Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

These Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free but are bursting with bright fruity flavour and the creamy richness of coconut.

stacked Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

How To Make Raw Energy Bars

Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars are the easiest assembly job of a recipe you can imagine. It’s a weigh the ingredients, throw everything into the blender, press into a baking tin, chill and cut type of affair. Completely no-bake and low-effort.

overview of cut Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

This recipe is based upon these Raw Cranberry Nut Energy Bars which I posted on the blog way back when and has always proved to be extremely popular. Well, I thought is was about time we updated this classic for a new exciting flavour. Enter stage right these Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars. I have to say, in a very small whisper, that I might even prefer these to the original.

ingredients for Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

Our blueberry flavour is sourced from dried blueberries which have a more fully rounded flavour than a generic dried berry. However the fruity vibe is punched up even further by freeze-dried blueberry powder which gives an amazingly pure flavour focus. We mix in some dried apricots for fibre and further depth of flavour. Plus dried apricots are much cheaper than blueberries so a mix of the two keeps the cost down.

Pro Tip – Unsulphured dried apricots

Unsulphured dried apricots mean there in no extra sulphur dioxide keeping the colour. Since we’re mixing it all up, the colour of the apricots is of no importance here.

ingredients for Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars in a food processor

We’ve got a lot of desiccated coconut here so there is no chance you’re going to miss the rich creamy flavour of coconut. Extra cashews are added for protein and to give the energy bars a bit more bite.

ingredients for Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars in a food processor

Finally we add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil. The coconut oil is good for flavour, to help keep the bars more solid in the chiller, for the good fats which keep the hunger down, and because it helps the extra toppings stick to the surface of the bars when they are setting.

Pro Tip

When you are pressing the energy bars into the baking tin after mixing the coconut oil will slightly escape through the tops of the bars. At this point you can take some kitchen paper and press down on the surface so that they are lovely and even and the excess oil is absorbed by the paper.

overview o Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars next to a knife on a wooden board

These Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars are absolutely delicious. I find a lot of these types of bars can be quite sweet but we have a lot of coconut and nuts packed in here to keep things more even handed. The flavours burst through and are a lovely little pick-me-up between meals. Plus so handy for lunch boxes and little toddler fingers.

close up of Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

If you make these Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Bursting with bright fruity flavour and the creamy richness of coconut.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: healthy snack recipe, no bake energy bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 169kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 125 g unsweetened desiccated coconut + 10g extra to decorate
  • 120 g dried blueberries + 10g extra to decorate
  • 120 g dried apricots
  • 75 g cashews + 10g extra to decorate
  • 2 tablespoons freeze dried blueberry powder
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Instructions

  • Line and grease a 6 x 6 x 3 inch square baking tin with two long pieces of baking parchment so they cross in the middle and come up and over the sides of the tin.
  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and combine for 3-5 minutes until all the components have broken down and come together into a sticky ball.
  • Tip the mixture into the baking tin and, using kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil, press down on top so the surface is even.
  • Roughly chop the extra blueberries and cashew nuts and scatter over the surface of the bars along with the extra coconut.
  • Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up then carefully remove from the tin and cut into 12 bars.
  • Store the bars in the fridge in between snacking for about a week.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7.2% | Vitamin C: 0.6% | Calcium: 1.6% | Iron: 6.7%

SHOP THE RECIPE

This Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Blueberry Powder, Raw Freeze-Dried, 200g is the one I’ve been using lately and it’s been brilliant. I have been using it in these energy bars but also in buttercreams for a blueberry buttercream and in my smoothies. A beautiful fruity flavour that’s pure blueberry.

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

I have been using this PME Anodised Aluminium Square Cake Pan 6 x 6 x 3-Inch Deep baking tin a lot lately and I love it so much. It’s super cute, bakes up small batch bars and brownies fantastically and is a very good price.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free but most importantly, absolutely heavenly.

A stack of Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

So I have got into a nice little habit which like all my habits start off as something well intentioned but ultimately turn into an unhealthy obsession until I have to stage a self-intervention and no longer allow myself to indulge in the habit further.

This current habit is… making my own chocolate. Oh by gum I am loving it. It all started a few months ago when I was asked to make a refined sugar-free, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free chocolate cake. The recipe for the cake itself wasn’t a problem, but finding quality chocolate for the ganache that ticked all these requirements wasn’t an easy task.

