Muffins are the perfect treat, they are so easy to make and a real crowd pleaser.
The inspiration for these muffins came about whilst completing one of the New Zealand Great Walks called the Routeburn. These walks are generally greater than two days in length where your sleeping options are either to camp or share bunk-style huts. Either way everything you need for the hike has to be carried by you. As food is quite heavy, your meals need to be light. Oftentimes, the first day is the hardest as you adjust to your pack, being on your feet walking for hours on end and scaling repeated heights. This is where I tasted one of the most delicious muffins of all time as my friend who waved me off at the start had packed a surprise treat.
Here I’ve tried my best to recreate it to share with you.
Makes 15 medium sized muffins.
- 325g wholewheat flour
- 195g plain flour
- 130g dark brown sugar
- 6 tsp baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp coconut, threaded or dessicated
- 150g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g butter, melted
- 130g blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 150ml milk
- Preheat an oven to 180°C fan and oil silicon muffin trays or line metal muffin trays.
- Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir through the lemon zest, coconut and white chocolate.
- Add the eggs, butter, blueberries and milk to the bowl and stir to combine – try not to overmix.
- Spoon the mix evenly into the prepared muffin trays.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire-rack.
Chocolate chip cookies are heavenly and make the perfect treat with a glass of milk. As a lot of cookies are laden with sugar, using nut butter and chickpeas provides a natural sweet flavour.
These cookies use chickpeas instead of flour so are naturally gluten-free and rich in protein so great for our muscles.
Store the cookies in a resealable container in the fridge for at least one week or freeze.
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 125g almond butter
- 60g dark chocolate
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F and line a baking tray with parchment.
- Place all ingredients excluding the chocolate in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and place tablespoons of the mix on the baking tray.
- Flatten with a fork and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Pulses like chickpeas and butter beans are great additions to baking. Try my Dark Chocolate & Cashew Bites for another pulse based treat.
I don’t know about you but I love raspberries!! It is possibly due to the fact that my home in Tipperary is usually filled to the gills with raspberries around this time of year. We have 40 year old raspberry bushes growing in our garden that deliver a whopper crop of berries every year. If you were to open the fridge at home you would be confronted by bowl after bowl of freshly picked berries. More importantly you wouldn’t be able to leave the house without a box of raspberries.As I’m travelling away from home, I’m not able to help out this year with the picking, eating, preserving and creating of treats. I’ve decided to share with you my favourite tried and tested raspberry recipes.
Raspberries are at their best right now so find your nearest locally grown crop and taste the goodness of fresh berries. Freezing raspberries is a great option too to allow you keep tasting the goodness all year long.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse Cups – a light chocolate mousse topped with the freshest raspberries.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake – ever so decadent but also very delicious.
Berry & Oat Muffins – any berry is good in these muffins filled with oats.
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake – the perfect summer celebration cake.
Berry & Oat Recharger – whizz up some raspberries for the perfect post-exercise recovery option.
Afghan cookies are a New Zealand classic treat. As I’m travelling around New Zealand at the moment, it would be rude not to eat like a local. Traditionally Afghan cookies are made with crumbled corn flakes. As I am not a major fan of corn flakes, I have substituted them for chopped walnuts. I think grated fresh or crystallized ginger would also be great additions to these cookies.
Don’t worry if the cookie mixture becomes quite dry when mixing. Simply mould the dough into a big ball and create cookie portions with your hands.
The cookies will keep fresh in a airtight container or bag for at least 4 days.
Makes 12 cookies.
- 250g butter, softened
- 65g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- 200g dessicated coconut
- 2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
- 300g plain flour
- 50g dark chocolate
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 12 whole walnuts for decorating
- Preheat an oven to 180°C and grease a baking tray with a little coconut oil.
- Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater.
- Add the vanilla essence, chopped walnuts and coconut.
- Sift in the cocoa and flour and mix well together.
- Place tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough on the prepared baking tray. Flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- For the cookie icing: melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pan of water. Once melted, stir in the coconut oil until glossy.
- Spoon the chocolate over each cookie and add a whole walnut to finish.
These are my go-to options for keep me fueled whilst travelling to an away match or commuting to a training session – inspired by Derval O’Rourke‘s recipe. Bananas are a great source of essential magnesium and energy sources, whilst the granola provides slow release carbohydrates and the nut butter provides some essential flavour and protein. Prepare these in advance and keep fresh in the fridge or else freeze. They also work great sliced with some berries and yoghurt as a morning treat. For more great healthy snack ideas check out from my Top 5 Healthy Snacks.
