Vegan Raspberry Bounty Bites

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I was definitely a bounty bar kinda girl. Mention coconut and chocolate and I'm down. Now take it once step further and add some raspberries and now you've got me hooked! Coconut, raspberry and chocolate are actually a match made in heaven. These little bites are perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the coconut, sharpness of the berries and bitterness of the dark chocolate. It makes for the perfect snack when you're feeling peckish between meals. The great thing about it is not only is it super easy to make, it's vegan, and it's pretty healthy too! These bites don't contain much sugar due to the minimal use of a natural sweetener. I chose maple syrup for my sweetener but you could always use stevia, or honey if you're not vegan. I used 78% dark chocolate which is also quite low in sugar, you can of course up the cocoa percentage if you're a fan of dark chocolate. 

This is actually my take on a recipe from Nadia's Healthy Kitchen. The recipe is fairly simple and can easily be adapted to suit your needs. Nadia makes hers into chocolate bars, but I decided to portion control mine and make them bite sized. You can of course make yours in any shape you want. You can even get creative and use different shaped chocolate moulds if you're in the mood. If you really couldn't be bothered though, you can easily turn this into a slice by simply putting the coconut mixture into a loaf tin and then pouring the chocolate over, freezing the whole thing, then cutting it into your preferred size. Voila!

I've actually made this more than once! The first time I made a two layer bounty bar with a vanilla layer and then a raspberry layer on top. It was ok, but my taste buds weren't satisfied. I really wanted to up the anti with the raspberry flavour and make it shine. I ditched the layers and played around with the quantities a bit. I eventually found a good balance by using more raspberries and adding some freeze dried raspberry powder to add more depth of flavour. This is optional but highly recommended. Not only does it make the bites look pretty, but the taste is phenomenal! The rest of the ingredients are fairly basic so you shouldn't have a problem sourcing them. Now you really have no excuse not to make this!

Raspberry Bounty Bites (Adapted from Nadia)
Makes 36 bites
2 cups (235g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (56g) coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (235ml) full fat coconut milk
1 cup (140g) raspberries – fresh or frozen
1/3 cup (75g) coconut oil
1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup
3 Tbs raspberry powder
200g dark chocolate
freeze dried raspberries to decorate

Place all the ingredients, except the chocolate, into a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir the mixture and mash the berries as you go. Once it's all combined take it off the heat and place into your mould of choice. I used silicone mini cupcake moulds. Place the mixture in the freezer for one hour to freeze completely. 
Once the coconut mixture if frozen, pop it out of it's mould. Cut into slices if you didn't use individual moulds. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. Melt your chocolate either in a bain marie or in the microwave. Generously coat each bite with the chocolate and set on the lined tray. Decorate each bite with some crushed freeze dried raspberry. Once all the bites are coated and decorated place them back in the freezer to set. It should take about 30 minutes to set. Once it's set you can have it immediately and store any left overs in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy!
xx
Ugeshni

Vanilla Marshmallows

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Look out supermarket marshmallows, you've got competition!

I was one of those kids who ate a lot of marshmallows, like a lot. In South Africa we get a few different kinds of marshmallows, in varying shapes, colours, sizes and toppings. My favourite were the vanilla marshmallows that were coated in toasted coconut! I could pretty much eat a big bag by myself. Sadly here in New Zealand you can't get marshmallows that are made with halal gelatine. The few that you can get are pretty hard, which to me is not at all what a marshmallow should be like. You know what they say, if you can't buy them, make them!

I've wanted to make this for ages now and I finally got around to it. I made two batches, and both turned out great. These marshmallows are soft and squishy and they melt in your mouth like butter! I've never had marshmallows like this before. Once you have them, you'll never buy store bought again.

Marshmallows fall into candy making territory, which means you need a candy thermometer. Temperature is a big deal when it comes to making candy. The temperature of your sugar syrup will dictate the texture of your candy, so you have to be precise. This isn't like caramel, where you can guesstimate based on the colour of the syrup. For this recipe, the syrup won't change colour, so without a thermometer, you'll have no idea when to take it off the heat. Candy thermometers are readily available in most cooking/baking shops and they are usually less than $15. It's a tool you should definitely have in your kitchen, not just for candy making but even for cooking!

