Sweet Treats

Quinoa Brittle

This nut-free brittle is our new favourite snack. We like to break it up over yoghurt or just eat as is from the jar. It would also be perfect served alongside my chocolate pots for a healthier-than-your-average but totally-delicious dinner party dessert.

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Makes one small kiln jar

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10 tbsp uncooked quinoa

6 tbsp oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

4 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

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Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. Place the maple syrup and coconut oil in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove immediately and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir to ensure that everything is evenly coated.

Tip the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Make it as thin and even as possible but also make sure there aren't any 'holes' in the layer. Place in the oven for 10 minutes before checking and rotating so that it cooks evenly. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool completely before breaking into large shard. Store in an airtight container and snack as you please!

Banoffee Flapjack

This recipe is gold for a number of reasons- (1) you need only 4 ingredients; (2) it takes 5 minutes to make; (3) its nut free so perfect for nursery and school lunch boxes; (4) its refined sugar free; (5) it doesn't fall apart as soon as you cut into it; (6) it survives in your handbag for emergency snacking; (7) you can batch bake and freeze and finally (8) you can put a whole load of naughty toppings on if you so wish. In short, its a winner.

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Note: This flapjack is delicious just sliced up and eaten as it is but for parties or if you are feeling a little naughty melt 30g chocolate per recipe and drizzle it over the cooled flapjack before scattering over your favourite nuts/dried fruit/sweets.

My favourite combinations so far are- White Chocolate, Cranberries & Raspberry, Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Nibs (both pictured below) and a slightly more adult tasting Dark Chocolate, Coconut & Sour Cherry

Makes one small foil tray (11 x 18cm) but just increase the batch to make more

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100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

100g ripe banana, roughly sliced

3 tbsp maple syrup

100g jumbo oats

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Preheat the oven to 180oC and have your foil tray or a greased baking tray prepared. 

Place the butter, banana and maple syrup in a pan over a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted. Mash the banana down as you go and once everything starts to bubble take it off the heat. You'll have something that smells like banana caramel!

Meanwhile, put half the oats in a food processor and blitz down for 30 seconds until slightly broken down. Add the banana caramel and blitz again for 10 seconds. Finally, add the remaining oats and blitz for 10 seconds before spooning into your foil tray, or greased baking dish.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes (rotate after 10 minutes). Remove and allow to cool completely before cutting- I normally allow it to firm up in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Now add any toppings!

 

 

Peanut Butter 'Ice Cream'

This maybe one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted and its crazy how simple it is to make- 5 minutes from blender to freezer. Our family are complete peanut butter addicts so you can imagine how long a batch of this stays in the freezer. Choose crunchy or smooth peanut butter depending on your preference-or make your own. Its amazing either way. Serve with extra roasted peanuts scattered on top.

Makes 3-4 servings

1 x 160ml tin coconut cream, keep in the fridge and use cold

150g pitted and roughly chopped dates

2 tbsp peanut butter

Place the dates in a food processor and blitz for 2 minutes until you have a date paste (buy the best quality dates you can- it makes a huge difference as cheap dates will never go down to a nice paste). Add the coconut cream and peanut butter and continue to blitz until light and fluffy. Remove and place into a freezer-proof dish and freeze for at least 4 hours. 

Chocolate Pots

It's almost dangerous that these chocolate pots are so easy to make (literally 5 minutes and from only 4 store-cupboard ingredients too!). They are also fantastic from the freezer as a no-churn ice cream which makes them brilliant for last minute playdate desserts or when everyone needs a bit of an afternoon energy boost - mummy included! 

Note: add more cocoa for a richer flavour but I find my daughter favours this creamier version.

Makes 4 pots

300ml cold coconut cream (it needs to be the cream and not milk)

2 tbsp cocoa

2 tbsp agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla paste

Place the coconut cream in the fridge for an hour before using to make sure it is as solid as possible. Once ready, place all the ingredients in a bowl and, using an electric whisk, whisk for 5 minutes until light and fluffy [Note: do not whisk for longer as the mixture will become watery].

