Coconut didn’t feature very much in my childhood. I am certainly making up for that now. I can’t seem to shake the need to buy Bounty bars or to make copious bakes with the chocolate and coconut combination. I do have to try an find a more inventive place to hide my secret stash of chocolate though as my husband has discovered it and I need to ensure its safety!
This time, I decided that we would used baked doughnuts to showcase the chocolate-coconut combination and decorate with pieces of Bounty bars. The whole process was really fun, but for the kids the best bit was dunking the doughnuts and then counting out the three slices of Bounty to decorate them. I would be lying if I said these survived 24 hours in our house. I won’t tell you how long they lasted, but I can guarantee I didn’t eat the majority of them. I am surprised by this (I have a very big sweet tooth), although you may not be.
This recipe makes 9 doughnuts.
For the doughnuts
125ml unsweetened almond milk
25ml melted coconut oil (just under 1/4 cup when solid)
100ml coconut flavour Greek style natural yoghurt
1tsp coconut flavour
190g plain flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
100g chocolate chips
For the glaze
2tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
100g icing sugar
3-5 tbsp water
3 large Bounty bars, sliced
Preheat the oven to 170°c and grease your doughnut trays. We have silicone doughnut trays, but I do tend to give them a spray with frylight anyway.
Melt the coconut oil in the microwave and put all the liquid ingredients in a large jug and mix them until fully combined.
Put the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix.
Make a well in the centre and pour the liquid ingredients into it. Bring it all together with a spoon.
Add the desiccated coconut and chocolate chips and make sure they are evenly distributed.
Put an equal amount of the mixture in each of the 9 doughnut moulds and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes until they have risen, are golden and springy to the touch.
Leave to cool in the moulds for a little bit before transferring to a cooling rack.
Meanwhile slice the Bounty bars and make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. This glaze needs to be quite thick for the Bounty slices to stay on well. You may need to add extra icing sugar.
Dunk one side of each doughnut in the glaze and then decorate with Bounty slices. Leave to set before enjoying.
The kids are eager to make these again soon as they were so easy and yummy so keep your eyes peeled for more flavour variations! Do drop me a line if you make these. I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I shall leave you with another picture of the yummy Bounty-ful doughnuts to encourage you that you really do want to give this recipe a go!
Atticus loves the electric whisk. He always tells me when he uses it that he doesn’t need help with it. I guess this is true as he has been using it for half of his four years. However, we do often end up with whisked egg or cake batter all over the surfaces or up the walls. Despite the sheer volume of clearing up that cooking with the kids creates, we will definitely have some colourful and memorable stories to keep us in our old age! Also, at least I know where the mess is. There is no secret mess in this house, the vast majority of it is confined to the kitchen! Yes the kids have untidy bedrooms, but that is mainly toys and books on the floor and generally isn’t too gruesome to clear up. May I add here, I am not looking forward to teenagers who eat snacks all over the house and generally leave a trail of crumbs in their wake…
I classify meringues in the comfort food category. A relatively guilt-free pudding in my head. Atticus seems to have inherited my enthusiasm for making meringues and when I mentioned to him that I had a plan to make a batch of Pink Pig Meringues and put Marks & Spencer’s Vegetarian Percy Pigs on them and Vegetarian Phizzy Pig Tails on them he was immediately ready to make them. I thought they might appeal to my kids’ love of fun and character bakes and unsurprisingly I was right!
Makes 8 large meringues (approx. 8cm diameter) of 16 small meringues (approx. 4cm diameter)
4 large egg whites
115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar
Drop or 2 of pink food dye (we use Wilton Gels)
50g of white chocolate, melted
Percy Pigs (we used Vegetarian ones)
Phizzy Tails (we used Vegetarian ones)
Heat the oven to 100°c fan. Draw around a cup or another template for each meringue on a piece of parchment. We used one of the kids’ cups. We also tend to spray the parchment with frylight to prevent sticking. Make sure they are well spaced out. Some of ours were too close to each other!
In a clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk on medium until stiff peaks form.
Increase the speed of the whisk and alternate between adding 1 tbsp of caster and icing sugar until they are fully added.
Add the rosewater and food colouring and mix gently to distribute evenly.
Put dollops of the mixture on the parchment in each circle.
Place in the oven for 90 minutes for large meringues and just over 60 for smaller ones. We tend to make meringues at the end of the day and I switch the oven off and completely ignore them until the morning. This means I don’t risk opening the oven too early and ruining all our hard work.
