Vegans and those with gluten intolerances often draw the short straw when it comes to desserts. These lovely little Brownies are really chocolatety and don’t make you feel like you’re missing a thing.
A friend told me about these after she saw the recipe online, so apologies if I’m not giving credit to whoever came up with recipe, but she couldn’t remember the site.
With only 3 ingredients these are great to knock up from stuff you have in the cupboards. Because I hate food waste, I always freeze over ripe bananas if I’m not going to eat them. Freeze them whole with their skin on, and they’re perfect for using in recipes like this or banana bread
3 Ripe bananas (mashed)
120 Grams Peanut butter
50 Grams Cocoa powder
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
In a large bowl, mash the banana, then add the cocoa powder and peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined
Line a 6 in x 6 in tin with baking parchment.
Transfer the Brownie mix to the lined tin and spread evenly.
I have to give props for the recipe to Deborah Robertson @lickedspoon, who I think got it turn from Martha Stewart (I love recipe family trees).
These cookies are a bit of a faff but they are well worth it. You need to chill the dough for at least 4 hours. I made the dough in the morning, then got on with my day while it chilled. You can do this, and by the time you bake them your house will smell devine and you’ll be worshipped as the domestic God/Goddess that you are.
You can make the dough a day or two in advance if you’re busy and it also freezes well. (freeze the dough before you roll it in sugar). These are pretty indulgent, but it is Christmas.
The original recipe says to add Kalhua or Tia Maria. I was making these for kids so I left it out, but definitely looking forward to making the adult version next time.
120 Grams Good quality dark chocolate
180 Grams Plain flour
50 Grams Cocoa powder
100 Grams Butter (room temperature)
2 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
200 Grams Brown sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
80 Mil Milk
2-3 Tbsp Castor sugar
2-3 Tbsp Icing sugar
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, giving it 30 second blasts, and stirring regularly (be care not to burn it). Allow to cool slightly
Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk until light and fluffy
Mix all your dry ingredients together
Gradually add the vanilla and eggs to the butter and sugar and whisk at medium spead. Then gradually add all the ingredients and mix until it comes together as a dough, don’t over mix
Put a good sized sheet of cling film on your counter, empty half the dough onto it before forming it into disk. Wrap with the rest of the cling film and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours. Repeat with the second half of the dough
When the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius), and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper
Place the castor sugar and icing sugar into two separate bowls (your hands will get sticky later on, so it’s also a good idea to have a bowl of cold water too).
Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it, and break of lumps about the size of a walnut and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the bowl of castor sugar, making sure its well coated. Then roll it in the bowl of icing sugar and place on the baking try
Make sure to leave space between the balls of dough as they will spread.
Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool before trying to move as they will very soft until they cool
With colder weather and darker evenings coming in all I want is comfort food.
This was one of my favourite desserts from school and is basically an apple sponge. Whatever you decide to call it, it’s delicious and even better with custard, or ice cream.
I’ve used eating apples, but you could use cooking apples if this what you have (just remember to add some extra sugar if the apples are very tart).
You can also use different fruit, like plums, pears, or rhubarb.
120 Grams Butter (plus extra for greasing the baking dish)
120 Grams Sugar
120 Grams Self Raising Flour
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Dessert Apples
Icing Sugar (optional)
Peel and core the apples, and cut into 3-4cm cubes. Put in a pot with a splash of water and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the apples start to soften. You can cook the apples for longer if you prefer, but I like them to still have a bit of texture. Allow to cool slightly
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light.
Add the vanilla and one egg to the butter and sugar and continue mixing. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour and the next egg and gradually add the rest of the flour while mix (this should stop the cake mix looking like it has curdled. If this happens don’t panic, just add a spoonful of flour and keep mixing
Transfer the apples to an oven proof dish (about 1-1.5 litre dish should be fine). Drain off any excess liquid and top with the cake mix before spreading it evenly across the top of the apples
Bake for 40 minutes, stick a skewer or toothpick in the middle of the pudding. If the skewer comes out clean the your pudding is ready, if not cook for a further 5 minutes and try again
Allow to cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar if you’re feeling fancy
My friend Mags has been raving about this recipe for ages. We both have a serious bread addiction and this recipe is from a slimming club site. So when she shared the recipe I had to make it. If you’ve ever had Irish wheaten bread this is similar in taste.
It takes two minutes to knock together, can be enjoyed by those who have issues with gluten and is pretty cheap to make. If you want something to keep kids busy this also something to do with them on a rainy afternoon and the will be super pleased with themselves.
It’s not the lightest fluffiest bread, but it is packed full of fibre and perfect served with cheese and chutney or buttered along side soup. I topped mine with some pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch, but you can also sprinkle with porridge oats.
180 Grams Porridge oats
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius). Grease a load tin, you can also line it with baking parchment if want to (but I just greased the tin really well and it was fine)
Mix the yoghurt, salt and baking soda together, before stirring in the porridge oats
In a separate bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a fork until light and fluffy. Stir into the porridge mix and stir until we’ll combined
Transfer the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a tooth pick, when it comes out clean it’s ready.
One of the good things about being the cook is that you get access to the best bits.
I was making a savoury pie, using shop bought puff pastry, and had some left over. I hate food waste, so rather than throw it out, I dusted it with some brown sugar and cinnamon to make a version of bite sized Danishes. I also sprinkled with sesame seeds just to be fancy, but they’re without these.
With only 3 ingredients these are delicious little perks of being the cook.
Ready made puff pastry
I had a 5-6 centimetre wide piece of puff pastry. Dust with brown sugar and cinnamon and roll up in a coil.
Cut into 1-2cm slices, place on a baking sheet (sprinkle with sesame seeds if you want to), and bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees (Celsius) until gold brown.
