Chocolate & Coconut Pudding Cups [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 12 cups
Serves: 12
Prep & Cooking: 20-30 mins
Cooling:10 mins
Assembly: 5mins
Setting Time: 4hrs
Type: Dessert
Tools: Food processor, silicone spatula, standard muffin tin,12 muffin casings, measuring jug, small non-stick pot, whisk, dessert spoon

Notes

With no baking and minimal cooking, this little dessert can be enjoyed during the summer months without heating up your kitchen; it’s also a cheeky indulgence for those chocolate and coconut lovers alike!

If you’re like us and do not own an ice cream maker and cannot be bothered with the D.I.Y method, nor do you want to pay for overpriced dairy free desserts with high sugar contents, than look no further. This is a really simple recipe that produces a lovely (cold, yes from the fridge or freezer!) chocolate dessert with a moderate quantity of sugar and saturated fat per serving. 

Continuing from a working idea we shared with you all last December, our Vegan ‘Condensed Milk’ (which uses aquafaba!), we used this to make our lovely DF dessert we are presenting to you today. We noticed that when our ‘condensed milk’ set in the fridge it took on a pudding/custard like texture… and that was a light bulb moment that was not forgotten!

This March an opportunity arose through Foodies100Vita Coco was challenging UK Bloggers to create a recipe using their coconut oil.

Well, some of you might know that although we are not coconut mad, we are still known to use a little coconut oil in some of our baking, on our hair and skin (well, me at least!) and anecdotally for localised gingiva inflammation. However, if you are in any way concerned about your oral health, you should always contact your dental practitioner! 

Vita Coco’s Coconut Oil is 100% Raw and Organic; perfect for beauty and baking needs, including transforming dairy free desserts? Yes! Challenge accepted! So with that in mind, we knew exactly how we could expand on our ‘condensed milk’ recipe and make a delicious dessert. #vitacocoinspiration

 

 

This recipe is a little more indulgent than something we would normally make, but we are not condoning this as an everyday food item. Eating2Health means learning to moderate the frequency and portion sizes of healthy and indulgent foods that we eat, although sometimes it’s nice to have something a little rich and not too sweet to indulge in, like this chocolate dessert.

These chocolate pudding cups are dairy and gluten free, have a light coconut taste, delicious chocolate flavour and a great combination of textures. The pudding is creamy, light and smooth; the ‘raw’ base isn’t overly sweet and has a great texture from the combo of nuts and oat bran (not to mention a lovely dose of fibre!).

Some other good things to note include:

  • As recipe testing is a process, getting the right quantities of ingredients first time around sometimes just doesn’t happen; initially we did not make enough ‘base’ for our pudding, so we had to double the batch. The recipe was amended but our pictures will show half the amount of ‘raw base’ in our food processor. 
  • If twelve puddings cups are too many, simply halve the recipe for both the base and pudding! 
  • If you do not fancy using maple syrup in the pudding, you could substitute it with agave, coconut sugar, unrefined golden caster sugar or some Stevia (to taste).
  • If you do not have oat bran, just use some porridge oats instead. Just process the oats in a food processor until a rough flour consistency is achieved. 
  • The chocolate extract is optional (because it can be a bit pricey) but if you are in the market for trying it, it really amps up the overall chocolate flavour!
  • If you have an allergy or prefer not to use walnuts and almonds, you can substitute them for your favourite types of nuts! If preferred, you can also process 200g of almonds instead of buying already processed ground almonds.
  • We used some aquafaba from white beans, but feel free to use some chickpea liquid instead! 
  • If you want to enjoy this dessert frozen, you’ll have to freeze these lovelies overnight!

 

 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

‘Raw’ Cacao & Coconut Pudding Base

100g     Walnut pieces
200g    Ground Almond
30g       Cacao powder
80g       Oat bran
50g       Coconut oil
1 tsp      Chocolate extract (*optional)
7 tbsp    Maple syrup

Chocolate Pudding Filling

20g          Corn flour
3g            Arrowroot powder
60ml       Oat cream
80ml       Almond milk*
++++++++ (*unsweetened & fortified)
15g           Coconut oil
125ml       Aquafaba
3 tbsp      Maple Syrup
1 tsp         Chocolate extract (*optional)
15g           Cacao powder

Need an easy print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Prepare the ‘raw’ pudding base.

 

Place 120g walnuts into a food processor. Tip: If you are using whole almonds, add those too! Blend until a meal is achieved. If using, add 200g ground almonds, then 30g cacao powder, 80g oat bran, 50g coconut oil and 1 tsp chocolate extract (if using). Process the mixture, pouring in 7 tbsp maple syrup through the pouring spout as the machine is still running. Process until combined and the mixture forms a tacky and raw dough.

 

Line a twelve-hole muffin tin with twelve paper casings. Carefully remover the blade from the food processor. Use a silicone spatula to remove any dough stuck to the sides of the container. Roughly divide the raw dough into twelve pieces. Place one piece into each muffin casing. Press the dough (evenly) down into the base and outwards to form a little cup/saucer shape (don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect!). Tip: It won’t cover the entire muffin casing. Place the muffin tin into the fridge until you are ready to fill the casings with the pudding.

 

Prepare the pudding.

 

Place 20g corn flour, 3g arrowroot, 60ml oat cream and 40ml DF milk into a measuring jug. Using a fork, whisk together until combined and no lumps of flour are present. Tip: This liquid will be used to thicken the pudding!

 

  • Place 15g  coconut oil into a medium, non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Pour in ½ cup aquafaba and the remaining 40ml DF milk. Whisk together.
  • When the coconut oil has melted, add 3 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp chocolate extract (if using). Whisk to combine.
  • Add 15g cacao powder. Whisk and keep whisking until it has combined with the liquid. Once the cacao is combined, keep whisking and pour in the flour and milk mixture. Keep whisking until combined and the mixture has thickened. This will take a few minutes, so be patient. Tip: The liquid should never come to a boil but will get quite hot. 
  • Once thickened remove from the heat. Use a silicone spatula to wipe around the sides of the pot, bringing all the pudding back down into the base.  Allow to cool for 10 mins before adding it into the muffin casings. Tip: The mixture will start to set and might form a skin, so whisk the pudding periodically to prevent this from happening; otherwise your pudding might get lumps! 

 

Remove the muffin tin from the fridge. Add the pudding evenly among the casings; about 1 dessert spoon of pudding into each muffin casing. Tip: Use a small spoon to help spread and push the mixture evenly into the casings. Repeat until all of the casings have all been filled. Place the muffin tin into the fridge for about 4hrs. Tip: This will allow the pudding to become cold and completely set into a thick, pudding texture.  **For an additional texture, appeal or flavour variation, try topping yours with: toasted coconut, dried fruits, toasted and chopped hazelnuts or peanuts or a slice of raw or roasted banana!

Tip: Refrigerate any spare puddings cups in an air tight and resealable container; consume within 5 days. Alternatively, insulate and store in an air tight and resealable container; freeze, defrost and consume within 2-4 wks (flavours may alter after this). 

 

 

Enjoy cold from the fridge….

 

 

…or straight from the freezer (well, once defrosted for 30mins first!).

#SwearByIt Recipe Challenge by VitaCoco and Foodies100
 This recipe is also an entry into the #Swearbyit challenge with Vita Coco. Find more great coconut oil recipes and tips on using coconut oil at www.swearbyit.comDisclaimer: This recipe uses a product we were sent for free.  All opinions (and this recipe) are our own.

 

What’s the best dessert or meal you’ve made using coconut oil? 

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Vegan Truffles (without a coconut aftertaste!)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 30
Prep: ≤15 mins
Chilling: 75 mins
Assembly: 35 mins (Dependant on skill and/or the number of kitchen helpers!)
Tools: Pot and bowl (or a double broiler!), spatula, whisk, a large/wide dish, cling flim, teaspoon or melon baller, parchment paper, mini muffin casings.

Notes:

This recipe is a real gem for those looking for a great ‘Free From’ Christmas alternative. It’s a dairy free, soya free, gluten free, nut free and ‘coconut-tasting free’ chocolate dessert- our silky smooth and deviously rich vegan truffles! 

This type of of dessert recipe is not something you will see frequently or typically see on our blog, because let’s be honest, consuming these everyday, week or month is not eating2health! However, it is Christmas and we wanted to help provide you with another vegan/dairy-free recipe that the whole family can enjoy without a huge price tag! Forget paying a small fortune on brand name dairy free truffles, these are a fantastic, cheap and an easy alternative!

After doing some cursory searches, it seems that there is more dairy free truffles with coconut cream and/or coconut oil (as you can infer from our recipe title- we’re not big on coconut!) as opposed to DF cream alternatives- and were not talking about the ‘health food versions’! After a tasty trial run (with oat cream!), we have created our own take on vegan truffles! A few good things to note about this recipe include:

  • Overall, the prep is ridiculously easy. The oat cream (as it contains a bunch of natural and added thickens), thickens the chocolate truffle mixture straight away. As a result, the mixture sets quite quickly in the fridge; it took one hour and fifteen minutes; faster than most vegan truffle recipes out there! As for the assembly, turn it into a family event; having a little helper(s) will help speed up the assembly!
  • A ‘melon baller’ is the perfect size scoop for these truffles. We initially tried using an ice cream scoop, but it was too big! We were more successful using a small teaspoon to gather some of the mixture; we created thirty bite-sized truffles!
  • When shaping the truffles, mould the mixture gently and quickly in your hands (as it has a tenancy to go a little slimy with body heat) – which is why we don’t recommend ‘rolling’ the mixture in between your hands!
  • If you mould and shape a bunch of truffles before coating them in one of your delicious toppings, you’ll notice they’ll start forming a thin skin, but this is OK! They will still be a bit ‘tacky’, but this will actually make the dipping and coating process a little easier! 
  • The kid in you will want to dip and coat your truffles in some random OCD pattern (it is Christmas afterall!), however it’s quicker to dip several truffles in one topping and then move onto the next one… but this is only a suggestion! We are not trying to be a Christmas Grinch! 😛
  • The flavouring of this mixture is versatile! Instead of vanilla, add a drop of brandy, rum or coffee, use a flavoured bar of chocolate instead of plain, push a small nut or dried fruit into the centre of your prepared truffles, add crushed nuts to the truffle mixture before setting it, or simply mix it up by using numerous toppings. We opted for stem ginger, toasted coconut, cocoa powder, roasted hazelnuts and toasted pistachios! We aimed for a balance of flavours and textures; they are all tasty, but nuts are definitely our favourite! Mmm, hazelnut!

These truffles are great for dinner parties, seasonal holidays and/or when you are looking for a great, personable and edible gift! Just place the truffles in some fun and festive mini muffin casings and then gift them in a small and decorative box- your friends will be so pleased! This recipe is also great for those that want a ‘little something’ at Christmas, but do not want to be faced with four pounds of leftovers to finish off or to push onto others before the New Year! #excessive-baking-doesnt-help-anyone

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Odourless coconut: it’s steamed to remove it’s coconutty taste, it’s just a shame that it doesn’t reduce it’s saturated fat content too!

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++300g      70% Dairy Free Dark Chocolate
+++++++++++++++++60g        Odourless Coconut Oil (at room temperature)
+++++++++++++++++170ml     Oat cream (at room temperature)
+++++++++++++++++1 tsp        Vanilla Paste

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

  • If applicable, fill your double broiler with some water and melt the chocolate according to your manufacturing guidelines. If you’re like us (and do not own one!), find a suitable pot and bowl and create an impromptu DIY broiler! Depending on the size of your pot, fill it with ¼ cold water, then place a bowl that is large enough to sit over the top of (not inside) of the pot NB: We used a small pot and filled it with about one inch of water; we didn’t have any larger bowls or pots that ‘matched’ in size, but use a larger combination if you have it. Tip: Only put enough water to gently heat and melt the chocolate; the water should not be touching the base of your bowl whilst cooking!
  • Place the pot and bowl over a medium-low heat. Break up the chocolate and add it into the bowl. When the water boils, reduce to a simmer and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring it with a spatula or spoon as it does. Tip: If you’re using a standard pot and bowl, this can take about 6-8 mins, so be patient.

 

Once the chocolate has melted, remove the broiler or pot and bowl from the heat. Add the coconut oil and stir through until it is completely melted. NB: We added it after transferring the chocolate into a dish (as you’ll see in the next step); it’s recommended in this order because the chocolate will start cooling down quite fast once it leaves the ‘warm bowl’ and it’s important to melt all of the oil! 

 

 

  • Carefully remove the bowl from the pot (it will still be hot!). Pour the mixture into a large and wide dish (we used a casserole dish!). Use a silicone spatula to help scrap out all of the melted chocolate. Tip: A large and wide dish makes it easier for when you need to scoop out your mixture, it will also allow it to set quicker in the fridge and this type of dish (at least for us) fits into our fridge with more ease.
  • Whilst whisking, pour in your oat cream. Whisk until the cream is thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla paste and fold it through with your spatula. Use the spatula to scrape down the sides, so that all of the chocolate is at the base of the dish. Cover with a sheet of cling film. Place into the fridge for 1h15mins or until the mixture is firm yet pliable.

 

In the meantime you can:
  • prepare any tasting toppings you might be using!
  • find your mini muffin casings.
  • line a plate with some parchment paper .
  • get a separate tray or plastic container to transfer the prepared truffles ready.
  • wash your dishes!

 

 

Remove the truffle mixture from the fridge.

 

 

Scoop some of the mixture using a teaspoon or melon baller. Place it into the palm of your hands and shape/mould it into a ball. Place it onto the lined plate until you roll it in your toppings! Once you have quite a few, dip and coat them into your toppings (if applicable); gently roll the truffle between your hands to secure any larger toppings (like nuts!) Place the truffles into mini muffin casings and then onto your separate tray (or into a container as appropriate). Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. Tip: We made thirty small truffles! 

 

 

Place the truffles into an air tight and resealable container and return them to the fridge for about 15 mins to firm up.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate the truffles in an air tight and resealable container (layer between sheets of parchment paper if necessary); best consumed within 7-10 days.

 

*Nutritional Info/(approx. for 30 servings): 83 Kcal, 1g Protein, 3.6g CHO, 3g sugar, 6.8g Fat, 4.3g S/Fat, 0.02g Salt
*NB: Based on using our ingredients without any added toppings. Looking for a topping that is lower in fat and sugar, dust with some cacao powder. For some lower-fat nut options, stick to  ground almonds, peanuts, chestnuts or pistachios. Alternatively, placing one nut into the centre of each truffle will contain less fat than coating it in chopped nuts!  

Pistachio, Cranberry & Chocolate Biscotti [Vegan & Gluten Free!]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 12
Prep: 30 mins
Cooking: 40-45 mins
Tools: Chopping board, food processor, spatula, mixing bowl, baking tray, parchment paper, rolling pin and a sharp knife.

Notes:

Delicious biscotti! Generally we cannot have coffee shop or store bought varieties because they contain egg and/or milk powder, but these types of trivialities have never stopped us before. Baking without eggs, milk and/or gluten has never been easier!

We’re not in the habit of making these delicious, crispy Italian biscuits very often, but we happened to make our first batch five Christmases ago and fancied some again. We found that they were relativity easy to make, although you do need quite a few ‘tools’ and they will take just over an hour of your time, but it cannot be helped as they are ‘twice baked’. Under baking creates a chewy biscuit, which will occur if you try to cook the dough ‘faster’ at a higher temperature (it won’t work!) or for a shorter time at the recommended temperature; there are no short-cuts! 

Nuts and dried fruits are our favourite combination of biscotti ingredients. We’ve never used chocolate before, but added a delicious ginger-based one this time; it’s a messy business! After baking, the chocolate smears and although delicious, it looks rather unsightly! If we ever fancied using chocolate again, we’d omit it from the dough and then dip one of the baked (and cooled) biscotti ends into some melted chocolate instead; it could then cool and set in the fridge and not all over our hands!

We think that combination of xanthan gum and the aquafaba worked a treat. The biscotti (when sliced) slightly crumbled on the ends, but we think that this was possibly down to the fact that there were a few too many added ingredients and/or our GF was predominately rice-based! As these biscotti do not rise as much as ‘standard’ ones, perhaps there is less room for added ingredients?! Don’t get us wrong, the combination was delicious, just maybe a little congested- but that is also down to your own personal preferences! As gluten free products go, they do not turn into saw dust and have a good crunch, but maybe they need one to two minutes less in the oven? 

You’ll notice that although nicely baked they look a bit anaemic; typically the added ‘egg’ in biscotti would provide a nice golden hue as it bakes. As these are vegan, you could try baking them with a darker sugar and/or spices to help give yours more colour!

None the less, they are lovely baked goodies that go perfectly with a nice cup of tea or strong coffee (we wouldn’t want you breaking a tooth after all!), and with Christmas and festive parties around the corner, they would also make a great, edible gift!

So although we wouldn’t recommend eating then daily (there’s about 3 tsp of sugar per biscuit and slightly more with the chocolate!), they’ll definitely be great for keeping your Christmas momentum going; enjoy one mid-morning on Christmas when you are hard at work preparing your delicious festive feast!  

Have a good weekend everyone and happy baking! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++50-60g   Deshelled Pistachios
+++++++++++++++40g          DF Dark Ginger Chocolate, about 4 squares (*optional)
+++++++++++++++125ml       Aquafaba (chickpea brine!)
+++++++++++++++120g         Unrefined Golden Cane Sugar
+++++++++++++++1 tsp         Vanilla paste
+++++++++++++++340g        Self raising Gluten Free Flour*
+++++++++++++++1/8 tsp     Salt
+++++++++++++++1 tsp         Baking Powder (or 2 tsp if you’re using a plain GF flour!)
+++++++++++++++1/2 tsp     Xanthan Gum
+++++++++++++++50g          Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
+++++++++++++++NB: *If using standard baking flour, you may need less of it.

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Place the nuts onto a chopping board and roughly chop them. If using, place the chocolate onto the chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Tip: We’d recommend that you chop these ingredients smaller than we have shown here!

 

 

2. Open and drain the chickpeas into a colander over a large bowl, reserving the brine. Tip: You can use the chickpeas in a tasty recipe! Remove ½ cup of the brine (the aquafaba!) and transfer it into a food processor. Add the sugar. Process until it’s uniform in colour and ‘frothy’. Add the vanilla paste. Pulse to combine.

 

 

3. Place the flour, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum into a large mixing bowl. Stir to thoroughly combine.

 

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

 

5. With the food processor running, add the flour mixture a little at a time until all of it has been added and the mixture comes together, forming a slightly tacky dough.

 

 

6. Using a spatula, transfer the dough into the mixing bowl. Add the nuts, chocolate (if using) and the dried cranberries. Use your spatula and fold the ingredients evenly throughout the dough.

 

 

7. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it out into a long and narrowish log about 12″ X 3½”.

 

Transfer it onto the baking sheet. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 25 mins.

 

 

8. After 25 mins, reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325ºF and then remove the baking tray. Place it onto a cooling rack and allow the dough to cool for 10 mins.

 

 

9. Transfer the ‘cooled’ dough onto a chopping board. Using a sharp or segregated knife (we used a bread knife!), gently cut it into about ½” thick slices (diagonally). NB: We got about twelve pieces.

 

 

Place the slices back onto the baking tray (cut-side down).

 

 

10. Place the tray back into the oven and bake for 8-10 mins. Remove the tray and turn the pieces over. Place the tray back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-10 mins or until lightly tanned and crispy. Remove. Transfer onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before eating. Tip: You may have to adjust the baking times; we baked ours for 10 mins on each side, but would definitely aim for 7-8 mins next time (as least with our gluten free bakes!). All of our ‘standard flour’ bakes have cooked perfectly at the recommended times!

 

Enjoy!

 

Store your spare biscotti in an air-tight and resealable container; it’s best consumed within seven days. Alternatively you can individually wrap the biscotti in kitchen film and then store them in an air-tight container or freezer ‘baggie’; freeze for up until 2-3 months and defrost thoroughly before eating.

 

Have you ever made biscotti before? What’s your go-to flavour(s) and tips??

Mince Pies [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16 -26 (*Dependant on the pastry.)
Prep & Chilling Time: 40-45 mins
Cooking:15-16 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Manual juicer, grater, food processor, kitchen scale, measuring jug, silicone spatula, kitchen film, pot w/lid, wooden spoon, rolling pin, muffin tins, cooling rack

Notes

Here’s another great Christmas recipe that you can make in advance- mince pies! Tick them off your holiday check-list early this year; bake, freeze, defrost and reheat them over the xmas holidays! In fact, they might even last a tad bit longer; they take about thirty minutes to defrost, so that may help to defer all the ‘little elves’ from munching through them so quickly!

When we make ours, we always create our own shortcrust pastry, especially with ground almonds and almond extract (so delicious!), but we’ve never taken the time to make the filling, silly eh? We always succumb to the convenience of prefabricated jars of mincemeat which are just far too sweet and always make you regret eating it! So this year we stopped being silly and made our own; if we only knew how easy it was we would have started this tradition ages ago! 

With the aim of reducing the overall ‘added sugar’ content in these beauties, we opted to omit the sugar from the pastry completely…and keeping with the Christmas theme, substituted it with an orange juice mixture. However, we have added sugar to the list of ingredients, so the choice is yours. Our pastry uses standard vegan margarine; if you are after a flakier/gluten free pastry, try using come vegetable shortening/fat (as you’ll need about twenty percent less than margarine), a mixture of both or even some odourless coconut oil, but just be mindful of the saturated fat!

Our filling, well it’s quite red, but that because there is a lot of cranberries! You can use less and/or substitute for another fruit(s) (cherries and red currents would be nice), or more dried fruit instead. The great thing about using cranberries is that they are relatively cheap and help to offset some of the sweetness of the dried fruit and sugars!

We have tried to mimic our favourite Christmas-y/brand name mince pie flavours; the wine was added on a whim as we were originally going to add juice (you can thank the supermarket sales for that gem!). If you don’t fancy wine, try substituting it for some fresh orange, apple  or pomegranate juice, plain water, or dietary preferences depending, mulled wine, brandy and/or port- just adjust the quantities to your own personal taste and potency! 

*One top thing to note is that our filling makes enough for about twenty-six pies (the cooked weight yields 700g!), but our pastry only stretches into sixteen! So you can: increase the pastry mixture, slightly reduce the filling mixture or save and bottle the remaining mince pie filling in a sterilised bottle. 

Overall these little pies were lovely and nothing quite beats making your homemade shortcrust pastry and filling! If you’re a fan of these delicious morsels, you should really try giving it a whirl! It’s time consuming (well a little), but not too difficult. Just crank up the festive tunes and imagine how good your house will smell with the aroma of fresh, buttery, hot out of the oven shortcrust pastry and wafts of spiced and boozy fruit! Delicious!

Make sure to keep watching this space for more delicious/festive recipes next week! 

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here 🙂

 

Directions

Wash the orange, grate the zest and then juice it (reserve the zest for the filling later on). Place the juice, almond extract, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of unrefined cane sugar (if desired) into a large measuring jug. Mix together, dissolving the salt and sugar.

Place the margarine, flour, ground almonds and xanthan gum into a food processor (or large mixing bowl if you do not own one). Pulse until the texture is similar to fine breadcrumbs and comes together. Tip: Alternatively mix the mixture with your hands or a large fork until the same texture is produced. Pour the orange juice mixture into the food processor. Process until combined; the mixture will be quite chunky, but not dry (if yours is dry add 1-2 tsp of cold water). Tip: You will have to use a spatula to help remove some of the mixture from the sides of the container as you process it, back down into the centre as it has a tendency to ‘bunch up’.

 

 

Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide it into three portions. Roll into balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of kitchen film; wrap and seal. Flatten each ball into a disc. Transfer into the fridge and refrigerate for 30 mins. Tip: Refrigerating the dough will help make it ‘firmer’ and easier to work with. 

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Wash the cranberries in a colander. Wash, peel, remove the core and then dice the apple. Juice the satsuma.

 

Next, place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the wine and sugar. Stir together. It will start to simmer quite quickly, when this happens add the cranberries, apple, satsuma juice, dried fruit, orange zest, spices, sweetener, vanilla paste and almond (or lemon) extract into the pot. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 20 mins, allowing the flavours to meld, the cranberries to burst and soften and the mixture to slightly thicken. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Leave the lid ajar and allow it to cool.

 

 

Meanwhile, grease or line a mince pie or standard muffin tin with a little oil or margarine or a liner. On a clean, floured surface place one disc of pastry (leave the remaining pastry in the fridge until you are ready to use it). Gently knead and soften it with your hands for a minute. Roll it out to a ¼ cm thickness. Use a small tumbler or something suitable for the size of your tin to stamp out 16 discs. Tip: Measure the top of your tin with a small glass to make sure it is not too big or too small; it should be roughly the same size as the tin.

Gently press each pastry disc between your fingers (slightly stretching it) before placing it into the base of the tin. Gently press and shape it into the base. Tip: Use a little pastry to patch up any tears of holes that might appear (this is OK!). Repeat until all sixteen discs have been placed.

 

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the remaining dough to a 1/8cm thickness and then cut out the shapes to top your pies- we opted for modern stars!

 

Fill ease pie case with  about 1 heaped dessert teaspoon of pie filling. Place the top shape over the filling. Gently press and seal the edges. Tip: If you are completely covering the top of your pies, pierce it with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape whilst it’s baking!

Some of these are overfilled! We had to scoop a little out to make sure the lids attached!

 

 

We baked the remainder in this silicone muffin case; we wouldn’t recommend it as they do not bake as well!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 12-16 mins or until lightly browned around the edges and firm. Remove and transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before eating. NB: We cooked ours for 18 mins- but this was too long (the pastry was a little hard… but it’s nothing that a little oat cream won’t fix)! We’ll try 13-15 mins next time and then leave the pies in the tins for 3-5 mins once they’re removed from the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Store in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within one week. Alternatively, wrap and store them in an air-tight and resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

Nutritional Info (approx. per pie w/o sugar added to the pastry):
175kcal, 1.7g protein, 24.5g CHO, 8g Sugar, 7.2g Fat, 1.3g S/fat, 1.2g Fibre, 0.3g Salt
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Gingerbread Men [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 36-38 cookies*
Serves: 30
Prep: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 45 mins- overnight
Cooking Time: 7-13 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Small dish and fork, food processor, silicone spatula, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, kitchen film, baking trays, parchment paper, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cooling racks

Notes

Christmas doesn’t need to be complicated, especially when it comes to enjoying some free from goodies! So we’ve gone and created a simple and tasty gingerbread recipe (vegan & gluten free) that anyone can throw together with ease!

Perfectly ginger and fantastic for those that love a one-bowl recipe! Well, technically it’s two bowls (or one bowl and a food processor!); we’ve advised to premix the dry ingredients (separately) to ensure everything is thoroughly combined; no nasty lumps of baking soda please! 

The dough is great for ‘cookie-cutter cookies’ and is best suited for cookies ¼ cm thick; if you roll the dough out thicker or thinner, adjust the baking times accordingly! *We managed to roll and stamp out: two large cookies, seventeen medium cookies and fifteen small ones! 🙂

It’s good to note that a quarter of the dough makes about eight to ten cookies and you shouldn’t need more than three baking trays to bake them. We’d recommend baking them for slightly longer if you prefer a harder/crisper cookie (we baked ours for eight minutes) and to place a dish of water at the base of your oven to prevent the top surfaces of your cookies from extreme cracking! This is a tip that we acquired last year after producing some really ugly cookies (haha)! One last nugget of baking wisdom- everyone should listen to some Christmas music whilst making these! #neverbakeinabadmood (…Your cookies will taste terrible!) 

Watch this space as we’ll be providing you with a few more Christmas recipes over the next week!

Happy baking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Prepare the ‘flax eggs’! Place 16g flaxseed and 6 tbsp of water into a small dish or bowl. Stir to combine. Leave to rest for 5mins.

Very gelatinous after 5 mins!

 

 

  • Meanwhile, place the margarine and sugar into a food processor (or use a mixing bowl if you do not own one). Cream together; pulse the food processor or (if using the traditional method) use a large wooden spoon or spatula. Add the date syrup, cream and vanilla paste. Process (or mix) until combined. Tip: the mixture might look curdled, especially if your margarine is not as room temperature, but this is OK!
  • Add the flax eggs into the food processors pour spout whilst it’s still running. Process until combined.

 

 

Place the flour, ground almonds, baking soda and powder, xanthan gum, ground ginger, cinnamon cloves and nutmeg into a separate mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

 

  • Spoon in the flour mixture into the food processor’s pouring spout (with the machine still running), a little at a time until the mixture comes together and is thoroughly combined.
  • Carefully remove and transfer the dough onto a sheet of kitchen film. Wrap and seal. Place into the fridge and refrigerate for 45 mins (or overnight if preferred). Tip: the dough will ‘firm up’ and is easier to use once refrigerated. 

 

 

When you are ready to roll and cut out the cookies, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.  Line 2-3 baking trays with a sheet of parchment paper.

 

On a clean, floured surface, place 1/4 of the dough. Re-wrap the remaining dough and place it back into the fridge to help stop it from drying out. Knead the dough slightly and then gently roll it out until its ¼ cm thick. Cut out your gingerbread men or any preferred shapes! Tip: use a palate or large knife to gently loosen any ‘stuck’ pieces of dough from your counter surface.

 

 

Transfer the shapes onto the baking trays leaving at least a 1 cm gap in between the cookies. Tip: If you have thick and thin cookies, try to keep them on two separate trays to have cooking ease! Place the trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Bake for 7- 13 mins, depending upon on how hard you want your cookies! Tip: Place a large-ish oven proof dish with water at the bottom of your oven just before baking to help prevent the top surface of your cookies from cracking!

 

 

Remove the trays from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 mins (they will continue to ‘firm up’). Transfer onto cooling racks. Allow to cool for further 10 mins before eating; they will continue to firm up as they cool.

 

Enjoy!

 

Store the cookies in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within 5-7 days. Alternatively wrap in some kitchen film and freeze in an air-tight and resealable kitchen ‘baggie’ or plastic container; defrost and consume within 4-6 wks.

 

Nutritional info/(approx. for 30 servings): 97 Kcal, 1.2g Protein, 15g CHO, 5.3g sugar, 3.6g Fat, 0.7g S/Fat, 0.1g Salt
NB: 1 Serving is approx: 2 small cookies, 1 medium or 1/2 a large.

 

**Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Almost! Fig Newtons [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16
Prep & Cooking Time: 45 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sat fats and contains a moderate quantity of sugars! 

If you’re like us, you’ll always have oats (#addicted) and a tonne of spices in your kitchen cupboards… and maybe even some dried fruits?! On this occasion we happened to have some tasty figs hiding in the ‘back and beyond’ too! So instead of devising some sort of cake, tart or muffin, we decided to whip up something that we haven’t enjoyed in over fifteen years- fig newtons! 

These ‘Almost! Fig Newtons’ are fantastic! Sure, ours are more like squares than little figgy, ‘pie/cookie-parcels’, but subsequently they contain a lot less fat and sugar as a result! The combination of baked oats and figs, in addition to this blend of spices and flavourings really make these delicious morsels something that you could eat everyday (but all good things should be in moderation right)?!

Luckily moderating them is made easier by the fact they freeze really well! I think next time we might even try experimenting with another flavour; apple, blueberry or strawberry would work quite well, but it’s impossible to pick just one… there are just too many flavours to choose from!

So, whatever your preferred ‘newton’ flavour may be, we hope that you enjoy one with your next cup of tea or especially when blogging! 😉

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone!

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++180g        Dried Figs
+++++++++++++++++++++———————————————————–
+++++++++++++++++++++100g        Porridge Oats (+ 5g for topping)
+++++++++++++++++++++220g        Plain GF Flour (or a quinoa flour)
+++++++++++++++++++++½ tsp       Baking Soda
+++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground Cinnamon
+++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground Ginger
+++++++++++++++++++++1g             Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++———————————————————–
+++++++++++++++++++++60ml        Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++++++++++++45ml         Agave Syrup
+++++++++++++++++++++125ml       Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++¼ tsp        Vanilla Paste (*optional)

 

Directions

Boil some water in a kettle. Place the figs into a small saucepan. Pour over the boiled water. Allow them to soak for 8-10 mins or until softened.

 

In the meantime…

  • Place the oats into a food processor and pulse until a flour consistency is achieved. Transfer the oat flour into another bowl. Add the GF flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk and stir together until thoroughly combined.
  • Place the oil, syrup, soya milk and vanilla extract(*if using) into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Spray a square baking tin with some low-fat cooking oil or grease with a little oil.

Make sure to grease all sides of the tin!

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. Mix together until a dough forms. Tip: If it’s a little dry, add a splash of milk.

 

 

Place half of the dough into the baking tin. Spread and press it evenly over the base of the tin.

 

 

Remove the figs from the water with a slotted spoon (but reserve the water). Transfer the figs into the food processor. Add 4 tbsp of the reserved water. Pulse until smooth.

 

 

Pour and spread the fig mixture evenly over the dough base.

 

 

To assemble the top layer you can either:

A) Use a rolling pin and roll the remaining dough over a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (large and wide enough to cover the figs) and then carefully slide and transfer it over the fig layer.

B) Flatten pieces of the remaining dough between your hands and place them together like a jig-saw over the layer of fig. Use some parchment paper or a silicone spatula to help manipulate it, covering the figs as evenly as possible.

We went for option B and then sprinkled over a layer of oats!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 25 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Place the tin onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

 

 

Slice into sixteen squares and enjoy!

 

Wrap any remaining squares in kitchen film and then freeze in an air tight and resealable container; defrost and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Cacao, Avocado & Nut Butter Pudding w/ a ‘Caramel’ Topping (and some ‘Free Sugars’ Talk!)

Healthy Recipes

Pudding Serves: 4
Prep: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 20-180 mins (*Depending on how cold you like your pudding!)
‘Caramel’ Serves: a minimum of 12 (2 tsp/serving based on 12 servings)
Type: Dessert
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, small pot, food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container(s) and/or serving dishes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins E, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, is low in salt and (per serving) has a moderate amount of sugars and fats!

There is something nostalgic about eating pudding…or maybe not?! I did grow up in North America after all, so it does explain some (but not all!) of my food choices. #recoveringpeanutbutteraddict  #exkoolaidkid  #cheddarisntreallyorange #whatdidijusteat !!!

We made this recipe last week because sometimes we all just crave something ‘sweet’, but it’s just about being responsible. Moderation and fibre are key, but so is informing yourself regarding food labels, portion sizes, healthy foods and enabling yourself to follow a healthy lifestyle (more days than none)… such as avoiding excessive amounts of ‘free sugars’* and kick starting a realistic exercise regime. Click here for some other ideas and healthy eating advice.

Luckily I kicked the ‘what’s for dessert’ phase a while ago! In about a week’s time I will have resided in the UK for sixteen years; mostly spent in London.This cultural journey has contributed to my ever-changing palate/sweet tooth, as did being exposed to various ailments, experimenting with loads of foods and recipes and of course pursuing a degree in human nutrition.

Anyways, switching this conversation back to the recipe….

This pudding goes down all too well, so I’m really glad that we only made a small portion! Unlike ‘old school instant puddings’, there is no ‘chill/setting’ time; you can eat this pudding faster than you can say “asafoetida”! Personally we prefer this type of dessert cold; we refrigerated ours for three hours before serving, but you could also try popping it in the fridge or freezer for 30 mins instead.

The elements are fab! The avocado and peanut butter give this pudding a great texture (without having to add dairy products, emulsifiers, gelling agents or oils) and more importantly for me- integrity. The problem with some plant-based desserts is that the texture is questionable and they can fall apart all too easily… which is why some recipes love using coconut oil or vegetable-based shortenings (were not a big fan of either).  

The ‘caramel’ topping makes eight heaped tablespoons, so you have plenty for the foreseeable future (next time we won’t be making so much)! Just stir a little into your pudding once its cooled or just before serving- it’s delicious and very rich! We added one heaped teaspoon/each into our desserts. It’s currently in our fridge and I am hoping it keeps for 2-3 wks (minimum) but we’ll let you know how we get on! Oh, if you want a thinner consistency, add add more water when you purée the dates. 

We hope that you enjoy this gem as much as we did (in moderation of course)!  

 

Ingredients

NB: Try using your favourite unsweetened DF milk if preferred.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Nutritional Info

C’mon, were not going to give you a dessert recipe like this without a disclaimer- it’s all about helping you to make informed choices about your health!!

NB: 3.8g of ‘free sugars’*/serving.

NB: 0.2g of ‘free sugars’*/serving.

 

*Free Sugars:
A few months ago The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released a report in the UK on Carbohydrates where they gave new recommendations in line with WHO that ‘free sugar’ intake should account for no more than 5% of daily energy intake.

 

The SACN official definition of ‘free sugars’ stated that:

‘Free sugars’ comprises all monosaccharides* and disaccharides* added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices. Under this definition lactose (the sugar in milk) when naturally present in milk and milk products and the sugars contained within the cellular structure of foods (particularly fruits and vegetables) are excluded.

*Monosaccharides are single sugar units (glucose and fructose) and disaccharides are two single units joined together ( sucrose).

 

…But we’re sure most of you’re wondering what does 5 % of ‘free sugars’ actually mean?

 

…So how does your ‘free sugar’ intake currently weigh up?? 

 

If you have a sweet tooth and/or eat a lot of processed or packaged foods (e.g. fruit drinks, soups and cereals), it can quickly add up!

‘Free sugars’ can be added into our foods by manufacturers and unfortunately at the moment, the UK’s food labels do not account for ‘free sugars’ (just total sugars), making it hard for anyone to distinguish between the ‘natural occurring sugars’ from those that have been added.

Free sugars include but are not limited to: unsweetened fruit juice, coconut or table sugars, hydrolysed starch, molasses or treacle, honey, or any sort of syrup that contains sugar in its food label, e.g. agave syrup/nectar, corn syrup, rice malt syrup, natural date syrup, maple syrup etc. Sugars naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals or dairy products (lactose!) do not count.

 

…Until things change some things you could try include:
  • Familiarising yourself with the ‘names of sugar’ and limiting them on a daily basis, e.g. sucrose, maltose, glucose syrup etc. 

***Check out one of our previous sugar posts for info on names of ‘sugars’ found in everyday foods.

  • Looking at food labels more frequently. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of quantity, e.g. having sugar listed as the first, second or third ingredient in a list of ten ingredients shows that it will make a bigger proportion of the food item in question.
  • Comparing similar food products for sugar info. Your favourite brand might not all of the information you are looking for, but a similar product might give a full nutritional breakdown; you can use this for an educated guess.
  • Cooking from scratch. Homemade meals always taste better and this will allow yourself to have full control over what goes into them; no one really wants or needs 10g of sugar and 2.7g of salt /serving in their pasta sauce!
  • Swapping sugary drinks (including juices) for plain water, particularly if you drink a lot of them. NB: Some tins of soda can contain at much as 52 grams of sugar!
  • Opt for whole fruits instead of fruit juices/smoothies; that way our bodies benefit from its fibre and the fruit sugars are absorbed more slowly into our bodies.

That’s enough talking for now… on with the recipe!

NB: The pudding might be a little ‘tart’ at first, but once you add the caramel its absolutely perfect!  Also, try using a vanilla paste (or a pure vanilla extract) if you have access to it because it really amps up the flavour in the ‘caramel’!

 

Directions

1. Destone the dates. Place them into a small pot with 200ml of cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Allow them to soak for 20 mins.

2. In the meantime, chop the avocado into two halves; peel and destone. Place 12g cacao powder, the avocado, 50g peanut butter, 16g agave syrup,1.5 tsp of vanilla paste and 170ml almond milk into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, creamy and thoroughly combined. Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the pudding off the sides of the food processor back into the base as you go.

3. Transfer the mixture into a resealable and air tight container (or some ramekins/small serving dishes) and refrigerate it in the coldest part of your fridge for about 3 hrs or until you’re ready to partake in an ultimate dairy free chocolate experience!

4. Meanwhile, add a pinch of cinnamon and sea salt and 1/4 tsp vanilla paste into the pot with the date mixture. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. If you do not have a stick blender, quickly wash your food processor and transfer the date mixture into it. Add the cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla paste. Blend until smooth; adding extra water if a thinner consistency is preferred. Transfer the ‘caramel’ into a clean, air tight and resealable container. Keep refrigerated until you serve the pudding.

5. Serve the pudding in a small dish. Add and stir through a little of the ‘caramel’. Top with some fresh/whole fruits (banana or berries would work well), nuts or a dollop of plain/unsweetened almond-based yoghurt!

Enjoy!

 

We added a bunch of fresh fruit after I took some pictures. NB: This glass represents 2 servings.

If preferred…

  • Try using almond or hazelnut butter instead of PB (it will help to reduce the s/fat content)!
  • It would also be fun to experiment with fruits  or maybe even cooked vegetables (instead of nuts!); try adding banana, strawberries, or some purred sweet potato or pumpkin into the pudding mixture for a unique flavour experience!
  • Omit the agave and just use the ‘caramel’ to sweeten the pudding instead!
  • Try transferring this pudding mixture into a small/medium-sized popsicle mold for a great homemade, vegan popsicle experience; freeze overnight. #latesummerdessert 

 

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