Quick and easy to make these dry apples & cinnamon muffins make for a perfect sugar free treat.
Frankly when I entered my kitchen the other day I was all for baking with coffee. My mind was set for a coffee treat but once I started preparing my ingredients I came across a big bag of dried apples which my mum had lovingly prepared for me… suddenly the coffee was out the window and the apples were in. As they were dried apples I wasn’t really sure what to do with them so I settled for yet another sugar free muffins. It was a good choice. The muffins came out perfectly oozing with rich apple flavour.
200g dry apples; chopped
250ml strong tea
100g unsalted butter
2 eggs; beaten
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180C fan and prepare a 12 muffin tin by lining it with paper muffin cases or silicon ones.
In a medium sized cooking pot place your lovely chopped dry apples, add 250ml of freshly brewed tea (I used black vanilla tea) and bring it to a gentle simmer.
Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until all the liquid has incorporated into the apples.
Put aside and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
In the meantime, sift your flour and mix with the bicarbonate of soda.
Beat the eggs.
Now back to our apples…
Add the butter and stir until melted and mixed in.
Add the cinnamon and vanilla essence and stir well.
Finally fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda mixture, add the eggs and raisings and mix until fully combined but try not to over mix it.
Use a table spoon and scoop one heaped tablespoon of mixture into each muffin casing.
Pop into earlier preheated oven and bake for 18-20minutes at 180C fan.
When the time is up, remove from the oven, remove from the baking tray and place on wire rack and allow them to cool completely.
I love berries, especially strawberries. When I was a child my parents used to have a small field of them. I remember each year around mid-June spending hours out there helping them pick them up… hard back breaking work but it didn’t stop me loving them.
Anyhow, I find that now-a-days shop bought strawberries, or any other fruit for that matter, hardly ever tastes like the real deal, but better them than nothing, right?
One day, last month I was very lucky to return home from a bloggers meet-up with a brand new Philips blender in my bag thanks to Currys and Joe Blogs. Now, there is no stopping me. Most days I blend something in the hope of creating something special.
This strawberry drink is my latest invention and I really hope you will like it.
250ml vanilla yogurt
250g fresh strawberries
2tbsp ground almonds
Pinch of cinnamon
1tsp honey (optional)
Wash the strawberries and remove the green stalk.
Pop them into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the yogurt, ground almonds and cinnamon and blend some more.
The final shake isn’t sweet, so if you prefer a sweet/er option, add a spoonful of honey and blend until smooth.
That’s it, you are all done.
Now drink and enjoy!
Top Tip: Ground almonds will add a bit more substance and tons of vitamin E into a drink but not a lot of flavour. If you prefer a stronger almond flavour and don’t want to use any artificial flavouring, you can use whole almonds and process them yourself. Take a good handful of whole, good quality almonds (the ones from Wonderful Almonds are perfect for this job), spread them on baking tray and roast them in an earlier preheated oven at 175C or 155C if fan assisted for about 5 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and stir well making sure that they are all turned over and pop back into the oven for 2-3 minutes… remove them and check if they are ready (there should be a wonderful powerful aroma filling your kitchen and they should be hot to the touch). If needed pop them back into the oven for another 2-3 minutes, after another invigorating stir. They shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to roast, normally it takes only 10. Ideally when finished you want your nuts to be shade or two darker than when you put them in the oven and the smell! The smell should be very nutty but be careful as you can’t let them get scorched and definitely not burnt. If you think that your nuts are ready remove them from the baking tray and cool in a different cool dish. You might think that this is a lot of messing around to roast some nuts and it is, but trust me it is worth it. Freshly roasted nuts have an amazing aroma and much more definite taste. Once cold pop them into food processor and pulse them until grounded. Don’t wiz to much or they will get hot and the oils will clog them together and you will end up with almond butter, so pulse and take your time, then finally add into your shake.
From time to time we all get cravings, sometimes we can satisfy them, sometimes we can’t. One day last week sometime around 11pm I developed a huge craving to have some fresh baked cookies. We had guests over so it wasn’t exactly sleeping time yet so we decided to bake something. Obviously we knew that this had to be a quick and easy recipe as no one wanted to start a long preparation process at that time of the night. We settled on a batch of Quick and Easy Cinnamon Biscuits. As there were four people in the kitchen including a fellow foodie blogger Iwona from Smakowite Jadlo, we had a lovely warm biscuits in no time!
So if you ever get that feeling you must have a cookie now, I would highly recommend this recipe.
120g soft butter
3tbs icing sugar
To start preheat your oven to 180C and using some baking parchment line two large baking trays.
In a large bowl mix all your dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon and sugar. Add soften, cubed cutter and combine until you have a nice smoo0th and even dough.
Now depending on the shape of your cookies you can either:
– Form small balls which you will shape into roundish biscuits with your hands.
or (my preferred way)
– Roll your mixture flat using a rolling pin and then just use a cookie cutter to achieve your desired shape.
Bake in your earlier preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Remove the biscuits and place on a wire cooling rack so they are allowed to cool.
Decorate if needed or desired.
They are perfect for storing, as long as you put them into an airtight container of course.
Now remember there were four of us in the kitchen and we all wanted something just a little bit different, we just couldn’t seem to settle on just one flavour, biscuits by committee! As it is a democratic household we ended up baking four batches of biscuits in four different flavours 😉 So if cinnamon is not for you, you can try adding some grated almonds or chocolate or dry coconut (our coconut biscuits also had an orange food colouring, I am quite unsure what we were thinking at the time but I suspect that a degree of tiredness may have resulted in the wrong bowl receiving the colouring. Though witnesses were few and far between…)
In the end for what amounted to less than an hour of fun and good humour in the kitchen, delayed somewhat by the deliberations over flavours, resulted in a huge box of awesome crunchy and super tasty biscuits. Possessing a wonderful snap when you bite into them and having a texture very similar to shortbread they are now a permanent feature on our “bestest recipe list”.
JML challenged me to create a healthy fried breakfast using their new Regis Stone non-stick pan. I’ve heard about non-stick pans before but to be honest they never seemed to work as advertised, so I was really keen on trying Regis Stone.
I wanted to prepare a full English breakfast but then I thought to myself “hmmm, sausages have fat in them so my frying will not really be fat free, therefore I will not be able to truly test the new frying pan”… I could of course cook the eggs first but it would be such a waste of all that tasty nice sausage fat…
This led me to a new cunning idea – I will make Apple & Cinnamon Breakfast Pancakes! No fat in them so I will actually be able to make a fat free breakfast and thus test if the pan is really non-stick.
So how did it go?
Perfectly! I am quite amazed by the Regis Stone pan. I must admit I was tempted to add just a drop of oil… just in case… but I didn’t. My pancakes were cooked without any fat whatsoever and the pan didn’t even require a wash afterwards.
If you would like to try my breakfast pancake recipe, this is what you need and how you make them.
100g white sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Icing sugar for serving
Separate the eggs whites from their yokes.
Place the whites in a separate bowl, ready for whisking.
Place the flour, sugar, salt, soda, cinnamon, milk and both yokes in a large bowl and mix all ingredients with a whisk until everything is well combined.
Wash, peel (or not), core and dice your apples. Add them into your main mixture.
Whisk the egg whites until they are able to form firm peaks and then gently fold them into the main mixture with a metal spoon.
Now, you are ready to start cooking.
As I used a Regis Stone pan, I had no need for any fat. I just grabbed a good spoonful of my mixture and place it in the preheated pan. It should take you just over a minute for each side to cook and brown nicely.
Serve warm after dusting with icing sugar.
Oh, and if you are in need of a new frying pan, I would highly recommend Regis Stone! We are going to order a large 28cm one. This is really one amazing frying pan!
* I received one 24cm Regis Stone pan for free as well as shopping vouchers, to cover the cost of the ingredients, but all opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own.
The other night for some inexplicable reason I awoke at 3am, you know the one where you feel like you have had 8 hours sleep and could take on the world even though you have only been asleep for a couple of hours. So the dilemma unfolded, stay in bed and try to return to the land of nod or get up and do something. What to do if I did get up, stumped I lay there and thought. Then it occurred to me, I’ll cook up a treat for breakfast. Instantly I was consumed with a burning desire to munch on a cinnamon swirl, don’t ask me why as I have no idea, I have not had a cinnamon swirl for years, all I knew now was “I want one NOW”.
