Paleo Raspberry Brownies

Flo and I are off shortly for the final holiday of 2018. We’ll be back in 2019 so in case I don’t get to say this on the day, Blessed Christmas everybody! I hope your 2018 was an awesome one, and that 2019 will see you and your loved ones blessed with joy, good health, and wonderful new memories to add to your memory album.

img_6320

A few weeks ago, with raspberries selling for cheaper than usual, I bought a couple of packets, reserving some for us to eat fresh, and the rest I decided to throw into brownies! My last batch of raspberries were mighty delicious but I wanted to play around with a new recipe – this healthier-for-you, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo raspberry brownies.

img_6321

Ok so as much as I enjoy dabbling in healthier, alternative baking, I cannot deny that butter, butter, butter makes everything taste so much better! If you’re going to indulge, why not all the way especially if it’s just a once in a while treat?! But then again, for those who have to subscribe to alternative dietary requirements owing to health, at least they can have their brownies and eat them too, together with everyone else! So here’s to a more cakey brownie that is not-too-sweet at all, and slightly tart from the fresh berries. I promise no one’s even going to be able to tell they’re better-for-you!

img_6345

Paleo Raspberry Brownies (Makes 1 6×6″ Square)

4 Eggs
70g Coconut Oil
70g Maple Syrup
14g Coconut Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
100g Raspberries, halved
Sea Salt, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line a 6×6″ baking tin.
  2. Whisk together eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup.
  3. Mix in coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until just incorporated.
  4. Fold in raspberries, mash them slightly so they don’t create air pockets during the baking process.
  5. Pour batter into baking tin (it will be quite liquid) and top with more raspberry halves/quarters.
  6. Bake for 25-28min until just set.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

img_6357

You can opt to use a slightly larger tin – no bigger than 8×8″ but I enjoy my brownies better thicker, hence the use of the 6×6″. These brownies are of the lighter variety so they don’t feel particularly indulgent. Also, I tend to be a scrooge on sweetness levels so my tolerance for sweet things isn’t particularly high. These were perfect for me but if you prefer them sweeter, up the quantity of maple syrup to 90g (mixture might be more wet though) or feel free to add in about 20g of coconut/white sugar to the mix.

Happy baking! More than that though, Happy eating! And even more than that, Happy holidays – may you be surrounded by love, peace and happiness! X

 

 

Advertisements

GF Tahini Brownies

By the time this post is posted, I’ll be a married woman! I go through period of feeling incredibly excited, and then incredibly panicky at the thought of being with Florian till death do us part. Sure, I know what the statistics for divorce show but no one should ever consider that when getting married. I still think marriage is sacred and while I cannot wait to begin married life officially with Flo, there’s a little part of me that cannot imagine what it’ll be like to be with this one man the rest of my life.

I think that one of my greatest fear is the feeling of being trapped in a situation I cannot so easily extract myself from. And even having lived with Florian close to 2 years now, and pretty much knowing the kind of man he is, and vice versa, there’s still that teeny tiny shadow of ‘what if’. More than that, there is the excitement of all the life we will create together and that definitely outweighs everything else.

It’s Thursday, 27 September 2018, that I am writing this. I go home this afternoon and the next time I see Flo, it will be at church on Saturday, with me walking down the aisle and him, at the end, waiting for Dad to put my hands into his. Buuuuuut let me not get ahead of myself now. I’ll share some photos if I manage to gather some nice ones, and I’ll share about everything – where I got my gown from, whether I made my own wedding cake, how we have been blessed with so many helping hands etc after the wedding. Or rather, after our short trip to Hoi An with his family after our wedding.

img_5257

SO. The real reason why I’m here is to share with you this latest recipe I made last week. Tahini is stupid expensive here in Singapore – the bottle I got my hands on cost me nearly $13 and I couldn’t bear to open it. Of course, that’s silly because I’d be wasting money if I didn’t open it at all so I finally did. But in order to savour the goodness of this sesame paste – I went for unhulled, I decided to make a smaller batch of these deliciously earthy brownies so I wouldn’t be using all the tahini up too quickly.

img_5251

Now, tahini may take some getting used to for some, especially here in Asia where it’s not common. We have black sesame spread that’s more sweet and tastes nothing like tahini. And we have peanut butter of course. More recently, locals have been opening up to almond and cashew butter, but aside from tahini in hummus, there’s little exposure to the real, raw, goodness of it. Even for me, I remember not liking it at first taste, but eaten with some honey, Oh, my Lord! Delicious! I’ve not looked back since then.

img_5254

These brownies are squidgy and have the unrivalled depth of flavour that only tahini can bring. I didn’t make it too sweet so the sesame paste was truly the star in every bite. The strawberries were really just there to add some prettiness to the overall look, and I finished with a sprinkling of sea salt just to highlight the sweet bitterness of the brownies. Feel free to swap them with raspberries and pistachios, or chocolate chips, or cashews might work well too. Honestly though, I think these taste perfect unadorned as well.

img_5256

GF Tahini Brownies with Strawberries (Makes 1 6×6″ Square)

125g Dark Tahini
40g Coconut Sugar
40g Maple Syrup
1 Egg
14g Cocoa Powder
5g Coconut Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

3 Fresh strawberries, sliced
Sea Salt, to sprinkle

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line a 6×6″ baking tin.
  2. Whisk together tahini, sugar, maple syrup and egg.
  3. Incorporate cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt.
  4. Pour into baking tin and top with strawberry slices.
  5. Bake for 18min. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more sea salt.
  6. Allow to cool. Chill in fridge 2-3 hours before cutting.

Usually, I’m more than happy to share out my kitchen experiments but these are so good I’ve taken to freezing them and am steadily going through slice after slice every day. Just thaw them a few minutes or warm them up slightly before you eat them. It’s difficult to imagine that the ingredients that make up these brownies are wholesome because they taste pretty naughty to me. Speaking of which, I’m off to have another slice right now. Be back after the wedding! X

img_5252

August and Avocado Brownies (V, GF).

August has been my busiest month of the year so far and this coming weekend is going to be a little hectic finishing up three cakes and a small dessert table all for the same day. My brain is buzzing with all the things I need to get done and as daunted as I feel, I know that somehow everything will pull together ok. God-willing!

After the last few ‘heavier’ posts, I’m back with a new recipe that I played around with recently. It’s pretty healthy but fools the tastebuds into thinking they’re highly indulgent. The fudge factor is off the charts but there’s no butter, no eggs, no refined sugar and no oils involved. Also, I made them gluten free but normal flour works just as well, or spelt if you want to amp up the nutrition part a little.

img_4706

Technically, they’re vegan but I happened to throw in some chocolate chips which alas, were non-vegan so I accidentally rendered them non-vegan-friendly. Still, if it matters to you, make sure you use vegan-friendly chocolate chips or switch the chocolate for some nuts if you fancy.

I promise I won’t be too long winded here. Instead, I’ll let the pictures of the talking – below are all my August cakes so far. Some were more challenging than others but all were incredibly satisfying upon completion. Also, while I can see so many ways in which I can make them better in future, e.g. the football cake, I’m proud of the work I’ve put into each cake and how they turned out.

img_4746

img_4586

Peppa Pig Cupcakes

img_4601

Earl Grey Strawberry Cake

img_4629

Elsa

img_4678

There’s always room for chocolate cake!

img_4634

Salted Caramel Buttercream Macarons

img_4665

For a hot-air balloon themed party

img_4642

Earl Grey Lavender

img_4675

Lychee Rose

img_4679

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

img_4685

Ducks and Turtles

img_4696

For a wedding – handmade sugar roses; strawberries and cream cake

img_4691

img_4686

Dora’s first birthday

This weekend, it’s another Peppa Pig cake, a stacked book fondant cake, and an ombre mint/teal cake with some one-bite goodies to go with on the dessert tables. I’m excited and anxious all at the same time. My birthday’s also coming up Friday but I think celebrations begin Thursday evening when Flo takes me out for dinner. Yay!

And while my coming weekend looks set to be buzzing with kitchen activity, I hope yours will be too with these oh-so-easy, one bowl vegan, optionally gluten-free, better-for-you brownies!

img_4703

Avocado Brownies (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

75g ripe avocado puree
240g coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
50g maple syrup

60g coconut sugar
50g cocoa powder
120g flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Dark chocolate chips (Use vegan if required)

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin – Ideally go for 7×7″ if you like your brownies thick.
  2. In a clean bowl, blend together avocado puree, maple syrup and coconut sugar.
  3. Fold in cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt until just incorporated. 
  4. Fold in dark chocolate chips if using.
  5. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 15-18min. You’ll want to underbake it to retain all that fudgy goodness! Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

img_4702

I found these brownies to be the perfect level of sweetness for me but Dad felt that it could have done with a touch more sugar. So if you prefer your baked goodies a bit more on the sweeter side, then I suggest upping the quantity of sugar to about 75-80g.

img_4705

I had these tried and tested by friends who don’t have any special dietary requirements and all gave their two thumbs up. Personally, I think these are one of the best tasting, best textured vegan, gluten-free brownies that I’ve tasted! I love my brownies dense and fudgy so these made perfect eating for me. All the more so knowing that what went into them were a lot healthier than the usual brownies I love getting stuck into usually. These are great alternatives for days when you want something rich without feeling guilty, and will be awesome for me this week when I need a sugar rush, especially going into all the birthday feasting!