Once the meringues are fully cooled, melt the chocolate. I did this in short bursts at a low heat in the microwave.
Spread a bit of melted chocolate on the back of a Percy Pig Sweet and stick it on to the front of the pink meringue. I suggest trying to stick to flatter parts of the meringue if at all possible!
Spread a bit of melted chocolate on the back of a Phizzy Pig Tail Sweet and stick it on the back of the pig.
Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all the meringues have heads and tails.
Leave the chocolate to set and then enjoy the pigs!
The kids and I loved these fancy meringues. Ophelia was delighted that we had made a pink treat (she can be such a girly girl at times!) and they all loved the fact that they had sweets on them! Simon happily worked his way through the rest of the Phizzy Tails Sweets in my absence. I am not sure if I have forgiven him for that yet! I don’t buy vegetarian sweets often!
This was one of those dishes that Seb and I kind of put together one October afternoon while his brother was at a birthday party and Ophelia was happily playing with all the toys uninterrupted.
Seb is of the age where he is happy to experiment with me in the kitchen and this makes me truly happy. We went in with an idea for a meatball pie and then came out with pork and sesame meatballs with peanut butter and soy sauce noodles. I let him direct the dish: I gave him the options we could make and he decided what he wanted to use. I am so crazy proud of him for this. He also displayed an unprecedented level of patience during making this which is no mean feat seeing as he seems to have inherited my temperament.
When making the meatballs we talked about textures and scents of the ingredients. We also made different sized meatballs and Seb took great delight in using as many different adjectives to mean big or small to describe them. Who said cooking with the kids only teaches them about food?
Anyway now I have finished gushing over what a wonderful job he did, here’s how we made them.
For the meatballs
1 pack of sausage meat
1tbsp ground almonds
3tbsp sesame seeds
1tsp garlic salt
1/8tsp Chinese Five Spice
For the noodles and sauce
150ml almond milk
1/4 scant cup of smooth peanut butter (the type with no added sugar)
2tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp sesame seeds
1 carrot grated
2 nests of noodles
Preheat the oven to 170°c and put a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet.
Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and squish and squash together with your hands.
Pick up around 1tsp of the mixture at a time and roll into balls in your hands and then place on the baking sheet. Seb used different amounts for the different sizes. Repeat until all the meat is finished.
Either paint them all with a small amount of oil or spray with frylight.
Put in the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles until they are al dente.
Add the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a bowl and mix well.
Put the cooked noodles and the meatballs in an oven proof dish and pour over the sauce and gently mix it all together.
Cover the oven proof dish with foil and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking the noodles and warm through the sauce.
Do you ever find yourself looking for new dinner ideas which contain the essence of other favourites? Our kids, in particular the younger two, love baked beans. Beans on toast is a standard Monday night dinner after swimming as after trying to watch two boys swim and then help them get changed again afterwards while ensuring a two year old doesn’t disappear is a really stressful feat. Thank heavens she goes to play with her dear friends the crèche ladies for most of the lesson! (Big thank you crèche ladies.) On the occasions that she has been poolside with me, I have had to drag her away from the edge of the water to prevent her from joining her brothers’ lessons fully clothed!
Another popular dinner choice is sausages. I think they would feature a lot more frequently if I let the kids choose the weekly menu! If you asked most children what their favourite meal is, I do think that sausages (meat or veggie) would probably prove one of the more popular choices. My children are happy eating either meat or vegetarian sausages and this dish could in fact be made veggie friendly.
This was one of the dishes that I made with all three children at once. I would be lying if I said it all went swimmingly without a single hitch. The truth is that each child spilt the melted butter bowl once and I ended up with the contents all over the counter and the floor. I can say I was definitely getting frustrated with the three of them by the end of the process. I didn’t always remain as patient and as calm as I should have, but we soldiered on. Then when it came out of the oven, I saw their impressed faces and it was all worth it. Cliché yes, but 100% true. From experience, I would recommend using a wide-bottomed sturdy bowl for the melted butter rather than a plastic one to prevent accidental spillage.
This dish contains many process that kids enjoy such us chopping cooked sausages, painting filo pastry and the dish with melted butter, mixing, spooning/transporting and scrunching. It is perfect for little chefs. Mine did need a little help moving the fragile pastry, but the rest they did managed completely by themselves.
