THOUGHTFUL FORKFULS

Spiced Pecan Energy Balls

These pecan bliss balls are a perfect sugar-free snack which are rich with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Vegan and gluten-free.

I’m not really in to sweets, as you might have gathered with the overwhelming majority of savoury recipes on here, but I do love an energy ball and I eat one pretty much every day. These pecan ones are my favourite type: rich with vanilla and spicy with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. They follow the classic formula- half nuts and half fruits- and the pecan adds a touch of luxury to the usual almond or cashew base. If you don’t like as much ginger as I do, feel free to reduce it; it’s pretty damn spicy.

Perfect for snacks, perfect for dessert, perfect for breakfast on the go. Plus, they will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

Side note: these do work in a food processor (although they take a lot longer), but I’ve heard that it damages the blade in the long run so for the sake of your Magimix, you may wish not to. There’s your warning.

Spiced Pecan Energy Balls
Yields 14
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 100g pecans
  2. 100g almonds
  3. 200g dates
  4. 2.5 tsp ground ginger
  5. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  7. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. 50g flaked almonds
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds in a blender and process until fully combined and the mixture is sticky and malleable.
  2. Next, process the flaked almonds for a couple of seconds until they have broken up in to smaller pieces and place them on to a plate.
  3. Roll the mixture in to balls weighing about 30g each and roll them in the flaked almonds until the outside is covered.
  4. Place in the fridge to harden up for a couple of hours.
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Orange And Mint Cacao Energy Bars

Dates, cashews and raw cacao combine to form deliciously sweet, vegan, gluten-free, nutrient-dense snacks. Additions of mint and orange add a great twist.

There are loads of recipes around at the moment for bliss balls and energy balls, and some involve tons of different ingredients and super-foods. Although a good opportunity to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods, I actually like to keep mine pretty simple and my favourite flavours are those that use very few ingredients: one type of dried fruit, one nut and a couple of other spices or flavourings. These chocolate energy bars are just divine: a perfect snack or dessert alternative that uses dates for sweetness, cashews for fat and creaminess and raw cacao powder for the rich chocolate-y hit, negating the need (in my opinion) for the refined sugars, milk powder and other fats which appear in conventional chocolate. Unlike cocoa powder which is made from roasted and ground cacao beans, cacao powder is made from cold-pressed cacao beans which maintains the living enzyme content and retains a higher amount of nutrients than its cooked counterpart.

There are two recipes in one here; both mint and orange are great partners with chocolate, but you could also emit them and have plain chocolate energy bars.

Orange And Mint Cacao Energy Bars
Yields 16
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For the orange
  1. 300g dates
  2. 300g cashews
  3. 50g cacao powder
  4. 15g orange zest (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top)
  5. Large pinch of salt
For the mint-choc chip
  1. 300g dates
  2. 300g cashews
  3. 60g cacao powder
  4. 10g mint
  5. 30g cacao nibs (plus 10g sprinkled on top)
  6. Large pinch of salt
For the orange
  1. Simply throw the ingredients in a blender and process the mixture on high power, pushing the mix toward the blade using a tamper.
  2. When the nuts and dates have broken down and everything is combined, the mix will be oily and sticky and as easy to mould as dough.
  3. At this stage I often roll the mixture in to balls, but it is quicker to press the mixture in to a 20cm by 20cm tray lined with baking parchment.
For the mint-choc chip
  1. Do the same as with the orange recipe but withhold the cacao nibs. When the mixture is combined, remove it from the blender and place in a bowl. Mix (or squelch) in the 30g cacao nibs by hand and press in to a 20cm by 20cm tray. Sprinkle the other 10g of cacao nibs over the top and leave to set in the fridge.
  2. After a few hours, cut the bars in to 16 squares. Store in the fridge and the flavour will stay good for 3 weeks.
http://www.thoughtfulforkfuls.com/

Raw Bars With Apricots And Seeds

Dried fruit, ripe banana, tahini and maple syrup are blended together to bind oats and seeds, and then left to set. Vegan, healthy and sweet raw bars.

I made these last week for my other half because he loves apricots and it’s safe to say, he didn’t like them. However, everyone at work likes them (or pretends to?), so I thought I’d blog the recipe anyway. I’m aware they don’t sound very exciting and the look of them (or rather my photography skills) leaves a bit to be desired. But what they lack in immediate allure, they make up for in taste, trust me!  They are very easy to make and lend themselves well to many variations. These bars are definitely a healthier choice than a flapjack, but just as sweet and satisfying, and you’ll need only a small square to get your sugar fix and energy boost as they are nutrient-dense in natural fats and sugars.

Dried fruit, ripe banana, tahini and maple syrup are blended together first which then acts as a glue for the oats, so there’s no need to bake, but rather a couple hours of setting in the fridge and they’re good to go. With this in mind, any dried fruit and any nut/seed butter can be added in to mix up the taste, as well as different spices and superfoods. Another favourite of mine is using raw cacao and hazelnuts to make Nutella-themed bars.

They would also be fine if you wanted to take out the maple syrup (giving a more wholesome feel, a bit like a breakfast bar) or just reduce it, but I personally love this level of almost-sickly sweetness. Lastly, they freeze brilliantly, and are even more delicious eaten straight from the freezer! 

