A host of Easter Treats


With Easter upon us I thought I’d share a few of my favourite, slightly healthier but equally yummy Easter recipes.

So if chocolate is your thing then why not try some quick, raw chocolates like these chocolate coconut treats, or the raw chocolate filled eggs and fruit eggs, or if you fancy something with a little more kick – why not try the chilli chocs.

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Or how about whipping up some quick, cute, marzipan bunnies!

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What about creating a quick batch of Easter spiced biscuits, or some fresh, light lemon and chia cookies to dunk in your afternoon tea on Easter Sunday.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could try my coffee and amaretto cupcakes (using any instant coffee you have to hand).

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And finally..it wouldn’t be Easter without some hot cross buns right? Try my better bun recipe for some hot cross fun! 🙂

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares – Dairy and Gluten free


When I was at school I used to take a Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Marshmallow square with me every day for my breaktime snack. Does anyone else remember them? I was addicted! All gooey and sweet… and delicious…but so full of rubbish…..

So I thought I’d recreate a healthier version of them! So I’ve had a play and come up with  Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares. Super easy to make and really scrummy! You could use any puffs you like – buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, rice…. These are better than the originals I think and not half as bad for you 🙂

You will need:

10 -12 medjool dates

2 tbsp Cashew or almond butter

1 – 2 tbsp warm Water

1 – 2 cups of Buckwheat (or any) puffs

Optional Chocolate for decoration:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Start by making your caramel. Pit and chop the dates and pop them in to your blender together with the nut butter. Add a little of the water and blitz. You want to nice smooth caramel which is thick enough to hold the puffs together, so you may need to add a little more water but not too much. I have to say, watching the caramel in the blender is very pleasing… look….

Once you have a smooth but sticky caramel remove it from the blender. You will probably have more caramel than you need but that’s ok as you can use it for some other yummy treats like my apple cinnamon smoothie or homemade toffee poppets.

Put your puffs in a bowl and add a few spoonfuls of caramel. Stir it through and keep adding caramel until you have a sticky mess! Line a tupperware pot or tray with some baking paper and press the caramel puff mess in to the tray and push down well.

Pop in the freezer for at least an hour to set. It won’t set firm – it will be all sticky and chewy 🙂

Once set remove from the freezer, slice and serve!

If you want to decorate with raw chocolate then combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars and then pop back in the freezer briefly to set. Enjoy!

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Homemade Toffee Poppets! Raw, dairy-free Chocolate Caramel Balls!


When I was little my grandma (Nannie 🙂 ) would come to pick me up on a Friday night from school and as a treat she’d take me across the road from our house to the newsagents to buy some sweets. I could have whatever I wanted… More often than not I went for a packet of Poppets – either mint, or the toffee ones (also known as Toffets). For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure – they were a little cardboard box full of nuggets of chocolate covered mint fondant or chewy caramel. I always associate them with those friday night treats and my Nannie and so they hold a special place in my heart 🙂

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I’ve been having a bit of a caramel craving lately so I thought I’d better try to recreate those yummy little balls of goodness. (I’ll have a go at mint ones too at some point 🙂 ). As well as plain ones I also thought I’d try adding some coconut and nuts to the outside – you could coat yours in anything you like!

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You will need:

For the centres:

10 – 12 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter or Cashew butter if you don’t want the almond taste

(water as required)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Desiccated coconut/chopped roasted nuts to decorate if desired

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Pop the dates and almond/cashew butter in a processor and pulse until blended and smooth. Add water if you want a softer texture. Take small spoonfuls and roll into balls with your hand – this is easier if you can chill it in the fridge for a while first. Pop the balls in the freezer for as long as you can wait!

To make the chocolate combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork.

Take the balls out the freezer and pop in to the chocolate to coat. Use a fork to move them around until coated and then pop on some greaseproof paper to set. Once set a little bit turn so the bottoms don’t stick.

IMG_2738 If you want to coat them in coconut or nuts then as soon as you’ve coated in them in chocolate roll in the coconut/nuts and then place on the greaseproof paper.

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Then place in the freezer until ready to eat! All I need to do now is recreate the little cardboard box!

