Best Recipes of 2021

Spicyicecream Best Recipes 2021

We are well into the twilight zone that is the week between Christmas and New Years. I’m not sure what day it is, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wanting to leave this year far behind! 2021 included 20 client photoshoots and one interstate trip for my birthday, immediately followed by 108 days in lockdown. I’ve said it before but my gratitude journal got me through it, and whether I wrote down 3 things or 3 pages, a little bit of gratitude every day helped to improve my mood and put things into perspective. I kept the habit going after lockdown and now I’m at 189 days of consistent journalling every morning. My new goal is to make it to 365 days!

I am also proud that I published 20 blog posts, including some of my long-time favourite simple dinners. Over 2020/21, I fell in love with gardening and preserving. I really loved making recipes that used my home grown vegetables, fruit and herbs from my little backyard garden.

I also just want to say again, THANK YOU for stopping in here, reading my latest posts, trying out my recipes and saying hi on Instagram. I am truly so grateful. In 2022, this little food blog will turn 15. I honestly can’t believe that and I can honestly say that I still love coming here and sharing new recipes. It is my biggest goal to post more consistently here in this coming year! So on that note, here are my favourite recipes posted in 2021. If you have tried any of these, leave me a comment below!

Best of 2021 Salami Pasta Cherry Tomatoes

1. Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata

This is one of our absolute favourite quick and easy dinner recipes that we make all the time. I can’t believe it took me this long to share it! The “sauce” comes together in less time than it takes to cook your pasta. I have also loved making this recipe with home grown cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden. We love to serve it with burrata or torn bocconcini and lots of fresh herbs and cracked pepper.

Best of 2021 Apple Miso Crumble

2. Apple Miso Crumble with No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Just before lockdown, my sister Beth and I had a spontaneous apple picking adventure, which was so much fun. We drove to Bilpin, which is about 40 minutes away and picked a few kilos apples, which I then obviously had to bake with. Apple Crumble is such a classic winter comfort dessert, but the addition of miso is absolutely delicious. The homemade (no churn) ice cream is also the perfect accompaniment.

Best of 2021 Creamy Calamansi Bars

3. Creamy Calamansi Bars

Another thing I am growing in the garden this year is Calamansi – a citrus fruit used in a lot of south-east Asian cuisine. They are so delicious – a little sweet, and it has this incredible floral citrus scent that I wish I could wear as a perfume. I used the zest and juice to make these Creamy Calamansi Bars that everyone just loved. They have a shortbread base and a creamy filling that was easy to make but ended up being one of my favourite recipes of the whole year.

Best of 2021 Fruit Mince Wreath

4. Fruit Mince Wreath

I recently turned my famous Fruit Mince into this festive Fruit Mince Wreath! Ohh this was a good one. It’s great to share – just cut into generous slices and serve with custard. It looks so impressive and makes such a lovely afternoon tea or dessert. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to serving this for a decadent Christmas Day breakfast either! 

Best of 2021 Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

5. One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

This one pot wonder is another one of our favourites – actually a recipe that I’ve been making for over 10 years! This recipe is halfway between a minestrone soup and a risotto. It is chunky, hearty and filling but still feels fresh with lots of vegetables that bring colour and texture. It is somehow perfect any time of year.

Best of 2021 Nectarine Chilli Chutney

6. Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I spent an hour researching the difference between chutney and jam while writing this post, and honestly I’m still not sure 😂 We are still enjoying this Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney on every single cheese board. I really really love this recipe! It’s perfect with a sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. I love preserving summer fruits to use all throughout the year. This recipe also used home grown chillies and kaffir lime leaves! 

Best of 2021 Blueberry Loaf Cake

7. Blueberry Loaf Cake with Lemon and Thyme Glaze

This simple loaf cake is adorable and delightful. We really loved having big slices of this Blueberry Loaf Cake with a cup of French Earl Grey tea. It’s the perfect afternoon tea treat! The best part is when you get a little of everything in the one bite – the tender cake, a jammy blueberry and some of that delicious glaze too.

Best of 2021 Mulled Wine Cheesecake

8. Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

And finally, this recent recipe was one of my favourites this Christmas season. We absolutely loved these Cheesecake Bars, which felt festive and elegant. I’m so glad that I finally made it after this recipe sat on my “To Make” list for about 3 years! I loved everything about it, especially the fact that it’s completely No Bake and can be made in advance. Bookmark this one for next Christmas!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and hoping 2022 is a little easier on us all. 

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

Cookies are to Christmas what chocolate is to Easter! I just love making Christmas cookies, from gingerbread men to crinkles, snickerdoodles to speculaas. Christmas cookies can come in all shapes and sizes – carefully cookie-cuttered or rustic. I don’t discriminate, I love them all. I am so impressed at all the amazing decorated cookies that I see on Instagram and Pinterest. Some people are so talented. Meanwhile, I’m over here keeping it very simple with these Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies. 

These cookies are so perfect for Christmas, sort of half way between a sugar cookie and gingerbread. There’s some subtle spices to make them feel festive, but feel free to add more if you like! I’ve used golden syrup here, but you could substitute honey or maple syrup to make a lighter cookie. If you want more of a traditional gingerbread, try using treacle or molasses. Either way, the dough comes together quickly and easily and can be made in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to cut out and bake your cookies.

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

Here in Australia, we have a summer Christmas, so it’s often very hot when I’m trying to do my festive baking! How ironic that these cookies are snowflake shaped!! It’s important to keep the dough as cool as possible to create the best cut out shapes. If you need to chill your dough a few times between rolling it out then definitely do. It is much easier to work with and the cookies keep their shape better.

You can also put your cut out shapes on the baking trays in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes prior to baking. I also like to roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to prevent it from getting sticky and warm. I use an offset spatula, lightly floured to gently lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheets, which again helps keep their shape perfect. As you can see, I’ve used star and snowflake shapes but you can do whatever shapes you like!

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

These Spiced Snowflake Cookies are so cute, and even though I’m not that great at piping and decorating, I think they still turned out really well. They would make lovely little gifts or addition to your cookie box. This is definitely something that you can get the kiddos involved with. You might end up with sugar all over the floor, but think of the memories!! I always loved making Christmas cookies with my Mum and Nanna.

