Bored of Banana Bread? Mix things up with these healthy bakes recipes including Pret’s Dark Chocolate Vegan Cookie and Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies…
If by now you’ve attempted every variation of banana bread going as part of your new-found lockdown baking habit (we feel you), why not try something different instead? Rosie has rounded up a selection of healthy(ish) recipes to bring some variety to your lockdown baking. And as an added bonus, most of them won’t require you to scour the supermarkets to find bags of flour either – something worth celebrating in these tricky times.
These cult cookies caused a huge stir when they first hit the shelves, and when Pret released its recipe whilst its stores were still closed there were equal amounts of hysteria. A sprinkle of Maldon salt over each cookie before baking is the perfect salty-sweet finish to cut through the richness of the nut butter and stickiness of the golden syrup.
43g Caster sugar
112g Soft light brown sugar
40g Almond pieces (For best results, use flaked almonds lightly smashed up, but whole almonds, chopped into small pieces will also work)
112g Dark chocolate pieces
205g Plain flour
20g Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
65g Coconut oil
72g Almond butter
100g Golden syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Pour the caster sugar, soft light brown sugar, flour, almond pieces, salt and chocolate pieces into a large bowl. (For best results sieve the cocoa, flour and bicarbonate of soda).
3. Mix the almond butter, oil, water and golden syrup together and add to the bowl.
4. Mix together with a wooden spoon and then bring the dough together using your hands.
5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Split your dough into 8 golf ball-sized balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes (This will vary depending on thickness – if the edges of cookie feel firm but centre is still soft, it should be ready to take out).
7. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Fresh Fitness Food’s Summer Trifle Recipe
Fresh Fitness Food’s new frozen range has been a dangerous discovery during lockdown – their cauliflower brownies and miso and peanut butter fudge cups taste way too good to be reasonably healthy, as desserts go. For summer they’ve released a range of new recipes, including this delicious strawberry and rhubarb trifle which is packed with protein, light and yet satisfying. We can’t get enough of it.
250ml apple juice
100ml rhubarb juice
1/2 tsp agar
2 egg yolks
250ml unsweetened almond milk
320g yoghurt (Skyr works well)
100g vanilla whey protein
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 vanilla bean (seeds)
1. Mix 1/3 of the whey protein with water and baking powder in a cup and mix into a thick sludge, removing all lumps. Place into a microwave for 30 seconds, stir protein then place back inside for another 30 seconds. Remove and leave to cool. Once cool, dice into 1cm cubes.
2. Place the apple and rhubarb juice into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the agar and simmer whisking occasionally for 5 minutes. Slice the strawberries and put at the bottom of the serving glass, add the squares of the protein sponge and then pour over the apple and rhubarb jelly.
3. Place the almond milk into a pan and slowly bring to a boil. Whisk the egg yolks until they are pale in colour and slightly thickened. Add a splash of milk to the egg and whisk in, add this egg mixture into the pan of almond milk on a low heat and stir frequently to thicken the ‘custard’. Once thick, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before whisking in the rest of the vanilla whey.
4. Whisk the yoghurt with the vanilla to make it smooth and glossy. Once the jelly has set, add the custard and then top with the yoghurt, before adding a layer of strawberries to finish it off.
Makes 12 squares
We can’t wait for this King’s Road cafe to reopen to get our fix of matcha lattes and healthy sweet treats – but in the meantime, we’re loving baking with matcha from their online store. These fudge squares are some of our favourites: they taste like something between a flapjack and millionaire’s shortbread with the combination of matcha, fudge and oats and taste incredibly indulgent, yet they are vegan, gluten and refined sugar free.
For the matcha oat base:
70g melted coconut oil
80g cashew butter
80g maple syrup
200g gluten free oats
2 tbsp matcha
For the fudge:
160ml maple syrup
60g cashew butter
90g coconut oil melted
Pinch of salt
1. To prepare the matcha base, sieve the matcha over the oats. In a separate bowl mix the melted coconut oil cashew butter and maple syrup together, add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
2. Spoon the mixture into an 8” square baking tin lined with parchment paper. Press down with the back of the spoon to get an even distribution. Place in the fridge and leave for later.
3. Combine the maple syrup, cashew butter and melted coconut oil together and stir well. You should get a thick and sticky consistency.
4. Pour the fudge over the matcha oat base and place again in the fridge for at least 1 hour to fully set.
Makes 10 brownies
An oldie but a goldie: we’ve long been a fan of Deliciously Ella’s secret-ingredient brownie recipe, so when she released an even better recipe we couldn’t wait to give it a try. It’s every bit as rich, indulgent and gooey as a traditional brownie, but without the gluten, dairy and refined sugar. What’s not to love?
For the brownies:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
12 medjool dates, pitted
100g ground almonds
100g oat flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons cacao powder
6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons almond butter, optional
Water from 1x 400g can chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking powder
Handful of dark chocolate chips
Pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate sauce:
1 teaspoon cacao powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons date syrup
4 tablespoons coconut milk, from a carton, or any other plant-based milk
Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the sweet potato into a steamer or in a saucepan with boiling water for 15-30 minutes, until they become really soft (the length of time will depend on the size of the chunks).
3. While the sweet potatoes cook, grind the oats in a food processor until they form a flour (if not already), place to one side.
4. Once the sweet potatoes are soft and beginning to fall apart, drain them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates. Blend until smooth. Now add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate) and blend until smooth. Once blended, stir through the chocolate chips (if using).
5. Spoon the mixture into a lined baking dish and cook for 45-50 minutes until you can pierce the brownie with a fork and bring it out clean.
Remove the tray and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together.
6. For the chocolate sauce, simply place all of the ingredients into a pan over a medium heat. Stir continuously until everything is melted and has come together to form a smooth sauce, about 5 minutes. Pour on top of the brownies when ready to serve.
Makes 16 squares
Super easy, delicious, pretty, and vegan and gluten-free. When combined, the creamy coconut filling and the crunchy, salty crust create a mouthwateringly delicious tart.
200 g roasted salted cashews
85 g raw unsweetened coconut flakes
150 g Medjool dates, pitted (about 16 dates)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
720 g canned full-fat coconut cream
55 g honey or maple syrup
80 g fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
85 g high-quality white chocolate, chopped (optional)
300 g mixed fresh berries
8-10 fresh figs, thinly sliced (optional)
1. To make the crust, line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the cashews, coconut, dates, and cinnamon. Pulse until finely ground and the mix forms a ball, about 2-3 minutes. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, making sure to pack it in tightly. Chill in the fridge.
2. Combine the coconut and honey in a large pot, bigger than you think you’ll need. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, boil 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the white chocolate, if using, until melted and smooth.
3. Carefully pour the coconut cream on to the crust. Cover and chill 2 hours or until set. Before serving, remove the tart from the pan and top with sliced figs, if using, and fresh berries. Keep these bars well chilled. They will soften and be hard to pick up if left out too long.
Main photo: Half Baked Harvest
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After graduating from Cambridge University with a triple First, Rosie decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry rather than follow the traditional path of her peers in investment banking. Unable to shake off the fast-paced routine she developed in her City job, she achieves balance by winding down in yoga sessions, escaping on fitness retreats, and going for extended brunches that somehow seem to wind up in a hidden gem of a cocktail bar.