Brain balls

I made these on the weekend – they are ‘amaze-balls’

With Dr Libby Weaver – Source

Brain Balls

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Ingredients
2 cups walnuts, halves and pieces
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup coconut, shredded
2/3 cup cocoa powder
8 fresh dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of water
Pinch of salt
1 to 3 drops peppermint oil, optional

Method
Combine the walnuts, sunflower seeds, dates  and coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 30 to grind the ingredients..
Add the cocoa powder, salt, water and the peppermint oil to the bowl and process until the mixture forms a paste.
Form the paste into medium sized balls by rolling a portion of the paste between your palms. Place the finished balls on a tray lined with waxed paper and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Dr. Libby’s nutritional information:
This chewy, nutty treat is an excellent source of the monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that have the anti-inflammatory properties so necessary for healthy hearts and brain functions.  Keep these easy to make snacks on hand for the perfect after school snack for a burst of energy or as a source of vitamin E and zinc, beneficial for skin and the immune system.

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Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Courtesy of Martha Stewart – Hi Hat Cupcakes

This popular recipe for hi-hat cupcakes is from the book “Cupcakes!”

For The Batter

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For The Frosting

1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For The Chocolate Coating
2 cups chopped (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Use a small knife to loosen any tops stuck to the pan. Carefully invert cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn cupcakes right side up, and let cool completely.

Prepare the frosting: In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degrees.on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.

Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.

Prepare the chocolate coating: Combine chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool about 15 minutes.

Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

Carefully remove paper liners from cupcakes, and discard. Place cupcakes on a serving platter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let coating set. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours more. Serve cold. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

 

Macaron cupcake

Have you run out of ideas to make your cupcakes different and original? Don’t be panic because we always find the best of the Internet to show you just here.

Behold, we bring you a good idea: bake small cupcakes, dividing the dough into several parts and drop some a food coloring to each of them. Once ready, cut off half, fill with frosting and you will have before your eyes a macaron or cupcake sandwich!

Source: OhCupCakes

Dolcie May Kitchen

After recently purchasing the new Dolcie May Booker cookbook I had to visit the store in Mt Eden, Auckland.  Luckily or not so lucky for my waistline, it is just around the corner from my work, how had I not discovered it yet after a year?!

To my delight I got a park right outside the store and shimmered right in.

A whiff of deliciousness swept over me when I walked in the door, the smell of fresh-baked lasagna and bacon and egg pie increased my appetite.

 

You are really spoilt for choice here, I ended up purchasing the yummiest vegetable Quiche I have tasted EVER and a passionfruit and coconut muffin!

I took a bite of it in the car driving back to work, I just couldn’t resist 🙂

Hey-la-la aka liquid gold

Pronounced – hey-la-la. 

Apologies for being absent for a week or so, things have been crazy busy with work … oh and being engaged to my beautiful fiancée’ – love you babe.

It’s time for me to get off Cloud 9 for a bit while I write this …

I remember seeing Heilala Vanilla at the Food Show last year which I attended with Mel, and just stumbled upon their website this week.  We’ve all seen/heard/used vanilla essence in our baking, cooking and cock/mock tails, lets change the way we use vanilla with Heilala Vanilla.

Heilala Vanilla, based in Tauranga, has an awesome start-up story – check out their webite.  Their extensive product range includes, extracts, beans, paste, syrup, ice cream and more…

In the weekend, here is what my kitchen wiped up for me using the Heilala vanilla extract

Choco Afghans with liquid gold (Heilala Vanilla extract)

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp Heilala Vanilla Extract
  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 C dessicated coconut
  • 2 C cornflakes

Chocolate Icing

  • 1 1/2 C icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbsp warm milk or water

Method:

Preheat oven to 180o C or 160o C fan bake. Lightly grease 2 baking trays or line with baking paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Beat in the egg and Vanilla extract.
Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the creamed ingredients and scatter the coconut and cornflakes on top.
Mix all the ingredients together. Do not over-mix or the cornflakes will become too finely crushed.
Spoon large tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the trays.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes.
Cool on a cake rack before icing with chocolate icing.
Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Icing

In a bowl, sift icing sugar and cocoa. Blend in melted butter and warm milk or water until you have a thick icing of spreadable consistency.

(Recipe by Allyson Gofton)

The afghans tasted like choco heaven. Enjoy.

Heilala Vanilla is part of the Tauranga Business Case website, check out my post here.  

Self-saucing chocolate puds

If its been one of those long hard day, and you want to put your feet up with a nice  glass of desert wine and satisfy your chocolate fix – make these delicious puds.  They taste as good as they look!
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoon hazelnut meal
  • ¼ cup (45g) brown sugar
  •  1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  • 35g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (90g) brown sugar, extra
  • 1 cup (250ml) boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). Sift the flour, hazelnut meal, sugar, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of cocoa into a bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla and mix well to combine. Spoon into 4 x 1 cup-capacity (250ml) oven-proof dishes and place on a baking tray. Place the extra sugar and remaining cocoa in a bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle over the puddings and pour over the water. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until the tops are firm.

Recipe based on Nigella Lawson’s blog.

Superfoods

Do you want to supercharge your life? Enrich your diet? Live a long, happy and healthy life? I certainly do!

You’ll find a summary of some superfoods I cannot live without below:

Tomatoes
Rich in lycopene – which gives tomatoes their rich red colour, its also a strong antioxidant that helps fight off infections and even cancer (from recent research).    Lycopene has also been reported to protect white bloods cells, your body’s first line of defense against infection.  They not only taste great but are good for you to! 

Kale
Looks similar to spinach,  is a dark green leafy vegetable.  It has a alkalizing affect on your body as well.  High in vitamin A, C, magnesium, B6, calcium, copper and potassium.  This green vegetable is certainly worthy of super-food status.

Salmon
High in protein, iodine, minerals and zinc.  Fish, especially salmon, is high in omega 3  – the ultimate anti-aging fatty acid.  Omega 3 is great for hair, skin and nails too. 

Eggs
This superfood is full of protein, vitamins, minerals and should be part of any healthy lifestyle.   One serving of eggs provides you with every vitamin except for vitamin C – truly worthy of superfood status.

Spinach 
An average serve of spinach provides 5 mg of vitamin C, which is an eighth of the recommended daily intake. It is packed full of antioxidants which help fight free radicals and infections.

Supercharged foods

New recipe book by Lee Holmes

Lee is on a mission to try to change our eating habits and supercharge our lives – one meal at a time!

Supercharged Food is full of over 90 flavoursome meals to cleanse the immune system and maintain long-term wellbeing. All of the recipes are all gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar-free for a better eating plan.

Sarah Wilson, a writer, tv presenter and foodie who wrote I quit Sugar e-book swears by this book because it was designed for people with food intolerances and auto immune disease sufferers like herself.

Here is one of 90 recipes – it looks so delicious and making cauliflower mash – easy way to trick kids into eating vegetables – Genius! Mums will love this.

Check out her website http://www.superchargedfood.com  for recipes, plan weekly meals, creative cooking ideas and lots more.  There’s also information about detoxing, and other superfoods.

Bon appetit