Raw Bars With Apricots And Seeds
Yields 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
For the bars
  1. 1 ripe banana
  2. 200g dried apricots
  3. 100g dried dates
  4. 100g maple syrup
  5. 100g tahini
  6. 1 tsp vanilla powder (or 2 tsp vanilla powder)
  7. Pinch of salt
  8. 100g sunflower seeds (optional)
  9. 300g oats
For the topping
  1. 1 tbsp tahini
  2. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  4. 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  5. 50g apricots, chopped
Instructions
  1. Using a food processor, blend the banana, dried apricots, dried dates, maple syrup, tahini, vanilla powder and salt until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, mix this paste in with the oats and seeds (if you're using) and make sure everything is incorporated (I use my hands, of course).
  3. Line a 20cm x 20xm baking tin with parchment paper, and push the mixture in to it.
  4. To make the topping, melt the tahini, coconut oil and maple syrup together (I use the microwave).
  5. Drizzle this over the top of the oat mixture and then sprinkle on the coconut and the extra apricots.
  6. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours and when it's firm, cut in to 16 pieces.
Notes
  1. These will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge but as mentioned in the introduction, they're even better frozen!
http://www.thoughtfulforkfuls.com/

Lemon, Vanilla And Chia Seed Energy Balls

These superfood energy balls are made of almonds and dates, and flavoured with lemon zest, vanilla powder, chia seeds and coconut. Vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Things | February 9, 2015 | By

Energy balls are a perfect snack and the best thing to eat if you’re flagging around the mid-afternoon point, or need something for elevenses to tide you over until lunch. I make loads of variations of these; all just different combinations of dried fruits, nuts, spices and other flavourings. These are my personal favourite- the combination of lemon and vanilla is just glorious, and they taste ridiculously rich and fulfilling. Chia seeds hold incredible health benefits, but they taste of very little so if you can’t find them or don’t want to fork out for them, use poppy seeds instead; it won’t affect the taste! 

Lemon, Vanilla And Chia Seed Energy Balls
Yields 14
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g almonds
  2. 200g dates, chopped in to small pieces
  3. 3 tbsp chia seeds (plus extra for rolling)
  4. 1 tsp lemon zest
  5. 1 tsp vanilla powder
  6. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  7. pinch of salt
  8. Desiccated coconut (for rolling)
Instructions
  1. Using a blender, grind the almonds to a powder.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and mix until combined (I used a tamper with the blender which means you can push the mixture toward the blade as it's running in order to process everything)
  3. Remove from blender and roll in to balls.
  4. Cover a plate with a spoonful of chia seeds and a spoonful of desiccated coconut. Mix together. Roll the balls in the chia seed and desiccated coconut mix, and refrigerate for a few hours, to harden slightly.
Notes
  1. As you process the mixture, the wetter the mixture becomes as the nuts release their oils, so don't overdo it. If it gets too oily and wet, it's difficult to shape in to balls.
  2. I also wouldn't recommend using a food processor as the dried fruit is too tough on the blade; a high powered blender is really the best thing for these. Don't use a hand blender either; I've broken 2 trying to make these balls with them!
  3. They will keep for ages- the taste is still great after 2 weeks.
http://www.thoughtfulforkfuls.com/

Chia seeds captured by Jacqueline

 

Raw Spiced Oat Cookies

These cookies use banana, dates, peanut butter and maple syrup to stick together and sweeten the mixture, while dried spices offer a warming undertone.

Sweet Things | December 13, 2014 | By

These no-bake cookies use dates and maple syrup as a sweetener, and peanut butter to stick the mixture together, forgoing the need for refined sugar and unhealthy fats in this recipe. Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg give the cookies a pleasing christmas-themed spice and they’re also pretty healthy- providing a nutrient-dense package. Perfect as a mid-afternoon snack when your blood sugar level begins to drop, these cookies will satisfy your sweet-craving and sustain you longer than a piece of cake ever could! The topping is additional really, adding a more luxurious touch to them. Feel free to skip the topping if you’re short for time. Luckily, these last very well also; store for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

Raw Spiced Oat Cookies
Yields 14
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
For the cookies
  1. 300g dried dates, chopped in to small pieces.
  2. 1 ripe banana
  3. 100g peanut butter
  4. 100g maple syrup
  5. Tsp ground ginger
  6. Tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  8. Tsp vanilla powder (or essence)
  9. Pinch of salt
  10. 350g oats
  11. 80g cacao nibs (optional)
For the topping
  1. 25g coconut oil
  2. 25g peanut butter
  3. 25g maple syrup
  4. 10g cacao powder
For the cookies
  1. In a food processor, whizz up the dates, banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, spices, salt and vanilla and process until everything is combined to form a sticky paste.
  2. Remove mixture from the blender and place in a large bowl.
  3. If using the cacao nibs, pulse them a few times in the food processor to break them up a bit, and add to the mixture in the bowl.
  4. Add the oats to the bowl also and mix thoroughly by hand.
  5. Form the mixture in to cookie shapes weighing about 65-70g each and space out on a baking sheet.
For the topping
  1. Melt the coconut oil and peanut butter in a bowl (I put the bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds on full power)
  2. Add the maple syrup and cacao powder and mix until smooth.
  3. Drizzle over the cookies in whatever pattern you fancy
  4. Then, refrigerate the cookies for a couple of hours to harden, before moving them in to an airtight container and storing in the fridge.
Notes
  1. I have stipulated here that the cacao nibs- raw chocolate chips- are optional. Although becoming increasingly easy to get hold of (Tesco sell them!), they are not cheap, so you could use normal chocolate chips or simply emit altogether. They are quite bitter in taste, but do add a brilliant crunch which contrasts brilliantly with the soft and chewy texture of the 'dough'. However, it is still delicious without!
http://www.thoughtfulforkfuls.com/