Divide between ramekins and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove 30-40minutes before serving to allow it to soften if you want a mousse texture or 20 minutes for ice cream. 

Apple Crisps

These crisps are such a fantastic snack to have handy anytime of the day and and are perfect in lunchboxes! As with my sweet potato crisps the key is getting the slices thin and consistent and although they take a while in the oven you can really leave them to it!

[Note: you can make the batch as big as possible but the slices do need to be laid out in an even layer otherwise they will not crisp up]

1 large apple

1 tsp agave syrup

Preheat your oven to 70oC and line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Slice the apple as thinly as possible and then spread out in one layer on the baking tray. Dip a pastry brush into the agave syrup and lightly brush each apple slice on both sides before placing in the oven for two hours. 

After two hours flip each of the slices and turn off the oven. Leave the tray in the oven overnight to continue to crisp up. Remove and store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Raw 'Snickers' Truffles

I have a complete soft spot for all things peanut so these are pretty divine in my book. My husband and Madeleine seem to share my obsession so its best if I keep my stash of these truffles secret....oh ok... its in the freezer where they store fantastically and can just be taken out to thaw in 10 minutes. Some would say they are too convenient.

Makes 8-10 truffle sized balls (or lots of tiny malteaser size truffles although avoid this size with young children as there is a choking risk).

50g whole peanuts or almonds

100g dates, pitted and roughly chopped

2 tsp peanut butter

2tsp coconut oil 

2tsp unsweetened cocoa

2tsp chia

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and set aside.

Put the almonds in your food processor and blitz for 1-2 minutes until ground down into a fine powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to blitz for 3-4 minutes until you have  a rough paste that sticks when you squeeze it together. Remove into a bowl and using a teaspoon portion into 8-10 truffle sized balls [Note: it can help to have slightly wet hands to mould the balls.] Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover with cling film before placing in the freezer for 2 hours to set. Remove and keep in the fridge or freezer. 

 

Raw 'Bounty' Truffles

My daughter has quite a sweet tooth so these are great for a slightly healthier sweet treat plus unlike most 'energy balls' these are also nut free which makes them perfect for nursery/school lunches.

Makes 8-10 truffle sized balls

100g dates, pitted and roughly chopped

4tsp coconut oil

40g desiccated coconut plus 10g for coating

2tsp unsweetened cocoa

2tsp chia

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and set aside.

Put the dates and coconut oil into your food processor and blitz for 1-2minutes or until broken down into very small pieces. Add the desiccated coconut, cocoa and chia seeds and blitz for a further 2-3minutes or until you have a rough paste that sticks when you squeeze it together. Remove into a bowl and using a teaspoon portion into 8 truffle sized balls [Note: it can help to have slightly wet hands to mould the balls] 

Put the remaining 10g of coconut in a small bowl and roll each ball to get a light coating. Place on the baking sheet and cover with cling film before placing in the freezer for 2 hours to set. Remove and keep in the fridge. 

Banana & Date Finger Biscuits

These biscuits are fantastic for sore gums as they can be stored in the freezer and given straight to your little one to help soothe angry gums! It obviously helps that they are also absolutely delicious and the perfect size for little hands to pick up and feed themselves. f you don't want to add any sweetener then you can just leave out the agave nectar.

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp mixed spice

75g banana, cut into rough chunks

75g dates, destoned and roughly chopped

125g plain flour

100g porridge oats

125ml milk

2 tbsp agave nectar, optional

Preheat the oven to 200oC.Add the dates into the food processor and blitz down into small pieces. Add the banana and continue to blitz for 1-2 minutes until you have a puree and the majority of the dates have been broken down and the banana is liquid. Now add all the rest of the ingredients and bring the mix together into a wet dough. Remove the mixture into a piping bag. Cut a 1-cm hole in the end of the piping bag and, using a non-sticking baking tray, pipe your biscuits- about 5-cm long and then place in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden a little.

Remove and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes -they will still be a little soft when you remove them but will set up whilst cooling. Place onto a wire cooling rack and then pop into a freezer bag and freeze. Defrost as required. 

Date & Oat Raw Cookies

This recipe really couldn't be easier and it is fantastic as a quick, sweet treat for adults and kids. There is no added sugar but dates are full of natural sugars so it doesn't need any help there! If you are worried about nut allergies simply substitute the pecans for more oats- it will just take a minute longer in the food processor.

100g dates, destoned and roughly chopped

50g porridge oats

25g pecan nuts

25g dried apple

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz down for 3-4 minutes until you have a rough looking cookie dough - you will still be able to see oats but it should easily stick together.

Remove onto a piece of baking parchment and mould into a long sausage to the bottom half of the sheet. Roll up the parchment to make a tight sausage shape and twirl the edges like a giant sweet wrapper.

Place in the freezer for 2 hours and then just slice up as and when you want some. You can store in the freezer as the sugars in the dates will prevent it from freezing solid.

Mango & Quinoa Fridge Bar

The fresh mango in these super nutritious bars make them utterly addictive for both adults and children. You can vary the nuts/seeds that you use according to preference or whatever you have in your cupboard and if you can't find 'popped' quinoa in your local shop then you can easily substitute porridge oats (use 60g) but I love the texture of the quinoa, as does my daughter!

Makes 12 squares

15g almonds

30g sunflower seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil

60g peanut (or other nut) butter

30g dates, roughly chopped

30g dried mango, roughly chopped

90g fresh mango, roughly chopped

40g puffed quinoa

Line a medium tupperware or baking dish (around 15 x 10cm or similar) with baking parchment and set aside.

Place the almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor and blitz until roughly broken down. Add the remaining ingredients, apart from the quinoa, and continue to blitz until the mixture comes together like a cookie dough. Remove and carefully stir through the puffed quinoa until coated.

Press down the mixture into the prepared dish with a spatula or the back of a spoon until evenly spread. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or until set. Remove and slice into squares. 

 

Peanut & Chickpea Cookies

Cookies are phenomenally tricky to get right- they need to be soft, chewy and never, ever hard. These bizarre sounding cookies deliver all of the above and, even better, they are great for any little ones who are gluten intolerant or just aren't too keen on protein as they are primarily made from chickpeas and peanuts. The chickpeas provide a fantastic 'cookie' texture and a wonderful wholesome and altogether addictive flavour. I generally split the batch and make half oat & raisin and half chocolate chip but feel free to make the whole batch one or other instead.

[Note: use organic chickpeas if you can as these are beautifully plump and give a much better final texture].

Makes 14 cookies in total

1x400g tin chickpeas, preferably organic
3 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

for one half: 2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp oats

for the other half: 2 heaped tbsp dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 200oC and line a large, flat baking tray with baking parchment. 

Place the chickpeas, peanut butter, maple syrup and bicarbonate of soda in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds until you have a rough paste. Remove and, if splitting, divide equally into two mixing bowls. Add your topping(s). Mix to combine. To assemble: place the mixture(s) on top of a piece of baking parchment or clingfilm and roll carefully into logs about 15-cm long. Place in the freezer to firm up for 20minutes- 1 hour.

Once ready, remove and slice into 2-cm rounds before placing on the prepared baking tray and gently pushing down. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove and allow to sit on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for a week or freeze and use within a month.

 

Seeded Fruit Flapjack

I’ve had a lot of requests for a nut free lunchbox friendly flapjack and after playing around for a while and having the hard task of sampling all the recipes Madeleine and I have decided that this is by far the yummiest flapjack we’ve tasted! Its crammed full of seeds, dried fruit and oats with a good dose of honey for sweetness. You can vary the dried fruit but we’ve experimented quite a bit and this combo really is the best!

Makes 12 small squares

125g unsalted butter

125g honey

25g sunflower seeds

25g pumpkin seeds

30g organic dried apricots, cut into raisin size dice

30g raisins

30g sour cherries, roughly chopped

175g porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 150oC and line a small ovenproof dish with foil, making sure that there is enough extra foil to fold over the flapjack once cool.

Melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into your prepared dish and compact down with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool completely before portioning up. [Note: make sure it is completely cold before cutting otherwise it will crumble all over the place. I like to put mine in the fridge overnight just to be sure!]