Sugar free hobnobs

My store cupboard is looking a bit sparse at the moment. I used to make a regular pilgrimage to the whole food shop to stock up on healthy baking ingredients, however it is a dangerous place when money is tight and there are far too many delicious things I like in there so we haven’t been for a while. Arthur asked to do some baking this afternoon, so we had a look to see if we could be inspired by the minimal ingredients we had.

One of the best things about making up your own recipes is that you don’t have the disappointment of not having the ingredients the recipe requires. Instead we take out the ingredients we have and see what we can do with them.

Today I had a hankering for a nice cup of tea and biscuit. So hobnobs it was, refined sugar free hobnobs that is. Yes they do have a fair amount of butter and honey in them but I’m not suggesting you eat them all at once….we definitely haven’t eaten them all…yet. These are just my kind of biscuit as they are huge, they really expand in the oven and come out all soft and chewy and yummy.

Now I don’t want to brag but these are really tasty, and actually very similar to hobnobs. don’t just take my word for it though, make them and then decide.

*Note* I have used salted butter in this recipe because i think it gives the biscuits that signature hobnobbiness, but if this just sounds too weird to you then feel free to use unsalted butter instead.

Sugar free hobnobs

Ingredients 

  • 100g self raising flour
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g salted butter
  • 1/3 cup runny honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method

Preheat the oven to 160/gas mark 3 and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the oats and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl mix together the butter, honey and vanilla. We used an electric mixer for this for two reasons, 1. it makes the butter and honey fluffy and creamy super fast and 2. Arthur flipping loves a machine that makes a noise.

Gradually fold in the dry ingredients until everything is combined thoroughly into a wet mixture.

Take spoonfuls of mixture and dollop them onto the baking sheet. The mixture will be quite wet but don’t worry it will come together in the oven. Be sure to space out the dollops as they will expand quite a bit. We got 10 biscuits from this mixture.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, switching your trays around half way so each gets some time on the top shelf.

Allow to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Now boil the kettle…

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Toot Toot Truffles

Today I sat my driving test and passed…hurray! I was massively nervous about it and spent most of the week frowning and chewing my fingers. In an attempt to calm my nerves I kept super busy with the kids (nothing new there), abstained from all caffeine, alcohol and sugar and in the process created this bad ass recipe for raw truffles. Some people would call these energy balls; yes they do tick all the energy ball boxes, they contain many many wonderful ingredients for boosting energy…but they also really remind me of those delicious homemade truffles I remember from school fetes and birthday parties. Also truffles sound much fancier and fit for the celebration of passing my driving test. So here is the recipe. These are perfect for a party, a picnic or just an easy snack to have stored in the fridge.

Toot Toot Truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 small carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (or good quality cocoa powder)
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs (or good quality dark chocolate chips)\
  • desiccated coconut for rolling

Method

Place the grated carrot, oats, flaked almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor and blitz util fine.

Add the remaining ingredients except the cacao nibs and desiccated coconut and blitz again until combined.

Stir through the cacao nibs so they remain whole.

Take tablespoons of mixture and roll into balls.

Roll each ball in the desiccated coconut

Chill in the fridge for an hour or so

These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.

 

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Healthy movie snacks

So we just got our DVD player out the cupboard, dusted it off and decided to try a family movie afternoon. There has been so much rain recently and with it being school holidays lots of our usual toddler groups have stopped. So now seemed a good time to curl up and relive the Disney classics. Yes it’s ‘easy’ parenting but on the other hand it’s really nice to have your kids snuggled on your knee under a blanket, laughing and having fun. So obviously the obligatory snacks for all occasions had to be sourced and what better than popcorn right?…but with extras. (Ps our health visitor told me off for letting Arthur eat whole nuts, so I’ll leave that part to your own judgement call. He eats them under my supervision) 

Healthy movie snacks 

Ingredients 

  • Popcorn
  • Handful of seeds (pumpkin & sunflower)
  • Flaked almonds 
  • Whole almonds 
  • Raisins 
  • Dried mango
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried cranberries 
  • Cinnamon 

Method

Make your popcorn (or tip it out the packet) I made mine so it was unsalted then sprinkled over a little cinnamon. 

Lightly toast the seeds and flaked almonds in a pan. Once they start to pop and shine take them off the heat. 

Chop the mango and apricots.

Mix everything together in a bowl and eat! 

You can add anything to this, flakes of coconut, banana chips, nuts…whatever you have or feel like. I haven’t put amounts either because it’s just a case of making how much you like. 

Healthy chocolate raisins 

Movie night and chocolate raisins=match made in heaven right? Chocolate and raisins are two of my favourite things and they just go so well together and are the perfect snack when you’re settled down for a cosy night in…I do think however it is pretty hard to find good quality ones. So often the raisins are hard and shrivelled and the chocolate it sickly and cheap tasting….So let’s just make our own and while we’re at it lets make them super nutritious…why not! This is so simple and fast and totally addictive. Ok these might not look like chocolate raisins as you know them but I guarantee they taste much better and the ingredients list is natural and wholesome.

Healthy chocolate raisins  

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup Coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp Cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/3 cup Raisins 

Method 

First line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan then take off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and honey until it becomes a smooth chocolaty liquid.

Pour half the liquid into the loaf tin covering the bottom of it. 

Evenly sprinkle the raisins on top and then cover them with the remaining chocolate.

Chill in the freezer for an hour. Once it has set into one solid piece of chocolate you can snap it up into pieces.

Now I know these aren’t individual chocolate coated raisins…of course you could dip each raisin into the pan of chocolate, place them onto a parchment and freeze until they are solid…yawn…but I think we can all agree life is too short!

Now bung the lot into a bowl, sit down and chill out.

Remember to store in the fridge as coconut oil melts at 24c so left out it may turn back into chocolate sauce.

Oaty apple bites

What a day! Toilet training, exploding washing machines and a trip to sick kids…just an average Wednesday then. Amid the madness I did manage to make a quick energy bite recipe. This was before all the disasters happened. Anyway my friend had a packet of ‘Nakd‘ apple bars this morning that her children were happily chomping through. She asked if I could make a copycat recipe of them for her to make at home. I am so happy she suggested this as these are bloomin delicious! I’ve eaten 3 already and I have to admit I haven’t alerted the husband to their presence in the fridge yet…I rolled them into balls and covered them in coconut to make them pretty but you could just as easily line a loaf tin with baking paper, squash the mixture into it, sprinkle with coconut and pop in the fridge for an hour. Then once chilled slice into bars or squares. Energy bites are such a quick and easy thing to make, these literally took 15 minutes. You can get the kids to help too, Arthur loves making raw treats as he can try all the ingredients and (with supervision of course) loves to turn the food processor on and off. 

Oaty apple bites 

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup dates (soaked and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats 
  • 1/2 cup grated Apple (about 1 Apple)
  • Squeeze of lemon 
  • 1/4 cup raisins 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
  • Desiccated coconut for rolling

Method 

Soak the dates for about 10 minutes then chop them up. 

Grate one small apple and squeeze over a dash of lemon juice. 

Blitz the almonds and walnuts in a food processor until they are fairly well broken up. 

Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and blitz until everything is thoroughly combined into a sticky mixture. 

Take tablespoons of mixture and roll into balls then toss them in the desiccated coconut. 

Refrigerate for about an hour, this will firm them up nicely. 

Toasted pumpkin seed and apricot cookies

Seeds seeds seeds! My boy loves seeds. He likes them raw, toasted, roasted with honey or soy or even chilli but he especially likes them mixed with dried fruit. I’m hoping his seedy addiction will rub off on Sadie as soon as she’s big enough to start munching them too because they are great for you. Don’t underestimate the value of such a small addiction to your diet. Pumpkin seeds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, protein, fibre and numerous antioxidants. Not to mention when eaten regularly can aid sleep. Yes sleep! remember sleep? Any parent of babies and small children will know full well that a good nights sleep is usually down to illness or miracle. Well stop press. Shovel some pumpkin seeds into your little monkeys before bed and maybe just maybe they will snooze all night long aaaahhhhhh. These little seeds of wonder pack a huge tryptohan punch. Yes this is a strange sciency sounding word but basically it’s a building block of protein and helps you make sleepy sleepy serotonin zzzzzzz. 

Now for my first experimental recipe which I am calling toasted pumpkin seed and apricot cookies. (Maybe that’s a little long winded but I’ll work on my catchy names I promise) 

Ingredients 

  • 100g porridge oats 
  • 50g toasted pumpkin seeds 
  • 50g ground almonds 
  • 50g dried apricots (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs almond butter 
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs water 

Method

First preheat your oven to 180/gas 4 and line a baking sheet with grease proof paper. If you don’t have grease proof which I regularly don’t just grease it with a bit of coconut oil.

Lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan on a low heat for a few minutes. you don’t want to overdo them as they will toast more in the  oven. Once you start hearing them pop they are about done. 

Next mix together the oats, ground almonds and seeds in a mixing bowl then add the chopped apricots. 

In a small pan on a very low heat warm through the coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup, stirring gently until they are all dissolved together. 

Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and add the water. Stir to combine. This mixture will look quite loose so the next stage is important 

Take tablespoons of mixture into your hands and squeeze really firmly to stick it together into balls and then slightly flatten them onto your baking sheet. This should makes around 10 cookies. I often do half quantity of new recipes so this will work well too if you just want to try them out. 

Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges start to go a nice golden brown. Cool on a rack and then enjoy!