Chocolate! – VeganMoFo Day 18

Hands up if you like chocolate? Yep? I bet I’m seeing everyone’s hands raised (except my mum’s, but that’s ok because we’ll eat her chocolate instead). Everyone knows I am a huge chocolate fan. I mean, this is my second chocolate post in a row (have you checked out my chocolate truffles yet?). As a kid, people would say they knew my dad and I were related, because we both were such chocolate addicts…and nothing has changed since!

Chocolate is an odd one, being vegan. You hear “…wait, you can eat chocolate?” a lot. Or people who refuse to even try vegan chocolate, thinking it tastes gross. And, OK, there are some vegan chocolates that I’m not a fan of…but I know there are some non-vegan chocolates that also aren’t that tasty. We live in a day and age where veganism is booming, and this means that there are more vegan chocolate options available than ever! I’ve attempted to put together a little guide featuring my favourite chocolates, both cheap and not-so-cheap. Note – I am in the UK and so the chocolate featured in this guide will reflect that. You might be able to get it in a different country, but please check the ingredients first as sometimes sneaky companies change the ingredients for different markets!

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Let’s start with the basics – plain vegan chocolate. This is the one I use most of all. It’s Lidl’s own brand – “Fin Carré” – and sells for 30p per 100g bar, which is a really good deal! It tastes lovely too. I use it mostly for baking with – if you see a recipe on here that has chocolate as an ingredient, chances are it’s this one I use. Sainsbury’s also has a similar bar in their “basics” range that sells for 50p/100g, and Morrisons has one for a similar price too.

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My ultimate favourite chocolate bar is Cadbury’s Bournville. I don’t think I’d ever tried it before I was vegan, because I assumed it being dark chocolate meant I wouldn’t like it – but it’s actually quite low cocoa percentage (35%) which means it’s sweeter and not so bitter. It also has that classic “cadbury” flavour to it! You can buy this in most supermarkets. Sometimes you can buy miniature bars of Bournville, but I often have trouble finding those.

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The final “plain chocolate” I’m featuring is this “Smooth” dark chocolate from Poundland of all places. I never expected to find vegan chocolate there, but here you have it. It won’t win any gourmet chocolate awards, but for £1 for a large bar, it’s tasty and good!

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Now let’s take a look at vegan milk chocolate alternatives. One of the best out there is the Moo Free brand of chocolate, which actually has several different flavours (we’ll come back to that later) but does a lovely creamy milk chocolate bar. You can buy this in some supermarkets, Holland & Barrett, and many other “health food” or vegan stores.

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This photo is not the best, I’m afraid (it’s so awkward taking photos in supermarkets!) but many supermarkets have come out with their own range of dairy free milk chocolate now! Pictured above is Tesco’s range, including milk and white chocolate bars, and milk and white chocolate buttons. You can buy milk chocolate bars at Asda and Sainsbury’s too!

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That leads us nicely onto our next topic of white chocolate! As mentioned above, Tesco do small white chocolate bars and buttons, and now Sainsbury’s do large white chocolate bars! They’re actually very nice, and only £1 per bar, which is cheap for vegan white chocolate.

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This one is possibly the best vegan white chocolate out there. It’s rich, has a strong vanilla taste, and really, just tastes pretty luxurious. It’s not the cheapest out there, but if you’re wanting some special white chocolate, I’d go for this one. You can often find it in vegan and health food shops, and you can buy it online too.

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Finally on the white chocolate front, we have “Organica” white chocolate. This might be familiar if you’ve been vegan a while – it was one of the first vegan white chocolates I tried! It’s sweet and creamy – just what you want in a white chocolate. This can be bought in most of the same places as the above iChoc bar – health food shops, and online.

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Let’s move onto flavoured chocolate! The picture above is not very good I know, of course I had to put my thumb over the brand… (I told you I am not good at taking photos in supermarkets!) but it is Moo Free chocolate once again! They do many flavours including orange, bunnycomb (which has bits like a non-vegan crunchie bar), hazelnut, banana, and fruit and nut. These two mini bars are sold in Morrison’s, but you can find them in the same places as other Moo Free bars (as above).

