Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan/Dairy free)

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Wow it’s been a long time since I updated the ‘ole blog. In this time I have managed to complete my nursing degree and become a fully qualified Registered Nurse! So as you can probably gather this takes a bit of energy and time, hence no time to blog. Anyway!

A lovely workmate of mine recently had a birthday, so what better excuse to bake something!! As she is vegan, it inspired me to step out of my usual ingredient list, which was both interesting and exciting. It’s also good to know that since these cupcakes are vegan, this too means they are dairy free, perfect for friends who are lactose-intolerant! 🙂

I don’t live a vegan lifestyle, but is is comforting to know that these are cruelty free. And I am pleasantly surprised that a tofu product could be paired with the words sweets, cupcake, and Oreo! (did you know Oreos are vegan?!) I was very wary of tofu, a bit unsure about it…. but it all worked out okay! Better than okay even!!

My dad (who is definately not very open to vegan food- think 3 meat and veg!!) and brother (who is fussy as anything) thought these were (quote dad) ‘pretty good’, so that is saying something!! To the fussiest of eater, they wouldn’t even know these were vegan/dairy free!

I usually adapt recipes quite a bit to make them my own version, but I was keeping in mind that if i wanted a vegan dessert to work out for me (something of which i was hesitant about) I had to stay a little more true to the tried and tested recipes online.

Credit to the amazing food blog Averie Cooks for the recipe ‘Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting’

*note: I did adapt ever so slightly using elements of the same frosting recipe with another, and normal vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar!

Here they are, chocolately, vanilla tinged, deliciousness.

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan/Dairy free)

(Adapted from the recipe ‘Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting‘ by Averie Cooks and Tofutti frosting recipe found here (sans peppermint!)

CUPCAKES

2 cups dairy free milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, for a non-vegan take you can use a dairy milk)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups plain flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 
VANILLA  ‘FROSTING’
1 tub of imitation cream cheese (I used Tofutti plain flavoured)
250g (one stick) of vegetable shortening (I used Copha)
4 cups of icing sugar
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 180C, and line two regular muffin trays with muffin cases.

In a medium sized bowl, add the milk and vinegar, stir, and set aside for about 5 minutes to curdle.

In another bowl, place the sugar, oil and vanilla, and whisk until combined (will look grainy but that’s okay!). Add the curdled milk to the this mixture and whisk until combined.

In a third bowl, add the flour, cocoa, bi-carb soda and salt, and combine.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Do not over-mix, stirring just until all large lumps have disappeared. (May appear slightly lumpy still, but again this is okay!).

Pour batter into prepared muffin case to about 3/4-full.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with small amounts of cake crumb, and spring back to the touch. Turn out cupcakes onto a wire baking rack, leave to cool.

Frosting

This makes ALOT of frosting. Enough for probably 2 batches I find. However any leftovers (if not eaten by the spoonful) can keep in the fridge in an airtight container for many weeks.

Add vanilla, ‘cream cheese’ and shortening to a large bowl and beat using hand-held beaters or standing mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat until combined. This will look separated/not combining and very worrying (from experience!!) but slowly add the icing sugar until combined and it will begin to resemble frosting. I promise! Beat on low speed until mixed through, then on high for about 5 minutes. Add more icing sugar if slightly soft (it should be quite fluffy though, this is what we want!).

You can buy cake ‘corers’ to create holes in the cupcakes for filling, but  I used an apple corer as a make shift alternative for this effect, with success! It’s nice too as it is only a small hole, allowing for a good cupcake:frosting filling ratio.

So, ‘core’ the cupcakes (eat the ‘holes’- yum!), then pipe frosting into the cupcake (using a piping bag, or if like me, a ‘zip lock’ plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off-haha), then pipe some more icing on top.

Cut oreos into halves and place decoratively on top. And Voila! Yummy vegan friendly, dairy free friendly cupcakes!

