Cheesecake Swirl Lemon Blondies

 

Dear Autumn,

Can you please give me some fruit to eat? Like, yeah, I get it: Apples and Pears. Wooh, harvest festival 2k12 timez!*

But seriously, that’s not a real festival. Stop lying to the world, there’s no music there; There are no exclusive wristbands. Can’t you just, I dunno, steal peaches away from Summer, that sassy season has loads of other fruits, he doesn’t need peaches too. Winter has his priorities straight, he has citrus fruits as well as apples and pears. Yeah.

Thanks for the crunchy leaves though. and the butternut squash.

Izy.

*I hope you realise I don’t actually talk like that… :/ Although I do tend to incorporate ‘sassy’ into my sentences recently.


Ummm…this is the reason I’m making lemon baked goods now. In case you were wondering.

I’m just not very motivated by the whole apple-thing at the mo. I might get there, I might not, who knows. I eat apples all year round, so when it’s apple season, and everywhere is all: “apples, apples, APPLES!” I get a bit rebellious (…sassy, if you may) and just like, “no, you know what, I’m tired of you apples, leave me alone for a season already.”

These totally aren’t #farmtotable, even though I should be enjoying Autumn’s beautiful bounty of apples, I’m not, sorry. But I did put cheesecake into lemon blondies for you; I hope that makes up for my lack of seasonal motivation!

Now I literally have nothing entertaining to say, so I’ll let you look the rest of these (super ugly) photos (which I’m really sorry about, but I wasn’t motivated enough to re-shoot) before you read the recipe, in peace.


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Healthy Caramel and Peanut Butter Cups

I have a bit of a problem.

I’ll call it the tea-snacking-cycle.

It happens to me ALL the time…and I really do mean that.

I get home from school – I’m tired (cycling 7 miles a day isn’t the most energising thing ever), I’m probably a bit annoyed at the pedestrians who think the road = sidewalk, and drivers who think cyclists don’t mind screeching to a halt so they can turn in front of you and save 5 seconds of their journey time.

Oh and I’m hungry.

I’ll make a snack or whatever, and boil the kettle to make some tea – the aim being to reach a point where I both have a cup of tea, and my food. Can you sense the problem?

Kettles take a while to boil…

I’ve normally at least half finished my food once the tea is made. That’s one problem.

Then comes the second, do I go get more food? Or do I wait until an actual meal time? Ugh.

Yeah, there seems to be an obvious solution to the problem – make the tea, then get the food, but I think my brain is working against me and just automatically makes me get the food first. Damn you brain.

One thing I’ve found though is that if I have these caramel peanut butter cups around, I can normally only manage to eat one; they’re so crazy rich and decadent, it’s pretty much solving my tea-snacking-cycle problem!

Make sure you have your sassy pants on when you’re ready to make these: They’re full of fibre, healthy fats, antioxidants, deliciousness and some protein too! They’re also vegan and thus, dairy-free!

POWER SNACK ACTIVATE!!!!!

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Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing (+ How to shape pretzels)

It’s no secret that it’s Autumn now – it’s already getting dark and cold at 4 pm, I’m constantly wearing jumpers, Starbucks has brought the Pumpkin Spice Latte to the UK, and Whole Foods has a huge stack of Libby’s Pumpkin tins piled up.

I’ve never usually been one for following themes – I’m 16 and I already barely even celebrate Halloween – so I’m not quite into baking ‘themed’ food – unless you count DELICIOUS as a theme that is 😉 But, after being bombarded by images of delicious pumpkin type things on the internet, the idea of pumpkin was really starting to appeal to me. Then I saw the new pumpkin spice latte in Starbucks,  and decided to take the flavour combo (pumpkin, coffee, pumpkin pie spice), and make it better by (of course) adding carbs into the mix.

 

Specifically, the bread kind. Soft, pretzel-y bread. Oh yeah, and then I coated them in browned butter. Sassy.

There’s spice mix in them, spice mix on them. Then comes the coffee cream cheese icing.

A rogue sprinkling of pecans.

I’m so sorry…

I’m not sorry.

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Toasted Vanilla Bean Raspberry Cakes with Almond and Coconut

 

Suspicious; that is how I feel at the moment.

Suspicious about the fact that my desk, over the past few weeks, has apparently become a wasp graveyard. Is it the jam that I ate on toast this morning which attracts them to me? Who knows..maybe its just my *flicks hair* sweet personality. Hah.
All I can say is that I’m finding a few scattered around / on my desk every few days. I can’t even save them because the’re already lifeless. It’s pretty unsettling stuff.

Suspicious for that split second when ‘temperature testing’ a cookie tray I just took out the oven (a.k.a touching it with my bare hands)…’so hot I can’t feel the pain yet, or cold?’

I’m suspicious of the size of the cake wedge left. I could have sworn it was more ‘Pac-man’ and less ‘6 o’clock’ shaped earlier.

Weather suspicion is a major constituent of my life. 60% chance of rain tomorrow eh iphone, last time you said that it was more like 200%. Pssht, I’m bringing my raincoat.

How comparatively easy one rando question in my maths homework was; I got an answer without 5 billion decimal places? What? that can’t be right..

…..and this oreo. Didn’t oreos used to be larger?

 

These cakes, what is that flavour?? It’s kind of fruity, fragrant and warm, must be some kind of magic in there.

Toasted Vanilla Bean Raspberry Cakes with coconut and almond from Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon on Vimeo.

 

Vanilla? It’s just the vanilla?

Well, a whole vanilla bean, cut up, lightly toasted and then ground up.

Man have I been missing out. Did you know vanilla could ever taste this good? I sure didn’t, I barely even notice it most of the time.

The perfect balance of earthy, autumnal flavours and fruity, tangy flavours are within these beauties. (FYI addictive cake batter alert).

Raspberries, coconut, almond and yogurt. Toasted vanilla.

It’s fricking delightful.

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How to Toast and Grind a Vanilla Bean (with step-by-step video and images)

Ever wonder to yourself “What the heck can I do with this vanilla bean now I’ve scraped the seeds out?”

Of course, you’ve probably heard of making your own vanilla extract by placing a few of those babies in some vodka for a few weeks, but pshht, sometimes, you just don’t have the patience to wait for that! So what can we do? WE IS GONNA TOAST IT UP BABY!

This works with whole vanilla beans (for those too liable to cut their fingers while scraping out the seeds *cough* me *cough*) or just the de-seeded vanilla pod! There’s intense vanilla goodness in the whole thing; but how do we access it quickly and easily? Let me explain!!

To get the flavour out of the vanilla there are two ways I’ve mentioned – soaking it in alcohol for a while and toasting:

  • When the vanilla is soaked in vodka, most of the flavoursome essential oils are dissolved into the alcohol, flavouring it – however this does take a while, and the alcohol dilutes the flavour so we resort to toasting!
  • You may be familiar with the idea of toasting certain things such as nuts, coconut, oats, flours ect… to increase the flavour of the ingredients  this is done because when you toast something (i.e. heat it for a short period of time with a relatively high heat, until kinda crisp) the oils inside the ingredient heat up, and are released. Fat is a flavour enhancer and carrier, it makes things be damn tasty… you know what I’m talking about. Then by grinding the bean up, we are increasing the surface area:volume ratio (basically, there is more delicious surface area of the vanilla bean available to our tastebuds), giving us access to the vanilla-scented-oil within!
It’s as simple (or complicated…) as that.
This method literally takes about 5 minutes from start to finish, you don’t even need a fancy grinder to get the vanilla bean to a fine texture, a pestle and mortar works wonders!! This toasted vanilla bean powder is pretty dang intense flavour wise and will give your baked goods that awesome vanilla bean speckled look (don’t worry, it doesn’t make them look burnt or weirdly coloured)!

I use a whole toasted vanilla bean in my new video and upcoming post for Toasted Vanilla Bean Raspberry Cakes with coconut and almond. The first few scenes of the video show the prep for the toasted vanilla bean, so give it a look if you want:

Toasted Vanilla Bean Raspberry Cakes with coconut and almond from Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon on Vimeo.

 

You can also grind it into sugar to make really flavourful vanilla sugar! I used a pestle and mortar for mine, but you can easily pulse it together in a food processor or just rub it into the sugar with your fingertips
Also, a quick shout out to Xanath Ice Cream in San Francisco where I got 2 free vanilla beans from; you can get ’em too if you go into the store and ask :)

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