It also surprised me how many bars of chocolate that claimed to be vegan also said ‘may contain dairy.’ This left me baffled. And a dairy-free chocolate that didn’t contain soy felt like the holy grail.

Also sugar. Turns out chocolate producers like to put actual sugar in their chocolate, who knew? I did eventually find an artisan 70% dark chocolate bar without dairy or soy and made with coconut sugar. Of course the cost was obscene. I really didn’t have an option. I was going to have to make my own.

overhead shot of Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

It turned out that making my own chocolate from just a few ingredients was ridiculously easy. The resulting cake was splendid and everyone involved was incredibly happy. Especially me, as now I knew how to make my own healthy and guilt-free chocolate. This could only be a good thing, yet more ammunition for me to enjoy a balanced and less processed diet. Without a doubt this would lead to weight loss, wellness and unqualified happiness.

Sure. If you are a remotely restrained human being. That is not me and I am on the homemade chocolate train and riding it all the way to Disneyland and back again. Happiness indeed.

A stack of Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

Now this homemade chocolate isn’t made the same way actual chocolate producers make their posh bars but this homemade stuff is actually pretty brilliant. And incredibly addictive.

cocoa butter chips

How to make chocolate

  • Cocoa Butter. The base of the homemade chocolate is cocoa butter which you can easily get hold of on Amazon or your local health food shop. You can buy it in blocks of raw cocoa butter but it’s better for this purpose to buy in chips for even melting. The cocoa butter is melted with coconut oil which is used to help solidify the chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder is then whisked in for the chocolate taste.
  • Maple syrup, only a dash, for sweetness
  • Vanilla extract for depth
  • Salt for balance.
  • Add-ins. It’s up to you to leave plain or go crazy with the add-ins.
  • Set. All that’s left is to set the chocolate in the fridge or freezer. You can use chocolate moulds, a parchment lined Tupperware box, or muffin cases.

How to store homemade chocolate

This homemade chocolate isn’t as stable as properly processed chocolate and it melts easily so you will need to keep it in the fridge once it has set but that’s no issue at all as it’s wonderful direct from the chiller.

I have been loving experimenting with homemade chocolate but in this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Caramel Crunch Cups things are getting really exciting.

gluten-free cornflakes

Gluten-Free Cornflakes

Now I spoke above about the option of add-ins for your homemade chocolate. I’m talking about chopped nuts, dried fruit or crushed cookie pieces. For this recipe though we want some crunch to our chocolate, to contrast with the thick smoothness of the caramel. The crunch element of choice here is gluten-free cornflakes. Now I’m not a big cereal-for-breakfast fan, but cereal-in-desserts is another matter entirely. I grew up on chocolate cornflake treats and this here is just a grown up version of that. Not only do these cornflakes give the chocolate crunch but also that unique, almost malty, cornflake flavour that is so reminiscent of childhood.

Check Your Labelling

Check your labelling if you are looking for refined sugar-free. There are various brands of gluten-free cornflakes that either have no sugar involved or are made with unrefined sugar and also some made with regular sugar. It’s up to you which you choose. If you are going for completely unsweetened cornflakes though you may want to increase the amount of maple syrup used. For this recipe I used cornflakes slightly sweetened with rice malt syrup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups in a tin

I have been making different versions of chocolate cups since Beau was born. They were my little treat during night feeds when I needed something to stay awake. They are so easy to make as you just need cupcake cases, melted chocolate and a filling of some sort. The idea is based on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of which there have been countless versions of pervading food blogs for years. Here though, I wanted something a little less sinful but that still tastes just like you are sinning.

peanut butter vegan caramel

How To Make Vegan Peanut Butter Caramel

This filling takes peanut butter cups to the next level. First we make a vegan and sugar-free caramel by blending chewy sticky medjool dates with hot water, for a smooth drippy consistency, and coconut cream to really make it taste like actual creamy rich caramel. It’s such good stuff. Add a bit of vanilla and salt and you have a refined sugar-free and vegan caramel which is out of this world. I’m not vegan so I eat proper caramel all the time and I am still thrilled with the date caramel option, it has such depth of flavour and a perfect consistency. When we blend in a natural peanut butter into this caramel the situation suddenly gets serious.Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cup cut in half and stacked up on each other

