Delicious & Easy Weeknight Dessert

DessertBreakDownHowdy Y’all,

Today I wanted to share with you a LL little secret a dessert I have up my sleeve for those weeknights when guests are coming or your family demands or deserves a little treat. I love a dessert which tastes scrummy, can be adapted and is a little healthier than a slice of cake. I got inspiration from Mr. Jamie Oliver (thank you) and modified it to suit what I have in my pantry at the said time. The idea can also made healthier if necessary. I love cheesecake and find the biscuit base the best bit (never understood NY cheesecake.) I do however in the week want to eradicate the butter required to make that crumbly bottom, so I thought what would work as an alternative and granola sprang to mind. Granola is so versatile, perfect for breakie or as a snack but this provides a great base, plus depending on the granola you bake or buy you can use one with nuts, seeds, and dry fruit. Next, I add a dollop of heavenly curd, and this can be of your choosing, this time I chose lemon, but lime, raspberry, rhubarb or any other fruit curd would be delicious. Curd works well with the granola and is also scrumptious with yogurt. Then I add fruit, this again is personal preference, but I would recommend something which compliments the curd of choice. The piece de resistance is the topping which I use mascarpone, but you could use crème fraiche. I place in a bowl add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and a teaspoon of icing sugar give it a good mix and voila a yummy topping. If you were looking to lighten things up reduce the amount of topping or use yogurt. If mascarpone is not your desire, you could use clotted cream, cream or ice cream. The versatility of this dessert is what makes this a winner. It always feels more sophisticated to present these in martini glasses, it also means you have greater portion control, and if you have dietary requirements, you can make to specific desires. I have also made this in sundae glasses or mason jars; they always look super cute! You can make these ahead, and they can last in the fridge for several days. All which make them a Lifestyle Lady Love.

 

Do you have a recipe I need to try?

Ta Ta For Now

Kx

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Best Dessert Brownies Ever -FACT!

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Howdy Y’all,

Happy Wednesday, I hope your week is treating you well. If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that I am on a personal crusade to make sure that Little L feels culturally comfortable living in the US. For those of you who don’t know, she is a dual US and UK citizen, but born and raised here in America. With Mr L and myself both being fully fledged Brits, freckles and all, I wanted to ensure that I didn’t make Little L feel ostracized by cultural differences. Now I say this very tongue in cheek, we are different, as George Bernard Shaw said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” I can do little to change this, and as her teacher has already pointed out, Little L has informed her classmates that we “play in the garden, not outside” lol. One way I am trying to become a more American mom (please note spelling for emphasis of point) is trying to learn some popular local dishes. Mr L would say that I have the pulled pork and ribs down (please let me know if these are recipes you would like me to share on the blog.)  I can’t say that I will ever be one to cook macaroni and cheese or pb and jelly (no, neither of these are popular UK dishes much to the surprise of my US mom friends.) I do however wish to become a connoisseur of the brownie. You may know that a while back I wrote this post, The best brownie ever challenge.  I stand by these brownies – they are remarkably good – but not one to become complacent in my pursuit of perfection, I have discovered another recipe which I think is outstanding.

A blogger I follow TheAnnaEdit mentioned her favorite recipe by Anna Jones called Salted Caramel Brownies (no you don’t have to be called Anna to make these.)  I love salted caramel and, with friends coming for dinner, I had the perfect excuse to give them a try. Now like The Anna Edit, I cheated and bought caramel sauce: I used Trader Joe’s Caramel Sauce and it worked a treat.

Ingredients

150g 70% dark chocolate

150g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar (If you find caster sugar hard to find in US, use regular sugar but blitz in a food processor first to get the correct consistency. This I have found to work well – LL top tip.)

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

100g plain flour.

Method

Heat oven to 180C or 365F.

Grease and line a brownie tin approximately 20x20cm.

Place a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (make sure bowl bottom does not hit the water! That’s important!)

Add chocolate and butter to bowl and allow to melt stirring together so as not to burn.

Once they have melted and combined together, remove bowl from heat.

Stir in sugar (be careful the mix is hot.)

Then add the eggs one at a time, stirring throughout.

After well combined, add the vanilla essence and flour.

Stir until mixture is well combined.

This is where I did not follow the exact instructions and being pushed for time followed The Anna Edit method.

Place mixture in prepared tin.

Then take your bought caramel sauce and spoon several teaspoons into the prepared mixture, I used about 5 oz.

