Monthly Archives: February 2012

Almond Milk & Loaf … waste not, want not

Almondfest 2012 is still going strong here in the Land of CCM 🙂

Remember I mentioned making my own almond milk?  Oh mamma, how good is homemade almond milk, chilled, on a hot summer’s day?  There are no words sufficient to describe its fabulousness.   Even better than having a fresh bottle of delicious almond milk is knowing you can bake something awesome with the leftover almond meal.  All of this and you have the added benefit of knowing precisely what’s in your almond milk, it is fresh, and you haven’t wasted food or precious dinero (aka money).

Waste not.  Want not.

Everybody wins.  Your body.  The planet.  Small furry creatures.  Somewhere.  I’m sure of it.

Now, there are lots of recipes around for almond milk (google it, seriously) so I’m not focussed on that here but I’ve provided a basic foolproof recipe at the bottom.  The focus here is what to do with all that almond meal after I’ve squeezed the bejeezus out of it when making the milk?

The short answer is:  ANYTHING YOU LIKE … just use it as you would almond meal.  The only difference is that the texture will be a little different because, squeeze as you might, some moisture will remain in the almond meal from all that soaking in water.  This is not a bad thing.

I like to keep it simple, especially as I’ve just made a mess from all the almond milk production, and I like to keep it healthy 🙂  My favourite thing to make is a quick and easy almond loaf.  It takes only a few minutes to put together, it’s very healthy, and importantly, it’s totally delicious.

The texture of the batter is mousse-like because of the moisture in the almonds.  This results in a loaf that is so soft it practically falls apart.  You need a fork to eat it.  It’s soft, light and has a slight caramel flavour as it’s sweetened with dates.  No flour, no added sugars, gluten and dairy free.  OK, it’s also kinda paleo 🙂

If you are following a low FODMAP diet and are very sensitive, you can substitute two to three tablespoons of maple syrup for the dates in this recipe.

Eat it on its own, topped with homemade nutella, more almond butter, your favourite jam, or ricotta and fresh fruit.  I love it with berries and yoghurt, especially raspberries, but it also matches beautifully with stone fruit, figs or citrus.  It would even be lovely with a sharp cheese as part of a cheese board … I mean, there are nuts, dates … just add cheese 😀

One serve provides good quality protein, is low in carbs and saturated fats, and provides a decent contribution to your daily fibre intact.

All this from leftover almond meal … that’s a pretty good deal.

Makes 1 standard sized loaf (23cm x 10cm loaf tin) that serves 12

Ingredients
450 grams almond meal, leftover from making almond milk*
5 medjool dates
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
1 teaspoon natural almond extract (optional)
3 teaspoons baking powder
200 grams almond milk, preferably homemade
sweetener (optional)

*This quantity is based on starting with 375 grams of almonds.  If not making almond milk, soak 375 grams of unblanched almonds for 8 – 12 hours in fresh water, covered.  The almonds will swell.  Drain well, and process in a food processor until a semi-fine meal.

Note:  This loaf is lovely if you add the finely grated zest of a lemon, lime, or orange.  Alternatively, replace the almond extract with a few teaspoons orange flower water or rose-water, or cinnamon, or a mixture of all three.  They really go really well with the almonds for a middle-eastern flavour combo.

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper.  I’d recommend lining the tin with baking paper that hangs over the sides a little as this will help you carefully remove the loaf from the tin.

Place the dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  Add all the ingredients and process until you get a lovely mousse-like batter.  The sweetener is optional.  I don’t believe it’s required as the dates give the loaf a lovely natural sweetness already but it’s up to you.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 – 60 minutes until the loaf has risen, is golden and cooked through.  It will still be extremely soft but a skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre (with only crumbs attached).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

When cool, remove carefully from the tin and place on to a serving dish.

Store the loaf, covered, in the refrigerator.

My aunt popped around the other day with some amazing baby purple figs from her tree.  OH MY.  This was dessert tonight for me … a slice of the almond loaf, some fresh ricotta and sliced figs.  Sublime.

