brown butter ice cream with easter egg bark

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Easter Egg Bark | The Secret Life of Bee

There are few things more delicious than brown butter, and few things more delicious than well made ice cream. Combine the two and boom you have yourself a winner! The brown butter adds richness and nuttiness to this creamy vanilla base. The Easter egg bark is fun and festive and can be subbed for any kind of bark all year round. All sorts of nuts, dried fruit and other chocolates will work perfectly too.

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Easter Egg Bark | The Secret Life of Bee

This ice cream base is a goodie and if you don’t have an ice cream maker no problem! Use the freeze- blend- freeze method and you’ll achieve a great consistency. If you are able to temper the chocolate- it’ll give you a much better snap and the chocolate will remain hard and breakable for much longer. But if you plan on digging in with some speed then no need!

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Easter Egg Bark

Ingredients:

  • 120g (½ cup) Lurpak butter
  • 200g (1 cup) demerara sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 500ml (2 cups) cream
  • 250ml (1 cup) full-cream milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 150g white chocolate
  • Speckled eggs

Method:

Melt the butter over medium heat until foaming. Swirl the pan often until butter turns a rich nut brown. Pour into a jar and set aside to cool.

In a medium sized pot- bring milk, cream and vanilla to a simmer.

In a large bowl- beat egg yolks and demerara sugar until thick and pale.

Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Pour back into the pot. Stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the custard is cooked and thickly coats the back of a spoon. If you have a thermometer cook until the custard reaches 85 ̊C.

Pour custard into a bowl and stir in the brown butter. Combine.

Place in the fridge until cool.

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and churn according to instructions. *If you do not have an ice cream machine- freeze the custard in a zip lock bag. Break the frozen custard into bits and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Then scrape into a tub and freeze again.

Scrape churned ice cream into a tub and freeze until firm.

To make the bark- Melt dark and white chocolate separately. Pour dark chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Using a spatula spread it out thinly. Drizzle with white chocolate and swirl them together. Scatter with speckled eggs. Place in the refrigerator until set and serve broken into shards with the ice cream.

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Easter Egg Bark | The Secret Life of Bee

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Easter Egg Bark | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: Sponsored by the awesome folks from Lurpak South Africa

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This vegan chocolate ice cream, or nicecream should I say is dairy-free, sugar-free and guilt-free but with ALL the flavour and the most amazing luxurious texture. Bananas are a truly handy little fruit and are the base of this ice cream. Add some top quality dark cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk and you have yourself something seriously scrumptious.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This sweet treat takes seconds to whip together. Just remember to freeze your sliced bananas the day before or even early in the morning if you make this for an after dinner delight. I slice my bananas and lay them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cling film the lot and then pop them into the freezer.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

The pistachio brittle adds amazing crunch, colour and it’s delicious. If you want to keep this recipe refined sugar free then just leave it out and you can serve your nicecream with some toasted almond flakes or fresh raspberries. I love the brittle and could eat it on its own as is. Just watch out for your teeth!

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream with Pistachio Brittle 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g bananas, sliced, frozen overnight
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/essence or paste
  • 100ml almond milk

For the brittle:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Method:

Add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape into a small serving dish and freeze.

For the brittle: Whisk caster sugar and water together in a pan on high heat. Make sure to clean down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and some water or your caramel will crystallise. Do not stir the caramel. Allow it to cook and bubble until it turns a rich golden brown colour. Pour out immediately onto a greased baking tray or a baking tray lined with a silicone mat.

Scatter with the roughly chopped pistachios and sea salt and leave to harden and cool.

Serve ice cream with shattered shards of pistachio brittle.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

 

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf | The Secret Life of Bee

If you’ve ever wondered what carbohydrate heaven looks like… it looks like this. Swirls of melted chocolate with hints of cinnamon in between layers of soft fluffy dough clouds. Bliss. This loaf came about because I wanted to make a babka. Babka requires some patience which I lack most of the time (especially while driving) so this is my solution to a sweet treat that’s rather similar, but a lot faster.