The glaze is as simple as it gets – icing sugar and water. The trick here is to get the consistency right. You want it to be smooth and drizzly – not too thick or too liquid because either extreme will be difficult to pipe. If you need to thin out the glaze, add additional water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until you’re happy with it. Alternately, you can add extra icing sugar to thicken it up. The glaze will eventually dry hard but it can take a while. Be careful not to stack or pack away the cookies until the glaze is fully dried.

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

To decorate the cookies, I’ve used gold and white sanding sugar. It is a large granule sugar crystal that is great for decorating sweets because it won’t dissolve in the heat. I had never used this before but I love the classic, sparkly, wintery look that it gives these cookies. I found it in the baking aisle of the supermarket, next to all the sprinkles. If you can’t find it, use your favourite festive sprinkles, edible glitter or shimmer powder! At first I tried dipping the whole cookie into the sanding sugar, but I found that generously sprinkling it looked nicer.

And lastly, if you make these Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies or any of my other Christmas recipes, please let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram. Please take a pic and tag me @spicyicecream. I absolutely love to see your photos of the recipes you’ve made!

Related Post: Chocolate Spice Gingerbread

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

Spiced Stars and Snowflake Cookies

These Spiced Snowflake Cookies are so cute and would make lovely little homemade gifts or addition to your festive cookie box. The cookies are lightly spiced, halfway between a sugar cookie and gingerbread and are really fun to decorate.

Course Cookies
Keyword Christmas, Cookies
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill the Dough 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 30 -40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Glaze

  • 2 cups icing sugar sifted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • Sanding sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the egg yolk and beat to combine. Add maple/golden syrup, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg and beat until well combined.
  2. Divide the mixture into two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  4. Roll the dough between two sheets of non-stick baking paper, to about 3mm thickness. Use snowflake and star cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the dough. Re-roll and repeat until all dough is used.
  5. Use a lightly floured offset spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to the baking paper lined trays. If it’s very hot when you are baking, you might want to refrigerate the cut out cookies for 15 minutes prior to baking.
  6. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on the trays.
  7. To make the glaze, place sifted icing sugar and water in a bowl and stir until well combined. Adjust the consistency to your liking by adding a little extra water 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Transfer the glaze to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the glaze onto the cookies, staring with the outline shape and fill in the center. Use a toothpick to smooth out the glaze. Quickly sprinkle the sanding sugar onto the cookies. I did this one by one, piping the glaze and then sprinkling the sugar immediately.
  8. Allow the glaze to fully dry before stacking or packing away the cookies. Cookies will keep in an air-tight container for 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Makes 30-40 cookies

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay magazine

Fruit Mince Wreath

Fruit Mince Wreath

I used to have very strong opinions about fruit mince pies – I hated them! But a couple of years ago I cracked the code on fruit mince and turned them into something that I loved. Making several batches of fruit mince pies every Christmas has now become a tradition. I love giving them as homemade Christmas gifts, packaged in a little cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon. My family, friends and neighbours go nuts for them. This year I will of course be making them, but I wanted to try something different too. 

Enter this Fruit Mince Wreath that is as delicious as it is pretty. It’s like a fruit mince pie and a cinnamon roll had a baby. It’s perfect to share – just cut into generous slices. It makes such a lovely afternoon tea or dessert, either on its own or with custard. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to serving this for a decadent Christmas Day breakfast either! 

Fruit Mince Wreath

The fruit mince mixture is easy to make, just some stirring, chopping and grating involved. I really think using freshly grated ginger and lemon or orange rind instead of packaged mixed peel makes a huge difference. The flavours in your fruit mince will be the most delicious if you make it the day before and allow it to sit overnight. The fruit will get plump and infused with the flavours of spices and rum. However if you don’t have time for that, just give it an hour or so. And of course, feel free to add your favourite dried fruits – swap out peaches for the apricots or figs for the dates, or use a mixture. The recipe is very forgiving, so make it your own!

Fruit Mince Wreath
Fruit Mince Wreath

As for the dough, it couldn’t be simpler to make. It doesn’t require a mixer and has barely any kneading! It’s the perfect recipe to try if you’re a bit nervous around yeasted dough or want to make it with the kiddos. The dough is easy to roll out, shape and work with too, which is great for a recipe like this. It bakes up beautifully too, soft and perfect and smells soooo good in the oven.

To shape the dough into the wreath, roll it out into a large rectangle and then roll it tightly as if you’re making a cinnamon roll. Instead of slicing into little discs, we are carefully slicing the roll lengthwise, leaving a little space at the top. Then twist the two long pieces together and shape them into a circle, exposing some of the delish fruit mince filling in the process. If you have an extra person around the house, it might be good to enlist their help with the rolling and shaping step! It just seems way easier with an extra set of hands.

Fruit Mince Wreath

The wreath shape is so fun and festive. I love how it looks when baked, with a decorative ribbon tied in a bow at the top. A dusting of icing sugar completes the pretty picture. I thought about making a glaze but it’s perfect as it is. Of course – feel free to make rolls if the wreath is too overwhelming. They will still be beautiful, delicious and single-serve. I would definitely recommend serving this still warm and fresh from the oven, although it does reheat quite nicely too. 

And lastly, if you make this Fruit Mince Wreath or any of my other Christmas recipes, please let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram. Please take a pic and tag me @spicyicecream. I absolutely love to see your photos of the recipes you’ve made!

Related Post: No Churn Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska

Fruit Mince Wreath

Fruit Mince Wreath

This Fruit Mince Wreath is as delicious as it is pretty. It’s like a fruit mince pie and a cinnamon roll had a baby. It’s perfect to share, cut into generous slices. It makes such a lovely afternoon tea or dessert, either on its own or with custard. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to serving this for a decadent Christmas Day breakfast either! 

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword Bread & Yeast, Breakfast, Christmas, Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 55 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Fruit Mince

  • 200 g sultanas
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 80 g dates, de-seeded and chopped
  • 80 g dried apricots or peaches, finely chopped
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice or mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 30 ml spiced rum (optional – use black tea if you prefer no alcohol)

Dough

  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 7 g dried yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 g butter, melted
  • Demerara or raw sugar, to sprinkle
  • Icing sugar, to serve

Instructions

  1. To make the fruit mince filling mixture, place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well to fully combine. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to infuse. I love to make it the day before. You can make this days ahead and keep covered in the fridge if you like!

