Chocolate ginger meringues

March 27, 2020

We are day 2 of Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand but the baking doesn't stop. Our daughter chose these for me to make - and I happily obliged. We had all the ingredients in the pantry waiting to be used. It's from Gluten-Free Baking by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2014).

Makes about 20 meringues

100g dark chocolate
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
3/4 c toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 c crystallised ginger, roughly chopped

Preheat ovent o 165C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave oven.
In a large bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer or by hand until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 min. Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time while whisking until stiff peaks form, Beat in vanilla and salt until just combined. 
Using a spatula, fold in the ginger and nuts. Fold in the chocolate but leave streaks of white meringue for the marbled look.
Secure the baking paper on the baking sheet with a dab of batter on each corner. Drop tablespoons of the batter on your sheets about 2 cm apart. 
Bake the meringues for about 10 min until dry and crisp on the outside. Let cool on the baking trays on a wire rack for 10 min then transfer to the wire rack to cool completely.
The meringues will be crisp on the outside and soft and gooey in the middle.


Chocolate cake with Italian meringue buttercream

March 23, 2020

I knew my birthday today wasn't going to be about me. These are unprecedented times. Time to think about the future of humankind. But, determined to keep calm and carry on baking, I made this healthy chocolate cake and lavished it with Italian meringue buttercream, to celebrate my day of birth. I've always wanted to make a 3-tiered cake with this kind of buttercream. Novices take note, don't take your eyes off your sugar syrup! I burnt my first lot but tried again.

For the chocolate cake:
3 egg...
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White chocolate chip cookies

March 18, 2020

With an hour to go before our 7-year-old daughter arrives back home with a play date (first boy from school!) I whipped up these white chocolate chip cookies. Add some fancy sprinkles and it's an afternoon delight!

Makes around 24 small or 18 large cookies

2 c flour (I used half white spelt and half wholemeal spelt, you can use GF flour if you like)

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c sugar-free chocolate chips or drops, plus extra for topping

1/2 c fine coconut sugar or rapad...

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Almond rosewater cake

March 17, 2020

A very simple cake with a hint of rosewater, but it's just what your fika needs!

2 c ground almonds

1/2 c honey/maple syrup/rice syrup

1/3 c coconut oil or butter, softened
3 eggs

zest of 2 lemons

2 tbsp rose water

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 c flaked or chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Put all the ingredients except the flaked almonds in a bowl and mix well. Or blitz in a food processor.

Scrape batter into the cake tin and scatter almonds on top.

Bake for around 35...

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Chocolate almond biscotti

March 15, 2020

These chocolate biscotti have a coffee-tinged flavour - perfect with coffee!

1 1/2 c ground almonds

2 tbsp arrowroot or cornflour

3 tbsp cacao powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 c brown rice syrup or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in vanilla and rice syrup until a firm dough forms.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each one into a log about 10cm long, 5cm high and 4cm wid...

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Chocolate marshmallow whoopie pies

March 11, 2020

Whoopie pies are a wholly American invention and they are not such a phenomenon in New Zealand, hence I have never made them before until now. It combines features of a cookie, cake, pie and sandwich and the result is rather delicious. I cut back on the sugar and used sugar-free marshmallows too.

Makes 24-30 sandwiched pies

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 c cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

150g softened butter

3/4 c brown sugar ( I used a mix of brown sugar and stevia)

2 tsp vanilla extrac...

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Healthy millionaire's shortbread

March 2, 2020

The classic millionaire's shortbread usually involves sugar, butter, condensed milk, egg, golden syrup and sometimes cream. This version is free from refined sugar and dairy and can be gluten too.

Tastes amazing, with that mix of crunch, salty/sweet caramel and silky chocolate. I guarantee you'll be pleased you switched to a healthier version!

For the base:

200g flour of choice (I used spelt)

pinch salt

100g coconut oil, room temperature

50g cane sugar or stevia

For the caramel:

300g pitted dates


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Banana coconut cookies

February 19, 2020

Just two ingredients to make these delicious cookies. I like them very thin to produce a crispiness and caramelisation on the edges. You can go crazy with your extras and add your favourite flavourings.

Makes 12-16 

1 ripe banana
3/4 c desiccated coconut

1/4 c chocolate chips
pinch sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c chopped dried fruit

Preheat oven to 180C. Link a baking sheet with baking paper.

Mash the banana in a bowl and mix in coconut. Add your extras. Scoop out...

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Coconut macaroons

February 13, 2020

Such a wholesome healthy version of macaroons! But dipping in chocolate makes them extra special. This is adapted from Caroline Du Pont's The New Enlightened Eating (Book Publishing Company, 2012).

Makes 16

3/4 c ground almonds
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 c desiccated or shredded coconut
pinch salt
1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c tahini
1 tsp vanilla extract

For dipping:
100g chocolate of choice

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Grind the almonds and flaxseed in a coffee grin...

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Lavender biscuits

February 13, 2020

These biscuits are perfectly fine without icing, as our 7-year-old informed me, but I think the icing adds a zing, and lavender and lemon go well together. Being free of sugar and dairy, you can add a couple more to your lunchbox.

You'll need a tray that will fit into your freezer.

1 1/2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
165g flour of choice
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c honey
1 tsp stevia

1/2 c powder...

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EST. 2010

Frances Chan loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and has written a couple of children's books. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram.

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