Cook this: Matcha & white chocolate muffins

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago on Matchaeologist’s Instagram page, and like so many others, saved it for later. I decided to make them (with a few small changes) for my turn of Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club last week, and they were delicious! I love the combination of matcha and white chocolate, and these make a nice change from the standard choc chip muffin, especially for a special breakfast with some fresh strawberries 🙂

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Ingredients (makes 12 small muffins):
– 1¼ cups plain flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 2 tsp matcha powder
– ½ cup white chocolate chips
– pinch of salt
– ⅓ cup caster sugar
– ⅓ cup vegetable oil, coconut oil, or melted butter
– ¾ cup warm milk (I used almond milk, which work really well)
– 1 tbsp white vinegar

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, matcha powder, choc chips and salt in a bowl, and set aside.

3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, milk and vinegar, until completely combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, bit by bit, gently mixing with a wooden spoon as you go until it all comes together to a smooth batter.

5. Spoon the batter into the cases and bake 20 – 25 minutes, until just browned on top/they pass the skewer test.

6. Cool in tins, and enjoy!

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As you can see, mine came out quite dark, because the matcha powder I used was a darker colour. The type of matcha you use will affect the muffin colour – it won’t taste any different, just something to be aware of!

 

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Cook this: super simple 6 ingredient cookies (gluten, lactose, egg free)

I used to hate Fridays. Back when I was working in gyms and in retail travel. I bloody hated Fridays. Because when everyone else was winding down from the week and ready to enjoy their weekend, I was just gearing up. Friday was like a Tuesday or Wednesday for me. For the first decade of my working life, I worked almost every weekend. And it sucked.

But now that I’m doing the corporate thing for work, and not stressing about whether or not I’ll actually get paid because I no longer get paid per personal training session or on commission per holiday sold, weekends are a thing of beauty. Friday is a happy day. I get to wear my jeans to work and be all “casual.” I get to visit my beloved Preston Market after work and do my groceries with the Euro-nannas. I get to take said groceries home and bake something! That’s where it can get a little tricky – Friday nights are when you want something nice to nibble on, but can’t actually be bothered putting in much of an effort, because, ya know, it’s Friday.

Enter these guys. Cookies from the heavens.
6 ingredients.
1 bowl.
1 spoon.
Highly customizable.
Gluten free.
Lactose free.
Egg free.

This is Friday night baking at its best. Now, throw these together when you get home this afternoon and prepare a glass of wine to go with that shitty movie you’re planning to unwind with after another long week at work.

Unless you work in the gym or retail sector, in which case prepare a double batch and a bottle of wine, and good luck for the weekend!!

(Based loosely on the cookie layer recipe from Eating Bird Food’s Twix Bars)

Ingredients:
– 1 cup almond meal
– ⅛ tsp sea salt
– ⅛ tsp baking soda
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

That’s the base 6 ingredients you need, but then you can top the cookies with whatever you want. I used chocolate chips, but anything goes!

1. Throw everything into a bowl and mix it together – when it becomes too crumbly, use your hands to smoosh it all together.

2. Line an oven tray with baking paper, and take tablespoon (or teaspoon, depending on what you’re after) sized chunks of dough, roll into balls and flatten slightly, placing them on the baking tray as you go. If you want to add a little something on top, like my chocolate chips, do that now.

3. Sit the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes, and while they’re resting, preheat the oven to 160°C.

4. Take the cookies out of the freezer and into the oven for 15 minutes; once they’re baked (they won’t brown up much, and that’s ok – they’re not meant to!), take them out of the oven and let them cool on the tray to room temperature.

5. Eat all of the cookies while watching the latest episodes of The Vampire Diaries and America’s Next Top Model. Yes they are my guilty pleasures, judge away, I don’t even care. Except that tonight I won’t be in my PJs by 7pm, because I’ll be out at the first Christmas party of the season… I hope they have cookies…

Cook this: coconut oil choc chip shortbreads

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I can’t remember how I came across this recipe, but last week I found River’s recipe on Wing It Vegan for coconut oil shortbread biscuits! River came up with this recipe to keep her shortbread vegan; I’m not a vegan, I just like coconut and coconut oil. But I’ve never baked with coconut oil before, mostly because I’ve had no idea how to use it in baking! Which is why I was excited when I came across this recipe – I have heaps of coconut oil at home ready to go!

I made a few changes to her original recipe (as indicated in italics), but followed the basics. I also decided to add chocolate chips to my cookies instead of sandwiching mine with melted chocolate like River did. Here’s what happened…

 

Ingredients (makes 24 small biscuits)
– ½ cup coconut oil at room temperature
– ¼ cup caster sugar
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tbsp water
– 1¼ cup all purpose flour
⅓ cup dessicated coconut
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)

 

Method

1. Scoop the coconut oil into a medium sized mixing bowl. The coconut oil should be solid but not hard like a rock. I microwaved mine for 15 seconds, and that seemed to do the trick.

2. Using an electric mixer on high, cream the coconut oil until it looks smooth and there are no visible chunky bits of fat.

3. Add the sugar, vanilla extracts, and water. Keep mixing on high until everything is well blended.

4. Use a large spoon to stir in the flour, coconut and chocolate chips. You can use your hands to knead in the last of the flour if it becomes too hard to stir. You should end up with a dough that resembles Playdough: not soft and soggy but also not dry and crumbly. If it’s too dry and not coming together you can add a little bit more water – I found that I did need a little extra water, about 2 teaspoons worth.

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5. Now we need to shape the dough into a log. To do this you will need a piece of wax paper and cling wrap large enough to wrap the dough log in it. Sprinkle a bit of flour over the wax paper and place the dough right in the center. Use your hands to shape it into a log of your desired thickness, then wrap the paper around the log, followed tightly by the plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes – I actually left mine in the fridge for around 2 hours, which made it super easy to slice.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

7. Unwrap the log and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into pieces. I ended up with 24 cookies at the thickness I cut my dough, but this will be totally up to you.

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8. Place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 18-20 minutes – until they’re just golden.

9. Transfer your cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool down completely. Enjoy!

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So, how did they turn out? Really good!! I actually don’t think I’d change anything about them! They weren’t overly sweet, and the coconut oil actually wasn’t completely overpowering. If anything, I might use toasted shredded coconut instead next time, and maybe cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips (the only reason I didn’t use them this time was because I didn’t have any!), otherwise, really happy with them 🙂 Thanks for the recipe, River!

Cook this: Peanut butter choc chip cookies

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Before I left my husband at home and flew off to Vietnam with my sister, I figured the least I could do was leave him behind with a pile of cookies. Peanut butter + chocolate = happiness. It’s pretty simple, really.

You’re going to need…
– 120g butter, chopped and slightly softened
– ⅓ cup castor sugar
– ⅓ cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 large egg, at room temperature
– 1¾ cup self raising flour
– 1 cup chocolate chips
– 100g crunchy peanut butter

And then…
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars for a few minutes, until pale and creamy.

3. Next, beat in the vanilla and egg until completely combined. Note: there are two eggs in my bowl instead of one because I’m a fatty and made a double batch. Also, if you have a dog who is addicted to butter like mine is, they may be hiding under a dish towel waiting for the mixture to spurt out from the bowl. Beware.
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4. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix with a spoon to form a thick cookie dough, then stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Lastly, microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds, then fold it into the cookie dough – you’re aiming more for peanut butter swirls than blending it into the dough completely.

6. Roll tablespoon pieces of dough into balls and flatten them a little, placing them on the tray spaced out a little.

7. Bake them for 12-15min, until they’re just golden. Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

8. Eat. Lots of them. Now.