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf | The Secret Life of Bee

Some of my friends are probably reading this and thinking, “how’s the diet going B?” Just splendid. Thanks.

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf | The Secret Life of Bee

This recipe makes a large loaf. Don’t be like me and insist it can fit into a smaller one. You will regret it and make a mess. If you don’t have a large loaf tin rather make two smaller ones. The one I finally and wisely used was 23 x 13 x 8 cm. You can also make quite a few variations of this loaf by adding some nuts and other spices to the chocolate layer. I think even crumbling something like a crunchie chocolate bar into the swirl layer could be divine. So get baking and be prepared to lick the spoon. A LOT.

Chocolate & Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 375ml warm water
  • 10g instant dry yeast
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 560g flour, divided in two
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste

For the filling:

  • 150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 120g butter
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2-4 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

Method:

Pour warm water into a bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes until foamy. Add the brown sugar and mix.

Place 280g of flour and the sea salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Add the butter in dollops and mix in well. Add the vanilla and mix.

Now add the second half of the flour a little bit at a time. Once all the flour has been well incorporated scrape down the dough into a ball and change the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until silky and elastic.

Place dough in a large oiled bowl and leave to rise somewhere warm for 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size it’s good to go.

For the filling: Place the chocolate and butter into a double boiler and melt. Allow to cool and then mix in cocoa powder. Place in the fridge if you need it to firm up a little into a spreadable paste like texture.

Punch down and roll out dough onto a floured surface into a long rectangle. Try keep the short side as long as your loaf pan for ease later on.

Spread with chocolate paste and then dust with cinnamon sugar.

Roll into a log starting at the short side of the rectangle. Slice the log in half lengthways and then criss cross the two sliced logs together. Cut off the pointy ends of the log.

Place in a well greased loaf tin and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Bake loaf for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing.

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf | The Secret Life of Bee

chocolate & cinnamon swirl loaf | The Secret Life of Bee

 

vovo’s oatmeal raisin cookies

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband has been talking about these oatmeal raisin cookies since our early dating days when he only liked me for my washing machine. He explained how his German granny ‘Vovo’ made these for him growing up and no matter what biscuit/crunchie/cookie I baked for him nothing could ever compare to these. At the time I was ever so slightly peeved. How good could these cookies be? Well I recently found out… and they are that good.

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

On our recent trip to the states Vovo arrived at our airbnb one day with a bag full of groceries for me and this recipe. Now no pressure but I had to bake these cookies for the entire family. No problemo. So I get cracking in the kitchen with an oven that keeps tripping, no mixing bowls, no scale or baking utensils and only a 1/2 cup for measuring and one plastic teaspoon. We even had to make a dash to the shops to buy a baking tray. Anyhoo, all that aside and some suspect measuring later the most delicious smell on earth was emanating from the kitchen. This recipe makes about 40-50 cookies depending on their size. They lasted just under 24 hours. They were inhaled.

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

The type of oats you use for these oatmeal raisin cookies is rather important. Try find big, beautiful, large flake rolled oats. Definitely don’t use any instant or quick oats. They will alter the texture and you definitely don’t want that. These cookies are superbly crunchy and chewy at the same time. I found some gorgeous big rolled oats at Wellness Warehouse for those in SA. As for the chocolate- dark chocolate chips are the way forward or else a slab of dark chocolate chopped into chunks that will make glorious oozy gooey pockets of love. Oh and just a warning- the raw dough is ADDICTIVE. I tucked in while rolling the cookies out and actually reduced the amount of work I had to do as I was decreasing the dough rapidly. Whoops.

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

Vovo’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

makes A LOT (40-50 depending on size)

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 115g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 190g flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 330g rolled oats
  • 170g raisins
  • 100g dark chocolate chips/chunks

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground cinnamon and sea salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and mix well.

Finally fold in the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.

Place the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out scant tablespoons of dough into little balls.

Refrigerate the balls for another 30 minutes and then bake them off in batches for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Dunk in some cold milk and enjoy! 

