Posts tagged cookies & pancakes 1
Chewy Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

I’m loving all the healthy high protein ‘flour’ swaps i’m trying out at the moment. First it was with whole buckwheat groats (still plenty of those recipes to come) and now it’s also with quinoa.

I mentioned before that I was having a big quinoa kick this month, incorporating it in all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. It’d such a versatile ingredient and it’s nutritional profile is hard to beat.

I cook big batches of quinoa to freeze in cup sized portions, so it’s so easy to add to any recipe or salad at a moments notice.

This cookie experiment, therefore, took me literally minutes to throw together and was such a success I’ll definitely be trying it out again very soon. I used cacao nibs to make sure I kept to my sugar-free  Lent Challengeyou could also use regular dairy free dark chocolate chips if you prefer and for a little extra indulgence, I may well give this a go next time, although to be honest I quite liked the bitter crunchy contrast of the nibs.

The coconut flakes combined with the quinoa make for a really soft and chewy cookie but I have also since tried without the coconut. The peanut butter helps bind and gives a mildly peanutty taste but you could sub for cashew or almond butter if you want the chocolate to dominate.

Recipe: Chewy chocolate quinoa cookies

Makes 8 small cookies


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (add a pinch of salt if not salted)
  • ¼ cup homemade date syrup and a pinch of pure stevia (you could use 3 tbs maple syrup, coconut syrup or agave if you prefer)
  • ¼ cup unsweeteneed dessicated coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs or dark choc chips
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder


Mix the peanut butter and date syrup, add a tiny touch of hot water if not already 'drippy'. Stir in the remaining ingredients until fully coated and sticky.

Scoop into fat cookie dollops and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at a fairly low temperature (I opted for 160C so as not to risk burning the date syrup) for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden. The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven and will firm up to touch as they cool but remain soft in the centre.

Note: I have since also made these adding one mashed banana which helps to sweeten and bind the mix even more. Reduce syrup/stevia accordingly to taste.

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‘Twelve Days’ day 12: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote

It’s come around at last…day ‘12’ is here!

So that must also mean that Christmas is just around the corner. (*super excited face*)

However, I must make one small apology…. 

When I announced my ‘12 days’ I also mentioned throwing a few savoury recipes in too….hmmm not so much! It wasn’t planned that way, it was simply that cake overwhelmed me and I got a little carried away. Oh well. There are worse things than cake and it is the name of this blog after all!

I will try to make it up to you little in the last few days before Christmas, as I am planning on a savoury round up- a ‘buffet bites’ type post if you like to give a little boost of inspiration to carry you through the Christmas period. I for one need a bit of a savoury kick- the amount of cake, cookie, frosting and pancake testing I’ve had to do in these last few weeks…it’s a hard life!!

So here you have it- the recipe for today. The perfect Christmas pancake brunch, sweet chestnut pancakes with a cranberry compote. Sweetly spiced and fruity, the perfect warming start to Christmas morning.

I bought my chestnut puree in a can in the local supermarket, I would assume this is readily available wherever you are- if not I guess you could blend your own (but that is just a guess!) or you could try an alternative pancake recipe along the lines of this blueberry pancake recipe , I imagine this would work just as well substituting the blueberries for cranberries and adding some Christmassy spices.

Recipe: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote



  • 1/3 cup mix of wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tbs ground flax plus 2 tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup chestnut puree
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½  tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs agave (omit if you prefer a more savoury pancake base)
  • Approx. ½ cup soy milk (or milk of choice) use more or less to achieve a batter that pours thickly.


  • 2 large handfuls fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbs rapadura
  • 4 tbs water
  • Soy yogurt (or others yoghurt/cream)
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Makes approx. 4 pancakes to feed one or two (feel free to double, quadruple of whatever multiples you need to feed the crowds!)


To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura and water. Simmer and stir ever minute or so for approx. 10 mins.

Meanwhile to make the pancakes, mix the flax with the hot water an set aside to gel for a couple of minutes. Mix the chestnut puree, soy milk, agave and vanilla in a small bowl then add the flax mix. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add the wet and mix to get a thick but smooth batter. Spoon large dollops on a lightly oiled hot frying pan and fry till golden for a minute or so each side.

Serve topped with soy yoghurt and cranberry compote along with maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon as desired.

