Lemon and Coconut Cookies

Lemon and Coconut Cookies by The Fat Foodie

I love lemon in cookies because I think the fruity flavour lifts the rich, buttery biscuit and makes it taste really fresh and light. It’s also particularly good when combined with the exotic flavour of coconut because the two tastes working together really sing, so these lemon and coconut cookies are the ideal combination then!

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free cookie recipe. However, for all of you sceptics out there, I tested it on my Dad and his workmates and they couldn’t tell the difference between these cookies and a ‘normal’ biscuit, which testifies to its tastiness. (If you’re not dairy or gluten sensitive you can just make them with normal flour and butter though, if you like.)

These lemon and coconut cookies are so easy to make. In fact, rather than standing rubbing the butter into the flour and whatnot like a traditional biscuit normally requires, I just made the cookie dough in a jug by whisking all of the ingredients together with an electric whisk. The most time-consuming part of this bake is simply waiting for the cookie dough to chill in the fridge before you bake it and even that’s not entirely essential either!

If you fancy a fresh and light dairy-free and gluten-free biscuit then these lemon and coconut cookies are for you. They’re delicately flavoured with zingy, zesty lemon extract and are enhanced by the exotic tropical taste of coconut. They’re practically begging to be eaten with a cuppa!

Ingredients for the cookies:

200g plain flour (I used gluten-free)

50g cornflour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon extract

125g white sugar

125g butter (I used dairy-free)

For decorating:

Icing sugar

Water

Desiccated coconut

Method:

Measure the cookie ingredients into a large plastic jug and use an electric whisk to mix it all together. (You can add a little water if you feel it needs it to combine properly into a dough, but don’t add a lot.)

Once it’s fully combined, place the dough on a sheet of cling film, roll it into a sausage shape and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. (This makes it easier to slice.)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/170°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Unroll the cookie dough from the cling film and cut it into 1 cm thick slices, before placing them on the baking tray with a gap between each.

Bake for 15 to 20 mins or until golden brown.

Leave to cool on a cooling rack. Make your icing by mixing the icing sugar with a tiny bit of water at a time until it’s the thickness to coat the back of a spoon.

Once the cookies are cold, drizzle the icing over the lemon and coconut cookies and then scatter the desiccated coconut over them. Serve.

Lemon and Coconut Cookies by The Fat Foodie

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Strawberry Shortcakes (makes 12)

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

I live in a small village called Cambusbarron which is in Stirling, Scotland. Every summer when the sun beats its rays down and encourages nature to bloom Cambusbarron is carpeted in tiny native wild Scottish strawberries, the majority of which grow no bigger than my pinkie nail, but are blessed with the perfect combination of sugary sweet and fruity tart flavours.

Last summer I took a walk up to the old quarry behind Cambusbarron and I was astonished to discover that these tiny wild strawberries completely covered the gravelled land on the approach to the water. I couldn’t put a foot down without stepping on them, so tightly and thickly were they spread across the ground.

Cambusbarron Quarry

Tiny Wild Scottish Strawberries

My Finger Showing the Scale of the Wild Strawberries

This year we’ve cleared a lot of unnecessary trees and shrubs from our garden (well, my Dad has cleared them for me, to be honest!) and as a result wild strawberries have sprung up all over the garden. They’re beautiful plants, providing steady, long-lasting greenery that is dotted with bright crimson coloured tiny fruits. I certainly have no intention of getting rid of them, as I would with any other invasive plant life.

When I first started seeing them appearing in the garden I resolved that I would make something with them for the website and after giving it some thought I decided on strawberry shortcakes. The shortcakes are made of two pieces of crisp, buttery lemon shortbread biscuit that sandwich a rich smooth buttercream icing that is interspersed with the tiny wild strawberries from my garden and topped with a dot more buttercream and fresh baby mint leaves. You could just use slices of fresh strawberries though, if you’re not blessed with living in Cambusbarron.

I’m absolutely over the moon with this strawberry shortcake recipe and the shortbread it’s made from is most definitely now my favourite gluten-free biscuit recipe. The soft, smooth-textured cornflour makes the biscuits really crumbly while the butter adds a lovely crisp shortness to the overall crunch of them. You’d never in a million years believe they were gluten-free. As I optimistically said to my partner after I’d tried them for the first time, “Oh my God! They’re definitely going in the cookbook!”.