  2. To make the dough, place the warmed milk, oil and sugar into a bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast and 1 cup of flour. Fold in carefully, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.

  3. Add the remaining flour, plus baking soda and baking powder to the yeast mixture. Roll out the dough on a large piece of greaseproof paper to form a 25cm x 45cm rectangle.

  4. Brush dough with half the melted butter, and sprinkle evenly with the fruit mince. Roll to enclose. 

  5. With a small, sharp knife, cut the roll down the middle lengthwise, leaving a 3-4cm gap at the very top. On a hot day, you may need to refrigerated the log for 15 minutes before cutting it. Turn the two halves cut side out and carefully twist them together and form into a wreath/circle, pressing the two halves together to join them. It can be really helpful to have someone help you with this step!

  6. Transfer the wreath on the baking paper to a baking tray. Allow to rise, lightly draped with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap for a further 20-30 minutes. 

  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

  8. Brush the wreath with the remaining butter and sprinkle with a little raw or demerara sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. I also chose to insert a small metal ramekin into the centre of the wreath about halfway through baking to ensure that the middle ‘hole’ remained intact and the dough didn’t spread too much into the center. When it’s fully cooked, it should be golden and sound ‘hollow’ when tapped. 

  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and custard (optional but highly recommended!). This Fruit Mince Wreath is best served on the day it’s made but can be stored in an air-tight container and reheated in the oven or microwave the next day.

Soy and Calamansi Glazed Ham

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

This Soy and Calamansi Glazed Ham would be the most perfect centrepiece for Christmas lunch this year. The glaze is made with Asian-inspired flavours and glistens over the ham. Think fresh kaffir lime leaves, ginger, star anise, ginger and soy with the lovely flavour of calamansi. This recipe is absolutely phenomenal and I can vouch that it’s a total crowd pleaser! 

Until last year, the very thought of cooking a ham at Christmas lunch was so intimidating and overwhelming to me. I’m usually the one who comfortably brings dessert! But last year, I got it in my head that I wanted to try making a ham. I looked through ten years of hoarded Donna Hay magazines to find a recipe. I brainstormed ingredients that sounded appealing – brown sugar, golden syrup, pineapple, marmalade, ginger beer. 

I’m usually not one to measure out ingredients when I make savoury dishes, so I’m very glad I had the foresight to write down my glaze recipe. I kept that scrappy piece of paper for a whole year and cooked it again recently. Just confirming – yep, it’s still amazing. I just knew that I had to share the recipe for my Soy and Calamansi Glazed Ham here on the blog this year.

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

I’ve talked about Calamansi before – the delicious citrus fruit that is widely used in Filipino and South-East Asian cuisine. I’m lucky enough to have a calamansi tree in the backyard, but you can buy calamansi juice or concentrate from some Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find it, I’d say a combination of orange and lime juice will give you a similar flavour. I also used a Calamansi-infused soy sauce to really pump up the flavour. If you can’t find it, just use regular soy sauce or tamari. 

Making the Soy and Calamansi Glaze

The glaze honestly couldn’t be simpler to make! All the ingredients just go into a saucepan and simmer away until they thicken up. You can also make the glaze up to 3 days before you want to serve your ham and store it in the fridge. This is a nice little time management hack to get ahead of your Christmas cooking prep!

The sweetness in the glaze comes from the brown sugar, which caramelises as it cooks. I’ve used whole star anise, cinnamon sticks, fresh grated ginger and Chinese five spice. I also love using fresh kaffir lime leaves – they smell so good and impart such a lovely flavour.

The other ingredients are rice wine vinegar, the calamansi juice and soy, plus a touch of spiced rum, because why not! I didn’t add any salt and pepper because between the saltiness of the ham and the soy sauce, the flavour was spot on and the Chinese five spice contains pepper anyway! Also, feel free to try this glaze on other kinds of meat, and even tofu or pumpkin!

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

Preparing your Ham

Before you glaze and cook your ham, there’s a little prep work that must be done. Firstly, you need to trim off the rind, but KEEP the layer of fat underneath. To do this, cut a line or criss-cross at the shank/small end of the ham and then carefully slip a small sharp knife between the rind and fat to gently remove it. If you anticipate having a lot of leftovers, you can keep the rind and place this over the remaining ham to store it.

Once the rind is removed, carefully score the fat down to the meat layer, in a diamond pattern, following the shape of the ham. As it cooks, this creates lots of nooks and crannies for the glaze to accumulate and add flavour. Plus the fat becomes crisp and absolutely delicious. Many recipes say to decorate the ham with whole cloves but I have used Chinese five spice in my glaze, which gives a ton of flavour without having to pick the cloves out or accidentally crunch down on one later on. 

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

Cooking your Ham

I used a small picnic ham, which comes from the front leg/shoulder, weighing about 3kg. Depending on how many people you’re catering for, you may need a much larger leg ham, which can be between 5-8kg. Of course the cooking time will vary depending on the size you get. A bone-in ham will have the best flavour. I baked mine for about 60 minutes, and basted with extra glaze every 20 minutes or so until it was heated through and golden brown. The more glaze the better, and do make sure you’re getting it into all those criss-cross diamonds.

I served the ham with a couple of delicious side dishes. I roasted some homegrown carrots with a little maple syrup and blanched broccolini with a little crispy chorizo scattered over top. And of course there was a huge pan of creamy, cheesy potato gratin.

The leftover ham also makes the most epic sandwiches ever, especially with a homemade chutney. I guess making the ham is my Christmas contribution from here on in and I don’t mind at all. Turning this into a life lesson – sometimes the things you anticipate to be intimidating turn out even more incredible than you thought. 

And lastly, if you make this Soy and Calamansi Glazed Ham or any of my other Christmas recipes, please let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram. Please take a pic and tag me @spicyicecream. I absolutely love to see your photos of the recipes you’ve made!

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

Soy and Camalansi Glazed Ham

This Soy and Calamansi Glazed Ham is the perfect centrepiece for Christmas lunch or dinner. The Asian-inspired glaze is absolutely delicious and this dish is perfect to feed a large crowd!

