Monday, September 7, 2015

3 Healthy (& Gluten Free!) Sweet Treats

Soooo, today I’ve got something a little bit different for you, something that’s been in the making for a while (you’ll find out why that’s punny soon. Ok, it’s because I’ve been MAKING cakes. Ok, no, it’s not funny at all).

 Welcome to sweetaholics anonymous. My name’s Amy and unfortunately I have a massive, massive sweet tooth. Even more unfortunate is the fact that, because I’m so short, I put on weight quicker than you can say, ‘doughball’. Seriously, a couple of brownies down and I’ll be looking like a circle by the end of the week. So I took it upon myself a couple of months ago to find some healthy but tasty alternatives for those nights when my sweet tooth’s a-craving some badness (every night). Since the start of the year I’ve been baking a couple of times a week, but only recently - after a couple of you asked in tweets and comments - did I think to share what I’d been making. I’ve made a pact with myself to share a new recipe with you every Wednesday, so today I thought I’d start with three healthy sweet treats. 

The best part is that, as with pretty much all the recipes I’ll be sharing - they’re all gluten free (and often dairy free and vegan too!) so everyone can enjoy! A lot of people groan when they hear that, imagining being served up a cold carrot on a plate, and I can see why, with how bladdy awful some of the ready-made GF treats are, but I’ve spent a long, long time trying to find recipes that are as tasty as the real thing, so I can promise you only goodness lies ahead. The only thing I would say with GF goodies is that they do get dry much quicker, so will generally only last a few days. The ingredients can be a little more expensive initially as well, so I’d recommend buying on Amazon (or even in Holland & Barratt so you can pick up points and vouchers as you shop), but once they’re in your cupboard you’ll find they last quite a while.

 Date & Hazelnut balls Gluten free vegan cacoa and coconut energy bounce balls recipe the little magpie Gluten free vegan cacoa and coconut energy bounce balls recipe the little magpie 1
I make different variations on bounce balls All. The. Time. They’re the perfect on the go snack and are packed full of nutrients too. I’ll share more along the way, but for today I thought I’d go for these cacoa and coconut badboys. (Makes 10 balls)

200g pitted dates
100g ground almonds
8 tbsp cacoa powder
1 tsp maca
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
10 hazelnuts
Dessicated coconut to sprinkle

1) Place dates in a bowl of boiling water, cover and leave for 20 minutes until dates have softened
2) Drain the dates and pop them in a blender/food processor along with your almonds, cacoa powder, maca, honey, cinnamon and sea salt. Blend until the ingredients are fully mixed and form a soft dough.
3) Remove your mixture and divide it into 10 (things are about to get messy, prepare for some sticky hands). Flatten each piece with your hand and pop a hazelnut in the middle, then roll the mixture back around it.
4) Pour some dessicated coconut on a plate and roll your balls around in it until they're covered in a fine layer of coconut.
5) Pop in the fridge for half an hour to set and then, hey presto, they're ready to eat!

 Date & Oat bars Gluten free vegan date and oat cereal bars recipe the little magpie Gluten free vegan date and oat cereal bars recipe the little magpie 1 So these ones aren’t quite as exciting, but they’re an amazing alternative to the cereal bars you find in supermarkets which are often pumped full of sugar. They’re perfect as a snack or for breakfast on the go! (makes around 12 slices)

200g pitted dates
125g gluten free oats
2 tbsp coconut oil
 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
Handful banana chips

1) Preheat your oven to 180c and line your baking tray/grease with coconut oil
2) Add your dates to a pan filled with 250ml water and bring to a steady simmer. Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thick paste forms.
3) Add the rest of your ingredients (bar the banana chips) to the paste and stir until completely combined.
4) Pop your mixture into the baking tray and spread it evenly across. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
5) Once cool (around 15 minutes), remove them from the tin and cut into slices. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature and you're good to go!

 Pistachio Fudge Gluten free vegan pistachio chocolate recipe the little magpie Gluten free vegan pistachio chocolate recipe the little magpie 1
I've saved the best till last, inspired by a recipe I found over on The Naturalista. This is honestly one of the tastiest treats I’ve ever eaten, and that’s including all the unhealthy gluten-y goodness I’ve eaten in my life. Big claim, eh? The best way I can describe the taste is like the shell of a Magnum Alemendrada ice cream. Excited? Me too. Let’s go. An amazing snack for a cosy night in with a film, plus they’re quite rich so you’ll be satisfied after one or two chunks. That's what I tell myself, anyway. 

40g Cashew butter (I like Meridian)
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 cup cacoa powder
80g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
45g maple syrup
70ml coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
A good pinch of himalayan salt

1) Pop your nut butter and coconut oil in a blender/food processor and blend well. Once mixed, add in your vanilla essence and blend again.
2) Transfer to a mixing bowl and slowly sieve in the cacoa powder and mix. Once you've got rid of all the lumps, stir in your maple syrup and, lastly, your pistachio chunks and salt.
3) Line a small baking tin with cling-film, spoon your mix in and flatten with the back of a spoon. Pop it in the freezer for half an hour to let it set, then remove from the dish and cut into chunks.
4) Eat! Make sure and keep them in the fridge as they have a very low melting point (I learned this the hard way).

I hope you enjoyed this post! I've got lots more recipes up my sleeve so will have another one ready for you next Wednesday. Unless, of course, you hated this post.. in which case this is really awkward.