Almond Milk
To make one litre of fresh almond milk, you will need

250 grams raw almonds
1 litre filtered or spring water

Place the almonds in a container and cover with fresh water.  Make sure the almonds are totally covered by the water as they will swell as they soak.  Cover and allow to soak for 8 – 12 hours or overnight.  Drain the almonds and place in a blender with the filtered (or spring) water and blend until the almonds are finely ground.  Pulse a few more times, then allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Use a large piece of fine muslin or extra fine linen/cotton to line a fine sieve.  Place over a bowl and pour in the almond mixture.  Make sure to extract as much of the liquid as possible into the bowl.  When only the almond meal remains, wrap up the muslin and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.

At this point you can sweeten the almond milk or add a dash of vanilla or cacao or cinnamon to flavour it.  I prefer to keep it plain so I can flavour it, as needed, if required.  Pour the almond milk into a glass bottle, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

NB:  Buy good quality fresh raw almonds to make sure your almond milk has a fresh, clean almond flavour, with no bitterness.

Macronutrient Profile (Almond Loaf)
Macros are provided for the loaf only (sans toppings etc).  For the almond milk, I have used average values for unsweetened almond milk.  The macros depend on the ratio of almonds to water but the variations won’t be too significant.

If you add any sweeteners to the loaf or vary it, this will impact the macros, of course.

Per serve macros are based on 12 serves per loaf.

37 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breads & Quickbreads, Breakfast, Cakes, Nuts, Protein, Special Diet

Lemon & White Chocolate Trüffeltorte

I wish I had a funky story to write about.  I don’t.  I don’t even have fabulous photos to share.  Life now is all about work … renovations … cleaning … work …

I wish I could just spend more time in the kitchen and sharing my fabtastic kitchen adventures with you.  Not too many of those happening over the past few weeks, with the very odd exception.

This cake is one of them.   It should have been an unmitigated disaster.  Not because the concept is flawed or the flavours and textures were poorly conceived and thrown together in a Clash of the Inedibles.  Simply because I had to put it all together whilst work was going on all around me, tradesmen and visitors traipsed thumped their way around the house, demanding attention every 10 minutes, and the weather was conveniently suffocating and humid.

Meh.  I blow raspberries in the face of adversity.  It was my father’s birthday and there was no way he wasn’t getting a birthday cake.   He turned eighty-two earlier this week, bless him.   I always make him a chocolate cake for his birthday.    It’s usually this one, decorated especially for his big day.  I love how chocolate cake can make a man of any age regress into a five-year old boy, squealing with excitement.   But even he couldn’t face a rich, decadent chocolate torte of that intensity this year.   So I looked elsewhere for inspiration.

So glad I did.

Because, what I do have, is a fabulous torte to share with you.  It’s also gluten free.  Yes!

Vienna popped into my mind.  I’m very fond of Vienna.  I recall my first two visits there … of course, I saw all the sights, some famous and some less so, some a little more off the beaten track.  But I never let an opportunity go by to do my own tour of the chocolate and pastry sights and tastes on offer in any city worth its sugary buttery reputation.  Vienna has quite the reputation, right?   I have fond memories of many cafes and konditorei scattered across the city, but one cannot go past Demel’s without a special gasp of excitement.  They were the official bakers and pastry suppliers to the royal court.  They also invented the original Sachertorte.  Indeed, yes.  Aahhhh, long may they reign in that fair city … and soon may I return.  Can you hear me, oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster?  🙂

Well, The Demel makes an astonishing array of cakes and pastries, chocolates, and confectionery … among which is the stunning Demel’s Trüffeltorte.  It’s a soft chocolate cake layered with whipped chocolate ganache, covered in more whipped ganache, and coated in toasted flaked almonds around the sides of the torte.  You can see a picture of it here.  It may not be as elaborate as some of the other tortes made on the premises but it’s one of the all time favourites and is never taken off the menu … because it’s THAT good.  It was the first torte I tried there on my very first visit.  Did you know Mozart used to frequent Demel’s all the time?  Useless but interesting fact … anyway, I started reminiscing.  As is my usual wont, rather than just make a trüffeltorte, I took inspiration from it and made a white chocolate version instead.  With lemon.

So glad I did.

Instead of a soft dark chocolate cake, I made soft white chocolate cake layers spiked with a little lemon, just to keep the white chocolate honest.

Instead of a whipped dark chocolate ganache to layer in between the cake layers, I made a tangy lemon curd crème and added a little Limoncello, just to keep the lemons honest.

I frosted the top and sides with a white chocolate and Limoncello ganache, whipped to a state of creamy lightness.  Just to keep the Trüffeltorte honest. 😀

Toasted flaked almonds for the outside of the torte?  Swapped for the texture and flavour of some organic shredded coconut … perfect.

The lemon and white chocolate balance each other out really nicely!  Not too sweet, not too tangy.  The Limoncello gives the lemon a little more depth without adding any more sharpness to the flavour.  The coconut around the sides is just enough to add flavour and texture, without overpowering everything else.  The lemon curd crème is light and fresh, and contrasts with the soft cake layers and creamy smoothness of the ganache.

So so glad I did.

Voilà!  My Lemon and White Chocolate Trüffeltorte …

I love this cake and I generally dislike white chocolate.  It looked beautiful and tasted amazing.  Result?  One very happy five eighty-two year old boy.  The best part?  I got a chance to create something that was fun for me and to bring some joy to my papà.  Can’t ask for more than that.

I used Callebaut white couverture for this cake, although you might notice some flecks of vanilla bean in the ganache.  I didn’t have enough Callebaut on hand but, as luck would have it, I found a block of Green & Black’s white chocolate lying around in one of my secret chocolate caches.  Yes, I have secret chocolate caches.  The Green & Black’s has some Madagascan vanilla bean.  It is so subtle, it really didn’t affect the flavour at all.  In fact, if you love vanilla, you could add a little to the ganache or the cake layers.  Use it sparingly, if you do.  The lemon is the star counterpoint to the white chocolate in this torte.

The cake is far more lovely than the photos show.  I hope to make it again in the not too distant future and take some decent photos to do it justice.  Right now, I’m making do with whatever pics I can get, given the room I use is cluttered with stuff.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Makes 1 x 20cm – 22 cm layer cake (serves 8 – 10)

Limoncello Ganache
380 grams white couverture
200 grams cream (35% fat)
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) Limoncello liqueur

White Chocolate Cake
115 grams white couverture
55 grams water
4 large eggs
zest of 1 small lemon
110 grams castor sugar
70 grams cornflour (or plain flour)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Lemon Curd Crème
165 grams Lemon Curd (1/2 recipe, made with 2 egg yolks, and prepared in advance), chilled
165 grams cream (35% fat), chilled
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) Limoncello liqueur

unsweetened shredded coconut, to garnish

Instructions
Limoncello Ganache
Make the ganache before making the cake layers.  Chop the couverture and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream over a low heat.  When it comes to the boil, remove and pour it evenly over the chocolate.  Use a whisk to gently stir the ganache from the centre outwards, until all the couverture melts and the ganache is smooth.  Add the lemon juice and Limoncello and whisk until combined.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

White Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C.  Line a 20cm – 22cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper or grease the base and sides with a little butter and dust out with cornflour (or plain flour).  Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the chopped white couverture and water.  Melt the chocolate over a low heat, stirring gently.  Stir until the chocolate mixture thickens and is creamy.  This will take a few minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In the large bowl of a mixer, combine the eggs and sugar.  Whisk until the eggs are thick, pale and light, almost creamy.  Sift the cornflour and salt together and sprinkle over the egg mixture.  Use a spatula to gently fold the flour into the eggs. After five or six folds, drizzle the white chocolate over the batter and gently fold in.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before releasing.   This cake is very soft so take care in slicing it into layers.  Use a serrated knife to slice it into three even layers.  It may help to use a cake board to lift each layer.  Set aside.

Lemon Curd Crème
Combine the chilled lemon curd, cream, and Limoncello in a bowl.   Whisk until thickened and light.  Spread half of the creme on the bottom layer.  Place the middle layer of cake on top.  Repeat with the remaining half of the crème and set the top layer of cake on top.

