Banana Bran muffins with Walnut Cinnamon topping

This is a yummy back to school muffin recipe that’s lower in sugar and high in fibre to help keep those little busy bodies busy!

Banana Bran muffins with Walnut Cinnamon topping

Serves 12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 1 cup bran
  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bananas (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup apple puree (to make it easier just use babyfood)

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, banana, oil and apple. Then mix with dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Spoon into greased muffin cases.
5. To make topping mix together cinnamon, walnuts and sugar and sprinkle over muffins.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Coconut Oat Slice

It seems nowadays coconut oil is either ‘in’ or ‘out’.  Whilst it is not the next Superfood that is going to fix everything, and we certainly wouldn’t recommend you add it to your coffee or cook with it every day, it can be a lovely addition to baking, and with a little less saturated fat than butter it can be a very flavorsome replacement.  This slice uses coconut oil and shredded coconut, and with some heart healthy oils from the nuts and seeds, minimal sugar, and lots of fibre, this is a great slice to have instead of a bought muesli bar, or as a shared snack.

Coconut Oat Slice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (or replace the seeds and water with another egg)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup dates (packed tightly)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cups desiccated or shredded coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 weetbix (crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

1. If using chia seeds, soak them in the water for 10 minutes. Also, in a separate bowl, soak the dates in some boiled water until soft.
2. Whilst the seeds and dates are soaking, melt the coconut oil, add the golden syrup and whisk in the egg(s).
3. Process the almonds and sunflower seeds until they look like bread crumbs. Mix them in with the coconut, oats and crumbled weetbix in a large mixing bowl. Add in the flour and baking powder.
4. Drain the dates, roughly chop them up and then add to the dry ingredients.
5. Add the chia seeds to the wet ingredients and then finally combine both mixtures together.
6. Press the mixture into a lined 20cm x 20cm tray and bake in a 180C degree oven for 20 minutes until slightly golden on top.
7. Allow to cool in the tray and then slice.

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

These bliss balls are a great way to get another vegetable into your day!

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 orange
  • 2 Medium carrots (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple pieces
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

1. Place the dates in boiling water and allow them to soak whilst putting the rest of the ingredients together.
2. Place the oats in a food processor and grind into a coarse flour.
3. Zest the orange, and add along with 1 tablespoon of orange juice to the oats.
4. Grate the carrots and add to the oats. Then add the rest of the ingredients (including the drained dates). Process until mixture has come together.
5. Using wet hands, roll into balls and then roll in desiccated coconut to finish. Makes around 40 balls depending on their size.
6. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quinoa and Almond Cake

This recipe is a great option if you are avoiding dairy and wish to increase your plant based protein, and why not do this through baking!  It has a lovely light and nutty texture and you can play around with the fruit decoration (tinned pears also look particularly pleasing in a fan on the top!).  This is yet another recipe that works with minimal sugar.

Quinoa and Almond Cake

Serves 16
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flaked quinoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange (zested)
  • 1/2 tin of pear slices (or other fruit eg. frozen berries)

Directions

1. Place the quinoa flakes in a bowl and add the boiling water, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together, then add the oil in a stream whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking whilst adding the sugar.
3. Combine the almond meal, vanilla essence and orange zest with the quinoa.
4. Add the egg mix to the quinoa mix and combine to form a batter.
5. Pour the batter into a well-lined 23 cm cake tin (line it so that the paper prevents the batter from seeping through if you are using a spring-form tin).
6. Slice the pear pieces in half and arrange them in a fan on top of the batter, or simply scatter frozen berries over the top. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the top of the cake.
7. Bake at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Egg Free Dairy Free Chocolate Beetroot Cake

This recipe is a great example of how to adjust a recipe to make it a little bit healthier.  A friend found this awesome cake online but was wondering how to make it a little less sweet whilst keeping its unique flavour.  Generally, for most recipes you can actually cut down the sugar content by half without affecting the flavour and texture too much.  If you’re spreading a cup or less of sugar over an entire cake you’re not individually ingesting high amounts of added sugar, or better yet, find a naturally sweet alternative, like pureed apple or dates.  And what better way to add another vegetable to your day! Give this cake a go, it’s surprisingly moist and rich, and goes great with a little yoghurt (if you’re not dairy free) and preserved plums (think Black Forest Gateaux!).

Egg Free Dairy Free Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Serves 16
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Website wendyls.co.nz

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Medium beetroot
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cups oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons vanilla essence

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Grate the beetroot and mix it in with the dry ingredients.
4. Mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla essence in a separate bowl.
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add in the wet. Combine until lumps have disappeared, but be careful not to over mix.
6. Pour the batter into a lined 23 inch cake tin and and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Let the cake cool in the tin.
8. Serving recommendation: Greek yoghurt and preserved plums (think Black Forest Gateaux!).

