Gingerbread biscuits

I have so much love for these gingerbread biscuits.
The ginger is not overwhelming, rather it’s a sweet crunchy biscuit with a hint of spice.
Given the time of the year I made them, gingerbread men were a fitting shape, but they work just as well as round, non-festive biscuits.

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50g oats
30g flax or linseeds
30g coconut oil
40ml maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
small pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and a line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Whizz the oats and flax in a blender or food processor until it turns into a flour.
Melt the coconut oil.
Mix all of the ingredients together and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes or longer. (This helps the coconut oil solidify, making the mixture easier to handle.)
Take a teaspoon of the mix, roll it into a ball then press it down until it’s completely flat. Use a cookie cutter to achieve the desired shape.
Repeat until all the mixture is gone.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The biscuits should be lightly golden and firm.
They keep well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

Mulled berry chia pudding

The warming spices of the festive period are such a joy to create dishes with.
This mulled berry chia pudding takes inspiration from mulled wine by combining the same spices with blended frozen berries and orange. It is layered with vanilla cashew cream to create an indulgent but completely guilt-free dessert. In fact, it’s so full of nutrients that it could easily pass for breakfast.
Chia seeds are great at turning almost any liquid into a jelly-like consistency whilst boosting the nutrient value. These little seeds are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and calcium.

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This recipe makes 2 generous puddings.

For the mulled berry chia layer:
1 heaped mug of frozen berries, I used a black forest fruits mix
Juice of an orange
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoon of chia seeds
Blend the berries, spices and orange juice until completely smooth. Stir in 4 tablespoon of chia seeds and set aside for a couple of hours so it turns into a jelly.

For the vanilla cashew cream:
150g cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
4-5 medjool dates
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drain the cashews and put it into a blender with the remaining ingredients. Add just enough water to cover the cashews. Blend until smooth.

To make the mulled berry chia pudding, add alternating layers of the mulled berry chia jelly and cashew cream.

Healthier mince pies

Confession time: I have a bit of a weakness for mince pies.
Yes, I know, these fruity treats split opinion almost as much as marmite but if it’s good enough to leave out for Santa then it’s good enough for me.
Making a healthier version was somewhat of a challenge faced with so many objections in my head, including but not limited to “why would I when the shop bought ones are perfectly nice” to “surely it’s more effort than it’s are worth”.
Ultimately the curiosity of whether it’s even possible to make them got the better of me, so here they are, vegan, gluten-free, mince pies made of nothing but wholefood ingredients.
Plus they are darn tasty (according to many lucky recipients that were drafted in to taste test them).

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Ingredients (makes 8)

For the pastry:
150g ground almonds
25g each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds or the same quantity of Munchy Seeds Salted Caramel seeds
2 tbsp agave
50g of gluten free flour
40g coconut oil
1/4 of tsp baking powder
a pinch of sea salt

For the filling
2 apples (approximately 150g), coarsely grated and the core discarded
150g mix of sultanas, cranberries and raisins
Juice of an orange, zest of 1/4 of an orange
1/2 a teaspoon each of mixed spice & cinnamon
1/4 of a teaspoon of ground ginger

Put the seeds in a blender or food processor and blend to a flour-like consistency.
Melt the coconut oil on a low heat then combine with the ground almonds, seed flour, gluten free flour, agave, baking powder and sea salt. Squish together to form a large dough ball then divide into 8 smaller balls and chill in the fridge while the filling is made.
For the filling, put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on a low heat with the lid on for 20-30 minutes until the apples are fully cooked and mushy. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
To make the mince pies, place a dough ball between 2 sheets of cling film and roll out it as thin as you are able. The dough is crumbly so don’t worry if some of them fall apart, you can squish left over dough together and roll it out again.
Once rolled out, place the dough into a fairy cake tin (a smaller muffin/cupcake tin) and press it in with your fingers. Any holes can be patched up with a small amount of dough pretty easily.
Place a tablespoon of the filling mixture in the middle then form a lid with another piece of rolled out dough. Pinch the edges to seal and remove any excess dough mixture (either with your fingers or using a knife).
Repeat until all of the dough and filling mixture is used up.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Owing to the nature of the ingredients, these mince pies are much darker than your usual shop bought ones so don’t be alarmed. They should be a toasted colour as opposed to white.
Allow the mince pies to cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so then twist from the edges until they are loose. Remove from the tin and cool on a rack.
The mince pies are best eaten fresh but they do keep well for up to 3 days.

Choccy Flapjacks

These chocolatey flapjacks are such a treat.
They are super easy to make and are a good addition to picnics or as a healthier afternoon snack.
Plus, they look awesome:

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200g oats
grated zest and juice of an orange
1 tsp cinnamon
100g sultanas
100g Munchy Seeds Choccy Apricot, can be substituted with 50g each of chopped apricots and dark chocolate chips or 100g of chocolate chopped into small chunks
50g coconut oil
5 drops of vanilla extract
3tbsp agave, honey or maple syrup

Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper & preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Melt the coconut oil and agave in a small pan over a low heat, whisk in the vanilla and juice of an orange.
Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
Press into the loaf tin and bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden.
Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Oat and flax chocolate chip biscuits

Flax or linseeds are a favourite ingredient when it comes to a myriad of conditions. They help with detoxification, hormone balance, skin and gut health to name a few.
They also taste delicious in these guilt-free chocolate chip biscuits (any excuse right?).
These biscuits taste good enough to be a gift, but trust me, you aren't going to want to give them away.

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Ingredients (makes 12 biscuits)
100g oats
50g flax or linseeds (find this near seeds and nuts in most supermarkets, they look a bit like sesame)
60g coconut oil
75ml maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
25g of 85% cocoa dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a food processor, coffee grinder, blender or smoothie maker, blend the oats and lin or flaxseeds until it reaches a flour-like consistency.
Put the oat and seed mix in a bowl and stir in the baking powder and sea salt.
In a small pan, melt the coconut oil and vanilla extract. 
Mix the oats, coconut oil and maple syrup together until well combined and let it stand for a minute. It'll have a slightly sticky consistency.
Chop up the chocolate to make chocolate chips and stir that into the cookie dough mixture.
Take a tablespoon of the dough, make a ball then flatten using the palm of your hands to form a biscuit. It should be 2-3cm thick. Repeat until no mixture remains.
Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They should be golden but slightly soft in the middle.
The next task: attempt to not eat the whole batch whilst they are still warm.