Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Like many, I overindulged this Christmas.  I just couldn’t resist all the wicked desserts and mulled wine!

So I am starting 2016 off with plenty of good food choices but I still have cravings for cakes and biscuits!

To help with this small inconvenience,  I’ve made some delicious sugar free, vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies.

I keep them in the freezer, that way when I have the urge to bury my face in a bowl of chocolate all I have to do is open the freezer door and bingo, I will be saved from sin!

I adore these little cookie bites, so simple but deliciously mouth watering.

If you too have made resolutions to eat better this year, I hope these beauties will help you stick to your goals !

We can do this!

Happy 2016 Beautiful People x

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Makes 9

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Ingredients:

  • 8oz / ¼ cup of Almonds
  • Half a jar of 100% Peanut Butter (I used Merdian)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Raw Organic Coconut Oil

Chocolate Topping:

  • 2oz/ ¼ cup of Raw Organic Coconut Oil, melted
  • 5 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup or Honey.

 

Directions:

  1. Soak Almonds for a couple of hours or preferably overnight in water. Drain and place into a blender  with 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil and whizz until combined.
  2. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball then flatten. Place on greaseproof paper and repeat until all the mixture has been used, it will make approximately 9 cookies.
  3. Spoon Peanut Butter on top of the cookies and place in the freezer for at least an hour.
  4. Melt the Coconut Oil in a saucepan on low. Remove from the heat, add the Cocoa Powder and Maple Syrup or Honey.  Leave to cool for a couple of minutes (Don’t leave too long or the chocolate will harden.)
  5. Remove the cookies from the freezer and spoon over the chocolate mixture. Place back in the freezer for another hour.
  6. They can then be left in the freezer and taken out as needed or kept in the fridge.

 

 


Vegan Chocolate Orange and Cranberry Ice Cream Log

I don’t know about you, but for me this time of year always seems hectic. I’m the person rushing around on Christmas Eve in a flap because yet again I am not organised and ultimately Christmas Day could be ruined because of it.

If you’re anything like me, then I think you’ll appreciate this recipe because you can make it in advance. On the day all you will have to do is add fresh fruit and Ho Ho Ho you’ll have an eye-catching centrepiece dessert that will convince your family that you are in fact a domestic goddess!!!

It’s vegan, refined sugar free and totally delicious. You can adapt this recipe using berries of your choice instead of cranberries. Or leave out the orange if you prefer the chocolate to be plain.

 

Vegan Chocolate Orange and Cranberry Ice Cream Log

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Oranges
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 340g (1 ½ cups) Cashews
  • 240ml (1 cup) of Soya Milk
  • 9 Tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 227g (1 cup) Almonds
  • 170g (¾ cup) Dates
  • 200g fresh or frozen Cranberries
  • 57g  (¼ cup) Coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Line a small bread/loaf tin with cling film and set aside.
  2. Place the cranberries into a saucepan with 5 tablespoons of maple syrup, add a little water and gently simmer for 8-10 minutes. Continue to add more water if needed until you have a sauce like consistently. Then leave to cool.
  3. Mean while add the cashews and soya milk to a blender and whizz until nearly smooth.
  4. Halve the cashew mixture and place into separate bowls.
  5. Layer one: Add the orange zest and juice of 1 orange along with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to one of the cashew mixtures and combine. Pour into the prepared tin and place in the freezer until firm (approximately 30 mins).
  6. Layer Two: Add half the cooled cranberries to the remaining cashew mix and combine. Pour on top of the orange cashew mixture and place back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  7. Layer Three: In a blender whizz the remaining cranberries with a teaspoon of vanilla essence and pour over the cashew mixture, place back in the freezer.
  8. Base Layer: In a blender whizz together the almonds and dates. Press onto the cashew ice cream mixture and place back in the freezer. Leave to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Chocolate Topping: Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan remove from heat, add the cocoa powder, 2 tablespoon of maple syrup and juice from half an orange, combine and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Remove the ice cream log from its tin by turning upside down (so the date base is on the bottom) onto a plate. Pour over the chocolate topping and place back in the freezer.
  11. Garnish with fruit when ready to serve and Merry Christmas!

