Nearly Sugar Free Cookies


I am officially back to school, no more lazy days or dossing I am into the full swing of 5th year work and study.  Home work has been a foreign word to me for over a year. Somebody described the transition from 4th year to 5th as “stepping out into bright light after spending the last year in a dark room. Last year I didn’t even have a pencil or pen in my pencil case but as I have been reminded by teachers and relatives I now begin a two year course that ends with the big LC- Leaving Certificate. I shudder at the thought. I have two years of left in my little school where teachers know my name and people look out for me then it is out into the big bad world. This time next year I will be filling out my CAO form and deciding what path to take, it all seems so scary.  I have no idea what I want to do or be, the options are limitless but yet I seem constrained in the choices can make. I can wait one more year before I really have to worry about all of that.

I am only two days into school and it seems just like I never left. My evening are now packed with homework but I still have tim e to make these cookies which are not really sugar free at all because as one of my teachers used to say “what do you call nearly right? …. wrong”, they contain maple syrup and chocolate chip, but you don’t have to litterly but sugar into them so I like to think they are that little bit healthier.

 

“Kinda” Sugar Free Cookies- adapted from Leon: Baking and Puddings

  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 200g chocolate chips or chunks ( I used half dark and half milk)
  • 50ml honey
  • 200ml maple syrup
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 75ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including the chocolate chips or chunks).
3. Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until they are well combined, but do not over-mix.
5. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking tray.
6. Bake in the oven for only 11 minutes ( I tried 10 and they just need that extra one), and allow the biscuits to cool on the tray for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.

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“I’ll go tomorrow” Porridge

How do you start your mornings? In Spain I started my morning with this, a big bowl of cherries from the fruit shop next door to the apartment, and a crusty roll from the bakery two doors down. Then I went for a dip in the Sea in 20C water. I think it wold be a lot easier to get up everyday if I lived in Spain.

Back home in Ireland I usually start my day with a bowl of cereal or toast and whatever fruit is left in the bowl never very exciting.

Sometimes I go for a run ( only sometimes)

Other days I role over in bed and come up with some excuse and not even these will work. On the ” I’ll go for a long run tomorrow” mornings, I make myself this porridge so I feel good about myself. I find porridge is so wholesome it almost compensates for the run, or lack of it.

Porridge My Way 

I make porridge with pinhead oatmeal a.k.a  steel-cut oats a.k.a Irish oats. They take longer to cut but I prefer the texture. You could over course use rolled oats just follow the instructions on the packet. I cook it with all water but again thats just a preference use all milk or half and half for a creamier porridge. I make a big batch of pinhead oatmeal refrigerate it and then heat it up through out the week with a little water. 

Ingredients

One cup of steel cut oats

Four cups of water

Put the oats and water in a saucepan over the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer on a lower heat for 20-25 minutes. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat . Serve immediately or allow to cool before transferring into air tight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Toppings

For a little variety I like to serve my porrige with toppings here are some suggestions.

Nuts for Bananas porridge

1/2 a banana sliced.

4-5 almonds and hazelnuts (toasted)

3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut

drizzle of maple syrup.

Arrange the slices of bananas on the porridge. Scatter over the nuts and coconut. Then drizzle with the syrup.

Blueberry Bliss porridge

1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen is okay)

1/2 cup of flaked almonds (toatsted)

drizzle of honey

Gently heat the blueberries over a low heat or microwave them for about 45-60 seconds. They should be soft but still hold their shape. Place on top of the porridge and scater over the flaked almonds. Drizzle with honey for sweetness.

Peach Melba Porridge

One peach sliced into wedges.

3-4 tablespoons of natural yogurt

4-5 raspberries

drizzle of honey

Place the yogurt in the center of the porridge. Then top with peaches and raspberries. Drizzle with honey

Apple Crumble Porridge

One apple chopped up

2-3 tablespoons of coconut

2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

1 table spoon of sunflower seeds

Fry the apple slices over a low heat with a little butter or oil to soften them. Toast the coconut, almonds and seeds until just golden. Arrange the softened apple on top of the porridge and scatter with nut topping.

Cinnamon Scone Swirls and a little inspirations


Sometimes recipe inspiration comes to me at the most random times. I spend a lot of time thinking about food and different flavours. Sometimes ideas come to when I am running as I am trying to preocupy my mind from the 9km ahead of me or sometimes as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep an idea juts comes to me like an epiphany and I have to write it down there and then otherwise I will have forgotten it by morning. Other times, other recipes inspire me and I love looking at and examining new recipes seeing how I can adapt them to suite my taste. I also get ideas from movies and books which I scrutinize every meal and piece of food eaten. When I come up with a new idea a get giddy and restless until I try it. I then watch with eager eyes as my family, usually Sister number one, eat it. No sooner have they got it in their mouth do I badger them with questions ” what do you think of it honestly?” ” Is it too sweet/sour/hard/soft ect.?” Usually they are very patient and answer truthfully but sometimes they  get a little angry at my eagerness and a huge fight errupts. The idea for these cinnamin scone swirls had been in my head for a while. They were slightly inspired by Joy the Bakers biscuit cinnamin rolls   and these cinnamon roll scones I found on a new blog Naturally Ella. The flavour idea for these scones first came to me when I was eating the Hunger Games inspiered Fruit and Nut Bread. So inspiration can come to all of us at funny times but remember to stay opened minded “You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany”-Unknown source

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

makes 6

Dough

100g of unbleached all purpose flour
100g of whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons natural sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
15g butter softened
1 egg yolk
3/8 cup buttermilk (or natural yogurt thinned with a little milk or water)

Filling

1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

1tbsp of maple syrup

1tbsp of olive oil

small handfull of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 190C.  Line a muffin tin with buncases. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. In a seperate bowl mix the milk and egg yolk. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well to form a dough. Knead it gently for a few seconds then put out on lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 2.5cm thick (try make it sort of rectangly it’s easier to roll up). Combine all of the filling ingredients and mix. Using a brush brush the cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough and evenly sprinkle ont the raisins. Roll up tightly like a swiss roll. Then squeeze the roll to ensure it is tight roll it up and down a few times. Cut it into 6 even, smaller rolls. Place upright in the bunc cases. Brush with the remaining egg white or milk and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cook for about 30 minutes until the tops are nicly browned and so is the bottems.  Leave to cool slightly but serve warm.

These are also nice sprinkled with a royal icing made from 30g of icing sugar and 1-2 tsp of water.