Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you these brownies are so easy you could put them together while dinner was cooking and they would be ready for you when dessert time came around?

You might call me all sorts of names for leading you astray on a Monday morning.

What would you say if I told you that you only need a saucepan, a spoon, and a baking tin to make this fudgy chocolate treat?

You might tell me that I am an enabler, and that I am making it far too easy for you to break the promises that you made to yourself about eating well this week.

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you that a balanced diet is all about balancing your indulgences with healthy eating and exercise?

You wouldn’t say anything, you would realise my wisdom (…rationalising), and race into the kitchen to make some brownies!

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. Makes 16 2×2 inch brownies.


  • 120 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top.
  5. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces. Brownies can be kept in an airtight container for up to four days – if they last that long!



Tell me, dear reader, what are your biggest temptations on a Monday? 

Irish Coffee Ice Cream for St. Patrick’s Day

Do you have a favourite day of the year? One that isn’t your birthday or Christmas?

For me, St. Patrick’s Day has always been my favourite day of the year. I love the green and the glitter, the shamrocks and the leprechauns, the Guinness (not the taste but the cooking possibilities) and the music, not to mention that I have a long lived obsession with Ireland, and…ah…Irishmen. It’s the accent and it’s genetic.

When I was in school the tale of St. Patrick enthralled me, and pictures of the emerald green isle where the sea crashes harshly against sheer rock faces and the hills roll down and around and gently cup charming farmhouses stood in sharp contrast to the wide golden land of my reality.

Ireland has long been on my list of places to go and I will get there someday. For now, I stick to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with all my might and reading Maeve Binchy  novels.


Now, I know St Patrick’s Day is still a week and a bit away, but sometimes you make something and you just can’t wait to share it – this Irish Coffee Ice Cream is one of those recipes. And when it comes to ice cream, a little forethought and preparation goes a long way to ensure the end product is successful.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This ice cream is rich, thick and smooth and all-encompassing. This is not ice cream that you eat while sitting on the couch watching ‘Leap Year’. This ice cream demands attention. The coffee comes through strongly, so if you aren’t a huge coffee fan you could reduce the amount of beans to one or even half a cup. The whisky here is non-negotiable if you want to call it Irish Coffee (as defined by the National Standards Authority of Ireland), but if you choose to leave it out, you could increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and have a very decent coffee-flavoured ice cream instead. Use good whisky here too. You don’t need a lot, but use something that you like to drink because you will taste the whisky in the finished product.

This only makes a small batch, but you only need a dainty scoop of this smooth, thick cloud of creamy frozen custard to feel satisfactorily indulged.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

Note: This recipe provides the instructions for making ice cream with an ice cream maker. If you do not own an ice cream maker, never fear use these instructions from the King of Ice Cream David Lebovitz (

If you are using an ice cream maker, remember to place the ice cream maker bowl into the freezer 24 hours in advance.


  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¾ cup raw sugar
  • 1 ½ cups coffee beans
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • 5 egg yolks at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Irish Whisky


  1. Heat milk, raw sugar, coffee beans, salt and cream in a sauce pan until warmed through and letting off steam – do not let this come to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for one hour. If you want a less strong coffee flavour, steep less beans for a shorter amount of time.
  3. After steeping has occurred fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water and settle a medium size bowl into the ice. Place a fine metal sieve over the medium bowl.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl whisk egg yolks together.
  5. Reheat milk mixture until warm again. Do not boil.
  6. Slowly, whisk a small amount of heated milk into the egg yolks. Continue whisking and pouring heated milk mixture into egg yolks. We want to keep whisking pouring slowly to prevent the yolks from cooking.
  7. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. You are now halfway through making the custard!
  8. Place saucepan on a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. This can take up to ten minutes. Just keep stirring. The mixture should coat the back of the spoon and you should be able to draw a clear line through the coating that doesn’t disappear immediately.
  9. Once your custard has thickened, remove mixture from the heat.
  10. Pour custard through the strainer to remove the coffee beans. Discard the beans.
  11. Stir in vanilla and whisky.
  12. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled down.
  13. Wrap bowl tightly and chill in refrigerator overnight.
  14. The next day, remove custard from fridge and freeze as per ice cream maker’s instructions.
  15. After churning the ice cream, freeze for about four hours (if you can wait that long!) then scoop into bowls and garnish with shaved dark chocolate and some whipped cream if you are feeling extra naughty!