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Vegan Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

At the weekend it was my Step Fathers birthday, aka The Fat Italian.

He gained the nickname from his slightly obsessive relationship with food and has even been known to get hostile at the threat of somebody eating the last piece of rocky road (I still have a bald patch where my hair never grew back). The fat Italian is actually half Italian – so you can see what we did with the name there!

My mother made a gigantic lunch for his birthday and true to family tradition at least 3 different desserts where on offer, one of which was my Vegan Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake Cups. Certain members of my family (who aren’t vegetarian or vegan) don’t understand the concept of sugar free desserts, with my younger brothers being my biggest critics. I watched contently as the pair of them greedily devoured my sugarless creamy vegan cups. The centre of these desserts were so incredibly moreish I promise you, you wouldn’t have realised you were eating tofu. The sweet nutty biscuit like base along with the rich chocolate topping and the fresh strawberries were enough to convince my brothers. I felt a point was made, that it’s not always necessary to add a tonne of refined sugar to enjoy your dessert.

Vegan Strawberry and Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Makes 6 Cups

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Ingredients:

  • 4oz (½ Cup) Dates
  • 7oz (¾ Cup) Whole Almonds
  • Half a Vanilla Pod
  • 698g Firm Tofu  (I used 2 boxes a Silken Tofu)
  • 5 Tablespoons Honey (or Maple Syrup if vegan)
  • 2oz (¼ Cup) Cocoa Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
  • Punnet of Strawberries

Directions:

  1. Place the tofu in a colander to drain off any excess liquid.
  2. To make the base, chop the almonds and dates and place into a blender. (If you’re using a high-speed blender there is no need to chop before adding.) Blitz for a few seconds with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Spoon the base into 6 glasses and place in the fridge to chill.
  3. With a sharp knife cut along the edge of the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Place into the clean blender along with the tofu and honey and blitz to a creamy texture.
  4. Take the glasses out of the fridge and arrange strawberries on the base reserving a few for decoration. Pour over the tofu mix and return to the fridge.
  5. Put the cocoa butter in a heat proof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Once the cocoa butter has melted add 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, the maple syrup and mix well.
  6. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly before pouring over the prepared cups,  place a strawberry on top.
  7. Do not return to the fridge until the chocolate has completely set otherwise the chocolate could bloom. (the chocolate takes on a whitish coating that arises from changes in the fat in this case suddenly going from hot to cold)

 

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Wholesome Vegan Breakfast Bakes

Cake for breakfast. Sounds a bit weird doesn’t it…

but these tasty bakes are free from wheat, contain no animal fats/vegan, completely sugar free and are packed with vegetables (yes, vegetables) that are high in Vitamin A and C.  If that’s not a good enough excuse to eat cake for breakfast, then I don’t know what is!

These little morsels are handy if you need to eat on the go, or serve with a handful of fresh fruit and a nice cuppa for a comforting and wholesome way to start the day.

 

Wholesome Vegan Breakfast Bakes

Makes 8

 

Ingredients:

  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Carrot
  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Courgette
  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Apple
  • 12oz (1½ cup) Wheat-free Self-Raising flour
  • 4oz (½ cup) Oat Bran or Oats*
  • 4oz (½ cup) Raisins
  • 8oz (1 cup) Maple Syrup or Date syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4oz (½ cup) melted Coconut Oil
  • 2oz (¼ cup) Soya milk or water
  • Pecans to garnish

* Note: Pure oats and oat bran do not contain gluten, however many companies will state that there is a risk of contamination with wheat. If making for someone with Celiac’s Disease I would recommend using a trusted brand.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5. Arrange 8 cases onto a muffin tray with 12 cases.
  2. Grate the carrot, courgette and apple into a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and melted coconut oil and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl add the wheat free flour, oat bran (or oats), cinnamon, baking powder and raisins then mix.
  4. Fold the two mixtures together, adding the soya milk (or water) a little at a time. You want a sticky cake mix, if the mixture is too dry just add a little more soya milk.
  5. Spoon into the prepared cases.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, once cooked leave to cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to avoid a soggy bottom.

