Tag Archives: apple

Organic Cacao Butter Buttons recipes plus giveaway

Cocoa butter (also known as cacao butter) is well known in skincare for its moisturising properties but did you know that it can also be used in the kitchen. I didn’t so I was intrigued when I saw it listed as one of the products that Indigo Herbs were looking for bloggers to review.

Once I realised that it is a raw by-product in the cocoa Industry which can be used to make my own sugar-free chocolate, I immediately applied. I’ve always loved chocolate and I have tried to convince myself that it is good for me, due to the iron content, as I easily get anaemic. However over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to reduce my processed sugar intake, but chocolate is one of the areas I’ve particularly failed to reduce. Nearly every visit to my local Co-op, I still come back with a bar, patting myself on the back because it is fair-trade and wrapped in foil and paper, ignoring the high sugar content.

Cacao butter buttons

So I was very pleased to receive a 500g packet of Indigo Herbs Organic Cacao Butter Buttons free to review.

Cacao has been harvested from the bean for centuries and dates back at least to the days of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec cultures. It has many health benefits. Cacao is the highest wholefood source of the mineral magnesium, an important mineral for heart health, which is rather lacking in most modern diets. It is also a valuable source of iron and an extremely antioxidant-rich superfood. Plus raw cacao is a great mood enhancer due to the abundance of feel good phytonutrients it contains.

The packet states that these organic buttons are 100% vegan, a natural source of healthy fats and an excellent source of essential fatty acids. On opening the packet, the aroma was absolutely divine, like a rich dark chocolate. And here is a birds-eye view into the packet. You can see that they look very similar in appearance to white chocolate chips, but that is where the similarity ends as these buttons are sugar-free. They are smooth to the touch, and melt easily over hot water.

organic cacao butter buttons


I currently have lots of apples and blackberries to put to good use, so I decided to come up with a recipe using these.

Apple and Blackberry Traybake

Apple and Blackberry Traybake

Ingredients (makes 16 slices)

100g cacao butter buttons
300g cooking apples
100g blackberries
250g almond flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
25g date sugar
200ml oat milk

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 degrees C.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Boil a saucepan of water and then turn off.
Melt the cacao butter buttons in a bowl placed in the pan of hot water.
Meanwhile peel, core and dice the apples.
Stir the almond flour, baking powder and date sugar into the melted cacao butter.
Mix in the oat milk.
Stir in the blackberries and chopped apples.
Spoon the mixture into the baking tin.
Cook on middle shelf of oven for about 40 minutes, (until a skewer comes out clean).
Cool on cooling rack.
Cut into 16 pieces.
Serve and enjoy.

This was very tasty and shows how cacao butter can be used in a non-chocolate recipe. However the texture was rather soft, so it would probably have been better to serve this as a pudding rather than as cake. I’ve deliberately kept the recipe vegan and gluten-free, but you could easily adapt it.

Apple and Blackberry Traybake


And of course, I wanted to try my hand at making my own homemade chocolates. Having been tempted to taste one of the buttons straight from the packet, I knew I was going to have to sweeten the cacao somewhat, but to keep it reasonably healthy, I wanted to add as little of the date syrup as possible, so I gradually added 5g at a time, until discovering that 20g was optimal.

Homemade Chocolates

Homemade Chocolates

Ingredients

50g cacao butter buttons
35g cacao powder
20g date syrup

Method

Boil a saucepan of water and then turn off.
Melt the cacao butter buttons in a bowl placed in the pan of hot water.
Mix in the cacao powder.
Stir in the date syrup.
Spoon the mixture into moulds.
Place moulds in fridge for an hour.
Gently press chocolates out of moulds.
Serve and enjoy.

Homemade Chocolates

Wow. Thumbs up. These yummy treats both tasted and looked amazing. A nice slightly bitter dark chocolate flavour. I shall definitely be making these on a regular basis. I used moulds which I had repurposed from advent calendars and Easter, but you could alternatively make a bar.

A 500g packet of Indigo Herbs Organic Cacao Butter Buttons currently retails at £12.99 and is also available in 250g or 1kg sizes. They have a long shelf life being dated best before December 2020, although mine will be long gone before then. Unfortunately there is no mention of the cacao being fairtrade. Perhaps that is something that could be looked into.

I also want to talk about the packaging. Regular followers of my blog will know that I began this year with the aim of reducing my household waste, in particular plastic. I’ve gradually broadened this to think of the whole carbon footprint in terms of my purchases and trying to buy more organic and more local products with low food miles. So the buttons get a big tick for being organic. I know the cocoa bean doesn’t grow in the UK, so can’t do much about the fact of the cacao coming from Peru. Just got to accept that. It is the same with other products that I intend to continue purchasing like bananas. One of the things I plan to look into going forwards is how I personally can offset my carbon footprint of these products having been flown halfway across the world for my consumption, with a view to contributing to some environmental projects.

