pumpkin brie and pine nut tart

Butternut pumpkin, brie, rosemary and pinenut tart

Who loves brie cheese!?  Who loves pastry!?  If your answer is yes, then you need to bake this butternut pumpkin, brie, rosemary and pine nut tart!!  I was looking for a delicious new tart flavour for an Australia Day party, and thought “hey, why not throw all my favourite ingredients on some pastry and see what happens”, and luckily the combination was perfection!!  They were gone in minutes!!

To make things even better, they were super easy to make!

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Ingredients (makes 2 large tarts, or 12 pieces)

  •  2 sheets frozen puff pastry (thawed)
  • 1 egg (for brushing)
  • 1 butternut pumpkin, chopped and thinly sliced
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 1 small wheel of brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • Pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  •  Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  • Place thinly sliced butternut pumpkin on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper – drizzle with olive oil and rosemary and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven.
  • Place each sheet of pastry on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
  • Fold over  1cm edge on each side of the puff pastry to make a border around the edge of each sheet of pastry.  Press the edges down with a fork.
  • Gently prick the pastry all over with a fork
  • Lightly brush the edges of the pastry with egg.
  • Fill the pastry with pastry weights, and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry from the oven, and remove the pastry weights.
  • Top each tart with the pumpkin, brie, pine nuts additional rosemary.  Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and pepper.
  • Bake each tart for a further 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, and slice each tart into 6 pieces.

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Enjoy!!   Happy Australia Day!!

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Best ever gingerbread men

Christmas is my favourite time of the year!!  One of my favourite pre-christmas rituals is getting together with friends for a gingerbread baking party!  All you need is a few good friends, this amazing gingerbread recipe, your favourite cookie cutters and toppings, and ample amounts of wine

It’s even more fun wrapping them up and giving them to people once they’re finished!!  Remember that acts of kindness are also good for our wellbeing!!

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I’ve used this recipe from Taste for several years now and everyone seems to love it, even people who insist they don’t like gingerbread!!  The cookies are quite crunchy, not like the soft and soggy gingerbread you often encounter.

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Ingredients:

  • Decorations of your choice – I used smarties and ‘choc-minis’ from woolworths, and some little silver things (no idea what they’re called, but you can see them below).  You could also ice with a piping bag if you’d prefer!

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

  3. Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.

  4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

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When they’re cooled down, you can wrap them in cellophane party bags, and tie with bakers twine for the perfect Christmas gift.

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So so delicious!!  I accidentally ate quite a few….I’ve packaged the rest up in an attempt to stop eating them!!!  Would you try a gingerbread party with your pals?

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Halloween Cookies

Australia is very slowly embracing halloween.  I remember being about 8 years old, cutting two holes in an old sheet, smearing my mother’s blue eye shadow all over my face and traipsing over to my neighbour’s house, plastic bag in hand, shouting “trick-or-treat” at the top of my lungs.  After my mother spending about 15 minutes attempting to explain the concept of halloween to my elderly neighbours, they finally relented, but sadly all they had were some apples and a bag of prunes.  Not the magical haul of chocolate and lollies my 8 year old imagination had been dreaming of.

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`These days it’s different – halloween is catching on…..so I decided to yet again embrace halloween (I might even destroy another perfectly good bed sheet to make a new ghost costume).

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I saw this pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe on The Butter Half Blog, and had to give it a whirl!!  In Australia, pumpkin usually is for savoury purposes….but I can certainly get on board with pumpkin flavoured desserts!!

The only change I had to make was the tinned pumpkin.  In Australia, it’s really difficult to find canned pumpkin….instead I bought a butternut pumpkin and cooked and pureed it (which didn’t take long at all – just allow time for the pumpkin puree to cool before you start).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (or pureed cooked butternut pumpkin)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, butter, sour cream, egg and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt to one cup of flour. Add it into the wet mixture, thoroughly mix, then add in the remaining cup of flour. Pour in the chocolate chips until everything is well mixed.

3. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop a small mound of dough (about the size of a golf ball) on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes on 375°F. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.pumpkin-3-copy

 

They’re pumpkiny….chocolatey…. what more could you want!?  Do you love halloween?  Who has a costume idea that’s not a sheet with two holes in it!?

Funfetti cupcakes

Funfetti Cupcakes

Nothing spells party time like sprinkles!!  Little Dash turned two this weekend, so it was time for some serious baked goods!!  Whilst it’s well known that the key to an excellent children’s party is ample amounts of wine for the adults, these funfetti cupcakes were a hit!!  Thankfully there weren’t many of these left over after the party, or I most likely would have eaten all of them!!

Funfetti cupcakes

I used this recipe from Crazy Crust….the cakes themselves were perfect….with the addition of buttermilk, they were seriously delicious!!  They’re sugary….they’re buttery….they’re delicious!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or combine 3/4 cup milk + 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup Sprinkles

Frosting

  • 250 grams butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Additional Sprinkles, for decorating

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line cupcake tins with liners (makes 15).
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds, until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Stir in sprinkles. Divide batter among liners, filling 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake). Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine took less than 20, so check at 15!) Cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it’s all added. Beat in vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency.
  6. Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. I like the 1M tip, it gives pretty swirls. Add sprinkles for fun!
  7. Note: you can make the frosting the day before, but let it come to room temperature before using.

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Dash can’t stop saying “good birthday” and it’s too adorable!!  I’m sure these delightful cakes had something to do with it!!

Cookies and Cream Cupcake

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

There’s been far too many healthy recipes on Pop Therapy of late, so it was definitely time to bake something devious!!  I made these cupcakes for a friends birthday and they were a hit…. easy to make, and loved by all!!

Nothing beats an Oreo…..except maybe combining it with delicious chocolate cake, coating it in cookies and cream icing, then topping it with another Oreo….and don’t forget to serve with milk….possibly milk which contains additional Oreos…. and maybe a side of ice cream, also containing Oreos…

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I used this recipe from Bakerella

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hot water
24 Oreos, plus more for crumbs

Frosting:
250 grams butter
250 grams icing supar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 or more teaspoons Oreo cookie crumbs

For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Line tray with 12 baking cups.
  • Place one whole cookie in each cup or break apart at least 12 cookies and place the broken pieces into each cup.
  • Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
  • Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the hot water and mix until combined.
  • Transfer the batter (it will be very liquid) to a large measuring cup and then pour batter into each baking cup so it’s about three quarters full. You should have a little left over.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Makes at least 12 cupcakes

For the frosting:

  • Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the powdered sugar in three additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  • Add a Tablespoon of milk at a time and mix together until you achieve the consistency you like.
  • Add the cookie crumbs and mix until completely combined. You can add more if you like, but I just wanted a light speckling to show off the white frosting.
  • Place frosting in a decorator bag with a 1M tip and swirl on top of each cupcake.
  • Insert a cookie on top of each cupcake.
  • You can also apply frosting on each cupcake in a mounded shape. Turn upside down and roll the top around in a small bowl of cookie crumbs to coat.

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Would you try these?  Are you an Oreo lover?  What’s your dream cupcake flavour!?

Tumeric glow balls

Tumeric glow balls

I was at my local cafe the other day, and in my usual fashion, didn’t have enough coins for my coffee, and had to meet the $10 EFT minimum to pay for my precious cappuccino….usually in such a predicament, I would find this to be the perfect excuse to buy a chocolate brownie….but instead, I decided to try a bright yellow “glow bar” displayed neatly on the front counter…. the yellow “glow”, comes from tumeric, so says the delightful barista…. so I gave it a whirl, and it was delicious!!

I decided to try and make my own version (to save me $4.50 a pop)!!  These are free of sugar, dairy and wheat, but were seriously delicious!!  The addition of pineapple makes them naturally sweet and gives a tropical flavour!!

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Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tinned pineapple (you could use fresh if you want to also…I just couldn’t be bothered chopping one up!! Or you could use dried pineapple, but if you do, use less almond meal!!)
  • 1 cup almond meal (for more texture, you could also use crushed macadamias or cashews instead)
  • 1/2  a cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • An additional 1/4 cup dessicated coconut for rolling the balls

 

Method:

  1.  In a food processor, blitz the dates and pineapple
  2. Add in tumeric, and , coconut powder and protein powder and blitz again.
  3.  Gradually add in almond meal, stirring to combine
  4.  To make the balls, scoop out approximately two tablespoons of mix, and roll into balls, dipping into the extra coconut to form a coating on the outside.

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These little balls were absolutely delicious, and make the perfect mid morning snack (especially when you’re avoiding chocolate brownies!).  Have you tried tumeric in your smoothies or protein balls?

Chia Pudding with cacao and rasberries

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chia seeds…..apparently they’re really good for you etc…BUT, did you know, you can also make delicious, low carb desserts with them!?  The consistency may appear alarming, but I assure you, this is a delicious and guilt free dessert or breakfast….so much so, that I’m now making them all the time!!  Yes, that’s right….and this is coming from someone who previously thought a Nutella Cronut constituted a super food (“you’ll always be super to me cronuts!”)

Chia seeds absorb liquid, and form a pudding like consistency if you leave them soaking for an hour or so.

Cocoa chia pudding

These are really easy to make!  Recipe below makes 2 servings!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons honey (you can add more or less honey depending on your desired sweetness)
  • 1 cup almond and coconut milk (or whatever milk you would like – I used Almond Breeze Coconut almond blend)
  • Raspberries and flaked almonds (or any fruit, nut etc) for topping

Method:  

  •  Combine chia seeds, cacao powder and cinnamon,, and pour into the bottom of an empty jar or glass
  • Pour in almond milk and stir to combine
  • Add in honey and continue stirring
  • Cover your container or jar, and leave to set in the fridge for at least one hour, or up to overnight
  • Remove from the fridge, stir, and top with your desired toppings!!

