Easy Chocolate brownies with cranberries and hazelnuts
I’ve got a thing about eating chocolate and nuts together. Last year I posted my new and improved ‘Just Beet It‘ brownies that had walnuts and more recently, for Easter, I posted a Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins recipe with pistachios. This time round it’s the turn of hazelnuts to make an appearance. Chocolate and hazelnuts have long had a happy relationship. Nutella instantly springs to mind, and so does fellow blogger Danni Martin’s Healthier Chocolate Spread.
Brownies are my favourite to make when you want something chocolatey that’s simple and cause a minimum of fuss. I made these in celebration of my blog turning 2 years old on 30th May. I’ve been so busy of late that I completely forgot all about it! I’m so happy to still be blogging and feel like I’ve really come a long way since I started. Unlike the Just Beet It brownies which were more compact, these easy chocolate brownies are more spongey and light. I used a mix of whole hazelnuts and chopped, just to play around with the texture.
A yummy Easter treat: Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins.
Last week Neil and I went to Scotland for a couple of days to visit my Sister and Brother-in-law. It was the first time in years that we got to go over, so we were very excited to see their new house and celebrate my Brother-in-law’s special birthday. Walking around Glasgow, the streets appeared familiar yet different; new shops had opened and some places we liked are sadly now closed. This story is a bit like the Cadbury’s Creme Egg; the recipe has changed, but somehow it’s still the same old familiar egg we recognise from past Easters as kids. Back then, I had a super sweet tooth like most kids, and had quite the collection of Disney stickers stuck on my school books from trips to the Dentist!
A healthier version of Nutella: Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
There are certain words and terms that are quite simply irksome to my ears: “on a diet”; “detoxing”; and “clean eating” are at the top when it comes to eating behaviours. My philosophy has always been to eat in moderation without cutting out the food you love, to keep active and essentially you should be just fine.
It’s astounding the amount of recipe books that are thrust in our faces using these types of trendy marketing terms.“Souping” is the latest to target those trying to change their lifestyles. Just like these trends yo-yo in and out of fashion, you’ll find your weight also yo-yo’s as you try to find the right balance. Following a 7 day juicing course is one thing, but how do you maintain the weight loss once you start to eat normally again?
I don’t like these diet trends and never have; they aren’t healthy and they will leave you out of pocket and miserable. Denying yourself the food you love only sets you up for failure, as you will inevitably cave in and binge more than before you started. That is why I’m excited to share my thoughts on a refreshing recipe book called Hungry Healthy Happy: How to nourish your body without giving up the food you love.
I know I know, we’re only just in September and it’s not quite Winter yet but now is the perfect time to make a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix for the colder months ahead.
I love Autumn so much, it’s cold but not depressingly so. I love walking through the parks in a warm buttoned up coat and seeing the leaves change colours. I love coming in from the cold and having a hot drink ready. The heat of the cup warming up your hands and in my case, steaming up my glasses too! Then of course there’s the joy of watching out for squirrels dashing about the garden looking for food. (When is the last time you saw a red one)?
If it’s not chocolate, it’s not breakfast
– Laini Taylor
Why did I choose the only Fleetwood Mac song I like as my alarm tone? Albatross begins to play, snooze button gets hit. Albatross starts again, snooze button gets bashed and a grunt from the other side of the bed can be heard. Albatross again…phone gets thrown onto the floor (another battle scar).
You’ve probably guessed by now that we aren’t morning people, and if you aren’t either, then you know what it’s like. Get up, get washed, and dash out the door without time for much else.
And that’s one of the many reasons why I love overnight oats. Prepared the night before and left to soak up all the flavours in your liquid of choice; come the morning you can just grab your breakfast from the fridge and enjoy with minimal fuss.
As I’d been using pretty much the same base but changing the toppings, I thought I would spruce things up a touch to make mornings that little bit nicer. The first ingredient that came into my head was chocolate. Do I need to explain? IT’S CHOCOLATE!! Paired with the second love of my life (almond butter) and this Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats recipe came forth into the world!
Enjoy it cold or heat it in the microwave (if you can spare a couple of minutes). Add any toppings you like. For this I used sliced banana, desiccated coconut, pumpkin seeds and goji berries.
As this is full of cocoa goodness, I’m entering this recipe into We Should Cocoa, a monthly linky created by Choclette of Tin and Thyme. This months theme is ‘anything goes’. Do check it out for more chocolate goodies.
- 40g plain oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 200ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1-2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
- 1 tbsp smooth almond butter
- a smidgen of ground ginger
- Place all the ingredients into a bowl or mason jar, give it a good mix and leave overnight
- Serve in the morning warm or cold and add your toppings of choice.
Other reasons why I love overnight oats:
1. It’s never boring, change up your toppings and you have a different breakfast.
2. It’s healthy. Well, it can be depending on what ingredients you use!
3. Keeps you full until lunch time.
4. Knowing you’ll wake up to something nice that’s ready!
Looking for more overnight oats recipes? Check out fellow food blogger Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Fennel, which is the spice for Wednesdays…smelling of changes to come
– Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Did you ever eat Blackjacks ’til your tongue turned black when you were a kid? Tearing open that familiar wrapper, you could always smell the aniseed/liquorice flavour before tasting it. And that flavour made it nearly impossible to have just one, right? Well these days I don’t eat too many sweets, but if I want that distinct aniseed taste, then fennel is what I’d reach for. Until recently, I’d quite forgotten about this vegetable until I read 10 Wonderful Ways With Fennel on the Reader’s Digest. The orange ice cream combo was what stood out to me, with it being Summer and that (apparently). Orange and fennel is a really nice combo, as is chocolate and orange (Terry’s chocolate springs to mind). So what about chocolate, orange and fennel?
Saturday morning was perfect for two reasons: 1) getting up after a well needed lie-in, pulling back the blinds and seeing that the sun was splitting the rocks! And 2) when I opened the freezer to move things around, I spotted hidden at the bottom, lonely and unloved…frozen bananas! Sunny day + frozen bananas means one thing in my house – na na nana nice-cream!
Making nice cream is incredibly easy and you don’t need an ice-cream maker, just a food processor. A blender will do the job as well, it just might take longer depending on how powerful your blender is.
All you need are frozen over-ripe bananas and a splash of whatever milk you prefer. That’s the blueprint for nice-cream. Anything you add after that, is up to you. That’s how easy it is. And you can have as much fun as you like experimenting with your own flavours. The recipe I’m sharing is one of my favourite ways to eat nice cream – half is plain and half is chocolate, topped with coconut and fresh strawberries.
- 2 large over-ripe frozen bananas, chopped.
- A good generous splash of milk of your choice.
- 1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tbsp nut butter (optional)
- Put the frozen bananas into a food processor, add a splash of milk of your choice and blend until there are no lumps left in the bananas. Add more milk if needs be. Remember to scrape down any mixture that gets stuck on the sides. You can add vanilla extract for some extra flavouring and nut butter will make it that little bit more creamy.
- Serve immediately.
- This serves 1 person, double recipe for each additional person.
- 2 large over-ripe frozen bananas, chopped
- a splash of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- Put 1 chopped frozen banana into food processor with a splash of milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Blend until creamy. Remove and place on one half of your bowl.
- Add the 2nd frozen banana into the food processor with a splash of milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp of cacao powder. Blend until creamy and add to the other half of your bowl. If it isn't sweet enough for your taste, add 1 tsp honey (or agave/maple syrup) and blend.
- Serve with toppings of choice (I used coconut and fresh strawberries).
- Yield: 1 bowl
P.S. Check out my recipe for plain nice cream with homemade granola.
Have you tried nice cream before? Wha’s your favourite combos?
If there’s ever a market in town that happens to have a stall selling fudge, then you can bet you’ll find me there. To say I’m a big fan of fudge is an understatement! I love browsing all the different flavours and taking a big mixed bag of the stuff home with me. Among my favourites are: rum and raisin; rocky road; classic vanilla; and of course, chocolate!
- 250g dark chocolate (70%)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened.
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 200g icing sugar
- Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
- Break the chocolate up in pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl along with the butter, double cream, vanilla extract and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and keep stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
- Remove from the heat and slowly sift in the icing sugar, beating with a wooden spoon.
- Put the mixture into the loaf tin, smoothing it down and place in the fridge to chill until firm.
- Once chilled, remove from the loaf tin and using a knife slice the fudge into little squares.
- Yield: 28 pieces
I have seen a lot of brownie recipes pop up recently and it made me think about my healthier version I made with beetroot and how I wanted to revise it. I did like the original but I wanted them to be more decadent because that’s how brownies should be, right?
I added more chocolate, so they aren’t as healthy, but they’re brownies so who cares, right? They’re more moist than my originals and you’ll still get that earthy beetroot taste coming through, which goes so well with the chocolate.
These would make the perfect gift for your loved one at Valentine’s Day especially if they’re a fan of beetroot.
- 3 eggs
- 100g golden syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g plain flour
- 30g raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of sea salt
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 300g cooked beetroot
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- Whisk the eggs, golden syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- Sieve the flour, cacao powder, baking powder and pinch of sea salt in a bowl and mix well together and then add it to the egg mixture.
- Melt the unsalted butter and chopped dark chocolate in a bowl by placing it into a saucepan of hot water, once ready add it to the egg mixture.
- Puree the cooked beetroot and fold into the mixture along with the chopped walnuts.
- Pour into a lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c.
- Let it cool and then cut into squares.
- Enjoy on its own or with ice-cream
Original Organic Bar:
The Bunnycomb Bar:
The Crunchy Banana Chip Bar:
Original Organic Drops: