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Kickass 5-Ingredient Cookies

I’m greedy and desperate enough to have alchemised my favourite junk food snack into a nutritional fox trot.

So here it is … an unreasonably tasty cookie that has been shamelessly flirting with me everyday for the past 3 months.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

 

Check out this recipe – no hydrogenated fat, white sugar, artificial shite or additives. Just pure, unadulterated goodness with added omega 3 and calcium from some swanky chia.

The best part?

It doesn’t taste “pure” my friends. These cookies are not just for geezers (me) who fetishise loose leaf tea. It’s full on nasty. I’m not interested in sacrificing my taste buds just to put something healthy in my mouth. No thanks. Misery ain’t no ingredient in my pantry.

 

susan jane peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

 

These are a version of the American Peanut Butter Cookies I have in my second cookbook. #plug . Adding chocolate chips, extra baking powder and chia seed turn them into a very different sonata. Think opera.

Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language: one teaspoon of baking powder will produce a rounder, firmer cookie (see above). Pretty groovy. But then! Two teaspoons of baking powder will significantly inflate the cookies in the oven, making them flatter and significantly chewier once settled (see picture below). It’s science, innit?!

Have a good summer y’all! Let me know how you get along with this recipe – just tag them in your Instagram account and I’ll hunt you down.

 

Makes 20

3/4 cup good quality peanut butter (200g)
3/4 cup coconut sugar or rapadura sugar (100g)
1-2 teaspoons baking powder (see note above)
2 tablespoons milled chia seed
1 egg
Handful of dark chocolate chunks

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Blend all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork and tenacity. Roll into little ping pong-sized balls, and flatten with the back of a fork or your palm. Not too skinny though – you’re looking for uniformity so each cookie bakes at a similar rate. You can cook one tray, and freeze the remaining dough no problem.

Cook in your preheated oven for 10–12 minutes, before they turn brown or crisp. Don’t panic if they appear soft – you’re on the right track, as they harden and deflate once cooled.

Resist the temptation to wolf them hot from the oven. I’m still nursing my sore tongue.

 

peanut butter cookies

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Paleo Flapjacks

Nuts are superheroes, with an arsenal of fancy ninja moves.

Some of the largest health studies in history – the Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study – have consistently shown that snacking on raw nuts can lead to a 50% reduction in heart disease.

Research from the British Medical Journal goes further, identifying nuts as one of seven foods that can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 75%. You’ll be relieved to hear that dark chocolate and red wine qualify too. You’re welcome.

But don’t get too giddy my friend. You need to recruit the unprocessed, unsalted variety to make a difference to your ticker. Anything else is cheating.

Those flavoured packets in pubs? Bye-bye. We know that unsalted raw nuts contain special-agent unsaturated fats that help raise your protective cholesterol (HDL) while lowering that menacing cholesterol (LDL). Another special-agent fat, omega-3, may also help prevent blood clots much the same way as aspirin does. You’ll find omega 3s dancing in walnuts.

Many nuts are rich in arginine. Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language. Arginine is an amino acid necessary to make a molecule called nitric oxide that relaxes constricted blood vessels and eases blood flow. Think of it as the Bach of the blood. This might indeed help explain why nuts are applauded for their role in protecting arterial walls, making the walls more pliable and less susceptible to damage. Good news for health insurers.

 

 

paleo flapjacks

 

Paleo Flapjacks

1 cup walnuts
1 cup unsalted cashews
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup any nut butter you fancy
1/4 good honey (preferably local and raw)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

 

Pulse the nuts (almonds don’t work here) along with a good pinch of sea salt, the desiccated coconut and your honey in a food processor. A blender will turn it into baby food, which is not today’s vibe.

Add any nut butter you fancy (peanut, cashew, hazelnut or almond), a grating of fresh nutmeg and a whisper of vanilla. Pulse until it clumps together. Don’t be tempted to help the mixture along with water. You’ll regret it! I added a few goji berries for colour too, but they’re not essential.

Scrape and press the flapjack dough into a regular 8×8 brownie square tin. Set in the fridge, and lift out of its tin once firm. Cut into small squares and store in the fridge or freezer. Exactly like flapjacks (until you mizzle melted chocolate all over them of course).

Great with a tall glass of milk.

 

 

Will I see you next week at Avoca Kilmac, between Dublin and Wicklow?? I’ll be signing books from 11:30am on Saturday 28th May 2016, and baking treats for you and your loved ones. Free admission. 

Cover image EV softcopy

Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Easy Raw Chocolates

The mere whiff of cacao butter sends a cavalry of hormones pelting through my veins like a pinball machine.

My chest swells and my nostrils levitate. It would be a tragedy to miss out on a cacao-butter-head-rush. You think I’m joking. I get regular online deliveries, and squeal louder than a One Direction front-row fan when the courier calls.

 

cacao butter filler

 

Cacao butter gives chocolate its mesmerizing call, and not the dark cacao pigment as is generally assumed. This tree butter is cream in colour, rock solid at room temperature, and intoxicatingly perfumed. One tablespoon, melted, will amplify any chocolate recipe and send your serotonin to another galaxy. Without it, you’d only reach the clouds.

Cacao powder is basically the by-product of making cacao butter. Here’s what happens in the heavenly lands that grow chocolate trees;

The cacao tree harvests hundreds of pods, enveloping lots of beans. Once ripened, the pods are broken to reveal the moist cacao beans.

In order to dry the beans, they are spread over hot roofs under the blazing sun. Once dried, the beans form a skin that needs to be removed before any further production can be done.

Here’s the ingenious part. The beans are then blasted against a wall, while a high-powered fan blows away the bean’s skin before they drop into a basket below. The smashed nibs are shipped to chocolate makers, or further pressed to form cacao butter and cacao powder. Groovy, huh?

 

raw chocolate vegan

 

Raw Chocolates, without the fuss

You can easily make these into probiotic chocolates, by adding high quality live strains of probiotics (I use Udo’s). 1 or 2 capsules, opened up into the mix is plenty.

 

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

sprinkle of sea salt flakes

just over 1/3 cup (85ml) melted cacao butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave (not coconut nectar or brown rice syrup)

1 tablespoon melted extra virgin coconut oil

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

 

Start by chilling your chocolate mould in the freezer. I use a silicone ice cube tray from Dunnes. Works great.

Loosely sprinkle in the cacao nibs and a flurry of sea salt flakes.

Then slowly melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie until you get just over 1/3 cup (85ml). A bain-marie is basically a pot of gently simmering water with a heatproof bowl sitting on top in place of the lid. The contents of the bowl will melt gradually from the steam of the water underneath. Just make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water.

Using a fork, whisk in the syrup and melted coconut oil. Try not to skip the coconut oil, as it improves the mouthfeel of the final chocolate rather than imparting a coconut flavour.

Stir in the cacao powder, keeping the bowl warm to prevent it from seizing up. Work at speed!

Taste, and decide if you need a tiny bit more sweetness.

Pour into the moulds and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps them set quickly before they get a chance to stratify and form layers (there are methods to avoid this, which involves special thermometers. But pah to that!)

Store in the fridge thereafter for up to six weeks. And send me some telepathic jubilation.

 

raw chocolate recipe

 

An extract from The Virtuous Tart cookbook, with my fabulous team Orla Neligan and Jo Murphy.

If you haven’t done so already, I’d love to hear your (kind) reviews on Amazon here. It would sure mean a lot. In return, I shall send you telepathic love bombs!

Night night, and thanks

xx

Virtuous Tart Final Cover