I know this seems a very long process, but the end result is extremely rewarding.

So dear reader, how do you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I’ll be wearing green and cooking colcannon for dinner, oh, and listening to Westlife on my morning run…

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Coconut can be a divisive flavour. I have found that most people I surveyed (note: I did not actually survey anyone, but I have vast experience in forcing baked goods onto people so we’ll take that into account) fall into one of two categories: firstly, they love coconut anything (Dad, Jess, and I); secondly, they hate coconut anything (Chris and Mum). These blondies are for the people in the first category (sorry Chris and Mum).

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

These are made for coconut lovers. The coconut flavour contributed by coconut flour, coconut essence and shredded coconut, really shines through. The toasted coconut strands mixed with white chocolate are sweet and chewy surprises, and really, white chocolate and coconut are a power couple. The edges of the blondies are crispy, the middle is chewy and yielding – they are my perfect blondie.

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Had you peeked into our house last weekend (note: please don’t do this. One, it’s kinda creepy. Two, Molly will go mental barking like a thing possessed. Just ring the bell and we will invite you in for a cup of tea) you might have seen me sneaking into the kitchen every hour or so for a little nibble (or a big nibble) on one of these blondies.

These are the blondies to make this weekend and share with the ones you love; I mean, share most of them, obviously you need to keep some for quality control.

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Makes 24-30 squares depending how big you like your blondies.

Note: To toast coconut spread out measured amount onto a lined cookie sheet. Place in an oven preheated to 160C and toast for 5 minutes. Stir halfway through as the edges will brown faster than the middle.

Keep an eye on the blondies as they bake as the top browns quite quickly. You may need to cover it with aluminium foil halfway through the cooking time.


  • 100 grams sorghum flour
  • 100 gram coconut flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams butter softened
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 200 grams white chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut, toasted (see note)


  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together sorghum flour, coconut flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a large bowl using a handmixer (or in the large bowl of a standmixer) beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  5. Measure in vanilla and coconut extracts and maple syrup and mix in.
  6. Lower the speed of your mixer and add flour mix. Beat until just combined.
  7. Stir in white chocolate and shredded coconut with a wooden spoon.
  8. Spread mixture evenly into the prepared pan and place in your oven.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes.
  10. The blondies are done when a wooden skewer inserted into the middle yields only a few moist crumbs.
  11. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before chopping into squares.

Okay my wonderful readers, tell me: coconut lover or coconut hater (don’t worry we can still be friends)?

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies (gluten free)

Today is Saturday. I don’t think you can find a person in the world who doesn’t understand the fragile and fleeting beauty of a Saturday morning. More energetic than a Friday night when you are tired from working all week, and less worrisome than a Sunday afternoon when work looms large on the horizon. Saturday morning are one of my favourite times of the week. Saturday mornings mean the farmers markets with my mum and sister, Saturday mornings mean a long run when I am in training (such as at the moment), and after that run, Saturday mornings mean cookies.


These cookies are a riff on the Chunky Dunkers that I made a few months ago. (And by made we all know that I mean that they barely made it out of the oven before I was double-fisting them and cursing my mouth for not being big enough to hold more than one bite at a time.)

The Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies are slightly salted, in fact next time I make them I may bump the salt up to a whole teaspoon rather than a half just to get that extra little salty kick. The cashew butter is subtle but more pronounced once the cookies are cooled, and it makes the crumb oh so tender. And when that tender, salty dough meets salted cashews and creamy sweet white chocolate chunks your mouth explodes in a divine explosion of cookie goodness.


Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies (gluten free)

If you don’t need these to be gluten free you can use 250 grams of plain flour in place of the rice flour and buckwheat flour). 

Makes about 20 cookies.


  • 50 grams butter, softened
  • 60 grams cashew butter
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 125 grams brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 100 grams white rice flour
  • 150 grams buckwheat flour
  • 150 grams white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup salted cashews, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, cashew butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. I used a wooden spoon, but you can use a hand-held mixer instead.
  3. Add egg and milk and beat well.
  4. Sift in salt, baking powder, and flours. Stir until well combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate and nuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop out mounds of dough with a soup spoon (or an ice cream scoop if you want extra-large cookies). Leave about 6 cm between cookies to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Rotate halfway through cooking time.
  8. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.



Sometimes the bribe of a cookie keeps my feet turning over in the last mile or two. Sometimes the craving hits after I get home, but the cookie can never be ignored. So go on, treat yourself. It’s the best way to start the weekend.

Tell me dear reader, how do you like to start your Saturday mornings? Anything special that you look forward to all week?

Sweet Potato, Pecan, and White Chocolate Cookies

I have dreams about a little cottage built just for two. A place where a common dream, our extraordinary shared dream, can take root and with the nourishment of time, hard work, and patience, reach into the sky with strong branches. He will keep us safe and entertained. I will stand at the stove and transform the harvest into the bounty of the table. He will roll up his sleeves and plunge his hands into the hot soapy water cleaning up after me. We will lie in our feather bed while the starlight streams in and talk, laugh, and dream late into the night. I will leave early on weekend mornings and return to his side sweaty and smiling. We will invite the crowd and company of friends and family. Fill the rooms with chatter and laughter and big ideas in the celebration of the small, exquisite, fragile things. The door and our hearts will always be open to those who call. Our little corner of the world dedicated to creating a future together. Our space to grow, learn, work, become, rest, share, shelter, and love.


There will be clinking plates and crystal glasses as our friends crowd into the house and pile around a table groaning with good things to eat. We will share what we have been given, and take pleasure in the food and our family of friends and loved ones. Laughter, and noise, and sharing, and ‘oh did you taste this yet?’ will fill the little space with the sweet music of familiarity.

We will feast together: I will grill salmon; cover the kitchen in mess while making pasta by hand; we will stand side-by-side sneaking the last bites of stir-fry from the wok after licking our own plates clean; in the midnight munchies hours fuelled by too many glasses of wine we will clandestinely feed each other scoops of cold creamy ice cream.

And sitting on our bench will be my favourite symbol of a home filled with love: a never-empty cookie jar. These gluten free Sweet Potato, Pecan, and White Chocolate Cookies are the perfect post-work, post-gym, pre-dinner snack; or perhaps a sneaky before-he-wakes-up-for-Sunday-lunch-reading-my-book breakfast with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee; or for sharing with a loved one in the midnight hours after getting home from a dinner party.



Sweet Potato, Pecan, and White Chocolate Cookies


  • 140 grams buckwheat flour
  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1/3 cup rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 215 grams (scant 1 cup) sweet potato purée
  • 100 grams toasted pecans
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (356F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
  3. In large bowl beat together the eggs, caster sugar, and golden syrup with electric beaters until smooth and light.
  4. Measure in rice bran oil, vanilla, and sweet potato. Beat until well combined.
  5. Stir flour mix, pecans, and white chocolate chips into the egg and sugar mixture. Beat thoroughly.
  6. Measure mounds of cookie batter onto the lined cookie sheets (I used an ice cream scoop). Leave 5-6cm between cookies for spreading.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the cookies bounce back when lightly pressed.
  8. Allow to cool completely and serve to your friends and loved ones, or store them in your cookie jar for up to 4 days.



Tell me, dear reader, what does your dream of home look like? What are the little rituals that mean home to you?


Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

My childhood is told in a recollection of biscuits, cookies, and shortbread. Kingston biscuits dipped in china cups of sweet black tea. Almost damp Monte Carlo’s carefully wiggled apart so that the filling would stick to one side and you could nibble around the sweet jam and coconut until you had a perfect section of biscuit and filling to savour for as long as your patience lasted. Chocolate Marie biscuits that Mum would pack into my school lunch box. Shortbread fingers that Dad would break out on the weekend; we would sit outside with him during one of his breaks from tinkering about in the shed and enjoy them while sitting in the sunshine with cold paving stones pressing against the backs of our summer-tanned legs. The custard creams and orange creams that would linger a little longer in the biscuit barrel, but by the end of the week would surely have disappeared into hungry after-school bellies and Dad’s lunchbox. The store bought gluten free versions of these look similar, but are never as satisfactory. So, in need of a saucer-side cookie I ventured into the Thoroughly Nourished kitchen to create my own.


These coffee and vanilla biscuits are perfect for afternoon tea, or for packing into lunch boxes. They would sit elegantly on a tiered cake stand for the most formal of occasions, and are just as at home in a container in the refrigerator that is the source of midnight snacks and little illicit nibbles. They are also particularly delicious alongside a cup of tea and a dusty old novel on a  cloudy spring afternoon. And, because they are gluten free, everyone can enjoy them.

DSC00801 - Copy


Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

These biscuits are gluten-free so be sure to check the ingredients in items such as icing sugar and cornflour are free of gluten-containing substances too. Some companies use wheat in their cornflour or icing sugar to help with thickening and stabilisation. You will need a 4.5cm fluted (or other shape) cookie cutter for this recipe, and a rolling pin.


  • 120 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour, and extra for dusting the bench
  • 50 grams hazelnut meal
  • 25 grams cornflour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules


  1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 160C (320F)  (this would be about 170C/340F in a conventional oven) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper. Mix milk with coffee granules and set aside to dissolve fully.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat together butter, icing sugar, and vanilla essence with electric beaters until fluffy and light in colour.
  3. Weigh out the buckwheat flour, hazelnut meal, cornflour, and brown rice flour. Add to butter along with the milk. Mix in gently with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  4. Dust the bench and rolling pin with a light shower of buckwheat flour. Gather dough into a ball and place on the bench. This is a very soft dough, so if it appears to be too delicate to handle just wrap in two layers of plastic and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Roll dough out to 0.5mm-0.8mm thickness. Using a 4.5cm round or fluted cookie cutter cut out cookies and place on lined cookie sheets. Leave about 4cm between cookies.
  6. Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through cooking time. Be careful as they may burn on the edges if left in too long.
  7. Remove cookies and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Fit a piping back with a star tip and pipe approximately half a tablespoon of frosting onto half the biscuits. Top with remaining biscuits and press down lightly to ensure they stick together well.
  8. Serve and enjoy. These cookies will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

For the vanilla frosting:

In a medium-size mixing bowl beat together 1.5 cups icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 50 grams softened unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of milk until light and creamy. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up, and once cookies are cooled use to sandwich them together.



Sweet Silent Saturday

Happy weekend-ing everyone! I just thought I would share a few of my favourite photos of the cupcakes I have created over the past few months. Let’s get this weekend off to a sweet start!

What is everyone up to on this gorgeous spring weekend?

Mocha cupcakes


Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs

Pink and purple and butterflies

Guylian chocolates



Weekend Breakfast: Honey, Apple, and Spice Loaf

Could we still call this breakfast? Perhaps brunch might be a more apt title. It was well after eleven this morning when I slid this loaf into the oven, and just before twelve when I sat down to a slice cut from the still- warm loaf. We had a long night on Saturday, celebrating a friend’s birthday, and a Sunday sleep-in session was most definitely required. The problem with sleeping in though is that I am not very good at it. I get up at five during the week, and I can make my body sleep until eight, but any time past that and I am a alert and awake. I feel sorry for my poor darling, who is talented in the art of hibernation, and has to deal with a girlfriend who wriggles around like a sack of jumping beans and can’t get back to sleep once she has decided to wake up and start the day.