Assembly
Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and whisk it until smooth and lightened in texture.  The texture will be more silky when whipped and it will also be easier to pipe.  Spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing the ganache with an offset spatula or palette knife.  Reserve some of the ganache for decoration.

Gently coat the sides of the cake with the shredded coconut.  Use a pastry brush to remove excess coconut from the serving plate.  Finally, use the reserved ganache to pipe a decorative border on top of the cake.

The cake can be served at room temperature, or stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The ganache remains creamy in texture and does not set hard, so you can choose to either serve it chilled or at room temperature.  If serving at room temperature, remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

The trüffeltorte will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days, covered.  It will still be as fresh and luscious as the first day.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, Fruit, Special Diet

Lemony Almond Protein Bread

Welcome to Almondfest 2012 … or maybe Protein Bread Fest?

Anyone following the CCM Facebook page will notice I’ve gone totally nuts with the almonds lately.  I’ve recently started making my own fresh almond milk again, after a long period of laziness.  I just got sick of buying almond milk that wasn’t 100% almond milk.  I like to know my food’s origins.  Since I use and consume vast quantities of almond milk, it makes sense to make my own.   It’s cheaper too.  So now I just buy vast quantities of organic raw almonds and make everything from scratch.  Almond milk, and of course almond butter, yummy almond baked things, and this now includes protein bread with almonds.  I’ve been a bit protein bread crazy too of late 🙂

This almond bread is adapted from a lovely recipe by 24/7 Low Carb Diner.  Lisa is a genius.  The recipe is fantastic!  Make it.  Do it NOW.   But, as I’m a natural-born hacker, I had to hack away and adapt this fabulous recipe into oblivion.  Well, not quite oblivion.  A little extra protein, a little more fibre, a fresh zesty lemon yumminess … it’s beautiful.  Truly scrumptious.  Way too delicious to be this healthy.  I kid you not.

No, I didn’t add any protein powder.  Doesn’t need it.

Yes, I was tempted.  Doesn’t need it.

We are having some renovations done at home so the house is upside down and I have nowhere now to take pictures.  I’ve moved furniture and side tables into pools of fast changing light just to rush this post so I can share this wonderful recipe with you!  Hopefully, you get a sense of the deliciousness of this bread, despite the pics.

Plus, I’ve been reminded a couple of times by my protein gal pal extraordinaire over at Protein Pow(d)er … so this one’s for you, Anna!

I love love LOVE this almond bread!  Adding a little psyllium makes it more bread-like in texture.  It’s fabulous with any topping or as an accompaniment to any meal.   It makes excellent toast, and would make an awesome French Toast (ooh la la).  I love it with tuna or salmon gravlax as the lemon and almond combo is perfect with fish.  Dijon mustard loves this bread and so does any type of salad vegetable.

No need to suggest that chocolate goes well with this, is there?  I mean, seriously, it really really does.  I love to melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle or spread it all over a slice.  Also wonderful with fruit and ricotta as a topping.  Jam.  More almond butter.  Be radical … try it without anything.  Yum.

Oh who am I kidding?  ANYTHING.  It goes with literally ANYTHING.

Trust me.  Make it.  Bake it.  Eat and enjoy it.

I’ve made it a few times now with variations and it never disappoints.   You don’t need to make your own almond butter, I just do because I prefer it (cheaper, easy, I know what’s in it …).  You can use whole eggs in this recipe, but I like to give the loaf extra lightness and more protein per serve so I’ve gone with the egg whites only.  A few variations are included with the recipe.

More almondy stuff coming soon … what to do with that leftover almond meal from making almond milk?  Oh wow … 🙂

Macros in their usual spot, below the recipe.  This is a low carb bread, with plenty of protein and healthy fats.

It is also gluten and dairy free, suitable for anyone following a low FODMAP diet.  Some of you will see it as either paleo or vegan, depending on your dietary leanings.  It is all these things and so much more 🙂

As a guide, if you were to slice the loaf into 20 equal slices, a serving of 2 slices would provide: 243.4kCals, 10.2g protein, 20.5g fat (1.4 saturated), 3.2g carbohydrates (2g sugars), and 4.7g of dietary fibre.

Energy to move, power to lift.

Makes 1 loaf  (21cm x 10cm loaf tin)

Ingredients
375 grams raw almonds* or 100% raw almond butter
250 grams liquid egg whites (or whole eggs)
15 grams (2 tablespoons) psyllium husks
1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 small lemon OR 1/2 large lemon

*You can substitute dry roasted almonds for a more toasty flavour.  I prefer to start with whole almonds and make my almond butter first but it won’t affect the texture of the bread if you use ready-made nut butter.

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper, if not using a silicon mold.

If using whole almonds, place the nuts into the bowl of a food processor and process until it forms a smooth paste.  This will take time, and you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then.  Depending on the sturdiness of your processor, you might need to let it rest now and then to make sure it does not overheat.

Add the egg whites, psyllium, baking soda, and salt to the almond butter.  Finely grate the zest of the lemon and add this as well.  Finally, add the juice of the lemon.  Process until smooth.
If using prepared almond butter, you can simply add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Even the top, if you’d like a square loaf.

Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until golden and risen, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Remove and cool on a wire rack before turning out.

This loaf keeps, wrapped in foil or a freezer bag, in the fridge for up to a week.  You can also freeze it.  If freezing, it’s easier to slice the loaf before freezing.

Variations
This bread would also be great made with walnut, cashew or sunflower seed butters.  Peanut butter would also work but will have a very strong flavour.  Might be good with chocolate or fruit preserves, or banana.  There is no downside to this bread.   You could also add some flaxseed meal to the mix or chopped nuts for added texture and crunch.

I have also made this bread with lime instead of lemon zest and juice and it was wonderful.

Delicious topped with tuna, avocado, mustard and wild rocket 🙂

Macronutrient Information
I have based the macronutrient information on the recipe, as stated above.  If you make any substitutions for the ingredients, note that the macros will change.

To determine the macros per serve, simply divide the macros provided here by the number of slices you cut from the loaf.  Macros will vary depending on how many slices and how evenly you cut them.

31 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Nuts, Protein, Protein Bread, Savouries, Special Diet

Lime & White Rum Truffles

I cannot totally express my joy at spending an evening in my kitchen surrounded by the sight and aromas of sifted cacao and … oh my sweet criollo … melting couverture.  Since my week of chocolate abstinence, I’ve hardly eaten much chocolate.  Well, aside from those scrummy protein truffles, but I won’t count the raw cacao experience with all its bounty of antioxidants.  I’m pretty sure I consumed more chocolate last night than in the entire three weeks earlier.  It had to be done.  There were bowls of ganache and tempered chocolate to clean up, after all.  And quality control taste testing  😉

There’s something special about truffles.  They are undoubtedly the easiest chocolates to make but, like boiling an egg, or making the perfect piece of toast, perfecting a lovely shiny, creamy, and delectable ganache is an exercise in balance and patience, the ratio of chocolate to cream, the quantity of butter, and a little wrist action.

I promised I’d make proper truffles and so I have.   Citrus cocktail flavoured truffles … lime and white rum to be exact.   Badass enough for you?   You’re probably wondering why I didn’t make mango truffles.  Or chilli truffles.  Or chocolate chilli mango truffles.  I have.  I will.  But not today.  Too obvious.  Predictable.

These are just a sprig of mint away from being mojito truffles.   Adding mint to chocolate is lovely but would overpower the lime in these creamy centres and I want the lime to feature.  I love all citrus fruits with chocolate but lime and yuzu are my favourites.    Lime has a special astringent tang that I love with the bitterness of dark chocolate.  But that said, while I’m generally NOT a fan of white chocolate, lime and white chocolate are magic together too.  White chocolate is too sweet for me but the citrus acidity cuts through it nicely.

So what chocolate to use with the lime?  Well, you can use whatever takes your fancy.  I considered using a Valrhona Manjari as it’s got an astringent bite to it, but I went with a Valrhona Araguani instead.  It’s dark and intense but with a nutty smoothness that just screams suave Venezuelan.  Yes, I get a little carried away by chocolate.  More than a little.  A lot.   Short answer … a great match and contrast for the sharpness of lime and rum.    Note that the white rum is optional.  The alcohol is purely in a support role here.  The lime zest is the star attraction.

I tossed half the truffles in cacao and the other half enrobed in more Araguani for a crisp chocolate shell around the creamy ganache centre.  Directions are given for two methods, depending on your level of confidence and skill in working with chocolate.  The results for both are great.  When making truffles, I have always used what I’ve called the Purist’s Method, below.   This is the method I have used this time.  The ganache and resulting truffle centres are much creamier and softer, which I prefer.  Lovely traditional truffles.  In lovely irregular truffle shapes, as they should be.  I’m not a fan of perfect truffle spheres.  What truffle in nature has ever been found to be perfectly spherical?  See my point?  They wouldn’t be truffles, they’d just be chocolate balls.  Marbles.  Whatever.  🙂

The flavouring possibilities for truffles are endless of course and I give a few other citrusy variations below that I love, just to keep with the citrus theme.   I’ve used fresh plain old garden variety limes.  They are particularly good at the moment, with a fragrant and flavourful zest (and lots of juice inside).  You could use kalamansi lime … very trendy, everyone raves about it.  It’s lovely, but the zesty flavour of plain old lime is a thing of beauty too.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.  I literally almost burst into song as I worked.

I’ve given two methods for preparing the truffles, below.  Which one you choose to use depends on your preference, confidence and skill in working with chocolate.  Tempering chocolate is not difficult, but even when you’ve had lots of practice, things can still go wrong, if the chocolate doesn’t crystallise correctly, and if it loses its “temper”.  There are a lot of sites on the Internet that give great directions for tempering chocolate.    If you do choose to use the method I prefer (I’ve called it the Purist’s Method), the ganache will remain fairly soft and creamy when set.  This gives you that luscious creamy truffle centre we all adore.  Plus, you can store the truffles airtight, in a cool dry place and they will keep fresh for at least 2 weeks, without the need for refrigeration.   If you use this method, do not be tempted to place the ganache or truffles in the fridge or freezer, even briefly.  The humidity within the refrigerator and freezer will cause condensation and the truffles will spoil at room temperature, when stored.  As soon as you decide to refrigerate or freeze them, you’ve chosen your path!  There’s nothing wrong with using the Refrigerator Method, below, however, and you can still soften the truffles at room temperature before serving.

Tempering
I didn’t have room on the bench for my marble slab yesterday so I used the seeding method to temper the chocolate for enrobing.  You will need a candy thermometer.  Melt half the chocolate in a heatproof (e.g. Pyrex) bowl over hot water, until smooth.  Add the remaining half of the chocolate and stir it with a spatula until melted.  Continue stirring quite vigorously and check the temperature.  You want the crystals to be small and even so that the chocolate shell will be shiny and snap beautifully, revealing the creamy truffle centre.  Don’t forget to scrape down any chocolate on the sides of the bowl.  It will be ready when the chocolate is around 32℃ for dark couverture.  A degree either side of this is OK.  Keep moving the chocolate with a spatula during the enrobing process to make sure it does not begin to cool down too quickly and set around the edges.

Variations
I love zesty citrus flavours with chocolate and citrus cocktail truffles are even better, although these are fabulous with just the citrus.  Some favourite combinations to try:

  • Lemon and Limoncello
  • Orange zest and Grand Marnier, Curacao, or Cointreau
  • Yuzu and Yuzu juice (don’t mess with the amazing yuzu)
  • Lime or Grapefruit and Tequila
  • Lime or Lemon with Malibu

These truffles also work really well with white or milk chocolate.

