Easy Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes

After the crazy first week of college that I’ve had, I could use a batch of these deliciously light crepes.


Hi! It’s been a while, I know. Quick update: I have since relocated to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania in the USA from Zimbabwe to start college at the University of Pennsylvania! How’s the first few weeks of college been? Insane, wild and fun to put it in a few words. Expect a blog post detailing my experiences to come soon!

Anyways, on to this recipe. I think that crepes are severely underrated and underappreciated. The French really had something going with this one. Crepes can be had as either a breakfast option or a dessert, but the best part of having crepes is that the basic recipe never changes but there is an infinite combination of crepe fillings. I just filled these with cacao macademia spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella) and fresh strawberries but you can go with whatever you like! I’ve previously used lemon curd, strawberry jam and even plain sugar. You can top them with powdered sugar, ice cream, custard, the limits go as far as your imagination!


Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used coconut oil but vegetable oil would work too)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam or chocolate spread
  • 100g fresh strawberries, sliced in half

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir together before pouring in the soy milk, vanilla essence and oil. Stir with a fork until just combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out it’s okay if there are a few here and there. The batter should be very runny.
  2. Heat a large saucepan on high and brush with some oil. Try not to add to much oil to the pan otherwise the crepe batter will run with the oil. Use a ladle to pour the crepe batter in the saucepan. Swirl the pan around to spread the crepe batter all around the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to turn up, about 2 minutes, before turning over. Remove the warm crepe to a plate and store in a warm oven so that they don’t get cold. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. Once you’ve cooked all the crepes, spread the lighter side of the crepes with some strawberry jam or chocolate spread. Fold the crepes into half and then into quarters before serving topped with the fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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Chocolate Chai Quinoa Granola Bars

I’m falling in love with chai spice.


There’s something magical about this particular combination of spices. Whether it comes from their insane health benefits, how good they taste together or the fact that it can be applied to any dish and make it 100× better. Especially when there’s chocolate involved.


Enter: these granola bars. Easy grab on the go snacks. They’re perfect just before a workout, during a long road trip or whenever you need a pick-me-up. They’re also ridiculously easy to make. They’re easily customised, so you can add whatever takes your fancy here. I’m talking coconut chips, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever you like! Need a weekend project? These bars- RIGHT NOW!!!


Chocolate Chai Quinoa Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • ½ cup flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil, leaving an overhang so that you can remove the bars. In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, chia seeds, cardamom, pepper, ginger and cinnamon. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl. combine the almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla essence. Microwave for 30 seconds before whisking to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the almond butter mixture into the centre. Use a wooden spoon to fold the wet ingredients into the dry.
  3. Dump the mixture into the square pan and press down into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until set and remove to cool. Once the bars have cooled, use the parchment overhang to pull the bars out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 bars.
  4. Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a small bowl. Microwave in 20 second increments, whisking after each, until melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the sliced bars. Leave for 5 minutes to set before indulging. Enjoy!

Chocolate Lover’s Fudge Brownie Cheesecake

Have I lost my mind? Maybe so. I’ve been buried 6 feet deep in chocolate dreams and I was itching to manifest my daydreams of hot fudge sauce and creamy mousse into an actual dish.


So after many hours of scouring Pinterest and Instagram, I finally came up with this. I had felt so inspired by this recipe for Seriously Fudgy Homemade Brownies by Sally’s Baking Addiction and I just knew that I had to try them. I fell in love with this recipe and decided that it would be the starting point for the massive project idea I was working on.

I knew I wanted something with the texture of a mousse but I felt like going for a chocolate mousse would be too much and an icing wouldn’t be enough. And thus the vanilla cheesecake idea came about. 


Most people would have stopped there and said “This is good. I have cheesecake. I have brownie. Uh brownie cheesecaaaaake!” Not me. Never. Always got to take it from 0-100. So I topped it with hot fudge sauce, brownies and more melted chocolate because TREAT YO’SELF. 



What even are New Years Resolutions? After this cake, I don’t even remember. This would make a decadent Valentines Day present for your boo-thang or even as a celebratory single cake for you and your girls on a night in! Grab a glass of milk, unbutton your jeans and fall into a heavenly chocolate bliss with this cake! 