This peanut butter caramel is an utterly divine filling for our chocolate crunch cups. At first you might think this is a complicated recipe as it involves making your own chocolate and your own vegan caramel. The steps are easy though and pretty foolproof. There’s no tempering of chocolate or burning of sugar to worry about and most of the recipe is an assembly job, broken down in the method below. I urge you to give these a try or at least make your own homemade chocolate, I bet after you make it the first time it will soon become a habit.

stacks of Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

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If you make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free but most importantly, absolutely heavenly.
Prep Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: chocolate
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 315kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Date Caramel

  • 120 g medjool dates pitted, about 8 dates
  • 60 g natural peanut butter
  • 60 g coconut cream
  • 60 ml boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Chocolate

  • 220 g cocoa butter chips
  • 30 ml coconut oil
  • 100 g cocoa powder
  • 30 ml maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g gluten-free refined sugar-free cornflakes, finely crushed
  • 20 g natural unsalted peanuts roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Instructions

Peanut Butter Date Caramel

  • Place all the ingredients into a small food processor and mix together for 5-10 minutes so the caramel is ultra smooth. Every so often turn off the processor and scrape down the sides for an even blend.

Chocolate

  • Melt the cocoa butter chips and coconut oil in a bain marie or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.
  • Sift the cocoa powder into the cocoa butter then whisk in until smooth.
  • Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt and crushed cornflakes.

Assembly

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of the molten chocolate into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  • Place in freezer for 3 minutes so the chocolate is half set.
  • Remove from the freezer. Push the chocolate ¾ way up the sides of the cupcake liner then place back in the freezer for 10 minutes for chocolate to completely set.
  • Remove the chocolates from the freezer.
  • Spoon 2 teaspoons of peanut butter date caramel into each case and smooth down the top of the caramel.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of the cornflake chocolate over the top of the caramel so it is completely covered.
  • Place the chocolate back into the freezer for 20 minutes to set.
  • Remove the chocolate from the freezer, sprinkle over some chopped peanuts and flaked sea salt.
  • Store the chocolates in the fridge. They will keep for at least a week.

Notes

*use a natural peanut butter which should only have ‘peanuts’ listed under the ingredients.
*The caramel cream I use is from a tin of coconut milk. If you are based in the UK then the best coconut milk brand to use is Biona as it contains no gums or stabilisers. Place your tin of coconut milk in the fridge upside down overnight. By the morning the coconut will have separated from the water, leaving you with beautifully solidified coconut cream at the top of your tin which you can scoop out with a spoon. I use the leftover coconut water for drinking, adding to smoothies, thinning out salad dressings or cooking with.
Homemade Chocolate recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker's Easy Vegan Chocolate

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 0.3% | Vitamin C: 0.2% | Calcium: 2.9% | Iron: 9.9%


SHOP THE RECIPE

These cocoa butter chips are perfect for this recipe. Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Cacao/Cocoa Butter, Wafers, 1kg are a pure ingredient with no ‘may contain..’ scariness.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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A stack of Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch Cups

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf {gluten-free}

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf is a glorious gluten-free cake, intense with chocolate, chewy with coconut and beautifully moist from the banana. Covered with glossy chocolate and snowy with coconut flakes.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

I have been doing a lot of vegan baking recently. I am not and never will be vegan because all my food intolerances mean that I would be a very malnourished individual if I were. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the way that veganism has opened up so many opportunities in baking (how fascinating is aquafaba!)and alternative ways of eating and drinking (you know I am a fan of non-dairy milk!). I really appreciate vegan baking and I find when it works well the results can be incredible.

slices of Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

Recently I made a big mistake with one of my cake orders and agreed to make a vegan cake for a client that was based on one of my non-vegan recipes. Since I wanted the cake to resemble my original recipe as closely as possible I made compromises in the ingredients. For example, when making the buttercream I just swapped out regular butter for vegan butter. Have you seen the ingredients on the back of vegan butter? Palm oil is such a problematic ingredient (not sure why then google it) and something I wouldn’t normally bring into my kitchen at all. I was totally unhappy with the choices I was making to produce this cake and when I sat back and analysed the situation I realised I was making the same mistakes a ton of people make when they first start free-from baking. I was thinking that with a just a few ingredients swaps I could turn a tried and true recipe into a successful free-from recipe. But it doesn’t always work like that. In making like-for-like swaps you will often be making compromises, in flavour, in texture and in this case, environmental. This is something I learnt the hard way when first baking gluten-free and now I’m learning it all over again with vegan baking.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