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This is another familiar brand – iChoc again! I think this is my husband’s favourite bar. It’s chocolate cookie flavoured – the cookies being kind of like oreos. The chocolate is milk chocolate flavoured (it’s made with rice milk) and it has lovely little crunchy bits of cookies in! You can buy this in health food, vegan shops, and online.  iChoc also do a range of other flavoured bars, including white nougat, almond orange, and super nut flavours.

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The Vego bar has taken the vegan world by storm in the last few years. It’s been touted as the best vegan chocolate bar out there by many, and I’ve seen people say it’s a great alternative to milk chocolate. Well, I disagree that it tastes like milk chocolate, but it’s certainly very tasty. Did you ever have nutella before you were vegan? It tastes like that, only in chocolate bar form. It’s delicious! These are now sold at Holland and Barrett.

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thanks to veganoo.net for the image

Go Max Go bars are the go to vegan snack bars. They make imitations of many popular non-vegan bars, such as bounty, snickers, mars bars, and reeses cups. They are not cheap, unfortunately, but they are certainly very tasty. Check out veganoo’s review to see what they look like inside! These are sold in vegan shops, and online too.

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Fry’s Chocolate Cream bars are a lovely cheap vegan chocolate option! You’ll notice this is the only mint chocolate I have in this guide, I’m sorry, I just really don’t like mint chocolate so it’s not something I try! But the box was next to the regular Fry’s so I thought I’d include it in my photo. These are dark chocolate bars with a creamy fondant filling – imagine the inside of a creme egg. They’re often sold in newsagents in single bars, or in multipacks in supermarkets and budget shops (this photo was taken in B&M Bargains).

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Raspberry Ruffles are also vegan, and another great budget option! These are kind of like raspberry flavoured bounty bars. They have a coconut raspberry filling and a chocolate coating. You can buy them in bars, as pictured, and also in little bags of mini chocolates too. Once again, these are often sold in budget stores, and some supermarkets too.

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I didn’t know whether to include these or not, because they’re not exactly chocolate bars, but they’re chocolatey and I think they’re tasty so there you go. They’re “rice cake bars” covered in orange chocolate, which doesn’t necessarily sound the best, but they are actually really good and would work wonderfully as a quick snack. You can buy them from Aldi for less than £1!

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Now, I’ll talk about chocolate boxes and gifts. The first one, which is pretty widely available, is Choices Caramels. These are little caramel flavoured truffle type things that come in a box. You can buy them in the Free From aisle of many supermarkets, and Tesco themselves have their own branded version of them!

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Chocolate cremes are often vegan! They’re sold more often around Christmas time (if you can call October Christmas…) – Beech’s are the main official brand, but this year Aldi are doing their own version. Whittakers do lovely coffee cremes, and mint ones too (if you like). We even found vegan fruit cremes in the Lake District!

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These rum truffles are a cheap and cheerful gift! I found these in B&M Bargains but they’re also sold in The Range too. They’re flavoured with rum extract and coated in little chocolate sprinkles. They’re pretty small inside, but there are lots of them, and it’s only a pound for a box.

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From cheaper options to very expensive ones – Booja Booja are the luxury  brand in vegan chocolates! They have many, many flavours – check them out here and see them all! These are often sold in vegan shops, health food shops, and sometimes Holland & Barrett. These are really a bit too expensive for me, but they are still nice!

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Onto miscellaneous chocolate items! Chocolate is not all about bars! My favourite chocolate milk here is Oatly chocolate milk. The Oatly brand is really lovely and all vegan, and the chocolate milk is extremely creamy and has a wonderful chocolate taste. Have it cold or heated up and you’ll love it! Sold in most supermarket.

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How about some ice cream? Swedish Glace are a famous ice cream brand – their vanilla ice cream is the most widely sold vegan ice cream in the UK –  and they now have chocolate! It’s a little more difficult to find – I’ve had most luck in Sainsbury’s – but it’s still lovely.

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Hot chocolate, anyone? Yes, Cadbury’s drinking chocolate is vegan! Make sure you get the “drinking chocolate” – the one you add hot milk to – rather than the “instant chocolate” as the latter isn’t vegan. This is sold pretty much everywhere and is lovely. You can even buy vegan marshmallows to have it with!