Chocolate Lover’s Fudge Brownie Cheesecake
Ingredients

For the brownies:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 100g of coarsely chopped cooking chocolate, divided in half
  • 1 and ½ cups castor sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and ¼ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 16 ounces/430 g of full fat cream cheese at room temperature (this makes it easier to blend into the other ingredients and prevent lumps)
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream, may substitute plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs

For assembly: 

  • Hot fudge sauce
  • about 50g of dark chocolate, melted
  • grated dark chocolate for garnish

Start by preparing the brownies + brownie base

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan. Grease and line a 6×6 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter and half the chopped chocolate to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each round, until completely melted. Whisk in the sugar and stir until absorbed by the butter. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and dissolved espresso and stir until completely incorporated.
  3. Sieve in the cocoa powder, flour and salt and use a rubber spatula to fully blend together. Drop the remaining half of the chopped chocolate into the thick batter, and stir gently to distribute.
  4. Spoon half of the brownie batter in the springform pan and smooth into an even layer, using the back of a spoon. Spoon the remaining half into the square pan, making sure to also smooth it into an even layer. The batter in the springform pan will form the brownie base of the cheesecake whilst the brownies baked in the rectangular pan will be used for decoration.
  5. Bake in the preheat oven for between 20 and 25 minutes (mine takes about 23 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs (it shouldn’t be wet). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. The batter in the springform pan will be used for the base of the cheesecake and the ones in the rectangular pan will be used for decoration.

Then prepare the cheesecake layer:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Spoon the cream cheese into a large bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat until smooth, creamy and free of lumps, about 2 minutes. Beat in the castor sugar until blended, another 2 minutes. Pour in the sour cream and vanilla essence, then beat again. Crack the eggs in, one by one, whisking well after each addition. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  2. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie base (it’s okay if it’s still warm, it doesn’t have to have cooled completely) and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until it appears to be set on the edges and dry to the touch. It’s okay if it’s a bit wobbly in the middle, it will continue to firm up as it cools.
  3. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before decorating.

For assembly:

  1. Spread the hot fudge sauce over the vanilla cheesecake layer, making sure to go right up to the edges.
  2. Remove the decoration brownies from the rectangular pan and cut into brownies. Layer them on top of the cheesecake.
  3. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake. If you’re feeling extra sweet, you can also drizzle caramel sauce over. Top with sparklers for a fun twist! Serve at room temperature and wow all your guests! If you have leftovers (Gasp!) then store them in a closed container in the fridge. The cheesecake will keep up to 5 days in the fridge and the brownies for a week at room temperature.

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Gutentag to all you lovelies out there reading this! Today I bring you these chewy chocolate chunk cookies, and I dare you to try saying that 3 times fast.

Everybody has a different idea of what their ideal chocolate chip cookie looks like. If you’re my dad, then you want thin, crunchy cookies. If you’re my brother, then you’re going to want them thick and gooey. And if you’re my mother, then you have a headache. Just when you thought all hope was lost, this banger of a recipe shows up to reunite your cookie conflicted household. These cookies have a rich butterscotch flavour, chewy texture and banging taste. A glass of milk on the side makes these even more delectable.


Allow me a brief moment to discuss what exactly makes these chewy chocolate chunk cookies just so incredibly fantastic. This recipe does not call for you to mix two different types of sugar; it’s all brown sugar for double the butterscotch flavour. Refrigerating the dough overnight makes for an even more intense flavour, but I know that ain’t nobody got time for that. These can be baked straight away, or if you aren’t in a rush then I seriously recommend that you leave this in the fridge overnight. The best part about these is the dark chocolate pieces that will take your taste buds to paradise.


There is a serious shortage of chocolate chips in Zimbabwe right now. I’ve been to about 5 stores in the past 2 weeks and I’ve been told the same thing over and over again, “We haven’t had them in about a month”. The restrictions on various imported goods has meant that certain items such as coconut milk and the beloved chocolate chips haven’t found themselves in stores recently. But fear not fellow Zimbos! For in times of crisis, we make a plan. Case in point: we chop a bar of dark chocolate into little pieces and call them chocolate chunk cookies. Problem solved. The fact that all the chocolate pieces are different sizes ups the wow factor of these cookies by 387629. It’s a mathematical fact, I totally calculated it.


Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies                                                 makes 9 cookies

Ingredients

½ cup butter at room temperature

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

A pinch of salt

1 cup chocolate chips/chopped chocolate

Method

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and line it with baking paper. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Crack eggs into the bowl, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and mix well.
  2. Measure out the flour and add it to the wet ingredients, followed by the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a paddle brush to incorporate, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get every little bit of goodness in there. Stir in ¾ cup of the chocolate pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  3. Using a cookie scoop/ice cream scoop/tablespoon, shape the dough into cookies and spoon them into the baking sheet. I used about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie*Leave about 2 cm of space between each cookie.  After you’ve scooped all the dough and formed cookies, sprinkle the last ¼ cup of chocolate pieces over the cookies. **Refrigerate for 24 hours. This step is optional but vital in order to obtain that intense butterscotch flavour.
  4. About 10 minutes before you plan on baking, remove the cookies from the fridge and let sit at room temperature whilst you preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes at room temp before moving to a wire rack to let cool further. Serve with a tall glass of milk.

Notes:

*These cookies spread quite a bit and end up being quite large as a result, so if you would like smaller cookies then I suggest using 1 tablespoon. You would also have to reduce the baking time to 9 minutes.

**Refrigerating is completely optional but keep in mind that the cookies will spread even more, and you’ll lose a bit of the butterscotch flavour. You can keep these in the fridge for up to 48 hours before baking, or you could even freeze them for 24 hours before baking.

Triple Thick Oreo Milkshakes

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

I have a very exciting piece of news for you all; the article I wrote for Purple Lipstick is now live and you can check it out here. It’s all about how food is your friend and not your enemy, and I think I really embodied this when I decided to make this heavenly milkshakes with all the unhealthy stuff 😍

Exams are *almost* over and I threw this together as a little pick-me-up for anybody else who is still living the struggle- or as a celebratory beverage for anybody who’s enjoying the little piece of freedom you get after exams are over, before results come in.

Milkshakes are your best friends in the sense that it is impossible to mess them up. Get it too runny? Add some more ice cream. Too thick? Add more milk. It is that simple. The key here is getting that perfect ice cream to milk ratio. And whatever you do, DO NOT ADD ICE. EVER. That is punishing yourself with a watery, diluted drink-thing. That is a no. When we do milkshakes, we go all out- no time for soy milk or gluten free ice-cream, go big (literally) or go home. It may just be a moment on the lips, but what a sweet moment it will be.


I started with this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce by Brown Eyed Baker. It is PHENOMENAL. I’ve made it like 3 times now, and I swear to you that this stuff is like liquid gold. I use it on everything from pancakes to ice cream, and most recently, these milkshakes. I started by sticking the milkshake jugs in the freezer for about an hour (this is purely optional but is highly recommended in order to keep the milkshakes cold) before lining the lip of the jugs with the hot fudge sauce and then rolling it in sprinkles. I then dipped a spoon in the sauce and decorated the inside of the glasses with the sauce. I then placed the glasses back in the freezer before proceeding to make the milkshakes. These steps are minimal but make a huge difference as far as presentation is concerned, and I can guarantee that whoever you are serving will be wildly impressed.


Milkshakes really do not discriminate, whether you are using the latest blender, an electric whisk or a wooden spoon, you are only 5 minutes away from this chocolate deliciousness.
Triple Thick Oreo Milkshake                                                                                  makes 2 

Ingredients

6 scoops of your favourite vanilla ice-cream

½ cup full cream milk (using anything else would be a crime)

4 Oreo biscuits (plus extra for decorating)

1/2 cup hot fudge/chocolate sauce, store bought or homemade using this recipe

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp sprinkles

Method:

  1. Start by freezing the glasses you plan on serving your milkshake in at least an hour before. This step is optional but it helps to keep the milkshakes cool after they have been served
  2. Take the ice-cream out of the fridge to let it soften a bit on the counter. Remove the glasses from the freezer and line the rims of the glasses with hot fudge sauce, before rolling them in sprinkles. Dip a spoon in the sauce and drizzle the insides of the glasses with sauce. Go wild here! Place the glasses back in the freezer briefly to allow it to set.
  3. In a blender, combine the ice-cream, milk, Oreos and if you like, 2 tbsp of hot fudge sauce, and blend until fully combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk the whipping cream with a wire whisk until thick.
  4. Remove the glasses fro, the freezer (again) and pour the milkshake until it reaches the brim of the cup. Garnish generously with whipped cream, crushed Oreos, hot fudge sauce and of course, more sprinkles! Add a straw and enjoy!