Course Dinner
Keyword Christmas, Simple Dinners
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 Picnic or Leg Ham (3-5kg)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup calamansi juice or concentrate
  • 1/3 cup calamansi soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 4 star anise
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum

Instructions

  1. To make the glaze, place brown sugar, kaffir lime leaves, calamansi juice, calamansi soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Chinese five spice, star anise, cinnamon and ginger into a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until starting to thicken. Add the spiced rum and stir to combine. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. You can make the glaze up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge.
  2. To prepare your ham, first remove all packaging. First you will need to remove the layer of rind, leaving behind the fat underneath. Cut a line or criss cross at the shank or small end of the ham and then carefully slip a small, sharp knife under the rind to loosen it from the fat. As mentioned above, if you anticipate having leftovers, you can keep the rind and cover the remaining ham with it for storage in the fridge.
  3. When the rind is completely removed, use your knife to score all the way through the fat layer in a 2.5cm (1 inch) diamond pattern, following the curve/shape of the ham.
  4. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  5. Transfer the ham to the baking tray. If you have stored your glaze in the fridge, bring it back to just before boiling point. Using a pastry brush, glaze the ham all over generously. Place into the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and glaze again every 20 minutes, rotating the baking tray so it cooks evenly. My 3kg ham took about an hour. Please refer to the cooking time suggested on the packaging of your ham. If your ham is colouring too quickly, you can cover it with some foil to prevent the glaze from burning.
  7. To serve, I like to remove the cooked kaffir lime leaves (optional) and wrap the shank end in some baking paper and add some fresh herbs tied with twine for aesthetic reasons. To carve, pierce the ham with a carving fork and use a carving knife or serrated knife to carve slices, following the grain of the meat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Here we go! It’s finally December and I am torn between “OMG already?!” and “OMG finally!” after this crazy year. When we went into lockdown in June, it felt like we hit the pause button on life. Those months don’t really count, do they? But here we are, it’s Christmas again and I feel uncharacteristically festive. The first recipe that I’m sharing this Christmas season is these absolutely delicious Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars. 

I have literally had this recipe in my head and on my blog ideas list for about three years. I’m happy to say that it turned out even better than I expected! I have made a few mulled wine desserts in the past such as doughnuts and marshmallows but this is my favourite yet. I loved each distinct layer of these Cheesecake Bars on their own, but when you get a taste of it all together it was sublime. The flavours were perfectly balanced – not too creamy, or rich, or sweet, but just right.

Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

The other thing I loved is that this dessert requires no baking at all and can be made in advance. It’s perfect for our hot Aussie Christmas Day, where you’re more likely to want a slice of watermelon than a slice of pudding. Each component is pretty quick and easy to make on their own, but do require the previous one to be set before it’s added on top. Of course you don’t have to serve these as bars but I love the way it looks. You could make this in a round cake tin and serve it in slices. 

I honestly can’t rave enough about these Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars! We all really, really loved this one. Even the non wine lovers were big fans! It feels so special and festive to me – the perfect dessert to end off Christmas lunch. I think it looks beautiful with the three distinct layers and the pops of cherry all throughout.

Let’s run through each layer of these Cheesecake Bars…

  • Biscuit Base: The base is crushed Ginger Nut cookies and melted butter – super easy, nothing fancy here. But they really are the most perfect cookie crumb base for the flavours in this dessert. If you want to use any other kind of cookie as the base, I’d recommend adding in a little bit of ground ginger to get a similar flavour. 
  • Cheesecake: The middle layer is a no-bake cheesecake. I actually think this is one of the most perfect cheesecakes I’ve ever made. It’s creamy of course, but quite light and not too rich or heavy, with a little gelatine added to help it set. And a LOT of vanilla because it just tastes good. It slices up perfectly and keeps its shape, which very is important when you make a bar shape. I just know that I’ll be making this over and over in endless variations in the future. 
Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars
  • Mulled Wine Cherries: Dotted into the cheesecake layer, we have some wine stewed cherries. I absolutely love cherry desserts at this time of year. They always feel so festive to me and I’m forever grateful that our Australian Christmas happens during summer and right in the middle of stone fruit season. However, if cherries aren’t in season where you live, these Cheesecake Bars would still be delicious without them, or you could try it with canned or frozen cherries. Or even a little bit of cherry jam swirled through the cheesecake layer would be so lovely.
  • Mulled Red Wine Jelly: My favourite part. I cooked down an entire bottle of wine with a little sugar and some warming spices like cinnamon, star anise, cloves, ginger and vanilla. It made the whole house smell delicious. The cherries take on the spiced red wine flavour they’re cooked in, and the juice they release adds sweetness as well.
Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

My sister has been learning all about wine from New South Wales and picked an amazing option for this dessert. We used a Bélena Montepulciano from Calabria Family Wines in the Riverina region. With flavour notes such as cherries, boysenberries and plum, it was an absolutely perfect choice for this dessert. Plus, the bottle is stunning and just begged to be photographed too. The jelly layer might taste slightly different depending on the wine you use. I would recommend picking something that has similar dark fruit notes and a little spice, or a decent quality red wine that you love the taste of.

And lastly, if you make these Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars or any of my other Christmas recipes, please let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram. Please take a pic and tag me @spicyicecream. I absolutely love to see your photos of the recipes you’ve made!

Related Post: Roasted Cherry (No Churn) Ice Cream Sandwiches

Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars

These Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars are a delicious, sophisticated and festive dessert for this Christmas season. Each component is absolutely delicious but when you taste them all together, the result is sublime! Plus, it’s no bake and can be made ahead of time!

Course Dessert
Keyword Cheesecake, Christmas, Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chill in Fridge 10 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

Biscuit Base Layer

  • 250 g ginger nut biscuits
  • 90 g butter, melted

Mulled Wine Cherries and Jelly

  • 350 g cherries, pitted
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 6 cloves
  • Rind of 1 lemon or orange
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons gelatine
  • 1/8 cup water

Cheesecake Layer

  • 3 teaspoons gelatine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 500 g cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 300 ml cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 19cm square cake tin by lining the base and sides with baking paper.
  2. To make the biscuit base layer, add the ginger nut biscuits to a food processor and process until fine. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times until fully combined. Press the biscuits into the base of the cake tin and smooth with the back of a spoon. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before adding the next layer.
  3. In the meantime, make the mulled wine cherries. Place the red wine, cherries, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange/lemon rind, vanilla and ginger into a saucepan and heat over low heat until it just comes to a boil. Simmer on a very low heat uncovered for around 30 minutes. Remove the cherries and continue to cook mulled wine for another 10 minutes. At this point you can allow to infuse for up to an hour if you’d like a stronger taste.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, sprinkle 3 teaspoons of gelatine over the 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl. Stand this bowl in a larger bowl filled with hot water or over a small saucepan. Whisk until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Put aside until ready to use.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, cream, maple syrup. Whisk until light and fluffy. Stir in the gelatine mixture until fully combined. Pour the filling over top of the biscuit base in the pan. Add the stewed cherries, pressing them into the mixture until mostly submerged and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Strain out the spices from the mulled wine mixture. Put back onto the heat until just coming to a boil. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of gelatine over 1/8 cup water and whisk to dissolve in the same way as above, over hot/simmering water. When dissolved, whisk into the wine mixture until fully dissolved. Optionally, you can strain this mixture again through a piece of muslin into a heatproof jug. Pour the mulled wine mixture over top of the fully set cheesecake layer and place back into the fridge to chill overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, cut slices with a hot knife and wipe down the knife between each cut. You can cut into 10 larger bars or cut each in half again for a “bite size” cheesecake bar. Serve immediately.

6 Homemade Additions to Elevate Your Next Cheese Board

Homemade Cheese Board

Today we’re talking #cheeseboardgoals. This is something I take very seriously! Now that we can have friends over again (yay!) the cheese board is one of my go to things to serve. A beautiful cheese board is perfect for large holiday parties or small girls nights and it’s so much easier and more versatile to cater for than an elaborate plated meal. Plus they just look so inviting with many different colours and textures.

They can also be as easy and budget friendly or elaborate and fancy as you like! In fact, most supermarkets now stock a fantastic selection of cheeses, along with quality charcuterie sliced to order, fancy olives and antipasto ingredients.

At it’s most simple, the cheese board requires no cooking – just some artful arrangement of your favourite cheeses, deli meats such as salami or prosciutto, crackers and accompaniments. You can add nuts, fresh or dried fruit, olives, cut up vegetables, pickles and chutneys – whatever you like best! I’m not here to tell you how to make a cheese board today. My best advice is to go with what YOU like… and if you need some inspiration for how to make it look amazing, go check out Pinterest or Instagram!

What I do what to talk about is elevating your cheese board with some homemade elements too. I love to have a mix of store bought and homemade additions. This is a way to make it uniquely yours with touches that you can’t just go and buy at the supermarket.

Six recipes to take your cheese board to the next level…

Homemade Cheese Board

1. Homemade Seeded Crackers

For me, the most important thing on your cheese board, after the cheese itself is the crackers. They are your vehicle for eating all of that delicious cheese! While I do love a fancy cracker on occasion, I also love making my own when I have more time. This recipe is incredibly easy to make – all your need is four ingredients and a rolling pin! I love to experiment with the toppings too, from sesame and fennel seeds to fresh rosemary. They look rustic and homemade but that’s the best part because hey, you made them!!

Homemade Cheese Board

2. Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Now this is one way to take your cheeseboard game to a whole other level! This is a fantastic vegetarian appetiser and a total crowd pleaser! I mean, it’s fried cheese after all – how can you go wrong? The grapes and honey add sweetness that offsets the salty crumbed feta beautifully. The fresh thyme and oregano add a pop of contrasting colour and lovely flavour. It’s a lovely mix of flavours and textures, served with crusty bread.

Homemade Cheese Board

3. Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I absolutely love this chutney that straddles the line between sweet, savoury and spicy perfectly. Trust me when I say you need to make this one. We are still making our way through the jar of this that I made and it’s so delicious with cheese, especially with a sharp, crumbly cheddar. This recipe is also the perfect introduction if you’re new to making chutney because it’s very simple to make. You can make this chutney well ahead of time and stored for up to a few months in the fridge.

Homemade Cheese Board

4. My Favourite Zucchini Pickles

I love serving pickles on a charcuterie board. While gherkins are the most common choice, I love these homemade zucchini pickles just as much. They are also super versatile and I promise you will love them on burgers and toasties just as much as your cheese board.

Homemade Cheese Board

5. Beetroot Hummus

I always have the ingredients on hand to make a quick batch of basic hummus but there are countless ways to dress up this delicious dip and make it a showstopper. You could add herbs, chilli, roasted pumpkin or sweet potato. Or try this recipe for Homemade Beetroot Hummus. This is so easy to put together in a food processor and tastes much better than store bought.

Homemade Cheese Board

6. Homemade Tomato and Chilli Jam

Now this has become one of the most popular recipes on my site and for good reason! It’s sort of become my signature and I love making it to give to friends as edible home-made gifts. I always make sure to have a batch of Tomato and Chilli Jam in the fridge at all times – it’s our favourite! It is so delicious with cheese and great to have on hand at all times. Perfect for a last minute cheese board if we have guests, or even an impromptu Friday night lockdown cheese board and Scrabble game!

I hope this post has given you some ideas for little homemade touches that will elevate your next cheese board. I honestly think I will be constantly updating this post for years to come as I come up with even more recipes that go great with cheese! If you try any of these, please tag me @spicyicecream on Instagram because I always love to see the recipes you guys make. And I truly hope that you all enjoy the upcoming festive season with all of your family and friends!

Watermelon Paloma

Spicy Watermelon Paloma

It’s crazy to think that before a few short years ago, I had baaaad tequila memories. But these days it’s one of my favourite spirits, and I truly feel like I’m making up for lost time. Last year I got really into margaritas, but this year I am into another tequila-based drink. Summer of Palomas, anyone? Yup, I think it will be as fun as it sounds. 

If you’ve never had a Paloma before, it’s a tequila cocktail that originated in Mexico. Like a margarita, it has tequila and lime juice but is generally less sweet and has grapefruit juice or soda, so it has a little sparkling fizz. It’s also simply stirred or shaken together and not served blended or frozen. Translation – it’s one of the easiest and quickest drinks to make! While the traditional Paloma is awesome, of course there are variations galore. And you just know that I love putting a little spin on a classic recipe.

