The Bikini Body Detox

The Bikini Body Detox

…AKA three days of living on apple cider vinegar, lemon water and kale smoothies, AKA me not being able to have coffee, eggs, oats, or any of the regular staples in my diet. Interesting times!

I’m halfway through Day 2 as I write this, and it’s been eye-opening to say the least. Despite spending the last year trying to get my eating under control, it’s clear I still have impulse control issues. Yesterday, I got hangry as fuck simply because I knew I couldn’t eat if I wanted, as opposed to being actually hungry. Today, I had a Bitch Bake to do, and even though I chugged my way through my ‘Love Smoothie’ as I baked (cucumber/pear/kale/avocado/lime/chia seeds blended with a small amount of water), the fact that I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat any of the cookies made them more irresistible than usual.

I caved. I had to have one. And considering I worked out that I ate less than 750 calories yesterday (about half what I normally eat, and only 2/3 the minimum RDI for a female, FML…), one cookie isn’t going to hurt, right?

And just look at them: salted chocolate M&M cookies. I’m not even going to try and pretend these are healthy in any way, but they’re absolutely one of the best things I’ve baked – though that could be because I’ve already forgotten what chocolate is like!

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They’re based on a Betty Crocker recipe which I think is designed to be slightly healthier, but come on – it’s a sodding chocolate biscuit, let’s be realistic. Adding the salt flakes was my own idea, because I obviously felt the need to punish myself even more than I was by committing to drink apple cider vinegar three times a day, but hey – there’s a reason salted caramel has become so popular, and salted chocolate is even better in my opinion!

If you want to make them yourself, here’s how I did it!

  • 75g soft butter
  • 100g white sugar
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla

Beat butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and creamed – about 5 minutes – then beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa
  • 100g M&Ms

Sift the flour and cocoa into the butter mixture and stir to combine, then mix in the M&Ms.

Take tablespoons of the mixture, roll them into balls, and place on a lined baking tray. Press down slightly, make sure there is a couple of inches between each ball, and bake at 190C for 8-10 minutes. As soon as the cookies come out of the over, press down with a fork to flatten and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Leave to set for a couple of minute before placing onto a rack to cool properly.

They’re just so good. This made 20 decent sized cookies with 3-4 M&Ms in each, which came out at 125 calories each. They could be worse, but I promise that if you have one, you’re going to want to eat four. They’re so chewy and chocolatey and delicious, they’re pretty much the worst recipe I could have picked to make while detoxing!

So there you have it – I’m off to drink more lemon water…happy baking (and eating)!

Mish x

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A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3!

A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3!

For the time in what feels like months, I had a free Saturday morning at home. I dozed until 9am before getting up, putting last week’s Masterchef episodes on and setting myself up for a relaxed morning in the kitchen.

My flatmate is a huge banana bread fan, but is also trying to cut back on her sugar intake. She’s in her ‘busy season’ at work and has been pulling some big shifts at work, so I thought I’d make her life a little easier and make her some healthy banana bread so she didn’t have to miss out on her favourite treat. If I want to make banana bread, there’s only one place on the internet I go, which brings me to the ‘A’ of my ABCs.

Ambitious Kitchen is my favourite food website in existence. It’s full of healthy recipes that are full of flavour, which is really important to me – I’m not interested in eating healthy by having to force down food that just tastes like cardboard! There’s cookies, brownies, cakes, salads, soups…no matter what you feel like, you’ll find something to make! There are several banana bread recipes on the site, but this one is my favourite, because of the ‘B’ and ‘C’ it involves – berries and coconut.

The first time I made this I used raspberries because they’re my fave, but frozen blueberries were on special, so blueberries it was – definitely not the worst substitute ever! I also used threaded coconut the first time, which is a bit more robust than standard dessicated coconut, and I think I prefer the texture of the threaded coconut more…you do whatever works for you!

Here we go!

Berry Coconut Chia Banana Bread

  • 150g standard flour
  • 75g wholemeal flour 
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt

Sift the above together into a large bowl and set aside.

  • 250g mashed ripe banana
  • 1 T rice bran oil
  • 50g coconut sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 90g plain yoghurt (I use the Anchor Protein+ variety)
  • 100ml coconut milk (if you use only standard flour, you will probably need only half this)

In another bowl, beat/blend the above together until really smooth. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until barely combined.

