A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to Bake With Maria in Swiss Cottage (and I meant to write about this then but life has gotten in the way, it’s all been a bit hectic!). For those that don’t know, Bake With Maria was started by the lovely Maria a number of years ago. She started out by teaching people from her own kitchen how to make delicious bread, before the demand grew too strong and she had to make the move to her own specialised teaching kitchen space, the Baking Lab, which opened in November 2011. Maria and her small team now run a number of different types of class, moving away from just the bread.
Following on from my last recipe post (Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad), I’ll be keeping things relatively healthy. This, in part, is due to our oven being broken since I got home from Christmas (it has since been replaced, and upgraded!). I still had the baking urge, so I looked into some no bake recipes. The great thing about a lot of raw recipes is that they are pretty healthy. This has no sugar (just some honey), no butter (just coconut oil) and is packed full of seeds.
I’ve been looking for a snack to get me through the mornings lately (I’ve been so hungry of late) and these no bake almond butter bars are great. They have enough to them to tide you over but without too much fat and sugar they are (relatively) guilt free. The main thing I’d say though, is make sure you do keep them in the fridge. They get a tiny bit too gooey and sticky. They still taste great but it’s a bit messy to eat at your desk. Also nut butter, make your own. It’s so cheap and so much healthier than the store bought stuff. Ages ago I said to my friend Steph that I was going to try and do some more diabetic and gluten free friendly recipes, so here’s another for my Free From bakes.
Now my oven is fixed I’m going to start churning out the bakes again. I know it’s been quiet recipe wise for a few weeks now. The great news is that it actually has two shelves now. Which is going to cut down my baking time for a bunch of stuff. It’s actually a little worrying how excited I was when I saw that we had a new shelf. Things like this and new baking toys tend to get me far too overexcited.
Oh and hey, my friend Lucinda doodled me up bit of a logo which she then got printed on to stickers for me. Who wants one? They’ll be going on all of my Cake Care Packages from now on too!
- 120ml cup honey
- 60ml coconut oil
- 60ml cup almond butter (I made my own, you can use store bought if you prefer)
- ½ tbsp. cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 70g chopped almonds
- 50g cup chopped walnuts
- 100g cup dark chocolate chips
- 35g sunflower seeds
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 50g Berries (Optional, pick the type)
- 90g rolled oats
- In a small saucepan over a low heat mix together the Honey, Oil, Almond Butter and Cocoa Powder. Keep stirring so it doesn't catch. Allow to heat for a few minutes until well mixed together.
- Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and combine well.
- In a lined dish (I used my brownie tray) press the mixture out into a square. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, cut up and serve. This will last for several days in the fridge.
Our oven is fixed. This is the best thing that has happened since I moved to London (OK, that’s a lie, but what you gonna do about it?). I can now bake things to my heart’s content. And by bake things, I mean cook pizza. To say it’s been broken I’ve still managed ok, once I got the hang of the temperature. I managed to make a Pumpkin Spiced Loaf and a Victoria Sponge for my flatmates birthdays. The sponge came out better as I’d had the practise with the Pumpkin Loaf. After the loaf I had a large amount of pecans left over. So spent some time flicking through some suggestions on Tastespotting (I spend far too much time on that site, it’s brilliant/it makes me hungry). I eventually landed on this recipe, for Maple & Caramel Pecan Pie Bars.
Proper Pecan Pie has been on my list for a very long while, but to do it properly I’ll need to do it when I’ve got more time as I want to make sure the pastry is absolutely spot on. These bars use a very, very, basic base that isn’t quite pastry, so it can be thrown together quickly and doesn’t need chilling etc. In fact I chucked all of this together despite getting in from a burger place with my workmates at about 8.45.
Make sure you don’t overbake the base. You are going to be putting the whole thing back in the oven once you’ve added the topping so the last thing you want is for it to be overcooked or burnt. Another thing I must confess is that I bought the Salted Caramel from the shop. I wouldn’t usually, for instance you can find my recipe for caramel here. But as I explained, due to time constraints and doing this on a bit of a whim I didn’t have time.
- 128g all-purpose flour
- 75g brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 115g unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 large egg
- 75g brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 80ml maple
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt, optional and to taste (consider omitting if nuts are well-salted)
- 200g pecans (I used raw, unsalted, whole pecans; use halves and pieces, salted and roasted, or your favorite type)
- about ¼ cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or storebought), for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C(160°C fan assisted). Line an 8x8 tin with greaseproof paper. These get sticky.
- For the crust, rub the butter into the flour and sugar, rubbing/cutting in until there are no large lumps.
- Turn the mixture, which will have started forming in a dough, into the base of the prepared tin and, using a spatula, flatten it out evenly across the base.
- Place in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for around 15 minutes, until it has coloured slightly. Don’t overbake as it’ll be going back in the oven.
- While it’s baking make the topping. In a large bowl combine the sugar, syrup, vanilla and egg. Mix in the pecans and set aside.
- Once the crust has baked gently spread the topping over the top and place back in the oven. Make sure they are spread evenly.
- Bake for between 16-19 minutes. When you try gently shaking the pan the mixture should be set.
- Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before you drizzle the salted caramel over the top.
- Slice and serve.
I like nuts, and I also like a Blood Brothers reference. Specifically I really like Cashew nuts. I also really like Cinnamon. Also it’s November so brace yourselves for me continually talking about cinnamon, cinnamon and yup, you guessed it, more cinnamon. I only did 2-3 posts about last year. THE SHAME! If you want to see them they are here, here and here. They are all tasty recipes that I still highly recommend. I will rebaking a couple of them this year.
Anyway, I’m having oven issues. The thermostat on our new oven is, to put it lightly, fucked. I burnt a batch of my Peanut Butter Cookies last week with the oven set to 140 for 5 minutes, and by burnt, I mean black. The tray was also too hot to hold through my oven glove. This means that the large amounts of baking and recipes I’d intended to be flooding you with are going to have to wait until this is fixed. I can’t risk things like cakes/cookies etc when I just plain can’t guarantee what my oven will do to them.
However, I can still do a few things, if I’m just very careful. For instance these Cinnamon Sugar Cashews don’t need to rise and/or won’t collapse in on themselves if checked often. So if I set my oven to 40 (FORTY, SERIOUSLY?) then it isn’t too bad. These make a great snack, any time of year, but I made them to take with me to the Battersea Fireworks display last Saturday, which was phenomenal. I also made a huge batch of Mulled Cider (it was tasty, but could have been mulled a tad longer, I was in a rush). I’m still experimenting with roasted nuts so used recipe from here as a base.
Other than the oven being tricky, and needing a bookcase plus bedside table (anyone got any spare?) I am thoroughly enjoying having my own place again and being a resident in Clapham.
And while I’m a Londoner now, I just want to give a huge shout out to the guys across at Leeds Indie Food, as they successfully got funded through kickstarter and their site went live this morning. Go check it out!
- 250g Cashews (pecans and almonds would also work, as would a mix)
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup light brown granulated sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- Couple of pinches of nutmeg
- Couple of pinches of salt
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (I did it on 40 due to my thermostat being messed up) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Beat the egg white with the water until it forms stiff peaks.
- Fold in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt carefully so you don’t knock all the air out.
- Fold in the cashews until they are well coated.
- Spread the cashews out evenly over the baking sheet and place in the center of the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes to ensure they are evenly roasted.
- Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving. These are great slightly warm but also just as tasty cold.