Sunday, 18 February 2018

Coconut Caramel Squares

Coconut Caramel Squares

Here's another refined sugar-free treat I love - no baking-required coconut and date squares, which I boosted with a caramel-flavoured protein powder, to give a real caramel/butterscotch taste. They are topped with a sugar-free chocolate glaze. Store them in your freezer and take as many squares as you want out when you need a delicious but healthy treat.

I used Myprotein speculoos (caramel biscuit) flavoured impact whey protein. I find all of their whey proteins excellent for baking as they aren't overly sweet, and they mix very well. If you can't get this, experiment with your favourite protein powder. If you really don't like protein powder, however, you don't need to use it. Instead, replace the protein powder with cocoa powder.

Makes 64 squares


For the bottom layer:

  • 170g (1 cup) dates
  • 40g (2 & 1/2 tbsp) crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)
  • 10ml (2 tsp) coconut oil, melted
  • 10g (2 tbsp) caramel flavoured protein powder
  • 50g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • Oil spray, for greasing

For the top layer:

  • 10g (1 & 1/2 tbsp) cocoa powder
  • 10g (2 tbsp) caramel flavoured protein powder
  • 10ml (2 tsp) coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp granulated stevia (optional)


1. Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin (I used a silicon one) with the oil spray, and line with cling film. 

2. Blend the dates using a food processor or high powered blender. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the peanut butter, coconut oil, protein powder, desiccated coconut and salt. Beat until everything is well combined.

3. Pour into the cake tin and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture over the base. It will be only a few mm thick. Place in freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.

4. For the topping, blend together the cocoa powder, protein powder and coconut oil. Test for sweetness (this will vary greatly depending on the protein powder of choice). Add stevia to sweeten the top layer if needed.

5. Pour the chocolate topping evenly over the base, gently smoothing over to cover the base fully. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the topping to firm up.

6. Cut into 2.5cm squares (split each row and column into 8) using a sharp knife, and place in an airtight container. Keep in the freezer until ready for a yummy treat :)

7. Enjoy!

20 calories per square

Coconut Caramel Squares

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Rose & Lychee Turkish Delight

I used to hate Turkish delight when I was a child. It was always tasted like perfume and sometimes even had a nut on the inside, which I also detested (I can't quite believe I used to dislike peanuts so much given my adoration of peanut butter and Snickers bars now...). I read a recipe by Nadiya from GBBO where she made a Guava Turkish delight and thought I'd give it a go. Now I had to adapt her recipe slightly as I couldn't find guava juice or rose syrup. Instead, I used a lychee juice I found in my local supermarket - it isn't pure juice (I think it was around 20% lychee), but gave a nice extra note of flavour to the rose-flavoured Turkish delight. Also, the rose flavour does come through but I promise these do not taste like perfume!
They also are easy to make, and once made, need to be left for at least a day to dry out. They will then keep in an airtight container for at least a week.

Fills a 20cm square cake tin, so makes 20-40 (depending on the square size you choose). 

  • 2 packs of powdered gelatine (25g)
  • 250ml (1 cup & 2 tsp) water
  • 250ml (1 cup & 2 tsp) lychee juice
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water
  • 450g (2 & 1/4 cups) caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • Oil spray (for greasing the tin)


1. Lightly oil a 20cm square cake tin (I used a silicone one), and then line with two sheets of clingfilm. Mix together the icing sugar and cornflour and use a tablespoon to dust the base of the tin evenly.

2. Pour 45ml (3 tbsp) of the water into a small bowl and pour over the gelatine sachets. Whisk briefly then leave for the gelatine to bloom (for at least 5 minutes).

3.  Pour the remaining water into a pan, along with the caster sugar, lychee juice and rose water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat so that it is just simmering, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.

4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the bloomed gelatine until dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool further.

5. Pour the mixture into your lined tin, and leave overnight to set.

6. Dust your work surface with the icing sugar/cornflour mix with clingfilm and tip out the Turkish delight onto the surface. Dust a sharp knife in the sugar/cornflour and slice the Turkish delight into squares. Roll each piece in the sugar/cornflour. 

7. To make the best Turkish delight, re-roll each piece in more icing sugar/cornflour every couple of hours or until the sweets stop absorbing the sugar. This step isn't essential but really helps to give the traditional white coating on a Turkish delight.

8. To keep the sweets, lay them in an airtight container between two pieces of greaseproof paper.

9. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Chocolate Orange Caramel Tartlets (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Gluten-free refined-sugar-free chocolate orange tartlets

I'm getting back into healthier baking and found a few interesting ideas I really wanted to try out. The inspiration for these tartlets came from Livia's kitchen, an amazing food blog I can't believe I hadn't heard of previously! She had a recipe for a chocolate orange tart, which is refined sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan. As I'm training for a big race and am trying to eat cleaner, I adapted the recipe to make it a little lower in calories and sugar. For example, I cut down on the sugar content by making the caramel layer a little thinner, as well as leaving out the coconut oil (I didn't miss it!), and adapting the chocolate topping. The flavour is so intense you don't need much, so these tartlets are a perfect handheld treat.

I used a loose-bottomed 12 hole sandwich tin from Lakeland. If you don't have one of these, you could use a standard cupcake or muffin tin.

Makes 12 tartlets.

169kcal per tartlet


For the base:

  • 80g (3/8 cup + 1 tbsp) dates (pitted)
  • 75g (3/5 cup) ground almonds
  • 65g (2/3 cup) finely chopped walnuts
  • pinch of salt

For the caramel filling:

  • 150ml (2/3 cup) orange juice
  • 175g (1 cup) dates (pitted)
  • Zest of one orange
  • pinch of salt

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 15g (1 tbsp) shelled and skinned peanuts
  • 100ml (2/5 cup) skimmed milk (or use a soy/nut alternative if you'd like the tartlets to be dairy-free and vegan)
  • 80g (3/8 cup + 1 tbsp) dates (pitted)


1. Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)/355F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease the base and sides of each well in the cake tin/muffin tray.

2. To make the base, blitz the dates in a food processor/high-power blender until smooth. Add the salt, ground almonds and walnuts, and blitz again until you have a slightly sticky dough.

3. Evenly divide between the tartlet moulds, pressing into the base and sides. Try to get the crust as thin as possible, around 2-3mm is ideal. You can use your fingers or the back of a teaspoon to press.

4. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes (the tartlets will be starting to turn golden on the edges). Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

5. Make the caramel by blitzing together the dates and orange juice until smooth. Stir in the salt and orange zest.

6. Evenly divide between the tartlet cases. They should be filled close to the top, but not overflow.

7. To make the topping, blitz the last batch of dates with the peanuts. Add the milk and cocoa powder and blitz until smooth. It will be fairly runny. Top each tartlet with the chocolate mixture and gently smooth over.

8. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the chocolate layer feels firm but not too hard. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

9. Once cool remove from the tin and place in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.

10. Enjoy!

Gluten-free refined sugar-free vegan chocolate orange caramel tartlets

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