Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

CoffeeVanillaCookies1So I had this random dream not too long ago. In the dream, my friend and I were going to see a movie. We took our seats in the cinema, and I told her to wait right there while I bought some snacks. I went down to the snack bar and had a look at my choices.

There was a small packet of popcorn (I don’t know why it came in a packet) that cost $11. This made me angrier than it should have – I was absolutely infuriated with the injustice! Eleven freaking dollars for a tiny packet of popcorn that’s not even hot or buttered! There was also a packet of some generic-brand lollies that was the same size as the popcorn packet, but this was only $3. Even though they looked really gross and unappetizing I bought that one because it was cheaper. And then a whole bunch of other really random and nonsensical things took place because, well, you know how dreams are.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, movie food is expensive! Even in my dreams I cannot escape from the totally outrageous prices. I think it’s because for some reason, most people can’t watch a movie without eating. For me it’s also commonly a case of, “If we eat dinner beforehand we’ll be late for the movie, therefore we will eat popcorn for dinner.” And then you see almost-full buckets of popcorn just left behind in the cinema. What a waste – of both money and popcorn!

Sure, you could just buy snacks at the grocery store beforehand (assuming you have time, you’re not lazy, and it’s still open) but here’s another option that lets you get creative and ensures that your house will smell delicious upon your return – bake a bunch of cookies at home and smuggle them into the cinema!

And that’s the story behind how these cookies came to be. It was one of those winter afternoons where I was longing to fill my house with the scent of freshly-baked cookies. Of course, I wanted to share them rather than have them sitting in my pantry and tempting me all weekend, so I toted them off to the cinema and saved approximately ten thousand dollars on movie snacks.

So now let’s talk about the cookies themselves! I wanted to use up a few little odds and ends in my pantry and make these cookies a bit “different” (in a good way, hopefully). The cookies themselves are flavoured with vanilla essence as well as some vanilla-infused instant coffee for a double hit of vanilla goodness. The sweetness of the vanilla balanced out the strong coffee flavor which was quite nice. Then it was time to think about mix-ins! I threw in a packet of white choc chips because normal choc-chip cookies are too mainstream (also because I didn’t have any milk/dark choc chips) and half a container of pistachios. Might as well get creative and put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste!

Also, because I’ve been really into Spelt flour lately, I used that in place of regular flour. I like to think that this made them a little bit healthier, and would justify the fact that a couple of those cookies, along with a handful of popcorn, was essentially my dinner that night. Not that I’d promote cookies as a healthy alternative to dinner on a regular basis. You’ve got to eat your vegetables, people!

Here’s the recipe. If you don’t have vanilla-flavoured instant coffee (I used Moccona brand) then just regular coffee will work just fine.


Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla-infused instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup white choc chips
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract, dissolved coffee and sugars with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Sift in the flours and salt and stir in the choc-chips and pistachios.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, leaving ample space between each cookie (about 2-3cm) so they can spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Leave to set on the trays for 5-10 minutes or until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Date, Cocoa & Chia Balls


Since I’m going to be talking about one of my “healthy” recipes in this post, I was going to begin this post with a statement like, “I’m a bit of a health-freak” or something along those lines.

But that would be a lie, at least most of the time.

I ain’t no gym junkie. I do go to the gym, but I mostly spend the time huffing and puffing away on whatever machines I feel like that day whilst daydreaming about all the nice clothes I can wear if I keep up my exercise routine ‘til bikini season rolls around, and at the end I’m like, “Yes! I burned 400 calories! That’s like, a whole slice of cake! Go me!” Then I go home and eat a whole slice of cake. No, I’m joking, that’s just gross.

I do like to eat healthily though – I may not live solely on kale smoothies and quinoa, but I like making healthy choices when it comes to what I shove in my cake-hole (or quinoa-hole… that sounds kinda weird, though, I don’t think I’ll use that saying anymore)

But cooking and baking is my weakness. I like to make sweets to share with my friends and family – cake, cookies, that kind of thing – but often what I bake ends up on my own plate too, negating the whole “being a health-freak” thing. Yet I love to bake, and I love to bake often. Dilemma.

Well, it’s not necessarily the biggest dilemma ever… because lately I’ve developed a fondness for cooking/baking/assembling guilt-free indulgences.

I decided to experiment a little in the kitchen the other day, and came up with a recipe for these delicious little balls of fun! Date, Cocoa and Chia Balls. No butter, no sugar, but lots of deliciousness!

