Recipe:Raw Banana Cookies


I presented this recipe to playgroup this week but with dried pineapple instead of the chocolate chips that are pictured (don’t worry! You get to have the chocolate chips later on!) This recipe made 12 delicious cookies but of course I had doubled it for playgroup (and made the cookies a little smaller). They were so yum that I didn’t get a picture of them before they disappeared, but these are the ones that will appear next week ūüôā

For the chocolate chip recipe I didn’t mix the chips in with the batter – just placed on top – enough for a bit of yum, in a pretty flower. The cookies themselves are pretty sweet so the chips are just for a bit of bling. These are vegan chocolate chips, which I am sure contain cane sugar so technically speaking these cookies are not sugar-free.

To make this recipe raw the cookies are ‘cooked’ in the dehydrator. They were done after one day and one night, at 70 degrees C, turning them halfway. They can also be baked in the oven for more immediate consumption! The benefits to dehydrating them means they preserve more nutrients and are more evenly dried out, whereas when you bake them they are still a little squishy in the middle, but equally yummy.¬†Without the chocolate chips they’d be a good addition for a lunch-box treat (that is, if your child’s school doesn’t have a no-nut policy). They are a great after school snack.

RAW BANANA COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 small mashed banana

1/4 cup maple syrup (or a little less)

2 1/2 tbs water

1 tbs vanilla essence

chopped dried fruit of your choice / chocolate chips

METHOD

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Divide mixture into twelve parts and form into flattened cookies.

To dehydrate cookies: place cookies on a baking paper on the trays and dehydrate for 24 hours, turning the cookies and removing the sheet after 12 hours.

To bake the cookies: place cookies on a baking sheet into a preheated oven set at 160C for 20 minutes.

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Recipe: (Vegan) Cashew Crunchies and Egg-Free Baking

I’m enjoying the challenge of feeding healthy treats to everyone at our playgroup. I’ve discovered, and created, quite a few recipes now that I use in my family cooking. Last week I was looking for vegan cookie recipes, but I’m still learning about how to replace eggs in recipes, and¬†I didn’t want to buy a commercial egg replacer product (which, although I haven’t researched it, I suspect is¬†probably¬†just a bit of cornflour, salt and bicarb).

I enjoy eating eggs and love spending time with my chookies who gift us with their eggs each day. I do have many friends who have their own reasons for not eating eggs though, and I like to cook for everyone. ¬†I didn’t realise that eggs have different functions when they are included in food. Well, I think I did know, but had never given it much thought until I wanted to try to cook without them.

Eggs provide moisture, bind other ingredients together, and also help to make the combined ingredients light and fluffy (leavening). So replacing eggs in your recipes would depend on what they are used for, and what part of the egg is used (white or yolk or both).

So far I have learned that eggs can be left out all together if the thing you are making is fairly flat – like pancakes or bread or slices. If moisture is required, a little extra liquid can be used, something thicker like coconut milk or cream (unless you are vegan of course).

If you need eggs for binding you can hold your mixes together with other ingredients such as mashed bananas, cooked apple (for sweet baking), mashed pumpkin, potato  or sweet potato (for savory baking), silken tofu or a mixture of ground chia or flax seeds and water (about 1tbs water to 1 tsp ground seeds for one egg). You could also try a little bit of cornstarch and water mixed together.

If you are making leavened¬†recipes¬†and want rise to occur in cooking you can achieve this with a mixture of vinegar (1 tbs) and bicarb of soda. I tried this on the weekend in an egg-free fruitcake recipe and apart from the fact that I burned the outside of the cake, I’d say that little trick worked quite well. I think some carbonated water would also work, and I’ve read that a bit of oil, water and bicarb will do the trick also.

