Apple sauce muffins

So I find baking biscuits, flapjacks and other oaty based things without using refined sugar fairly easy. There are so many delicious natural sweeteners and so many nut butters to chose from to glue everything together you can be really experimental and still end up with something yummy. This is brilliant if you are baking with little ones. Arthur loves to help chose what to bake with, he picks all his favourite ingredients (usually seeds and raisins) and tries everything first…quality control of course! In fact I think one of the main things he enjoys about helping in the kitchen is the eating part. Baking cakey type things however is not so easy without sugar. It is a pretty important component to achieve the spongey texture of cake that we are all familiar with. It is not impossible though and there are loads of great recipes out there for sugar free alternatives. I’ve experimented loads to come up with my own recipes and some have been total disasters, dense and sticky and rubbery and totally tasteless. This is always really disappointing but what is really really satisfying is when it works! And it’s not only edible but tastes as well! Yesterday we had one of those triumphs. We made some extremely extra yummy apple and sultana muffins and as Arthur would put it “we are going to eat them all up in our tummy!” Which we did, well some of them and we have some left for today too.
Apple sauce muffins 

Ingredients 

  • 50g soya butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce 
  • 100g self raising flour 
  • 50g wholemeal spelt flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 cup sultanas 

Method 

Preheat oven to 180/gas 4.

Line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases.

First I made the Apple sauce by stewing 3 small chopped apples with a wee drop of water in a pan over a low heat. Once soft I mashed with a fork and set aside. You can also use Apple sauce pre bought and skip this stage. 

In a small bowl mix together the flours and baking powder.

In a different bowl cream together the soya butter and maple syrup. Add the egg and Apple sauce and mix thoroughly. 

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet. 

Mix in the sultanas.

Spoon into the paper cases. 

Bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Not going to lie I poured maple syrup all over mine before I ate it. This is not essential but it is rather tastey…it is a super good remember. 

Coconut Chocolate slice

So we have had a busy old month here in Edinburgh. The festival is in full swing and we’ve been out and about on many epic adventures. Kids shows, exhibitions and cafe visits. It’s been great fun for the kids and we’ve even had some good weather! It has meant however a slip in our healthy eating. When your on the go all day and home later than usual and more tired than usual, convenient easy foods are tempting. I mean I’m not saying we’ve been bypassing McDonalds on the way home but there have certainly been a few pizza nights and ice cream treats. I found an amazing new cafe near to us called Moon and Hare which serves a huge variety of healthy options. They sell sugar free ice cream made with coconut and cashews and sweetened naturally. I am always wishing it was more common place to be able to pick up a more nutritious ice cream option for kids so this was a real find. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, over the summer my home baking has also taken a back seat but now that the summer holidays are over and our normal routine is resuming I plan on spending much more time in the kitchen. So here is a recipe my number one helper and I created this morning. Actually I have to say it was mostly my work on this occasion with Arthur acting as chief taster.
Coconut chocolate slice 

Ingredients

For the base 

  • 100g oats
  • 50g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey

For the chocolate topping 

  • 2 dessert spoons coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp cacao powder (or good quality cocoa powder)
  • 2-3 tbsp runny honey (depending how sweet or dark you want your chocolate)

Method

Preheat oven to 180/gas 4 and line a 2lb load tin with greaseproof paper.

For the base, simply mix all the ingredients together and press firmly into the loaf tin. Bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool for a little while in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the base is cooling, prepare the chocolate topping.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a low heat. Once melted take off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and honey.

Now put the base back into the loaf tin and pour the chocolate over the top.

Place the whole thing in the freezer for about an hour to set the chocolate.

Take out and remove from the tin, cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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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Chocolate, banana & avocado muffins

Full disclosure I’ve made this recipe 3 times now in a row because I kept forgetting to put key ingredients in. The first time I forgot the honey…they tasted ok but not quite sweet enough, the second time I forgot the bloomin eggs! And hey presto third time lucky we have chocolate, banana, avocado muffins. Arthur has been a bit poorly today with a sore throat and a temperature…but he has told he in no uncertain terms that he loves my chocolate cake and he loves to drink milk AND he loves me because I am his best friend ever! Might be because I made him these tasty muffins but I’ll take it, I don’t mind. He has recently become very affectionate and expressive with his emotions. Sometimes things come out a bit muddled up as they can do when you are only 2 and a 1/2 but it’s really sweet hearing him express how he feels so confidently. Anyway I don’t know why I was failing time and again to put all the correct ingredients in but we got there in the end and these little beauties are chocolaty and tasty and healthy…hurray! 

Chocolate banana & avocado muffins 

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 1/2 an avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup soya butter 
  • 3 tbsp honey 
  • 2 large eggs 

Method 

Preheat oven to 180/gas 4

Line an muffin tray with 8 paper cases. 

Place coconut flour, spelt flour, baking powder and cacao powder in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. 

In a spectate bowl mash the bananas and avocado. 

Melt the soya butter and honey in a pan. Then add it to the banana and avocado. Mix in the eggs then fold all these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, scoop into the paper cases until they are all evenly filled. 

Bake for 25 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack. 

Share with your best friend ever and a nice cold glass of milk.

Carrot & apple juice and juice pulp cookies 

We have been away the past week on holiday to Aberdeenshire which has been wonderful. Plenty of sun, sea, sand, parks,picnics and bbq’s.I have to say I was quite disappointed to get back to reality but very pleased to see my kitchen and get baking! Seeing as I’ve not been here for a while I have a double whammy for you all. Two recipes! Both quick and easy and nut free. A few people have asked for recipes free from nuts so hopefully these will go down well. The first recipe I want to share with you is some delicious carrot and Apple juice. My son loves this, it’s bright orange which is really appealing and it has a nice subtle taste. Not too sweet but delicious enough to temp little tastebuds. Then in the spirit of not wasting good fresh food we made some super healthy cookies using the left over pulp from making the juice. I mean what could be better? Two bakes in one and you tick veg off the daily to do list. 

Apple and carrot juice

Ingredients 

  • 1 Apple (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 250ml water 

Method

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz till smooth. 

Pour through a sieve into a jug. Let it drip through a while to make sure all the liquid comes through 

Set aside the pulp if you are making the juice pulp cookies 

Drink your juice with a few ice cubes so it’s nice and chilled. 


Juice pulp cookies 

Ingredients 

  • 150g oats
  • 1/2 cup carrot and Apple juice pulp
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4 and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

Simple combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. 

Take tablespoons of mixture and form into balls. Poo them on the baking tray then flatten into cookies.

Bake for 20 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

Coconut & carrot breakfast bars

I’m guessing our house isn’t the only one that is sometimes a little chaotic in the mornings. Quite often we are a bit disorganised making breakfast. I make porridge and everyone decides they don’t want porridge, then I clean porridge from in between lots of tiny fingers and sometimes the curtains too. Oats are such a great way to start the day though so today I am prepared for tomorrow morning. I thought ahead and I’ve pimped up breakfast with these coconut and carrot breakfast bars. They are full of good things, oats, cashew butter, coconut and carrot! Yeehaw a vegetable hit before 7.30am is something worth celebrating for sure. If you have a little one who thinks of vegetables unfavourably I bet you they won’t detect the presence of carrot at all in these. So just enough time this evening to rustle up some up for the morning…

Coconut & carrot breakfast bars

Ingredients 

  • 100g oats
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1/4 cup raisins 
  • 2 desert spoons coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup grated apple (about 1 small Apple)
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot (about half a carrot) 

Method

Preheat the oven to gas 5.

Mix together the oats, desiccated coconut and raisins in a large mixing bowl. 

Melt the coconut oil in a pan. Once melted take off the heat and transfer to a hand blender. Add the honey, cashew butter, apple and carrot. Blend until they combine into a smooth liquid. 

Pour into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Pour into the loaf tin and press down really firm until it is all flat. 

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack then cut into fingers.