Spicy Watermelon Paloma

This Watermelon Paloma is such a great summer drink – refreshing with a touch of bitterness and a little heat. It’s got sweetness from the watermelon balanced out with the bitterness of the Aperol. The citrus brings a little sour and of course it’s topped off with a chilli salt rim. The way that it turns on all your taste buds at once and hits all those different taste receptors is so fun. I think it brings your whole palate to life. 

This recipe is actually my recreation of a delicious drink that I had at my birthday dinner 500 years ago back in June, before lockdown. We went to Light Years on the Gold Coast and as usual it was a 10/10 experience. But months later I was still thinking about the cocktail I had – the Lola Paloma – so I decided to try and make it at home. I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Spicy Watermelon Paloma

To make this Spicy Watermelon Paloma, here’s what you’ll need…

  • Blanco or Silver tequila – This is a clear coloured tequila that is not aged like a Reposado or Anejo, which are classified by how long they have been aged. Blanco or Silver tequila often has fruitier notes which makes it great for margaritas and other citrus forward drinks. If you like it spicy you can create your own chilli infused tequila. Just take a bottle of good tequila, 1-2 (or more) chillies cut down the middle, and infuse for 24-48 hours. Strain them out and use in cocktails. I’ve often seen jalapeños used, but you could try your favourite kind of chillies. Experiment with the number of chillies and time of infusion to your liking.
  • Aperol – The original drink used Campari, but I used Aperol because it’s what I had on hand. Aperol is an aperitif like Campari, but it is slightly less bitter and has a lower alcohol content. I also feel like the rhubarb and bitter orange in Aperol complement the watermelon and grapefruit really well. 
  • Watermelon juice – I used about 350g of fresh watermelon, blitzed it in the Nutribullet and strained it to make 2 cocktails. Boom, now you have the freshest watermelon juice!
  • Grapefruit juice – Many Paloma recipes use grapefruit soda but I love using freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit juice.
  • Fresh lime juice – Of course.
  • Dash of soda, lemonade or ginger beer – for a bit of fizz.
  • Chilli salt – for the rim. I skipped the spicy tequila this time but in my opinion you absolutely have to have the chilli salt rim.
Spicy Watermelon Paloma

And because I’m a Gemini and I love a random fact… Ever wondered why palomas and margaritas are always served with a salted rim? Well there’s actually a scientific reason for that! The molecules present in salt (sodium ion) actually have the benefit of dampening bitter tastes, and can work to enhance the sweet and sour notes of the drink! 

Sharing this cocktail now is actually perfect timing, as watermelon season is just beginning for us here in the southern hemisphere. For the next few months, we’ll pretty much always have a watermelon in the fridge at all times, sliced up and ready to grab as a refreshing snack. Or, you know, to have on hand for a watermelon paloma! 

Related Post: Roasted Strawberry Paloma

Spicy Watermelon Paloma

Watermelon Paloma

This Watermelon Paloma is such a great summer drink. It's refreshing and fruity with a hint of bitterness from the Aperol and a little chilli kick!

Course Cocktails, Drinks
Keyword Cocktails, Drinks, Spring, Summer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 drinks

Ingredients

  • Flaky salt and chilli flakes
  • 90 ml Silver or Blanco Tequila
  • 50 ml Aperol
  • 100 ml fresh ruby grapefruit juice
  • 100 ml fresh watermelon juice
  • 30 ml fresh lime juice
  • Dash of soda or ginger beer
  • Ice cubes, plus extra to serve
  • Extra watermelon, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour a generous amount of flaky salt and chilli flakes onto a small plate and stir to combine. Line the rims of two glasses with lime juice and gently dip the rims into the salt/chilli mixture.
  2. Combine the silver tequila, Aperol, grapefruit juice, watermelon juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
  3. Add extra ice to your serving glasses and using a strainer, pour the cocktail evenly between the glasses. Top up with a dash of soda or ginger beer and garnish with a thin slice of watermelon.

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

A long time ago, in (what feels like) a galaxy far, far away, I was a designer for a hospitality group in Sydney. My favourite venue was Gazebo Wine Garden in Elizabeth Bay. I loved the vibe and almost everything on the menu was phenomenal. There were a few dishes that I have always wanted to try my hand at recreating, even now more than 10 years later. One of them is this Veal and Chorizo sausage roll. It was the perfect little snack to nibble while you caught up with your girlfriends over a glass of wine or a jug of fancy sangria in the wine garden… and Foxy the Fox perched on the ceiling (if you know, you know.)

It’s probably not Sydney’s most famous sausage roll – I think Bourke Street Bakery still holds that honour – but it was my personal favourite. And this is coming from a girl who spent her entire childhood iffy about sausage rolls. Until I tried these two elevated sausage rolls, I would always avoid them at birthday parties or bakeries. I never ordered from the school canteen and avoided them at football matches. As with most things in life, homemade is sooo much better than low-quality frozen supermarket versions!

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

So, what makes a great sausage roll?

  • The meat (obviously): Questionable sausage mince and low quality ingredients are a hard ‘no’ from me. But when you make your own sausage roll, you can use pure mince – beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of the above (veal and pork is awesome). You can even make a plant based meat-free or veggie version! You can also add other delicious additions flavour bombs like bacon or chorizo as I have. 
  • The flavourings: Here is where you can get really creative. You have a whole world of herbs, spices, pastes, sauces and more at your fingertips. I used some finely chopped onion that I cooked until caramelised and then cooled before adding to the mince. The mixture was also flavoured with thyme, garam masala, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. I love the flavours all together but feel free to experiment with your favourite flavours. Maybe fennel seeds, harissa paste or quince jam?

