Chocolate Chocolate chip biscuits – low FODMAP

There is nothing wrong with occasional treats like this in any diet. The Dietitians Association of Australian recommends against sugar-free diets and in fact says that sugar should comprise 10% of your daily energy needs!


  • 125gm/1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or Cointreau (!)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup white rice flour (depending on how wet the mixture is – I used 1 cup)
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 3 tsp gluten free baking powder (baking powder results in a more tender biscuit)
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum (this gives a cakey soft inside)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cocoa (cocoa in large quantities is a FODMAP so leave out if chocolate is a problem for you)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate drops

You can replace 1/2 cup of the brown rice flour with an equal quantity of tapioca flour for an even softer texture.


Heat oven to 180°C/350°F. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat again until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla or Cointreau and mix in.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients with the dry until a stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate drops and mix in.

Dough ready for the oven...
Dough ready for the oven…

Line two baking trays with baking paper.  Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball and place on the trays. These biscuits do not spread much, so flatten them to the size that you want your finished biscuits to be.

Straight out of the oven!
Straight out of the oven!

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool on the trays for a few minutes until they harden, and then on a wire rack until they cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week (if they last that long!!)










Recipe adapted from Suzanne Perazzini –



Triple Layer Chocolate Caramel (date) Peanut Slice

This is my attempt at making a more healthy version of chocolate caramel slice (my favourite slice as a child). Since condensed milk is off the menu, as is lots of chocolate, I thought a no-bake, almost gluten-free version, full of nuts with just a little sweetness would be a healthier, lower GI option. See what you think!

Layer 1

1.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could also use golden syrup)

Process together in a powerful  food processor until it forms a homogenous mass or ball. Spread over the base over a square cake tin lined with baking paper. Use the back of a spoon to get a thin even layer. Put in freezer as you prepare the next layer.tin

Layer 2

700g – 1kg medjool dates, pipped and cut into pieces

Medjool Dates
Medjool Dates

1- 1.5 cups boiling water
4 – 6 pinches gingerbread spice or powdered ginger

Stone the dates and cut into pieces. Put into a dish and add the boiling water. Mash down with a fork and leave to soften. Stir and try to combine the water and dates. Add the spice. Process in a food processor if needed to make a date paste.Get the first layer out of the freezer and spread this date paste over the first layer but don’t go right to the edges. Place back in the freezer.

Layer 3

3/4 jar of Mayvers chocolate peanut butter (or use regular nut butter and up the cocoa and walnuts)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of cocoa

some raw ingredients
some raw ingredients

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could also use golden syrup)

Process all ingredients until a sticky crumb forms. Ad more walnuts or rice syrup if the mixture is too dry. Crumble this mixture over the first two layers and then gently push down with a spoon or your hands to cover the date layer and stick it together. But don’t let the date layer squeeze through!  Refrigerate.

When completely cold, cut into (very) small squares. This is a high protein, high (good) fats snack that will fill you up. It is only suitable for a low FODMAP diet in small  quantities due to the large amount of nuts and some dried fruit and not everybody will be able to tolerate it. It is yum though!

Chocolate Caramel (Date) Slice
Chocolate Caramel (Date) Slice

From Patty Cakes to Cup Cakes (or the American influence)

The 1930s

Up to the 1930s in Australia, little cakes were not often made at home. They were sometimes made and served as part of “high tea”. Housewives usually made large cakes, probably due to the fact that they had washing to do in a wood-fired copper, often a coal fired stove to keep alight, and children to tend to and amuse! It was much more common to make large cakes (which keep better), griddle cakes, buns, dumplings, and scones.  These were presumably less time consuming, could be cooked on a stovetop, or added on top of a pot of stew. However patty cakes were made, and here is a recipe from my Grandfather D’arcy’s “New Standard Cookery” from 1933. It comes from the section on “a menu for a high tea”.

1930s recipe for "Patty Cakes"
1930s recipe for “Patty Cakes”

Here are some patty cake recipes from the 1930s to download and try for yourself!

  • 1937 Nut Cakes and Little Cakes

    1937 Nut Cakes and Little Cakes from Presbyterian Cookbook Elsternwick Australia

  • Chocolate Patty Cake Recipe 1933

    Recipe for small chocolate cakes cooked in patty pans from the New Standard Cookery 1933

The 40s and 50s

During the war years and in the early and mid 50s, little cakes were more commonly made. These were baked in paper cases or in tin pans with little half circles in them, called “patty pans”. Hence the little cakes were called, you guessed it “Patty Cakes”! They often contained far less butter and sugar than those in the 30s and modern versions, due to rationing (which continued even after the war). Eggs were also rationed, (unless you had your own chooks), so that affected recipes as well. Have a look at the recipe for “Sailing Ships” below from McAlpine’s Flour promotional recipe book. It turns “Patty Cakes” into “Sailing Ships” due to some elaborate creaming and decorating. The book is not dated as so many cookbooks aren’t, but the price is pre-decimal, the pictures are of the period and it gives temperatures for a fuel stove, so I approximate an early 50s date. The quantity of butter in this recipe is 1 dessertspoon! These are elaborately decorated – maybe to make up for the lack of fat?Sailing Ships Patty Cakes

Sometimes other ingredients such as sultanas, currants or lemon peel were added, and these were usually called “Queen Cakes”.

Another early 50s Patty Cake recipe 

This is another recipe for patty cakes from another early 50s cookery book “Betty King’s New Recipes” . It reads

Patty cakes (Foundation Recipe)
  • 4ozs (1/2 cup sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • Grated rind 1 lemon or 1 orange or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 cups self-raising flour)
  • 1/2 level teaspoon salt
  • 2 ozs Copha (the new miracle shortening! – my note)
  • 4 tablespoons milk 

Place in basin sugar, egg, flavouring and half sifted flour and salt. Melt Copha over gentle heat. It should be warm, not hot (test with fingertips). Add milk to Copha. Pour liquids onto ingredients in basin and beat 4 minutes. Add  remaining flour and beat one minute longer. Place in greased and floured patty tins or in paper patty cases. Bake in a moderate oven about 15 minutes. Ice or fill when cool.

It then gives several variations.

Decorated patty cakes
Decorated patty cakes

Note: This recipe has HALF the amount of fat than sugar as opposed to modern recipes which usually have 1:1 ratio. If you are wondering about why my recipe below doesn’t – it’s particularly sweet! Also note that my recipe has two eggs, not one. And we wonder why we are all getting fatter…….! But cakes from my recipe taste really nice!

You can download this and some other original 1940s and 1950s recipes here if you would like:

  • Betty King’s Foundation Patty Cakes 1950

    1950 recipe from Betty King’s “New Recipes”

  • “Sailing ships” and “mushrooms” decorated patty cakes

    “Sailing ships” and “mushrooms” decorated patty cakes

  • Light Patty Cakes from 1940s

    Recipe for Light Patty Cakes from 1940s

Disappearance of the patty cake…

However it wasn’t until the late 50s in Australia that the term “patty cakes” started to disappear. They weren’t immediately called “cupcakes”, but “small cakes”. How boring. The term “cupcake” is borrowed from a much earlier American term referring to cakes baked in small cups. It has gradually come into fashion in Australia in the 90s, noughties, and now. However it has come to mean not just a small cake but a very decadent muffin sized, heavily frosted cake. To me, they are over large, over frosted and over the top. Eat them if you must.

Make Some Patty Cakes

If you would like to make some patty cakes, read on. I confess that I do now make them in muffin or mini muffin tins lined with paper patty cases or squares of baking paper. Yes I am a masochist, just try lining a mini muffin tin with a mini square of baking paper. I don’t advise just placing paper cases on a baking tray. It is hard to get well shaped patty cakes if you just put paper cases, even metal and paper ones on a baking tray. They tend to flatten and the cake mixture spills over the edge. Hence the muffin tins.

You are welcome to make them in real tin patty pans, but be warned, they must be rust free and lined with lard (not butter) and then preferably floured as well. I ice my patty cakes with a nice but moderate amount of butter icing, add some sprinkles or not (silver balls a favourite with the under 8s) or turn them into fairy cakes. Retro icing and decorating cakes is covered in the next post. So subscribe if you are interested!

My Recipe

This is my foolproof recipe that makes moist buttery little patty cakes. It is a family favourite.

Preheat your oven to 200C (or 210C for peaked tops for fairy cakes)

Put your patty cases in your muffin tins or mini muffin tins. One mixture makes about 12 normal sized patty cakes, or 20 mini sized cakes.


  • 125g (4oz) of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 125ml milk


If the butter is cold, cut into 4 slices, put it into a bowl and microwave for 10-20 secs (depending on your microwave). This should soften it without melting it. Do not melt it! Put it in a mixing bowl with the sugar and use a hand mixer or stand mixer (Kenwood/Breville/Kitchenaid) to beat them together until they are pale and creamy. You will probably have to scrape down the bowl with a spatula a couple of times to get it all to mix properly. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Take the bowl off the stand, and add the flour, baking powder, and milk. This prevents having to shove the flour down the side of the bowl while the beaters are attached. Don’t  bother sifting and don’t bother adding half the milk and half the flour at a time if you are using an electric mixer. It will mix it all together fine! Put the bowl back on the stand and beat the mixture at a medium then high speed until it is all pale and creamy.

Using two spoons put the same amount of mixture into each patty pan. For the tiny cakes this is 1 heaped teaspoon. For the larger patty cakes, this is 2-3 heaped teaspoons. You need to fill them no more than 3/4 full.

Cook the tiny cakes for 8-10 minutes. Keep a smell on them. If they smell cooked, they usually are! Cook the larger cakes for 15-20 minutes. Again, let smell be your guide. Test with a skewer or satay stick if you are unsure and know that a cooked cake will be spongey to the touch but not hard! Take them out of the oven, and once they are coolish, transfer from the muffin tins to a cooling rack. Yay – almost done!

Ice with some butter icing:

2 tablespoons soft butter
250g icing mixture (to start) (1/2 small bag)
1/4 cup cocoa OR 2 passionfruit
2 tablespoons hot water

Mix in a bowl with a fork, slowly at first to combine and then fast and hard! It will be very thick! Add more icing sugar, up to another 250g, and another tablespoon or two of hot water. Whip again. If it’s still too thick for you, thin it out, little by little with drips of hot water. If you have added too much water, add more icing mixture until it is thick enough to use but not so drippy it will slide off the cakes. Ice them and eat. Fast.

What’s next?

The next post is on decorating cakes: icings (frostings), turning patty cakes into fairy cakes and what to do when they all go wrong! I turned a recent lot of failures that stuck to the “non-stick” silicon moulds that I used into jam sandwiched lamingtons.

Lamington patty cake
Lamington-ised patty cake

When God/Allah/The Universe gives you lemons, you make…… Take a look at the pics in the next post!

By the way, how do I know all this? I have an interest in Australian and women’s history and I  have a pretty large collection of cookbooks from the 30s to the 80s.