As this is my first time making marshmallows I stuck with vanilla. Vanilla is my favourite marshmallow flavour anyway, but I made these specifically for s'mores, so vanilla was a must. Of course you can choose whatever flavour your heart desires. Add some food colouring or even a toasted coconut topping if that's what you're in to. Your flavour options are endless, really. At the end of the recipe you'll find some flavour suggestions that you might like to try if you're feeling adventurous!

Vanilla Marshmallows (From Cupcake Jemma)
Makes 9 large, 18 regular or 36 mini mallows

For the coating
1 cup cornflour
1 cup icing sugar

For the mallows
24g powdered gelatine
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup liquid glucose

For the syrup
1/4 cup liquid glucose
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup of water for the syrup

Flavouring
2 tsp vanilla

Equipment
stand mixer with whisk attachment
candy thermometer
small saucepan
rubber spatula

Firstly, in a medium bowl, sift together your cornflour and icing sugar. Set aside as we will use this at the end.
Grease a 20cm x 20cm tin, then line it with clingfilm. Grease it again. Also lightly grease your spatula, this is sticky work people!

Next, we need to bloom our gelatine. In a small microwavable bowl add your gelatine and water. Give it a little stir and set aside. Pop your glucose into your stand mixer, which has been fitted with a whisk attachment. Set aside, we will come back to this.

Start on your syrup. In a small saucepan, place your glucose, sugar, and water. Pop on the stove on medium heat. Attach your candy thermometer to your saucepan so you can monitor the temperature. We want the syrup to reach soft ball stage, which is between 114-116 degrees Celsius. The syrup will get up to 100 fairly quickly but it will then take it's time to reach soft ball stage. Just let it do it's thing. Once it reaches 100 degrees Celsius, go back to your gelatine mixture. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. This will take the geltine back to liquid state. Give it a mix to make sure there are no lumps. Pop the liquid gelatine into your mixer, which already has some glucose in it. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and let it be.

At this point your you've got your mixer on low and you're waiting for your syrup to get up to the right temp. It's a bit of a waiting game, but once it hits softball stage you need to remove it immediately from the heat. Take the saucepan over to your mixer, while it's on low, and pour in the syrup slowly down the side of the bowl. Make sure to go slow! The last thing you want is for it to hit the beaters and have hot syrup flying all over the place! Once it's all poured in, turn the mixed up to medium. Beat for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and have a look at the mixture. It should have turned white by now and will be very runny. Turn the mixer back on to the highest setting and beat for another 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, stop the mixer. You should see the mixture has tripled in volume and now looks like a meringue/marshmallow. Add your 2 teaspoons of vanilla and turn the mixer back on to medium. Beat for 2 minutes.

Once your 2 minutes are up, you need to move quickly. Using your greased spatula to help you, plop the marshmallow mixture into your greased and lined tin. Wet your hands and then push the mixture down and even it out. Once it's spread out, sift over some of the coating mixture. This will keep it from being too sticky when we work with it later. Set your tray aside for about 6 hours or overnight.

After you have waited patiently, it's time to cut up the marshmallows. You can cut them in whatever size or shape you like. Dip your knife in warm water to help you cut the mallows. After cutting them, place them in your coating mixture. Make sure each mallow is well coated. Once you've coated them all, pop them in a sieve and give 'em a shake to get rid of any excess. Enjoy straight away!

They will keep in an airtight container for about 3 weeks. Try and keep them in a dry place as moisture will encourage them to stick to each other.

xx
Ugeshni

Flavour Suggestions
Raspberry - fold some freeze dried raspberries into your marshmallow mix before popping into the tray. The sweet and tart combo will work well!
Salted caramel - using the same recipe, pop half your mallow mix into the tin, drizzle over some caramel sauce then top with remaining marshmallow mixture. Give it a swirl with a skewer.
Mint choc chip - Add mint essence instead of vanilla and fold through some choc chips before setting in your tray.
Coffee - bloom your geltaine in strong coffee rather than water. Follow the rest of the recipe as above.
Masala chai / chai latte - bloom your geltaine in masala chai rather than water. Follow the rest of the recipe as above. You could also use any other tea you like.
Jaffa - The kiwi classic combo of orange and chocolate. Add orange essence instead of vanilla and fold through some choc chips before setting in your tray.
Lemon blueberry - Add lemon essence instead of vanilla and fold through some freeze dried blueberries before setting in your tray.
Pina Colada - The famous pineapple and coconut combo! Add coconut essence instead of vanilla and fold through some freeze dried pineapple before setting in your tray. Use toasted coconut thread for your coating.