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‘Twelve Days’ day 11: mini choco-nog sponges

I had really enjoyed my chocolate yule log, it was so indulgent yet not at all heavy and sickly sweet (meaning I could eat a lot in one go). It was the combination of the light and airy fat-free swiss roll sponge combined with the luxurious (but healthy)

chocolate frosting that made such an amazing pairing and so it got me thinking….how else could I achieve that same effect?

Frosting is the obvious answer, so this time instead of going for the obvious cupcake and frosting scenario, I decided to make another tray of swiss roll sponge but this time instead of rolling it up, I cut out circles with a cookie cutter and frosted those instead. So then you have mini chocolate sponges.  But the chocolate sponge needed something a little bit special and a little bit (ok, a lot bit) seasonal to top it. 

I’ve already given you a number of cranberry and mincemeat inspired creations (and I haven’t quite finished with the cranberries yet!) so I didn’t really want to go down the fruit route again.  This left the Christmas spiced combo up for grabs. Not that I mind…I love ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla- all warm and creamy dreamy. Mmmmm.

So egg nog anyone? Or maybe more accurately in this case, simply ‘nog’. Or even more appropriately… choco-nog mini sponges!

Ok, so now you’ll think I’m crazy…but…I have never actually tried egg nog. I’m not sure I’ve ever even come across it on the shelves (although often if you’re not looking for something you don’t realise it actually exists when its right in front of you face!)  So, here I am making what I call a ‘nog’ frosting having never actually tried egg nog before!  This may be nothing like real ‘nog’ but it’s a warm and creamy nutmeggy-vanillary frosting and to me that sounds like a noggy creation…or what I imagine one to be!

I’ve used banana in this recipe which does give a little bananary taste. If you would prefer a more neutral base to let the spices shout more loudly then feel free to reduce or omit the banana and substitute for more cashew (or other neutral) nut butter instead.

I know…I really must find some egg nog to try this Christmas, I’ve heard the vegan versions are pretty good so I just need to track some down! In the meantime whipping up a bit of this frosting with some almond milk and a dusting of nutmeg on the top may well just do the trick- I’d certainly recommend it and it's definitely the best way to clean up the remnants in your blender!

Recipe: mini choco-nog sponges



  • ¾ cup cashew nut butter
  • 4 dates
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp rum extract
  • ¼- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ a frozen banana (or another ¼
  • cup nut butter)
  • ½ cup firm tofu (water pressed out)
  • 3 tbs maple syrup/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
  • Pinch of stevia powder (approx. 1/6 tsp or to taste)
  • 3 tbs coconut butter melted- if you want a thicker frosting (omit for a soft whippy frosting)
  • Makes approx. 1 ½ - 2 cups


  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Makes approx. 20 mini sponges (depending on their size and shape)


Prepare frosting by adding all the ingredients to the food processor and blending together until smooth. If your blender is less powerful you may want to chop up the dates and soak them in a little hot water first. Once fully blended, the mixture will be thick but fairly runny. Set aside to use as a soft frosting or if you added the coconut butter for a thicker frosting, spoon into a bowl and allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or two.

To make the mini sponges. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment.

In a food processor, mix tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix (see note below). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter evenly and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Once the sponge is cool, lift out of the pan, place on a cutting board and using a circle (or any simple shape) cutter, cut rounds of sponge out of the slab. There will be a little wastage (or nibbles), so to avoid this you could cut the slab into squares.

Once the frosting is prepared, drizzle, spoon or pipe the nog frosting onto the individual sponges and serve immediately. The frosting and sponges can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored separately for last minute frosting.

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‘Twelve Days’ day 10: ‘sugar’ cookies

So what’s so special about these cookies you may ask? 

Well, if I said these ‘sugar’ cookies actually contained no refined sugar, and if I went further to say that these cookies were even gluten free and packed full of wholesome ingredients… I hope you would agree that it makes for a pretty special Christmas cookie!

So I guess these are not really sugar cookies at all but I think they still bare a pretty close resemblance, as the combination of almond and coconut gives these cookies a delicate bite without the need for refined sugar to do the job.  The cookies are best eaten on the day they are made or frozen to maintain their delicate texture. They only take a few minutes to defrost…so make a big batch!

Similarly to my gingerbread dough experiment, this dough was initially quite crumbly to roll out but it was fine with a bit of work once the dough become flatter, and they also cut out and baked perfectly.