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

oatmeal raisin cookies | The Secret Life of Bee

chocolate banana bread

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

So I have been seeing a lot of chocolate banana bread on my favourite blogs and sites lately. Chocolate and banana go darn well together and I have always added roughly chopped chunks of dark chocolate to my banana bread. That and a handful of pecan nuts. Heaven. So I thought let’s see how my recipe does with some added dark cocoa powder…

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Well. Well well well. This little loaf didn’t last long. The smell is the first thing that hits you. Intense, rich chocolate with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and sweet banana. I am sold. As if all this is not enough I guess one could say this is a double chocolate banana bread because the chunks of dark chocolate inside are splendid little surprises of molten goodness. Chop your chocolate quite roughly and unevenly so you end up with some large gooey chunks and smaller melted in ones. Bliss.

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 230g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 45g dark cocoa powder (I use NOMU)
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste ( I use NOMU)
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 120g butter, melted
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a bowl and whisk to mix.

Mash 3 ripe bananas in a separate bowl using a fork. Add the muscovado sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix. Add the eggs one at a time and then the melted butter.

Sprinkle in the dry ingredients and mix until just together. Finally add the roughly chopped chunks of chocolate.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin and bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean. You want to keep the cake moist and those chocolate chunks gooey!

If you can- leave to cool on a wire rack and then turn out. If you’re like me you’ll get involved the second it leaves the oven!

It’s ever so good with a swish of butter or a delicious nut butter like almond or macadamia nut. Yum.

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

 

chocolate chantilly

Chocolate Chantilly | The Secret Life of Bee

I have wanted to make Chocolate Chantilly for years now. Ever since I came across it i’ve wondered how it will turn out. You see attending culinary school we were always taught that chocolate and water could never be friends. This rather genius recipe shows just how incorrect that is in the right circumstances. It was created by the French chemist Hervé This. Hervé is really the godfather of Molecular Gastronomy and was one of the first people to bring science into the kitchen.

Chocolate Chantilly | The Secret Life of Bee

So I guess this ‘recipe’ is more of a technique than anything else. Heston Blumenthal made a how-to video for chocolate chantilly which you can watch here to give you and idea of what you’re about to embark on. Just a little note- at some point Heston says, “whisk like fury.” No fricking kidding Heston. You need to whisk the mixture over an ice bath until your arm wants to fall off. But at least I can tell you the reward is really awesome. The mousse you end up with is delicious and incredibly rich. There is no cream or anything else to dilute the intense chocolatey flavour. This is a perfectly vegan recipe. Due to the richness of the mousse if you’re not a vegan I suggest serving it with whipped cream and tart berries which will lighten the overall mouthfeel.  My recipe is adapted from Heston Blumenthal’s and i’ve spiked the water with earl grey and vanilla. Now whip out that whisk!

Chocolate Chantilly | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Chantilly

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200g top quality dark chocolate (I used 70%)
  • 200ml water
  • 1 earl grey tea bag
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • whipping cream and berries to serve

Method:

Boil the kettle and pour 200ml of water over 1 earl grey tea bag. Let it steep. In the meantime chop your chocolate into little chunks which will help it melt faster.

Remove the tea bag and pour the earl grey into a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Whisk in the chocolate and continue to whisk until it is completely homogenous. Add the vanilla and whisk.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and place into a larger bowl filled with  ice and water. Now whisk!

Keep whisking….

Whisk some more…

Wipe sweat from brow and keep whisking.

After sometime your mixture will begin to thicken like cream and then shortly after it will look like thick custard. Do not over-whip it. It sets pretty quickly from this point.

When you have a glorious thick, smooth and glossy mousse spoon quickly into desired pots or ramekins and place in the fridge.

Serve with whipped cream and berries.

*** The beauty of this recipe is that if you take your mousse too far the first time and it becomes grainy- you can spoon it all back into the sauce pan, melt it and start again. NB: make sure you start over with a new ice bath too.

Chocolate Chantilly | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Chantilly | The Secret Life of Bee