Ingredients for the shortbread biscuits:

100g cornflour

150g gluten-free flour

95g icing sugar

125g cold salted butter (cubed)

1 tsp lemon extract

2 tbsp cold water

 

Ingredients for the buttercream icing:

50g soft butter

110g icing sugar

2 tsps of rice milk

1 tsp lemon extract

 

For decorating:

Caster sugar

Fresh strawberries

Fresh mint leaves

Method:

Preheat your oven to 210C/190C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Lay greaseproof paper out onto two large baking trays.

Weigh the cornflour, gluten-free flour, icing sugar, lemon extract and butter into a large mixing bowl.

Rub the butter through all of the dry ingredients until it resembles fine sand. Add the water and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for half an hour. (The cold temperature makes it easier to roll out.)

In the meantime make the buttercream by putting the icing ingredients into a jug and whisking together until light and airy. Place in a piping bag.

Once the shortcake dough is cold, use a rolling pin to roll it out on a floured surface until it is approximately 1/2 a centimetre thick. (I roll it out on floured greaseproof paper so it doesn’t stick to my work surface.)

Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out your biscuits and then lay them on the greaseproofed baking trays, leaving a generous gap between each.

Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 mins or until light golden brown.

Using a fish slice to lift gently them, lay the shortcakes on a cooling rack and scatter with caster sugar.

Once the shortcakes are cool, decorate the base with dots of the buttercream icing, strawberries and fresh mint leaves and then top them with another shortcake biscuit. Serve.

The base Layer of Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

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Flowerpot Muffins (makes 6)

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was in Lakeland when I spied a box of silicone flowerpot baking pots and a set of leaf-shaped icing cutters and I couldn’t resist buying them to make a summer-themed bake. I’ve written before about the fact that you can use edible flowers to decorate your cakes, so I figured I’d pillage my hanging baskets and cottage garden to find some lovely blooms to adorn these beautiful little cakes.

The chocolate cake itself is made from my chocolate muffin recipe because it’s always a reliable bake, is seriously tasty, and keeps moist for days. In fact, I genuinely think that this is my go-to chocolate muffin recipe from now on because they are soft, light, moist and incredibly fudgy and you certainly can’t tell that they’re gluten-free and contain sweet potato.

I debated about whether I should remove the flowerpot muffins from their moulds before serving them, but I decided that the visual impact comes from the silicone flowerpots, so I just kept them in them. I did however, remove the cakes from the flowerpots after they’d been baked to make sure they weren’t stuck inside them before I put them back in, just so they came out easily and the person who was trying to eat them wasn’t faced with having to try to remove their cake from the pot.

These flowerpot muffins look really impressive and taste fantastic, but they are actually a really simple bake to make because the flowerpots and leaf cutters do most of the work for you. The cake sponge is rich, chocolatey and moist, the cocoa icing is creamy and smooth, and the green icing leaves really enhance the natural beauty of the edible flowers. I think anyone would be thrilled to receive one of these celebrations of summer, don’t you think?

A Pansy Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

A Rose Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

140g peeled raw sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)

60g brown sugar

35g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

15g cocoa

35g chopped peanuts (optional)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

50ml vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

50ml rice milk

1/4 tsp salt

 

For the chocolate icing:

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

Around 1 tbsp of water (but depends on how thick you want the icing to be)

A pack of ready to roll green icing

A selection of edible flowers (click here for a comprehensive list of edible flowers)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Place the silicone flowerpot baking pots in a muffin tray or on a baking tray.

Prepare the sweet potatoes and cook them on a plate in the microwave until they are soft. Put the cooked sweet potato in a large mixing bowl, mash well and leave to cool.

Once the sweet potato is fairly cool, add all of your wet ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 6 silicone flowerpot baking pots and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one comes out clean. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, slowly stir the water into the icing sugar and cocoa to blend the icing together (you can make it as thick or thin as you like) and once you’re happy with the consistency pour it over the chocolate muffins.

Roll out the block of green icing and use your leaf-shaped icing cutters to cut out leaf shapes. Attach them to the chocolate icing so that they drape over the edge of the muffins.

Add your edible flowers and serve.

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Muffins (makes 12)

Chocolate Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Sometimes I make things that aren’t originally intended for my website, but when I taste the finished result I kick myself for not paying more attention and noting the ingredients down because it’s turned out to be a really tasty recipe. These chocolate muffins were one of those recipes. I’d had a number of sweet potatoes in the fridge that needed to be used up so I thought it’d be nice to make a batch of chocolate muffins to take into work the next day. Of course, it was only after I’d taken them into work and tasted them that I realised how lovely they were, leaving me to resolve that I’d make another batch very soon.

