Posts tagged snacks
Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

So here's a super simple recipe that I first made a month or two ago and I think I have now made at least 4 times since! It's a great one to make with or for kids too.

They are soooooo moreish it's unreal.... a soft and chewy 'bliss ball' texture with loads of crispy flakes mixed through.

The added bonus with the high proportion of flakes mixed in is that it helps lighten up an otherwise dense snack... that's the only problem with bliss balls/energy balls- they are very dense for their size and if like me you have a tendency to 'eat with your eyes' - it's very easy to overdo it!

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Guilty admission- as I sit here writing this post, I have a box of these bites beside to take on a road trip with a friend this afternoon, BUT I have already munched through the about four of them! Oooops.... ;-)

This most recent batch I made had protein powder added instead of the coconut flakes. This really helps bump up the protein count, if that's your thing for for it. One tip- I found they flavour was so much better the following day- on day 1 I could slightly taste the protein powder but by the second day onwards it had pretty much disappeared as the flavours had time to meld.

You can use any type of crispy flaked cereal you like, but for extra nutritional value I used these amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat cornflakes by RealFoodSource (amaranth is shown in the photos here) 

You can press the mix into a square pan and cut into squares/bars or roll into balls, both work great. They freeze well too, and can even be munch o straight from the feeezer (mind your teeth- you may prefer to defrost a little!)

Add any 'mix-ins' you fancy, some other dried fruits, nutty chunks or an extract such as peppermint, orange or almond always go down well. If using an extract- about 1/2 tsp should do mixed in at the start, with other ingredients pulse through at theed for a chunky texture.

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Recipe: Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (or raw cacao)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax (optional but I like the hidden nutritional boost)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut)*

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup flakes cereal

handful chocolate chips or cacoa nibs- optional for extra crunch and chocolateyness

* for the protein version I swapped the ground nuts for defatted almond protein powder- you favorite neutral protein blend would also work here.

Method:

Place the dates, cocoa, flax, nuts and salt in a food processor. process until you have a soft-ish, sticky and clumpy mix- you will likely need to add 2-3 tbs water to create the right consistency.

Add the cereal flakes and choc chips (if using) and pulse through to mix in evenly.

Press firmly into a tin or roll into balls, Chill for an hour until firm.

Will keep for a week or two in the fridge or you can freeze them.

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Nutty keto crackers... pack in the protein!

When it comes to following a vegan ketogenic diet, I have found one of the easier way to keep on top of things without having to specifically track every macro to the last detail is to focus on packing in the veggies in my main meals and make up most of my protein needs through snacks in between. The hemp porridge is a great boost in this respect but handfuls of nuts and seeds (and spoonfuls of nut butter!!) also factor in pretty heavily.

These crackers are virtually the same as eating a handful of nuts and seeds but a lot more interesting with the flavours and texture. I would serve these up alongside a big salad, or just nibble on their own with a slather of PB or almond butter. The pictures show hummus which isn't really so keto friendly :-)

I use a dehydrator for maximum nutrition (no heat destroying nutrients) but you could use an oven on the lowest hear setting- just keep an eye on the timings as I haven't tried it that way.I always soak the nuts when I make crackers, this makes the nutrients much more bio-available to the body as in the nature nuts have enzyme inhibitors which make them harder to digest- soaking them breaks this down. You don't need to soak the hemp seeds. 

I haven't added any extra spices to the recipe below as you can leave plain or add your own... I love chipotle pepper sauce, or soy sauce instead of salt. Italian herbs would work well too.

These crackers freeze well so I tend to make a double (or triple) batch, and sometimes divide the mixture before mixing in different spices.

Recipe: Nutty keto crackers

Makes approx. 15-20 crackers

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup each 3 types soaked nuts/seeds (I used shelled hemp, almonds* and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 small tomato (or 2-3 cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ an onion
  • 2 tbs flax seed
  • scant 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Method:

Process all ingredients together until you have a sticky, lightly chunky mix.

Spread the mixture on to a lined dehydrator tray and smooth to approx 3mm thick as evenly as possible.

Dehydrate for 2 hours at 50C then 6 hours at 40C. Flip the sheet carefully and finish with 1 hour at 40C. Or try oven baking on the lowest temperature for approx 1 hour (maybe more?) To keep the temperature low you could leave the door open a crack.

Slice to serve. The crackers may be a little crumbly depending on how finely you've ground the nuts.

* walnuts are also especially good too.... but for this recipe version I was looking for the highest protein and lowest carb option so opted for almonds. Sunflower seeds could be swapped for pumpkin or another lower carb option, but I happened to have sunflower to hand at time time!

