Recipe: Gluten-free Gingery Rocky Road

Gluten-free Gingery Rocky Road recipe

Rocky Road is such a great make for party/treat season – packaged up, it would also make a fabulous gift. It’s versatile too because you can fancy it up to make it rather sophisticated, or you can add all kinds of colourful goodies if you want to go to town with the festive cheer.

It’s also a really useful recipe if you are baking for someone who is gluten-free. All you need to do is to take care to make sure that the biscuits and any other ingredients that you add are gluten-free – easy! Of course, if you are baking for someone with Coeliac disease, you need to be incredibly strict and make sure that the chocolate is also gluten-free (i.e. not have a ‘may contain’ listing on the packaging) and it also absolutely vital to make sure your kitchen surfaces/tools etc. are spotless too – there’s loads of advice about what you need to do on the Coeliac UK website.

For UK readers, I also wanted to give you a heads up on how deliciously tasty Sainsbury’s Freefrom Rich Tea biscuits are, and how well they work in this recipe. They are lovely and buttery, and not too sweet, which is absolutely perfect for a recipe which is unapologetically rich. I also added Freefrom Ginger Crunch Cookies – these give a hint of ginger and a lovely bit of chewiness too. Perfect!

The great thing about Rocky Road, of course, is that you can mix things up so easily – swap in different cookies and biscuits and add extra ingredients, like marshmallows, dried fruit or nuts, a little bit of spice, or other sweet treats – just make sure, if you need to, to check EVERY ingredient for gluten. Next time I make these (for people that I know like nuts!) I will add walnuts and maybe some extra stem ginger too.

I prefer a much higher biscuit to chocolate ratio in my Rocky Road than you will find in most recipes… try it, you might find that you agree.

Gluten-free Gingery Rocky Road

  • Servings: 16 small pieces
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Ingredients

  • 150g Rich Tea biscuits (or other plain biscuit)
  • 150g crunchy ginger biscuits (preferably with added stem ginger
  • 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 130g butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions

  1. Line a shallow baking tin with baking parchment. The pan I used was 23cm square – but you don’t have to be too accurate about this – if your pan is smaller, the Rocky Road will just be a bit thicker.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a large pan with the butter and syrup. Melt them gently together, stirring occasionally. Make sure the chocolate mixture doesn’t get too hot.
  3. Put the biscuits in strong plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. You need to aim for a texture that includes bite-size pieces as well as small bits, you definitely DON’T want a uniform small crumb. You can do this in a large bowl with a
  4. Stir the biscuits and ground ginger into the melted chocolate.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and then put into the fridge for at least 2 hours, until it is set.
  6. Slice into small pieces with a sharp knife and store in a airtight box. These kept really well for 3 or 4 days – they also freeze and defrost excellently.

Gluten-free Gingery Rocky Road recipe close up

Gluten-free and vegan desserts from Juliette Bryant: review and recipe

Divine Desserts Juliette Bryant book review.png

Recently, under the influence of our fabulous local superfood and juice bar Rawr, I have been really enjoying trying lots of new recipes and ingredients, and for the first time in my life, I can see eating a vegan diet might be very enjoyable indeed. So I was so pleased to get this fab little book – Divine Desserts (All Vegan and Gluten Free) by Juliette Bryant – to review.

Look at all the gorgeous-looking puddings and cakes, and you’ll see what I mean about finding vegan and gluten-free sweets very enticing:

Recipes from Divine Desserts by Juliette Bryant
Clockwise from top left: Raw chocolate mousse; Raspberry chocolate flapjacks; Raw Berry Cheesecake; Peanut butter and choc cookies; Chocolate truffles; Lemon chocolate mousse

The book is laid out in my absolute favourite way… one recipe per double page spread and spiral-bound too. Doesn’t look all fancy on my bookshelves, but is brilliant on the kitchen work surface! I wish there were more cookbooks like this..

As a total beginner to this way of eating, I was relieved to find that the recipes are mostly pleasingly simple, with no huge lists of ingredients, and no madly unusual ingredients either (well, there are a few, but mostly optional ones). There’s lots of nuts, seeds, coconut oil, coconut sugar, cacao, nut butter, dried dates and fruit – all very yummy and so nourishing too. And, speaking personally, it is brilliant to be able to reach for a sweet treat and know it is not going to make me feel bloated or have a hot flush.. (the joys of menopause…).