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And finally, some chocolate spread! There are a few varieties of vegan chocolate spread out there actually, including a lovely Plamil version which you can buy from Holland & Barrett, and some chocolate and hazelnut versions which you can buy in supermarket free from sections. Morrisons also do a dark chocolate spread which is vegan too!

 

So there you have it, my huge round up of vegan chocolate. I’m sure I have missed out quite a lot, but I hope I’ve given you enough to go along with. What’s your favourite vegan chocolate? Are there any you can get where you are that I’m missing out on? Make me jealous!

 

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Homemade Vegan Truffles – VeganMoFo Day 17

Mmm, chocolate. Yes, I know chocolate is tomorrow’s prompt. But who says I can’t do two days of chocolate in a row?

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When I saw the “boozy” prompt, I knew I had to make something like this. You see, I have a lovely bottle of creme caramel liqueur that is all vegan, and very delicious, and I knew how well it would work with chocolate in a dessert.

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I picked this up from Aldi actually – the budget chain is surprisingly good for alcoholic drinks – and they have a vegan list  so you can check that anything you buy is vegan. It’s great in hot chocolate.

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These truffles are actually really easy to make. They are made with a surprise ingredient –  broken biscuits! That’s right, biscuits, like the ones you have with a cup of tea. Kind of like what Americans call cookies, only not quite. You crush the biscuits until they’re pretty much a powder – I like to do this in my food processor, but you could just put them in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin, like I did when we made these as children (without the booze, of course). Then, chocolate, butter, and golden syrup all gets melted together and mixed with the biscuits, along with some icing sugar, and your booze of choice. The mixture sets for a while in the fridge, until you can mould it into balls, and then you can roll it into truffles!

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I rolled my truffles in three different toppings – caster sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate strands. It can be hard to find vegan chocolate strands, but I got mine from The Range here in the UK!

If you’re not an alcohol drinker (or eater, in this case?) you could experiment with replacing the liqueur with other liquids – coffee, or smooth orange juice, or anything else strongly flavoured!

Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: makes 35 truffles
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Ingredients

  • 300g vegan biscuits
  • 200g vegan chocolate
  • 75g vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (sub maple if you need)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100ml liqueur of choice
  • cocoa powder, caster sugar, and sugar strands to decorate

Directions

  1. Begin by crushing the biscuits in a food processor until they are mostly a powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, melt together the chocolate, butter, and golden syrup, either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  3. Stir the crushed biscuits into the melted chocolate mixture, along with the icing sugar and liqueur. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is firm enough to be formed into truffle sized balls.
  5. Place your toppings of choice either on plates or in bowls, ready to form the truffles.
  6. Using your (clean!) hands, take a bit of truffle mix and roll it into a ball. Next, roll it in one of the toppings until completely coated.
  7. Place the coated truffle on a baking tray, and repeat until finished.
  8. Place the truffles in the fridge to completely set before eating.

Vegan Rocky Road Bars – VeganMoFo Day 5

People have some weird ideas about vegan foods. If you’ve been following VeganMoFo participants’ posts the last few days, you’ll be familiar with all sorts of strange foods we’ve been fed. Boring, unimaginative, or just odd, it’s all there. So, in making food for non-vegans, I like to prove their perceptions wrong – show them that vegan food can be really good.

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These are super decadent and delicious. Full of chocolate, biscuits, and marshmallows, they make the perfect gift, cut into bars (you can cut them whatever size you like!) and offered to people who aren’t sure about vegan sweets. “Are you sure these are vegan?” they’ll ask, whilst they reach for another helping…

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For this recipe, I used Freedom Marshmallows, which you can get from Holland & Barrett here in the UK, but any vegan marshmallow would work – if they’re large, chop them into pieces first! The rice crispies I used came from Lidl, as they’re vegan there, but whatever vegan version you can find will be great! I also used Oreos as my biscuit as I think they’re really tasty, but any vegan biscuit would be lovely.

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Make these and show off how great being vegan can be!

