Monthly Archives: May 2012

Cookies & Cream Ganache Sandwiches

Don’t you just love it when a plan doesn’t come together?   Of course, for me, this usually means nasty weather and bad lighting on a day when I finally get a chance to do some baking.   I really haven’t had much time to bake anything of late, much less post recipes here when I do.  Hopefully, all this being pulled in a gazillion directions at once will settle down soon and I can start scheduling baking and blog post projects again.

One of my vices is that I start to make a list of things to make and then find I don’t have the time and some of them are seasonal and there goes the master plan.  Defenestrated.   Completely.  So from now on, my planning will consist of short lists only.  Which is why I’m a little miffed at Mother Nature for taking me down so harshly when all I wanted to do was one thing.  Cookies.  Cookie sandwiches to be specific.  Too much to ask for a mild day with ample light?  (I don’t have space for a mini studio so don’t go there, peeps!)

Not one, but four days of doom and gloom.  I brought out all the heavy artillery.  Then I gave up and just took these shots.  Not enough to showcase the simple yumminess of these tender cream cookies with their luscious ganache centres.  Enough for you to get a visual of some description of them though.  Making do this time, peeps.

But trust me when I say that these cookies are yummy.  The cookie dough starts off with a delicious and simple brown sugar frosting.  You could stop there and just use that to top off some cupcakes.  But keep going and you get a lovely soft cookie that you can form into balls and flatten or roll and cut into cookie shapes.  The dough is very soft so take care when rolling it out.  It’s very versatile and I’ve even made these cookies as simple mounds with a thumbprint of jam.  They’d be great with a jam and frosting centre too.

But you know I love my chocolate.  So I’ve included both a dark caramel ganache and an orange and white chocolate ganache.  Because everyone has their favourite chocolate allegiances.  Each ganache recipe is enough to fill all the cookies, so halve the ganache recipes if you’d like to make both.  Alternatively, use left over ganache to make truffles.  If you do, avoid refrigerating the ganache.  Let it set, airtight, in a cool, dry spot, before forming into truffles.  Store them airtight at room temperature.  That’s what I did 😀

Enough of my natter … over to the cookies!

Makes 18 sandwich cookies (5.5cm diameter)

Ingredients
Brown Sugar Frosting Cookies
50 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
150 grams dark brown sugar
125 grams double cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste or extract
1 large egg
250 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Dark Caramel Ganache
150 grams dark couverture, minimum 70% cacao
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
30 – 50 grams caramel*
150 grams pure cream (35% butterfat)
15 grams unsalted butter. at room temperature

*For the best flavour, make your own caramel (follow the link to the recipe).  But if you are pressed for time, or can’t be bothered, use a good quality bought caramel or caramel syrup.  If using a syrup, you will need to adjust the quantity.  Start with a small amount (one or two tablespoons) and taste test it before adding more.

OR

Orange & White Chocolate Ganache
150 grams white couverture
finely grated zest of 1 orange
150 grams pure cream (35% butterfat)
10 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
15 millilitres Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier (optional)

Directions
Brown Sugar Frosting Cookies
Preheat oven to 180℃.  Line 2 baking trays with non-stick silicon paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, place the melted butter, brown sugar, cream, and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  At this point,  you have a stunning brown sugar frosting!  Yum 🙂  Put the spoon away and keep going with the recipe …

Add the egg and beat until smooth and light.   Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda.  Add to the frosting batter and beat until light.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a dough scraper.  Refrigerate the dough for 20 – 30 minutes.  This will make it easier to handle.

Roll the dough into a log.  You can either roll balls of dough and flatten them into cookies (lightly flour your hands to prevent sticking) or you can roll out the dough and cut out cookies.  I’ve done it both ways with success.  If rolling out the dough, I prefer to do so between two sheets of silicon paper and I just lightly flour the dough to prevent sticking.  If rolling out the dough, use a very light touch.  Re-roll scraps to make more cookies but try not to re-roll them too many times.  It can help to roll out the dough one-quarter at a time.

Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out cookies and a spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.  I used a 5.5cm cutter to make large cookies this time.  I’ve also used a 3.5cm cutter to make smaller ones, which I quite like.

Bake cookies for 10 – 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.  When cool, match up the cookies for filling.  Pipe your chosen ganache or other filling on to one half.  Place the matching cookie half on top and gently twist together to spread the ganache evenly.  This is better than pressing down on them and prevents cracking the cookies.

Store the cookies in an airtight container.  They will keep for several days.

Dark Caramel Ganache
Chop the chocolate into small even pieces and place into a heatproof bowl.  Add the sea salt and caramel.  Heat the cream until it reaches boiling point.  Pour evenly over the chocolate.  Let sit for 30 seconds and then stir or whisk gently until smooth.  While still warm, add the butter and stir or whisk until smooth and shiny.  Set aside to cool and set to a piping consistency.  You can refrigerate it, if required.  If making ahead, there should be no need.