These were some similar crackers using almond, sunflower, sesame and chia.

These were some similar crackers using almond, sunflower, sesame and chia.

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Goji coconut balls

I've never been particularly big on goji's. Of course I was aware of their 'superfood' acclaim but I was always a bit 'meh about including them in my diet .  However I've been superfooding it up much more of late, with the introduction of pretty much daily green smoothies, my course lectures at IIN and also the fact the the Real Food Source have added them to their shop gave me the obvious means to begin adding them more frequently in to my meals and snacks.

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A few key findings about goji's:

  • They are high in antioxidants, specifically the carotenoids (like beta-carotene) and zeaxanthin (compound that absorbs blue light and helps protect the eyes).
  • The antioxidants in the berries are thought to help fight off free radicals in the body.
  • Goji Berries have about 20 different vitamins and minerals, making it one of the most nutritionally beneficial foods available.
  • They have 18 different amino acids.
  • They have been used for many years in teas, juices and tinctures to treat ailments naturally.

My Wholeplus food range features 'Toppers' created as a natural sweet sprinkle topping for breakfasts, desserts and snacks of all sorts. One of the flavours is Vanilla Goji Spice, and when blending up a big batch one day, I had the urge to smoosh some of the sprinkles together into a ball as a little afternoon treat, and voila... a gorgeous goji berry ball. I rolled in a few extra whole goji's for good measure. You could also roll in some extra coconut if you fancy too.

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Recipe: Goji coconut balls

  • 250g dates
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbs maca
  • 80-100g coconut
  • 50g goji berries (plus extra to roll in if desired)

Method:

Grind dates with spices and half coconut until sticky and coarse. Add remaining coconut and gojis and pulse until coasre and chunky.  

The mixture should still be sticky enough to roll into balls (stickiness will depend onto moisture content of the dates to start with). Roll the balls in extra coconut or gojis if desired. 

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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Crispy polenta crackers

I found myself in a polenta frame of mind this morning, triggered by this chocolate shortbread, of which there is now a gluten free version…recipe coming soon! It had been so so long since I’d made that shortbread, and I’d forgotten has delicately crisp and crumbly it was.

Anyway back to the polenta. There it sat in it packet on the kitchen worktop, waiting to be buried back inside my baking box, until another recipe then popped into my mind. Another recipe I’d first tried out months and months ago, and I seem to remember at the time the Boy had said, ‘Mmmm, this tastes like pork crackling’!

Er, well I didn’t think it tasted like crackling so don’t worry. But I do understand what he meant…these crackers are super duper crispy, you’d think they’d been deep fried to get that intense crunch, but nope they are simply baked.

The healthy way to a dipping chip!

The key is to slice the polenta as thinly as possible and then bake the slices on a lower heat for longer, and then double bake for extra crispiness. You can mix up the seasonings however you wish. I went for a slightly Mexican theme as I teamed these with my veggie chilli.

Recipe: Crispy Polenta Crackers

Makes one bowlful

Ingredients

  • ½  cup instant polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cajun spice mix (chilli, garlic etc)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Method

In a sauce pan mix polenta with water, add remaining ingredients and simmer for approx. 5 minutes stirring continuously until mixture begins to thicken but is still pourable.

Pour/spoon into a small loaf tin, smoothing the top as much as possible and allow to set then firm up in the fridge.

Once set firmly, remove the polenta loaf from the tin and using a sharp knife slice as thinly as possible, laying each slice on a greased/lined baking sheet

Bake at 150C for approx. 20-30 mins depending on the thickness of the slices. If the slices are not yet crispy in the centre but the edges are done, allow to cool and then re-bake for a further 10 minutes or as long as necessary.

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Cheezy vegan crackerbread

Recently I’ve been testing out some new ingredients courtesy of Real Food Sourceand this little recipe was a great way to do so.

The main ‘new thing’ for me is red palm oil, there are loads of links to shops and resources out there, but for further reading I came across this article. Red palm oil has a very strong deep yellow/orange colour and a distinctive savoury taste that’s hard to describe, I would suggest using this for savoury foods instead of sweet unless you have a very strong dominant sweet flavour such a chocolate or spices. It can be used in place of coconut (or other oils of choice) and has amazing health properties in part due to its rich red hue which is rich in carotenes.