Breakfast Winnie the Pooh and Piglet

A.A. Milne’s classic

Today was one of those mornings. I tried to snuggle. I tried to grasp onto the last remembered threads of sleep and wander back into dreamland again. But it was to no avail. I had already set my mind on another goal: breakfast. There were so many options: muesli with yoghurt and berries, gluten free toast with jam, cornflakes with strawberries. And then, I remembered the apples. Too soft to eat, too ripe and red and juicy to be thrown away – perfect for baking. Cloaked in a warmly spiced batter the apples were transformed from rejected snacks to a celebrated breakfast. Perfect for a nourishing Sunday meal whether you want to call it breakfast or brunch, or just a sweet treat.


Honey, Apple, and Spice Loaf (gluten free)

As always, if you do not require this to be gluten free please replace the buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and almond meal with 230 grams of plain flour. You could use a mixture of wholemeal and white in this cake as it would hold up well with the breakfast attitude and homeliness of the apples and spices.


  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams almond meal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 apple cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds


  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) and line a 9 x 4 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl, this should only take about 20 seconds. Then stir in honey and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, brown sugar, baking powder, and the spices. Ensure that there are no large lumps of brown sugar. You might have to break them up with your fingers.
  4. In a separate, small, bowl whisk together buttermilk, vanilla essence, and eggs.
  5. Add melted butter and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir the chunks of apple through.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with flaked almonds, and slide into the oven.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You may have to cover this halfway through to stop the almonds from burning.
  8. Remove and allow to cool completely before slicing. Although, sliced warm and eaten plain, or with jam, it makes a lovely Sunday breakfast with a large mug of tea and a good newspaper.


Tell me dear reader, do you enjoy sleeping in? Or are you an up-and-at-em person? Also, weekend breakfast/brunch, what’s your favourite?

A.A. Milne's classic.

Chocolate Cardamom Fete Cookies

Do you remember the joy of a school fete? I do.

Not my own school actually (we had an ‘arts festival’ – not quite as good really for reasons that shall soon become apparent), but I remember with particular fondness the school fetes of my cousin’s primary school. Every year we would go along one Saturday morning and see the school and churchyard transformed. Stalls would be set up in the grass and line the concrete paths, a miniature Ferris Wheel would spin around those under four feet, and items of all natures would be for sale: the second hand book stall, which I always came away from with a heavier bag and lighter purse; student artwork that had been completed over the semester; and, my favourite of all – the homemade sweets and baked goods.

(This is where it becomes apparent why my school fete/ arts festival wasn’t as good – there were never any baked goods. What?!)

Before glaze, and still yummy

Before glaze, and still yummy

There upon the wooden trestle tables festooned with plastic tablecloths would be the offerings of the parents and grandparents of the pupils: buttery shortbread rounds their tops patterned with forks, splodge-shaped jam drops with sweet raspberry jam, sugary caramel fudge, pink and white coconut ice, ANZAC biscuits, patty cakes with pink butter icing decorated with lollies, and always, always, chocolate slice – my favourite.

I would search among all the other treats, wrapped in plastic packets, or little cardboard boxes, to find the chocolate slice. Sometimes with coconut, sometimes without. Always with a thin cocoa glaze. And always, always, my favourite.

Many years have passed since the last school fete of my cousin’s primary days, and many years have passed since I have eaten chocolate slice (too many other treats to spoon/fork/hand-shovel into my mouth).

To be honest, when I made these biscuits I didn’t even have chocolate slice in mind. I had four egg yolks to use up and a yen for something with a chocolate content. But, when I took the first bite of this puffy, lightly-spiced, cocoa and hazelnut treat I was transported back to those fetes – back to the damp schoolyard lawn on a Saturday morning clutching a plastic bag burgeoning with books in one hand and a crumbling piece of chocolate slice in the other. They are a little dry, a little cake-like inside, and infinitely better with a tea/coffee/milk.


