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. 

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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Beetroot brownies 

Yesterday I had my mum visit, always great to have help with the kids and she brought me some beetroot from her garden too…score!
I love beetroot it’s one of my favourite veg. They are great for you too, they are high in protein, fibre and folic acid. When I was pregnant with Sadie I was obsessed with smoothies made from beetroot, carrot, apple and loads of ginger. Beetroot actually has the highest sugar content of all vegetables so although you might not associate them with baking they are actually great for cakes. Their sugar is released slowly do you don’t get that high then crash as with refined sugar. These chocolate brownies were quite experimental but they came out really well, nice and thick, sweet and chocolaty. We spread almond butter on the top which i think was a delicious addition but you could enjoy them as they are. My big helper Arthur helped to make them while my little helper, Sadie ‘tidied’ the Tupperware cupboard and between the two of them trashed my kitchen. But hey it was raining outside and everyone was entertained. 
Beetroot brownies

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour 
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder 
  • 1tsp baking powder 
  • 250g raw beetroot (grated) 
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 desert spoon yoghurt 
  • 3 large eggs 

Method 

Preheat the oven to 190/gas 5 and line a 20cm round cake pan with greaseproof paper.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz till smooth. 

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. 

These tasted great with almond butter spread on top. 

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. 

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. 

Apple & carrot muffins

Today the sun is shining and we have already been out for a ramble in the woods and plan to pitch up in the park again this afternoon. This means I need a bag full of food to maintain energy for climbing, running and scooting.  

 

Toddlers can be pretty specific at times. When it comes to eating it’s not just flavours we have to consider, sometimes the look, smell or texture can be just the thing to stop a little one from eating something. Arthur has a particular dislike for grated things. A whole apple is great, slices of apple are tasty, but grated apple…hell no. So this morning we whipped up some tasty muffins to go with fresh carrot and apple purée in order to avoid the texture of sneaky grated ingredients. They worked a treat and will sustain us out on our adventures. 

Apple and carrot muffins 

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup ground oats 
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted) 
  • 1/4 cup runny honey 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/4 cup grated apple
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot 
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Method 

Preheat oven to 180/gas 4 

Line a muffin tin with 6 cup cake cases 

In a large mixing bowl combine the coconut flour, ground oats, desiccated coconut and baking powder.

Use a hand blender to whizz the coconut oil, honey, carrot, Apple, vanilla and water into a smooth purée. 

Add the purée to the dry ingredients along with the eggs and whisk together thoroughly. 

Stir in the raisins. 

Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 25 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack then serve as they are or if your feeling fancy dollop a bit of 100% fruit spread  on to them and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.