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Raw Almond Caramel Chocolate Fingers


I’ve been dying to make something nutty and caramel-ly for ages and just haven’t got round to it  – finally the other weeked I got all my ingredients out and had a play and I’m very very pleased with the results! These are delish! They need to be kept in the freezer and are best eaten cold otherwise they get a bit squishy… although… that’s not such a bad thing!!

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You will need:

For the base:

1 cup Macadamia nuts

2 – 3 Tbsp Coconut syrup (or any liquid sweetener – agave, rice malt syrup etc)

1/2 tsp Vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Almond extract

For the caramel:

12 – 14 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter

1/8 tsp Almond extract

pinch of salt

A little Water as needed (it depends how dry your dates are)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted) or Cacao butter (melted)

1/3 cup Raw cacao powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup or maple syrup (or any liquid sweetener)

1/4 tsp Vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

First you need to make the base. Pop all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended and it forms a sticky dough. Line a small tray with baking paper and then press the base mixture in to the tray firmly.

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Pop this in the freezer and then start on the caramel layer. I find it easier if you chop the dates up a bit first, so chop them and pop in to the processor together with the other ingredients, but not the water. Pulse until blended in to a paste. If it’s a little too dry then add some water (carefully so you don’t add to much). Once you have the consistency you want (sticky but spreadable) then take the base out the freezer and spread the caramel on top. You may have some caramel left over – this is no bad thing, I rolled it into balls which I coated in chocolate for some extra little caramel bites! 🙂

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Place this back in the freezer for as long as you can – an hour or more if possible.

Once you’re nearing the end of your the hour you can make up the chocolate (if you want to make it sooner you can, and you can just gently warm it to re-melt it). It’s best to use a large bowl for this so your caramel fingers will fit in (it makes it easier to coat them). Add the cacao, coconut syrup and vanilla to the melted coconut oil or cacao butter and mix well using a fork or a small hand whisk. Remove the caramel from the freezer and slice into fingers (or any shape you want).

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Then comes the fun bit! First of call place a wire rack over some baking parchment (or a board – or anything you don’t mind getting messy!). Make sure your chocolate is melted and combined well, then begin the dipping! Dunk the caramel fingers in the chocolate and ensure they’re coated. Then transfer to the wire rack and allow to set. They will stick to the rack, so before they’re set just move them slightly. If you’re anything like me you will probably end up with a bit of a mess on the bottom side, don’t worry, just wait til the top is set (it won’t take long) and turn them over and drizzle chocolate over them to tidy them up.

If you find the chocolate starts to thicken while you’re still coating them then just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to re-melt (or even just place in a warm area – like on a radiator for a few moments – it melts so easily). Once they are all coated and lightly set (because the fingers are frozen it sets pretty quickly but will still be fragile) pop back in the freezer (I just popped them in a tupperware pot).

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Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.. then eat! They’re delicious as a quick pick me up.. and if you’re feeling really naughty they’re even better dipped in a tofu chocolate chili mousse (oh yes I did..!).

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Homemade healthy coconut “bounty” bars! Dairy and Gluten-free


I made these a while ago but totally forgot to put the recipe up! Bad Nancy!

These are delish – a great alternative to a traditional “Bounty” bar and FAR healthier! They’re made with raw chocolate so they’re full of antioxidants and the coconut centre is pure coconut, nothing else!

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You will need some sort of mould for this – it can be any shape and any size you like! I’ve gone for a rectangular one as I happened to have one in my cupboard but anything will do.

For the chocolate you will need:

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)

1 cup Raw Cocoa powder

1/3 Cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

For the filling you will need:

A few tbsp desiccated Coconut (adjust quantity to taste)

Coconut butter – the amount will depend on the size of your chocs so start with a small amount and it’s easy to make more as needed. You need to make sure you use a whole coconut flesh butter, rather than coconut oil. I used the Artisana brand.

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Start with the chocolate. Mix the cacao butter, cocoa and maple syrup together and ensure there are no lumps. Pour a small amount in to the mould – remember you are filling this so don’t fill the mould – probably aim for a third of the mould. Save enough to cover the filling later. You will probably find that it settles at the bottom leaving the sides with only a very thing layer. This is ok – just pop it in the fridge for now. After about 5 mins check it and as it’s beginning to solidify just swirl the mould around so the chocolate coats the sides too. Place back in the fridge until set hard (15 mins should do it).