Oh, what a sweet, sweet moment this is.

Chocolate and Vanilla Cantuccini (Variation of Biscotti) with Hot Chocolate

Fun fact: Italian food is my favourite kind of food.

We’re still getting to know each other here and I just felt like you should know that. I love the fact that there are 101 things to do with pasta, there is always a gelato to compensate your mood and the coffee is black enough to match the colour of my soul. Beautiful.

 Another fun fact- biscotti means twice baked. And that’s exactly what we are going to do to these babies. I felt a bit reluctant to call these biscotti though, because biscotti just refers to any ordinary biscuit. And this is no ordinary biscuit. Cantuccini is a more appropriate name, because of the shape of these biscuits, perfect for dunking in your wine/hot chocolate.

This biscuit is fearless, it can take anything you throw at it. Chocolate chips, almonds, dried cranberries, you name it. You can virtually do anything you like with this recipe as long as the core ingredients remain the same.

Biscotti on biscotti on biscotti
Jenga with biscotti

The reason why I decided to bake these is that I was missing those cold winter afternoons I spent in Tignes, drinking hot chocolate and laughing my head off. Then I decided, I could recreate the biscotti and the hot chocolate…. but the one thing you can’t recreate is the moment. Not only am I sweltering in this 34 °C Zimbabwean heat, nothing beats having the same company around.

Luckily for us, that hole can be filled by eating more biscotti.

 


Cantuccini is traditionally served with Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. But seeing as I’m still underage and grossly deficient in funds, we’ll just have to contend with this wicked hot chocolate. Yes, it may be 34 degrees outside, but I am forever freezing and so will continue to sip my hot chocolate whilst pretending not to see you judge me.

The recipes for the chocolate and vanilla cantuccini are essentially the same, difference being that one has cocoa powder and the other has vanilla essence. This recipe is easily manipulated, you can leave out the chocolate chips, substitute the almonds for hazelnuts or chopped pine nuts, it is really all about catering to your taste! Please note below that there are 2 recipes, but only one method because it is essentially the same. I’ll be sure to post a lot more variations of this recipe just to give y’all some ideas 🙂

To make this mini chocolate fondue, all you have to do is melt 50g of chocolate and about a tbsp of milk together, add 2 tbsps of Nutella and mix to combine.

Chocolate Cantucci                                                                           makes about 15

Ingredients 

1 cup self raising flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup castor sugar

1 tsp salt

½ cup chopped almonds

2 eggs

Handful of chocolate chips

Vanilla Cantuccini                                                                            makes about 15

Ingredients 

1 cup self raising flour

½ cup castor sugar

1 tsp salt

½ cup chopped/flaked almonds

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

Handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Start by taking out two bowls of medium size, one for the chocolate and one for the vanilla cantuccini
  2. Sift the flour, castor sugar, salt and cocoa powder (for chocolate cantuccini) into a bowl and mix until combined. Add the almonds
  3. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the centre and add the vanilla essence (for the vanilla cantuccini) Stir until incorporated and it forms a wet dough
  4. Shape the separate doughs each into a loaf, thats about 8 inches long, 9 inches wide and 2 inches high. Place in a greased baking dish and bake in an oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes or until the dough is firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and stand on a counter for 20 minutes until cooled. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the loaf diagonally into cantuccini pieces, each about half an inch thick. Return the cantuccini pieces to the baking dish and bake a further 15 minutes.
  5. Cool and serve with hot chocolate. Store in a cool, dry place, these will keep for a couple of months.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate 

Ingredients

50g of your favourite milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces

2 and ½ cups whole milk, and another 2 tbsp of milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp brown sugar

Method

  1. Fill a sauce pan about ¾ of the way to the top with boiling water and put it on the stove on low heat. Place a medium sized bowl over the lid of the sauce pan and add the chocolate and 2 tbsp of milk. Once the chocolate is mostly molten, but not completely molten, remove the bowl from heat. In another saucepan, boil the 2 and ½ cups of milk.

2. Stir the chocolate and milk together until combined. You will have a really thick chocolate paste. When the milk is on the verge of boiling, scoop the paste into the milk and continue to mix until all the paste has dissolved. Add the cinnamon and sugar and bring the hot chocolate to a boil. Pour into cups and serve.