Then use a wooden skewer to feather the caramel through the mixture so it leaves a pretty pattern on the top.

If you like salted caramel, grind a little sea salt on top.

Place in oven on middle shelf for about 25mins.

It will be done when a crust appears on the top (mine took about 30 mins.)

Then take out of oven and let Brownies cool.

I made these in the morning, and reheated in the evening. Ladies and Gents these brownies were to die for. I would say they are more a dessert brownie, especially heated, because as you cut into them out oozes golden caramel. The amount I added was about right because they didn’t become too rich and the fact they are made with dark chocolate doesn’t make them too sweet. They are delicious served warm with homemade vanilla ice-cream (future post.) They are also a marvelous hangover cure but that is another story.

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on Anna Jones’ cookbook “A Modern Way to Eat” (highly recommended), you will note that she provides alternative/healthier ways to prepare the brownies which I want to try. Who is with me? She also gives you details on how to make the caramel yourself which I want to attempt next time. However, if you are stuck for time or baking is not your thing, this method was outstanding. Best dessert brownies I have ever had and my guests agreed. I am well on the way to doing Little L proud on the brownie stakes, it is muffins next! (A mummy’s work is never done!) So my previous post The best brownie ever challenge  produces the best brownies for everyday baked goods and these brownies are best for dessert!

Enjoy the rest of your week folks. Have you tried this recipe before? Have I inspired you to try? If so send me a pic! I would love to see them.

Ta Ta for now

TLL x

 

Baking Wednesday – Caramel Slice

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Hump Day! So yesterday was rainy and I was trapped inside with Little L (argh!!) One thing she loves and often asks to do is bake. I read recently in a blog about an app I have been meaning to try called Hippy Lane. The app is recipe-based but only contains health-conscious recipes. They promote that the sweet treat recipes are gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and contain no refined sugar. Trying to find recipes that have these bases covered but still taste delicious is a challenge. This app is very sophisticated and styish and the photographs are beautiful.  I had a very quick gander through my pantry to see what ingredients I had and Little L and I selected the recipe for  Caramel Slices. Where I am from it is referred to as millionaire’s shortbread and  it is delicious and I thought this would be a great introduction to its yumminess for Little L. So here is how it went:-

Recipe

Summary

Creamy, delicious bars of gold. These caramel slice bars are just like the real thing with a crumbly biscuit base, smooth caramel center and silky chocolate top, you will be taken to choc caramel heaven with each bite. Free of dairy, gluten and sugar, you can enjoy them guilt-free.

Ingredients

Base

1 1/2 cups (225g) cashews

1/2 cup (40g) desiccated coconut

8-10 medjool dates, pitted

3tbsp rice malt

Caramel

1 cup (150g) medjool dates, pitted

1/4 cup (60ml) coconut oil

1/2 cup (125ml) tahini or almond butter

1/2 cup (120ml) rice malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla powder

Pinch salt

Chocolate

1/3 cup (36g) cacao powder

1/2 cup (120ml) coconut oil, liquid

1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup

1/2 tsp carob powder (optional)

Steps

  1. To make base, reduce cashews to small pieces in the food processor.
  2. Add coconut and pulse.
  3. Add dates and rice malt, and process until combined and sticky.
  4. Press base into tin lined with baking powder and freeze.
  5. Making caramel by processing all ingredients until smooth.
  6. Spread caramel over base and freeze.
  7. For the chocolate, whisk the ingredients until well incorporated.
  8. Spread chocolate evenly over slice and freeze.
  9. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.

 

Lifestyle Lady Findings

  • Firstly I could not find rice malt so I substituted agave syrup.
  • I used almond oil instead of tahini.
  • I did not have vanilla powder so I substituted for vanilla essence.
  • As you know I am yet to buy a brownie tin, but that would be the ideal size to make these in.
  • Call me lazy but I loved the ease of the prep and that it needed no baking. It was an ideal recipe to do with a toddler. They can lick the spoon and not get poisoned!
Little L and I really enjoyed making these, it was a great rainy day activity. It is seldom that I get excited about an app and this one has me very eager to try more. It is well worth the $2.99 price tag. When it is raining and half way through the week who wouldn’t want a slice of chocolate gold?
Enjoy,
Ta ta for now,
TLL x
PS. message from Mr L: TLL had to lock these away to stop me eating the whole lot! :@)  Will be taking them to work to dilute the waistline expansion.