Fudgiest Banana Basil Brownies.

What do you do when life gives you a bunch of overripe bananas? Aside from making banana bread, you make the fudgiest banana brownies ever! The miracle of throwing two bananas into the batter allows there to be less butter and less sugar used. I added chocolate chips and walnuts to the party as well and my oh my did they dance away on the floor of my tongue.

img_4388

Speaking of parties… Less than 3 months to go!

e432efe3-4a24-47d2-ad77-26863c0f26d2

Invitations have finally been sent out apart from the ones that are to be distributed by hand although we’ve yet to settle our marriage application. Eeks! We’ll definitely get round to that soon. Also I need to finalise our church wedding programme and then its a few bits and bobs here and there before the rehearsal I guess? I feel like I’m taking this wedding thing too easy considering how so many couples seem to have 101 things to do before their wedding. It makes me think I may have forgotten a bunch of to-dos but I’m confident that all willl fall into place by God’s grace.

Aside from brownies having a party in my mouth, and don’t you worry we’ll get to the recipe soon enough, Flo and I found this place at Icon Village after picking up our wedding rings last weekend. He suggested we treat ourselves and so, we ended up at Maru where he ordered a Mentaiko pasta dish while I settled for their Aburi Chirashi Don. A $5 top up enabled us access to a free flow of salad (we both only had the one bowl in the end) and a cup of hot green tea.

img_4349

The aburi-ed sashimi were beautifully charred and the smoky aroma infused into their seasoned sushi rice I totally adored. I didn’t finish it all though because it was a lot of rice to fish ratio but it’s a challenge I’m willing to undertake after our wedding when I loosen the diet strings.

We also celebrated Angie‘s birthday last Sunday at Tanuki Raw with a complimentary Pandan Coconut Cheesecake topped with Gula Melaka Sauce by yours truly!

img_4350

Of course, at Tanuki, I had to try their Hokkaido Kaisen Don – a more luxurious variant of the bowl I had at Maru with the rice topped with Crabmeat (YUMMMM!), Scallops (Double YUM!!!), Salmon Sashimi, Ikura and Uni. Topped up $2 for salad and green tea, and switched the rice to salad.

img_4357

I loved the crabmeat in this bowl! But I have to say that the glory of Maru’s chirashi bowl trumped this one and it had a better price point too. Still, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this kaisen don because I did. I did, however, learn that just as I’m no fan of foie gras, I am also unable to appreciate uni. I’ve tried it a couple times now and still cannot understand the hype. I think it’s the raw briny flavour of it that gets to me.

Anyway, food aside, it was great finally meeting up with everyone. I didn’t realise until we were all gathered together how quickly Lady Time had slipped by us.

img_4358

Can you believe we turned off two fans on the side to light this candle, only to realise that there was a ceiling fan sneakily blowing it out?! So it was us singing “Happy Birthday” as quickly as possible why relighting the candle multiple times.

img_4359

But it looks like our birthday girl was happy so happy days all around!

img_4360

And happy tummies too!

Just as I’m sure yours will be after you make these brownies, which, I might add, are super simple to make! Also, you can make substitutions for certain ingredients if you prefer to make them healthier or gluten-free, or not. I happen to be experiencing a flour scarcity at the moment and am in ration-mode, so I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour that I happened to have at hand. I wanted to use spelt and searched high and low in my pantry for it only to realise I’d finished it already.

img_4400

Banana Basil Brownies (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

4 ripe bananas – mash 2 of them and cut the other 2 lengthwise
140g butter, melted (alternatively, coconut oil)
250g brown sugar
75g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
60g plain flour, spelt flour or gluten free flour blend
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped finely (optional)
45g chocolate chips
45g chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 175deg C and line 8×8″ square baking tin.
  2. Whisk together mashed bananas, butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt. 
  3. Whik in eggs one at a time.
  4. Fold in flour until just incorporated.
  5. Fold in chopped basil, chocolate chips and walnuts. 
  6. Pour batter into prepared tin and top with sliced bananas. Sprinkle with more walnuts if you like. 
  7. Bake for 40-45 min, turning once half way. Once brownies don’t look wet and shiny, and they don’t jiggle, they’ll be ready to come out of the oven. 
  8. Allow to cool, then chill about 2 hours before cutting.