Rocky Road Bars

  • Servings: makes 28 bars
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Ingredients

  • 300g vegan chocolate
  • 100g vegan butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 150g oreos (or other vegan biscuit), chopped up
  • 60g rice crispy cereal
  • 50g vegan marshmallows (chopped if necessary)
  • For the topping

  • 300g vegan chocolate
  • 50g oreos, chopped
  • 40g vegan marshmallows

Directions

  1. Begin by melting the 300g dark chocolate and the butter together, either over a double boiler or in the microwave.
  2. Next, sift in the icing sugar, and stir until combined.
  3. Stir in the oreos, rice crispies, and marshmallows.
  4. Press the mixture into a lined tin, making sure to pack it down into the corners!
  5. Next, make the topping. Melt the remaining 300g of chocolate and spread it over the rocky road mixture.
  6. Sprinkle over the chopped oreos and marshmallows.
  7. Place the tin in the fridge to fully set before slicing into bars!

 

Very Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

Mmm, chocolate. One of the great wonders of the world. Many people think that if you go vegan, you can’t have chocolate anymore, but thankfully that is not true at all! If you know me, you’ll certainly know chocolate is not off the cards. Chocolate is one of my favourite foods, and so for this month’s MiniMoFo I’m sharing my favourite recipe for chocolate cake.

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Rich, melt in your mouth cake is generously coated in a smooth, sweet chocolate buttercream, giving you a delicious treat worth remembering. I have made this cake for so many special occasions – it’s great as it is, or served with a scoop of ice cream, but you can also use the base cake recipe and ice it however you fancy! I’ve decorated it with oreos, honeycomb, and even strawberries before.

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The cake is made extra chocolatey by having both cocoa powder and melted vegan dark chocolate in the batter. Lots of dark chocolate is vegan – I get mine from Lidl – but check the ingredients to make sure there’s no sneaky milk in there!

The icing also has melted chocolate in it, which means it’ll set up firmer than regular buttercream, so make sure you spread it once you’ve made it – if you put it in the fridge it’ll harden up and, whilst it’ll be tasty, it won’t spread on your cake.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: Makes a 2-layer 9-inch sponge
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Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 420g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500ml dairy-free milk (I use oat milk)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 130ml sunflower oil
  • 210g sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g vegan dark chocolate, melted
  • For the Icing

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 100ml dairy-free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g vegan dark chocolate, melted

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/350F
  1. First, make the cake. Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the milk and the cider vinegar. Leave for a minute to thicken.
  3. Into the milk mixture, add the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry until well mixed through.
  5. Next, add the melted chocolate to the cake batter and stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour the cake batter evenly into 2 lined cake tins, and place in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for ten minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Once the cakes are completely cool, make the icing.
  9. Begin by combining the butter, cocoa, and a third (200g) of the icing sugar in a large bowl. You can use an electric whisk, or just mix it really well by hand.
  10. Add in another third of the icing sugar, mix well again.
  11. Add in the final third, the milk, and vanilla, and beat until completely combined.
  12. Finally, mix through the melted chocolate, beating until the icing is light and fluffy. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a little more milk, if it’s too thin, a little more icing sugar.
  13. Spread icing on the top of one of your cooled cakes, and place the second cake on top of it.
  14. Place a large spoonful of icing on top of the top cake, and spread it around the top and sides of the cake. Repeat until the icing is used up and/or the cake is covered to your liking!

Quick and Simple: Vegan Kit-Kats!

Hello! Today’s post is just going to be a quick one because it’s not really a recipe – just a simple step-by-step guide I made on my phone today!

Something vegans can often miss is chocolate bars. Whilst you can buy imitations of popular non-vegan treats (Go-Max-Go bars are great!) they tend to be a lot more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts and that’s just no fun. So, I’ve come up with a quick little tutorial for making a cheap and easy vegan counterpart to an old favourite – the Kit Kat! This also ties in as a (second) post for VeganMoFo’s January “Something New” prompt.

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The hardest part of this recipe probably will be finding the wafers to go in the middle. Unfortunately I can only speak for my UK vegans, but in Home Bargains stores around the country, they have had vegan chocolate wafer packs for sale for the last couple of months – at a bargain price of 39p a pack!

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Please excuse my chocolatey fingers in the above photo. These are the wafers you want to buy. I’m not sure where else you can get them, but if you are near a Home Bargains pick up several packets because they’re lovely!

Now, let’s start to make our chocolate bars!

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Step 1: Break the wafers into individual bars. Do this over a plate because they can crumble a little.