Eat, share and enjoy,
Kirra xo

Choc-Peanut Cranberry Fridge Slice

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Oh this slice is so so goood! A simple mix-and-melt slice with just a few ingredients, it is way too moreish to stop at just one piece! Just a note, these beauties will very much melt if not kept in the fridge, hence the name, but the upside is no baking time in the oven!! (p.s. if you’re really impatient, put it in the freezer, it’ll set pretty much right away!!). There are so many variations of this recipe (I think it originated from Pinterest??), so I tweaked a couple of them to make my own version.

Hope you enjoy this one, 🙂

Choc-Peanut Cranberry Fridge Slice

Adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom, I Hear Exercise Will Kill You and Now You Can Pin It and probably so many other sites! This recipe is a hit everywhere by the looks!!

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 packet of dark chocolate chips (about 230g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil over low heat in a saucepan, stirring until melted and combined.
Remove from heat and add oats, coconut, chocolate chips, cranberries, and vanilla. Stir together until the chocolate is completely melted and all is combined.
Pour into a greased slice/brownie pan and set in the fridge.
Once set, cut into bars and devour (haha). Store in the refrigerator or freezer- it keeps for ages, if it lasts that long!!
Eat, share and enjoy,

Kirra xo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

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I feel a bit silly making this blog and then not go post for like 4 months!! But, uni is a busy busy thing and that’s just what happens I suppose!! In saying this, I did actually make an effort today to make a new recipe post! (yay!). I felt a bit creative and decide to get my healthy bake on, wanting something yummy and ‘chocolatey’ (not a word but never mind that!), which is pretty much how I feel everytime I bake! Drawing some inspiration from Wholefood Simply’s Choc Peanut Butter Bars, I decided I would whip up some chocolate peanut butter balls of some sort. And I had this protein powder I wanted to use in something, so I hoped to chuck a bit of that in somewhere! Hope you enjoy this recipe! Try it for yourselves!! 🙂 P.s. I will try to keep up with my blog as I do love spreading my baking love!! (even though not many people probably read my blog!! Thanks to those who do!!! xoxo)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Recipe Adapted from Wholefood Simply‘s Choc Peanut Butter Bars (yuuuum)
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
1 1/2 cups dried pitted dates (or probably half if using medjool dates, not sure)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (I used crunchy- can’t beat crunchy peanut butter!!)
3 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp chocolate protein powder of your choice (I used a pea protein powder)
a pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
chia seeds, to roll the protein balls in
Blend everything except the dates in a blender. Gradually add a few dates at a time until all are blended through. You may need to add more dry or wet ingredients to get a texture that binds together when pressed, just experiment really!! As long as it tastes nice for you and you can easily roll them into balls. Roll into balls, whatever size you’d like them to be, mine were about 1/2 a tablespoon size roughly. Roll in chia seeds, more coconut, cocoa or anything you like!! You could even try cacao nibs!

Eat, share and enjoy,

Kirra xo

Chocolate Mint Biscuits

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These biscuits feature in my post about the Afternoon Teal my friend Em and I held in February. These biscuits are easy to make, and look so cute. They are quite rich in flavour (from the cocoa overload!), but the mint icing is such a fabulous balance, making these little bickies a perfect afternoon tea treat!

Here’s how to make them!!

Chocolate Mint Biscuits

Recipe Adapted from Mum’s cooking folder (Thanks Mum!).

Make a varying amount, depending on how big you make them! I (and I didn’t actually count!! oops. Probably 20 or so?? But I doubled this recipe and it made ALOT. So the single batch would do. Unless you need to cater for masses!)

250g Butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 3/4 cup of Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup cocoa
ICING
Mix together 1 cup icing sugar, a few drops of warm water, green food colouring (or green and blue to make teal like we did for the fundraiser!) and peppermint essence to taste. You may need to add more of each it just depends on the amount of biscuits. Try to get it a thick enough consistency that it is easy to dab onto the biscuits and be pressed together, holding the biscuits together well.
Preheat oven to 180C
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer on high speed until lighter and pale looking. Add flour cocoa and mix until combined. Chill mixture in fridge.
Form the dough into small balls and press down slightly with a fork onto lined trays. These biscuits will expand slightly when cooked, but not alot. mostly just from the SR flour.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool, then sandwich biscuit pairs with icing.

