Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

With the Covid-19 crisis affecting our shopping habits and availability of ingredients, I found that the various nut bars I often relied on for breakfast or a quick mid-afternoon snack were not always available in the shops.

I therefore decided to have a go at making my own. I have made these a few times now and they’re a big hit with the whole family, including hubby who doesn’t usually like eating nut bars.

Please note you can use whichever nuts you like – I love cashew nuts and started making them with just those, but they are very expensive (I had a look at the price of bulk bags of pistachios and they were even worse, so I’ll stear clear of those…shame, as I love pistachios!), so now I mix cashews and peanuts and the bars are equally delicious.

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars (makes approx. 14-16 bars)

  • 600g unsalted, unroasted nuts (I use blanched peanuts and raw cashew nuts, which I buy in bulk 1kg bags, but you can use whichever nuts take your fancy!)
  • 50g raisins
  • 70g chia seeds
  • 150g white chocolate (I use Callebaut white chocolate callets as they melt really well in the microwave, but any good quality chocolate that withstands melting and chilling well will work. I buy these in bulk… my latest purchase was a 2.5kg bag, which is dangerous in a house full of chocoholics!)
  • A generous sprinkling of fine sea salt

How to make nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Line a deep baking tray / cake pan with greaseproof paper (mine is 32cm long, 21cm wide and 5cm high, but use whatever you have available as long as it allows for a suitable depth for nut bars). I find it helps to grease the pan with butter or margarine to allow the paper to stick to it and stay flat and in place.

Heat up a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat, then add the cashew nuts and peanuts (or other nuts of your choice). As they start warming up, stir them frequently and as an oily sheen starts to appear, sprinkle them liberally with fine sea salt. Continue to stir frequently as they start to roast. I like the uneven roasting of doing this in a pan, where some are blackened in some parts and lightly golden in others, but it is a matter of personal preference / taste. For a more even roasting, you may wish to do this part in the oven.

While the nuts are roasting, melt the chocolate in the microwave (with the Callebaut chocolate I use, it takes about 2 minutes on high, stirring halfway through – different chocolate may behave differently though and to be on the safe side, you may want to do this more gently in a bain marie, with a bowl over a pan of hot water, letting the steam do the job).

Transfer nuts, raisins and chia seeds into a large mixing bowl and add the melted chocolate, stirring to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed, then transfer into your lined baking tray while still warm. Spread the mix out as evenly as possible and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Once the giant nut bar is well chilled and solid, take it out of the tray, remove the greaseproof paper and place it on a large chopping board. Using a large knife or cleaver, cut it into 14-16 nut bars. Some small pieces will simply break off, but that’s ok – don’t waste them. Stick them in a bowl and eat them as a snack 🙂

  • Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Tiramisù Cheese | Tiramisù Spread

Tiramisù-flavour Spread

aka: Coffee, Marsala All’Uovo & Cocoa Spread

Tiramisu Cheese | Tiramisu Spread | Tiramisù

When I recently made lemon cheese, I decided to have a go at some different flavours next.  I first thought to make a Marsala one, but then thought I’d take it one step further and make a Tiramisù Cheese (spread) instead, using coffee and cocoa in addition to the Marsala all’Uovo.

Marsala All’Uovo is a fortified wine (Marsala) that is already quite sweet and tastes similar to port or sherry; the “all’uovo” variety has had egg added to it for extra richness and it is this wine/liqueur that gives authentic Tiramisù (along with the other ingredients, of course) its unique flavour.  If you can’t get any, you can use a different liqueur, e.g. Tia Maria or similar, though the flavour won’t be quite as Italian or reminiscent of authentic Tiramisù.

Ingredients (for approx. 3 x 350ml jars):

  • 3 ‘long’ espressos (3 x 60 ml, i.e. 180ml espresso, freshly made) – you could substitute with the same quantity of good quality strong filter coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine
  • 120ml Marsala all’Uovo
  • 2tsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5tsp cornflour
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, chopped into chunks and left to soften at room temperature before use
  • 4 large free-range eggs

Method:

Gently whisk the eggs in a pan, then add the other ingredients and whisk with a balloon whisk over a medium heat for approx. 7 minutes.  As the mixture heats up, it will start to thicken. Make sure you keep whisking and that you cover the entire pan area with your whisk so you don’t burn the cheese and it doesn’t go lumpy.

Turn the heat down and keep whisking for another minute or so.  The finished mixture will be thick but still quite runny; bear in mind it will thicken as it cools down but if you prefer a thicker mixture, cook and whisk a bit longer.

Pour into sterilised glass jars (I put my jars through the dishwasher, then sterilise them in a cold water sterilising solution), place a greaseproof paper disc over the top, close the lid and refrigerate immediately.  Wait until the jars are cold before affixing labels.

Enjoy spread onto hot toast or, if you’re anything like my family members, eat with a spoon!

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Reblog: Ferrero Rocher Nutella Cake

I can’t wait to try this!

It takes a bit of digging and link-following to find the actual recipe, but I think I’ve got there, so this will definitely be one for my daughter to have a go at making, as she loves baking and I love eating cake!

IMG_4755

Happy, happy birthday to my amazing sister! Because I bake for every holiday, birthday, or even just  Sunday night family dinners, my sister required that her birthday cake top them all. My first thought was an elaborate bright pink cake, but I had already covered that with my Pink Chocolate Ombre Cake, so I moved onto the next thought: a Ferrero Rocher layer cake! (Keep in mind that I had just tasted Nutella for the first time quite recently, so its decadent and addicting amazing-ness had just dug a special place in my heart! )

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