado).

Avocado? What?!

I am having a love affair with avocado and believe it or not it is a dream to bake with, not to mention the health and beauty benefits. I try to add it wherever I can. It has a very subtle flavour when baked and is perfect when paired with chocolate. In fact in my mind Avocado and Chocolate need to get a room! Because they are smokin’ hot for each other. So try this recipe to start with then you won’t be too scared when I bust out my Afternoon tea, vegan Scone recipe on you!!

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Melted Sugar and butter, mashed Avocado and chopped chocolate.

Ingredients –

150g Plain Flour

56g unsalted butter

90g Light Brown

20g Dark Brown sugar

1 Egg

1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

55g 75% dark Chocolate

50 Mashed avocado.

3 pinches of salt

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Method –

– In a small pan heat butter on a low heat and melt

– Turn off the heat and add both sugars, let them melt naturally

– Let the sugar cool for 4/5 mins and whisk in 1 egg

– Mash the Avocado and add to the wet ingredients

– In a mixing bowl add the flour, Bicarb and salt

– Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients mixing as you go.

-Add the chocolate as you mix. As it becomes dough you will be able to decide if you want more chocolate or less.

– Butter a baking tray and add a heaped tablespoon of dough for each tablespoon. Personally I like a rough looking/ rustic look for my chocolate chip cookie so I don’t try to round them or neaten them up. I think the look more delicious. You should aim for about 10 cookies.

– Now put the tray in the fridge!! I know this is hard because in the back of your mind you are possibly envisaging that in just 13 minutes time you could be watching melted chocolate oozing from a fluffy scone cookie but by putting the cookie in the fridge for just 20-30 minutes (Top tip!!!!!) will stop them spreading to keep it more scone like.

– While you wait, heat the oven to 180c/gas 4/ 350f at least 20 mins before the cookie goes in. Bake for 13 – 14 mins.

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The scone cookie is not a sophisticated cookie, and that’s how I like em’, rustic! So to tart them up serve with English Breakfast tea or a chocolaty coffee (in my case a lovely Guatemalan coffee I bought in Paris) in vintage china. Come on boys you know you want to! Stack em’ up on a board to serve and ‘hay presto’, American style cookies eaten in a small flat in the heart London overlooking a very soggy English Garden, perfect!
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One Cookies down and many more crunchy, chewy, crumbly biscuits to go!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning Sunshine bars – Vegan, Wheat-free, sugar-free, butter-free and delicious (promise)!!

Good morning Sunshine bars – Vegan, Wheat-free, sugar-free, butter-free and delicious (promise)!!

Breakfast on a week day and brunch at the weekend are my favorite meals of the day! There is no end to the amount of different baked goods that can be consumed in the morning. But I am tiring of … Continue reading