Orange & White Chocolate Ganache
Chop the white chocolate into small even pieces and place into a heatproof bowl.  Add the orange zest.  Heat the cream until it reaches boiling point.  Pour evenly over the chocolate.  Let sit for 30 seconds and then stir or whisk gently until smooth.  While still warm, add the butter and liqueur, and stir or whisk until smooth and shiny.  Set aside to cool and set to a piping consistency.  You can refrigerate it, if required.  If making ahead, there should be no need.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Biscuits & Cookies, Chocolate

Proaty Date Cookies

I’ve eaten a lot of proats for breakfast lately.  Because they’re warm and comforting, and I don’t have to engage my neural pathways too much to make them at an ungodly hour on cold freezing mornings.

Proats?  What are proats, you ask?  Proats is just a combination of protein and oats (porridge).  You simply cook your oats as you normally do.  When cooked you add in up to a scoop of protein.  I generally use casein or whey for my proats.  I also like to add some unsweetened almond milk, psyllium, a mountain of cinnamon, maybe some vanilla, lucuma powder, and some cacao if no-one is watching.  Topped off with some banana, a chopped date, or berries, and another mountain of cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a breakfast of champions.  Nay, a meal of champions at any time of day (hello, IF aficionados 🙂 ).

I don’t always have time to make proats.  OK, it only takes two minutes to make, sure.  But some mornings are a bit of a failure to launch, or there’s a business meeting at breakfast time, or <insert natural disaster here> … sufficient to say, I sometimes need a proats fix that I can take with me.   Usually, that means cookies or bars for me.  Not warm or comforting … until I grab a coffee to go with said cookies (or bars).   Then I think I’d be set to roll.

Proats.  Cookies.   Not exactly original.  Just oat cookies with protein.  But these need to be extra oaty and have some of the flavours I like in my proats.  They’d have to be soft textured, not crispy.  They’d have to have a subtle sweetness without being overbearing.  They need a couple of textural elements in there just like when you eat a bowl of proats with fruit, nuts, chewy bits added.  They’d have to include those hemp seeds I found by some wacky miracle last week. 

Wait.  What?  Did hemp suddenly insinuate its way into the food chain in Australia, approved by the Powers That Be?  It would seem so.  A frantic search online revealed to me that where, last year, Australian online hemp stores were unable to sell hemp food products here, now they are widely available.  Huh???

Did I not get the memo?????????????   Seems I did not.  Just how busy have I been lately????? :-0

Major *facepalm* moment.

Expect to see some recipes trialling hemp protein here as soon as I sort out which ones to try.  But, oh mamma!  Hemp seeds are eat-with-a-spoon delicious!  Oh, and with dark chocolate?  No. Words.  So in they go with these cookies … adding extra goodness, protein, fibre, flavour and texture.

A lovely gooey sweetness is what you get from the dates.  Toffee flavoured stevia drops intensify it, and goes really well with the dates, without adding too much sweetness (I only added about 12 drops).  You can use whatever sweetener you prefer.  If you prefer to sweeten with fruit, add a little pureed date or banana.  In this case, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of oat flour extra.

These cookies are totally gluten-free if you make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.  If you use only pea protein, they will also be dairy free.

For anyone following a low FODMAP diet, and who may not be able to tolerate the small amount of dates in this recipe, you can substitute whatever you like.

These cookies will be fantastic if you substitute some nuts, a small amount of dried berries or, holy Ek Chuah!, chocolate chips or chunks instead of the dates.   Add whatever you like.

One serve of two hearty cookies yields around 175 kCals, 13.7g protein, 20.3g carbohydrates (7.7g sugars), 4.8g fat (0.8 sat), and 3.3g of dietary fibre.    Higher, faster, and stronger than your average cookie.  Super proaty.

Good enough to share with my mum, who is currently kicking goals with losing some unwanted kilos and getting healthier all round.  She’s a tough critic.  But she loves these.  I know this because she’s stolen more than her fair share of them already and it’s only Monday.  I made them Saturday night :-O

She’s so into her new healthy way of eating, she insisted there be no dessert or cake for Mother’s Day this year (my trauma at not baking something special is a whole other story).  Instead, she preferred these cookies with her coffee. 

Go, Mamma, you machine!  🙂

Makes 16 cookies / 2 cookies per serve

Ingredients
64 grams (4 large) pitted fresh medjool dates
60 grams oat flour
60 grams rolled oats
60 grams whey and/or pea protein*
15 grams coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
30 grams almond butter**
185 grams liquid egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
20 grams hulled hemp seeds (optional)
1 – 2 teaspoons stevia toffee flavoured drops, or sweetener of choice, to taste

*I used a 50/50 mixture of 30 grams each WPI and pea protein isolate.  I did this mainly because I’m running out of WPI and waiting for my next delivery.  But I also think the texture is better with this mix.  However, if you wish to use 100% whey, it should be perfectly OK in this recipe, given there is a substantial amount of oats to keep the texture soft.

**If allergic to tree nuts, use peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter or tahini.  Alternatively, substitute with organic butter or coconut oil, to accommodate any allergies or intolerances.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.

Dice the medjool dates into small, even pieces.  Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix until the dough comes together.  It will be a little sticky.  You could refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, to make it easier to handle, if you wish.  I didn’t bother.

Drop tablespoon sized blobs of the dough on to the cookie sheet, leaving a little room between them.  You can flatten them a little, if you wish.

Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Macronutrient Profile
I’ve based the macros on the ingredients as per the recipe, above.  For the protein, I’ve used the 50/50 of whey and pea protein isolates that I have specified.  If you use 100% of either the macros are essentially unchanged to any significant degree.  If you use other types of whey and/or brands, there may be some variation.

Please factor in any changes to macros due to substitutions for ingredients, as appropriate.  I have included macros for the full recipe if you choose to make larger (less) cookies per batch.

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

Orange Cinnamon Custard Protein Bars

Well, I may have bought a few more oranges than I might have been able to cope with (refer the last post).  What?  No … I can cope.  Orange + protein is full of possibilities 🙂

I did cook a little too much sweet potato than I could scoff though.  Hmmm … raps fingers on kitchen bench top … oranges rolling around all over the shop, cooked sweet potato … there’s plenty of cinnamon about …  and always eggs in the fridge.   I have me the makings of some easy, fast, and delicious protein bars.

These bars have a custard like texture thanks to the sweet potato and no added flours aside from the protein powder.  The mixture could make a fantastic filling for a protein crust, if you want a richer treat or dessert.  I just wanted a lush little snack.   Great on their own.  Yummy with a dollop of yoghurt, cream, ice cream, protein fluff, whatever you can dream up.

My perfect topping for these … melt some dark chocolate and spread in a thin thick layer on top.

Oh.  My.  Yes.  That’s my favourite.

You could use egg whites only if you like, but frankly, egg yolks are full of amazing nutrients and extra protein.  Stop being ridiculous about egg yolks.  They’re good.  Alongside the sweet potato, the yolks are what create that lovely custardy texture and flavour.

I sprinkle the cinnamon on top rather than adding it to the batter as this allows the contrast of cinnamon flavour with the orange in the bar.  Just a personal preference.  I like to really taste the cinnamon!

While I’ve chosen to use almond milk, you can make these nut free or dairy free by using whatever milk you prefer.  You could even just add some extra orange juice.  They are gluten free and grain free as well and suitable for anyone on a low FODMAP diet.

Macros are included below the recipe.  Of course, they are … and they be splendid 😀

Makes 1 x 18cm bar cake / Serves 4 – 9 (depends on you really!)

Ingredients
200 grams sweet potato, boiled or steamed
1 large orange (about 300 grams whole)
2 large eggs
45 grams (1/2 cup) pea protein isolate
120 millilitres almond milk (or dairy, coconut, soy, oat, rice, whatever)
1 teaspoon baking soda
stevia or sweetener of choice, to taste* (optional)
cinnamon, ground, for sprinkling

*Feel free to use whatever sweetener you like.  Sugar, coconut or rapadura, maple syrup, Splenda, whatever.  The amount you need depends on the sweetness of the orange and sweet potato and whether or not the almond milk is pre-sweetened.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line the base and sides of a 18cm square cake or bar tin with baking paper.  I use a silicon pan and only line the base to make removal easier.

Grate the zest of the orange and carefully segment the orange so you remove only the flesh, without the membranes.

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, except the stevia and cinnamon.  Process until smooth.  Check the batter for sweetness.  If you prefer it a little sweeter, add a little stevia, or sweetener of your choice.

Pour the batter into the prepared bar tin and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Bake for about 30 – 35 mins until golden, slightly raised and “set” like a custard.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.  It will be soft and will fall slightly as it cools.   Cut into bars.  Serve on its own or topped with whatever you like 😀

This is great served warm or even chilled.  The bars will keep for a few days, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Macronutrient Profile
Macros are provided based on unflavoured pea protein isolate (no additives) and purchased almond milk.  I used macros for the Pureharvest brand of organic almond milk.  I generally make my own almond milk but buy this one when I don’t have time or am feeling lazy.  Haven’t found a decent unsweetened almond milk here yet, aside from homemade 😉

If you add chocolate or creamy toppings, you will need to factor those in as extra.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bars, Special Diet