The recipe is still kind of in the beta stage. Basically, I chopped up a bunch of dates and chucked them in the blender with the other ingredients, but I found that nothing was happening to the dates except for being shaken madly about in the blender… so I added more water to help them blend. It worked, but it made the mixture quite soft. They were fine once I rolled them into balls, coated them in Chia Seeds and put them in the fridge overnight, though I would have liked them a bit more chewy. I honestly didn’t regulate the amount of extra water I poured in there, but I guesstimated 1/3 cup when I wrote down the recipe… maybe a bit less would be better?

Why not try the recipe out yourself and have a bit of a play with the proportions? It’s a no-bake recipe, so you needn’t worry about the whole “Baking is a science and you need the exact measurements of everything” deal. You could also roll them in something else like desiccated coconut or cocoa powder if you’re not fond of using Chia Seeds.

Also, a word of warning: These taste a bit like brownies. Brownies are addictive. Therefore, you might possibly find these addictive. But they’re healthy, so it’s okay, right? Right?


Date, Cocoa and Chia Seeds Balls

1 ½ cups dried dates, pitted, chopped
6 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used Moccona Hazelnut infusions, but you can use whatever tickles your fancy) dissolved in about 1/3 cup of hot water (if you’re not a coffee fan, just use the water on its own)
A pinch of salt
Approx. half a cup Chia Seeds

Place all the ingredients except the Chia Seeds in a blender or food processor. Blend to a fairly smooth paste, adding extra water if necessary.

Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls (it might be a bit sticky… I recommend rinsing your hands before doing this, it makes it easier to handle) and roll in the Chia Seeds to coat. Place the completed balls onto a lined baking tray, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Coconut Mocha Cookies


Do you ever look in the pantry or fridge and just feel a bit guilty for having a whole bunch of cooking or baking ingredients that you never use? Or that you bought for one particular recipe, but only needed a little bit, so there’s a whole box/sack/packet left over? And you really don’t want it to go to waste?

Because that totally happened to me this weekend. Actually, it happens to me quite often, especially with cooking chocolate. Sometimes a recipe only calls for half of one of those big blocks of cooking chocolate, and the rest gets wrapped up and stowed away in the fridge for “next time” you decide to make a chocolatey treat. Of course, when “next time” rolls around, the recipe needs more than that bit you have left in the fridge so you end up just opening a new block.

Well, this recipe is a great way to use up that neglected block of chocolate (as long as it hasn’t been neglected for like, twelve years or something… you might want to have a quick peek at the expiration date, actually) since there’s no set amount of chocolate you have to use – just melt some down and use as much as you desire. It’s fairly quick and easy too, so it’s great for when you get the sudden urge to bestow delicious cookies upon your friends and family… an urge that tends to hit me quite often.

So before I delve into the story of these cookies, it’ time for a fun fact: I suffer from – no, rather, I enjoy – a coffee addiction! Coffee actually has numerous health benefits, and it makes me way easier to deal with during the early hours of the morning. Without my morning (caffeine) fix, I’d probably look and feel like Grumpy Cat for the first six or seven hours of my day.

The other cool thing about liking coffee so much is that I’m always inspired to add a bit of it to otherwise non-caffeinated recipes, giving them an extra flavor kick! That’s exactly what happened with these cookies. I also dipped half of them in some melted dark chocolate (oh look, another addiction of mine) so I could use the word “mocha” in the recipe title (and because I decided it would taste nice, too). The cookies are soft and chewy, with the coffee and coconut flavour coming through nicely – they’re still alright on their own even without dark chocolate. The dark chocolate makes it very rich and indulgent. Ever had a  coconut mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks? It’s a little like that, in cookie form.

And to finish off on a totally random note before sharing the recipe, wow, autocorrect recognises the word Frappuccino! Good job, autocorrect! :D


Coconut Mocha Cookies

100g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in about 1 tablespoon hot water
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
About 150g of dark cooking chocolate (you may need less or more, depending on how much chocolate you want to coat each cookie in and whether or not you want to leave some plain)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and coffee in a large mixing bowl and stir until smooth and well-combined (you may want to use an electric mixer for this). Beat in egg until just combined. Sift in flour and add desiccated coconut, and stir until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls (it will probably be quite sticky – it helps to dampen hands with water when doing this) and place on trays, flattening slightly, making sure to leave plenty of room to spread.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden and cooked through. Leave on trays to cool.

When cookies have cooled, melt at least 150g of dark chocolate following packet instructions. Dip half of each cookie in the dark chocolate, using a knife to smoothen. Spread dipped cookies out on several plates and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for chocolate to set and harden.

Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip Cookies

I can’t believe it’s July! We’re already halfway through the year. It always seems like the first couple of months go slowly – the warm summer days drag on and I long for the cold, frosty bliss of winter. Then it’s winter, which I typically spend shivering in the cold dreaming of the warm sunny days that I was wishing away earlier in the year.

The year has flown by so quickly, and I’m currently in an ever-increasing state of excitement (and slight panic) because pretty soon I too will be doing some flying. Yes, next Thursday I shall be prancing off to South America to take part in World Youth Day! It’s my first time overseas, and I’m looking forward to it immensely!

I don’t know whether or not this will be my last post before I head off (although knowing my laziness, it probably will be) so I’d like to share these delicious Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip cookies with you all. I baked these the other night (and managed to beat the temptation to consume an entire tray while they were still warm from the oven! Go me!) – they’re based on a recipe from the Cadbury Kitchen website. Ever since the success of the cake I made for my Mum’s birthday, I’ve come to like that site and many of those recipes have made their way onto my to-bake list.

Originally, I was going to do Salted Caramel Mocha cookies (inspired by the Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks which was available for a limited time last year) using caramel chips instead of choc chips, but the caramel chips were past their best-before date by a few months, so I opted for white choc chips instead; they’re still pretty sweet, balancing out the sea salt and the strong cocoa/coffee flavor of the cookies. Enjoy!

Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cadbury Kitchen

125g unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1½ cups of self raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup of white choc chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Lightly grease two large baking trays.

Whist the butter and sugars together until pale and creamy. Add egg, vanilla essence and coffee, and whisk until smooth. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then stir in the white choc chips.

Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking trays, spaced well apart, and flatten slightly. Sprinkle a little
sea salt on the top of each cookie. Bake each tray for 15 minutes or until the biscuits appear cooked. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Or, you know, you could just eat them all while they’re still warm, ’cause that’s way more awesome than sharing them. Mmmmm.

Mocha Cookie Cheesecake Ice-cream


Remember in my last post when I said I was off to make a cake? Well, I lied. While I can think of nothing more enticing than the scent of a sweet, spicy carrot cake or a pan of rich, indulgent chocolate brownies wafting from the oven on a chilly, overcast Winter’s afternoon, it just doesn’t have that same effect on a hot sunny Summer’s day in Australia. It was the kind of day more suited for a sweet frosty dessert.

I made New York Cheesecake ice-cream once, quite a while ago, and it was amazing. The delicious, tangy tartness of cream cheese was a nice change from the typical sugary sweetness of ice-cream. I was in the mood for something along those lines, but decided to jazz it up a bit by making a Mocha version! I added some coffee to the mixture, and instead of having a “biscuit base” like an actual cheesecake, this ice-cream has crushed Oreos mixed in, much like a Cookies ‘n’ Cream flavoured ice-cream would. I used the chocolate-cream filled ones for extra chocolatey goodness.


Personally, I think the combination of ingredients turned out great! The Oreo cookies were a fine substitute for the cheesecake base, adding a subtle chocolatey crunch and balancing out the tartness of the cream cheese, and it had a nice coffee flavour without being overpowering or bitter. I think it would also work as an actual ice-cream cheesecake, with a chocolate biscuit base, either with or without the Oreos mixed in.

Also, these photographs were taken with the assistance and expertise of my boyfriend John. You can check out his facebook page and contact him at John Behind The Lens!

As this blog progresses, I’m hoping to learn more about food styling and photography so I can capture all the deliciousness on camera. So hopefully you can look forward to some great photographs in the future!

Mocha cookie cheesecake ice-cream:

(adapted from 500 Ice Creams)

250g double thick cream
240g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g caster sugar (you can adjust this depending on how sweet you want it)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
90g chocolate-cream filled Oreo cookies

1. Whip the cream. Then beat in the cream cheese, coffee, sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is nice and smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice-cream maker and let it churn.

2. When the ice-cream is almost frozen but still quite soft, grab your Oreos, and crush them up into crumbs (I find a potato masher works quite well for all my cookie-crushing needs). You can leave a few slightly larger chunks if you’d like, for a contrast of texture.

3. When ice-cream appears ready (mine took about 20 minutes altogether, but this will depend on your ice-cream maker), pour in the crushed Oreos and let it church until evenly combined. Pour the ice-cream into a freezable container and store in the freezer for a couple of hours, until firm. You may need to take the container out 10-15 minutes prior to serving to allow the ice-cream to soften.

Oh, and serve topped with one of your spare Oreos!