Seb has decided that this dish should in be called Sausage and Bean Bowl Pie. This is because we shaped the filo pastry in the bottom of the pie dish so it sort of became a ‘bowl’ to the sausages and beans once the sides were gently scrunched. I totally see his logic and I love the fact that he is using his reasoning, and as it is such a fab name how could I not use it?!
8 cooked sausages
1 tin of beans
10 leaves of filo pastry (most of a whole packet)
60g melted butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 200°c and paint the bottom of a 20cm pie dish with melted butter.
Chop the sausages into ‘coins’ with a table knife.
Put the beans into a mixing bowl and add the chopped sausages.
Add 90g of the cheese to the bean bowl and mix well.
Unroll the filo pastry and paint the top sheet with butter.
Pick up the top sheet and the one below it and place butter side up in the pie dish. The kids did need help transporting the filo sheets as they are fragile.
Repeat step 6 until all 10 leaves of filo pastry have been used. Make sure you place the filo pastry sheets at different angles in the pie dish.
Spoon the bean, sausage and cheese mixture into the pie dish and gently flatten with the back of the spoon.
Gently scrunch the sides of the filo pastry to make a ‘bowl’ (you should have a small circle of exposed bean mixture in the centre of the pie) and brush the scrunched pastry with the remaining butter.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the exposed beans.
Put in the oven to cook for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crispy and golden brown.
The first slice was a bit of a challenge to get out intact, but subsequent slices came out more easily. According to Seb this is; ‘loads better than beans on toast!’ He managed to eat two slices as well as the rest of the food on his plate! I think there may well be more requests for it in the near furture. Do let me know if you try this out.
Oats, oats glorious oats nothing quite like it for feeding the goats making yummy flapjacks. I am sure I have mentioned how much I enjoy flapjacks in the past. Oats make me feel healthy and good about all the baking we do. This time around I decided it was time to make a savoury flapjack recipe. I was toying with the idea of a hidden vegetable flapjack, then I remembered that with the kids helping me make them they would see the so called hidden vegetables (well courgette which they all seem to despise) and therefore knowing my luck, refuse to try them. My back up was to make a recipe where cheese has a starring role. The kids will gobble up pretty much any snack item which contains cheese. They really must have very strong bones as they all drink quite a lot of milk too. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to jump to cheese in pretty much every savoury recipe, but that is another story altogether!
I have discovered that these flapjacks are ridiculously addictive. I dare you to only manage one. I cut ours into little fingers so that I wouldn’t eat quarter of the batch in one sitting. Incidentally this also makes them finger food-sized for the smallest of foodies.
1tsp baking powder
200g Greek style natural yoghurt
200g grated cheese
1 tsp mustard powder
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to season
To make these gluten free, use gluten free oats, baking powder and ensure that you check the ingredients list of your Worcestershire Sauce. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is gluten free.
Preheat the oven to 170°c fan and grease and line at 20cm square tin.
Add the oats, baking powder, Greek style natural yoghurt, grated cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
Crack the eggs in a little jug or cup and add the Worcestershire sauce.
Pour the egg mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients.
Mix thoroughly until fully combined.
Put into the lined tin and flatten with the back of a metal spoon.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes until firm and golden.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack.
Slice when cool.
I hope you enjoy this cheesy recipe. I think this has become a new favourite savoury snack for Seb!
In case you hadn’t already noticed, I enjoy messing around in the kitchen creating recipes. Furthermore, I love it when the children can get involved in making their after school snacks or meals and contribute to the activity. This makes me feel less like a general dogsbody and more like a proactive parent on a mission to teach the kiddos how to fend for themselves.
We have several gluten-free friends and as cornmeal is naturally gluten free and I always have a stock of gluten-free flour in the pantry, it made sense in my head to make this recipe completely gluten free. I like to have a bank of gluten-free recipes for bring and share meals and for when gluten-free friends visit so I am not always relying on the same ones. Everyone deserves a bit of variety right?! It is true that gluten-free flour does tend to yield a drier bake, but that said this cornbread does have a lovely taste and texture; the mustard powder and sweetcorn add a bit of depth to the flavour
I made this with Ophelia and due to all the buttermilk, oil and eggs, photographing the process was the last thing on my mind. My aim was to avoid the need to completely clean the kitchen or to give her a bath just before her swimming lesson. It also meant that my phone was mainly on the other side of the counter to avoid the potential onslaught of ingredients from an overenthusiastic toddler! At the end of the activity, I did have to clean the counter where we were working thoroughly, mop a splodge off the floor and frogmarch my daughter to the sink so she wouldn’t put the mixture on the walls too… But my phone was clean! There is a first time for everything!