I really wanted to exploit its colour and so a ‘cheezy’ recipe seemed the obvious answer. Teamed up with nutritional yeast and some spices… these little dipping crackers have a lovely mild and nutty cheesy flavour, perfect served with a dip, relish or chutney. I also went one step further and made a cheezy roll using  a combination of salsa, sundried tomatoes and fresh and dried herbs spread across the rolled out dough, and the wrapped this up into a roll. If you do this be careful as the dough is quite fragile and will also expand as it cooks so it is likely to will get cracks across the surface of the roll. The sundried tomatoes tasted amazing in this combination so you may like to simple roll some chopped sundried tomatoes onto the surface of the dough, score into slices and then bake as slices instead of rolling it up.

As you can see from the photos, these crackers are soft and more like a dense bread slice than crisp crackers. I have used coarse coconut flour here, but regular coconut flour (or other  GF grains) should work although it may alter the texture, I haven’t tried this. You could also sub part polenta meal if using regular coconut flour as this should assist with creating a grainy texture if desired. The recipe itself is ideal as a basis for experimenting with alternative types of flour and oils. If you give it a go let me know how you get on.

Recipe: Cheezy crackerbread

Makes approx. 7 strips (or double the recipe and roll into a pinwheel)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coarse coconut flour
  • ¼ cup fine almond flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 3tbs nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch mustard powder
  • 2 tbs red palm oil- melted
  • 2 tbs ground chia plus 5 tbs hot water
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds (optional)

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl then add the wet ingredients and mix well to form a dough. The dough should be neither too crumbly nor too sticky to roll out on a piece of baking parchment. The dough may crack as it is rolled, but just aim to get as even a sheet as possible.

Slice the rolled dough into inch thick strips and bake at 180C for approx. 10 mins until golden at the edges. Allow to cool before serving.

Great served with a dip, relish or chutney.

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Roasted chickpea 'croutons'

I had come across numerous recipes for roasted chickpeas but I’d never had a go myself until now.  The principle is so simple…..get your cooked chickpeas (I cook mine from dried in big batches and then freeze them until needed), add seasoning, roast until crisp and golden.

The perfect alternative to popcorn for a night in with a DVD, a handy snack alternative to roasted nuts or even sprinkled over a salad for a crispy bite offering a GF alternative to crispy bread croutons.   You can vary the seasonings as you wish. I went for an Indian theme for my first batch and then through in a few Italian spices and a little tomato paste for a lovely crunchy salad topper. I would really recommend the salad topper as a really quirky alternative to croutons as the texture is great!

The chickpeas will keep for a few days if stored in an airtight container so you’ll have plenty of snack options to hand. I haven’t yet tried freezing these but I imagine that would also work well.

The spice combinations below are just examples of what I went for so feel free to through in whatever you choose!

Recipe: Roasted chickpea Croutons

Makes one bowl

Ingredients Indian:

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax or chia seeds
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs red palm oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
  • 200g cooked drained chickpeas

Ingredients Italian:

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax or chia seeds
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs red palm oil or olive oil
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 200g cooked drained chickpeas

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C. In a medium bowl all the ingredients and mix well adding the chickpeas last.

Place the seasoned chickpeas in a single layer on a greased or parchment lined baking shee. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy.

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Chewy coconut granola bars

Remember I mentioned my coconut overload?

Well, I’m still hot on the coconut infused recipes and this one is no exception, although you can easily change things around and sub the coconut if you want as it’s a super versatile concept.

This recipe was originally generated by accident…following a batch of chocolate granola gone wrong. That will teach me to mess with things when they are perfect as they are. Anyway, this particular batch was a little lacking in flavour and was very crumbly, still edible but not enjoyable as a snack on its own.

So chewy granola bars to the rescue!  This could easily have been a no-bake recipe as the banana holds everything together, however to me they were like chunky versions of smoosh barsand  I wanted something a little firmer… so I baked them for 10 minutes. Just enough to firm them up but so they still retained the lovely chewy texture.

You can use any fruits and nuts you like and if you don’t have granola you can toast some oats and use those. I used chocolate granola, but if yours is plain feel free to throw in some cacoa powder or maybe even some cocoa nibs for a bit of raw chocolately goodness!

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Recipe: chewy coconut granola bars

Makes one 8” pan

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana- mashed well
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup mixed fruit ( I used raisins/dates/cranberries/figs
  • ½ cup coconut flakes (or crushed nuts)
  • 1 cup granola (I used homemade choc granola)

Method

Blend all ingredients, except the granola, together in a food processor on medium speed (so the fruit doesn’t break up too small) or mix well by hand. Add the granola last, mixing through well.

Press firmly into a lined square pan. You can either keep these raw and simplychill until firm or you can bake them for approx.10 mins at 180C.

Once cooled/firm cut into bars and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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