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Step 2: Melt some chocolate. I use Lidl Dark Chocolate – it’s only 30p for a 100g bar and is vegan and tasty! Use 3 bars for 1 pack of wafers. Break them up and put them in a bowl, then put that in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring afterwards, and repeating till it’s all melted. Drop in a wafer biscuit.

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Step 3: Turn the wafer around gently in the chocolate with a fork until all the sides are covered. Lift it out of the bowl on the fork, and hold for a few seconds to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

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Step 4: Place in the fridge until fully set! Leave it a couple of hours, then check to see if they’re set. Store in the fridge until you want to eat them.

I hope you enjoyed this small post! I apologise for the phone photos, but since this is such a quick and simple thing to make, the photos match!

 

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

Do you remember MiniMoFo from the run up to the VeganMoFo? It was a series of challenges that took place before the main month, and I posted Apple Crumble Bars and Red Pepper & Thyme Rolls (plus an extra post on my Instagram!). Well, it’s back! There’s a new MiniMoFo challenge for December, and the prompt is ‘Hot Cocoa‘, which is lovely and wintery.

It’s no secret that I do love hot chocolate. Curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate is a perfect way to relax, and I love finding different ways to spruce up my hot chocolate – adding cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne gives it some lovely heat, adding a spoonful of Biscoff spread makes it gooey and spiced, a drop of orange esscence for an orange hot chocolate…and so on. If you can get hold of vegan marshmallows, even better!

However, for this prompt I wanted to go further, and not make just hot chocolate, but baked hot chocolate. In the form of cupcakes.

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I present to you, Hot Chocolate Cupcakes…with Toasted Marshmallow Topping. Please excuse the slight messiness in the photos – I managed to get marshmallow topping everywhere!

And yes, that is all-vegan toasted marshmallow fluff on top. How amazing is that?

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The cupcakes themselves have three layers of chocolate – they’re made with cocoa, chocolate milk, and melted dark chocolate. This makes them super rich and chocolatey – perfect to emulate a hot chocolate drink!

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See that picture above? Look at the fluffy, glossy marshmallow fluff! What’s the secret? Well, it’s aquafaba. I’ve used aquafaba before – most recently in my Brookies recipe, where it’s used as an egg substitute, but I haven’t posted about it whipped like this before.

Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of beans – usually chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas through a sieve, catching the water in a large, clean, bowl. Put the chickpeas aside – use them in pasta, or soup, or however you like. You don’t need them for this. Into the liquid, add a quarter spoonful of cream of tartar – this is often used in meringues to help stabilise the mixture – and some vanilla extract. For the next step, you need to whip the liquid up. I use an electric hand mixer, but other people use a stand mixer with great results. You whip the liquid for quite a while – 10 minutes maybe – until it forms “stiff peaks”, which, if you’ve never made meringue before, is when the foam stands up on it’s own without flopping over when you lift the mixer out. Classically, this is where you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head without it falling on top of you.

Once it gets to this point, you need to slowly add the sugar. For meringues, you use granulated sugar. For this marshmallow fluff, inspired by a recipe from Seitan Is My Motor, I use part powdered sugar and part caster sugar (superfine, in America). Add the powdered sugar, a spoonful at a time, whilst the mixer is running, until the mix turns glossy and all the sugar is gone. Finally, mix the caster sugar in a bowl with 1/2 tsp xanthan gum – this is what gives it the stretchy, marshmallow-fluff texture – and slowly spoon that into the whipped mixture. It’ll quickly go sticky and start climbing up your mixer but that’s ok! It means it’s getting the right texture.

This method is pretty amazing when you first try it. The small amount of liquid from one can of beans whips up into a huge bowlful, and really tastes like marshmallow fluff.

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Once the fluff and cupcakes are both made, you just spoon the fluff on top of the cupcakes, and then put them under the grill (or “broiler” for Americans) until they’re toasty brown (you could use a torch if you have one). Finally, I finished off with a sprinkling of grated chocolate just for that extra chocolatey touch!