img_4404

Look at all that fudginess! Yes they were super moist and the basil gave the richness of the banana-chocolate flavour a refreshing lift. If I didn’t make them myself I would have assumed these were chocolate based brownies. They weren’t too sweet either but if the bananas you’re using are really sweet, you can probably get away with reducing the quantity of sugar by another 10%.

img_4408

Now, I’m going to have my brownie and eat it. All four slices that I have right here. And the rest I’ll keep for later because they’re too good to be shared. I declare them my #AllMINE Brownies! I’m guessing you will too after you try them. 🙂

Paleo Blueberry Sea Salt Brownies.

After the rather heavy blog post before the weekend, it’s time for something a little lighter, though still very much packing a punch of its own. It’s been a while since I’ve managed to dabble in my brownie baking but it’s a blessing to be busy with cake orders that’s for sure!

img_3662

I’ll be sharing my latest recipe for Blueberry Sea Salt Brownies which I’ve just about gobbled up! I’m not kidding. I think my parents have a preference for lighter, cakier brownies but I have a weakness for dense, chocolatey ones. Ones that are like melty bites of chocolate truffle but still lighter on the palate. These ones didn’t let me down. They had bitterness from the dark chocolate, a gentle tartness from the bloobs, a hint of saltiness from the sea salt, and a dash of sweetness from, well, the sugah!

Those of you itching for the recipe can scroll straight down. For everyone else, bear with me for all things chocolate in this post. They say chocolate makes people happy! And dark chocolate is good for you. So chocolate with cake is the perfect combination for kickstarting the week don’t you think?

img_3518

From a Chocolate Blackout Cake topped with chopped praline chocolates

img_3649

To Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and a good dose of Chocolate Drip

img_3666

To more drippy porn on this Nutella Buttercream Chocolate Cake

img_3669

And a close up just because!

In other news, Professor Brawn, the social enterprise I have been working with for the past 4? years has been taken over by the Autism Resource Centre (ARC). So the bistro itself has officially closed but the brand will be making its way into schools by setting up cafes internally where some of their autistic staff will work. I think it’s great because this means that students will get to interact with people with special needs directly and learn to respect them as individuals. I would love to see Singapore integrate those with special needs into society at a far greater level and educate the public about treating them the way they deserve – with love, patience, and understanding; that even though they may be different in how they carry themselves, we ought to admire the heart they put into doing what they do.

We were invited to the closing event at Professor Brawn. It was bittersweet but I am hopeful for the future that lies ahead for it and those who were working in the cafe. Uncle Roland, Amanda, Chef Tun, and the always-hospitable staff, have always treated me well and it’s been an incredible blessing working with them. Perhaps in the future there will be more opportunities for collaboration, and already, J from ARC has spoken to me about working together for the cafe at The Enabling Village as well as the first of their cafes to be set up within one of Singapore’s top schools. I’m excited! Almost as excited as sharing this brownie recipe with you. Ok I lied. I’m actually more excited but you understand why don’t you? lol.

img_3659

Blueberry Sea Salt Brownies (Makes 1 8″x8″ Square)

150g Coconut Oil or Melted Butter
240g Dark Chocolate
4 Eggs
65g Coconut Sugar
25g Cocoa Powder
14g Coconut Flour
100g Blueberries

To top:
25g Blueberries
Sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line an 8″x8″ square tin.
  2. Melt chocolate with butter/coconut oil over double boiler until melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. In a clean bowl, whisk eggs with sugar until frothy. 
  4. Stream chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix well. 
  5. Add  cocoa powder and coconut flour. Mix until just incorporated. 
  6. Gently fold in blueberries and pour the batter into prepared tin.
  7. Scatter blueberries on top and press them in lightly so they don’t fall off after baking. 
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until just set. Remove from oven and sprinkle Sea Salt over.
  9. Cool completely before cutting.

img_3660

Here’s a little confession: I enjoyed these so much I didn’t want to give too many of them away – MORE FOR MEEEEE! So in situations such as these, I just wrap them up tightly in clingfilm and pop them into the freezer. They’re still soft enough to bite into frozen but usually I’ll take them out of the freezer and let them sit about 5-10min, distract myself during that time, before I sink my teeth into them. So yummy!

