I participated in ‘The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap‘ again this year. Despite the fact that it isn’t Australian based, I still think it’s such a great cause and also so much fun to give and receive cookies. You can read about my experience last year, here.
This year I needed to bake gluten free cookies. Instead of trying to alter recipes and re invent the wheel so to speak I decided to go with something that was naturally gluten free, meringues. I made little meringue cookies with my own twist. These have a strong hit of coffee (hence the espresso title) and their bottoms are dipped in chocolate and almonds. The coffee, chocolate and almonds make the perfect combination.
Espresso Meringue Cookies with Chocolate Almond Bottoms
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tblsp ground instant coffee
- 120g milk chocolate
- 1/2 tsp oil
- 1 cup crushed slivered almonds (toasted)
Pre heat oven to 140c. Place the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water(be sure your water isn’t too hot or it ill cook the egg whites). Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, once dissolved place into a bowl of a mixer and whip for about 5 minutes until egg white mixture is thick, firm and glossy. Add in coffee and whip till combined. Place into a piping bag and pipe onto baking paper lined trays.
Place in the oven for 1.5 hours. After this, turn the oven off but leave them in the oven to cool, for best results, make this recipe in the evening and leave the meringues in the oven overnight to dry out. Meringues will be ready when they feel feel hard, lift away from the paper easily and sound hollow when tapped.
Once ready melt chocolate in a microwave, check and stir every 30 seconds. Add in the oil to the melted chocolate and mix. Dip the bottom of each meringue into the chocolate and then the almonds, place on a baking sheet to set.
These Espresso Meringue Cookies were sent to Erika Rax, The Little Blue Bicycle and The Aussie Kitchen. I received delicious Peanut Butter Choc Chip cookies from Erika Rax, spicy Ginger cookies from The Little Blue Bicycle (I can’t believe you’re only 14) and Triple Chocolate gluten free cookies from Fati’s Recipes. I have to admit, this cookie swap makes you feel like a little child again. I was constantly checking the mailbox and the door to see if I had received more cookies. Once the last one arrived I was so disappointed that I wasn’t going to be receiving any more. So, if you’re baking cookies, please post some to me.
I’m a little late of the mark, I know, but I just had to get an Australia Day dessert in before the day was over. I wanted to steer clear of the stock standard lamingtons and pavlovas and do something different. These are macadamia crumble mini cheesecakes, using Australian honey and macadamias.
In keeping with my blog resolutions for this year of creating more healthy desserts, this one uses light cream cheese, is wheat free (possibly gluten free, oats is a questionable ingredient when it comes to gluten) and sugar free as well. Trust me though, you won’t miss any of those ingredients in this dessert. The crumble almost tastes like ANZAC cookies, how much more Australian can you get?
Honey and Macadamia Crumble Cheescakes
(makes 8 mini cheesecakes)
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup macadamias (lightly chopped)
2 tblsp honey
250g light cream cheese
4 tblsp honey
To make the crumble, combine all the dry ingredients with honey. Toast the mixture in a pan until lightly golden, set aside. Same goes for the cheesecake filling, just combine the cream cheese with the honey and mix well.
To assemble the dessert, pour half a tablespoon of crumble into little bowls, spoon or pipe cheesecake mixture and top with more crumble. It’s that simple, no need to turn the oven on, no special equipment, and the best part, you can do it all in 15 minutes.
Happy Australia Day! I know what we’ll be having for dessert, what about you?
Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while, its been a busy time for me. I’ve been in the process of completing my teaching diploma and was on my first practical, a six week placement in a year one class. It’s hard to run a household, a marriage and look after a child while having to be out of the house for 7 hours a day, alhumdulillah, the experience was great and extremely fulfilling, although I am relieved that it’s over (for now anyway).
For those of you that read my blog and remember, I took part in a Dilmah competition a few months ago where I entered these Chai Macarons (if not, you can read about it here and here). These macaron shells were flavoured with tea, cardamon, cinnamon and sandwiched with a chai white chocolate ganache. I’ve finally gotten the chance to post the recipe. Yippee!!
I’ve attached the recipe in .pdf format because that’s how it’s saved on my computer as I needed to give a copy to the Dilmah officials and figured it would be the easiest way to share it with all of you. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method (pouring a hot sugar syrup into egg whites) instead of my usual French meringue, if you have a handle on the French meringue method, feel free to use that, just remember to add the spices to the almond/icing sugar mixture.
Give these a go, and if you’re not too afraid (and have a thermometer lying around) try the Italian method. Chai macarons with a pot of tea, perfect late night snack, enjoy!