Of course, I had to try a recipe, so I had a go at Raw Fudge. It was super-simple to make, and is an incredibly rich, creamy and delicious dessert or sweet treat, depending on the size of portion. If freezer fudge is new to you, as it was to me, you need to know that it is ‘cooked’ in the freezer, and needs to be stored there too. Once I had done the initial 20 minute freeze (and did quality control on a few pieces of course), I cut the rest into bite-sized chunks and popped them into a freezer box, in layers, interleaved with some baking parchment. Because it is ready to eat, straight from the freezer, it makes brilliant alternative when I am having one of those ‘I need a choc-ice’ moments, and it absolutely does not feel like the lesser option. It looks irresistible doesn’t it…

Recipe for cacao freezer fudge with dried cherries from Divine Deserts

Raw Freezer Fudge

  • Servings: 10 large slices, or 16 smaller squares
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The recipe quantities are given in cups, which I know lots of people love, but I really don’t enjoy using, so I am including my own conversions, mostly for my own reference and for anyone else who is addicted to grams..!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (120g) nut butter (I used cashew nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (20g) cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup (40g) dried cherries (this is my own addition to the recipe)
  • 1 tsp medicinal mushroom powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp green superfood mix (optional)

You will need a cake tin around 8-9 inches across/diameter – obviously the fudge will be thicker or thinner depending on the size you use. I used a square cake tin, 8in across, with a removable base, which I also base-lined with a piece of baking parchment. I am not sure how necessary this was, but I didn’t want to lose any delicious fudge stuck to the tin.

Method

Stir the nut butter and melted coconut oil together in a bowl, and mix until they are smooth. Add the syrup and mix until combined, and finally add the cacao powder and stir (pretty vigorously!) until the mixture is smooth. Then stir in the optional ingredients if you are using. I wanted to add a little bit of sharp contrast to the fudge, so added my favourite dried cherries, chopped into small pieces.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and freeze for about 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and slice, and enjoy straight away, or pop back into the freezer for storage. It will keep for one month.

I chose to make this recipe because it’s one of the few in the book that doesn’t require a blender or food processor (I don’t have either, being a stick blender/food mixer person), so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of ordering your own copy. But, to be honest, the book is so inspiring, I feel the purchase of a proper blender coming on… pretty high praise considering I am so short of counter space!

Here’s where you can order your copy:

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More Very Berry Recipes…

Not your average potato cake…

lemon drizzle cakeWe’re going to a Big Meet this weekend – it’s all very exciting… There’ll be people there that I have known and chatted to on forums for years now… and it will be so great to meet them in the flesh for the first time. I’m not sure that Sandy and the boys are quite so excited, but the prospect of camping, streams to paddle in (the boys) and good food and drink (Sandy), has certainly got them interested.

Because there’s at least one dairy-free person coming, and because EVERYBODY loves cake, I’m going to make this amazing dairy and gluten free number, with a very special secret ingredient… mashed potato… I don’t know how it works, but it most definitely does. It’s a gorgeous cake, moist, lemony with a scrumptious crunchy topping.

When you are choosing your dairy free margarine or spread it’s worth keeping in mind that some are better than others for baking – here’s a great taste test that I’ve found on another blog.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Cake:
200g dairy free margarine or spread (e.g. Vitalite)
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
175g ground almonds
300g potatoes or 250g cold mashed potatoes (if you are using leftovers make sure they are unsalted and that there’s no added dairy!)
zest of 3 lemons
2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)

Drizzle:
4 tbsp granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon

  • If you are not using leftovers, peel the potatoes, roughly chop, then boil for around 10 minutes until soft. Drain them, then return to the pan and cover the pan with a clean tea-towel for 5 minutes. Remove towel and mash the potato thoroughly with a fork or potato masher, then leave to cool.
  • Pre-heat oven to 180C, 160C (fan oven) or Gas Mark 4.
  • Lightly grease and line a 20cm round cake tin (or an 18cm square tin) with baking parchment.
  • Use a mixer or an electric hand whisk to beat the dairy-free margarine and the sugar together until they are very light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Gently fold in the ground almonds, mashed potato, lemon zest and baking powder.
  • Put the mixture into your prepared cake tin and then bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
  • After removing from the oven, cool the cake for 10 minutes then remove from the tin & baking parchment, and transfer to a wire rack.
  • Mix the granulated sugar and the lemon juice, then move the cake onto a fresh piece of baking parchment (to catch any drips – don’t want to waste them!).
  • Use a skewer to make a few holes in the top of the cake, then spoon over the sugar and lemon mixture, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake.
  • If you can wait that long, it is much easier to leave the cake to cool completely before slicing it.  Good luck with that one!
  • Wrap it in foil and store any leftovers in an airtight tin.
I’ll also be taking some of this dairy-free tea bread (assuming I remember to go and soak the fruit in tea in a minute!) and some of these Koulourakia biscuits (not in any way dairy-free!), which are now absolutely the house favourite biscuit round here.
Keep your fingers crossed that it’s not too rainy in Wales this weekend…. mind you – nothing could be worse than our last experience of camping in Wales… when our tent blew down at one in the morning! Still gives me nightmares that one.