Now that we’ve been in our house for two years I have a pretty good grasp on the things we use the most. Since we finished renovating our kitchen last year I could count on one hand the number of times we’ve gone out to eat. We just love to cook at home and it’s a bonus that we have saved a ton of money doing so in the process. Along the way we’ve collected some small kitchen appliances we use a ton, and today I’m partnering with eBay to talk about my 2 favorites along with some recipes.
First up is my Smeg Stand Mixer. I’ll be the first to admit I got this more based on looks than function but it has proved to be more than just countertop decor. I wanted a nice looking mixer because our kitchen is pretty small and while we have a decent amount of storage space, we don’t have enough to hide a mixer, so I knew it would be left out on the counter. I love how it looks, especially with our matching Smeg toaster, but I love it even more for how well it works. We’ve made cakes, bread, pizza dough, cookies and most recently shortbread for the recipe I’m sharing today. If you like to bake, this thing is a no brainer. I know it’s a steeper price point so if you can’t (or don’t want to) justify it, I’ve heard great things about this Kitchen Aid mixer at a lower cost.
Now let’s get to this recipe. Since I started finally craving some foods again, sweets are at the top of things that I want to eat. When I was really sick, Craig and I watched HOURS of The British Baking Show on Netflix (highly recommend) and it inspired both of us to try more baking. I like a more salty sweet, so we tried our hand at Vegan Almond Butter Twix Bars. This particular batch was a little heavier on the chocolate, we’ve since made it again and did a chocolate drizzle, but you can’t go wrong with this recipe and I hope you guys love it as much as I do!
After watching The British Baking Show I invested in a few staples from eBay that we didn’t have but make a huge difference including: good baking sheets and a cooling rack, a square cake tin, and flour sifters.
For the shortbread crust
- 2 cups coconut flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup coconut oil room temp (use refined for no coconut flavor)
For the caramel filling
- 1 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the chocolate topping
- 1/2 bag semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips or chunks
- optional flaky sea salt to top (we used Maldon)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 cake tin with parchment paper.
- Add coconut flour to mixing bowl and whisk with maple syrup until fully combined (it will look crumbly). Add the coconut oil and mix until a large dough ball forms, pressing out any clumps.
- Press the dough into the pan. To spread it evenly it helps to put a layer of parchment paper on top and smooth it out. Bake for 9-11 minutes, let cool.
- For the filling, add all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until all of the ingredients are melted and combined. Pour over the crust and let cool in the refrigerator until set.
- For the chocolate topping, melt chocolate chips or chunks using this technique. Pour evenly over caramel filling (make sure filling is completely cooled). Let cool slightly and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Refrigerate until set and slice in pieces to serve.
Smeg Stand Mixer
The retro style Smeg Stand Mixer has the look of a ’50s appliance with all the modern features you need. The mixer has ten adjustable speeds and comes with a stainless steel bowl, wire whisk, dough hook and flat beater.
Hands down the small kitchen appliance we use more than ANYTHING else in our kitchen is our Instant Pot (ships fast and free on eBay). Even now in the summer, Craig uses it to make quick weeknight meals like curry and recently ramen for me (I crave the most random foods lately). If you want to cook incredibly flavorful meals quickly and easily the Instant Pot is hands down the best small kitchen appliance for the job.
The possibilities are endless with the Instant Pot, but the most popular recipe I’ve ever shared on here, spicy chicken ramen, is probably my favorite thing to make. It takes less than 15 minutes and has tons of flavor. For more ideas check out my round-up of the best Instant Pot Recipes. After a while, you won’t even need recipes, the Instant Pot makes cooking so easy!
The Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 pressure cooker can handle everything from rice to eggs to cakes and curries. You can cook, saute, steam, sterilize, keep warm and more. It has nine pre-programmed settings for things like yogurt, soups, and rice, and you can pressure cook on high or low. For quick and easy meals that are super healthy and have tons of flavor nothing beats the Instant Pot.
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