Egg free dairy free rhubarb banana loaf

For one reason or another some people do have to eliminate certain foods from their diet, for example allergies, intolerances or even food avoidance when breastfeeding.  When we do this it is essential we don’t start restricting our diets too far, otherwise we risk reducing our intakes of certain nutrients.  Another concern is that we think cooking with alternatives is too hard, and so our diet becomes rather one dimensional.  If you are having to cut out certain things from your diet we recommend experimenting with new ingredients, and seeing as cutting out dairy and eggs are quite common we thought we would post this really yummy and moist banana and rhubarb loaf, totally egg and dairy free.  We have used oil instead of milk and banana and chia seeds instead of egg.  The added bonus is that the sweetness of the bananas means there is less added sugar, and the chia seeds add some healthy omegas.

Egg free dairy free rhubarb and banana loaf

Serves 10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (you could grind whole ones in a pestle and mortar)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 Medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup stewed rhubarb (stewed in a little water in the oven until soft)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon iodised salt
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C and line a 22cm by 10cm by 6cm deep loaf tin with baking paper
2. Soak the ground chia seeds in the water and leave to swell for 15 minutes
3. Mash up the bananas and stir in the sugar and oil
4. Once the chia seed paste is ready mix into the banana mix
5. Stir in the stewed rhubarb
6. In a separate bowl sieve together the dry ingredients
7. Tip the dry into the wet and fold the mixtures together being careful not to overmix
8. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the top is golden
9. Let it cool in the tin
10. Slice and serve with plain unsweetened yoghurt

Chocolate Cashew Tart

If you want something a little decadent and very delicious to make for that special someone this Valentines day, then this recipe is for you! It was such a hit when we made it at our coking class, that we thought we should share the recipe. It is refined sugar free and also dairy and gluten free for those with intolerances.

Chocolate Cashew Tart

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 3/4 cups pitted dates
  • 3/4 cups almonds
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 slice of frozen banana

FILLING

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 Medium bananas (sliced and frozen for 3-4 hours)

TOPPING

  • 3 tablespoons hazelnuts (toasted and roughly chopped)

Directions

1. Blend the almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add the dates and cocoa powder and process for about one more minute. Add a slice of frozen banana and process again until the mix starts to look like it would stick together when pressed.
2. Press the crust mixture into the the bottom and up the sides of 4 small ramekin dish. Pop into the freezer to set whilst preparing the filling.
3. For the filling, blend the cashews, water, and lemon juice until the mixture comes together and looks ‘oily’, this will take a few minutes and will require you to stop and scrape down the sides. Add the frozen sliced bananas and continue processing until completely smooth.
4. Scoop the cashew and banana mixture onto the almond and date base.
5. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan, allow them to cool. Rub the hazelnuts to remove any loose skin, and roughly chop. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top of the banana mix, keep dessert chilled until serving.

 

 

Banana and Date Muffins

These muffins rely on the natural sweetness of bananas and dates instead of any added sugar.  You will be getting a good amount of fibre from the fruit and the weet-bix, but try and choose fortified Weet-bix for extra iron and vitamin Bs.

Banana, Date and Weet-bix Muffins

Serves 12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 24 minutes
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana
  • 1/3 cup Pitted dates
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Self-raising flour
  • 3 Weet-bix
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Oil

Directions

1. Cut up the dates and banana finely and tip them into the milk
2. Combine the flour and salt and crumble in the weet-bix
3. Whisk up the egg whilst slowly pouring in the oil
4. Add the egg and the milk mixtures to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined
5. Divide into an oiled muffin tray
6. Bake at 210°C for 14 minutes or until golden and springy

Mini Christmas Cakes

Every time we open the tin for these little cakes the smell of Christmas is so strong and sweet! These lovely little cakes are yummy and quick to make if you haven’t prepped a Christmas cake in advance. They are a nice little treat to have by themselves, or as a yummy dessert served warm with homemade custard. Although they don’t have any added sugar remember they are still rich in dried fruit, so although a healthier Christmas treat, they are still a treat!

Mini Christmas Cakes

Ingredients

  • 300g mixture of dried apricots, sultanas and dates (or other dried fruit of you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange (zest and juice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Small eggs
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g diced walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 10 pieces of baking paper cut into squares.
2. Combine fruit, spices, vanilla extract, orange juice and zest, olive oil and eggs and then mix.
3. Stir in almonds, flour, baking powder and walnuts.
4. Spoon into muffin tray and bake for 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.
5. These little cakes are delicious served warm with custard. They can be stored in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

Gingerbread Men

With all the delicious treats out there at Christmas time, it can get a bit much. If you are looking for some fun Christmas baking to do this December with the kids, this a great recipe to choose. It is a moderated gingerbread recipe that is a bit more wholesome than normal. They are also fun to decorate and can be topped with all types of dried fruit and nuts to make them feel festive!

Gingerbread Men

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 dried pitted dates soaked in boiling water and drained
  • 50ml olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup honey (runny or melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • handful walnuts, toasted coconut, cranberries and pumpkin seeds (diced for decoration)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and dates in a food processor, and process until mixture appears crumbly.
3. To the food processor, add olive oil, honey, vanilla and egg. Process again until a soft dough forms (add a couple of teaspoons of warm water if dough doesn't come together very well).
4. Remove from processor and divide into two balls. Flatten slightly and then wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
5. Roll out dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 25-30mins or until golden in colour.
6. While cookies are still warm, brush with melted honey and sprinkle with walnuts, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and toasted coconut.
7. These can be kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days.