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.

A Family Cake – Moroccan Orange Cake

 

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Hump Day, you are close to the weekend! Yay!  So I have not done a baking post for a long while (sorry) and this one is special. This is the cake that Mr L asks for each year for his birthday. (Yes I make a vague attempt to make a cake for family – who doesn’t want to blow out a candle and feel old?!) This is not only special because Mr L loves it but it is one of his family recipes. It is a cake that his mother makes (no pressure!!!!  I do not make it as good as her- end of.) It comes from his family cookbook (so you see they are good cooks!)  Many of you may not know but my husband is half Algerian and although this recipe is from Morocco and no my Geography is not that bad! I still think of it as a nod to my husbands heritage and therefore to me it is important. It is also yummy, and does not require lots of icing and decoration which is a win win for me. So I must thank my mother in law for taking the time to document all these family recipe’s it will be lovely for Little L to have a collection of recipes that generations of her family members have made before her, what a lucky little lady she is. Now onto the baking …

 

caster sugar making
Love my Kitchen Aid processor!

Lifestyle Lady Top Tip

Before I start, you will see below the recipe asks for  caster sugar. This is something I have struggled to find in the US, and it does definitely make a difference to the texture of the cake. To combat I use regular granulated sugar and measure the amount required, I then place it in my food processor for about 2 mins and Voila a consistency similar to caster sugar! This might sound like a time consuming faff but it is worth it. Makes for a lighter cake.

Other Information – US readers

  •  I cheated and used dried breadcrumbs and it worked fine. I am sure that it would taste better with fresh.
  • I could not find Star Anise, the seeds worked well.
  • Could not find Orange Flower Water so I used Orange essence.
  • Ground Almonds or Almond Flour is a little more expensive but can often be found on special, grab it then. It is usually found on the health aisles of most major grocery stores.
  • I use this microplane zester, one of the best purchases ever. Makes it so easy and I keep the skin on my knuckles. Win win.
  • This can be made ahead and actually tastes better the next day.
  • As my mother in law suggests it would make a super dessert.

 

Recipe

Moroccan Orange Cake – Courtesy of my mother-in-law

This cake is fragrant with spices and citrus aromas. The syrup makes it moist and soft. It can be served for dessert with a little whipped cream or Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

For the cake:

5 large eggs, separated

300g caster sugar

350g ground almonds

4 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs

3 teaspoons baking powder

400ml sunflower oil

½ teaspoon almond essence

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the syrup:

2 star anise

2 small cinnamon sticks

4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

4 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons Orange Flower Water

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180˚C). Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin. In a large mixing bowl, combine the caster sugar, ground almonds, breadcrumbs and baking powder. Add the citrus zests. In a jug, beat the eggs with the oil and add the almond essence. Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: gently heat the citrus juices, honey and spices in a small saucepan. Simmer for 3 minutes, then reserve, covered, for the flavours to infuse. Stir in the orange flower water just before using.

When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and pierce the top with a skewer all over. Remove the spices from the syrup and pour it over the hot cake, a little at a time, waiting for the cake to absorb the liquid as you do so. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then remove, using the baking paper to help you, and place on a serving plate. You can use the whole spices to decorate the top.

It will keep well for up to 3 days, stored in cling film or foil in the fridge.

Pictures 

Ground Almonds
Love love love these scales, I received them as a wedding gift and I think of that person every time. I love that about gifts – don’t you? All the dry ingredients.
dryingredients
I make sure I buy the biggest lemons and oranges I can find to get plenty of zest.
wetanddryingredients
Adding the wet ingredients to dry, the mix will look a little curdled/split that is totally fine.
mixedingredients
The split look but trust me it will come out yummy
cakeinoven
I forgot to take a picture before it went into the oven. Another note I usually have a baking tray underneath the tin, so its easy to get in and out of oven, this was the second one I had made in the week and I was in a hurry, I had to get to Peppa Pig theatre show – mummy problems.
syrup
While the cake is baking in the oven I make the lovely syrup. The smell is divine, another tip is place the fruit in the microwave for 20 seconds, the heat will help you squeeze more juice out.
finalcake
The finished article. Before you think its burnt it is not. It is saturated in syrup and the light makes the edges look black. It is so delicious please give it a try.

We all love this and I served it to Mr L’s office as cake of the month, it was different to anything they had before and not one slice was left, which is tribute to the taste of the cake. If you fancy something different give this a try.

Ta ta for now

TLL x

The Friday Feeling- Links I love

image

 

Howdy Y’all,

It is Friday! Congratulations you have made it through another week. Looking forward to a weekend of great weather in Texas, so I have that Friday feeling and I thought I would share some of the things I have liked and loved this week.

So I mentioned the weather is to be good this weekend as a result we have been invited to our first BBQ of the year, a BBQ in January who would have thought? We will actually be able to sit outside rather than the summer where the heat is a nightmare. I am making an appetizer, wanting to stretch my repertoire I am going to make this, hope it is yummy I will report back.

It’s baby fever amongst my friends at the moment, and I love the American tradition of Baby Showers and Sprinkles. I really enjoy celebrating the mum and the impending arrival. I have a sprinkle to attend this weekend, although I had already purchased a gift I was in Gap this week and saw these. For those of you who are not familiar with the Mr Men books or The Little Miss books you have missed out. I loved these during my childhood and they are a great gift for children. They are smaller books with a great moral message to them all. The collections can be bought through Amazon here and here. A great addition to any child’s library.

If you have a littlie in your life who is fond of Disney like Little L, The Disney Store is having a fab sale on plush soft toys, buy one full price ($19.95) get the second for $1. Elsa and Cilla (Cinderella) were added to our family.

I think I have mentioned earlier my love of candles and Bed Bath & Bodyworks are having another sale. I went in to see what I could find and discovered the Lilacs candle, I love the smell so much, it is delicate and reminds me of Spring which is not far away. I also managed to get a Gardenia room fragrance, I love The smell of Gardenia’s I just wish they did this in a body cream.

I was disappointed when I was in London that one of my Christmas gifts (a Liz Earle facial) was cancelled due to the therapist being sick, so Mummy L gained the benefit, which is good. Liz Earle so kindly sent me a pack of goodies to say sorry. It was a lovely surprise and I will blog when I have tried all I was given. It was so kind of them. So thank you. I have been a fan of the brand for years. Give them a try.

Have a super weekend.

Ta Ta for now

TLL x