Coconut Muffins with Dark Chocolate Glaze

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As soon as I saw these babushka cupcake cases it was just love. Look at those babushkas. They’re so funny! I actually got all the way to the counter before I paused and thought, hang on, all these babushka cupcakes cases I’m holding. Do I really need four packages? Possibly that would be too many babushkas. So I just bought one. 

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As I was baking these miniature coconut muffins this afternoon my mum had her friend over for lunch. They ate the most awful thing I’ve ever seen. It was confit duck, in a can! It was a large silver fancy can with French writing on it but that doesn’t really improve the idea of sweaty grey duck in a can to me. 

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Uuugh, the smell. The sight! And they loved it, they were all over that duck like it was an imported delicacy. (It actually might of been an imported delicacy).  It was such a contrast to my beautiful babushka muffins. 

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I don’t know what the duck has to do with these coconut muffins in dark chocolate glaze, I just associate the two together now because I was so immersed in the duck’s odour as I made these. The true inspiration here came from the babushkas, I can’t take away their credit. But the recipe was inspired by trusty old Bill Granger’s famous coconut bread.

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I halved the recipe which made six towering (but actually mini if you can’t tell from the photos) coconut cupcakes. The smell of these baking was phenomenal! They’re so light and fluffy and crunchy on top. They rise like little beasts as you can see. The chocolate glaze was a delicious addition to fancy these up a little but next time I might try a lime cream cheese frosting, or just plain jane. Warm with a little pat of butter, these muffins don’t get much better. I’m slooowly getting to know my camera but brown things are still very difficult for me to photograph! Give me time my friends. 

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Coconut and Dark Chocolate Muffins: Adapted from Bill Granger’s recipe

1 large egg

160ml (2/3 cup) milk (light is fine)

1 tsp vanilla essence

100g (1/2 cup) granulated white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

155g (1 cup) plain flour

70g (1 scant cup) dessicated coconut

45g (3.5 tbsp) melted butter

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Preheat oven to 170C or 340F. Line six cupcake tins with cupcake cases. Whisk together in a small bowl the milk, egg and vanilla until combined. Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and mix in the sugar and coconut. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture, stirring to combine. Carefully pour in the melted butter and stir until mixture is smooth. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on top. Leave to cool. 

Optional ganache: Melt 25g (1 heaped tbsp) salted butter with 85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate and stir together. Leave to cool until a little thicker. Gently pour or spread over the cupcakes and leave to set. 

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Rich Dark Chocolate Fudge

Gluten Free

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I have a really sad story to tell you. It’s about dumplings. 

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 Last night I went to meet my boyfriend in the city for dinner. I was super excited because we were going to get dumplings, and even though I probably eat them at least twice a week I still feel daily withdrawal symptoms if I haven’t eaten them. 

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 So in I went on the tram, in the rain. We ordered our dumplings, and then waited for a while. His came pretty quickly, but I didn’t mind because I was prepared to wait it out. After 45 minutes however I was thinking heeelloo! I’m pretty hungry! And then FINALLY they sent out the dumpling baskets, and I could see the steam rising off them and I had my vinegar and chilli ready, and they were the wrong ones! I knew straight away because they were lamb and carrot. Being a vegetarian I can pretty easily distinguish between greens and egg and lamb and carrot. 

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But you know what? Mistakes are mistakes. They happen to all of us. So I graciously sent them back and requested my vegetable  dumplings. Another very long wait later, I re-ordered the dumplings. And then do you know what happened? When they finally arrived? I bit into one, expecting a crescendo of deliciousness, and it was solid frozen in the middle. I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. 

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To console myself I made chocolate fudge. This is a really simple and basic fudge recipe. It uses condensed milk so there isn’t any need for a sugar thermometer, and there’s no added sugar which takes care of that tear-inducing sweetness that fudge can sometimes have. It’s still incredibly rich! Use 70% dark chocolate if you can find it, milk would just be sweet out of this world. 

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Dark Chocolate Fudge: Adapted from a recipe card from the chocolate box

1 x 395 gram (14 ounces) can of sweetened condensed milk

50 grams (1/2 stick) salted butter in cubes, plus extra for greasing 

400 grams (1 pound, 14 ounces) of dark chocolate, broken in to pieces

Butter and line an 18cm (8 inch) square cake tin with baking paper, leaving it hanging over the edges. Over a pot of simmering water, put your chopped chocolate in a bowl and leave to melt. In another pot, stir your butter and condensed milk together over a low heat until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium and stir continually until the mixture reaches a simmer. Take off the heat for a moment. As soon as the butter and milk are done, take the bowl of chocolate (it doesn’t need to be completely melted) off the heat and place it on a board. Pour over the butter and milk and leave to sit for a minute, before stirring gently to melt the chocolate. Pour into your pan and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. To cut, run a sharp blade under very hot water. Carefully remove the fudge from its container and place on a board. Run the knife at even intervals, running under hot water in between slices. Refrigerate once cut. Makes about 20-30 pieces. IMG_4424

Healthy Date and Walnut Chocolate Balls

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free and Vegan

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This week I tried to make chocolate truffles for the first time. How hard could it be? Innocent me thought. For anyone out there considering making up some chocolate truffles? READ the line that says chill the chocolate for at least three hours. 

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Trying to roll warm chocolate and cream into balls is messy and humiliating! Especially once you add the hand filled with hot melted chocolate and the coconut flakes and the cocoa powder…my truffle attempt was what you might call a failure 😦

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These here are my second attempt at chocolate balls this week. They are the polar opposite to those dreaded truffles. As promised some of the recipes on this blog will be ‘healthy’, although I’m reluctant to use that word because so many times it conjures up the familiar words “dry”, “green” and “boring.” These are anything but that. They are sweet, dense, chocolatey and good for you. My cousin, who is a whiz with healthy ingredients and super foods, gave me the recipe and until I read it I hadn’t even realised they weren’t filled with cream and melted chocolate like any other truffle out there!