Though this recipe sounds complicated – it really isn’t, and it’s fascinating to see the magic of aquafaba in work, and get a toasty marshmallow topping on your cupcakes. Give it a go!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
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Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes
  • 400ml vegan chocolate milk (I used Alpro Dark Chocolate Almond Milk)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 310g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90ml sunflower oil
  • 140g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 100g vegan chocolate, broken into squares
  • For the Marshmallow Topping

  • 150ml Aquafaba (liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • Chocolate for grating on top of cupcakes (optional)

Directions

    Preheat the Oven to 170C/335F
  1. Start with the cupcakes! In a bowl, combine the chocolate milk and the vinegar and set aside so the milk can curdle.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate, and salt.
  3. Into the milk, mix the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix to combine thoroughly.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl either in the microwave or over a double-boiler, until completely melted. Mix this into the cake batter.
  6. Set out cupcake cases in a tray, and spoon the batter evenly amongst them.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cupcake turns out clean. Set aside to cool thoroughly.
  8. Now, make the marshmallow fluff! Place the aquafaba in a large, very clean bowl.
  9. To the aquafaba, add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar.
  10. Whisk the aquafaba with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks – up to ten minutes.
  11. Now, with the mixer running, add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, allowing it to combine.
  12. Once the icing sugar is all added, combine the caster sugar and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Add this a spoonful at a time to the fluff mixture.
  13. Once it’s all combined, your fluff is done! Place spoonfuls on top of each cupcake (you will have excess fluff leftover).
  14. Preheat your grill (or broiler if you’re American), and then place cupcakes underneath it, keeping a close eye on them, until the tops are browned and toasted.
  15. Finally, grate a small amount of chocolate over the cupcakes.
  16. Store in an airtight container.

Thanks to Seitan Is My Motor for recipe inspo for the marshmallow fluff!

 

Brookies! – VeganMoFo Day 30

It’s the last day of VeganMoFo 2016! How sad is that? 😦 I really hope everyone has enjoyed it, and has found some great new vegan friends and recipes this month.

How apt that the final prompt for VeganMoFo this year is about giving. I love giving food as gifts and in fact did a huge order of food gifts for my family this past weekend. I made lots of my Millionaire’s Shortbread and lots of this recipe too.

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Introducing brookies! They are a cross between brownies and cookies. I used my brownie recipe as inspiration – these cookies have melted chocolate in the batter which makes them lovely and fudgy – and adapted it into cookie form. And these might be the best cookie recipe I have ever come up with!

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These cookies only take 10 minutes to bake – don’t leave them in any longer or they’ll overbake – and are so deliciously gooey and chocolatey that they are a perfect food gift for any chocolate lover. They use aquafaba, which is liquid from a can of chickpeas – read about it in my carob cookies page – which works in place of eggs and keeps them holding together.

Brookies

  • Servings: Makes 22 Cookies
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 100g vegan plain chocolate, broken into squares
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
  • 75g vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 225g white sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 75g chocolate chips

Directions

    Preheat your oven to 180C/355F
  1. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and butter. In a microwave, or over a double boiler, melt completely.
  2. Into the melted mixture, add the bicarbonate of soda, vanilla, and aquafaba, and mix well.
  3. Stir through the sugar until well combined.
  4. Add the flour to the mix and fold through until no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Place tablespoon size balls on a baking tray – no need to flatten – leaving a space between as they will spread slightly.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. They will look slightly underbaked but do not leave any longer!
  8. Leave to cool before eating.

Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread

Also known as “caramel shortbread” or “caramel square” or even in some cases “homemade twix”, this is usually very non vegan. But oh so good. Melt in your mouth shortbread, creamy caramel, and a chocolate topping? Mmm. I decided to make a vegan version of this delicious treat.

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The most difficult part, I figured, would be the caramel. There are some vegan recipes for millionaire’s shortbread out there, but a lot of them use either peanut butter, coconut milk, or dates. Peanut butter and coconut milk are too strongly flavoured for me, and dates…well, they’re alright for a fruit, but they aren’t caramel.

So I decided just to go with vegan butter (I used Pure), sugar, golden syrup, and some almond milk, and see how it worked. And it worked perfectly! I did use a sugar thermometer (you can usually get these fairly cheaply now) but I think you could make it work without one.