I recall my first Ramadan after being married, Eid was approaching and I wanted to go full out. I called my mum in a panic and she gave me all the recipes she had, one of which was this date biscuit. I have been making it ever since, for Eid, for Ramadan or just for no reason at all. They’re a great little one to have around the house and since they’re gluten free and I skip the sugar in the original recipe, they’re pretty healthy too.
125g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tblsp syrup* (I usually use agave, but honey is good too)
2 cups chopped dates
1 cup chopped nuts (I use a combination of pecan and walnut)
2 cups coconut + 1/2 cup extra
Pre-heat oven to 180c. Beat butter till creamy, add in egg, vanilla and syrup, beat till combined, at this stage the butter mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry it’s suppose to. Add in dates, nuts and 2 cups coconut and mix again. Roll in balls and coat in remaining coconut. Lay on baking paper and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
*I sometimes do skip the syrup as the medjool dates I use are sweet and juicy enough, but I do think it needs that little extra sweetness to give it some pop, so stick with the syrup.
If you’re wondering why these biscuits look familiar, they’re from my last post Eid Dessert Table (pictured below). And now you all have the recipe too.
This Date Biscuit recipe is great if you have extra dates lying around approaching Eid, or if you just want to make a yummy datey treat for Eid, give these a go.
Just over six months ago we embarked on a journey to the subcontinent. My husband, son and I left in late December to make a few stops along the way. Phuket and Kuala Lumpur were on the cards before getting to India, a country neither of us had been to, despite our Indian heritage. This was not a holiday by any means, our sole purpose was to attend the wedding of Abdullah’s sister (my wonderful sister in law), Aasiya. What we never expected was to leave feeling humbled, grateful and renewed.
India is an amazing place with amazing people and beautiful sights. One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was definitely the wedding and the functions that preceded it. And coming a close second was the food, there is honestly nothing like Indian food, so intricate in flavour and colour. My favourite dish in India was anything that had paneer (an Indian cheese, looks like a block of fetta, texture and taste of cottage cheese).
It’s something I always order in an Indian restaurant here and usually cook with the frozen bags at home. As in India has a high population of vegetarians, paneer is extremely popular, and depsite having over 20 paneer dishes while in India, not one of them was the same, there was paneer in different types of curries, paneer with marinates that were grilled, paneer balls, crumbed paneer, paneer stuffed in chillies and vegies, and too many more to mention. Even after all that, I wasn’t sick of the paneer, and forunately for me, on my last day in India I watched an Indian chef on TV make paneer from scratch, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
Since our trip, I have made paneer countless times, and there’s nothing like the fresh stuff, I’ll never go back to frozen again. I will be doing a recipe on how to make paneer from scratch sometime in the near future. For now, here’s a recipe using paneer.
Paneer Malai** Tikka
1/2 bunch corriander
3/4 tsp salt1 tsp ground cumin
1 whole green chilli
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cream (**malai is an Indian term for cream)
Cut the paneer into cubes and set aside in a bowl. Grind all ingredients except for cream in a blender, once blended into a paste mix in cream. Pour over paneer and leave to marinate. Cook off on a medium to high heat in a about 1 tblsp oil. Serve with naan bread.
Variation: This recipe works well with chicken, just substitute the 500g paneer with 500g chicken pieces.
India is a definite must see and it’s a place I’m sure we’ll be visiting again. For now, enjoy some photos from our trip.
Try out this paneer malai tikka recipe, great with chicken as well. Oh and Happy 6 month Anniversary Aasiya and Salim!
Don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I have to say, these are amazing! I’ve been wanting to make these for such a long time, and I finally did. There isn’t actually any ferrero rocher in these, but the flavours have been inspired by those yummy hazelnut chocolates.
Ferrero Rocher Macarons
35g egg white
45g almond meal
65g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup nutella
12 whole roasted hazelnuts
2 tblsp crushed roasted hazelnuts
Measure out your almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder, grind these to a fine powder and sift into a bowl. Weigh your egg white and sugar separately. Whip whites until frothy, begin to add your sugar in a slow stream until the egg whites turn stiff and glossy. Sift almond meal icing sugar mixture into egg whites then fold gently until it just combine. Fill mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto baking paper lined baking trays. Leave the macarons to set for half an hour or more. Pre heat oven to 150C and bake for 15 mins. For a more detailed explanation, check out this post.
Fill nutella into piping bag and pipe into half the macarons shells. Place 1 whole hazelnut in the centre of the piped nutella, top with the other shell and roll the nutella edge in crushed hazelnuts.
If you love Ferroros or nutella for that matter, you’ll love these Ferroro Rocher inspired macarons.