Christmas Chocolate Chia Trifle

Christmas Chocolate Chia Trifle
Christmas Chocolate Chia Trifle
Christmas Chocolate Chia Trifle
Christmas Chocolate Chia Trifle

Trifle is a tradition in my family. I am hosting Christmas this year and I have decided to do a plant-based one because not only do I want a healthier Christmas but I want to show my family how easy it is to become mindful of the amount of meat and animal products we consume. You don't have to be vegan for this, you just have to care more about your environment and your body and think do I need as much as I take?  
I have been eating healthier and my body has been thanking me for it. Your will to if you give it a go. I don't want to have a full-blown sugar binge if I don't have to. I mean just look at this Trifle. Does it not tick all the boxes on every level? My mouth is watering just looking at it! You can play around by adding different nuts, nut butter and dark chocolate. 

It's so easy to make and a lot quicker than a normal Trifle. Plus it is refined sugar-free, gluten free and dairy free! 


Makes 2-3 glasses depending on glass size

Ingredients:

Chia layer:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 tablespoon 100% maple syrup 
  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

Chocolate mousse layer:

Other layers:

  • 1/2 cup sugar-free granola - You can find great options at your local health store.  
  • 1 - 2 fresh bananas sliced 
  • 50 grams pecan nuts, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • Banana bread *optional. You can bake a vegan bread or find one at your local health store. 
  • fresh cherries *optional 

In a medium pot over a medium heat add all ingredients for the chia layer. Bring to a simmer stirring often. Once the chia seeds begin to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes of simmering, turn the heat off and set aside. The other option if you have time is to combine all ingredients and leave them in a jar in the fridge overnight. 

In a tall glasses begin assembling your trifle. Begin with two tablespoons of Chia pudding, then two tablespoons of chocolate mousse. Add the sliced banana. Top with granola and nuts and repeat ending off on a chocolate layer. Top the trifles with granola, almond butter and torn pieces of banana bread. 

Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!

Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!
Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!
Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!
Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!
Chocolate peanut butter mousse - Plant based Christmas!

This dessert is decadent with a capital D. My favourite part about it besides from being dairy and refined sugar-free is the fact that when I indulge in this dessert I don't feel guilty and nor should you! This dessert is such a wonderful relief from the sugar-heavy desserts that surround us at Christmas. You can make this and serve it freshly made or you can freeze it for those mid-week sugar cravings. A spoonful or two of this dessert will halt any sugar fiend out there. If you reframe your thinking of 'treating yourself' away from sugary treats and toward healthy nourishing indulgence then your body and health will thank you! I would love to hear from you guys if you would like to see more healthy options on the blog! Let me know in the comments below! Have a Merry Christmas everyone!


Ingredients: 

  • 4 large bananas, sliced and frozen 
  • 2 tablespoon cacao - I use superfood cacao. 
  • 2 tablespoon peanut butter - I use 100% peanut butter from my local health store
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions: 

Add the bananas to a food processor and blend for 5 minutes or until it becomes light and fluffy. It might take longer depeneding on the heat of your kitchen and strenth of your blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. Keep it in the fridge until serving. 

Serve cold in glasses topped with Cherries or mint. 

This mousse can be frozen to make chocolate nice cream for a later date. 

Merry Christmas 

-Melissa
 

Vanilla bean and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Berry compote

Vanilla bean and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Berry compote
Vanilla bean and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Berry compote
Vanilla bean and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Berry compote
Vanilla bean and Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Berry compote

This dessert is a lot of fun because it is so easy to make and if you use coconut sugar it is refined sugar-free. Topped with the berries which are high in anti oxidants it ranks high up on my guilt free dessert list. This recipe is a great example of how you can substitute unhealthy refined sugar with healthier coconut sugar and that you do not have to go without your precious sweet treats! Next time you find yourself baking and using sugar, remember that you don't have to use such a large amount and that if you lessen the amount in a recipe (it won't affect the recipe and the sweetness) or find a healthier substitute, your body will thank you. Consuming empty calories isn't a way of 'treating' your body. If you can change your mindset on that, you can invite healthier alternatives into your life that will nourish you rather than leaving you with horrible guilt and a nasty sugar crash! 


Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons cold water 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin 
  • 2 cups heavy cream (divided) 
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (normal castor sugar will also work) 
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds removed 

Berry compote: 

  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries (you can use frozen) 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar  (normal castor sugar will also work)
  • Fresh mint leaves to serve 

Instructions:

Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over cold water. I use a glass of ice water and measure my water from there to ensure it very cold. If the water isn't cold you can get lumpy panna cotta. 

Add the vanilla bean scraping, 1 cup of heavy cream and the sugar to a small pot and dissolve the sugar over a medium heat.

Once dissolved whisk in the rest of the heavy cream and buttermilk. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. 

Pour the mixture into tumbler glasses, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set overnight. 

Before serving: 

Add all the ingredients for the berry compote into a small pot over a medium heat. Stir the berries and let the mixture reduce. Once you reach a syrup consistency, remove from the heat. Let the berries cool before serving. 