Glazed and ready to devour

Glazed and ready to devour

Chocolate Cardamom Fete Cookies (gluten free)

Makes 9 large cookies, or 18 smaller ones. I suppose it depends how greedy you are feeling really. I made this using four egg yolks I had left over from a batch of seven-minute frosting, but it also works with whole eggs. Oh yeah, and these are gluten free!


  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75 grams brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup no fat natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 80 grams hazelnut meal
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, olive oil, sugar and vanilla essence until smooth and thickened slightly.
  3. Add yoghurt and incorporate well.
  4. Weigh hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, and cocoa powder into a small bowl then measure in ground cardamom and baking powder. Use a clean whisk to beat together until no lumps remain.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the egg and yoghurt mixture and beat well.
  6. Use an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon to measure out mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet. Leave some room between scoops as they will spread slightly during cooking.
  7. Place tray in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Rotate tray 180 degrees halfway through cooking time.
  8. Remove cookies from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
  9. Once completely cooled mix up glaze and spoon on top of the cookies and allow it to dribble enticingly down the side. This is about childhood sweets, not perfection, after all.
  10. Eat.

Glaze: Beat together 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of milk.

Oh yum.

Oh yum.

Tell me, dear reader what were school fetes like at your school?

More importantly, what was your favourite homemade treat?

Nourished Sweets: m&m cookies

Sunday mornings are one of the most precious times of the week for me. I don’t sleep in particularly late. I don’t have a big breakfast. I don’t even sit in front of the television and watch cartoons. Sunday mornings are precious to me because every week my sister and I go for a wonderfully long walk. For nearly two hours this precious bundle of human energy is completely mine.

We stroll through the bush, and along the highway, up and over hills and down behind the retirement village. All the time talking about life in the past week. We talk about our life in ways that few other people can understand. I will miss her constant presence when her house is finally built and she moves out. Jess is all the things that I am not, and all the good things about me amplified and re-packaged in a smaller version. She is my living breathing conscience, my protector, the devil’s advocate when I need it, the one who accepts my crazy (even if she doesn’t like my dance moves – come on, the pelvic thrust, that’s still hip, right?). Jess was the one thing I ever really wished for in my life. All the stars aligned when she came into my life and my little sister is the best gift the universe (and my parents) has ever given me.

During our walks we talkabout the everyday things: the house she and her husband are building, my university assignments, the exciting projects she has been allocated at work, recipes we can’t wait to try. Our conversations soar into the sky sometimes and we talk about the ‘someday’ topics: children, more travel, what on earth I am going to do after I finish university, caring for our parents. We revisit childhood memories, re-argue old topics, heal wounds that remain from 22 years of sisterhood. We strengthen each other’s souls with chats about body image and acceptance, our shared eating philosophies, and a mutual love of all things butter, sugar, and vanilla. She is the other half to my whole. My friend. My little sister. On Sunday mornings she is all mine.

These are her creation. Go for a walk with someone you love, talk about the big things, and the little things, and then make them a batch of these. Love is guaranteed.

Jess’s m&m Cookies

Every couple of weeks Jess makes these for her husband Trent. She lets me eat the m&ms that don’t make it into the bowl. This recipe is adapted from an old family cookie recipe.

Yield: about 30 cookies, and about 1/2 a cookie of dough for the chef to test before they get baked.


  • 170 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 1 whole egg, and 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250 grams plain m&ms


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line 4 cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Inhale buttery, vanilla scent and be thankful for your olfactory senses…
  3. Add egg and egg yolks, beat into creamed butter very well.
  4. Sift in flour and baking powder, mix into butter and egg mix until no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Stir in m&ms (yes, you can sneak a few before you mix them in completely).
  6. Using an ice-cream scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop out balls of mixture onto the lined baking sheets. Leave about 4 centimetres between the balls of dough as the cookies will spread out as they bake.
  7. Slide sheets into oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, swapping trays around halfway through baking.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on trays for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.