You can add any other flavour combination to this, such as vanilla bean paste, pureed mango or berries, banana etc.  You can also puree the entire pudding to make a smooth and creamy consistency if you’re not a fan of the seeds – keep in mind you may need to add some additional sweetener if you do this!!  Try dates, or additional honey or maple syrup!

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A simple, easy and guilt free dessert!!  A great option for when you’re craving some chocolately, but attempting to avoid actual CHOCOLATE!!  Are you on the chia seed bandwagon yet!?

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie

Simply Delicious Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been attempting to clean up my diet lately, and this means cutting back on the delicious, butter and sugar filled baked goods I’ve been baking all too often lately!!

I’ve done several dairy free recipes in the past, and was loving coconut oil as an alternative to butter!!  This recipe takes it a step further, and is gluten free, as well as dairy free!!  It also uses Coconut Sugar instead of refined sugar.. Coconut Sugar has  lower GI than regular sugar so is a (slightly) better alternative.

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It uses a mix of almond meal and coconut flour in the place of regular sugar, which gives these a crumbly and slightly coconutty flavour.

These cookies are simply delicious!!  Thick and crumbly, and full of chocolate goodness!!  I used this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pack dark chocolate melts – you can use dairy free chocolate if you’re keeping the recipe dairy free Coles stock a brand called “Sweet William” who make baking chips.
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large bowl, add add in beaten egg, melted and cooled coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla extract. (Please make sure your coconut oil is cool!) Next add in almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda, mixing well to combine and form a dough. Fold in dark chocolate chunks. You may need to use your hands to moisten the dough so that it sticks together well.
  3. Use a cookie scoop or large tablespoon to drop dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gently flatten the dough with your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finishing cooling. Makes 12 cookies.

Easy to make, and easy to eat!!!  Perfect for your gluten free and dairy free pals too!!!  Do you have a favourite paleo recipe?

Nutella Stuffed Blondies

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Every now and then a recipe comes along that is just so darn delicious that you wonder where it’s been your whole life!  This is such a recipe!!

The combination of brown butter, and a gooey cookie dough consistency make recipe one to be reckoned with…just when you thought a cookie couldn’t get any more delicious…along comes my good friend Nutella, to make it even more amazing!!

Disclaimer:  You may want to eat far too many of these in one sitting – I strongly suggest you share these with your friends, or trouble will ensue.

I used this recipe on a Cup of Jo, by Monique at Ambitious Kitchen.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar (light brown sugar works too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 tbsp Nutella (1 cup)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper. (A 7 x 11 inch pan will also work well.)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. The butter will begin to crackle and foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. It is VERY important to let the butter cool. Please do not skip this step.

With an electric mixer, mix the brown butter and sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined, smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.

Divide the cookie dough batter in half. Spread half of the dough onto prepared pan, patting towards the edges. Try to make sure that the batter is evenly distributed; it’s going to seem like a thin layer but they will bake up and be glorious.

Drop Nutella by tablespoonfuls on top of first layer of cookie dough. You’ll want to do this all around the pan, leaving a small amount of space on the edges. Next, spread Nutella with a spatula so that it’s in an even layer on top of the cookie dough. Top Nutella with remaining batter, making sure Nutella is completely covered. Tip: I drop a handful of cookie dough in different areas on top of the Nutella, then use my hands to pat the cookie dough into an even layer.

Bake for 23 to 27 minutes, or until edges begin to turn a slight golden brown. I like to underbake mine a little so they stay gooey and soft in the middle. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

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If you love these, I also recommend trying these brown butter chocolate chip cookies, stuffed with Nutella!!

Cacao smoothie dairy free

Dairy free cacao thickshake

So it’s taken me several attempts to spell “Cacao” correctly….no, it isn’t a spelling error, it’s just a healthier and less refined version of our good friend cocoa (Who knew!?).

Now that I’m taking a temporary break from my good friends butter, saturated fat and refined sugar, I’m on a quest for heathy but delicious recipes.  If you’ve read my blog for a while now, you’ll be well aware that I do enjoy a good unhealthy treat, but it’s time for me to put the mod in moderation!!

After one too many Nutella milkshakes, topped with Nutella Donuts (Yes, they exist), I’m off the baked goods (hell, for a good few days at least!!).  Today I made this delicious alternative, which is dairy free, contains no refined sugar or sweeteners, and is naturally sweet and creamy!!  Perfect as a post workout shake, or as a healthy desert!!

Dairy Free Cacao smoothie

Ingredients:

  •  Two tablespoons Cacao powder (I used Blackmores – it’s not cheap, but you only need a small amount per serve)
  • 1 large banana (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 cup coconut almond milk (I used Almond Breeze) – you can use plain almond or the milk of your choice if you prefer.
  • 1 handful of ice

Blend to combine – the consistency should be nice and thick!!

This was legit delish!  Do try it!! :)  Do you have a favourite healthy smoothie recipe?  I would love to hear it!!