Saturday, 4 February 2012

hot chocolate with home-made vanilla sugar


Can anyone resist the temptation of a cup of hot chocolate in cold weather? This blend is my children's favourite and it's so easy to throw everything into a saucepan after school on cold days. I don't melt any chocolate to make this one; I just use organic cocoa powder and home-made vanilla sugar. The taste is sweet and you don't really need to serve it with whipped cream/ice cream. Personally I like my hot chocolate with a stronger chocolate taste, even chilli powder, and of course you can add more cocoa powder or bits of organic dark chocolate to get the desired taste. Or maybe pouring some liquor into the cup will do. wink

HOT CHOCOLATE WITH HOME-MADE VANILLA SUGAR

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 litre milk (4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
  • ½ tablespoon home-made vanilla sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably organic
  • optional: pinch of sea salt 

METHOD

  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and salt, if using, and whisk gently until the cocoa powder has dissolved
  3. Bring to an easy boil while you stir and then remove from heat
  4. Serve with or without whipped cream

HOME-MADE VANILLA SUGAR

I posted my version of home-made vanilla sugar in a separate post on this blog but I add it here for convenience. It's very easy to make, you only need organic raw cane sugar and one vanilla pod.

I split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a sharp knife. Then I scrape the seeds out with the knife tip. In a glass jar with a lid, I put organic raw cane sugar, all the seeds from the vanilla pod and the split pod itself. (Store in a closed jar.) You don't have to use all the seeds if you don't want too, in fact you don't need to use any. But I like my version with all the seeds.

home-made vanilla sugar


Someone emailed me and asked how I make my own vanilla sugar. It's very simple. Here is my version:

HOME-MADE VANILLA SUGAR

INGREDIENTS

  • organic raw cane sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod

METHOD

  1. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds out with the knife tip
  2. In a glass jar with a lid, put organic raw cane sugar, all the seeds from the vanilla pod, and the split pod itself. You don't have to use all the seeds if you don't want too, in fact you don't need to use any. But I like my version with all the seeds
  3. Store in a closed jar, occasionally replacing the vanilla pod/seeds

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

apple and chocolate muffins


I put this simple recipe together last Sunday when preparing a late brunch for the family. Instead of using chocolate chips or cocoa powder I used organic chocolate hazelnut spread. I only buy organic ones; I never buy Nutella or such brands. You can also use my home-made version if you have it, just make sure it's at room temperature before you start. The chocolate hazelnut spread makes the tops a bit crunchy. The muffins of course taste good and they are not too sweet. If you are allergic to nuts you can use coconut oil instead of the chocolate hazelnut spread and add some cocoa powder or organic chocolate chips. If you use regular baking powder you'll only need one teaspoon.

APPLE AND CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 200 g spelt flour (1½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, free-range/organic
  • 100 g raw cane sugar (½ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons organic chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 2 red apples (not too big), peeled and grated coarsely

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg and sugar
  3. Peel the apples and remove the seeds. Grate the apples using a coarse grater
  4. Add the grated apples and the chocolate hazelnut spread into the large bowl with the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently. Make sure not to stir, the texture of the dough should be light
  6. Lightly grease a silicon muffin pan with some coconut oil and fill each muffin cup about two-thirds to the rim (makes 12 muffins)
  7. Bake at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 23-27 minutes
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack

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