So back to the packaging. Unfortunately there is no mention on the packet of how to dispose of it, which is information I would like to see all food packaging display. I think it looks like either a plastic or a mixed material, probably not easily recycled. It seems reasonably robust, so I will probably be able to repurpose it temporarily as a freezer bag. But what about after that? How about selling them in glass jars instead, or even better loose though refill stores.

I couldn’t actually work out where my nearest stockist is as there seems to be a glitch with that page. Every store on the map seems to currently be listed with a Bristol address.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 500g pack of cacao buttons courtesy of Indigo Herbs to one lucky winner. Think of all the tempting treats you could make with this.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Right I’m off to browse the Indigo Herbs website to see what other products they sell. It is thanks to them that I previously discovered my love of chia seeds, something that I now use almost daily. You may check out my chia seed review here.

I’d love to hear your recipes using cacao.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Apple Cake

My parents still had rather a lot of apples left from their trees this year which are getting to the point of needing to be used soon. So they gave me a large bagful and I decided to make another apple cake. I first made this recipe back in October when it was my turn to contribute 40 small cakes to the weekly teahouse that I attend, and it was very popular.

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Ingredients (makes 9 – 12)

350g cooking apples
juice of ½ lemon
175g margarine
200g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
extra brown sugar, to sprinkle

Method

Pre-heat fan oven to 160 deg C.
Grease and line a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm).
Peel, core and slice the apples.
Squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent them from browning.
Place the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Mix until smooth.
Spread half the cake mixture into the tin.
Arrange half the apples over the top of the mixture.
Top with the other half of the cake mixture and then with the other half of apples.
Sprinkle over the extra brown sugar.
Bake for 45-50 mins in pre-heated oven until golden and springy to the touch.
Leave to cool.
Then turn out of tin and cut into slices or squares.
Serve and enjoy.

apple cake

I’d love to hear how you use up surplus apples?

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Seasonal Recipes – Apple Bread and Butter Pudding

I usually love Autumn, going for woodland walks in our wellies, scrunching through the leaves.  Sadly we’ve only managed one short walk so far this season, as son1 isn’t really feeling upto much walking due to his leukaemia.

However at least one thing remains constant, being able to cook lovely warm nourishing food with some of the seasonal produce available at this time of year.  I blogged last week about my pumpkin soup.  But already pumpkins seem to have disappeared from the shelves at the shops.  What a shame, there are so many great pumpkin recipes.  We don’t just want pumpkins to make jack o’ lanterns, although that is great fun.  Pumpkins won’t have vanished from the shelves in the US, with pumpkin pie being traditional Thanksgiving fare, so where have they gone here?  I hope they haven’t been thrown away just to make room for all the Christmas lines.

Anyhow at least some seasonal food like apples and plums don’t disappear.  Our  old house had several fruit trees, so I used to make lots of puddings at this time of year.  I still do, but now I have to rely on buying my fruit or gifts from others with a fruit glut.  So having been given a bag of apples, I thought that I would share an unusual apple recipe on my blog today that I originally posted on Gourmandize.

Apple Bread and Butter Pudding

This recipe is my personal creation. It is a fruity variant on the traditional Bread and Butter Pudding. Served hot, delicious with custard or cream. Serves 4.

Ingredients

25g butter
200g cooking apples,
100g white bread
50g currants
1 tsp cinnamon powder
300ml milk
2 eggs
25g sugar

Method

Grease a pie dish with butter.
Spread each slice of bread with butter, then cut into triangles or fingers. I leave the crusts on the bread to avoid wastage, but cut them off if you prefer.
Peel, core and slice the apples.
Arrange a layer of half the bread, buttered-side up, in the bottom of the dish.
Then add a layer of all the apple and currants. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Then finish with a layer of remaining bread, then put to one side.
Gently warm the milk over a low heat. Don’t let it boil.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add three quarters of the sugar and whisk.
Add the warm milk to the egg mixture and stir, then pour over the prepared bread and apple. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
Place the dish into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown.

Arrange half the bread in bottom of dish

Arrange half the bread in bottom of dish

Add apple and currants. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Add apple and currants. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Add remaining bread

Add remaining bread

Add egg mixture and sugar, leave to stand

Add egg mixture and sugar, leave to stand

Bake until custard has set and top is golden-brown

Bake until custard has set and top is golden-brown

This post is my entry to the 1st Edition of the Bloggers cooking competition from Tiendeo of “Seasonal Recipes”.  Be quick if you want to enter too, as it closes tomorrow.

Footnote – Tiendeo competition has now been extended to 15 Nov.

Link up your recipe of the week