Friday, 11 September 2015

Raw Caramel Sqaures

I AM PROUD TO ANNOUNCE AND PROVIDE THE RECIPE FOR THE MOST DELICIOUS, GOOD FOR YOU, SWEET TREAT EVER! Ok, I can't prove if it is the best in the history of ever....but they are pretty amazing. I'm actually so happy how these little bad boys turned out. I think they're the best naturally sweetened dessert/snack I've made yet. 

My sister and I are massive fans of caramel squares. For example, we know where does the best when we're both back home in Northern Ireland, and if we are in that area, there is no excuse for us not to get a caramel square from there. We also could discuss for a considerable amount of time the ideal ratio or caramel to biscuit to chocolate. Crazy?...we'd like to think we're just big fans. However a normal caramel square is usually pretty high on the old sugar and saturated fat levels. It definitely is reserved for a "treat yo self" day. However, I personally would like to enjoy caramel squares nearly everyday, thank you very much. So I came up with the idea of making a healthier, raw alternative, so my caramel-laden dreams could come true. After a while of experimenting in the kitchen and creating this recipe...I've got to say, I personally think these taste even better than the original version! 

There are three perfect layers, all naturally sweetened and made with coconut oil. The original recipe has quite a lot of butter to create the shortbread layer, however in this recipe, only a little fat is actually needed. Coconut oil is still a saturated fat but it definitely tastes better in raw desserts than butter. So coconut oil it is then! However, these caramel squares don't need that much saturated fat to bind the "shortbread" layer together, as there are chia seeds added. These swell and act as a binding agent when water is added to them. Yay!

Then unto the caramel layer...made out of pitted medjool dates, simmered and blended together to form a sticky paste. It is my favourite part! I could eat the mixture with a spoon, no problemo. You won't find any refined sugar here. Only the sweetness of the dates, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

Finally, the chocolatey layer is made from raw cacao powder, which is a powerful anti-oxidant. You know when you hear studies prove that chocolate is good for you? Scientists aren't talking about a bar of Dairy Milk, but this stuff right here. Pure chocolate in it's raw form. So not only is this the yummiest sweet treat but it is also good for you. Yessss!

Raw Caramel Squares

Makes 12 pieces

(Shortbread Layer)
120g Rolled Oats
120g Ground Almonds
4 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
4 tablespoons of Warm Water
2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds
Pinch of Salt

(Caramel Layer)
250g of Pitted Medjool Dates
100ml of Warm Water (+ 2 tablespoons for during blending)
2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil
Pinch of Salt

(Chocolate Layer)
6 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
5 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
5 tablespoons of Cacao Powder
Pinch of Salt

  1. Firstly, make the shortbread layer. Add all the shortbread ingredients into a food processor, and blend together, until a flour-like consistency forms. 
  2. Line a rectangular or square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Fold in shortbread mixture and pat down using a fork until a sturdy layer forms. Place in freezer whilst you make the other layers so the shortbread firms up.
  4. Then make the caramel layer by simmering the dates, over medium-heat, in a saucepan with boiling water for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the dates from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Then add in the other caramel ingredients into the food processor, along with the cooled dates and 2 tablespoons of water. Whiz together the ingredients until a thick caramel-like paste forms. 
  7. Remove shortbread base from the freezer and smooth the caramel paste on top. Place the baking tin back into the freezer.
  8. To make the chocolate layer, gently heat coconut oil and maple syrup in a saucepan for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in cacao powder and salt. Stir together until smooth consistency.
  9. Take the shortbread and caramel layers out of the freezer. Pour on chocolate mix and smooth out on top of the caramel layer. 
  10. Finish by sprinkling over a little salt on top of the chocolate layer, and place back into the freezer for 4 hours, or overnight. 
  11. Remove from the freezer and slice into squares. Allow to defrost before eating, and enjoy!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Spicy Paprika and Cumin Hummus

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Hummus is amazing. It needs no bigging up or gimmicky intro. A creamy blend of chickpeas and spices, make this the ultimate (and cost-effectice) protein source out there. Hummus also takes hardly any time to make. Once you've rustled up a jar, and refrigerated the delicious goodness, you'll most likely find yourself being tempted to eat it straight with a spoon. 

Spicy Paprika and Cumin Hummus

Makes 1 medium sized jar

400g Chickpeas, canned
5 tbsp of Olive Oil
5 tbsp of Water
1 Lemon, juiced
1 tbsp of Tahini
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
1 tsp of Cumin
1 tsp of Paprika
1/2 tsp of Chilli powder
Salt and Pepper to season

  1. Wash and drain the canned chickpeas.
  2. Place in food processor, along with all of the other ingredients.
  3. Whiz together until blended and creamy.
  4. Place in a jar and store in a fridge for up to a week.