  • 100g frozen blueberries
  • 30g shredded coconut 
  • 15g chia seeds

VERY gently fold the berries, coconut and chia into the batter and spread into a lined loaf tin. The batter will be quite thick

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Sprinkle an extra teaspoon of sugar over the top to get a nice crust on top, and bake at 180C for around an hour – this is really going to depend on your oven, so I suggest baking for 50 minutes and checking every few after that depending on whether a skewer comes out clean.

Dat crackly, shiny crust…

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An alternative is to bake this in muffin cases – it will greatly reduce the baking time (more like 20 minutes), but make sure your cases are super well greased as usual. Regardless of how you bake this, almost every mouthful will be bursting with juicy blueberries, along with the slight crunch of chia in contrast to the moistness of the bread.

Urgh, I’m salivating just thinking about this again…

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I ended up with a loaf and 4 muffins as there was a little too much batter for the loaf tin. For 16 servings (12 slices from the loaf). a serving came out at 120 calories a slice/muffin. Like much of what I make, it’s not hugely sweet (it’s sweeter with raspberries), but very moreish – if you use properly squishy ripe bananas, they will naturally sweeten the bread without needing lots of sugar. Besides, being so low in calories, you can then justify eating a slice with yoghurt, or, my favourite sneaky addition, smearing a teaspoon of creamy nut butter over one. My obsession at the moment is the chocolate almond butter from Pams Finest. Yuuuuuuuuuum.

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If you’re feeling naughty (or just less calorie freaky than me), add in some white chocolate chips or some nuts, or both, or anything else you like. You could do blueberries AND raspberries, sprinkle coconut on top instead of sugar, mix cinnamon with the sugar before sprinkling it over the top…get funky with it!

One big tip – this will be extremely hard given how amazing the bread will smell while it’s warm, you need to wait until it’s cool before slicing, because it WILL fall apart otherwise. I didn’t wait, and my slices got quite mangled – it still tastes great, but people might look at it a little hesitantly if you serve it to them!

Well, there’s bread and nut butter calling my name – happy baking!

 

Mish x

The No-Baking Baker

The No-Baking Baker

Hola!

It turns out the best way to actually find time to bake and blog is to get sick and be bed-ridden for two days…and even then I didn’t technically ‘bake’, but that’s not the point!

It’s not like I haven’t been baking – I tried the other day to make some chickpea flour banana bread muffins to blog, buuuut I got distracted while they were in the oven and they turned out brown, dry and not great. I also made berry coconut chia banana bread which turned out fantastic, but I was in a rush and didn’t measure out the ingredients – I’ll definitely need to make that again, not just to share here but also because the lovely lad I’ve been seeing keeps reminding me about how great it was!

But, after coughing and spluttering in bed for a couple of days, I finally felt well enough to get up and dressed and think about trying out some of the recipes I found while aimlessly scrolling online recipes to entertain myself. Which brings me to what I tried out today…Applesauce Blondies!

I was inspired by this recipe, which uses 3 ingredients and calls them ‘brownies’. There’s no chocolate involved so I couldn’t really bring myself to call these brownies, and even calling them blondies is pushing it – it’s really more like fudge – but whatever you call them, they’re yummy!

The cool thing about these is that you can add whatever you want to the base recipe – I added diced apricots and sprinkled coconut on top, but I’m imagining how delightful this would be with white chocolate and macadamia nuts…mmmmm….but no matter what you add, they take all of 5 minutes to make!

Apricot Applesauce Blondies

  • 60g coconut flour
  • 45g coconut sugar
  • 200g unsweetened applesauce
  • 20g smooth peanut butter (use proper creamy stuff)
  • 50g diced apricots
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 5g threaded coconut

All you need to do is sift together the flour, sugar and cinnamon and mix in the applesauce, nut butter and apricots until well combined – the batter will be very thick and almost crumbly. From there, just dump it into a lined container, sprinkle over the coconut and press the batter down until it’s all even. Leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, cut into 12 squares, and…that’s it. It honestly takes longer to wash the dishes than it takes to make the batter!

Based on the ingredients I used, 12 squares of the brownies/blondies/fudge/whatever come out to 75 calories each. They’re not huge, but with the coconut flour and peanut butter there’s plenty of fibre and fats to keep me feeling satiated, and they’re sweet enough to kill my sugar cravings without being ’empty’ calories.

This is what it looked like before I put it in the fridge:

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And this is what a set, cut square looks like on the inside – they’re definitely more fudgey than anything! I purposely blocked out the rest of the squares in the photo because I cut them SO unevenly I’m actually embarrassed. Like, my ‘measure twice, cut once’ Dad would probably disown me if he saw what I did to my poor slice.

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It’s vegan, it’s gluten free, it might be paleo? I never know what’s paleo and what’s not…regardless, it’s pretty versatile and handy if you have intolerances to deal with – and just leave out the PB if you can’t have nuts 🙂 

As always, happy baking, and I’ll be back soon!

 

Mish x

 

 

The Good Kind of Type 2

The Good Kind of Type 2

And just like that, life has got away on me, and this post is a week late!

Between work, exercise, chores and trying to maintain a social/love life, I feel like I barely have time to sleep sometimes, let alone write up what is supposed to be a somewhat worth-reading blog post…and then I hear about things like Enneagram Types, which I decide I need to read up on/find out what type I am at 11 o’clock on a Monday night, because it’s clearly critical to my life…

The person who told me about this particular personality test has spent the last week narrating everything I do with ‘oh, you’re such a Type 1!’ to try and get a rise out of me. I’ll admit, I like being organised, but it’s a necessity for me; we’ve established that I try and do too much most of the time, so I have to plan ahead to ensure I have time to fit everything into my day. And I generally like to do things properly, but within reason; we’ve also established that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life, so I’m definitely the kind of person who can accept ‘close enough’ in certain situations.

Regardless, I finally cracked on Monday and decided to take the test to see whether or not I actually am a Type 1 personality. Even just the overview of the nine Types had me quite skeptical; surely I’m much more helpful and affectionate than I am ambitious and image-conscious?

Sure enough, I took the test, and my top three Types were exactly as I predicted; Type 2 (The Helper), Type 6 (The Loyalist) and Type 9 (The Peacemaker). Generous and people-pleasing, but also very non-confrontational and a touch anxious. There was a certain satisfaction in knowing myself well enough to predict my results, but also interesting that someone else was sure I would be a 1-2-3; either I’m less of an open book than I thought, or I’m seeing someone who is just terrible at reading people!

This week’s recipe is one of my absolute favourites, and it seems fitting that it was a Bitch Bake, since Type 2’s are characterised by ‘being generous and going out of their way for others’. Now, if you’re wondering what the title of this post is getting at, it’s a reference to Type 2 diabetes, which you risk getting if you make this week’s recipe on a regular basis (we found this on the side of a block of butter about a decade ago – if it’s on a block of butter, you know it’s not health food!). Having been pre-diabetic in a past life, I don’t recommend it as a life goal, which is why I like making this into wee cupcakes – you can get a taste without killing your arteries!

I’ve teased this a couple of times, and it’s finally here – my Chocoholic Chocolate [Cup]Cake. This was my cake at my 21st, and it’s still my go to when I need a no-fail recipe. I even won a Valentine’s Day baking competition with this once! It’s slightly more complex than my usual ‘dry in one bowl, wet in another, mix one into the other’ recipe, but I promise it’s worth the extra admin 🙂

Here we go!

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g castor sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t almond essence 
  • 100g plum jam (use raspberry, this is all I had)
  • 200g flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 T instant coffee 
  • 1 C almond milk, warmed
  • 75g Whittakers 62% Dark Cacao, roughly diced 

I’m gonna number these steps, because there are a few here:

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the essence and jam until well combined
  3. Warm the milk for ~30 seconds, dissolve the baking soda and coffee into the milk and set aside
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa
  5. In 3 rounds, alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture on a low speed (flour/milk/flour/milk/flour/milk)
  6. Once combined, gently fold in the chopped chocolate
  7. Fill muffin cases 3/4 full with batter and bake at 180C for ~15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (if you make a cake, it’ll need around 40 minutes)
  8. Remove from tin and leave to cool on a rack until cold, then decorate however you desire!

A few things. The original recipe says chocolate chips, but this is how I chopped my chocolate, because if I’m going to put actual chocolate into something, I want to really know it’s there:

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This is what a baked batch should look like – ugh, the cracks on top make me so happy!

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I decided last minute to ice mine with a combo of cocoa, honey and almond milk – I didn’t record any quantities which isn’t helpful, but if you start with three tablespoons of cocoa and a tablespoon of almond milk, just keep adding honey until you have a smooth, spreadable consistency (and you’re happy with the balance of cocoa and sweetness!).

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Without the icing, I got 23 cupcakes out of this recipe (god, that was an annoying number!), which came out at 140 calories a cupcake. It probably doesn’t sound like much, but these aren’t very big – if you want proper muffins, only make a dozen, or you could of course make an actual cake out of it like you’re supposed to…

A sprinkle of coconut to finish, and yet another bake is done and ready for boxing up! 

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As with any recipe, you can tweak it quite a lot – vanilla essence instead of almond (or even peppermint!), leave out the coffee, white chocolate instead of dark…I’m also curious as to what would happen if you swapped out half the jam for a creamy nut butter, and now I really want to try this…all the possibilities!

Right, next week I am going to post on time, I swear…though, I’m not a Type 1, so I may not be well-organised, fastidious and self-controlled enough to manage it…

Happy baking!

 

Mish x

Back to the place where I ‘belong’

Back to the place where I ‘belong’

Ahhh, what a week it’s been so far, and I didn’t even have a Bitch Bake to do this week! I’ve had plenty to keep me occupied, but my excitement about flying home tonight for Queen’s Birthday weekend has made the week draaaaag like nothing else.

I absolutely love going home to Marlborough. I know I’m biased, but I really do believe I grew up in one of the best parts of New Zealand. Case in point, the view from one of my many boating trips with my parents:

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I go home every Queen’s Birthday weekend, as it’s the Marlborough Smallbore Rifle Association’s annual championship, which means I get to go hang out at the local range for a few hours and catch up with all my old shooting buddies. While I don’t shoot anymore, my old club mates are still like family to me, so it’s really important that I get to see them on a semi-regular basis.

This year feels especially important, as the last time I saw everyone was in March when we had to gather together for the funeral of one of our dearest shooters (and my personal coach for years – miss you, Grubby!). It was a stark reminder that the ones we love aren’t around forever, so I definitely need to make the most of the time I do have with people.

Which brings me to this week’s bake! Friday night is when all the locals shoot so they’re free to run the competition on the Saturday for everyone else who comes along, and I’m staying true to form by taking some baking down for supper to share a little of the love I have for these people.

Another person I have an extreme amount of love for is Cupcake Jemma, whose recipe I played with for this. I could quite easily spend an hour a night on YouTube watching her videos over and over and over again. Her latest video is a tutorial on how to pipe Galaxy-themed buttercream…the woman is a god, I swear.

But as much as I love Jemma’s recipes as they are, blueberries are expensive, so when you already have dates and dried apricots in the pantry, it’s far more practical to spend a dollar on an orange and make Orange Date Apricot Crumble Cake instead.

Oh yeah – did I mention that this is definitely NOT one of my healthy recipes? Brace yourselves!

TOPPING:

  • 50g melted butter
  • 100g raw caster sugar
  • 50g oats
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

1ST MIXING BOWL:

  • 175g raw caster sugar
  • 4 T canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 120 ml milk

2ND MIXING BOWL:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt

FRUIT:

  • 175g diced dates
  • 75g diced dried apricots
  • zest of half an orange

 

For the topping, blitz up your oats until they resemble fine crumbs. You can leave them chunkier if you want of course, but I like mine like this:

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Then simply mix your oats in with the melted butter, sugar and cinnamon to form a crumbly mixture and set aside. If it’s quite wet and gooey as opposed to crumbly, add some more oats – it is crumble cake, after all!

In your first mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, oil and egg for 3-4 minutes or until pale yellow and creamy (I used a stand mixer on a medium/high setting for this). Reduce your speed and mix in the milk and vanilla until combined – this should only take 20 seconds or so.

In a second mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk this into the wet ingredients until the mixture just turns smooth. Then simply fold in your fruit until just combined, and it’s ready to pop into your tin!