Makes 60 truffles (halve the recipe for a smaller batch)

Ingredients
380 grams Valrhona Araguani couverture (or your favourite with min 70% cacao)
300 grams cream (35% fat)
finely grated zest of 2 or 3 limes
60 grams butter, diced and softened
50 grams white rum (e.g. Bacardi)

For a sweeter truffle, add 30 grams light flavoured honey (e.g. orange blossom) or maple syrup

Enrobing
175 grams or 350 grams Valrhona Araguani couverture (or your favourite with min 70% cacao)*
unsweetened cacao

* If you wish to enrobe only half the truffles in tempered chocolate, as I did, use the smaller amount of chocolate indicated here.

Instructions
Chop the couverture into small even pieces and place in a large heatproof bowl.   Heat the cream and lime zest together in a saucepan until it comes to the boil.  If adding honey to sweeten, add it to the cream and zest before placing on the heat.  Remove from the heat and gently pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.  Let sit for 20 seconds.  With a whisk, gently start to stir the truffle mixture from the centre of the bowl.  Continue whisking gently until all the chocolate melts, and the mixture is smooth.  It should still be very warm.  Add the butter and whisk until the ganache is super shiny and smooth.

THERE IS NOTHING QUITE SO BEAUTIFUL AS A SHINY GANACHE …

Nope.  There surely isn’t.  Don’t argue with me.  I’ll just cover my ears and start chanting la-la-la-la-la … 😀

Add the rum to the ganache and whisk until smooth again.  Let the ganache cool, then cover tightly with clingwrap.

Line a large tray with non-stick silicone or parchment paper.

Purist’s Method
When the ganache is cool, cover tightly with clingwrap and set aside in a very cool, dry spot.  I usually leave it on a stand in the hallway, which is one of the coolest spots in the house.    Leave it until the ganache thickens and sets.  You can leave it overnight, if you wish.  When set, the ganache will still be soft.

You will not be forming these into perfect little spheres 🙂

If coating in cacao powder, have ready a plate or bowl with some sifted cacao.  If you wish to enrobe half or all the truffles in chocolate, you will need to temper the chocolate first.

Use two teaspoons to scoop a mound of ganache and form into irregular truffle-like shapes.  Toss in cacao powder or dip in the tempered chocolate using a dipping fork and place gently on the lined tray to set.  For the truffles enrobed in tempered chocolate, set aside in a cool, dry place to set, at or below 18℃, but not in the refrigerator.  Don’t be tempted.  When set, store in an airtight container, with a sheet of parchment between the layers of truffles.  Store at or below 18℃, but not in the refrigerator.  I store the truffles coated in cacao separately.  They will keep fresh for at least two weeks.  If they last that long 😀

Refrigerator Method
When the ganache is cool, cover tightly with clingwrap and place in the refrigerator to set.  When set, the ganache will be firm enough to roll into balls in the palm of your hand.  Dust your hands with cacao to help prevent the ganache from sticking.   Use a teaspoon to scoop out a small amount and roll each into a ball.

If you are coating the truffles in cacao powder, have ready a bowl or plate with some cacao and toss each one in the cacao before placing on a tray lined with silicone paper.  When finished, you can store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I like to place the truffles in even layers with a sheet of parchment between each layer.

If coating some, or all, of the truffles in chocolate, you can choose whether to temper the chocolate first.  As you will be storing them in the refrigerator, it really doesn’t matter, so it’s up to you.  Temper the chocolate or melt it in a heatproof bowl over hot water until smooth.  Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate and place on the lined tray.  When the truffles have been coated in chocolate, you can set the tray in the refrigerator to set.  When set, store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To serve, you can either serve them straight from the fridge (good in summer, I guess) or leave out for 30 minutes to allow the ganache to come to room temperature before serving.  They will be a little softer and more creamy.

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Whey To Go Protein Bread

We’re clearly on a fitness bender over at my place now.  Well … *looks around in vain* … at least I am.  No fear.  Desserts, cakes, pastry, whatever coming up again soon what with a few birthdays and an anniversary looming at the end of February.  I promised badass proper truffles too, didn’t I?

