Thursday, 26 January 2017

Treat Petite Round Up January 2017


Thanks to everyone for another month of great entries into Treat Petite. This lot of recipes has gotten 2017 off to a great start!

First off Kate, The Gluten Free Alchemist entered these Ginger and Pear Trifles made with ginger cake layered with homemade pear and brown sugar compote.




Next up was Kat, The Baking Explorer and Treat Petite co-host who made vegan friendly raspberry and coconut tarts. Ideal if you are following Veganuary.


Corina over at Searching for Spice made use of her new spiralizer to bring us sweet potato and chocolate chip cookies. A unique and delicious sounding combination of flavours.


Next Choclette, at Tin and Thyme had been using rice milk and incorporated it into these Vanilla Almond Cookies. Perfect with a cup of tea.


Charlotte in her Lively Kitchen made Caramel Cupcakes, using light brown sugar and caramel sauce. The swirl on top of these cupcakes just look so tempting.


Next was my entry, a bliss ball incorporating the flavours of hummingbird cake - that's pineapple, banana, coconut and cinnamon. These were a healthy treat which tasted quite sinful!


Angela at Only Crumbs Remain went all Black Forest on us and made chocolate and cherry cupcakes, which were vegan friendly as she too is taking part in Veganuary.


Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen used dandelion honey and dried mango in her Dandelion Honey Marigold Mango Flapjacks. She mentions you can use any dried fruit you like in place of the mango and actually made a cranberry version too.



Katie at Feeding Boys made chutney sausage rolls, using chutney and sausage meat in puff pastry which she plaited to give a quirky looking sausage roll. These look very tempting.


Kate, The Gluten Free Alchemist also entered Pistachio, Lime and Olive Oil cake which was more of a traybake type cake, so qualified for Treat Petite. A blackcurrant drizzle was added to the cake which finished it off perfectly.


Lucy, at Baking Queen 74 made cinnamon and currant shortbread fingers. I have never thought of using cinnamon in shortbread and I know it's something I am going to have to try. These sound gorgeous.


And Lucy also entered her Ginger and Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Using crystallised ginger, mixed peel and other dried fruits I know these cookies would go down a storm in our house.


Lastly Ema at De Tout Coeur Limousine whipped up a batch of chocolate biscotti, perfect with a cuppa after a walk in the cold January weather. These look great for dunking!



A big thanks to everyone for taking part and stayed tuned to The Baking Explorer for next month's Treat Petite.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Luscious Low Sugar Lemon Bars

low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

I was in the mood for something lemony and with it being January and me making slightly healthier treats this month, I thought perhaps a lemon bar with less sugar and less fat might be in order.

Proper lemon bars are gorgeous, a crumbly biscuit bottom topped with a gooey, sweet and tart lemon curd topping - it is a divine treat.

low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

So I looked online for a bit of lemonspiration and came up with my take on these lemon bars which have zero fat in the lemon topping and only some stevia sweetener to add a touch of sweetness.

The cookie base is where the real sweetness comes in, but it’s only from coconut sugar which is a low GI, high in potassium type of sugar. There is also coconut oil to hold the base together.

low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

I baked the base, which also contains oats and pecan nuts, so it was lightly browned and let it cool, ready for the topping.

And the healthier lemon topping consists mainly of 0% fat Greek yoghurt which I had drained overnight. This gets rid of a lot of liquid from the yoghurt, leaving a thicker consistency, much better for topping the bars with. I added some lemon flavouring, real lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract to the drained yoghurt, plus one packet of stevia sweetener (about 1gram) and a teaspoon of cornflour.

low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

This then got slathered on the biscuit base and baked in the oven for only 5 minutes. This activates the cornflour, making the topping much thicker so it holds its shape when cooled and sliced into bars.
This is such a decadent treat, even in a healthier version, with the buttery, crumbly base and topped with the extremely creamy lemon infused topping.

low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The recipe is adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie and minimalist baker recipes.