I totally believe that for the most part vegan and gluten-free recipes should be built from the ground up (there are of course many exceptions). It does not always guarantee a successful recipe if you just substitute in vegan butter for regular butter or a gluten-free flour for regular flour. In hindsight I realised that instead of making a vegan buttercream for this vegan cake order what I should have been doing was to research another way of icing the cake, maybe using a cashew icing or coconut milk frosting. Both of which actually would have been delicious.

overhead shot of Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

I have got a long way to go in vegan baking but luckily I already have a few corking recipes up my sleeve to offer to vegan customers and friends and the one that is currently my favourite I am sharing with you today. I sell an awful lot of this particular Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf and I’m not surprised, it’s an amazing chocolate cake and holds its own even with non-vegans and wheat eaters. It’s so bold in flavour and texture; intensely chocolatey, moist from the bananas and flecked with chewy desiccated coconut. The slices of this cake cut up huge so it is not a dainty loaf. This is a cake you need when the chocolate craving hits hard, it will fuel you and treat you.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

The hardest thing to replicate in vegan cakes are eggs. They provide many roles within the bake of your cake but the most important are to bind your cake together so it doesn’t fall apart and also to lift your cake so you’re not producing a pancake. My favourite way to substitute eggs in a cake is by using chia or flax eggs for the bind. This is basically chia or flaxseeds which have been mixed with water to create a sticky gel which you then just mix into the batter. For the cake to rise here I have opted for using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar which react with the coconut milk to lift the cake up.

On the gluten-free side of things I have used a three flour blend of white rice flour, oat flour and tapioca flour. I use this blend a lot in my chocolate recipes and find it works an absolute treat. However, I have been very mindful of late that I use a lot of gluten-free oat flour in my baked goods. This is because I love it, quite frankly, and I can eat it happily. However, I know for a lot of coeliacs and gluten intolerant that oat flour can be hard to handle. If you struggle with it then I recommend swapping it out for sorghum or teff flour. I have tested the recipe with each one and they are both lovely substitutes, it’s just I slightly prefer the version with oat flour.

slices of Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

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If you make Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own cake creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

PIN THIS POST TO READ LATER!

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

Print Recipe
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf {gluten-free}
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf is a glorious gluten-free cake, intense with chocolate, chewy with coconut and beautifully moist from the banana.
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, vegan
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 75 g oat flour
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • 100 g desiccated coconut
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 bananas peeled and mashed, 300g
  • 300 g soft light brown sugar
  • 140 ml coconut oil melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze
  • 125 g vegan chocolate
  • 50 g coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70 g coconut flakes
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, vegan
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 75 g oat flour
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • 100 g desiccated coconut
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 bananas peeled and mashed, 300g
  • 300 g soft light brown sugar
  • 140 ml coconut oil melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze
  • 125 g vegan chocolate
  • 50 g coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70 g coconut flakes
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Make the chia egg by mixing the ground chia seeds in a small bowl with the 3 tablespoons of water. Place in the fridge and it should be ready to use by the time you get to that step.
  3. Mix the flours in a large bowl with the desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside.
  4. Pour the coconut milk and apple cider in a food mixer and beat until it's frothy, do not overbeat in case the coconut milk should separate.
  5. Add the bananas, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and the chia egg and beat together until smooth.
  6. Spoon one third of the flour mixture in and mix until smooth, then the next third then mix, then the next*.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and smooth the surface.
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  9. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool before adding the glaze.
Chocolate Glaze
  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the vanilla) in a bain marie or a glass bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water and melt together.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Leave the glaze to thicken slightly until it is at a consistency where the glaze will cling to the cake rather than running straight off down the sides.
  4. Pour over the surface of the cake then sprinkle over the coconut flakes.
Recipe Notes

*You add the flour in thirds to ensure an even mix.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I have a few loaf tins but this Loaf Tin 2lb Alan Silverwood is my absolute favourite. It’s just a great size, slightly bigger than your average 2lb loaf tin so bear in mind for some recipes. It is made of anodised aluminium so conducts heat brilliantly, making the cake bake evenly all the way through. It’s really hard wearing and pretty much completely non-stick but has no coating. However because of the anodised aluminium you mustn’t put it in the dishwasher or it will ruin.

It’s quite difficult to find good quality vegan chocolate that’s also well priced. I buy Dairy Free Dark Belgian Cooking Chocolate 1kg Bittersweet 55% Cocoa and I really like it. The only small issue with it is that it does contain soy but if that isn’t one of the allergies you need to be concerned about then I highly recommend it.