So off to the kitchen we go. The dogs looked at me like I had lost the plot, but undeterred I carried on. Rummaging around in the pantry the ingredients started to form up on the island worktop. The final collection included the following items:
150ml of warm milk
150ml of warm water
1tsp heaped of honey
Fresh yeast about 25g
500g strong bread flour
3tbs of Olive oil
2tbs of ground cinnamon
50g butter melted
1 Shot of espresso coffee
Shot of brandy
100g of flaked almonds
1 pack of course ground natural brown sugar
Some butter and grease proof paper for greasing your baking tray
So how do we make them…
Put your oven on at 180C and place a shelf in the middle position.
Put your milk and water (300ml total) into a beaker and microwave for 1 minute, or heat up in a small saucepan. When warm but not burning to the touch mix in the honey and then crumble in your yeast, give it all a good stir and place somewhere warm.
Make your espresso coffee by whatever method you would normally, we are after a single but strong shot. Put your raisons into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over and add the brandy. Place this bowl with your yeast cocktail.
Melt the butter gently, again in the microwave or a small saucepan. When almost melted remove from the heat and add your cinnamon and stir to make a nice thick paste. Add this to your growing collection of bowls.
Take a large baking sheet and with your butter give it a good greasing all over, don’t miss anywhere out. Now place a large handful of your sugar in the middle and with a 70’s disco dance move shake the tray all around so that the sugar sticking to the butter ends up forming a nice even layer all over. Tip out any excess sugar into a bowl, we will use that later. If there are any gaps repeat until you have them all filled in.
Now if you have a food mixer this next bit is easy, if you don’t then prepare for your early morning workout. Measure out your flour and sift it into your mixing bowl, add the salt and olive oil.
By now hopefully your oven is up to temperature, place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes till they are a nice golden brown. This as it goes is just enough time to add your yeast mixture to your mixing bowl and mix until a dough has formed. Now either with a dough hook kneed your doe in your food mixer, or alternatively tip out onto a floured work surface and hand kneed. Remember you cannot stop until the almonds are toasted, so keep going. When done rub some olive oil over you dough ball and around the inside of you mixing bowl, put your dough in the bowl and cover with cling film and a spare tea towel and leave somewhere warm for an hour, or at least until the dough has doubled in size..
Take your almonds out of the oven and leave to cool.
Ok, you can now go and have a cup of tea, or coffee and relax for a while, you are ahead in this game.
When the dough has doubled in size remove the cling film and punch the dough to flatten it down. Grab your dough and place on a floured worktop and kneed for another minute or two. Then with a floured rolling pin roll out your dough gently. You want to try as hard as possible to keep a rectangular shape to your dough and it should be about half a cm thick.
Take your almonds and roughly smash them up to get a range of sizes in the pieces.
Finally we can start building. Spread your cinnamon/butter mix all over the dough, like your buttering a slice of bread. Drain your raisons and sprinkle them over the top, and then the almonds. Now sprinkle half the remaining sugar from your dusting remains to complete the toppings.
Use a large knife or preferably a pallet knife to lift up the short end of your dough and start to roll gently till you end up with a large sausage roll. With a very sharp knife cut into slices about 2cm thick and place on your sugared baking sheet. Don’t fret a small degree of reconstruction will inevitably be required at this point. Place your swirls close to each other so they almost tough their neighbours. When your tray is full, lay a sheet of cling film over the top and return to a warm place for another 45 minutes to an hour.
They should now be all puffed up and starting to look tasty, but resist! Sprinkle the last of the sugar over the top and a dusting of cinnamon powder and pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are a nice golden brown. Remove and let cool on the tray for 10 minutes, you can use this time to fully appreciate just how amazing your house smells at this moment.
Now the sugar from the tray and what you sprinkled on top should have caramelised so you may need a knife and a fish slice and a degree of delicate persistence to get them out but trust me it’s worth all the effort .
Serve with a nice homemade latté (boil some milk and add a shot or two of espresso or just a spoonful of instant coffee), or if you have the equipment make a proper one!