Although these chocolate muffins have sweet potato in them you can’t tell at all. The sweet potato simply bulks out the muffin mixture while adding moisture, body and sweetness to the sponge. The beauty of using the sweet potatoes in the chocolate muffins is that you can use less flour in the mix and it also adds a number of vitamins and minerals into the muffins that you wouldn’t ordinarily get from only using gluten-free flour.

I genuinely think that this is my go-to chocolate muffin recipe from now on because they are soft, light, moist and incredibly fudgy and you certainly can’t tell that they’re gluten-free. They’re everything you could possibly want in a chocolate muffin really.

Ingredients:

420g peeled raw sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)

200g brown sugar

100g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

50g cocoa

100g chopped walnuts (optional)

2 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

140ml vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

140ml rice milk

1/2 tsp salt

For the chocolate muffin icing:

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

Around 1 tbsp of water (but depends on how thick you want the icing to be)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Lay out 12 muffin cases in a muffin tray.

Prepare the sweet potatoes and cook them on a plate in the microwave until they are soft. Put the cooked sweet potato in a large mixing bowl, mash well and leave to cool.

Once the sweet potato is fairly cool, add all of your wet ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one comes out clean. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, slowly stir the water into the icing sugar and cocoa to blend the icing together (you can make it as thick or thin as you like) and once you’re happy with the consistency pour it over the chocolate muffins.

Munch!

Chocolate Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Crispie Bars

Chocolate Crispie Bars by The Fat Foodie

I’ve been on the lookout for a while for a gluten-free, sweet, tasty treat that isn’t a biscuit and I remembered that one of my favourite treats as a kid was chocolate crispie cakes. You must remember the chocolate coated puffed rice that was crammed into fairy cake cases and would lacerate the roof of your mouth and practically take your teeth out as you ate them because the chocolate had become so solid. Yeah, good times, man. You can understand then, that when it came to making my own version of chocolate crispie cakes I wanted them to be flavoursome, but also soft and yielding  enough to be friendly to the teeth.

I sometimes have low iron levels, so I wanted to incorporate iron-rich seeds and dried fruit in the crispie bars in an attempt to make them not just tasty, but nutritious too. Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of protein, iron and zinc, and dried apricots are also packed full of iron, so they were thrown into the mix too. This inclusion of fruit and seeds made the texture of the crispie bars even better. The use of peanut butter also works well in the bars because it adds flavour as well as calcium, iron and B-vitamins too.

According to the Monash app, apricots are a high FODMAP food in large quantities for people sensitive to oligos-fructans and polyol-sorbitol so it’s probably best to use dried cranberries instead if that’s your profile, but pumpkin seeds are a low FODMAP food so they’re an ideal source of nutrition for all. And if you’re not a fan of pumpkin seeds you could easily substitute them for sunflower seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts instead. Really, you can very easily adapt these bars to suit your own tastes.

These chocolate crispie bars aren’t fully solid (thankfully!), but the dark chocolate drizzle on top of them helps to keep them together. As a result, they are tasty, chewy bars of crispy puffed rice, chopped apricots and pumpkin seeds that are held together by a sweet, fudgy marshmallow and coconut oil syrup and are adorned with a luscious coating of dark chocolate. They’re the perfect snack to pop in a lunchbox or enjoy after dinner.

Ingredients:

100g puffed rice (Rice Krispies)

40g pumpkin seeds

40g desiccated coconut

60g peanut butter

70g golden syrup

40g coconut oil (or butter)

100g chopped dried apricots

30g mini marshmallows

100g dark chocolate (for decorating)

Method:

Get a large traybake tin or rectangular casserole dish out and line it with greaseproof paper.

Put the coconut oil, golden syrup, peanut butter and marshmallows in a microwavable jug and melt in the microwave on a medium heat (stirring very frequently) until it forms a loose syrup.

Place all of the dry ingredients (apart from the dark chocolate) into a large mixing bowl and pour the syrup over it. Mix well until it’s fully coated.

Pour the mixture into the baking tray and flatten it out and press it down.

Chocolate Crispie Bars by The Fat Foodie Awaiting Their Chocolate Topping

Melt the dark chocolate in a microwaveable bowl (stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn) and then drizzle it over the top of the crispie bars.

Leave it to set in the fridge before cutting it into bars and storing in an air-tight container.

Chocolate Crispie Bars by The Fat Foodie Awaiting Refrigeration

Chocolate Crispie Bars by The Fat Foodie

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