Have a brilliant week ahead and if there’s one thing you should do this week, it’s to bake a batch of these babies! x

David Lebovitz Gluten-Free Brownies

I’m a big fan of David Lebovitz and so far, the recipes that I’ve tried from his collection have never failed to have me licking the crumbs off my lips, fingers and plate. His beetroot chocolate cake turned out beautifully moist and bomb-diggity. His ginger cookies recipe that I’ve since adapted and is now one of my most popular orders, especially from the older generation. And now, these gluten-free brownies.

img_1771

While I’ve now tried countless gluten free brownie recipes, I often use ground nuts as a substitute for flour. These use only cocoa powder and cornstarch so it’s great for those who have nut-allergies, if unlike me, you don’t add in extra nuts of course. These brownies were proper intense and extremely rich, dark and fudgy. No one will ever guess these to be gluten-free. They are amazing! I left the recipe as it was apart from reducing the amount of sugar from 150g down to 120g. I found it sweet enough to counter the bitterness from the cocoa powder yet not overwhelmingly so.

img_1766

David Lebovit’s Gluten Free Brownies (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

85g Butter
225g Dark Chocolate
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
120g Sugar (Reduced from 150g)
2 Eggs
10g Cocoa Powder
30g Cornstarch
75g Pecan Nuts, Coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. Over gentle heat, melt butter together with dark chocolate and sea salt. Remove from heat. 
  3. Whisk in sugar.
  4. Whisk in eggs one at a time. 
  5. Add in sifted cocoa powder and cornstarch. Beat for a minute until smooth and glossy. 
  6. Fold in 50g of pecans. Pour batter into prepared tin and sprinkle remaining nuts on top. Press in gently to stick. Bake for 20-25min.

img_1770

I didn’t know what to expect from these brownies but what I can tell you is I did not expect them to taste as good as they did! It had all the elements that make a great brownie in my opinion and took less than 10min to make the batter. This recipe is definitely a keeper and one I will come back to again and again! Especially when I’m hangry for delicious brownies since these bake faster than a trip to the bakery.

Raspberry Pistachio Brownies.

Just before Chinese New Year, in addition to gifting my neighbours with some Ginger Cookies, I also baked a batch of these raspberry pistachio brownies because I wasn’t sure if the little kiddies next door would be partial to the spicy heat of ginger. Now, I cannot also be sure that these deep, rich, fudgy brownies cater to their tastebuds either because I used dark chocolate but it IS chocolate and I don’t think anyone aged 0 – 999 can not love chocolate.

img_1495

I admit, these were deliciously dark and the fresh raspberries gave a refreshing tartness to each bite. I love the pistachios on top that provided some textural contrast and earthiness to the brownies which were indulgent and chewy.

img_1493

Since Mummy and Daddy Tan were (and are) still away, it meant I didn’t have them to pass my experimental creations to. So I thought to share a few pieces as well with the guards down the back alley who always open the barriers for me. They have since become a whole lot friendlier and chattier whenever they see me which is really nice.

One of the older guards showed me yesterday his last piece of this brownie that he had been saving to savour. He exclaimed that they were so delicious that he couldn’t bear to polish off this final piece, yet he wanted to. Looks like I have a trio of grown men who will be happy to take whatever extra bits and pieces of baked goodies I have whenever I have them and it feels good too to be able to feed others and see the smiles on their faces – which is exactly why I fell in love with baking.

Anyway, I used spelt flour and coconut sugar to up the nutritional status of what would otherwise be a normal, but still awesome, brownie, and also to make them a bit healthier for the young ‘uns. To be honest, you can’t tell that these have been healthified just because they taste so sinfully good!

img_1498

Raspberry Pistachio Brownies (Yields 1 8×8″ square)

180g Dark Chocolate (I used 70%)
113g Butter
30g Cocoa Powder
150g Coconut Sugar
3 Eggs
95g Spelt Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
125g Fresh Raspberries
25g Pistachios, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin. 
  2. Over a bain marie, melt dark chocolate with butter. Stir gently to combine. 
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and coconut sugar. Add in dark chocolate mixture and mix well.
  4. Whisk eggs in one at a time. 
  5. Fold in flour and salt until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in raspberries. Pour batter into prepared tin.
  7. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top of the batter and bake for 18-20 min. 
  8. Remove tin from oven and allow to cool before slicing. 

img_1496

I cannot stress how in love I am with these Raspberry Pistachio Brownies! I never thought much of using raspberries in brownies but now I have, I’m utterly blown away. So if there’s one recipe you NEED to use stat, it’s this one. I promise it’s worth going right now to the supermarket to pick up the necessary ingredients for.

You’re welcome! 🙂