Thursday, 27 July 2017

Spiced Carrot and Hazelnut Muffins

These muffins are a great way to use up those one or two carrots we all seem to have leftover come the end of the week. The addition of ground hazelnuts (which you can purchase from that well known supermarket beginning with 'S'), warms spices and honey elevate what could be seen (by some at least) as a little uninspiring to something really rather special indeed. With regards to the raisins if you can try and find big plump flame raisins as opposed to the cheaper little bullets you definitely will notice the difference. :-)

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 25-30 Mins
100g Ground Hazelnuts
100g Wholemeal Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2tsp Ground Ginger
90g Raw Cane Sugar with Stevia
2 Large Eggs
135g Low Fat Yoghurt
2tbsp Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil
2tbsp Honey (Plus 2tbsp to drizzle)
1tsp Vanilla Extract
200g Carrots (Finely Grated)
150g Raisins

There's a fair few ingredients in this recipe, but it's still very easy to make. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper cases. In a large bowl mix together the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, spices and sugar. In a separate bowl (or large jug) beat together the eggs, yoghurt, oil, honey and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients, pour in the wet and mix to a consistent batter. Fold through the carrot and raisins until evenly combined. 

Carefully spoon the mixture into your paper cases and bake in the centre of the oven for around 25-30 minutes, until a metal skewer or sharp knife comes out clean when inserted into one of the muffins. When you are happy they are baked remove from the oven and gently transfer each muffin to a wire rack. Warm the final 2tbsp of honey to loosen, then brush over each muffin to glaze. Leave to cool and your work is done.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Dairy Free Peanut Butter Oatcakes

OK OK, as much as a try to rationalise it I think, for the moment at least I seem to have become one of those "healthy" baking types. Honestly though, it's only because despite my balanced diet and all the fitness training I try to cram in these days, I still really can't resist something cheeky after dinner!  Luckily however, with such a vast array of wholesome alternatives to traditional baking ingredients when it comes to healthy treats, I really can have my cake and eat it. Just take these soft and chewy oatcakes for instance. Wholemeal and dairy free but still blooming delicious!

Prep time: 15 Mins
Baking time: 12-14 Mins
60g Peanut Butter
100g Raw Cane Sugar with Stevia
60g Coconut Oil (Melted)
1 Large Egg Yolk
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Wholemeal Flour (Plus extra for rolling)
100g Jumbo Oats
1/2tsp Baking Powder
3tbsp Almond Milk

These really are a doddle to make. Begin by preheating the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and lining a large flat baking tray with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the coconut oil, egg yolk and vanilla. Add the flour, oats and baking powder, then drizzling in the milk, mix to a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to around half a centimetre thick, then cut into rounds using a generous sized biscuit cutter. You should get around nine oatcakes out of this quantity of mixture. Place your oatcakes onto the baking tray, evenly spaced apart and bake in the centre of the oven for around 12-14 mins, until light golden on top and just starting to colour at the edges. 

When you are happy the oatcakes are baked remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 15 minutes on the tray. Lift the warm oatcakes from the paper and leave to cool on a wirerack. All done!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Rummy Date and Banana Bread

I admit, I came up with this one as I was looking to use some wholemeal flour I had leftover from recent baking adventures. However, I was so pleased with the result I felt I must share it with you all. I've made banana bread many times before, but this one has a few extra special twists, such as the addition of sweet and syrupy dates, a touch of cinnamon and a heady dash of rum. I've also used light agave nectar in placed of refined sugar and no dairy, so you could say it's not so naughty but nice. ;-)

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus soaking time for the dates)
Baking time: 70-75 Mins
200g Hadrawi Dates (Or Medjool)
100g Agave Nectar (Plus a little extra to drizzle)
90ml Rum
90ml Boiling Water
215g Wholemeal Flour
2tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1tsp Baking Powder
2 Large Eggs (Beaten)
2 Ripe Bananas (Well mashed)

For a really soft and sticky texture you'll need to soak your dates for a few hours and ideally overnight, so grab a good size bowl and something to cover it with. Remove the stones from your dates, chop roughly and add to the bowl. Drizzle in the agave, then pour over the rum and boiling water. Leave to soak for a minimum of three hours, covering when the mixture has cooled to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line a 2lb loaf tin with one of those loaf tin liners you can pick up now from the supermarket. If you don't have a liner then baking paper will do just fine. Add the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder to a large bowl, mix together, then make a well in the centre. Pour in the beaten eggs, along with the cooled date mixture and mix together once more. Fold through the ripe bananas, getting right to the bottom of the bowl until you are left with a consistent batter, then pour into your prepared tin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for around 70-75 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. When you are happy the loaf is baked remove from the oven and leave in the tin for ten minutes. Carefully turn out onto a wire rack, drizzle with a final lick of agave syrup and leave to cool until ready to serve. All done.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Wholemeal (and Dairy Free) Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now I wouldn't call myself a 'healthy' baker, but as I become more educated on the impact of what I eat I find myself becoming equally more mindful when choosing the ingredients. That doesn't mean I compromise on taste or texture however, as these delicious cookies demonstrate. They may be wholemeal, dairy free and relatively low in refined sugar, but they are still sweetly satisfying and deep in flavour. Yum!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 15 Mins
75g Smooth Organic Peanut Butter
110g Raw Cane Sugar mixed with Stevia (Available from most supermarkets)
1 Large Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
75g Coconut Oil (Melted)
100g Wholemeal Flour
1/2tsp Baking Powder
75g Jumbo Oats
150g Dark Chocolate Chips
50g Toasted Flaked Almonds

This quantity of mixture will make 12 big cookies. Begin by creaming together the peanut butter and sugar, then beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla extract and coconut oil. Add the wholemeal flour, baking powder and oats, then mix to a sticky dough. Toss in the chocolate and almonds then fold through until evenly combined. Spoon the loose dough onto some cling film, wrap up and place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours.

Once the dough has firmed up the fridge preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line two large flat baking trays with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into twelve. Roll each portion of dough into a ball and place onto your prepared baking trays. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 15 minutes, until the dough has spread, is golden brown and just starting to darken at the edges. When you are happy the cookies are baked remove from the oven, carefully slide the paper onto a wire rack and leave the cookies to cool. They are now ready to serve, so get the kettle on!