Chai Latte – The Real Deal

Living in the depths of the South West & often only venturing as far as my daughters school, I was somewhat behind with the whole Chai Latte movement. Nevertheless I did eventually stumble across this fashionable Café trend. As I’m not a coffee drinker, I couldn’t help but feel a little smug at the thought of ordering a Latte. Sitting at my table and looking down into a mug of cinnamon dusted tea and slowly sipping my way to sophistication – I must say, I felt quite satisfied!

However as pleasurable as this experience was, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something unfinished about the Chai Latte. The taste had potential but it didn’t deliver the fragrant, spiced punch I envisaged. So once back home, I started playing around with spices and brewing up teas. I now have quite a few versions/recipes but I thought I would share this one with you first.

This does take a little time, but the combination of warming spices swirled in a soft cloud of creaminess and delicately sweetened is well worth it and far more aromatic than my first experience.

Chai Latte – The Real Deal

Serves Two

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • Generous grating of Nutmeg
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Teaspoons of Loose Black Tea*
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
  • 200ml water
  • 400ml Soya milk (or milk of your choice)

*Note: I used a Breakfast Tea for this recipe as it’s strong and full-bodied and blends well with the milk. Assam would also be another good choice.

Directions:

  1. Crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar (if you don’t own one simply split the skin with your fingernail) then place in a saucepan along with the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, black tea and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  2. Pour the water over the spices and allow to simmer on a medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally. When it starts to bubble add the soya milk and continue to stir for 5 minutes until hot.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like it add between 3-5 tablespoons – I have 5!
  4. Strain into a large jug and whisk with an electric milk frother. Pour into mugs or tea glasses for a really authentic look and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  5. Kick off your shoes, sit back and enjoy x

 


Gluten, Sugar Free, Spiced Apple and Date Cake

I love Autumn it’s my favourite time of year. The change in colours, the shedding of leaves, the drop in temperature, bonfires, walks in Wellies and chunky knitted jumpers. Picking blackberries, stealing apples (only from my Dad’s orchard.. I promise!) and the harvesting of summer’s treasures.

There’s something magical about it, don’t you think?

With nights becoming noticeably earlier, I wanted to share with you a recipe that will prepare your taste buds for things to come – trust me this cake tastes like Autumn!

So put the kettle on, get cosy and chomp your way through this sugar free beauty.

 

Gluten & Sugar Free Spiced Apple & Date Cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 9oz Butter melted (or 1/2pint of Sunflower oil)
  • 8oz Date Syrup *
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 9oz Wheat-Free Self-raising flour
  • 1 Tbsp Mixed Spice
  • 2 Large Apples
  • Lemon juicer

*Note: If you can’t find date syrup, simply make your own by simmering a handful of dates with approx ½ pint of water for 5-10mins. Blend in a blender and leave to cool.

Directions:

  1. Heat Oven Gas 4/180c and line an 8inch cake tin.
  2. In a bowl mix the melted butter (or sunflower oil) date syrup and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the self-raising flour and mixed spice.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and gently fold in the eggs.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and set aside.
  6. Cut the apples in half, core and cut into thin slices (rub with a little lemon juice if starting to brown)
  7. Arrange apple slices on top of the cake mix and bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50mins. (If  apples start to burn before cake has cooked, place tin foil over the top)
  8. Once cooked, glaze with honey or a little date syrup while still warm, then leave to cool in tin.

Serve smothered with soya cream, yoghurt, ice cream or anything you wish. Enjoy x