Here’s how I made it…



print recipe

Low Sugar Lemon Bars
Lemon bars made from yoghurt and a coconut sugar base
Ingredients
  • 90 grams porridge oats
  • 110 grams pecan nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 60 grams coconut oil , melted
  • 1 litre 0% fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon flavouring
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 gram (1 packet) stevia sweetener
Instructions
The night before you are making your bars, line a sieve with a couple of sheets of clean kitchen roll. Pour in the yoghurt and sit the sieve over a bowl. Let the liquid drain out in the fridge overnight.Next day, line an 8”x8” baking tin with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180C.In a blender, pulse together the oats, pecans, salt and coconut sugar until they resemble a breadcrumb like texture.Transfer to a bowl and stir in the maple syrup and coconut oil until the mix comes together when pressed.Transfer this to the prepared baking tin and press down firmly so the crumb mix is even over the base of the tin.Bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes or just until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Leave the oven at 180C.Take the drained yoghurt and transfer this to another bowl.Add the lemon flavouring, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, stevia sweetener and cornflour to the yoghurt and stir to combine.Pour this over the cooled biscuit base and level with an off-set spatula and place in the 180C oven for 5 minutes only.Remove and allow to cool on the worktop and then transfer to the fridge to cool for a couple of hours.Slice into squares, bars, whatever shape takes your fancy and enjoy the tangy lemon topping with the sweet, buttery base!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 24 squares approx.


low sugar lemon bars made with zero % fat yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut sugar and stevia sweetener and real lemon juice and zest

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Olive Oil Brownies with Strawberry Puree

Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree

These are my healthier take on brownies. Actually they are my second version of healthier brownies, as I had made a blender version a couple of years back.

They contained dates and coconut butter. These ones are slightly different in that the fat comes from olive oil and the sweetness is from pureed strawberries and some stevia sweetener.

Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree

These are quite a chocolatey tasting brownie, which I know may be a strange thing to say about chocolate brownies, but what I mean is they are not too sweet and taste more of earthy cocoa. The olive oil adds another earthy element too, making them overall a dessert more suited to adult palates.

Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree


If you don't have too sweet a tooth, then these will be perfect for you. But if you do, they would be great served warm with some sweet ice cream or frozen yoghurt.

So we have brownies with no refined sugars, just blitzed strawberries (which you don't taste in the final dish) and some stevia natural sweetener. And of course the olive oil is a slightly healthier fat to incorporate.

Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree


When choosing an olive oil, go for one which isn't too strongly flavoured as the taste will definitely come through. At the bottom of the post is an infographic, provided by Jamie's Italian, which may just help in your buying of the product and deciding which flavour is right for you.

Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree




print recipe

Olive Oil Brownies with Strawberry Puree
Chocolate brownies made with olive oil and sweetened with strawberry puree
Ingredients
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200 grams hulled strawberries
  • 2 sachets of stevia sweetener
Instructions
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, olive oil and vanilla.Puree the hulled strawberries in a blender and add to the egg and oil mix.Sift in the flour, cocoa, stevia and salt.Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a 8"x8" tin with greaseproof paper.Pour the brownie batter into the pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre.Allow to cool then cut into squares.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 squares approx.




Disclosure Statement: I have been paid for featuring the above infographic. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Blueberry Coconut and Maple Granola Bars

Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.


These blueberry coconut and maple granola bars are possibly the tastiest ‘heathy’ treat I have made on the blog so far.

As its January I do like to make a few more healthier treats than usual and these granola bars were born out of my love for blueberries, such a sweet and deceptively nutritious fruit, maple syrup – super sweet but with so many health benefits going on if you get REAL maple and coconut which was the superfood which everyone was raving about a couple of years ago.

Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.

The bars use coconut oil and coconut sugar for the coconut elements. Coconut sugar apparently is a low GI food. If you can’t get hold of coconut sugar in your local health food store, you can buy this easily online.

Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.


To make the bars I toasted some oats and chopped pecans in the oven for a few minutes. I then melted together coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla in a saucepan.

Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.


The toasted ingredients were then doused in the slightly cooled melted mix. This was such a satisfying process, watching the dried oats absorb all of the sweet smelling liquid.