Nothing smells better than freshly baked bread straight out of the oven. Making your own focaccia also costs about a third of the price of buying one from a fancy bakery or deli.
Like most people I don’t bake my own bread everyday. At the weekend when you have a little more time its nice to shake off the stresses of the week and kneading bread is a great way to work off any residual tension. Although this bread only needs 5 minutes kneading and you’re rewarded with amazingly tasty bread that can be sliced in half for sandwiches or is a delicious side dish served along side soups, stews, or pasta.
I’ve used a traditional salt and rosemary topping, but caramelised onion or olives are also brilliant alternatives. This also freezes really well.
500 Grams Strong white flour
7 Grams Dried yeast
1 Tsp Salt
300-400 Mil Luke warm water
4-5 Tbsp Olive oil
2-3 Sprigs Rosemary
1. Mix your yeast with 300ml of luke warm water and set to one side while you measure out the flour and add it to a large bowl
2. Add a teaspoon of salt to one side of the (this will stop it coming into direct contact with the yeast and killing it). Make a well in the centre of the flour, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the water and yeast mix.
3. Mix well, you may need to add more water, your dough should be quite soft and sticky, but not super wet
4. Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (or until the urge to punch someone has passed, if I haven’t mentioned it before I sometimes “rage bake”)
5. Clean the bowl you were using, (I always give the bowl a quick wipe with a little oil to stop your dough sticking). Put your dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel and prove for one hour
6. Grease an 8 x 12 inch tin with some olive oil and transfer the dough from the bowl to the tin. Stretch the dough out to fill the tin. Cover with a tea towel again and prove for 45 minutes
7. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degree (Celsius). Remove the tea towel from your baking tin, and with your finger tips press little dimples into the dough
8. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of olive oil across the top of the dough. Pluck leaves of rosemary and poke them into the dough (it will just sit on top and then fall off if you don’t). Sprinkle a teaspoon is salt across the top of the dough (sea salt is best if you have it, but just use a little less ordinary salt if you don’t)
9. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes
Any type of chocolate dessert is normally a winner. This pie is similar to a Kentucky Derby pie, I have left out the bourbon, and reduced the sugar because I found the original version overly sweet. The finished result is still rich and delicious and feels really indulgent.
This is divine served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you’re short on time you can use shop bought pastry or even a pre-made pastry case.
(For the pastry case)
125 Grams Butter
200 Grams Plain flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
Pinch of salt
For the filling
125 Grams Butter (melted, and allowed to cool)
125 ml Golden syrup
200 Grams Brown sugar
50 Grams Plain flour
150 Grams Walnuts (roughly chopped)
125 Grams Dark chocolate (roughly chopped) or chocolate chips
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
For the pastry, add the butter, sugar and salt and flour to a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, (you can use the old fashioned rubbing in method if you don’t have a food processor). Gradually add cold water until the mix comes together as a dough. Form into a ball and wrap in cling film and then chill in the fridge for 30 mins
Grease a 12 inch pie dish/tin, ideally one with removable base. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper until 1/2 cm thick (you can check the size by placing your tin the centre of the pastry and checking there is enough room to cover the depth of your tin)
Carefully transfer the pastry to the pie dish and gently ease the pastry into the edges, place in the fridge and chill for another 30 mins. Trim any excess pastry that hangs over the edge of your pastry case
Preheat your oven to 180 degree (Celsius), place a sheet of baking parchment in the prepared party case and add baking beans (I use old uncooked rice, rather than buying the fancy clay baking beans), Blind bake for 20 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and baking beans
For the filling mix, whisk the melted butter (make sure its cool), eggs and add the sugar, vanilla extract and golden syrup and whisk until it lightens in colour and increases in volume (the sugar should have dissolved)
Whisk in the flour, ensuring there are no lumps, and then fold in the chocolate and walnuts with a spatula
Pour the filling mix into the pastry case and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes, until the centre of the pie is just starting to set (it will continue to cook as it cools)
Cool for a couple of hours before serving with whipped cream or ice cream
This is one of the quintessential French desserts and it’s actually quite easy to make. It’s basically a baked custard/batter with fruit.
Cherries are a traditional, but you can use other fruit like blueberries or apricots.
I use frozen cherries that I allowed to thaw. This is mainly because fresh cherries here in Ireland are really expensive, and because the frozen type usually have the stones removed. Purists argue that the cherry stones add an almond flavour, but I think this is nonsense.
If you have a blender you can make the batter in this or just use a bowl and whisk if you don’t. This should normally be cooked in a round pie dish and served in wedges. I didn’t have one, so my clafoutis is was probably a little deeper than the regular type. It also looks prettier cooked in a round dish but ho hum, you use what you have.
It’s usually served just warm or at room temperature. It’s traditionally served with whipped cream, but ice cream is also delicious.
For the fruit
450 Grams Cherries (fresh or frozen)
3 Tbsp Caster sugar
For the batter
100 Grams Caster sugar (plus a little extra to coat the baking dish)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
200 Mil Milk
150 Grams Plain flour
30 Grams Butter (melted and allowed to cool slightly, plus extra for greasing the dish)
Cover the cherries with 3 Tbsp of sugar and allow to macerate for an hour
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Add the milk, salt, vanilla extract, and eggs to a blender and give a quick blitz
Add the flour to the blender and whizz for 1 minute, before adding the cooled melted butter. Whiz for another 30 seconds
Rub a knob of butter along the inside of your baking dish, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the dish and shake this around the dish so that it sticks to the butter. Discard any sugar that hasn’t stuck to the butter
Spread your fruit across the base of the dish, and then gently pour over the custard
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. To check if the clafoutis is cooked, stick a knife in the centre of the dish and if it comes out clean the clafoutis is cooked. If it doesn’t give it another 5 minutes and check again