Choconutty popcorn cookies

August 29, 2020

Heidi Swanson calls these carnival cookies, not the sickly sweet artificial-coloured kind, but wholesome sugar-free bites packed with nutrients. The popcorn and chocolate chips bring to mind amusement park snacks.

Makes 22-24

1 1/2 c rolled oats

1/2 c almond meal or ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 c mashed bananas (about 3 or 4)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c coconut oil, softened or just melted

1 1/2 c popcorn

1 c chocolate of choice (chopped, chips, buttons or bits)

2/3 c whole nuts of choice (peanuts, hazels, almonds, pecans)

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

In a large bowl mix together the oats, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 

In a smaller bowl mix the mashed bananas with the vanilla and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold until combined. Then mix in the popcorn, chocolate and nuts.

Roll large tablespoons of dough into a tight ball and place onto your baking sheets, spaced apart. You can flatten them slightly if you wish.

Bake for around 15-18 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the tray to firm up.


Cheesy seedy crackers

August 22, 2020

Kiwis and Aussies of a certain age may remember a classic TV ad from the 80s for Sara Lee Danishes. Oh, how we loved to imitate the line "layer upon layer upon layer"! The Danes are the masters of buttery pastry and this recipe is no exception - I've never used so much butter in a biscuit before. The particular rolling and folding of the dough creates the layers that crisp up so beautifully when baked.

600g / 4 1/2 c flour

400g butter, chopped

cold water, about a cup

2 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

Mix in...

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Runeberg cakes

August 19, 2020

These pretty cakes are named after the Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. Apparently he used to eat one for breakfast every day. He sure had a sweet tooth. It's a dense cake but was nice warmed up before eating. I think the tradition is raspberry jam but you can use whatever you like - even lemon curd.

200g butter at room temperature
100g/ 1/2 c brown sugar
100g/ 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c ground almonds
1 1/3 c breadcrumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbsp orange zest
1/2 c ...
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Healthy chocolate spread

August 17, 2020

This is a great alternative to store-bought Nutella or chocolate spread. The kids will never know it's full of chickpeas. The recipe is from David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl's Little Green Kitchen (Hardie Grant, 2019). The spread can be used on crackers, bread, plain biscuits or cakes, pancakes, waffles - go crazy!

400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 pitted dates
3 tbsp peanut butter, tahini or any nut/seed butter of your choice
4 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup or rice syrup or honey

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Lemon poppy seed shortbread

August 10, 2020

You can make this versatile mix into any-shaped shortbread. I doubled the recipe to fit into a 33cm x 23cm slice tin, as I wanted rectangular pieces to fit into our daughter's lunchbox. One batch will fit a 20cm round pan to make 12 triangle pieces.

1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
zest of a lemon
115 g butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon oil or extract (I used some lemon juice)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (150g) flour
1 tbsp poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling

Lemon drizzle...
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Cornflake haystacks

August 6, 2020

A very satisfying caramely crunch that uses up cornflakes that have been sitting around for too long. It's from a 517-page tome called Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, 2016).

Makes about 36
2 eggs
1/2 c natural liquid sweetener, eg brown rice syrup, maple syrup, honey
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 c desiccated or shredded coconut
1 c chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 c raisins (I plumped mine up by placing them in a small bowl and soaking in boiled water for 5 min, then drain)
170g m...
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Banana chocolate muffins

August 4, 2020

What's the secret to soft fluffy muffins? Don't overmix the batter. This is Nadia Lim's very easy recipe and it works well. You can swap out whatever flours/sugars/flavours you want or have on hand. You can even use replace the egg with a flaxseed egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water).

Makes 12
2 c self-raising flour (or use any flour mixed with 2 1/2 tsp baking powder)
3/4 c sugar (I used coconut), or use 1/2 c honey/rice syrup/maple syrup
1/2 c chocolate chips/buttons/chopped bit...
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Spelt rolls

August 1, 2020

Who doesn't like the aroma of freshly baked bread in the morning? Just mix the dough in the evening, leave in the fridge overnight and bake the next day.

Makes 16

10g instant dried yeast or fresh yeast

3 c cold water (or lukewarm if you're using active yeast)

3 c white spelt flour

2 1/2 c wholemeal spelt flour

1/2 c spelt flakes, optional

1 tsp salt

In the evening:

Dissolve the yeast and water in a large bowl and wait a few min until frothy. Mix in flours, flakes and salt and knead for up to 10 minute...

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Honey bombs

July 31, 2020

These warming honey bombs are a cross between a bun and cake - but you don't have to cream the butter and sugar or use yeast. Very convenient. I've discovered Scandi Bites by Trine Hahnemann (Quadrille, 2019) and will be making a few of her recipes.

Makes 12-16
150g honey
150g/3/4 c soft brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)
150g butter
4 small eggs or 3 large eggs
3 c flour (I used spelt)
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ground cloves
150g mixed peel (I used mixed fruit)

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease...
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Churros cookies

July 29, 2020

Churros as cookies? Yes please! A light biscuit with cinnamon and brown sugar - an exact crispy version of churros doughnuts. They're ideal for ice cream sandwiches too! I saw this recipe on one of Haylie Duff's cooking programmes. Toasting the flour first adds a nutty depth to the dough. I used coconut sugar to give a dark, caramel taste and look.

Makes about 36
2 3/4 c flour (I used spelt)
225g butter, room temperature
1 c sugar (I used coconut)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp milk (I used rice)
1 t...
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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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