These cookies are only very lightly spiced as I wanted to create a traditionally neutral sugar cookie base to be iced or frosted as you wish.  The simplest icing is traditional glace icing made with powdered sugar and water. But for me this was a sugar overload and so instead I used a little melted dark chocolate to trace some shapes. So little is needed this way (I think I used four melted squares for the whole batch) but it still gives you that little chocolate kick and transforms the cookies into so much more.   

My cookies were based on this recipe by Whole Life Nutrition which also notes a healthy icing option as an alternative to glace icing which I am intrigued to try.

For this experiment, I also tried making a cinnamon mousse to dip the cookies in (loosely based on my ‘go-to’ chocolate frosting recipe). It’s shown in the photos but i’m not yet providing the recipe here as I don’t yet think it’s quite good enough!  But you get the idea, the options are endless…..iced cookies…frosted cookie ….sandwich cookies

…..Just let your imagination run free!

Recipe: ‘Sugar’ cookies


  • 1 cup finely ground almond meal
  • ½ cup shreddedcoconut
  • ½ cup arrowroot
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 3 tbs coconut butter (or use another 3 tbs coconut oil)
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ tsp stevia powder
  • 3 tbs soy yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • Makes roughly 15-20 cookies depending on their size.


Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry. Get you hands in and press together to form a stiff slightly sticky ball of dough, if it is not sticky enough to hold together to roll then add a tiny bit more soy yoghurt or water.

Chill to the dough if you find it easier to work with this way but I didn’t find I needed to.

Roll out on a floured surface or between two layers of baking parchment. Cut out shapes and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for approx. 10 minutes keeping a close eye to watch they don’t burn.

Allow to cool fully before decorating as you wish. They can be frozen either plain or decorated.

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‘Twelve Days’ day 8: Gingerbread parcels

Photo shoot complete before breakfast… so then these became breakfast!

I really wanted to put together a healthy gingerbread recipe. I love gingerbread and typically I would cut out the dough into gingerbread men, but gingerbread men are everywhere at Christmas and as cute as they are I really wanted to do something a little different from the norm this year.

I wanted to combine the idea of gingerbread with something equally as Christmassy…. Enter the Christmas gingerbread parcel, packed full of sweet and spicy mincemeat!

Mmmm, a crisp and chewy gingerbread cookie shell with a soft and juicy fruity centre. These are so moreish, rich and filling but not so sickly sweet. Using homemade mincemeat makes such a difference, as I mentioned yesterday in this post, I never used to like mincemeat at all….please give it a try!

I’d originally tried to create a gluten free gingerbread dough which tasted great (in dough form) but rolling it out presented an issue as the dough was quite crumbly. I think it would have been fine for a flat cookie, but these really needed the extra elasticity to allow them to be folded up into the individual parcels. So, I opted for the tried and tested spelt version as I am still quite a novice when it comes to GF baking. I’d be interested to know of any tips or comments other may have!

Of course this dough could be used for traditional gingerbread men if you prefer!

Recipe: Gingerbread parcels


  • 1 ½ cups mix of whole and white spelt flour
  • ½ cup arrowroot
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1tbs ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3tbs coconut oil- melted
  • 1 tsp flax and 2 tbs hot water mixed
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half a jar of mincemeat- bought or (ideally) homemade


Preheat oven to 180C. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until you get a stiff dough. I didn’t feel that the dough needed time to chill, but feel free to chill for a short while if you feel it will make it more workable, particularly if a little sticky.

Roll out the dough using lightly floured parchment paper. Roll out to approx. 5mm thick and cut into squares approx. 8cm wide. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat mixture into the centre of each square and pinch the corners together sealing them at the top  to form a parcel (it’s simpler than it sounds!)

Bake for approx. 8-10 mins until they begin to colour at the edges. Cool completely and decorate with a dusting of icing sugar if desired.

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‘Twelve Days’ day 3: Coconut ‘snow’ cookies

Today I have a double whammy for you- one batch of cookie mixture baked two ways:

Coconut spritz snowflakes & Coconut macaroon snowballs

…your choice! (or to save the decision making go for both)

I had originally trialled a number of spritz cookie recipes a few months back. I found the trickiest part was keeping the cookie crisp after day 1. Having tried a few different recipes I have now come to the conclusion that the spritz cookies are best eaten on the day they are made, or warmed in the oven to bring back that crisp edge on subsequent days.  They could probably be frozen and then heated through in the oven- note I haven’t actually tried this.

