Chocolate Courgette Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

These Chocolate Courgette Muffins are delightfully decedent and incredibly moist. Plus they are gluten-free and vegan.

close up of chocolate courgette muffins

There is something about courgette that makes a chocolate muffin taste even more chocolately. It seems to deepen the flavour, make it earthier and more complex. The courgette within the muffin doesn’t taste of vegetables but it does give the muffin a kind of intensity that will make you wonder why you don’t put courgettes into all your chocolate cakes.

How to prepare courgettes for cakes

Courgettes are easy to get ready for your cakes. They just require a quick rinse in fresh water, top and tailing, then grating. If you have a grater attachment with your food processor then you’re good to go. However hand grating or using a julienne peeler is just fine too, although will take longer.

The next step is to remove as much excess water out of the courgette as you can. The best way to do this is to wrap the grated courgette in a clean porous cloth, muslin or nut milk bag and squeeze it out by hand. There shouldn’t be a huge amount of water produced but it’s a worthwhile job lest it interfere with the liquid ratios in your cake.

Vegan Baking

Vegan baking can have its detractors but if you use real whole ingredients in your vegan cakes they will produce amazing results. Instead of vegan butter think coconut butter and gravitate towards these kind of ingredients. Homemade cashew milk (which is dead easy to make) or coconut milk without complicated stabilisers will produce much better cakes than your generic carton of soy milk.

These Chocolate Courgette Muffins for instance are as good (actually better!) as any muffin you will have tasted. So light yet almost fudgy. Gluten-free or vegan be damned, they are just an incredible muffin and a perfect way to use up this season’s courgette glut.

Overhead shot of chocolate courgette muffins

How do you make vegan muffins?

Making great vegan muffins is easy once you understand what roles the dairy and eggs play in regular muffins. Then we just need to replicate those roles in other ways.

Fat

The fat is easy to replace as muffins are usually made with a liquid fat anyway. For our vegan muffin we could use a light olive oil but here we’re opting for melted coconut oil.

Rising Agent

That would usually be the job of the eggs and a touch of baking powder. For this recipe though we’re going all in on bicarbonate of soda and baking powder for a really good lift.

Vegan Baking Tip 1: Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the key to the rise. Any vinegar or lemon juice will do the job but apple cider vinegar is my favourite acid to use in a cake. The acid reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to give a great rise to the muffins. It doesn’t hurt that this reaction also gives the cake a really tender crumb.

Vegan Baking Tip 2: Chia Egg

Chia seeds (or flaxseeds also do the same job) can be used to great effect in both vegan and gluten-free cakes to help naturally bind the bake together. A chia ‘egg’ is incredibly simple to prepare:

Mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the chia seeds have become a sticky gloop. The texture will resemble a whisked egg.

A chia egg is not really a replacement egg exactly. For example, it’s not quite the case that you can just replace the eggs in a cake with the same amount of chia eggs. However, they will definitely help your cake bind really well, giving great moisture content, and that’s pretty much what a real life egg does too.

Gluten-Free Flours

The gluten-free flours in vegan cakes have to work extra hard as they won’t have the protein structure of eggs to help bind the muffin together. So we are looking to use a flour with a very high protein content:

  • Almond flour does this job perfectly and gives great structure to the muffin. However, if we have too much protein then our muffin will be dry and stiff so it’s good to mix the almond flour with something a little lighter and fluffier:
  • Oat flour is the ideal companion to the almond flour in both texture and flavour.

Oat flour substitute – If you find oats hard to digest then you might want to replace it with sorghum flour or teff flour.

For the ultimate guide to all things oat flour and why it’s so great in baking then have a look at this post. It also tells you what to do if you can’t find gluten-free oat flour. Hint: grind your own!!

Click here for instant access

Moisture

The one thing a lot of vegan and gluten-free bakes lack is moisture. However we are lucky in these Chocolate Courgette Muffins that there is a lot going on that help us out on that front. We have:

  • Courgettes
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Chia egg
  • Brown sugar

The result is that these muffins are almost fudgy like in texture. They hold together well, they are so delicious and you will be going back for more. And more.

If you are unsure about vegan baking or want to prove to someone how delicious vegan baking can truly be then point them in the direction of these Chocolate Courgette Muffins. No one is going to be disappointed.

If you love these muffins then why not try these other vegan baking recipes?

Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin
Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins
Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf

If you make these Chocolate Courgette Muffins 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.

Overhead shot of chocolate courgette muffins
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Courgette Muffins

Chocolate Courgette Muffins are delightfully decedent and incredibly moist. Plus they are gluten-free and vegan.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 15 muffins
Calories: 331kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 140 ml coconut oil melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300 g courgettes grated
  • 350 g soft light brown sugar
  • 200 g almond flour
  • 125 g oat flour
  • 70 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark Fill a muffin tin/s with 15 muffin liners.
  • Prepare the chia egg by mixing the chia seeds with the 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes for the chia seeds to gel together.
  • Place the grated courgette in the centre of a large piece of muslin, porous cloth or even into a nut milk bag. Using your hands, squeeze the excess water out of the courgettes. After this the grated courgettes should weigh about 250g. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the almond flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl then set aside for a moment.
  • Pour the coconut milk and apple cider in a large bowl or food mixer and beat until the liquid is frothy.
  • Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, sugar, chia egg and grated courgette. Beat until well combined.
  • Mix the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients in two batches to ensure even combining.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin liners, filling each almost to the top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove the muffins immediately from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • Use a coconut milk that doesn’t have any thickeners, stablilisers or gums. The best one in the UK is the Biona brand.
  • Oat flour substitute: you can switch out with sorghum flour or teff flour
  • If you can’t find gluten-free oat flour then you can grind your own by using the equal weight of gluten-free rolled oats and grinding in your food processor. Since you’ll probably be unable to achieve as fine a grind the texture of the muffin will be slightly chewier but just as delicious.
  • The best way to scoop the muffin batter into the muffin liners is to use an ice cream scoop. Each muffin should contain about 2 generous scoops.
  • The muffins will keep up to 5 days in a air tight tin in a cool dark place.
  • These muffins freeze excellently. Freeze in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months and leave to defrost on the kitchen top thoroughly before consuming.

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 279mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 3.7mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2.4mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

This post is not sponsored but some of the links within the post 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.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

This Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread has no yeast so is incredibly quick to make and this version also happens to be vegan and uses no xanthan gum.

gluten-free irish soda bread on a cooling rack

It’s St Patrick’s Day this weekend and although it’s not really a holiday we celebrate, despite my grandfather being Irish, I have relished this opportunity to perfect and share this Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread.

My struggles getting a really good gluten-free bread up on the blog have been well documented in my Insta Stories. Most of my bread endeavours have been perfectly edible but to get a loaf that is uncomplicated, tasty and not terribly dense is a tough ask. Especially if you need to avoid using xanthan gum which I always am.

cut open and a slice of gluten-free irish soda bread

Irish Soda Bread has been the perfect antidote to my struggles. There is no yeast involved, no kneading, no rising and no complicated ingredients. It takes 15 minutes to mix up the dough and only 45 minutes in the oven. So that’s pretty much 1 hour from start to finish.

Sifting flour into a bowl

Whisking flaxseed into non-dairy milk

pouring milk into flour for gluten-free bread

pouring bread dough into cake tin

please note the above photo was taken before I realised the need for lining the cake tin with baking parchment – see top tips below.

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish Soda Bread is a traditional very quick bread recipe which is made without yeast so there is no proving time to be considered. Instead the bread rises through the reaction of bicarbonate of soda and acidic buttermilk.

cutting gluten-free irish soda bread

How Do You Make Vegan Soda Bread?

Regular Irish Soda Bread uses a combination of buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda to create the rise. To make the recipe vegan (or if you don’t have any buttermilk to hand) you can use a non-dairy milk mixed with a little acid to create the same buttermilk effect. This recipe uses oat milk with apple cider vinegar but you can use any non-dairy milk and you can swap lemon juice in for the vinegar if that is what you have.

sliced gluten-free irish soda bread on bread board

The Flours

I tested this recipe a bunch of times with a different combination of flours. I finally settled on the following mix:

Oat Flour
The oat flour is the perfect light and fluffy texture for the bread, as well as providing a delicious oaty taste. You can substitute with sorghum flour if you can’t digest oats but some brands of sorghum flour can be a little gritty which does come through in this bread recipe since such a large amount is needed.

Almond Flour
The almond flour also gives the bread a lovely texture and taste. It is light but also helps keeps the bread from being dry and crumbly.

Potato Flour
Potato flour and not starch is used to alleviate the density of the loaf.

Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is chosen as it gives the bread a lovely golden crust and also helps bind all the other flours together in lieu of gluten.

Cut open gluten-free irish soda bread

Why Do We Use Ground Flaxseeds?

The bread needed a little more binding. Many wholegrain Irish Soda Bread recipes compensate by adding an egg. I wanted to keep this bread vegan so turned to flaxseeds which when added to liquid have a certain viscosity which helps to keep the bread tender.

What Can You Substitute For The Flaxseeds?

If you don’t have flaxseeds then ground chia seeds work in exactly the same way, so just swap in the same quantity.

A slice of gluten-free irish soda bread on a bread board

How Do You Make Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread?

  1. Whisk the milk and vinegar together.
  2. Sift the flours with the bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  3. Add the flaxseeds to the milk.
  4. Pour the milk into the flours and mix well.
  5. Tip the dough into a cake tin and bake for 45 minutes.

A slice of gluten-free irish soda bread on a bread board

Top Tips for Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

  • Regular Irish Soda Bread can be baked free-form just on a baking sheet. Here I recommend baking this gluten-free version in a round cake tin. This dough is a little looser and it helps the bread stay in shape during the bake.
  • Also, do use line the cake tin on the bottom and sides with baking parchment to stop the bread from sticking. Cut out a circle of parchment and place on the bottom. Cut out a straight line of parchment and curl it round the insides of the cake tin. Do not grease the parchment.

bread dough in cake tin

More Gluten-Free Recipes You Might Like
Happiness Bread
Gluten-Free Scones
Easiest Gluten-Free Banana Bread

If you make this Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread 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.

Click here for instant access

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread on a cooling rack.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

This Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread has no yeast so is incredibly quick to make and this version also happens to be vegan and uses no xanthan gum.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish

Ingredients

  • 180 g oat flour
  • 120 g almond flour
  • 60 g potato flour
  • 60 g tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 350 ml non-dairy milk
  • tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 20 g ground flaxseeds

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted/gas mark 4. Line the bottom of a 6 inch x 4 inch round cake tin with baking parchment on the bottom and around the insides of the tin.
  • Whisk the milk with the apple cider vinegar in a jug and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  • Whisk the flaxseeds into the milk and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flours and pour in the liquid. Mix well.
  • Pour the bread dough into the lined cake tin and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the oven, leave to rest for 5 minutes before carefully inserting out of the tin and leave to cool on a rack.

Notes

  • For the non-dairy milk you can use oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk or a combo of any of them.
  • Instead of the apple cider vinegar you can use the same amount of lemon juice.
  • If you don’t have any flaxseeds to hand then you can swap in ground chia seeds.

SHOP THE RECIPE


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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Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

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
Servings: 12
Calories: 169kcal

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: 360IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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.

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Chocolate Tahini Energy Balls

Chocolate Tahini Energy Balls in a bowl, one with a bite taken out

Coconut Lime Energy Balls

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.

PIN THIS POST TO READ LATER!

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

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Fleur de Sel Olive Oil Chocolate Truffles

How to Temper Chocolate

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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
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 315kcal

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: 15IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1.8mg


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.

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Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf on a wooden board

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.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 653kcal

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

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 9 inch loaf tin.
  • 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.
  • Mix the flours in a large bowl with the desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside.
  • 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.
  • Add the bananas, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and the chia egg and beat together until smooth.
  • Spoon one third of the flour mixture in and mix until smooth, then the next third then mix, then the next*.
  • Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and smooth the surface.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool before adding the glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 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.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • 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.
  • Pour over the surface of the cake then sprinkle over the coconut flakes.

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 653kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3.8mg

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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Pecan Espresso Granola {gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan}

Pecan Espresso Granola is a healthy way to start your day or snack or eat your dessert. It is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and vegan. It’s also ultra delicious, crunchy and satisfying.

overhead view of a bowl of granola with almond milk, banana slices on a wooden plate with a cup of coffee and a spoon

I try to keep a jar of homemade granola in the cupboard for the whole family to enjoy, we all get a little bit of something different from it and it’s become a bit of a necessity. Luke loves it for breakfast with a splash of milk (Homemade Almond Milk is a winner here), Cole will pretty much eat it anytime but I often use it as a sprinkling over his yoghurt. And I can often be found delving into the jar to pull out dry fistfuls as a snack. Beau however has yet to become accustomed to the delights of granola, but he is only 9 months old.

close up view of Pecan Espresso Granola

Granola is so versatile to eat and also to make, I have fun with it, adding whatever nuts, seeds, fats and flavours I fancy that week and Cole often helps throw things into the mix. You can’t really go wrong with it. I think though this Pecan Espresso Granola is one of my favourite granola recipes and I just couldn’t stop eating it for that last week in December. It helps that it’s also an ideal January recipe and will suit you whether you are trying a sugar-free diet or veganuary.

overhead view of a bowl of granola with almond milk, banana slices on a wooden plate with a cup of coffee and a spoon

Oats are fantastically nutritious for you, which is why they are such a staple breakfast food worldwide. They are high in a fibre called beta-glucan which helps lower cholesterol, balances out blood sugar and helps fight hunger pangs. You have your energy boosting protein here from the pecans and almond butter which also provide good fats along with the coconut oil to satisfy you. Dates and maple syrup provide just the right amount of sweetness and the whole affair is spiked with the richness of espresso, cinnamon and vanilla. There isn’t too much espresso here that I fear giving it to Cole but by all means if you are concerned about giving this granola to your littles then do leave it out.

overhead view of Pecan Espresso Granola spilling from a jar with a tea towel and bowl of granola to the side

REMEMBER TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE FROM THE LARDER NEWSLETTER FOR EXCLUSIVE RECIPES, UPDATES AND LOADS OF GLUTEN-FREE LINKS PLUS RECEIVE ALL THE LATEST RECIPES DELIVERED INTO YOUR INBOX!

If you make this Pecan Espresso Granola 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 granola 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 creations and variations of my recipes.

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overhead view of a bowl of granola with almond milk, banana slices on a wooden plate with a cup of coffee and a spoon

Pecan Espresso Granola {gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan}

Pecan Espresso Granola is a healthy way to start your day or snack or eat your dessert. It is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and vegan. It’s also ultra delicious, crunchy and satisfying.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, British
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 401kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 g gluten-free jumbo rolled oats
  • 150 g pecans roughly chopped
  • 150 g ready-to-eat dates pitted and roughly chopped (about 7)
  • 100 g almond butter
  • 75 g coconut oil melted
  • 50 ml maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C /150°C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Mix together the oats and pecans in a large bowl then set aside for a moment.
  • Place the dates, almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, espresso powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the date mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until the oats and nuts are completely coated. Clump some of the granola up into balls so you get a variety of crunchy texture in your finished granola.
  • Spread the granola out onto a large greased baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, taking the tray out every 10 minutes to shake up the granola so it toasts evenly.
  • Remove from the oven, loosen the granola a little from the bottom of the baking tray then leave to cool on the tray.
  • Once cool pour the granola into an airtight container where it will be delicious for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2.2mg

SHOP THE RECIPE
You certainly don’t need a Vitamix blender to whizz together all the wet ingredients to make this granola but oh my goodness did my life change when Luke bought me one for my birthday last year. My Vitamix® Pro750 Food Blender, Copper UK Model is 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 nut milks but also 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!!


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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