I’m sure some sort of colourful vegan mini eggs exist, but the first vegan eggs I found when I decided to do an easter recipe were standard dark chocolate ones. As I knew I wanted to make some easter nests, I decided to twist the traditional recipe slightly because although chocolate eggs on a chocolate nest would certainly taste good, it didn’t offer the contrast in colours that easter nests usually have (and I’m certainly a believer of the saying you ‘eat with your eyes’).
Instead of a chocolate easter nest, I’ve gone for coconut caramel. The use of coconut cream really thickens up the caramel and gives a smooth, creamy and rich sauce that pairs beautifully with the bitterness of the dark chocolate eggs. If you’re not able to get a carton of coconut cream, leave a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight. When you come to make the easter nests, scoop out the thick cream from the top of the can.
This recipe is definitely one of the simpler sweet recipes I’ve shared on my blog, and this plus the easter theme means it’s the perfect recipe to make with children during one of April’s showers!
Every time I tweak my vegan cupcake recipe I think it’s my best one ever, so there have been quite few declarations of “No, this is definitely my final cupcake recipe!” throughout the past few months. However, I feel quite confident saying that this chocolate cupcake recipe is now my go-to one, and I finally feel like it doesn’t need any further changes. It originally came about as a modified version of my mini three tier cherry chocolate cake recipe, and I’ve used it to make many a birthday cupcake since, so I thought it was about time it appeared on the blog. The addition of vanilla icing and vegan honeycomb pieces make these chocolate honeycomb cupcakes an extremely indulgent and tasty treat!
Today’s recipe is another vegan ricotta and sundried tomato recipe (see my previous recipe for vegan ricotta and sundried tomato ravioli), but this time with the addition of my favourite herb, basil. I’ve tested this recipe with both dried basil and fresh basil, and this time dried basil won due to the more intense flavour. If, however, you find yourself with no dried basil, you can sub the dried basil for a large handful of fresh basil (finely chopped). It still tastes great that way, I just preferred the flavour with the dried.
Pinwheels are a favourite snack of mine because I love puff pastry (although not enough to attempt making my own yet!). Pinwheels are also really quick and easy to make which is great, because when I want a snack I want it as soon as possible! As well as making a great snack on their own, these pinwheels are great paired with a salad for a light lunch, or as a side to a tomato soup if you fancy a change from bread.
Do you ever have those days where just nothing you try in the kitchen goes right? I had one of those days when I started making these cookies. The cookies themselves were fine – they looked and tasted delicious! I was then originally going to coat them in melted dark chocolate and leave to set. But I just could not melt chocolate successfully – my makeshift bain marie really failed me that day! I ended up eating lumpy half melted dark chocolate and shoving the cookies in the freezer, vowing to try again another day.
However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I decided that the flavour of the dark chocolate would end up overpowering the subtle rose flavour. Instead, I thought I’d incorporate the rose water into an icing and top with freeze dried strawberries. And so these strawberry rose cookies were borne. Mine are heart shaped, to fit in with this week’s Valentine’s theme, but you can cut these into any shape you like if you’re not making them for your Valentine.
Not so long ago I posted a recipe for a salted caramel apple pie. When I first tested the recipe for that, I ended up with leftover salted caramel sauce, so I had think about what other sweet treat I could come up with to use it up. I’d been planning to make my chocolate orange brownies that weekend, so instead decided to combine the two to make salted caramel chocolate brownies.
The gooey-ness of the salted caramel chocolate brownies combined with the crunchy topping of the salted pretzels makes for an interesting and tasty texture combination.
I’m not usually fond of sweet and salty flavour combinations (don’t get me started on sweet and salty popcorn!) but with salted caramel it’s just right, you know? In fact, this is a flavour combination that pops up quite frequently when I’m making desserts (see my recipe for salted caramel pretzel cheesecakes).
This recipe makes two individual salted caramel apple pies (quite large individual portions, but aren’t those the best kind?!) and so if you want to make a standard sized pie you can just double up the recipe, although one pack of pastry might still do the job. Peeling the apples instead of chopping them allows the caramel sauce to permeate every part of the filling, so there’s no bite without that sweet and salty caramel flavour! The pies are best served with vegan ice cream – I recommend vanilla Swedish Glace with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, if you have any left.
The natural sweetness of pistachio pairs really well with the slight bitterness of dark chocolate. For a while I had been testing recipes that combined these two flavours, but none of them were quite right until I tried this one. Don’t make the error I made – you can buy pistachios that are already shelled and skinned. I didn’t realise this until I’d tested the recipe several times and spent too many hours of my life shelling and skinning pistachios!
I picked up some Balsajo black garlic at the London Animal Free Festival last year. I’d never heard of black garlic before, and had no idea how to use it, but I’m a sucker for new ingredients! Although I’ve now used it in recipes such as chilli and bolognese, I really wanted to use it in something that allowed the sweet, balsamicky flavour to really stand out. Here, I’ve paired the black garlic with tangy sundried tomatoes in a soft loaf of bread. Overall, bread-making does take a while, but the hands-on time for this recipe is only around 15 minutes, and proving the dough is essential for getting the perfect taste and texture. It’s a great recipe to try on a lazy Sunday and will set you up with bread for the rest of the week.
OK, a confession. Before I made these muffins, I’d only eaten carrot cake a handful of times. Usually when that cake craving hits, only chocolate cake will do. After making these, though, I feel my sweet tooth might branch out a little more! Here, the taste of traditional carrot cake pairs beautifully with the zing of citrus zest drizzled over the top.
For the scones:
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1.5 tablespoons dried sage
1.5 tablespoons onion powder
150g vegan butter (melted)
3 tablespoons aquafaba*
For the cranberry sauce:
150g frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons water
*Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas.