Keto Brownies

My Keto Cookies were a success! In the same Keto Baking magazine, there are lots more recipes, so I will be making many more sweet treats in the near future! As for this week, I made my own variation of their Brownies. Instead of adding walnuts I used cacao nibs, which are a favourite of Ed’s.

These brownies were moist, rich and full of flavour! I made them twice this week, as the first time, they went a bit wrong (you’ll see later!). The second time they came out a bit thinner, but were still nice and gooey!

The Ingredients:

60g Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

6-8 tbsp Hot Water

2 Eggs

6 tbsp Vegetable Oil

170g Sweetener

96g Almond Flour

85g Chopped Walnuts (I used Cacao Nibs instead)

The Method:

Preheat your oven to 180° C / 160° C fan assisted, and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment. I greased my tin with a little butter to ensure the parchment stuck to the sides, making it easier to put the mixture in later.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cocoa powder, salt and hot water. Start with 6 tbsp of hot water, and if the paste that forms is uneven or has a lumpy texture add one tbsp at a time (up to 2 extra tbsp) until the paste evens out. You can always add the extra water after adding the eggs if it hasn’t smoothed out.

In a glass jug or medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the vegetable oil, making sure the egg yolk have broken and the oil and eggs are fairly well mixed.

Once the cocoa paste has cooled down, which shouldn’t take long, add the egg mixture slowly, adding it in four parts. This allows for an even mixture and makes it easier to mix the oil into the rest of the ingredients. Give this a good stir, making sure the mix is nice and runny, effectively like melted chocolate.

Add the sweetener and almond flour to your mixture and stir. Using a silicon spatula (or just an ordinary one if that’s what you have), scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure all the dry ingredients are combined.

Finally, add the extra bits and bobs, like nuts, cacao nibs, raisins, etc. whatever you choose to add… if you want to add anything that is!

Pop this mixture into the pre-lined tin, smoothing out the surface of the batter and getting rid of most air bubbles. If you wish to add anything (bits and bobs) to the top, sprinkle these on top before baking in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

You want the brownies to be cracking at the edges but still be gooey in the middle. A kebab skewer should come out clean when pulled out of the middle of the brownies when they are ready. If not quite ready, bake for an extra minute, checking each time. If you bake for too long, they will begin to burn around the edges and the ‘burnt’ flavour will come through.

Once you have taken them out of the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and pop on a wire cooling rack until cool. Finally, slice the brownies into squares, triangles, whatever shape you choose! Just be careful! They are soft and gooey and will fall apart if you try and pick up the block in one go! (see below!)

I found them better once they had been in the fridge for a while, as they held their shape nicely, but were still lovely and gooey!

The were a success (the second time round anyway!) and tasted very yummy. Personally, I would suggest popping a scoop of ice cream in a bowl with one of these and enjoying it as a dessert, but Ed has been liking them as a snack all the same! I would highly recommend giving these brownies a go. They taste just as good as ordinary brownies, Ed thinks they are the best he’s ever had! Maybe he’s just being nice, but they were very tasty so you make up your minds once you’ve tried them!

Thank you for reading and I hope you come back soon for more Keto baking adventures with me and Ed!

Summer Berry Viennese Whirls

Whilst at university, when I’m not studying or working, I enjoy cooking and baking to fill my spare time, and when I’m home for holidays, I enjoy sharing my cakes and sweet treats with my family. Recently, I have been experimenting with recipes that I haven’t tried before and one of those was from the Waitrose recipe magazine for Strawberry and Raspberry Viennese Whirls! It was a little messy and I was juggling five different pots and pans most of the time whilst baking four different batches of biscuits but they were sooo yummy and totally worth the work! Here is the recipe and my cooking process for these yummy afternoon biscuits!

The Ingredients:

The biscuits –

200g Unsalted Butter (needs to be very soft)

75g Icing Sugar (sifted), you’ll need extra for dusting later

1 tsp Vanilla Paste

20g Custard Powder

200g Plain Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tbsp Milk

The filling –

100g Unsalted Butter (softened)

1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste

200g Icing Sugar (sifted)

75g Fresh Raspberries (crushed)

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Strawberry Jam

The Method:

Preparation-

Preheat your oven to 180° C or gas mark 4. Then, line 2 baking trays with parchment or a reusable tray liner, like this one from Lakeland. Make sure you have a shelf positioned in the middle of the oven.

The Biscuits-

Beat the butter using an electric handheld mixer for 5 minutes until it’s pale and soft. You can do this by hand, but be prepared for a work out! Add the icing sugar and vanilla paste and beat for a further 2 minutes. I chose a hand held mixer rather than a food processor so I had more control over the ingredients. Swapping to a metal spoon, use it to fold in the custard powder, flour and baking powder, adding a small pinch of salt if you wish. Finally add the milk and finish stirring the dough.

Fill a piping bag with the dough mixture using a star nozzle at the end of the bag, in order to get the swirled effect on the top of the biscuits. I put the piping bag over a medium pyrex jug so the bag stayed open whilst I filled it with the mixture. If you don’t have a piping bag, then using a sealable sandwich bag works just as well. Once the bag is full, pipe a spiral of the mix from the outward edge inwards, about 10 – 12, 5cm diameter spirals. My mixture made more than this, so perhaps I made some too big or too small, but I just ensured I had an even number of biscuits so they could pair up later on. To make the biscuits exactly the same size, find a circular shape that is the right diameter and draw around this on the baking tray liners. This may be easier if you are using paper baking parchment. This will ensure all your biscuits are the same size!

Chill your biscuits in the fridge for 20 minutes before you bake them. Once they’ve been cooled, bake your biscuits in batches of one tray at a time on the middle shelf in your oven. Bake for roughly 13 minutes, but keep an eye on them, ensuring they don’t burn; they can turn in a matter of seconds. They should be golden at the edges once done. Leave them to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack for the remaining time until fully cooled. Do not try to fill them until they are cool, otherwise the buttercream won’t set and will ooze out.

The buttercream-

Use an electric beater to beat the butter for the buttercream for 5 minutes, again until pale and soft. Next, add the vanilla paste and icing sugar and beat again until fluffy and light. Using the same method as before, move the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle at the tip. Again, a sandwich bag is a suitable replacement for a piping bag if you don’t have one.

The jam filling-

Crush the raspberries either with a pestle and mortar or just in a glass bowl with the back of a spoon. Add them to a small saucepan with the lemon juice and let them simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Add the strawberry jam and mix together. Set aside too cool. Again, don’t attempt to put the jam in the biscuits until it is fully cooled, as it won’t stay put, and you’ll have a big mess on your hands!

Filling the biscuits

It is recommended that you don’t fill the biscuits until you want to serve them, as they can get soft and soggy overtime. However, I filled mine straight away and kept them in a tin in the fridge and they were absolutely fine. It meant they kept some structure rather than being a squashy mess!

Pipe the biscuits leaving a small border between the filling and the edge. Half of the biscuits should have jam spread on them using a teaspoon and the other half piped with a swirl of buttercream. Make sure you put the filling on the underside of the biscuits, on the flat side without the pattern. Squeeze the two halves together, one side buttercream and one half jam. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

They turned out great and they were super yummy! I really enjoyed baking them as well, even though I was covered in biscuit dough at the best of times, but that’s just because I’m clumsy and am always being messy! I would absolutely recommend this recipe, and I hope you can have fun making them yourselves!

Thank you for reading and I hope I’ve inspired some of you to get your hands dirty and get baking! Have fun!

The Body Shop: Bath Bombs and Bubbles

So, if you have been following my social media accounts or have spoken to me recently, you will know I have been really excited about reviewing the new Body Shop Bath Bombs and Bubbles! I bought them after I saw them in Gabriella Lindley‘s video, and I instantly really wanted to try them!

I went online and tried to order some, but The Body Shop website wasn’t working that evening, and then when it came back online, most of the flavours were sold out. So I popped into my nearest store and bought all the ones I could which were Moringa, Vanilla, Green Tea, Coconut and Candied Plum. There are 3 others which are Mango, Strawberry and Pink Grapefruit, which all sound delicious but I’ll have to wait for a re-stock!

I have taken photos of what each of them looks like and then I’ll do a little summary of why I do/don’t like them. I have to say though, in general, these little bath bombs packed a punch, especially considering they are so tiny! They are £1.50 each, so a lot cheaper than most of the Lush ones (don’t get me wrong, I love Lush too) and they give off just as much colour, scent and just as many bubbles! The scents were never overpowering and they lasted for at least an hour, AND the colour of the water didn’t stain the bath, which has happened with some of mine from Lush.

Moringa Bath Bubble:

This yellow heart is one of their 3 choices of ‘bubble bars’. With the Bath Bubbles all you do is hold them under the tap, preferably under hot water, but obviously not too hot! They then dissolve, and as the water sprays away from them, it effectively pumps air into the water and creates lots and lots of delicate bubbles! Because this one is yellow, it didn’t give off much much colour, but to be honest, there were so many bubbles, you couldn’t see the water! The scent was light and flowery, I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but considering Moringa is a flower, I would say it was pretty accurate.

Green Tea Bomb: 

This one was one of my favourites of the selection and had a lovely light scent, that reminded me of tea plants. It wasn’t overpoweringly herbal, as some ‘tea’ scented bath products are, but it did have low notes of herbs and reminded me of a garden centre under the summer sun. It turned my bath a gorgeous pastel green colour, which I am quite glad of, as I had images of a Halloween/’nuclear powerplant spill’ glow coming from my bath water!

Vanilla Bomb:

This was my least favourite of the five, as I really didn’t like anything about it. To me, the ‘vanilla’ smelt more of aniseed (used in liquorice flavouring) which is one of my most hated scents, and although it was subtle, it still put me off. Granted, the colour was yellow, but it was more muted and less bright and fun than I had expected, especially after seeing the others and their vibrant colourings. I personally wouldn’t buy this one again, but it might be for you, so give it a go!

