Sunday, July 26, 2015

Puffed Quinoa Snack Bars

Puffed Quinoa Bars - recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be sent a mystery box of ingredients from Food Compass, an online food shopping website with lots of great products (I actually bought some really interesting looking pasta that I am looking forward to trying and I have fallen in love with Cogo Bites – they are soooo yummy!).  In the box I received was puffed quinoa, LSA powder and coconut nectar syrup – all products I hadn’t tried out before, so I decided to use them all together in these snack bars.

I love home made muesli bars and the these Puffed Quinoa Snack Bars are a delish option to add in to the mix (I’ll link our other great muesli bar recipes at the bottom of this post – check them out for other ingredient ideas).  They are held together with honey, so they are best kept in the fridge, as they fall apart a bit if kept at room temperature.  Make them using whatever you have on hand – if you don’t have a certain ingredient, swap it out for something else.  There’s no baking either, just throw everything together and you’re done.  Easy.

Puffed Quinoa Snack Bars by Baking Makes Things Better

Ingredients:
½ cup shredded coconut
1 cup puffed quinoa
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ almond meal
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons LSA powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon coconut nectar syrup (or try golden syrup)
½ cup liquid honey

Method:
Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm square tin. 
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine. 
Press into the prepared tin.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into squares and serving.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Quinoa Snack Bars by Baking Makes Things Better

Other great Muesli Bar recipes:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Easy Peasy Cheats Cheesecake (Peach Cheesecake)

Easy Peasy Cheats Cheesecake recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

I first tried this cheesecake while Simon and I were staying at my Nana’s place in Tauranga – she loves it and had made it especially for us (and she might even be able to view the recipe on her iPad we were setting up for her – exciting!).  It uses a pre-made cheesecake mix so there really is no fuss; just make the base, whip up the filling and you’re basically done. 
My Nana had made it using apricots, which I ate and really liked, but I’m not usually an apricot fan so in my mind I was thinking of what else it could be made with.  Funnily enough, my Nana said my Dad hates apricots too, so my Mum and her didn’t tell him what was in the cheesecake and he happily ate quite a bit when my parents visited on a previous occasion!  Anyway, I re-made the cheesecake using peaches and it was delicious.  You can use whatever canned fruit you like in this cheesecake and I am sure it will be delicious!
This is the perfect dessert to whip up if you want to receive a lot of praise without a lot of effort!

Cheats Cheesecake recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Ingredients:
200g biscuits (I used Arnotts Farmbake White Chocolate ones, but something like SuperWine’s or similar will work well too)
75g butter, melted
410g can of fruit (I’ve tried apricots and peaches, but any fruit will work)
500g pottle of cheesecake filling (I used Meadow Fresh)
Zest of one lemon or the grated rind of half an orange

Method:
Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until crumbed (alternatively, place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin).
Mix through the melted butter, then press into a 20cm circular loose-bottomed tin.
Drain the can of fruit and chop the fruit roughly.
Prepare the cheesecake filling according to packet directions.
Mix the fruit and the cheesecake mix together to combine.
Spread the cheesecake mixture over the prepared biscuit base.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until set.  Garnish the top of the cheesecake by sprinkling the lemon zest over the top.  Cut into wedges and serve.

Easy Peasy Cheesecake by Baking Makes Things Better

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pretzel and Peanut Chocolate Brownies

Pretzel and Peanut Brownie by Baking Makes Things Better

This Peanut and Pretzel Brownie was inspired by one of the new limited edition Dairy Milk chocolate blocks that have been released by Cadbury.
The brownie itself is deliciously fudgy, then the pretzels and peanuts add a little bit of crunch along with a hint of salt (which is such a great compliment to the chocolate).  Top that all off with chunks of creamy chocolate and we have a winner.
The recipe is super easy to make too!

Peanut and Pretzel Brownie by Baking Makes Things Better
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup cocoa
125g butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup pretzels (roughly broken into pieces)
½ cup peanuts
120g chocolate, roughly chopped (I used the Pretzel and Peanut Chocolate by Cadbury – I think their plain or Picnic varieties would work well too)

Method:
Heat oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, sugars, and cocoa together in a large bowl.  Add in the wet ingredients and mix well to combine.  Stir through the pretzels, peanuts and chocolate chunks.
Press the mixture into the lined pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Pretzel and Peanut Brownie  - recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie  - Baking Makes Things Better

The recipe for this Chocolate Pecan Pie is one that we created and originally shared early last year over on High Tea With Dragons as a guest post while Kirsten was away on her honeymoon.
Pecan Pie is one of the first things I made and posted about back when I started up Baking Makes Things Better.  I’ve always wanted to try a chocolate version of Pecan Pie so this is a slight variation on my original recipe
This pie would go great with cream, custard or ice cream, but is also amazing on its own. You could buy a pre-made pastry, or challenge yourself to try make the chocolate pastry recipe below.

