HEALTHY OAT COOKIES NO-ADDED-SUGAR
Makes around 10–12 cookies
220g apple sauce (available in jars from most supermarkets – choose one without added sugar – or you can make your own (see above)
1 large ripe banana (even better if it’s overripe) mashed until smooth
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla essence
90g rolled / porridge oats (the cheaper the better, as they’ll be nice and crushed up)
45g ground almonds
Plus one of the below combinations as you fancy:
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter plus two large handfuls unsalted peanuts
2 large handfuls of dried fruit e.g., raisins, cranberries, dates, prunes
4-6 tbsp of any combination of chia, pumpkin, sesame, poppy seeds or pine nuts
the zest of one orange and the leaves of two sprigs of thyme
Combine the apple sauce, mashed banana, cinnamon, oats and ground almonds in one big bowl – mix really well, until your arms are little bit achy – then leave to rest for at least 10 mins so the oats begin to soak up the moisture and you have a nice gloopy thick mixture.
Preheat your oven to 170°C then add your choice of chopped nuts and dried fruit, into the bowl and mix well.
Spoon equally sized dollops or regularly sized discs of mixture onto a baking tray – go for nice round shaped dollops and squish them down a little bit in the middles. If you like them, sprinkle some seeds on top for a crunchy texture.
Bake at 170°C for 20 – 25 mins until the edges are crispy and the tops go a little golden brown.
Serve straight away, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Ginger cookie sandwiches with lemon mascarpone
PREP: 30 MINS
COOK: 14 MINS
EASY MAKES 12-15
100g unsalted butter, melted
50g golden caster sugar
100g light brown soft sugar
25g black treacle
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g gluten-free flour blend
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamom (the seeds from 3 pods, crushed – see tip)
75g demerara sugar, to coat
For the filling
85g lemon curd
To make the cookies, put the butter, sugars, treacle, egg and vanilla in a large bowl and mix together with an electric whisk until smooth and combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients except the demerara. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until a very sticky dough is formed. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 4 hrs.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking trays with baking parchment. Roll the cookie dough into balls, about a tablespoon in size, then roll in the demerara sugar. Place on the lined trays, leaving about 2.5cm space between cookies.
Bake for about 14 mins or until just lightly browned around the edges, swapping the trays over halfway through cooking. Allow to cool on the trays for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the filling, beat together the mascarpone and lemon curd in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain round piping tip. Pipe a layer of the cream onto the base of half the cookies and sandwich together with the other half. Will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the fridge – the texture will turn soft and cakey (this is no bad thing).
Gluten-free citrus shortbread
COOKS IN30 MINUTES
200 g butter , softened
125 g icing sugar
1/2 orange , the grated zest of
1 small lemon , the grated zest of
1 lime , the grated zest of
350 g gluten-free flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
sugar , to serve
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Grease a flat baking tray, then line with a sheet of baking paper.
Beat the butter, then cream it with the icing sugar and all the zests until light and fluffy. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then use your hands to form a dough – do not overmix.
For rectangular shortbread, roll out to about 1cm thick and cut into fingers. For round biscuits, roll into 20 even-sized balls. Prick the surface of each. Reroll any scraps and repeat.
Put your shortbread onto the tray, then chill in the fridge for 10–15 minutes, before baking in the ovenfor 12–15 minutes until pale and crisp.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar. This shortbread will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
Prep time:10 mins + chillingCook time:10 mins
2 cups pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup fresh orange juice
2 cups walnut pieces, pistachios or toasted, skinned hazelnuts
¾ cup desiccated or thread coconut
Place prunes, sugar, honey and orange zest and juice in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, over a medium heat until the prunes are soft and the mixture comes together into a paste (about 10 minutes). To check whether it’s ready, place a small spoonful in a bowl of iced water or in the fridge for a couple of minutes – it is ready when it’s firm enough to be moulded, like toffee to soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts.
Divide the coconut between two pieces of baking paper. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, divide it in half and form 2 evenly shaped logs, each about 30cm long. Roll in the coconut to coat, then roll up in the baking paper and refrigerate until set. Slice thinly to serve. Pastila keeps for a couple of months in a sealed container in the fridge or can be frozen.