It’s fun to play around with food …. I’m just as happy to eat the disasters as well as the happy successes … but because I make sure I use good quality, simple ingredients it isn’t hard to make something delicious – besides I have found there isn’t much that can’t be saved by spreading some cashew cream or peanut butter on it – and what I am not fond of, the chickens seem quite happy with ūüôā

This week I made up a cookie recipe that just left the eggs out all together. They¬†didn’t need rise, they were held together with a bit of sticky maple syrup glue, and had enough oil in them that moisture wasn’t a problem. In fact you could probably leave the extra coconut oil out, but I like the way they kind of fried themselves in the oven, which is what I think made them so yummy. ¬†If you leave out the extra oil you wouldn’t even need to cook them, you could just roll them up and put them in the fridge for a bit of raw goodness. In any case, these cookies were baked and there were none left at the end of playgroup, that’s for sure!

Cashew Crunchies

INGREDIENTS

100g raw cashews

100g almond meal

1/4 cup liquid sweetener of your choice (honey/maple syrup)

100g shredded coconut

1 tsp vanilla essence

30g, (or a bit less than 1/4 cup) coconut oil

METHOD

Blend the cashews and almond meal together on high-speed until they are all crumbly together.

Add sweetener, coconut, essence and oil, then mix it all together really well.

Roll or drop little balls of the mixture onto a lined tray.

Bake at a moderate oven about 10 minutes or until they turn golden brown – watch out! This happens quickly!!

Recipe: Mandarin and Almond Upside Down Cake

The colder weather brings the citrus fruit! Hooray for late autumn mandarins!! They are so sweet and juicy and such a perfect snack for children. And so bursting with the right kind of vitamins to help combat the winter sniffles. They are the best thing, I find, for a pick-me-up in the morning and for satisfying the sugar cravings in the late afternoon.

I looked and looked for hours, trawling over the internet for a cake recipe using mandarins ¬†that would fit everyone’s needs at playgroup. I do my best to make a morning tea that is free of grains (and therefore free of gluten), sugar (natural sweeteners only) and also vegan so that each person in our group can enjoy the morning tea. I’m so glad we have no one with nut allergies because then we’d just be eating fruit ūüôā

I didn’t find what I was looking for so I made a recipe up. It was a bit of a hotch-potch of ingredients, but a delicious one! I’ve recently learned that chia seeds mixed with water can be used instead of egg as a binder, so I ground up some white chia seeds into a fine powder and mixed 2 tbsp of that with a cup of water. I think it was enough to replace maybe 4 or 5 eggs? In any case our cake turned out quite moist. I’m not sure the addition of chia seeds is legal on the GAPS diet, but I ate a little of this today with no noticeable reaction, so perhaps from time to time it may be ok.

The mandarins were boiled in their skins for a few hours, and as the skins are used in this recipe along with the flesh I think it is pretty important that organic mandarins are used.¬†I cheated a bit for the mandarins on the topping. I had a tin of mandarin segments in the cupboard and I’ve been wanting to use them for ages, so they became the topping to the upside-down cake. I don’t see why you couldn’t use pipped fresh mandarins, or even boil up 2 extras and whizz them all up together, saving some of the mandarin pulp to use as the topping.

It disappeared pretty quickly so I’d say it was all right ūüôā

MANDARIN AND ALMOND UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

INGREDIENTS

3 organic mandarins, plus 2 more for decorating (or 1 tin of mandarin segments).

1/2 cup natural sweetener of your choice (honey/maple/agave)

1/3 cup dates

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp ground chia seeds

1 cup water

350g almond meal

75g hazelnut meal

METHOD

Boil three whole (washed and unpeeled) mandarins, completely covered by water for 2 hours. I tipped out the water halfway through and topped up the pot with fresh water because I thought the skins might get a little bitter from this treatment. Not sure if it made a difference but they certainly were not bitter in the end.

Drain and cool the mandarins, then blend them. Take the pips out if you want to – I just blended the whole lot up, skins, pips and all, into a pulp in the food processor.

Add sweetener, ground chia seeds, water and coconut oil to the mandarin and blend again.

Add the dates, almond meal and hazelnut meal and blend until smooth.

Grease a ring tine with coconut oil. Drizzle  a little maple syrup into the base. Lay out the spare mandarin segments, then pour the cake mixture over the top.

Bake at 180C until firm. This took about 40 minutes for my cake. It did go quite brown on the top but was still moist in the middle.

Eat and enjoy!