There you go! Pretty easy.

Eat, share and enjoy,
Kirra xo

Double Chocolate Buttery Biscuits

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Well, here is the complete opposite to my last post (so so not good for you, yet here I am!!! Yum!!) Butter biscuits. My favourite kind.  Everyone at my house loves them. They are the ones they all want for their lunchboxes, so this recipe’s kind of stuck in my head from making it so often.  They are almost like shortbread consistency, very melt-in-the-mouth middle, with crisp edges, and soft gooey chocolate chips.. … yum. Too good to stop at one, the buttery, sugary sweet goodness is just too hard to resist, and the recipe is very quick to make, and very simple ingredients (ALOT of butter!). 

This time around, I tried caramel chocolate chips as well as my usual choice of dark chocolate chips. Whilst the caramel chips were unimpressive to me on their own and in the dough, when cooked, they gave the biscuits a very nice added richness. Not too rich though either. Just right!

As heart-attack-inducing as these biscuits may seem, they have no eggs! Which is fab when the chooks are not doing their job, or if you aren’t allowed eggs in food, like at my cousin’s kindy (and pretty much all kindys these days) . So I made these one time for them, as they couldn’t think of what snacks to bring in their lunchbox that would be safe to other kids… So I think the egg free part redeems these biscuits, just a tad!

Want to know how I make these babies?? Read on!!

Double Chocolate Buttery Biscuits

(Adapted from The Kid’s Cookbook: A Great Book for Kids Who Love to Cook!)

makes about 25-30 biscuits, roughly.

445 grams  butter (I know, I know… it’s like a whole thing of butter…but worth every gram!)
1 1/3 cups of sugar (regular sugar works best as it gives a crumbly and better texture I’ve found- but brown/caster fine well too, just not as good!!!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 packet of chocolate chips (or like, a cup equivalent- in this batch I tried half dark and half caramel chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 180C
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer on high speed until lighter and pale looking. Add cocoa and mix until combined.
Gradually add flour and chocolate chips, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, ensuring everything is combining well.
Now.. you get to make the dough ready for the fridge!
Form the dough into a ball and cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into sausages (depending on how big you want the biscuit is how thin/thick you roll- I do about rolling pin thickness or thereabouts, so my cut cookie slices will look about savoury cracker sized circles- It’s hard to explain, just go with it!!)
Cover sausage logs of dough with plastic cling wrap and twist ends to make sure the dough stays covered in the fridge. Place in fridge until firm (or if in a hurry until cool, or not at all, if you are desparate, I don’t think it makes a huuuuge difference).
Once refrigerated, cut circles of dough about the thickness of sliced bread (therabouts). Cut thicker for softer, more melty middle biscuits, or thinner for a more crisp effect. The dough will probably always crumble when cut, because of the chocolate chips, but just squish it back together!
Place biscuits onto lined trays. These biscuits don’t expand a lot when baked, so you can squeeze more onto the 1 tray for more efficient cooking (or laziness, haha).
Bake for about 15 minutes, or longer if wanting crispier biscuits.
NOTES:
  • Omit cocoa and use 4 cups of flour, for vanilla flavoured cookies. 
  • Refrigeration is not essential, but I think it makes the biscuits better, don’t know what is is though, the just seem to turn out better.
  • Subsitute chocolate chips for other add -ins, such as nuts or dried fruit, or add all!!
  • This recipe is doubled, can halve everything, but it doesn’t make very many I find (or they go too fast!!!)
  • IMPORTANT!!!! Make sure you utilise this baking opportunity to eat lots of biscuit dough- best part about making them!!
Eat, share and enjoy,
Kirra xo