Lastly I mixed through the dried blueberries before transferring the mix to a small container lined with greaseproof paper. I pressed down HARD on the oaty mix to make sure everything was compressed as much as it could be.

Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.


This was then fridged for at least a couple of hours before being chopped up into bars.

The result was a sweet, sweet bar of oaty goodness. The coconut flavour dominated with the maple notes in the background complimenting the juicy bursts of blueberry. The bars are packed with so many good ingredients and would provide you with a good amount of energy. Or, they just taste exceedingly delicious as a coffee-break snack.

Here's how I made them:



print recipe

Blueberry Coconut and Maple Granola Bars
Toasted oats and pecans mixed with coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and dried blueberries
  • 230 grams porridge oats
  • 80 grams chopped pecans
  • 80 ml pure maple syrup
  • 55 grams coconut oil
  • 50 grams coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 grams dried blueberries
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 150C and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Scatter on the oats and chopped pecans and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or just until you begin to smell the oats and they have turned lightly golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.In a large saucepan add the maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted and come together.Place the toasted oats and pecans in a large bowl and pour over the melted ingredients. Stir to combine so all the dried ingredients are coated with the wet.Stir through the dried blueberries then transfer the mix to a container about 5”x7” in size, lined with greaseproof paper.Press the mix down as firmly as you can, all over. This will ensure the bars don’t crumble too much when cut into bars.Pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and then remove from the greaseproof paper and cut into bars or squares.
Details
Prep time: Chill time: Total time: Yield: 24 bars approx.



Granola bars with oats, maple syrup, coconut oil coconut sugar and dried blueberries.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Hummingbird Bliss Balls

dried pineapple, banana, dates, coconut and cinnamon in little balls of energy

This  month is all about clean eating following on from all the Christmas festivities.

We are just back from a weekend break to London and I have to admit our clean eating only really started when we got back. We love to go down the capital city this time of year as January is a bit of a pants month I find. A wee trip to London just sets us off in the right mood.

And now that we are back it is a healthy eating regimen (no diets, I hate that word) and a bit more exercise.

dried pineapple, banana, dates, coconut and cinnamon in little balls of energy


To help in the exercise department, I made these bliss bites to give a much needed boost of energy before or after a workout.

They are designed to taste just like hummingbird cake, you know, with pineapple, banana, coconut and cinnamon. But instead of the butter, sugar and flour, we have dried pineapple, desiccated coconut, dried banana, coconut oil, cinnamon and some other ingredients to give a healthy, but tasty take on it.

dried pineapple, banana, dates, coconut and cinnamon in little balls of energy

I used my Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie which powered through the sticky mass of ingredients. The result was a sticky ‘dough’ which I shaped into little discs and dusted in the desiccated coconut.

dried pineapple, banana, dates, coconut and cinnamon in little balls of energy


I chilled them before giving them a try just so everything sets nicely. The balls, or whatever shape you choose to make them in, taste just like the cake and are perfect for a delicious, tasty infused, not too sinful treat.

Here’s how I made them.


(Dried pineapple and banana can be bought from health food shops, but you can also buy them easily online.)



print recipe

Hummingbird Bliss Balls
Dried pineapple and banana pulsed together into little balls of bliss
Ingredients
  • 125 grams dried pineapple
  • 120 grams dried banana
  • 55 grams chopped, stoned dates
  • 25 grams coconut oil
  • 15 grams milled chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • desiccated coconut
Instructions
In a blender place all of the ingredients except the desiccated coconut.Blitz until all the ingredients come together in a sticky mass.Remove from the blender and roll into tablespoon sized balls.Enjoy!Roll each ball in desiccated coconut.Refrigerate for a couple of hours until ready to enjoy.
Details
Prep time: Chill time: Total time: Yield: 16 balls approx.


I'm entering these treats into this month's Treat Petite hosted by Kat at The Baking Explorer, and this month by me!



Disclosure Statement: I was sent the blender free to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Healthy Treats to Kickstart 2017


Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed the festivities over the past few weeks as much as I have. Like me however, you may be feeling the excesses of too much chocolates and booze. I am dreading heading back to work and fastening my trousers...

