Rice malt syrup – ever heard of it? You will. Hottie Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar fame levitates on the stuff.
In fairness, this sweetener is flipping good. Think of a malted milkshake that hits the spot without being too saccharine or sweet. That’s rice malt syrup.
But calm down, it ain’t no superfood! (BTW, I’ve bags’d that for my epitaph).
Rice malt syrup is merely a natural sugar that escapes the modern evils of fructose. What’s so bad about fructose? Little, really. Unless you regularly neck the dumbed-up version found in sodas. This is called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Fructose, itself, is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and some veg. In its natural state, fructose is found in small amounts within a coalition of minerals and fibre contained within that piece of fruit. Ah! But when fructose is artificially concentrated, and in isolation of other nutrients, our body treats it quite differently.
Glucose is metabolised by every cell in the body, says endocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig. Fructose, however, can only be metabolised by the liver.
Too much fructose in a concentrated, isolated form has been shown to substantially burden the liver. So if you’ve been horsing into high-fructose agave, it might be time to make friends with a new sweetener. Let me help you do exactly that.
Enough for several weeks worth of breakfast
The number of expensive granolas to choose from in our supermarkets is unprecedented in Irish history. Trust me – you can make a much better one for a fraction of the price at home. This one has three different grains, making it a complete protein by virtue of its amino acid permutation. That’s benchpresser speak for “highfive”. Sporty teens will go mental for it.
100g dark chocolate, like Green & Blacks cooking chocolate
Fire up your oven to 160 Celsius, gas mark 3.
Line your largest tray with parchment, or use two smaller trays.
In your biggest pot, melt the coconut oil, your syrup, vanilla and cinnamon over a timid heat. Turn off the heat.
Now tumble in the remaining ingredients, all except for the dates and dark chocolate. Scrape the contents of the pan out over your lined tray(s).
Bake for 22 minutes. Allow the ‘Grainola’ to cool completely before stirring through the chopped dates and glorious chunks of chocolate. Store in a tall glass jar on the kitchen counter. This is magnificent stuff with ice-cold milk.
If you find feeding your family healthy food is as easy as foxtrotting up a glass wall, then this shortbread recipe is for you. Kids love it. Teens dig it. And adults can’t keep their mitts off it.
Try to find a local raw honey where you live – it will contain impressive antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. These work like a giant Pac-Man in the bloodstream. Heat treated, mainstream honey cannot boast the same benefits and can be cleverly adulterated. You might want to check out the honey documentary on Netflix right now. Creepy.
Our body will also appreciate the swag of vitamin C & antioxidants from your favourite berries. These should help slay any renegade free radicals loitering in our system.
Plus, you’ll find a consignment of vitamin E in almonds. This vitamin works synergistically with vitamin C, to pimp up our immune system and front line defence. How cool is that? I kept the best bit until last … a nifty cargo of live probiotics! You and I can neck probiotic capsules when our bodies feel like a Petri dish. But our little ones? They need our help.
This recipe is magical – enough to impress Hermione Granger.
4-6 capsules of probiotics, or probiotic powder (I swear by Udo’s #NotSponsored!)
Pinch of ground turmeric (optional)
Gently melt the coconut oil with your honey. Try not to kill the honey’s health benefits with intense heat, if you managed to get your mitts on some fabulous local raw honey.
Tumble in the ground almonds and dried fruit. Now parachute each opened capsule into the shortbread dough and the optional turmeric for extra nutrition. Mix thoroughly.
Spoon onto a sheet of baking parchment, and squash together with the palm of your hands. Using another sheet of parchment atop, exercise a rolling pin over the surface and flatten the dough to a depth of 1cm or 5mm. Freeze for 2 hours.
When the kids return from school hollering for a treat, remove the dough from your freezer and carefully cut into chards of shortbread, just like the photo. These are designed to be eaten straight from frozen like ice cream cookies. They need no baking, and can be stored like this for up to 3 months. Thunderous hurrah!