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 There are a lot of similar recipes out there but I felt I should share it with you guys regardless because it’s so easy and so good. Feel free to get creative. I added cinnamon but you can go down the ginger root, cardamon, maybe some orange zest or juice, just add a pinch of the spice you fancy and get experimenting! I want to try using different fruit and nuts next time, although this combination here is pretty good. 

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Date and Walnut Chocolate Balls:

3 cups pitted dates

2 cups walnuts

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 splash soy, almond or substitute milk of choice to bring together

Dessicated coconut for coating

Blend all your ingredients together until a thick paste forms. If you also don’t have a powerful blender like me, cut up the dates and crush the nuts beforehand to avoid the risk of an engine meltdown. Roll into balls, roll in coconut and eat them! They taste good either at room temperature or cold from the fridge as well, whichever you prefer. 
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Sweet Plum Jam

Gluten Free
IMG_3601 In the dying days of spring I made a final market trip. The yellow blushing peaches and delicate nectarines had disappeared, replaced with red apples and hard, green pears. In the stand that just one week ago had been bursting with juicy purple plums, there was only one tray left. 
IMG_3623 This plum jam is the final jam of spring. It is sweet but also tart from the bitter skins. It is a deep, dark red. I have it on toast, with cut up banana on top. It is the perfect topping for scones as well though, or dolloped on yoghurt and muesli in the morning. Sometimes I add a dash of cinnamon, or ginger. Today it is plain old plum.
 IMG_3632 Ingredients:

1 and a half kilos of red plums

600g sugar

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Cut your plums into small pieces and macerate in the sugar for at least one hour. Put your sugar and fruit in a heavy-based pot and cook over a medium heat for one hour, until the jam thickens and the fruit breaks down. It is done when a small dollop is placed on a cold plate, left for 3 minutes, and then run through with a finger to form small wrinkles. This will make 4-5 medium to large jars. Just fill as many as you can well and seal, then eat what doesn’t fill a jar within the week. Keep refrigerated. IMG_3645

Many Jams Tart

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Two posts in one day! This is my firstday with a blog and it looks decidedly bare, so I am trying to quickly fix this. This jam tart was inspired by David Lebovitz’ Easy Marmalade Tart solely because of the word ‘easy’ in the title. I seem to have a problem where once I read a cookbook that I really like, and I mean REALLY like, I set myself the challenge of baking every. Single. Thing. This tart is very adaptable depending on what flavour you’re going for. I needed to use up leftover fig jam, plum jam, strawberry jam, and even a little bit of blueberry jam.  
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 Instead of tasting like a jammy, sweet beast the tart was actually very lovely. I changed the pastry recipe quite a bit, reducing the sugar, leaving out the polenta because I didn’t have any, and adding some lime zest to counteract the very sweet jam. I also ended up increasing the amount of jam by about three times…Admittedly I used a much larger pie tin than suggested but even a 23cm pan would be spread pretty thinly…

 Jam Tart: (Adapted from David Lebovitz’ Ready for Dessert)

Ingredients:

280g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

130g salted butter, at room temperature

70g sugar

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk

1-2 large jars of strawberry, plum, fig or raspberry jam (or any really)

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Method: 

Whisk together flours with salt and baking powder. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Whilst the mixer is still running, slowly pour in the flour mixture just until the dough comes together. 

Roll about 1/3 of the dough into a 5cm log, wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Put the rest of the dough into a 23cm tart tin and, using your hands, press evenly into the base and up the sides of the rim about half way. 
Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F). Spread your jam evenly inside your pie shell. Take out your rolled log of extra dough and cut into half centimetre disks. Overlap the discs across the top of your pie in any delightful way you wish to. Sprinkle over extra sugar if desired and bake your tart for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the jam bubbling and thick. Allow the tart to cool completely before removing it from its tin. Serve with ice cream, cream, and/or custard.

Plum and Coconut Upside Down Cake

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This Saturday morning I grossly overestimated how many plums it would take to make five jars of plum jam, so instead of buying one kilo ended up buying eight! This turned out to be a very good thing, as it resulted in this coconut and lime scented upside-down plum cake. The original recipe is from Women’s Weekly and calls for frozen raspberries as the topping. (I’m not entirely sure why they have to be frozen…) I doubled the coconut in place of some flour and increased the lime juice and zest as well. 

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The result was so good! My grandpa, who claims he is not a sweet man and will very rarely indulge, ate two large slices and tried to sneak the rest of the cake home. The coconut makes the cake crumbly and the lime scents your entire house with the most delicious pina colada vibe. This cake said it would serve eight but it was demolished by four in one afternoon. 

Plum and Coconut Upside-Down Cake: (Adapted from Women’s Weekly Cakes)

160g (2/3 cup) butter, cubed

2 eggs

250g (1/4 pound or 9 ounces) plums, sliced (about 5)

50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tsp lime zest

150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

125g (1 cup) self-raising flour

100g (1 1/4 cups) desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons lime juice, extra

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180° C (350 F), Grease a 20cm round cake pan and line with baking paper. Combine plum segments with the lime juice and sugar in a small bowl, and lay slices over the base of your cake pan. Beat the butter, lime zest and extra sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time slowly. Fold in sifted flours, coconut and extra lime juice and stir until just together. Spread mixture over your plums and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown and and risen. Invert on a serving platter once your cake is cool and eat at once! 

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