    Also, don’t forget to season generously with salt and pepper. And a little Tip: Take a teaspoon of the mixture and cook for a few minutes in a frypan. This allows you to test for flavour and seasoning before you roll them up to make sure you’re happy with the flavour!
Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls
  • The binding ingredients: My recipe uses an egg and some breadcrumbs to ensure that the mince mixture holds together well and isn’t crumbly inside the pastry casing. I’ve also seen recipes using cornflake crumbs or grated carrot, which could be delicious additions! Another tip: take your mince out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before you start, as cold meat will have a harder time binding together. And yes, you will need to get your hands dirty. Mixing with clean, wet hands is definitely the easiest way to combine all the filling ingredients!
  • The pastry: Puff pastry is the star here, giving you a golden, crispy and flaky exterior. This is not the time and place for any other kind of pastry! If you wanted to get really fancy, you could even make your own puff pastry! But honestly it’s very time consuming. Even though I love making things from scratch, I do keep frozen puff pastry on hand at all times. An all butter puff pastry will give you a more delicious result, but isn’t always available at my local supermarket.
  • The sauce: Tomato sauce or ketchup is usually the accompaniment of choice with a sausage roll. But I’m elevating that too and serving it with my delicious homemade Tomato and Chilli Jam. Honestly this combination is so good. The sweet and slightly spiced jam is the perfect match for a fancy sausage roll. You could also try a caramelised onion relish or a quality store-bought or homemade chutney too. 
Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

I just loved how these Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls came out! They reminded me so much of the original Gazebo dish and all the memories that went with it. I love that they make a yummy lunch served with a salad, or you could cut them up into bite-size pieces to take to your next get together with friends. They are always a crowd pleaser, I promise.

The filling was so meaty and delicious and I loved the little bursts of smoky flavour that the chorizo gave. The tomato and chilli jam was the perfect sauce to serve alongside them. Honestly, this jam has become one of the most popular recipes ever in my 14 years of blogging! In fact I am almost out and will need to make another batch very soon! As always, I love a versatile recipe so feel free to adapt it to your liking and add different spices and flavourings!

Related Post: Ottolenghi’s Herb Pie

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls
Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls
5 from 1 vote
Print

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll

This Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll is a delicious lunch or finger food for your next party. It's easy to make and so much more delicious than store-bought!

Course Dinner, lunch, Snack
Keyword Australian, Pies & Tarts, Simple Dinners, Snack
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 20 bite-size sausage rolls

Ingredients

  • 500 g veal mince
  • 1-2 chorizo sausages, cut into 0.5cm squares
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, fresh or dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, extra, whisked
  • Sesame seeds or poppyseeds, to garnish
  • Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam, to serve

Instructions

  1. Remove the mince and chorizo from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to make the filling mixture.
  2. Cook the onion on a low heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter until browned and then set aside to cool.
  3. Place the mince and diced chorizo into a large bowl. Add the cooled onion, thyme, garam masala, paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and egg. Mix to combine with clean, damp hands. When the mixture has come together, add in breadcrumbs and mix again until fully combined. Divide the mixture into 4.
  4. Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half and prepare 2 baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) if baking these straight away. Place a quarter of the veal and chorizo mixture onto the long side of the pastry and pat or roll into a sausage shape the length of the pastry. Roll to enclose and gently press the two sides of the pastry together. Place seam side down onto the baking tray. Repeat 3 more times to make 4 sausage rolls in total.
  5. You can store these, covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. When ready, brush each sausage roll with some beaten egg and scatter with your choice of topping. I like sesame seeds and poppy seeds. You could also use fennel seeds or black sesame seeds.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is crispy and golden. Cut each sausage roll into 5 smaller rolls if desired and serve hot with homemade tomato and chilli jam.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

After a little break from baking, I’m back today with these delicious Banana and Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins. Because is it even lockdown if you don’t make banana bread or something like it? I don’t think so. These muffins are so delicious! The banana muffin itself is pretty classic, but I’ve taken it up several notches with Biscoff Cheesecake filling AND icing. The whole family will love them and they’re easy to make too!

We are now into our 9th week of lockdown here in Sydney and it’s a weird time all round. The news gets more depressing every day with record cases and more restrictions. But at least we can get our hands on sugar and flour this time – unlike early last year – and for that I am so grateful.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

In fact, I think it is my daily gratitude practice that has really helped my mindset in lockdown and if you’re struggling, I strongly encourage you to try it. There are loads of studies and articles that show gratitude has very positive impacts on mental health and happiness. I have been journalling somewhat regularly for the last 3 years but I have put in 60+ consistent days in a row.

Whether you write down 3 things or 3 pages, there is always something to appreciate, no matter how crappy things seem. Whether it’s a warm sunny day, your pet asleep next to you, technology to video call your friends. Or even as simple as having a safe home during this lockdown. I still have tough days of course, but this little morning routine helps immensely.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

But back to the Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins…

These are perfect if you…

  • Have a couple of spotty ripe bananas in the fruit bowl
  • Are missing grabbing a little treat at your local cafe while in lockdown
  • Love your banana bread on the decadent side – like with chocolate or sweetened ricotta and honey
  • Have some bored kids who need a baking project
  • Are newly obsessed with Biscoff, like where have you been my whole dang life?!

If you haven’t tried Biscoff yet, RUN do not walk. Or alternately, add it to your next click and collect grocery order (ahh lockdown life.) Biscoff is basically cookie butter, two words that sound magical together. Think spreadable speculoos cookies, which are deliciously spiced and remind me of Christmas. In the last few years, the brand has gained a huge mainstream following as the new trendy ingredient. Biscoff has popped up in fancy cafe desserts, and even inside limited edition Kit Kats and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, to name a few. The original Lotus cookies also make the best cheesecake crumb base ever.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

You probably have most of the ingredients for these muffins in your pantry already. You can use the Biscoff cheesecake as a filling, or as an icing, or as both as I have done. If you don’t have cream cheese or Biscoff on hand, you could honestly leave the icing off altogether and they would still be super delicious. I would also reduce the baking time slightly if leaving out the cheesecake filling. The banana muffins stand alone perfectly, or you could use this as a base recipe to add in other delicious ingredients. I recommend chocolate chunks, crushed walnuts or blueberries.

The muffin recipe is super simple and easy to make, even for kids who want to get involved. I went heavier on the cinnamon to mirror the spices in the Biscoff and it worked perfectly. The use of half caster sugar and half brown sugar creates a slightly lighter texture in my muffins, but also has that distinctive molasses taste that brown sugar gives. Brown sugar and banana which goes so well with banana. 

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

I used 4 smaller very ripe bananas, however if yours are large I would use 3, or they will take longer to bake. This muffin recipe doesn’t need any special equipment or mixer. However I do find it easier to make the cheesecake filling using a hand mixer.

Another thing I loved about these Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins was that they lasted really well. I stored them in an air-tight container and they were still fresh several days after I baked them. They really were the perfect little homemade treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Honestly, I’ll take these over something from the local cafe any day of the week. 