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First however, I made the shortbread. This is a simple shortbread recipe, and I used Stork margarine in the foil. The one in the foil is vegan – but avoid the one in the tub as it’s not! (thanks veganoo.net!) If you’re not in the UK, try to use a “solid” type, more like butter than spread. I pressed the dough it into my tin (this is a 9×13 dish) and baked until golden brown.

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Next step was to make the caramel. This is basically melting the vegan butter with the sugars, golden syrup (if you’re not able to get this you could use corn syrup), and vegan milk. Once melted, hands off, and leave until it reaches 115C/240F. This is the “soft ball” stage in sugar making, where the hot mixture will, if dropped into a cup of cold water, form a soft ball without breaking apart. You can do this without a thermometer by periodically testing small amounts of the mixture – use a cup of very cold water (put ice in if you like) and drop a bit in. If you can pick it up with your fingers and squeeze it around, it’s good to go!

Once the caramel is at the right temperature, you have to stir, off the heat,  for 10-15 minutes, non stop. This helps it thicken as it cools and stops it from being too runny or chewy. Yes, it takes a while and your arm will ache – play some nice music or have something to read while you do it!

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Next was the chocolate. After I made the caramel, poured it over the shortbread, and allowed it to cool, I melted vegan chocolate (mine is from Lidl but you can use whatever chocolate you prefer) and spread it on top. You don’t need a very thick layer of chocolate – it gets hard to cut if you do. Then, I just left the whole thing to cool before cutting it into squares!

Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread

  • Servings: Makes 30 shortbreads
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Ingredients

    For the Shortbread
  • 150g vegan butter, softened
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 225g plain flour
  • 35g cornflour/cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • For the Caramel

  • 180g vegan butter
  • 200g golden syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 100g white sugar
  • 150ml vegan milk (I used almond but any would work)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • For the Chocolate

  • 200g dark chocolate

Directions

    Preheat the Oven to 170C/340F
  1. First make the shortbread. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla.
  2. Mix in the flour, salt and cornflour. The mixture will be stiff and crumbly but that’s right. Use your hands to mix rather than a spoon if you need!
  3. Press the mixture into a lined tin. Mine is 9×13 size. Try to make it evenly spread so it bakes at the right speed.
  4. Place the tin in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the shortbread is beginning to go golden brown on top. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. Next, make the caramel. In a large saucepan, add all the caramel ingredients except the salt and vanilla.
  6. Put the saucepan over a low heat and allow the sugars to dissolve and the butter to melt.
  7. Once everything is dissolved, stop stirring and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Let it heat until it reaches 115C/240F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, see the instructions above)
  8. When the mixture reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and quickly add the vanilla and salt. Stir.
  9. Stir the mixture off the heat with a wooden spoon for 10-15 minutes, until it thickens significantly.
  10. Pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread and spread evenly. Put in the fridge to cool.
  11. Once cooled, begin the chocolate layer. Melt your chocolate (I used the microwave) and spread it over the cooled caramel layer. Again, put in the fridge and leave to cool.
  12. Finally, once everything is cool, remove it all from the tin and slice it into squares. Let it warm to room temperature before cutting if you like – this helps the chocolate on top not crack under the pressure of the knife.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

It’s true, I already have a brownie recipe on my blog, posted nearly two years ago! And those brownies are really great and super simple to make. But they’re cakey brownies – which I think are great, but there’s always room for more than one type of brownie! These brownies are fudgy, gooey, sticky, and indulgent – mmm!

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With fudgy centres and a crackly top, these brownies are pretty much perfect. I make them with chocolate chips, because you can never have enough chocolate, right? But you could also jazz them up with walnuts or dried cherries if those take your fancy!

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They’re a little more involved than my regular brownies, and they use aquafaba, which I’ve explained in a previous post – it’s the liquid from a tin of beans or chickpeas! Yeah, weird right? But it works, so well. And, I’m not joking, you cannot taste beans in the slightest! Do me a favour and just try it, okay?