Coconut Bath Bubble:

I saved this one for last and it definitely did not disappoint. It turned the water a beautiful baby blue and filled my bathroom with a nutty, cocoa smell. That might sound a little obvious, (it’s coconut Imogen…) but it had stronger notes of nuts and then a softer scent of cocoa butter, so almost a little chocolatey. It also reminded me of sunshine beaches, with palm trees and coconuts, so it was really relaxing. I really loved the scent, which was of course released through the bubbles too as the water moved around. It’s the same process of under the tap for this one, and I will definitely be buying more of these!

Candied Plum Bomb:

This is the first one I put to the test and it was by far my favourite! It turned my water an amazing purpley pink and gave off aromas of Christmas and sweeties. It was a deeper colour than a pastel but had the delicate tones of a baby pink. I will 100% be buying this one again, and I can’t wait! I know this is the favourite for a lot of other people who have reviewed these too, so get to the stores before they sell out!

All of them were delicate and caring on my skin, which is something really important for me as I have had terrible skin reactions to other bath bombs that include things like artificial colours or glitter. The bombs don’t make any bubbles, but they are still beautiful and I would strongly recommend you go and try these for yourself! I can’t say enough about how brilliant they are so I’ll stop here!

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I hope to be doing more reviews on new products as they come out. The Body Shop also has an amazing range of Christmas themed gifts and beauty/body care range at the moment, so do go and check them out, even if baths aren’t your cup of tea!

I have now created a business profile on Instagram and Facebook, both of which can be found by searching Imogen Soper Blogs in the search bar (or clicking on the links just there). It would be amazing if you could give me a follow, as this will be another place I will be posting content and updates on my new posts!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you are all getting excited about Christmas ( I am!) and the busy, bustling shops don’t stress you out too much! Have fun!

Imogen S.

Fudge & Vanilla Soy Muffins

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, there are a limited amount of things you can do, unless you don’t mind being rained on! So I decided to be very domestic and did a bit of baking. After a little look through a baking book, someone bought me years ago, I chose a recipe for Low-Fat Muffins, except I used full-fat soy yogurt instead.

The Recipe:

Makes 12 Muffins

280g/10 oz plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp bicarbonate of soda

115g/4 oz caster sugar

2 egg whites

250ml/9 fl oz low-fat natural yogurt (I used soy)

3 Tbsp sunflower oil

1 Tsp vanilla extract

40g small fudge chunks

The Method:

  • Start by turning your oven up to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas Mark 6 and ensure the shelves are in the correct place for when you put the muffins in later. This means you won’t need to move them around when they are hot and just makes your life easier.
  • Next, put 12 muffin cases in a muffin tray and put them aside until you need them later.
  • Weigh out the flour, sugar, fudge chunks, yogurt and separate the egg whites, saving the egg yolks if you think you can use them for anything else, or throw them away, as you won’t need them for this recipe. Place each of these ingredients in separate bowls so you can add them easily later.
  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl (or an electric mixer if you have one), and add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the sugar and mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Take your egg whites and beat them lightly until they are slightly foamy. Then add the yogurt, oil and vanilla extract. Beat these together until you have a smooth mix.
  • Now, make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold the two groups of ingredients together, but do not overmix. Finally, add the fudge chunks and mix them in, so they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  • Take a medium-large zip lock bag and place it over the edge of a small saucepan (or anything like a bowl, that can hold your amount of mixture).
  • Spoon the mixture into the bag. I find it easier to use a silicone spatula to ensure I get every last bit of mixture out of the bowl, wasting nothing.
  • Take the bag out of the saucepan and before zipping the bag closed, take a rolling pin and push all the mixture to the closed end of the bag. If there are air bubbles, this doesn’t matter hugely as you will be doing this again, later on, to get the last bits out the bag.
  • Zip the bag shut and snip a corner of the bag, just enough to let out the mixture, ensuring that the chunks of fudge can get through this gap.
  • Pipe the mixture into your muffin cases, evenly distributing it between the 12 cases.
  • As you get to the last couple, re-squeeze the bag and move all the mixture right to the corner. This means you will waste as little as possible and get just enough mixture for 12 muffins.
  • Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, but do keep an eye on them depending on the strength of your oven, as they may need slightly more or less time than specified. They will be ready when you can remove a clean skewer from the muffins, without any mixture on it.
  • Take the muffins out of the tray and place them on a cooling rack. I placed some kitchen foil under the rack and then sprinkled some icing sugar atop of them once they had cooled. The way you choose to decorate them is completely up to you.

Here are some photographs of my process and what they looked like at the end!

 

Thank you for reading and I hope I’ve inspired you to do some weekend baking! They taste amazing and I really enjoyed making them and doing something different from scrolling through social media all afternoon!

I hope you all have a lovely week and if you’re back to school or off to university, good luck!

Imogen ❤