The idea for the macaroons came from a post I’d seen on Oh She Glows website a few months back, I then tweaked both the macaroon recipe and my own spritz cookie recipe so that they used the same ingredient base.

I love getting two very different cookies out of one mix- half the work for twice the fun!!

Recipe: Coconut ‘snow’ cookies


  • 200g coconut butter
  • 30g fine desiccated coconut
  • 50g agave and ¼ tsp pinch of stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • A pinch of salt
  • 70g arrowroot powder (corn starch or tapioca starch would probably also work but I haven’t tested them)
  • 10g instant polenta (optional to give extra crunch)

For macaroons:

  • extra desiccated coconut for coating.

For spritz cookies:

  • 1-2 tbs thick coconut cream or soy yoghurt if necessary to reach required consistency for piping.
  • Makes approx. 20 macaroons/spritz cookies


Melt coconut butter (or make your own) and once nice a drippy add all the other ingredients. Mix together well and divide dough into halves if making both cookie types.

Spritz cookies: make these first whilst the mixture is still nice and pliable. Spoon into a robust piping bag with a large nozzle attachment and pipe circles or snowflakes shapes onto a lined baking sheet. If the dough is too stiff (which is likely) add a little coconut cream/soy yoghurt (as little as possible as too much will reduce the crispness of the cookie).

Macaroons: form small balls of the dough and roll in the extra coconut before placing on the lined baking sheet.

Bake for approx. 10-15 mins at 180C until lightly golden at the endges. Spritz cookies will need no longer than 10 minutes so keep a close eye on them. Allow to cool fully before removing from the sheet.

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Bitter chocolate thins

Following the cracker success I posted yesterday, I had a mini eureka moment when I figured that I could translate the thin and crispy nature of the cracker into a semi-sweet chocolate biscuit that didn’t used processed ingredients but still retained it’s crispness…magic!

The ‘Bitter Chocolate Thins’ were born.

Being semi-sweet they are very moreish and don’t feel too naughty at all! You can easily increase the sweetness a tad if you prefer, but I love this way…oh and wait till you see what else then happened!

If that wasn’t enough…it all got a little bit crazy and somehow a dollop of thick and creamy chocolate frosting made its way in between two chocolate thins. Thus, Chocolate Creams were born. These are even gluten free. Seriously good, just wait for the moment that the crisp chocolate biscuit crust cracks as you bite through it, so that the sweet soft and creamy chocolate frosting fills your mouth. The perfect combo!

Recipe: Bitter chocolate thins

Makes approx. 20 biscuits


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds (if making your own do not over process the nuts so that oils are released)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbs cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks- quite finely ground
  • 1 tbs water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbs agave nectar plus ¼ tsp stevia (extra if extra sweetness is desired)
  • 1 tsp olive oil


In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well with spoon. Knead dough with hands until it comes together. Place ball of dough on parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8th inch thick, or as thin as you can get it without tearing. With a sharp knife, score into squares.

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until just beginning to brown at the edges. Cool on baking sheet, then store in air-tight container once fully cool.  

Note- these biscuits took less time to cook than the original crackers that inspired this recipe. I also found that it was very easy to burn the squares around the edge so watch out.

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Blueberry banana pancakes

Sunday morning brunch…. quite possibly one of my favourite meals.  This is the time of the week where I feel that anything goes, time to be a little bit crazy and go for whatever it is you really fancy!

And today I really fancied…..pancakes!!

This notion had originally been inspired a few weeks back by this recipesuch a simple concept and I figured that it wasn’t actually so far removed from my usual oats combo! A few tweaks and one hot frying pan later, one plate of pancakes were all mine!

Recipe: Blueberry banana pancakes

Makes approx. 6 medium sized pancakes. (serves two for brunch or desert)


  • ½ cup mix of wholemeal and white spelt flour
  • 3 tbs rolled oats
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½  tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp agave (if needed)
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3-1/2 cup soy milk
  • Handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen defrosted)
  • Topping- soy yoghurt layered through the stack topped with a few more blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.


Mix the banana, soy milk, agave and vanilla in a bowl. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add the wet and mix. Add blueberries last and lightly mix through. Spoon dollops on a lightly oiled hot frying pan and fry until golden for a minute or so each side. Serve in a stack with soy yoghurt and blueberry topping as desired.

Mmmm, lovely warm and ooooozy, they were dripping everywhere as I rushed to take a few photos!

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