Something I like to do on the blog in January is offer a few healthier alternatives to treats to inspire any new streamlined eating regime ( I hate the word 'diet') you may be adopting.

I will be bringing you new treats soon, but in the meantime, I have had a look through my archives and came up with 10 of the most popular healthier recipes I have featured.

1. Key Lime Pie Smoothie

This smoothie is designed to detox and tastes just like, well kind of like, a key lime pie. Packed with healthful spinach, limes, almond milk and banana, this really is a super sweet smoothie you can feel food about.

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

2, Raw Coconut 'Fudge'

This isn't fudge in the traditional sense, but it goes some way to satisfying that gap. A very simple ingredient, which I whizzed up in my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender , it features just a handful of ingredients. Simply whizz up coconut, dates, vanilla and a pinch of salt to achieve this deceptively rich tasting sweet, it tastes just as good as regular fudge.

raw coconut fudge

3. Cherry Bakewell Energy Bites

I love picking up bags of dried fruit on my travels and when I came across a huge bag of dried cherries, this inspired the recipe here for something which tastes just like cherry bakewell, but is packed with energy and nothing too bad. Ideal for taking on a long walk with you.

cherry bakewell energy bites

4. Apricot and Goji Berry Balls

Again, inspired by dried fruits, these balls of pure energy feature bright orange dried apricots and flame coloured goji berries which I whizzed up in my blender to make these day-glo sweet healthy treats.

Apricot and Goji Berry Balls

5. Strawberry and Kiwi Bliss Balls

I kept seeing Bliss Balls in health shops, only to discover that is what I have really been making all along - dried fruits, some nuts and a few other ingredients blitzed up to provide a tasty, not too sinful, sweet treat. Who knew you could get dried kiwi? I found it in my local Chinese supermarket and knew it would pair well with dried strawberries, dusted in coconut.

strawberry and kiwi bliss balls


I thought it would be fun to try making a smoothie sound like a cocktail and essentially came up with a cosmopolitan - minus the vodka or triple sec. It features lime juice, cranberry juice and oranges whizzed up with some almond milk to give a very refreshing drink even Carrie Bradshaw would approve of.

cosmopolitan smoothie

7. Blender Brownies

For many, those trying to eat a bit healthier means giving up chocolate. If you can't bear to part from the cocoa bean however, these heathier blender brownies may help fill the chocolaty void. These brownies have raw cacao powder in them, and a little bit of 72% dark chocolate which has been proven, in moderation, to be not too bad as it contains essential anti-oxidants. The brownie batter is made right in the blender then baked in the oven - easy!

healthier blender brownies

8. Goji Berry Granola Bars

These bars feature the goji berry, which some claim are a superfruit, plus another superfood oats. Loads of other ingredients abound in these bars such as (a small amount of chocolate chips), coconut, hazelnuts and agave nectar. These plack plenty of energy.

goji berry granola bars

9. Carrot Cake Smoothie

Similar to the Key Lime Pie Smoothie, this drink features a load of heathy ingredients and tastes just like a slice of carrot cake (almost!). Raw carrots were pulverised easily in my super Optimum 9400 blender and to these I added cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, banana and some 0% fat Greek yoghurt. Talk about having your cake and eating it.

carrot cake smoothie

10. I Can't Believe It's Not Caramel

Last up, a healthier alternative to caramel sauce, with no sugar or cream anywhere in sight. This sauce, again whizzed up in the blender, is made from a combination of dates, coconut oil and some maple syrup. Okay, it's not exactly like caramel, but for anyone trying to cut back and still wanting a sweet, buttery tasting sauce to drizzle, you really must give this a try.

healthier caramel sauce

There we have 10 healthier treats to inspire your new eating regime. No need to cut out everything sweet with these tasty ideas. Remember however, dried fruits do contain a lot of sugars, albeit it naturally occurring, so moderation is always the key.



Most of these recipes were made in the Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie which can pulverise anything and make light work of sticky substances such as some of the recipes above. I really recommend this one, compared to others on the market which are not nearly as powerful.

Some more healthy treats coming soon...

Disclosure Statement: I received the Optimum 9400 blender free to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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