Just a little more protein to end the week on a whey cool note.  Or toasty.  It makes good toast, this one. 😀

I normally abhor baking with whey.  Detest it.  It tends to dry everything out like wind-burn on raw skin at a surf beach.  Sometimes putting it anywhere near a source of heat will leave you feeling as though you’re chewing on the rubber tyres of your car.  Some people adapt to that.  I find it totally unacceptable.  I don’t like chewing on rubber tyres.  So my protein powders of choice for baking are typically of the pea and brown rice varieties.  Pea protein is especially fabulous as it’s a pretty good substitute for flour, when mixed with other flours and nut meals.   But I figure if you want bread to be truly bread like, a little whey might  go a long way to getting that slightly drier wheat bread texture.

Add enough moisture to the dough and you can bake yourself a whey-better-than-acceptable loaf of protein bread that can be used for sandwiches, toast, whatever takes your fancy.  This loaf is quite high in protein and good carbs but low in fats and sugars.  It also packs a punch in fibre.  Psyllium is added to the loaf, both for the fibre content and because it can act a bit like gluten in a gluten-free loaf, helping the texture to open up a bit.  Did you know that?  No?  Neither did I.  Now we do.  Good for us!

If you prefer a softer crumb, I give directions below for a version using pea protein in place of the whey.  If you wish to make this dairy-free, you can replace the yoghurt with soy or coconut yoghurt or coconut cream.  Just remember that this will impact on the fat and carb content as well as the overall amount of protein per serve.

If you cannot source an unflavoured whey protein, try to choose a neutral flavoured whey such as vanilla.  Be warned, though, that it will be sweetened and so that might impact on the flavour and suitability for use in savoury sandwiches etc.

This is a sturdier loaf than the Omega-3 Protein Bread I posted recently, which was very soft and more like a focaccia, due to the high flax and olive oil content in the recipe.  It lends itself more to toast and sandwiches as well as an accompaniment to meals and snacks.  It is really good topped with a little organic butter or coconut oil as well as peanut or your favourite nut butter.  I don’t have to tell you it’s great with some homemade chocolate nutella, do I?  Didn’t think so 🙂

It’s all gluten-free and suitable for those of us on low fructose/fructan diets.  Fills you up but doesn’t bloat.  Important before and after a workout, yeah?

Energy to move, power to lift.   Enjoy 🙂

Makes 1 loaf  (21cm x 10cm loaf tin)

You can easily double the recipe and bake it in a 23cm x 11cm loaf tin or mold.

Ingredients
100 grams quinoa flour (you can substitute oat flour if you wish)
45 grams coconut flour
15 grams (2 tablespoons) psyllium husks
60 grams (2 scoops) un-flavoured whey protein (I use Professional Whey NZ Whey Protein Concentrate)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon sea salt
285 grams (1 cup) liquid egg whites
125 grams fat-free plain yoghurt (or greek yoghurt)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper, if not using a silicon mold.

Place the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together the egg whites, and yoghurt.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until you get a sticky batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Even the top, if you’d like a square loaf.

Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until golden and risen, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Remove and cool on a wire rack before turning out.

This loaf keeps, wrapped in foil or a freezer bag, in the fridge for several days at least.  You can also freeze it.  If freezing, it’s easier to slice the loaf before freezing.

Variation: Pea Protein Bread
For a softer bread and crumb, this pea protein variation is really good.   Simply substitute the same amount of pea protein isolate for the whey and decrease the amount of yoghurt as follows:

60 grams un-flavoured pea protein isolate (I use Vital Protein)
90 grams fat free plain yoghurt (or greek yoghurt)

Proceed as per the recipe above.

Macronutrient Information
I have based the macronutrient information on average values for all ingredients, except the protein powders and yoghurt, where I have used the values for the ones I have used.  It’s not easy finding high protein plain yoghurt that don’t have a high carb content here in Australia.  Greek yoghurt typically does not have a higher protein content here in Australia (I know Chobani is becoming available but … well … waiting … will see what the fuss is about).  In the meantime, I use Elgaar Farm Organic Fat-Free Yoghurt (plain) which has slightly more protein, tastes AWESOMETASTIC, and is, well, organic and good for you 🙂

If you make any substitutions for the ingredients, note that the macros will change.

Macros for both versions of the bread are as follows:

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Protein Bread, Special Diet