IMG_5505

Serves about 10.

Sweet short pastry:
Ingredients:
2 cups standard flour
1 cup icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250g cold butter, cubed
2 –3 tablespoons icy water

Method:
Place all the ingredients, except the water, into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.
With the motor running, add enough water to the dough to form a ball (I usually use 2 tablespoons).
Press into a greased 25cm round lose based flan pan.  Chill for 1 hour.

Filling:
Ingredients:
350g pecans, chopped coarsely
1 vanilla bean
2 cups cream
1 ¾ cups brown sugar
100g butter
100g dark chocolate broken into chunks (I used Whittakers 50% Chocolate)
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional – it enhances the chocolate flavour)
2 eggs, beaten

Method:
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.  Place an oven tray in the middle of the oven to heat.
Place the pecans onto the uncooked pastry base, then place it back in the fridge until needed.
Slice the vanilla bean in half and place it with all the ingredients, except the eggs, in a saucepan.  Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves and the butter and chocolate have melted to make a smooth sauce.  Remove the vanilla bean, cool the sauce and add the eggs.
Pour the sauce over the pecans.  Bake the pie for approximately 40 minutes or until the centre of the pie has set (it will wobble slightly when lightly nudged if it needs more time in the oven).  Remove from the oven onto a wire rack to cool, then place in the fridge for at least four hours to set (it will crumble if cut earlier). 
Cut into wedges and serve.

Chocolate Pecan Pie by Baking Makes Things Better

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lemonade Scones

Lemonade Scones by Baking Makes Things Better

So, the other weekend I was hanging out at home and it just felt like one of those days where there should be scones for lunch.  It just sort of felt like a day that if I went back in time to when I was six or seven, that my grandma would be serving up some scones, with jam and cream.  Is that weird, or do you know what I mean?

Now, truth be told, I have never made scones myself.  People say they can be tricky, which I think is what had put me off making them in the past.  My mum makes Lemonade Scones so I decided to give them a go, and man are easy! I should have not been so sill and made them much sooner! I thought I would try out using Lemonade made using my Soda Stream for the recipe and it worked perfectly.  The scones were so light and fluffy, and were an absolute hit in my house.  I’ll definitely be making this recipe again and again!

Lemonade Scones - Recipe found on Baking Makes Things Better

Ingredients:
4 cups self raising flour
Pinch of salt
300 ml cream
300 ml lemonade (or, try soda water or L&P)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a tray with baking paper.
Starting with the flour, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together to form a soft dough.
Tip the dough out onto a well-floured bench, dust the dough lightly with flour, then roll out into a rectangle approximately 4 cm thick.
Cut the dough into 12 pieces and gently place each piece apart on the prepared baking tray.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven an leave to cool on a wire rack.  Serve with butter, jam and whipped cream!

Lemonade Scones Recipe -  Baking Makes Things Better

Want to change up the recipe?  Try out these additions:
- a cup of tasty cheese
- a cup of chocolate chips (I used to love when my mum did this!)
- a cup of dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries

Or, give Courtenay’s recipes for Savoury Ham and Cheese Scones a go – try version one or two.

Lemonade Scones - Recipe by Baking Makes Things Better

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Peanut Butter and Honey Choc Chip Cookies (they’re flourless too!)

Flourless Peanut Butter and Honey Choc Chip Cookies by Baking Makes Things Better (1)

These are an interesting cookie – they are really soft, almost cakey in texture as there is no flour in them.  I have to admit, I was a little worried I wouldn’t get these cookies to work.  The first time I made them, I had the oven at a normal ‘moderate’ baking temperature and used a fancy peanut butter, and they didn’t turn out.  They started to burn really quickly and they peanut butter was too runny, so the cookies were similar to a very moist but crumbly brownie texture when I had to take them out of the oven after all of five minutes.  Anyways, I picked myself up and tried again, making a few tweaks that have paid off.  And yes, it still is a very wet mix, but the cookies do firm up slightly when cooling.

They are a reasonably healthy treat (no flour or cups of sugar) if you eat them in moderation and I have to say I love the addition of almond extract instead of vanilla – it gives these cookies a unique flavour which is incredibly moreish and goes so well with the peanut butter and honey.  And, if you need another reason to try these, it turns out the 16th – 23rd March is ‘National Honey Week’ for 2015!

Flourless Peanut Butter and Honey Choc Chip Cookies by Baking Makes Things Better (4)

Makes about 12 cookies.

Ingredients:
¾ cup peanut butter (I used Sanitarium’s No added Sugar or Salt Crunchy variety)
⅓ cup honey
1 egg
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt flakes
½ cup dark chocolate bits

Method:
Preheat the oven to 160C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate, until everything is combined and smooth.  Fold through the chocolate bits.
Scoop out small amounts of the mixture and drop onto the prepared baking tray (an ice cream scoop works well for this).
Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Honey Choc Chip Cookies by Baking Makes Things Better (3)