Almond, Maple Syrup and Salt Biscuits


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I’ve been trying lots of different savoury recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cook book ‘It’s all good”, so I decided to give one of the ‘sweet tooth’ recipes a try. I decided on the Almond Cookie & Maldon Salt. Now, I wasn’t able to find this Maldon salt at the supermarket, but the recipe said I could substitute it for any coarse sea salt, which is what I ended up doing. Also, the recipe mentions the use of almond butter, which again, I couldn’t find at the supermarket. So I Googled a recipe and attempted to make my own. Needless to say, I’m not really sure it turned out the way it was meant to, but I used it anyway. The cookie has a gingerbread style texture.
Let me know what you think?!

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I’ll give you the baking instructions first, as I’ve included recipe alterations of the 2 batches I made.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
2. Whisk together almond spread, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, fine sea salt and baking powder.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the almond and maple mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray approximately 2 cm apart.
6. Bake for 10-12  minutes “until air is fragrant and cookies are slightly firm”.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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First Batch:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup natural almond butter
1 cup maple syrup
(I used what I had in the pantry… Green’s Maple Flavoured Syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

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Honestly, these cookies were so salty and bitter! Not the caramel and salt taste Gwyneth claims it has. So I’m putting it down to my substitution choices and lack of proper almond butter… but I’m posting this anyway. See if you can find a way to improve this.

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Second Batch:

I went to Woolies to check out the maple syrup range, and honestly, was a bit shocked at how much pure 100% maple syrup costs – $6-8 for a 250ml bottle. Now this recipe uses 1 cup of maple syrup (which is 250ml), so it really becomes an expensive cookie recipe once you add in the cost of the almond spread and gluten-free flour.

Oh, I googled almond butter, and we do have it in Australia, but it’s labelled as almond spread. You can find it in the health food section of your local supermarket, but again this cost me $6.98 (from Woolies) for a 250ml jar of Macro Natural Almond Spread.

For this recipe I used Steeves Canadian maple syrup $5-6.

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Now this batch was delicious! The maple flavour was there, but it still didn’t have the caramel taste I was hoping for. I did add a bit more vanilla extract to this batch as well (about an extra teaspoon). I would definitely make this again.

The art of living like Gwyneth

it-s-all-good

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Flourless Anything Crumble


Why the “anything” crumble… simple, use whatever fruit you fancy (apple, pears, berries)!

The basis of this recipe comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘It’s all good’ cookbook. I’ve modified this recipe as I wanted to use what I had in the pantry. It’s a very simple recipe and anyone can make this! I put this together last night in 30 minutes (start to finish), and it tasted so good, I went back for seconds!
For my fruit layer, I used Nannas frozen mixed berries. I ended up using golden syrup as I didn’t have any maple syrup left, and as you know, maple syrup (good quality stuff) is $6-8 for 250ml at Coles or Woolies. So, golden syrup it was. I also added verjuice to the fruit mix. The original recipe doesn’t use this at all, but a friend at work told me about verjuice and how it tends to bring out the flavour in fruit. So figured I’d give it a go. Oh and the cinnamon sugar… it’s a personal favourite of mine and I just had to sprinkle a bit on top of the crumble to ensure that there was some degree of caramelization! If you don’t like cinnamon, you could substitute it for any other dessert spice like cardamom and clove.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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INGREDIENTS:
4 cups fruit (your choice)
4 tablespoons golden syrup (or good quality maple syrup)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon verjuice (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar (optional)

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METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Put fruit, lemon juice, verjuice and 2 tablespoons golden syrup into a shallow baking dish and toss together using a spoon.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together quinoa flakes, almond meal, salt, cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons golden syrup and olive oil to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Crumble the mixture over the fruit, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over crumble.
5. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
Approximately 20-25 minutes.

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The art of living like Gwyneth

it-s-all-good

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Cake Decorating Basics #3


Piping Techniques using a Wilton 21 Tip

This YouTube video by ‘LeCordon Bleu’ demonstrates how to create rope, shells, e-motions using a tip similar to Wiltons 21 tip. This shell technique is what I have used to decorate the boarder of my cakes: Elmo, Dinosaur, Pirate, Blue’s Clues and Care Bear.

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Pavlova


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My all time favourite dessert!! I remember my cousin made this at my grandmother’s place many, many moons ago and I fell in love! I think I was  11 years old and I asked mum if we could make this. Well… the first attempt failed and I ended up with a flat disc. Mum had an idea to keep baking this thing and turned it into ‘failed pavlova biscuits’. Actually really yummy! I realised the error I’d made… the recipe asks to fold in corn starch and I may have added self-raising flour instead. Needless to say, I never made that mistake again.

Ingredients
6 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300 ml thickened cream
Fruit of your choice

Method:

Step 1
Preheat oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. (I cheat and use a dinner plate to mark out my circle). Place a dinner plate in the middle of your baking tray and gently dust the edge with corn starch. Life the plate. You will be left with a nice circle which I find helps me mould my pavlova shape (that is, I actually end up with a circle!). Dust the circle with more corn starch, then shake off any excess.

Step 2
Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still “gritty” with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until combined. Spoon meringue onto the baking paper, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova. Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.

Step 3
Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova and decorate with fresh fruit.

You can colour the meringue with food colouring and create a pavlova stack.
Just add a couple drops of food colouring along with the corn starch, vinegar and vanilla.
Make another pavlova batch. Double the goodness!!

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Mini Banana & Honey Cupcakes


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Ingredients:
200g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (370g) caster sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups (405g) self-raising flour
1 cup (250ml) milk
1/4 cup honey
2 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 mini cupcake baking trays with mini cupcake cases (makes 24 mini cupcakes).
2. Cream the butter and sugar until well combined and butter has become pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add honey and mashed bananas, and stir until combined.
3. Spoon mixture evenly among the cupcake cases.
(Fill to 3/4 full: this should create a ‘dome’ on your cupcakes. If you do not want to create a dome, fill to 1/2 way)
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorating:
In the pictures I posted, I use a simple vanilla butter cream frosting and top with a fondant flower to decorate. Otherwise, decorate as you like.
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