I absolutely LOVE my spring-forced cake tin. I line the base with baking paper and mist the sides with cooking spray, and my cakes never stick which is CHOICE. I can’t remember exactly what size mine is, but it’s the perfect size for this cake – it doesn’t look very full when you first pour it in, but it rises twice as high when baking, so don’t be put off! Look at all those delicious bits of fruit:

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The last step is to sprinkle your topping on (SPRINKLE, don’t press it down or it won’t crumble properly!), then whack in the oven on fan bake at 180 C. I’d set a timer for 45 minutes for a start, but it may take a wee bit longer if you use a smaller tin or if your oven is a bit different to mine – just check with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t be check before 40 minutes, you don’t want your cake to sink!

Then for the hard part – taking it out of the oven and waiting for it to cool completely before removing from the tin. Honestly, it smells so good I had to go hide in my room for an hour to stop myself demoulding it early and making it crack apart.

It’s so pretty…

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Here’s a close up of the crumble topping, because it really is the best part! Sweet, buttery, cinnamony oaty goodness…

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And a shot of the inside, of course!

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YUM.

I cut mine into 16 slices (carefully, or the crumble topping will crumble right off!), and it came out at 230 calories a slice. Definitely not diet food, but if you’re managing your eating then you can definitely make a slice fit – the hard part is stopping at just one!

I’m sure there are plenty of other variations you could make – walnuts would be divine (as they are in everything), or white chocolate and raspberries…I will definitely be trying some other variations before winter is over!

 

Happy baking, and enjoy the last long weekend for a while!

 

Mish x

 

 

Just a spoonful of sugar…

Just a spoonful of sugar…

…and by a spoonful, I mean a cup and a half, plus extra for rolling, because this week we’re kickin’ it old school and making ‘proper’ baking; no zucchini, no applesauce, no greek yoghurt, these recipes are eggs/flour/sugar/oil and are two of my favourite recipes ever.

And yes, I said ‘recipes’ – double recipe post, baby!

Molasses is one of my go-to ingredients to use in baking, because of the warm spiciness it adds that brown sugar doesn’t manage by itself. Combined with ginger, cinnamon and cloves, these cookies burst with soft, chewy warmth. And the cupcakes…if you’re one of those people who thinks vegan/gluten-free baking is never quite ‘the same’ without all the eggs and butter, then I promise that these will change your mind forever.

My Bitch Bake this week was a double for the Night Shelter, so that meant finding time to bake not one but two lots of goodies to box up and deliver. I considered all sorts of things – banana oatmeal muffins, chocolate cake, peanut butter chickpea blondies (just trust me on that one) – but in the interest of time (and my sanity), I decided to play it safe, stick to what I know, and save the more creative baking for the weekend (watch this space – date and walnut banana bread is coming your way!). Plus, the weather has definitely taken a turn towards winter here, and sometimes you just need a little bit of actual sugar in your life to lift your spirits.

Let’s start with the Molasses cookies, courtesy of Texan Erin. I did change these slightly, but mainly because I either didn’t have what the recipe called for (how the fuck did I of all people not have cinnamon in the pantry?!), or just went by feel. None of the tweaks were to cut calories out – if anything I added them in!

In a mixing bowl:

  • 266g plain white flour
  • 1 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cloves

In a bigger mixing bowl:

  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 130g blackstrap molasses
  • 5 T canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 25g chocolate chips

In a small bowl to the side:

  • 50g raw sugar

 

Basically, sift/whisk everything in the first bowl together, whisk everything in the second bowl together, tip the dry into the wet and mix until just combined. At this stage it probably would have been a good idea if I’d refrigerated the dough for 30 minutes or so, but it was storming so hard outside that Sky was losing it’s signal, so I had no Great British Bake Off to distract me. I just had to flour my hands slightly as the dough was a touch wet and sticky.

Take heaped teaspoons of dough and roll into balls, then roll in the raw sugar before placing on a lined baking tray. Flatten them down slightly, but make sure they’re well spaced as they will spread out and puff up.

So you get the idea, the baked ones are on the right:

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Fan bake at 180 C for 8 minutes and you’re done!

OMFG look at the inside of these things. SO SOFT.

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I know they’re for charity, but I ate four of them because I just couldn’t stop myself…good thing I managed to get 34 cookies from the mixture, which meant they were ‘only’ 72 calories each, so not the worst cookies to binge on (at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now).

