The 11am hunger curbers, the 3pm get-me-through-the-afernoon snack and the 9pm end-of-the-day-i-deserve-something-sweet nibble. Collectively, these things have come to be know, in our house, simply as ‘mamma treats’. There isn’t a chance in hell that my week will run smoothly if there aren’t at least two varieties of mamma treat in my kitchen at one given time. I usually crave something cakey or biscuity, along side something chocolatey or fudge-like. It really has become a weekly necessity for me to invest some time into stock piling sweet treats, that have become the life-force to keep me upbeat and balanced (or as close to) during a busy week managing children, work and general family life. Luckily for me, the kids are not always temped by my healthy treats – and although Owen has the occasional dabble, he’d really just prefer to be eating crisps. So favourably for me, these mamma treats have become exclusively mine. The conditions upon my treats are simple – they must be refined sugar free, preferably refined wheat flour free, and quick to whip up. I’ve honed my weekly treat repertoire to a few simple recipes, so I thought I’d share them with you here as they are well-tested and really easy to incorporate into a busy world.
MY FULLY LOADED SUPER COOKIES
A friend naughtily passed on this ‘secret’ recipe to me, after being given it to from her health coach. I’ve adapted it over the years by loading them up to full cookie capacity with added superfoods, and they remain a firm staple in my kitchen. For a more indulgent treat, I omit most of the extra seedy healthy ingredients and stir in 100g of dark chocolate pieces.
1 cup of almond or peanut butter
3⁄4 cup of coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
handful of seeds (I use pumpkin & sunflower)
handful of dried fruit (I use cranberries, chopped apricots & sultanas)
shelled hemp, bee pollen, more seeds as topping
Blend together the nut butter, coconut sugar, egg and baking powder. Mix through the chia seeds, seeds and fruit. You can pretty much add anything to the nut butter, sugar, egg and baking powder part so just cram in as much as you can (dark chocolate is very good!). The mixture is very stiff and oily, so spoon tablespoons on to lined baking trays, and press down with the back of a fork. Top with more seeds and stuff. Bake at 150°C for 8-15 minutes, but no more than that if you want to keep them lovely and chewy.
THE MINIMALIST BAKER’S RAW (BRAZIL NUT) CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
I’ve already raved about these raw brownies. So quick and easy to make, super nutritious and the perfect indulgent after-dinner treat. I adapt Dana’s recipe to use brazil nuts instead of walnuts, for a creamy dreamy chocolate fix. I love the Minimalist Baker’s blog, you can find it here. Recipe here. (I swap walnuts for brazil nuts) (The ganache is insanely good but definitely not necessary if you want to keep it simple).
FOOD FIX UP’S CHAI SPICED WHITE CHOCOLATE BARS
I have also raved about Stef’s Food Fix Up recipe app several times on the blog – but really, I go back to it on a weekly basis for meal ideas and for my Mamma treat inspiration. Stef’s philosophy incorporates refined sugar, gluten and dairy free recipes, with physical health and compassionate wellbeing. Her recipes always inspire and remind me to enjoy the indulgence of eating good food, with good ingredients and amazing tastes. So let me tell you about this chai spiced white chocolate! I don’t share my treats very often and I am particularly cautious when it comes to parting with even a crumb of these goodies. However, the friends that have sampled these super chai treats have been blown away. They contain rich cacao butter, coconut, cashew butter, spices and salt – and you can find the full recipe and many many more by downloading the Food Fix Up App here. It’a the best couple of pounds you can spend, promise.
HEALTHY DIGESTIVE BISCUITS
Since I quit sugary shop bought treats, there has been a noted (by Owen) lack of biscuits in the (now non existant) biscuit barrel. During my Ayurvedic training, I was told that dry foods like crackers and biscuits are “no good for my airy vata body type” and I’ve kind of been put off ever since. However, when the craving for a crunchy sweet something does strike, I tend to make these healthy digestive biscuits and everyone in the house is happy. Plus the boys love decorating them (thanks to The Lunch Lady for the inspo!)
100g whole spelt flour
75g light spelt flour (or plain flour)
150g oat bran
pinch of salt
150g coconut oil (or butter)
4 tbsp coconut sugar
milk (whatever you usually use)
Mix the spelt flours, oat bran and salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter to form a breadcrumb like consistency. Stir in the sugar. Using your hands, add some milk a little at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough out (around 4mm thick) and press out circle shapes with a cutter. Add a face at this point if you wish!! Bake at 180°C for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and dip some dark chocolate hair / facial hair if desired.
SARAH BRITTON’S COZY BANANA BREAD
I think everyone needs a go-to banana bread recipe. I used to swear by an old weight watcher’s recipe that my Mum gave me years ago – and although it only added a little honey to sweeten it, it was full of refined flour and low fat margarine. I stumbled across Sarah’s recipe online, way before I fully developed my foodie crush on her and her blog, My New Roots. Everyone that has tasted this banana bread has asked me for the recipe. It is full of nuts, seeds and banana goodness – with the most moist texture – aaaaaand you can pretty much make the whole thing in a blender. Banana bread recipe here. My New Roots blog here. App here. Do it. Sarah I love you btw, just saying.
A WORD ON BUYING INGREDIENTS
I realise that baking or making healthier sweet treats, almost always involves switching up many of your usual store cupboard ingredients. This can be costly and confusing if you are not used to buying health and whole food staples. It has taken me years (and I still have lots to learn) to figure out how to economically cook better food. I think it comes down to making an investment. I will particularly invest money and time into my ‘treat’ foods as after all, putting something good in my body is what makes them a treat in the first place. I buy nearly all of my ingredients in bulk on Amazon by comparing prices and working out what works best per gram. I usually use the Sevenhills or Biona brands. If you have an Aldi near you, their raw nuts, pure maple syrup and coconut oil are some of the cheapest I’ve come across. And if you have a Costco card, you will find so much bulk goodness there too.