Fudgy Brownies

  • Servings: 20 brownies
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Ingredients

  • 115g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 90g vegan butter (I used vitalite)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba
  • 360g sugar
  • 50ml milk of choice (I used oat milk)
  • 265g plain flour
  • 100g chocolate chips

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4
  1. In a heat-proof bowl, combine the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and vegan butter. Either in a microwave, or over a double boiler, heat until the chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Into the melted mixture, stir the vanilla, salt, milk, bicarbonate of soda, and aquafaba, and mix until well combined.
  3. Add in the sugar and mix with a fork until completely mixed in.
  4. Gently fold through the flour until there are no pockets of flour remaining.
  5. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture is quite thick at this point – that’s what it’s meant to be like!
  6. Transfer the mixture into a baking dish and press down until evenly spread.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  8. Leave to cool before slicing, if you can resist!

Thank you to veganbaking.net for the recipe inspiration!

Chocolate “Crunchie” Bites (Or, Honeycomb/Cinder Toffee)

Apparently, these go by several names. I’ve always known them as “that bit inside a crunchie bar” or honeycomb (no, not the bee stuff!). They can also be called cinder toffee, and, it seems, “hokey pokey” which I thought was a kid’s party song, but oh well.

I actually bought some chocolate-coated-honeycomb last week at the West Midlands Vegan Festival which inspired me to make this! I’ve made it before as a child, with my mum, but not for a long time! It’s actually pretty simple if you make sure you have everything set up already.

You only need five ingredients – sugar, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda, and chocolate. Some people use a sugar thermometer, but you don’t need one – I don’t have one! You need to prepare a bit beforehand: Get your tray that you want your honeycomb to go into ready – I used a 10×15 inch roasting tin. Line it with baking paper and then grease that with a bit of margarine or oil – you don’t want the paper sticking to the toffee!

Next, get all your ingredients ready, except the chocolate. Once you get started, it happens fairly quickly. I’ve put together a little picture guide to how you make it!

Chocolate Crunchie Bites

Ingredients

  • 200g golden syrup
  • 400g sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp bicarb of soda
  • 400g chocolate

Directions

First, mix together your golden syrup, sugar, and vinegar in a large saucepan over a very low heat. Stir this with a wooden spoon until it is melting and is more liquid than solid.  Note: It’s good to use a wooden spoon as the sugar gets very hot, and a silicone/plastic spoon might not be able to handle it. Similarly, a metal spoon will get too hot and the handle will burn your hands!

Once the sugar has dissolved, remove your spoon, and turn the heat up. and let the mixture come to a boil. You need to boil this until it darkens in colour, which takes about 5 minutes depending on your stove. The sugar needs to reach the “hard crack” stage, this is 150C if you are using a thermometer. If not an easy way to test is by getting a jug of ice water ready. I did not have any ice (it’s October, why would I have ice?) so used frozen peas instead to cool my water down, ha!

Using a long fork or spoon, dip the handle carefully into the sugar mixture and then immediately put it into the ice water. Give it 10 seconds and then pull it out and test it. If the mixture is hot enough, it’ll have set solid and you’ll be able to “snap” it off like a boiled sweet. If it’s not and it’s just sticky, keep on cooking your mixture!

At this point, make sure your bicarb of soda is ready! If you let your sugar cook too long it will burn and taste nasty.

Once your mixture is hot enough, quickly add the bicarb of soda and mix very quickly. The mixture will soon increase in size a lot. You don’t want to mix too much – just enough to get all the bicarb stirred in so you don’t get any nasty packets.

Immediately pour the mixture into your prepared tin, and set aside on the countertop to cool.

You want to clean your saucepan now. The easiest way to do this is by boiling the kettle and filling the saucepan with boiling water. Then, the sugar will melt and you can scrub it off quickly.

Leave the honeycomb to set for at least 2 hours, until the top is hard to touch. Then prepare your chocolate. Break it into pieces, and melt it – I did mine in the microwave.

Remove the honeycomb from the tin. It should have shrunk a little while it cooled. Make sure it’s all set – if it’s not, leave it a while longer until it is.

Next, break it into bitesized pieces! Either just smash it with your hands, or use a serrated knife (like a bread knife) to help you cut it. Taste some if you like, it’s nice!

The next step is to dip your honeycomb in the melted chocolate. I did not get a photo of this as it was rather messy. But, use a spoon and a fork to dip, and place it on a tray in the fridge to set. Once it’s set – you’re all done, chocolate crunchie bites!

Keep in the fridge so the chocolate does not melt.