It’s not easy to buy certified gluten-free sweet rice flour in the UK, for some reason Bob’s Red Mill is astronomically expensive. However I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free and it’s fantastic. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Oat flour can be picked up at most health food shops and if I run out that’s where I head to. However, like all alternative flours it can be expensive so I find the most economical way is to buy it online. I go through bags of the stuff as it’s the flour I use most regularly so I like to buy in bulk. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4) at a reasonable price. Even better if you go the subscribe and save option.

It’s not difficult to get hold of tapioca flour in the UK. You can often find 100g pots of Doves Farm Tapioca Flour in the supermarket but it’s quite costly and doesn’t give you very much. You can find more varied brands in health food shops in bags of about 500g. The cost depends entirely on the brand you purchase. My preferred brand is Bob’s Red Mill GF Tapioca Flour 500 g (Pack of 2) as it’s certifiably gluten-free and I order it through Amazon.

For the ground chia seeds I use Linwoods Milled Chia Seed, 200g which I love and you can get almost anywhere. I use ground chia seeds for my chia egg rather than whole chia seeds as I find it gels more effectively and quicker.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip

Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is a super simple vegan appetiser, rich in flavour and personality.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip came about in my current bid to cram more veggies into my everyday eating. I love vegetables and have never had a problem fitting them into breakfast, lunch and dinner until my time allotted to preparing my meals was suddenly halved on the arrival of Beau. Pasta Pesto Tuna was on rotation for dinner every other day at one point with nary a vegetable in sight. Vegetables require washing, peeling and chopping, none of which activities appeal at 8.30pm when the children have finally been settled and I have half an hour to make, eat and wash up dinner before crashing out at 9.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

I wrote on Instagram this week how I had a mini meltdown last week which led to no new posts on the blog. I may not have been able to achieve any concrete work due to extreme sleep deprivation and a string of recipe failures. But, what I did achieve was a week of mindful eating. I successfully cut out starchy carbs in the evening which I have found pull my energy and focused on getting as many veggies as I could into my day. It also turns out that not needing to prep carbs for an evening meal actually means dinner gets on the table, or my lap, a lot quicker too. Double win.

Now normally I’m not a big snacker but getting up several times during the night to tend to both children is making me so hungry during the day. So instead of ripping open another packet of oatcakes to scarf as I wait for the kettle to boil I am making sure to chop up a batch of carrot, cucumber and celery sticks at breakfast time to munch on during the day. If Cole assists with this little task then he can’t help but snag himself a fair number of the crudités there and then which has bonus points of getting vegetables in my picky pre-schooler too.

Butternut Squash and Red Peppers in a roasting dish

Now crudités are a pretty crappy snack on their own if I’m honest so I’ve been getting into my dips to make them a more exciting prospect. And since dips don’t live and die by houmous I’ve been branching out a little. I admit was quite proud of myself that my new favourite dip was based around yet more vegetables. I really feel like I’m top of the class at this whole veggie power movement. Not only that but Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip tastes amazing.

Butternut Squash and Red Peppers in a roasting dish

The butternut squash and red pepper are roasted together with peppery olive oil then whipped in the food processor with a splash of creamy almond milk. The added flavouring is kept simple because of the richness of the roasted vegetables with toasty warming cumin. I’m really loving cumin at the moment and like to add the whole roasted seeds in, some crushed, but mostly whole as I love the crunch.

A pestle and mortar filled with cumin seeds next to a plate of crudites

This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is sophisticated enough that you can serve it for a crowd. It also stands up quite well to sitting on a table for a length of time, houmous can go a little crusty and guac turns brown. This guy though is quite happy chilling on a table for an hour or two without being worse for wear. The dip is vegan so will get you on the good side of your vegan pals but is so good that your carnivore buddies will be scooping it up like there’s no tomorrow.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

And you know what, if you serve it on a plate with a pile of chicken fingers your pre-schooler might just take it upon himself to dip dip dip there too. This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is an absolute keeper, we’re really living the veggie dream in our house.

Print Recipe
Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip
Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is a super simple vegan appetiser, rich in flavour and personality.
A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites
Course appetiser
Cuisine British
Keyword dip, gluten-free, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil to serve
Course appetiser
Cuisine British
Keyword dip, gluten-free, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil to serve
A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Prepare your vegetables by peeling, de-seeding and cutting the butternut squash into half inch cubes. De-seed and stalk the red peppers and cut into one inch pieces.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a large roasting tray and toss in the butternut squash and red pepper with the salt.
  4. Roast the vegetables for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Checking every so often to give a stir.
  5. Remove the vegetables from the oven and leave to cool.
  6. Pour the butternut squash and the red pepper into a food processor, along with the excess olive oil and whip up with the almond milk until smooth.
  7. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry saucepan for thirty seconds then crush lightly in a pestle and mortar and add to the food processor. Pulse into the rest of the dip slightly just to disperse the spice.
  8. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and chill until needed.
  9. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few extra cumin seeds if you like.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin for this recipe. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

The links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links given then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

The instructions in this recipe were updated in 2019 to make the method a little clearer

I make no bones about it, these energy bars have been shamelessly ripped from the Nakd bar. I was completely reliant on Nakd bars when I worked as a TV Producer. I was either too busy to have breakfast so I grabbed one of these, maybe I had edits that ran over lunch so I kept going by pulling one of these out of my bag, or I was working late which meant that dinner was pushed until I got home at some heinous hour and my Nakd bars would once again save the day. I always had heaps of them crammed into my desk drawer, handbag and coat pockets.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Since I’ve been working from home, I haven’t found the need to rely so much on shop bought snacks, there is usually cake around or I’m recipe testing so I can munch on a bit of whatever I’m cooking or baking. Can you tell I was a bit more diet conscious when I wasn’t slouching around in tracky bums, baggy t-shirts and slippers all day.

Well, I’m upping the health factor in my life at the moment, making sure I achieve my 5-a-day, consume my 700mg of calcium and perhaps not rely on chocolate to fill the spare five minutes I have whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. With healthy eating comes healthy snacking so although I won’t rely on these bars like I used to it’s incredibly handy having something in that I can have if I need a sugar or protein hit. If I’m going for a long walk with Billy Buddy then I find that one of these is absolutely perfect for my dipping energy if I’m getting pulled around by an excitable little dog.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Having exhausted all the flavours of Nakd bars during my obsession with them I always wanted to give them a go myself, after all there is only about four ingredients listed on the back of the packets. I should have carved out time to do this years ago, as they were one of the easiest things to prepare. If you own a food mixer then that’s all you need to whizz up the ingredients before you press into a tin, refrigerate and then cut into bars.

When I set about making these I didn’t have any particular plan in mind other than I wanted to use up some of my dried cranberries; I severely overestimated how many I would need over Christmas and my larder is overrun with them. I love cranberry and macadamia together and then found buried in the back the remains of a packet of macadamias which hadn’t gone out of date yet – score! There weren’t quite enough nuts so I amped up the quantity by substituting almonds. I also added dates which are the main ingredient in any Nakd bar to bind the bars together, I used plump sticky medjool dates to add juiciness and deeper flavour. There are more dates than cranberries in this recipe but the dates add the background note whilst the overriding zingy flavour is of the cranberries. I couldn’t resist adding a tablespoon of freeze dried raspberry powder either for more berry flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

They worked out better than expected. The raspberry powder lifts the whole bar so it tastes fresher somehow. You can get raspberry powder from Father Christmas when he puts it in your stocking to open on Christmas morning or if you weren’t quite as lucky as I was then it’s easy enough to buy online.

These bars should keep for about a week in the fridge but you could also double the quantity I’ve suggested here and stick them in the freezer so you have lots to keep you going. I made mine in a smaller quantity of eight so I can move onto another flavour when these are done.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Print Recipe
Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars
Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.
Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars
Course snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
8 bars
Ingredients
  • 180 g medjool dates pitted
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 75 g macadamia nuts
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder
Course snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
8 bars
Ingredients
  • 180 g medjool dates pitted
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 75 g macadamia nuts
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder
Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars
Instructions
  1. Line and grease a 5 x 5 x 3 inch* square baking tin with two long pieces of baking parchment so they cross in the middle and come up and over the sides of the tin.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and combine for 3-5 minutes until all the components have broken down and come together into a sticky ball.
  3. Tip the mixture into the baking tin, press down on top so the surface is even.
  4. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up then carefully remove from the tin, using the long ends of the baking parchment as leverage and cut into 12 bars.
  5. Store the bars in the fridge in between snacking for about a week.
Recipe Notes

*I originally used a different baking tin for the bars made in the photos. This tin will make slightly wider shaped bars.

SHOP THE RECIPE

The raspberry powder I used in this recipe was Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder 150g. It’s a lovely product and I find freeze-dried raspberry powder useful in so many recipes, from buttercreams to sponge cakes and also in homemade beauty products like lip balm – basically anytime I need a hit of raspberry without using fresh fruit which isn’t always appropriate.

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Watermelon Mint Granita

This easy no-sugar Watermelon and Mint Granita is the ultimate heat quencher. This icy summer treat is light and refreshing and completely sugar-free.

A glass of Watermelon Mint Granita on a table in front of plants

This is not so much a recipe but an idea on how to keep cool during these times when your house has turned into a hotbox and the outside air is muggy and unrelenting. I have never been one for the summer months, they stretch out endlessly with little respite between May and September. Days when you are free to enjoy the sun are interrupted by magnificent thunderstorms and although I am not commuting into central London at the moment I am only too familiar with the unpleasant experience of sweltering temperatures, no air conditioning and thousands of fellow passengers jammed up against you on the Piccadilly line.

Glasses of Watermelon Mint Granita on a table in front of plants

In our humid house the nights have been terribly uncomfortable lately and sleep has been infrequent with the electric fan constantly jarring any slumber. During the day I have become accustomed to lugging said fan with me from room to room and kitchen prep has been made challenging with its overbearing gustiness spraying caster sugar sandstorms across the floor.

Cubes of watermelon

So, suffice to say I never champion these heat waves as much as I’m supposed to. At the moment I am desperate to find ways to chill out, I am not so easily sated as the puppy is by dancing in the stream of the garden hose; but that is where this no-sugar Watermelon Mint Granita comes in. There is something so refreshing about sweet luscious watermelons anyway, then when it is jazzed up with a bit of garden mint the flavour sparkles. There is absolutely no need for sugar in this recipe as the watermelons are so rich and sweet this time of year that on these hot sticky days the simple fruit is all you need.

Watermelon Mint Granita in the blender

There is no more effort to this than simply blitzing the fruit and mint in the blender and popping the juice in the freezer. Although for such a casual recipe you do need to hang about the freezer for a couple of hours, giving it nudge every so often to break up the icy crystals during the freeze. It’s incredibly worthwhile though as the results instantly temper any inner heat and it’s sweetly moreish to boot. If you don’t want to eat it straightaway then once it has reached the right consistency you can just keep it in the freezer, but it will need to stand for about 10-15 minutes out of the freezer to become loose enough to portion out, unless you have an ice pick knocking around to help you out.

A tray of Watermelon Mint Granita

I have to say though, the one thing I do appreciate about the summertime is the amount of daylight we have. The ability to lounge in the garden all evening long seems so luxurious and when this time of day comes I add a slug of rum to transform my granita into a proper grown up slush puppy; a perfect way to usher in the hot and hazy nights.

A glass of Watermelon Mint Granita on a table in front of plants

Print Recipe
Watermelon Mint Granita
Easy no-sugar Watermelon and Mint Granita is the ultimate heat quencher. This icy summer treat is light and refreshing and completely sugar-free.
A glass of Watermelon Mint Granita on a table in front of plants
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg watermelon
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg watermelon
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
A glass of Watermelon Mint Granita on a table in front of plants
Instructions
  1. Remove the seeds from the watermelon and then blitz the flesh in a blender.
  2. Add the mint leaves and blend again.
  3. Pour the juice into a deep baking tray.
  4. Place into the freezer for 40 minutes, then remove it and with a fork break up all the ice crystals.
  5. Place back into the freezer for 30 minutes and once again, remove and break up the ice crystals with a fork.
  6. Repeat this a further 3-4 times until the watermelon has formed easy to move sweet icy snow.

SHOP THE RECIPE

To blend up the watermelon and mint in the recipe I used my trusty Vitamix® Pro750 Food Blender, Copper UK Model. It’s one of my most favourite kitchen appliances and I use it almost daily. This blender is amazing! I loved the Kitchenaid blender I had before but my Vitamix produces the smoothest smoothies, most cohesive sauces and fantastic soups. I have been using it most frequently at the moment for making my iced matcha lattes and I now could not be without it. Okay, it isn’t cheap but if you have the budget for it and you are looking to be really spoilt then I really recommend it. Plus I love the colour!!

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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