Related Post: Almost No Bake Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

These Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins take the banana muffin up several notches to something like you might find at your local cafe, but are still so easy to make at home!

Course Breakfast, Cake, Muffins & Cupcakes, Snack
Keyword Brunch, Cake, Cupcake, Snack
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, or whole wheat, or a mixture of both
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 85 g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons milk or buttermilk

Biscoff Cheesecake Filling and Icing

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh banana, cut into slices, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a standard muffin pan with 10-12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, caster sugar and and cinnamon so that there are no lumps.
  3. In a Pyrex or glass jug or smaller bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add the melted butter, egg and milk or buttermilk and whisk to combine. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. To make the Biscoff Cheesecake Filling and Icing, add the softened cream cheese and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together with a hand mixer until combined. Add the Biscoff, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Fill 10-12 cupcake liners about 1/2 full with the banana mixture, reserving about 1/4 of the mixture to top the filling. Add 1 teaspoon of the Biscoff Cheesecake filling to each, and then top with a little more muffin mixture, smoothing out to cover the cheesecake.
  6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The tops may sink in a little bit because of the filling. The tops should be evenly golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, spoon or pipe the remainder of the Biscoff Cheesecake mixture evenly between the muffins and top with a slice or two of fresh banana.

Apple Miso Crumble with No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Apple Miso Crumble

Hello friends! Today we have a super classic winter dessert, with a little twist that just takes everything to a whole new level. I’m talking about the Miso in my Apple Miso Crumble, served with a (no churn) salted caramel ice cream. In this post, I was going to tell you about our apple picking adventure a few weeks back, which feels like years ago at this point. You see, Sydney is back in lockdown and time has lost any and all meaning. What day is it again?

It’s so strange to me that I have been living in my “new” house for a year this week! I moved from the Eastern suburbs with lovely harbour views to Western Sydney, practically the foot of the Blue Mountains. We spontaneously drove about 40 minutes to Bilpin for a quick Saturday morning apple picking adventure. I loved the winding mountain road and really feeling like being “in the country”. We saw trees with bright orange leaves, quaint houses and felt a chill in the air on a glorious winter day. This type of wholesome weekend activity just speaks to my soul. We also ate apple pie for lunch – highly recommended.

Apple Miso Crumble

Of course my brain went wild with recipe ideas for my apple haul. I barely have any apple recipes on my blog, which is a massive oversight on my part. They are a delicious and versatile ingredient for autumn and winter cooking, I guess I just get distracted by pears, quince and other winter fruit! But you can’t get more classic than an Apple Crumble.

I like to cook the apples in a saucepan until they are just softened prior to baking them with the crumble topping. This step isn’t necessary for soft fruits like berries but I really want perfectly cooked apples in my crumble, not crunchy undercooked ones. I like to add apple cider, brown sugar, lots of vanilla and the star ingredient, miso.

Apple Miso Crumble

You would be forgiven for thinking miso is more at home in a soup or marinade. Why on earth am I using it in a dessert? It’s actually the umami-ness that brings things into perfect balance. All miso is made with fermented soy beans, but different kinds (red, yellow, white, black) are fermented with different ratios of ingredients like barley and rice. White miso is the mildest and sweetest, as its fermented with a larger ratio of rice. It’s that flavour profile that I think can pair best in desserts. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket, Asian grocery or Harris Farm.

For me, it’s absolutely delicious with apples and caramel so that’s why I have used it in both the cooked apple AND the ice cream. You could definitely make just the Apple Miso Crumble and serve it with a quality store bought ice cream if you’re short on time. But for me, eating both together is just incredible. I will also say that the ice cream is absolutely magical with a homemade sticky date pudding too.

The crumble topping is my favourite one that I use all the time on everything from galette tarts to fruit mince pies. I doubled the quantity on this because you can’t have too much crumble. Again, it’s just a few standard pantry ingredients coming together, simply rubbed between your fingers to form those buttery clumps of deliciousness. It bakes up beautifully crunchy and golden with the apple miso mixture bubbling up from underneath. 

Apple Miso Crumble

If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know how much I love No Churn ice cream. I can’t believe I ever used to make ice cream the hard way, separating eggs, making a custard, and remembering to freeze my ice cream maker bowl. If I’m being honest, my ice cream maker is sitting in the back of the cupboard collecting dust. My No Churn method is so simple and requires no special equipment and only 2 main ingredients + your flavour of choice. This time its miso and salted caramel sauce, stirred into the base mixture AND swirled in too. So good.

This Apple Miso Crumble was very special to me because we picked the apples ourselves and it was such a crowd pleaser. Y’know, before lockdown, when you could have people over. I can’t think of a more perfect dessert on a cozy evening at home, or any chilly winter night. I don’t know about you, but I could absolutely use some comfort food right now! 

Related Post: Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Apple Miso Crumble

Apple Miso Crumble with No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This Apple Miso Crumble is such a great winter comfort food dessert and pairs perfectly with the homemade No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Course Dessert
Keyword Apples, Autumn, Dessert, Winter
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 50 minutes
Freezing Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 60 g salted butter
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whisky, optional

No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

  • 600 ml thickened cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 40 g white miso

Miso Apples

  • 6 Pink Lady apples, peeled and sliced into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 40 g white miso

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 110 g butter

Instructions

  1. To make the salted caramel sauce, place the brown sugar, butter and cream into a medium saucepan and stir until combined and the butter has melted. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir through salt and bourbon if using, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. To make the ice cream, whisk the thickened cream to soft peaks in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, white miso and half of the cooled caramel sauce.

  3. Fold 1/4 of the cream into the condensed milk mixture with a spatula until combined, and then add this mixture back into the bowl with whipped cream. Gently fold all together until fully incorporated.
  4. Place 1/3 of the mixture into a freezer safe container or loaf tin. Swirl in 1/3 of the remaining salted caramel sauce with a chopstick. Top with another layer of ice cream and swirled caramel and then repeat with one final layer of each. Freeze overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 180° (350°F).
  6. To make the miso apples, place the sliced apples into a saucepan with the brown sugar, apple cider, vanilla and white miso and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until apples are softened and the liquid reduces. Place into a heatproof baking dish.

  7. To make the crumble, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips. Spread evenly over top of the apples.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crumble is golden and the apples are bubbling. Serve warm with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.