Sunday, 7 August 2016

A chocolate cake that challenges butter lovers' pride and prejudice

Am I a fan of healthy cakes? No, not really. I don't eat cake often, so when I do, I don't feel guilty about indulging a little. Another reason why I am rather unenthusiastic about healthy desserts is that I am yet to try a vegan (or raw or similarly healthy) cake that doesn't evoke the „It's good... for a vegan cake“ reaction.

But even as a less than progressive thinker (at least when it comes to food), I have to admit that there is a time and place for adjusting your approach to baking. What do you bake when a friend or a family member is gluten and/or lactose intolerant? What about when someone is on a diet – should it really mean they can't have cake at all?

A while ago I stumbled upon this recipe by Laura Fuentes and decided to give it a try. Seeing as this is a paleo (and not a vegan) cake, it does use eggs but is low in carbs and contains no gluten or lactose. While it can't be compared to decadent chocolate cakes with ganache and buttercream and what not, I was both surprised and excited to find that this is a delicious cake, full of flavour and with an incredibly fluffy yet moist texture. It's also SO easy to make. Most of my family members actually prefer this to a traditional cake, because it's so light that even the third slice doesn't leave you gasping for air and cursing your lack of self control.

Another thing that I especially like about it is that decoration is completely up to you. The original recipe suggests sprinkling it with coconut flour, but I like to go a little overboard and also drizzle it with melted dark chocolate and top it off with coarsely chopped almonds and sour cherries. (Note that once you add chocolate this is no longer a strictly paleo cake.)

Give this beauty a try... you can thank me later!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Peanut butter and almond cookies with dark chocolate center

My mission to use up an almost full jar of peanut butter nearing its expiration date yielded these delicious and rather unphotogenic cookies as a result. They go perfectly with tea or coffee, are great for breakfast or a snack, and not so great if you – like me – suffer from a peanut allergy. But what can I say? These are as addictive as a good TV series, and I have very little self control.

You will need:
100 g butter (room temperature)
150 g peanut butter
90 g sugar
2 eggs
200 g flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
150 g almond meal
50 g almonds, chopped
100 g (approximately) dark chocolate (about 80% cocoa solids)

In a stand mixer, cream the butter with sugar and peanut butter for about two minutes. Add the eggs and let it mix for another few minutes, until the mixture gets very pale and fluffy.

Mix in the all-purpose and coconut flour, then add the almond meal and lastly the chopped almonds. At this point the dough will get too hard for a whisk attachment, so use your hands to knead it thoroughly.

Break the chocolate into pieces (not too small), then cover each piece of chocolate with cookie dough. A fair warning – this dough feels very oily and crumbly, and is kind of a pain in the butt to work with. But, you know, a little patience goes a long way. Make sure the chocolate is completely covered with the dough; it reduces the chance of it leaking out of the cookies as they bake.

Bake at 180°C for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven and size of the cookies.

Hercule Poirot coffee cup by polonapolona