Serve with a dollop of berries and a sprig of mint! 

Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake

Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake
Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake
Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake
Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake
Lemon and thyme poppy seed cake

I have been promising to get this cake up on the blog for ages. For those of you who have waited patiently, thank you! I made it for my mother-in-law's birthday and it was a hit! I couldn't share how good it looked when cut into, as I still needed to give it to her. But I guess that will be part of the surprise and the trust that you have with The Truffle Journal. The moment that you cut into the cake will be such a treat. The lemon flavour is perfect and compliments the thyme wonderfully. I made a vanilla buttercream which was delectable and trust me, will leave you wanting more. Just don't make the same mistake I did, which was to have dinner before.

Life is short, have dessert first and in this case, lemon and thyme poppy seed cake! 


Ingredients: 

For the cake:
Cake:
420 grams cake flour
400 grams caster sugar
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds (soaked in a little warm milk for 15 minutes)
230 grams unsalted butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
5 egg whites

For the thyme syrup:
50 grams granulated sugar (from the cake sugar)
1/2 cup water
small fist-full of thyme leaves - about 10 sprigs
Juice of 1/2 a lemon 

For the frosting: 
2 vanilla beans, scored and seeds removed
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
250g cream cheese
200 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla paste


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Grease three 20cm round cake pans. 
Line the bottom of each with a round of wax paper and butter the paper. (The batter is sticky so don't miss this step!) 

Combine the flour, 1 ¾ cups (350g) of the sugar, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds (milk strained) in the large bowl of an electric mixer. 
Beat on low speed to blend the ingredients and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds. 
Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Beat on low until completely mixed. 
Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes to lighten and aerate the batter.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk; whisk well. Add this mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, make the lemon syrup: in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ¼ cup (50g) of sugar, the lemon juice, thyme and the water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. 
Turn out the cake layers onto wire racks and generously brush them hot lemon syrup over the warm cakes to moisten evenly. Let cool completely.

For the frosting: 

Using an electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese together until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar one cup at a time beating well after each addition. Make sure to scrap the sides down. Add the vanilla and mix well. 

To assemble the cake:

I add a dollop of frosting onto the base before I add my first layer. This ensures it doesn't go slipping and sliding. 
Add a fifth of the icing on the first layer and spread evenly. Add the next layer and repeat. Use the remaining icing to ice the cake. You can do a nude look or fully cover the cake. Garnish with some thyme or flowers! 

-Melissa 

Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip

Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip
Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip
Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip
Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip
Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip
Chocolate banana bread with mascarpone frosting and caramel drip

So guess what? I've been asked to be on Telly! Now, this isn't a new thing for me (#tbt to MasterChef), but it has been a while since my first debut. It's nerve-wracking, to say the least, but at the same time super exciting and I cannot wait. Lights! Camera! Action! Wait, Where's the guest? She's suffering an onslaught of nerves behind the cameraman. 
Okay, maybe not that drastic...
It's going to be short and sweet but that's ok, its a lot like me. I'm going to be on the SABC 3 Afternoon Express show around 4 pm local time. 

I've chosen to make a double chocolate banana bread and I had to share it with you guys here on the blog. It's so decadent and delicious. It's all the best of old school banana bread with double the chocolate. Cutting into it, the chocolate chips melt and the mascarpone sits there complimenting the sweetness of the choccie perfectly.  (They are a fine pair believe it or not. Full of compliments for each other)
You get a double hit with the caramel sauce because, well, why not. This sauce is so delectable that you could eat it out of the jar! (Which did happen in my case.)  

So hopefully you guys can tune in but if you miss it, that's ok too because I've shared the recipe right here for you! Just make sure you have people around because you can (and will) polish this off all by yourself, in which case, I might have given you diabetes. 
Apologies in advance.


Ingredients:

For the bread:

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar (I use dark here; either light or dark work)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup (about 180 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the rum caramel sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons milk
3 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
25 g butter
pinch of salt

For the mascarpone frosting: 

250 g mascarpone
1-2 tbsp powdered sugar (or to taste)
½ cup heavy cream

 


Instructions: 

For the bread:

Heat your oven to 180°C. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan (23 x 13 x 6 cm), or spray it with a nonstick baking spray.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You’ll have a little over 1 cup mashed banana total.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips along with the walnuts.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. (A melted chocolate chip smear is expected, however.) Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Let cool before frosting. 

For the sauce:

Carefully heat the milk, and cream in a saucepan. It should be hot but not boil.
Meanwhile, put the sugar in another saucepan with a little water and heat until it starts to melt.
Carefully stir sugar with a spoon until all sugar has melted and has become a golden brown color.
Add the butter and stir until melted.
Very carefully add the heated cream mixture.
Stir until smooth, add the salt and pour into a jar to cool. Put in the fridge to become completely cold.

For the mascarpone frosting:

Beat the mascarpone and sugar until smooth. Add cream and beat
until firm.
Generously ice the loaf of banana bread. Drizzle the caramel sauce over and enjoy! 

-Melissa