Posts tagged toffee
Toffee granola bars

For me, the best granola bars are lovely and dense with a great chunky texture to really get your teeth into… I also love a granola bar to be slightly moist and cakey rather than hard and crisp like a biscuit. Most of the granola bars sold in stores seem to be of the ‘hard’ variety.

A lightly sweetened, moreishly moist, healthy, fill-you-up cakey bar to grab on the run… yeah I think that pretty much sums it all up!

I have saved a number of different ‘granola bar’ style recipes from various sources across the net and I’ll be sure to try them out (with various tweaks and modifications) over the coming days and weeks.  However, the recipe for today comes from an original experiment I did a few months back when I wanted to make my own date syrup to act as alternative sweetener. The bar is based on this recipe by Oh She Glows, I loved it’s description indicating a healthy yet more cakey style bar. True to form I had to go changing things round a bit and so this is my take on the concept.

This is the second time I’ve made these bars, pretty much sticking to the same ingredients each time. The bars are fairly soft inside and slightly crumbly to bite into, but I really like them that way- a great contrast to the firm exterior. Wrap them up in foil or clingfilm to hold them together and they are good to go to the office or to be popped in a handbag! These store well in an airtight container for around 1 week.

I have used homemade date syrup as the main source of sweetness and as the main sticky ingredient binding everything together. Dates naturally have a caramelly, toffee like flavour so made the perfect complement for creating a natural toffee-like granola bar.

Recipe: toffee granola bars

Makes one 8” pan. Approx. 12 bar

Ingredients

  • ½ cup date syrup (homemade see note) or brown rice syrup- or a bit of each
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour (or other similar textured flours could be used)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts- I used cashews and hazlenuts
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp stevia
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup  cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks

Method

Mix the date syup and flax together and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (excluding cacoa/choc chunks). Add the remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla) to a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on medium power for approx. 2 minutes until the coconut oil has melted. (alternatively melt in a saucepan over the hob) stir in the date/flax mix last.

Spoon wet mixture over the dry and mix well- use your hands as the mixture is quite stiff! Add cacoa nibs/chocolate chunks last, making sure mixture is cool so the chocolate doesn’t melt (if using). 

Line an 8” pan with baking parchment and spoon the mixture in pressing it down as level as possible with  the back of a spoon. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the surface is beginning to go golden. Allow to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack for approx. 30 minutes before attempting to slice with a very sharp knife, as otherwise the edges have a greater tendency to crumble.

Note: To make date syrup, soften dates with an equal amount of boiling water. let stand for 30 minutes or so until soft and then blitz in a blender/food procesor until smooth. you can also add a little vanilla extract if desired.


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Sticky toffee pudding

Happy New Year to you all!

It has been a crazy few days and I have barely had the chance to sit down with my laptop and write my notes up. Now the holidays are over and I’m back at work, I realise so many of my Christmas plans to relax and read books fell by the wayside.

The holidays always feel like such a long stretch of time ‘off’, but once you have factored in catching up with friends and family…along with the fact I gave myself the big task of totally redecorating my bedroom, does time ‘off’ actually exist?  Not that I’m complaining, I love to be busy…but maybe I should just be a little more realistic about much I can actually fit in!

Any way back to food….

I (probably like everyone else) have succumbed to the sugar and naughtiness overload this holiday, despite my best intentions of self- control! I’m now craving healthy food so these next few weeks are most likely to feature more savoury snacks, I also fancy getting back into soup mode. But more on all that another time.

For now…one last indulgence I just couldn’t resist!  The great British classic- sticky toffee pudding!

I love this dessert and have been waiting to explore my own healthy vegan version for a few weeks now- but have only just found the time to do so in amongst the madness of Christmas and New Year.

The recipe is very closely based on my amazing blondie recipe, just a bit more datey, syrupy and gooey!  Since my blondies were super healthy, this pudding is also super healthy by default. Ok, the syrup topping maybe isn’t so much…but there certain limits in creating a healthy syrup and this is still healthy in comparison. The pudding itself is still very sticky and moist without the extra syrup, so it could be served straight with a little soy yoghurt if you are feeling a little more virtuous- it’s your call!

For those of you who’ve never had sticky toffee pudding, the so called ‘pudding’ is more like a dense moist cake. It is typically formed and served using a miniture singular dome shaped pudding mould, but here I have used the more practical blondie slice format and simply stacked two squares on top of one another.  The typical sauce would also be thinner and more ‘caramelly’ and although it is quite possible to make a vegan version this way, they typically involve lots and lots of refined sugar which I really wanted to avoid. Therefore my syrup is a thicker date syrup that I think really works well with the pudding. Also, I went down the route of using the GF subs optionally noted in the original blondie recipe.

Having just read this back to myself and uploaded the photos…I really want another piece right now!

Recipe: Sticky toffee pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • ¼ cup soy yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter- melted
  • 1/3 cup dates- softened
  • ½ cup mashed chickpeas
  • 3 tbs brown rice syrup (or maple syrup) plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white spelt flour (or GF subs below)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • A pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • NB: GF flour substitute- 1/3 cup each of almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapioca flour

(makes one 8” pan or approx. 8 servings of two squares)

For ‘toffee’sauce:

  • 1 cup softened dates
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup and a pinch of stevia to taste
  • ½ cup soy yoghurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • (makes just over 1 cup)

Method

Blend the wet ingredients in food processor until very smooth. Pour into a bowl, add dry ingredients and blend together until well mixed. Spoon mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 baking tin and smooth the  top. Bake in oven at 180C for approx. 10 minutes. Note- GF timings may be slightly shorter.

Whilst the pudding is in the oven blitz together the sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small sauce pan and heat for approx. 5 mins stirring continuously until bubbling. The mixture should form a thick sauce. If you would prefer a runnier syrup add a little more water.

Remove the pudding from the oven after 10 minutes and use a toothpick to make holes all over the top of the cake- approx. 100 holes. Spoon/pour approx. 1/3 of the sauce over the top and smooth over allowing to seep into the holes (much of the sauce will remain on top as a sticky layer).

Return to the oven for a final 5 minutes cooking time. Once cooked, allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing into squares. Serve whilst still hot with some of the extra sauce poured over the top as desired. Serve with soy yoghurt or ice cream.

The pudding and sauce will store well in the fridge for a couple of days. Best served hot.


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