oat & banana flapjacks

This recipe was adapted from the Dietician UK website.

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Ingredients – makes one 9×13″ pan

400g rolled oats (I used 300g jumbo organic steel cut and 100g mornflake instant)
150g butter or spreadable butter, or margarine/ non-dairy alternative
2 tbsp honey or golden syrup
2 large, ripe bananas, mashed

1. Melt the honey or syrup and fat together in the microwave, in a large bowl.
2. Mix all the ingredients together
3. Spread into an oiled, parchment lined 9×13 ” pan and bake at 150 degrees C (fan). No need to preheat.
4. Half an hour later, or when the top is starting to turn golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing. Allow to cool fully then store in an airtight container.
Enjoy!

Very Vanilla Earl Grey Gluten-Free Shortbread & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread (Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Nut-Free)

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Very Vanilla Earl Grey Shortbread

Rather than being “plain”, real vanilla is its own sophisticated flavour which is best appreciated on its own or lightly paired with a suitable flavour to bring it out!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used coconut sugar, sorbitol, and the two mixed with regular sugar all with good results)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid vanilla extract or flavouring
  • dash salt
  • liberal dash of dry Earl Grey tea leaves
  • (a touch of orange flavouring would go quite nicely in these as well)

(Note: Homemade vanilla ice cream with Earl Grey tea leaves is also delicious!) 

Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Chocolate masks the subtleness of the vanilla…but is its own rich, deep flavour. You will not be disappointed by this!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used coconut sugar, sorbitol, and the two mixed with regular sugar all with good results)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
  • dash salt
  • 30 g chopped sugar-free (or regular) dark chocolate

One of the few coconut flour desserts which does not require eggs!

1. Melt butter and cool. Add olive oil if using.
2. Stir in sweetener until fully blended. You may need to add a small amount of water if the sweetener is not water soluble, or you could use a hand blender.
3. Add the vanilla flavourings and salt. Stir.
4. Stir in coconut flour until fully blended. It will take some time for the dough to come together; it will be crumbly. If necessary, add a little water.
5. Stir in the Earl Grey tea leaves or chocolate chunks.
6. Work the dough slightly in your hands to help it stick together before patting it down and cutting into desired shape (a small glass works well for round shortbread).
7. Bake for 7 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree (180 degree C) oven. Do not overbake!
8. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour. (This helps them set.)

These can be crumbly. Adding water will help them stay together, but the more water that is added, the less of a shortbread consistency they will have. Add as little water as possible!

Small sizes are recommended since, unlike regular shortbread, they are very filling. I had best results making 16 small round cookies.

Recipe adapted from Empowered Sustenance (http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-shortbread-cookies-coconut-flour/).

Looking for a traditional option? Try Maida Heatter’s famous chocolate shortbread recipe at http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2011/09/maida-heatters-chocolate-shortbread-cookies.html.

(Maida Heatter is, in my view, the undisputed chocolate expert of our time. When I was a child, I had the great fortune to chance upon an old and tattered baking book of hers at a second-hand shop, with not only outstanding recipes but also great baking tips!)

Alternative to macaron: Soft, fluffy paleo almond cookies – all natural, Gluten-free, dairy free

Delicious, soft, sweet, fluffy, easy & ready in 15 minutes from start to finish. What’s not to like? 🙂 these are like the easiest, healthiest macaron alternative you’ve ever tried. No crisp shell or frilly feet, but no supersweet sugar overload either. I’d prefer a bowl of these any day, you could fill & colour them to make them look more like the sugar loaded originals, or just enjoy them as they are.

Nb: if you want a smooth, macaron like top, spoon into small hemispherical or well-like silicone moulds (such as teacake, cupcake or cake pop moulds).

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Ingredients: makes 9-12
1 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup egg whites (4 tbsp or 2 egg whites)
Few grains of salt,
2 tbsp honey (or vegan alternative)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
1. Put everything in a bowl and mix together. You should get a thick batter.
2. Spoon on to greased baking sheet or silicone mat as shown

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3. Bake at 165 degrees C for 12-15 mins, or until done.

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Enjoy!

Healthy BANANA BREAD (gluten-free, refined sugar-free, Paleo-friendly)

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1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
3 medium bananas
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut sugar, honey, or other sweetener (mixing sweeteners is recommended)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
splash almond extract (optional)
pinch of salt
100 grams dark chocolate (optional but good!)

1. In food processor or hand blender, mix almonds, flour, and butter. (If you need to grind the almonds, do so before adding the flour and butter.)
2. Add sweetener, cinnamon, vanilla bean, almond extract, baking soda, and salt, mixing after each addition.
3. Add bananas to food processor and mix until pureed. (Puree separately if necessary.)
4. In separate bowl, whisk eggs for a couple minutes until they begin to have body. Add mixture from food processor.
5. If using chocolate, run it through the food processor until it is in fine pieces, then stir into batter.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 40 minutes or until it smells and feels done.

(All this can be done by hand too, but a food processor is easier!)

How do you know if it’s done?
Smell test: When the scent of baked goods begins to waft from the oven, it’s almost done!
Feel test: It feels solid.
Fork test: Pierce it with a fork, and if the fork comes out clean, it’s done.

Recipe adapted from Slim Palate – here is their classy and well-presented picture of the banana bread!