As for the Vegan/GF Chocolate Cupcakes, we have the incredible Chloe Coscarelli to thank for these. I think I will always swear by them as the best cupcake recipe I have, and they’re vegan AND gluten-free…I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around that!

In a big mixing bowl:

  • 200g gluten free flour (I used Edmonds)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt

In a separate mixing bowl:

  • 1 C almond breeze almond/coconut milk blend
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1 T vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3 t instant coffee powder

 

You probably know the drill now – sift the first big bowl together, whisk the second bowl together, tip wet into dry and mix until combined! You can add chocolate chips if you want, just be mindful of what kind you use if you still want your cupcakes vegan.

I wanted my cupcakes to go a long way, so I made baby ones – 46 of them in fact! AND because the recipe has actual fat in it, you don’t need to spray your liners! HURRAH!

Whatever size you make, fill your cups about 2/3 full (no more – they rise a LOT) and bake at 180 C. My baby ones took 10 minutes, I’d check larger ones after 15 and see how they’re going; as with any cupcakes, the skewer should come out with a couple of moist crumbs on it and nothing else.

Look at that crumb structure. They’re SO light and delicate, hnnnnnnnng…also, how shit is this photo :/

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Oh yeah, the ones in the back ground are going to work for a colleague’s birthday, so I topped those ones with a chopped up Crunchie bar – happy birthday, Chris, I hope you like diabetes!

Nah, these are so tiny that (sans the Crunchie) they’re ‘only’ 60 calories each, so you’d need to eat a lot of them – that is possible though, they’re so full of delicious cocoa it’s reeeeeally hard to stop.

You can decorate them however you like – I just dusted them with extra cocoa powder for a little something extra, but I reckon chopped peanuts would work really well on top, either before you bake them or after icing them. Mmmmmm…

Anyway, here you have it – one double bake for the Night Shelter!

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And I know I said no zucchini this week, but here’s the pizza I made for my dinner tonight – low-carb zucchini crust for the win! 

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Happy baking!

 

Mish x

Being a Good Bitch

Being a Good Bitch

Tuesdays are one of the biggest days of my week. I have my usual eight hour working day sandwiched around my weekly session with my personal trainer (which means staying late at the office to make up the time), then my weekly speed training session with my running club (shout out to Wellington Scottish, you guys are fab), before dragging my weary body home to shower and rustle up something resembling dinner (normally eggs on toast with grated veggies, because bugger any extra effort at that time of night).

Then there’s Tuesdays like today, where Past Me decided that a Wednesday bake ‘n’ drop for Good Bitches Baking was a good idea, which meant I also needed to fit a bake into my Tuesday night…not sure what this ‘sleep’ thing is that people talk about, but I’m not super familiar with it right now!

For all my blustering and complaining, I absolutely love being a ‘Good Bitch’ for the GBB Wellington Chapter. I’m sure it’s clear by now how much I love to bake, and GBB provide me with an outlet to bake regularly while also giving back to those who need a little extra TLC. I’m not curing cancer or beating homelessness or anything like that, but I’m providing a dash of sweet support to those who are; my bakes have gone to Women’s Refuge, DCM, Wellington Hospital and House of Grace to name a few of the organisations GBB supports, so I hope the cookies and treats I deliver bring some small comfort to the people who need their services.

When I bake for myself I’m a bit of stickler for making sure it’s as healthy as possible (case in point: all my recipes I’ve posted so far). With my bitch bakes, I’m typically much more lenient; I’ve made banoffee cupcakes, burnt butter banana blondies, ginger molasses cookies…basically a whole bunch of things where I don’t even want to know the calorie counts, and all of which I will post at some point once I’m brave enough to actually work them out. We all need treats occasionally, and they’re all so delicious I definitely need them in my life again at some point!

Just look at them…yum.

 

 

This week’s bake was intended to fall somewhere in the middle – Rocky Road Brownie Cupcakes!

Basically, I took a brownie-style cupcake recipe which is designed to be lower calorie, and added a bunch of not-so-low-calorie things to it to make it rocky road-like. In this case, it was some cheapo-brand marshmallow Easter eggs I got given and didn’t feel like eating, plus the dregs of a bag of blanched peanuts I’ve not had much use for. Fucking hell, are peanuts calorie dense or what, but combine them all together and they balance out, right?

