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With local businesses taking the opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved break over the Easter weekend, there’s no better time to focus your energy on baking up a storm in the kitchen. These four recipes from Brisbane nutritionist and author, Sofie Van Kempen, will have you licking your lips all weekend long!

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
Makes 8-12 // Prep time: 30 min (+ 1hr rise time) // Cooking time: 25 min

Ingredients

The Bun

  • 130g (1 cup) dried fruit (and/or chocolate, mixed nuts)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water or juice of an orange
  • 2 tsp active yeast
  • 1 tsp rapadura/coconut sugar
  • 120g (1/2 cup) warm water or nut milk
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 20g (1/4 cup) psyllium husk
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 250g (1 cup) boiling water
  • 300g (2 cups) brown rice flour
  • 130g (1 cup) tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 75g (1/3 cup) rapadura sugar
  • 6g (2 tsp) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • zest of orange or lemon

The Cross Mix

  • 1/2 cup GF self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup water

The Spiced Glaze

  • juice of orange or 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut/rapadura sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/bean

Method

Bun Mixture: Boil a full kettle of water to be used throughout the recipe. Line a tray with baking paper. Fill a large bowl with boiling water and store in your OFF oven to prepare the oven for the bun rising process. Plump dried fruit with half a cup of either boiling water or warmed orange juice and allow it to sit until required.

Activate Yeast: Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water together and set aside.

Thickeners: In separate bowl weigh psyllium, add xanthum gum, whisk through the eggs and pour in the boiling water. Allow to thicken for two minutes. In another bowl, weigh the dry flour ingredients and whisk together until combined and without lumps. Combine the activated yeast and thickeners through the dry flour ingredients to form a dough.

Mix for a couple of minutes until well combined – mixture will be quite sticky, however not overly wet. Once combined fold through dried fruit & orange zest. Transfer dough onto a floured bench – use a small amount of plain rice flour on the bench and on your hands to avoid sticking. You do not need to knead the dough, simply shape the dough ready to cut into buns. Cut dough into 8 – 12 buns with a wet knife or dough scraper, shape and place on the baking tray approx 2 cms apart from one another. Let dough rest in the oven with door closed for at least an hour to rise.

The buns will nearly double in size and push up against one another. Once dough has risen and is ready to bake, cross buns with crossing mix. Preheat oven to 200°C and bake buns for 25 minutes – until golden brown. Transfer buns to wire rack and glaze with spiced glaze mix. Allow to cool before cutting into the buns to stop them from becoming doughy. Store in an airtight container on the bench or in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. Best when served toasted & drizzled with honey, of course!

Cross Mixture: Combine flour and water and add into a piping bag or zip-lock with the corner cut.

Spiced Glaze: Use liquid of choice, add sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Heat glaze over the stove to dissolve sugar, if using juice.


Homemade Easter Eggs
Makes 12 // Prep time: 10 minutes // Set time: 30 minutes

WARNING! Making Easter Eggs isn’t for the feint hearted! I recommend mentally preparing yourself for this little adventure before you begin… you will still find chocolate in your hair a week after making them, you may throw a few things in the kitchen and resent Easter for a short moment but you will be pretty darn proud of yourself once you succeed. Patience is a virtue … and I surely don’t have it!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder (loose cup)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • pinch sea salt

Optional: 1/4 cup nut butter or tahini can be added to the chocolate recipe to add creaminess to the consistency and also texture if you choose a crunchy nut butter option.

You can replace half the cacao butter with cold pressed coconut oil to make it more affordable – however it will melt easier at room temperature and you will have to keep it in the freezer.

Method

  1. In a small – medium saucepan on low heat melt the cacao butter, honey, vanilla bean and salt, stirring to combine. (or use double boiler method – i’m lazy!)
  2. Once melted and combined remove from heat and stir through the cacao powder ensuring there are no lumps (I use a fork or whisk). Continue to stir whilst mixture is coming to room temperature.
  3. Pour chocolate into each mould… I usually place the mould in the freezer tray and pour the chocolate in once it is in there (as transferring once full is a nightmare).
  4. Now let the chocolate set in the freezer for an hour or two.
  5. Now for the tricky part, making those halves whole. Remove the eggs from the freezer and while still hard, pop the egg halves out of the mould.
  6. Heat a fry pan on low heat and place one half of each egg onto the frypan to melt it. Then gently push the two halves together to make up the egg. Try to handle the eggs as little as possible as the more you touch them the more they will melt from body heat.
  7. Place the whole eggs back into the freezer. Even though the eggs should stay relatively stable at room temperature, it is best to store them in the fridge or freezer in the meantime.

If you wish to fill your eggs with a caramel filling or bounty filling check out my website for filling ingredients & recipes!


Salted Caramel Brownies
Serves 12 slices // Prep time: 10 minutes // Bake time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 225g salted caramel Loving Earth chocolate (or you can use dark or milk chocolate blocks)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to the 175ºC and line a rectangular baking tray (28 x 32cm) with coconut oil & baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate on the stove as a double boiler or in a microwave safe cup or bowl for 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval or stir continuously if melting on stove. Set aside.
  3. All all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until combined
  4. Pour batter into baking tray you can sprinkle with extra sea salt (go on you know you want to) and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Check it with a skewer it should come out clean and allow brownies to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Store in the fridge or you can also freeze the brownies.

Optional: You can sub out the eggs to make vegan if you choose and replace with 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp water) let sit in a bowl to thicken before using.

You can sub the almond meal out for oat flour or GF flour.


Carrot Cake with Icing
Serves 8-12 slices // Prep time: 10 minutes // Bake time: 30 mins

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup carrot, grated
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp all spice/mixed spice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the butter icing

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup butter chopped or cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 lemon juiced w rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Or, for the raw vegan icing

  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamias (soaked)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 lemon juiced w rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C and line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and fill the cake tin with the cake batter.
  3. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, once golden on top remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  4. Now it is frosting time… choose which frosting recipe you wish to make and get cracking.

Butter Icing

  1. In your blender add the coconut and blend until fine, add in the butter and continue to blitz until smooth.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to whiz until a smooth consistency is formed, spread the icing on top of the cooked and cooled carrot cake.

Raw Vegan Icing

  1. Soak raw cashews in filtered water for at least 8 hours or overnight then drain, rinse and gently dry.
  2. Add all ingredients into a high speed food processor, nutribullet or similar and blend until smooth, creamy and combined.
  3. Spread on top of cooked and cooled carrot cake.

Optional: You could also sprinkle desiccated coconut on top of the cake once icing has been layered on or crushed walnuts.

You can add extra honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar if the icing isn’t sweet enough.

Depending on how thick you want the icing use 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut cream it will thicken in the fridge.

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