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Moist, fluffy, healthy CARROT CAKE (gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

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Coconut flour cakes can be dry and disinteresting. This cake is moist, fluffy, and full of healthy things!

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  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup natural or artificial sweetener (I used a mix of sorbitol and coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or as much as necessary to make a batter. Omit if using a liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice (to activate baking soda)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 medium carrots
  • raisins and chopped walnuts (to taste – if unsure, use 2 tablespoons of each)

1. In food processor, chop carrots finely. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the walnuts and raisins) one by one to the food processor, and blend after each addition. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

2. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, or until done.

This made one 9″ x 6″ pan. If you want more cake, double the recipe! However, keep in mind that coconut flour cakes have a satiety factor that wheat flour cakes don’t have.

Enjoy!

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Fluffy 3 minute chocolate mug cake – paleo, Gluten-free, dairy free, sugar free

Just amazing. Like real, fluffy, chocolatey cake, but with no sugar or grains, and in 3 minutes. 

Like a few paleo chocolate cakes I’ve tried this isn’t overly sweet, its quite a dark chocolatey flavour that would be perfect with a lighter, slightly sweeter filling like fresh strawberries and coconut cream.  The original recipe called for 2tbsp of honey so I guess you could up the truvia a little, but I find less is more with calorie free sweeteners to avoid the taste becoming impaired.

Adapted from http://www.anediblemosaic.com/?p=16468

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Fluffy big chocolatey ball of yum!

Ingredients – serves 1 – 2
3/4 tsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp almond meal / ground almonds
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1.5 tbsp flax meal / ground flaxseed
1 tbsp truvia
Pinch baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp espresso powder
3 tbsp egg white
2 tbsp almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix everything together until smooth (ish)
2. Pour into a large, greased mug (we used a 0.5 litre one)
3. Microwave on high for 1.5 minutes (in our 900w oven)
4. Serve warm, & enjoy!

The most delicious peach tart ever – paleo, GF, vegetarian, no refined sugar, low fat, vegan option

This was yesterday’s experiment.  We had 4 very large, firm nectarines, not particularly sweet, and not a lot to do with them – so this tart/ pie/ slice kinda happened.  And boy am I glad it did… I think this has to be one of my favourite dessert recipes period, which is quite amazing given the fact it contains no sugar except what is naturally found in the fruit.  The peach topping is just delicious, I could eat a bowlful on its own.  In honesty, that’s what makes this dessert – you could use any pastry, cake or cheesecake base you’d like (or none at all) and it would probably be fabulous – meaning you can easily make this vegan too.  But if I can make something fast and low-carb to hold all that delicious topping (the pastry does meet these criteria) then all the better.  It’s also firm enough not to fall apart if you decide to pick up a slice to eat while wondering about.  Yum 🙂

Incidentally, because our fruit wasn’t that sweet or soft and yours might be, you may find you need less stevia/ sugar that specified, and a shorter cooking time before the peaches dissolve into a beautiful, fruity sauce.  Play with the sweetness if you need to, and if your fruit has melted into a glorious soup you could combine it with the fruity custard in the saucepan before pouring it on top of the tart to help it set better.

Or you could just eat it with a spoon, straight from the pan.  Whatever makes you happy 😉

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would you just look at all that yumminess? 

Ingredients – makes one 7 by 12″ tart 

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (or cassava flour, or regular flour if you want)
  • 7 tbsp egg whites, or 2 whole, medium eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (good quality please)
  • 4 extra large (or 5-6 regular) peaches or nectarines, peeled and chopped
  • 18g Truvia (this is a 1% stevia/ 99% erythritol sweetener available in the UK) or if you want to use sugar, try about 80g or to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup (240ml) apple & mango juice (or pure fruit juice of choice)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US) – or for pure paleo, thickener of choice e.g. arrowroot (but I haven’t tried this)
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C for a fan assisted oven or about 160 degrees C for a conventional one.  That’s about 300F I believe (doesn’t actually matter that much as the pastry is so thin).  mix the arrowroot, ground almonds, egg, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth, then spread evenly over the base of a loose-bottomed, well-greased 7 by 12″ brownie pan (or 8 or 9″ square if you prefer).  If you line the pan with paper you should probably brush the top of it with oil to prevent sticking too.
  2. Bake the pastry (or your own pastry of choice) until starting to turn golden at the very edges.  In the mean time, put the peaches, coconut oil and Truvia or sweetener of choice into a saucepan.  on a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, cook until the fruit is softened and somewhat translucent.  You’ll need to check the pastry every so often while you do this.
  3. Once the fruit is cooked (test the sweetness and adjust if necessary – cooking a bit longer to avoid sugary grains if you add more) and the pastry is ready, spoon the fruit over the top of the tart base.  Spread in as even a layer as you can manage.
  4. put the cornstarch (or thickener of choice) in a saucepan and add about 1/4 of the fruit juice.  Stir quickly or whisk until all of the lumps are gone and you have a smooth, creamy coloured liquid.  Add the rest of the juice then put the saucepan on a medium heat, stirring all the time until the mixture starts to boil.  It is ready when the mix has thickened, become translucent and almost like a custard.
  5. Pour your amazing fruity custard over the top of the tart.  As soon as it is cool enough to set, you can cut it into pieces and serve 🙂

Enjoy!