200g fine cornmeal/polenta
150g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp salt
280ml buttermilk (one tub)
2 tbsp olive oil
100g sweetcorn (defrosted if frozen)
50g Mexicana cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200°c fan and grease and line a 20cm square tin. (You could cook these in muffin cases if you prefer, to make little buns)
Put all the dry ingredients except the corn and the cheese in a large bowl and mix.
Put the buttermilk, milk and oil into a jug and mix.
Crack the two eggs into the buttermilk jug and mix again until the eggs are fully incorporated.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture and mix until fully combined.
Add the sweetcorn and cheese and mix so they are evenly spread out.
Put the mixture in the tin and gently flatten with the back of the spoon.
Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Slice and enjoy warm or cold.
We had some very happy reviews of this cornbread from not only my children, but also my gluten-free recipe testers. Please do drop me a line or leave a comment if you do manage to make this recipe as I love hearing from you.
Following the success of our Fairy Bread and Butter Pudding, my sprinkle fix hadn’t been abated. To try and satisfy it, we decided to make giant white Jazzies biscuits. Just in case you are imagining an epic giant biscuit coated in sprinkles, I fear I may well disappoint you when I say these can only be classified as giant when compared to the actual size of a Jazzie! I should also mention, I have been calling these sweets Jazzies for years and I only just realised that the packet says Jazzles! I am going to continue to call them Jazzies as in my head it is more fun and I am struggling to get my head around a new name for this childhood favourite of mine.
I seem to have retained the childlike opinion that sprinkles make everything more exciting as these are essentially chocolate buttons coated in sprinkles and they never fail to brighten up my day or bring me out of a grump. I remember taking these to a friend who was ill when I was in secondary school to cheer her up. They certainly didn’t make her immediately better, but they definitely seemed to serve their purpose.
My kids love these retro sweets. Grandma bought them some as a treat and they make a very welcome addition to natural Greek style yoghurt for pudding. The kids take great delight in ‘hiding’ the couple of Jazzies they are given and then acting all surprised when a Jazzie turns up in their mouths. It is a rather amusing interlude before what always seems a long drawn out bedtime routine.
Anyway, back to the recipe. It does call for a lot of sprinkles, but I promise you it is worth it. We unfortunately ran out of the hundred and thousands which cover Jazzies pretty quickly so had to resort to using any other sprinkles I had in the pantry. Ophelia took great delight in telling everyone who she saw when she was eating one of these biscuits that we ran out of ‘dots’! This did then require an explanation as surprisingly enough no-one really had a clue what she meant!
She also had lots of fun with the biscuit dough. I am pretty sure she thinks we make a lot of playdough which when she is done with it goes into the oven so she can then eat it when it has cooled! I am not going to correct her just yet, as I find the mentions of playdough rather amusing; we are most definitely learning through play.
For the biscuits
This is a basic biscuit recipe. The below quantity makes 25-30 round biscuits cut out with a 58mm cutter depending on how thick your biscuits are.
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 medium free range egg
275g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Jazzie topping
200g white chocolate, melted
3 tubes of hundreds and thousands
Preheat the oven to 170°c fan and line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together (by hand or with an electric mixer) until fully combined.
Gently beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Add the flour and mix with a spoon.
Bring the dough together with your hands.
Place the dough wrapped in clingfilm to chill for around an hour.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is 1cm thick all over. Don’t forget to flour the rolling pin too.
Cut out the rounds and bake for 8-10 minutes until pale or golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to harden for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. I did this bit for the kids.
Put a small amount of sprinkles on a side plate.
Dip the one of the flat sides of the biscuits into
the white chocolate and then place it chocolate side down onto the plate with sprinkles.
Cool on a wire rack with a tea towel or old magazine underneath in case they drip – some may as my kids had to be encouraged not to dunk the whole biscuit in the white chocolate!
I must say the sprinkle dipping didn’t always work out perfectly; we had some that went for a second round in the chocolate so that more sprinkles would stick on. My recommendation is to only put a few sprinkles on the plate at a time and replenish frequently or you may well end up with bits of chocolate in your sprinkles.
We hope that you enjoy these biscuits masquerading as giant sweets. Please do get in touch if you make them.