Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice (100th post!)

This delectable, (practically) raw slice is my celebration of 100 posts on this blog! 

Good excuse, anyway...

It is seriously addictive. I made it last night and it's almost gone. Even Lexie, almost two, likes it!

This recipe requires no soaking and nothing too complicated. It is rich and sweet, yet feels so wholesome. The hazelnuts are so delicious with the peanutty caramel - swoon.

I hope you enjoy it, and thanks so much for reading and visiting my blog!

Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice (inspired by Raw Millionaire's Shortbread from Milking Almonds)

2 tbsp shredded coconut for "flouring" pan

1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup ground almonds (I used almond meal from a packet as I had some leftover)
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, packed
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp peanut butter
2/3 cup soft medjool dates, packed
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla

Chocolate topping
3 tbsp each of coconut oil (melted), cocoa and maple syrup

"Flour" your pan with the shredded coconut. I used an approx 9 inch square cake tin.

To make the base, blend the hazelnuts until they are powder. Transfer to a food processor with the ground almonds and dates and process for about a minute. Add the oil, salt and maple syrup and process until the dough starts sticking together. Press into your tin.

To make the caramel, process the peanut butter, dates, oil, maple syrup, water, salt and vanilla until smooth. This took a few minutes for me. Spread this on top of the base.

Put your slice in the freezer for about 20 minutes. 

To make the chocolate topping, whisk together the oil, cocoa and maple syrup. Spread over the top of the slice and pop it back in the freezer until the chocolate sets. 


Store in the freezer.  

Saturday, 13 September 2014

My Top 5 Healthy Desserts/Snacks

My top 5 this week, anyway!

When you like sweet food as much as I do, it's a good idea to have a few healthy desserts/snacks in rotation. To be honest, I never miss the refined flours and sugars when I'm eating stuff like this.

1. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

This dough was lucky to make it to ball form. A lot was eaten straight from the blender. 

2. Snack Pack Cheesecake

I love this idea of having ready made little raw sweet snack packs to take places. Even though I did eat them all at home. Standing at the fridge. 

3. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

These have chickpeas in them. So it's acceptable that I ate them for dinner, right? As stated in the recipe, these are best eaten warm so if you don't eat them all in one sitting after they're baked (ahem), warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds.

4. Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I had some strawberries to use up so I used them instead of blackberries in the original recipe. As you can see in the photo, pieces were either frantically hacked off or eaten with spoon straight from the tin.

5. Peanut Better Balls

These only have a few ingredients, but are very addictive - a bit salty and a bit crispy. They would make great Christmas gifts! 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Easy Pink Kid's Cupcakes (no artificial colouring!)

When did I realise the power of the cupcake?

It was before I was vegan and a time of my life when I didn't enter the kitchen for any reason other than to boil pasta or make coffee. I visited a friend of a friend's place and she was making cupcakes to take to a party from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. They looked beautiful in a simple and honest way. It struck me that they are such heartfelt gift or contribution to a party.  

Over the years, I have made many cupcakes and I never tire of seeing people's faces light up when they taste and see them. I've made them for friend's and family gatherings, work events and weddings. I'm kind of known for them - not through any skill, but the sheer frequency! People, vegan or not, love them. 

And they are easy and fun to make, eat and decorate.

They are even more fun to make now that I have a daughter to help me! Sylvia and I made these for her friend's birthday party yesterday. 

Sylvia told me the specifications: vanilla cupcake, pink icing, with strawberries and sprinkles. One of her more reasonable and achievable requests!

I used this recipe for the vegan vanilla cupcakes from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken. They were lovely and light. The recipe for the icing is below. I don't mind using food colouring occasionally, but I love it when there is an alternative. You could make them pinker by adding more raspberry purée and slightly increasing the amount of icing sugar. 

Naturally Pink Icing (enough icing to pipe onto 12 standard cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes)

1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Nuttelex)
2 cups icing sugar
dash of vanilla
2 tsp raspberry purée (see below)

To make the raspberry purée: Blend 1/4 cup of raspberries (I used frozen). Pass them through a sieve and there you have your purée!

I made my icing in my food processor. Process the margarine around for a second. Add in 1 cup of icing sugar, the vanilla and raspberry purée and blend for a few seconds. Add the remaining cup of icing sugar and blend until smooth.

Other cupcake posts:
Vegan Wedding Cupcakes
Bananas 'n' Cookies Cupcakes
Quinoa and cupcakes for meat eaters