Now prepare the filling. Just melt the coconut butter gently in a warm pan, stirring all the time. Add as much desicated coconut as you want to get the desired texture and then pour in to the chilled moulds. Place back in the fridge immediately until this has set (at least 15 mins)

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Cover the top with more of your raw chocolate mix (you may need to re-warm it if it’s started to set). Pop straight back in the fridge until properly set – 30 mins or more.

These are best kept in the fridge until you want to eat them and then remove them and allow them to warm very slightly at room temperature for a few mins before serving. I made my chocolate layers just a little bit thick… but I quite like that! 🙂

Enjoy!

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Guilt-free Chocolate cake (with beetroot!)


You can’t beat a good chocolate cake and this is definitely a good chocolate cake! It’s totally vegan and totally yummy! This was inspired by a delicious cake my friend Vicky made so I thought I’d have a go at veganising and gluten-freeing it! 🙂

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You will need:

250g cooked Beetroot

250g unrefined Raw sugar (coconut palm sugar etc)

190g self-raising gluten free Flour

60g raw Cacao powder

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

3 tbsp Chia seeds soaked in 9 tbsp water

180 ml Almond oil (or other non flavoured oil)

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 tsp Chocolate extract (or extra Vanilla if you don’t have this)

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Preheat the oven to 170 C. Lightly grease a 23 cm diameter cake tine.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cacoa and bicarbonate of soda. Then stir in the sugar.  Pop the cooked beetroot in to a food processor and blend until smooth. Place this in to a sieve over another bowl and push out any juices with the back of a spoon. You don’t need the juice for this recipe but don’t bin it – you can throw it in to a smoothie 🙂

Put the beetroot pulp back in to the processor and then turn on the motor and add the soaked chia seeds, vanilla and chocolate extract (if using) and then slowly pour in the oil.

Mix until well blended. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the beetroot mixture. Gently fold together with a large spoon. Pour the mixture in to the cake tin and place in the oven for 35 -40 mins (or until a skewer comes out clean). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 – 10 mins in the tin, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Then enjoy with a cup of tea (and maybe a cat)! 🙂

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Fruity Raw Chocs


As you’ll know from my recent raw choc recipes (see here and here) I’ve been having loads of fun playing around with my raw choc and raw white choc recipes, and my collection of freeze-dried fruit powders. The results were awesome!

The fruit powders work brilliantly with both the dark and white raw choc and they add an amazing tartness and freshness to the chocs. They also make the white chocs look very pretty 🙂 (I get my fruit powders online from here)

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You can make solid chocs of one flavour or you can use the flavoured white chocolate to add colour and patterns to dark chocs. They come out looking amazing! If you are very clever (and more patient than I am 😉 ) you can add different colours to different parts of your mould to highlight certain details 🙂 The world is your chocolate box! Warning though – if you’re anything like me your entire kitchen will be covered in raw choc when you’re done! Is it wrong that I considered licking it up to clean it….. (don’t judge me 😉 )

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Now I couldn’t decide which of my freeze-dried fruit powders to use so I used them all (separately!). I think my favourite were raspberry, passion fruit and cranberry – I love the tartness of them 🙂

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So all you need for the dark chocs is:

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)

1 cup Raw Cocoa powder

1/3 Cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

Freeze-dried fruit powder of your choice – approx 1 tsp – adjust to taste

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For the white choc you need:

1/4 cup melted Cacao butter

1 tbsp Cashew butter

1 tsp dry dairy-free milk powder – rice, coconut or soya milk powder (This is optional but it makes the chocolate creamier so is worth it if you can find it)

1 tbsp unrefined raw Icing sugar (adjust to taste)

1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

Freeze-dried fruit powder of your choice – approx 1 tsp – adjust to taste

The method is the same for both – melt the cacao butter and then stir in all the other ingredients. Mix well.

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Now for the fun! and mess…. You can do whatever you like! I made a load of small quantities of chocolate of various flavours. Then I filled some moulds full of that flavour which worked well.   Then I had some fun….. either carefully dribbling one flavour in to the mould or liberally splashing it around to create a beautiful marble effect. Splash one flavour at a time, then pop in the fridge to set before doing the next.

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Place in the fridge between each one until you’re finished. Allow to set properly in the fridge and store in there until you want to eat them!

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