This is yet another one of those delightful recipes where you simply sift your dry ingredients together, whisk your wet ingredients together, then dump wet into dry – perfect for days like today where I just didn’t have time to cream A + B, then dissolve C into D and let it cool, then add X + Y in alternate lots, then stand on my head and mix it in an anti-clockwise motion while singing the national anthem…

Anyway, the ingredients are:

DRY:

  • 260g plain flour
  • 80g cocoa
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt

WET:

  • 200g unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 t canola oil
  • 1/2 C cold coffee
  • 1 C water
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • 2 t vanilla essence

EXTRA GOODIES:

  • 35g peanuts, halved
  • 3 marshmallow easter eggs, diced
  • 60g plum jam 
  • an extra 25g cocoa
  • 10g dessicated coconut

Yes, you read that correctly – there’s no molasses in this! I ACTUALLY made something with real sugar!

Like I said, sift your dry into one bowl, whisk your wet into another bowl, then add your wet into your dry and mix until barely combined (you don’t want to overwork the gluten, or they won’t rise properly and will be kinda gummy). Gently fold in your nuts and chopped marshmallow, and spoon into 24 well greased cupcake liners (you’d probably get ~18 if you made regular sized muffins), and bake at 175 for 15-18 minutes or until the top bounces back when pressed lightly. Then just whack them out of the muffin try and onto a rack to cool!

The marshmallow got a little explode-y, but I’m pretty pleased with how well this semi-made-up recipe actually baked up.

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Because this was a Bitch Bake, I added a little extra naughtiness and actually iced them. None of that schmancy business where you have more buttercream than cake and then drown everything in sprinkles, just the extra cocoa powder mixed with jam and smeared on top, with a sprinkle of coconut to finish.

I’ve never made this kind of glaze before, I don’t even know if it’s a ‘thing’, but jam seemed like a logical way of getting moisture and sweetness into the cocoa without adding a fuck ton of icing sugar/butter/milk and having to beat the living daylights out of it. The cupcakes themselves aren’t really sweet (classic me, halving the sugar), but there’s enough sugar in the jam to give a touch of sweetness to each bite.

Just look at how glossy it turns out! It’s literally cocoa powder and Select Plum Jam, I still can’t believe how well it worked! And it’s so sweet and chocolatey…

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A yield of 24 cupcakes means the recipe comes out to ~120 calories a pop, which is lower than I was expecting – oh, the joys of using applesauce and cold coffee instead of butter and milk! They’re only small though, so there’s not a huge amount of ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of being low calorie. Still, if you just need a couple of mouthfuls of sweet, chocolatey goodness to soothe a craving then there are definitely worse things you could eat – like the chocoholic cake I made for my 21st. It’s still my favourite cake recipe ever, and I’ll share it one day, but there’s a reason I had to join a running club – you’ve been warned!

As with some of the other recipes I’ve posted, you can swap out the peanuts and marshmallow egg for all sorts of things – chocolate chips, glace cherries, m&m’s, other nuts, or change the flavour by swapping the vanilla for peppermint, or grate in orange zest…I’m now imagining what white chocolate chunks and swirling through peanut butter would be like, and am going to dream about this all night no doubt…sigh.

Another wee fun fact about these is that if you take out the marshmallow eggs, they’re dairy-free and vegan-friendly, and obviously leave out the peanuts if you can’t have nuts – I’ve also had good experiences swapping standard flour for Edmonds gluten free baking flour, if you wanted to try make these gluten-free as well. Now that I’m sitting down and thinking about this, it’s actually a really allergy-friendly recipe, woot!

So, here is the final result, boxed up and ready for delivery first thing tomorrow morning. Only 16 fit in the box, and as they’re iced I couldn’t stack them…such a shame. My flatmates will no doubt be devastated when they find out they might actually have to help eat the rest.

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If being a Good Bitch is something you think you’d like to have a go at, do have a look at the website linked above and reach out to your local chapter. If you have a car, you can always be a driver as opposed to a baker, or just give a few dollars to help cover the cost of the cake boxes – every little bit helps! 

It’s now officially midnight, so I’m gonna leave it there…fire any questions my way via the comments section, otherwise keep your eyes peeled next week for yet another recipe experimentation! I might even go savoury next time…

 

Mish x