- 1 tbsp nut butter
- 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp granola
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 banana
- Mix together the nut butter and oil in a little bowl.
- On a plate, mix together the granola and cinnamon.
- Peel the banana and cut width ways in half.
- Place the banana on a fork and coat in the nut butter before rolling in the granola.
- Repeat with the remaining banana and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
These little beauties are a twist on my Dark Chocolate & Cashew Bites.The date caramel is a real winner and works great simply drizzled over vanilla ice-cream or to make healthy caramel squares using my recipe for Fruit & Nut Caramel Squares. These brownies are also gluten-free so perfect for a fuss-free dinner party dessert for all served warm with some ice-cream or Greek yoghurt.
- 150g dates, de-stoned
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 overripe bananas
- 8 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp almond butter
- 400g tin butter beans, drained & rinsed
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp raw cacao powder or use 50g melted 70% dark chocolate
- 40g salted peanuts
- Preheat an oven to 170°C. Line a square sandwich tin with parchment paper.
- Place the dates & baking soda in a bowl, cover with bowling water & allow to soak for at least 20 mins to soften through.
- For the date caramel sauce: place the softened, drained dates in a measuring jug or blender with the bananas and melted coconut oil. Blitz until smooth, add the almond butter & blitz again. Reserve 3 tbsp of the sauce for the topping.
- With a food processor or electric hand beater (if using an electric hand beater, I would recommend you mash or blend the beans first), blitz all the remaining ingredients (except the cacao powder/melted chocolate & peanuts) with the date caramel together until smooth. Finally stir through the cacao powder/melted chocolate & 30g of the peanuts.
- Pour the brownie mix into the prepared tin, scatter the remaining peanuts and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin, remove and cut into generous squares.
In need of a little after dinner treat but trying to be good and stay away chocolate and cakes? Then this recipe is the one for you. Any stoned or cored fruit works great. Cinnamon would be a great addition for the winter months to really warm you from the inside out and keep away any colds. They take no length in the oven to bake, so pop them in whilst your cooking your dinner or just after you serve if you want them for a later treat. Pairing them with some yoghurt like the new reduced sugar Bio organic range from Glenisk is great as a light option and a simple way to reduce your sugar intake naturally.
- 1 pear
- 1 plum
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp granola
- 2 tbsp natural/Greek yoghurt (currently loving Glenisk Bio organic natural yoghurt)
- Preheat an oven to 160C.
- Halve and de-stone/core the pear and plum.
- Place skin side down in a baking tray or ovenproof dish.
- Drizzle the honey over the fruits and bake in the oven for 20 mins.
- To serve: divide the fruit amongst two plates, place a tbsp of yoghurt into the centre of the pear and sprinkle over the granola.
My favourite desserts include raspberries so since it was my birthday this week they had to feature! The mousse recipe comes courtesy of Eunice Power with a pecan, coconut & cacao base topped with a dark chocolate ganache. The mousse simply on its own would be perfect served in ramekins or jars with a drizzle of the ganache and some fresh berries. So go on, try the recipe and treat yourself & someone special.
- 100ml water
- 150g caster sugar
- 400g fresh/frozen raspberries
- Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 leaves gelatine
- 125g pecan nuts
- 3 tbsp dessicated coconut
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 70g coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 150ml cream
- 150g creme fraiche
- 2 egg whites
- 35g icing sugar
- 75g dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Line a 20cm springform tin with cling film, grease the tin first with a little oil to ensure the it sticks.
- Place the caster sugar & water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Add the raspberries, lemon juice and zest and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and blitz in a food processor or blender.
- Strain through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
- Cover the gelatine in cold water and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Blitz the nuts in a food processor, blender or place in a resealable bag and bash with a rolling pin until you get a fine crumble.
- Combine the dessicated coconut, cacao, vanilla essence and melted coconut oil with the nuts. Create an even layer in the bottom of the tin. Place in the fridge to set.
- Place the raspberry purée in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Squeeze any water from the gelatine and stir through the purée until fully combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Whip the cream and creme fraiche together into soft peaks.
- Whisk the egg whites together until they begin to form stiff peaks, at this stage gradually add 1 tbsp of icing sugar at a time as you continue to whisk.
- Fold the egg whites into the cream and gradually add the raspberry purée, ensure no pockets of the cream mixture is left.
- Pour the mousse into the lines tin. Gently tap the bottom of the tin off the countertop to remove any air bubbles.
- Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.
- Once set, melted the dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering pan. Remove from the heat once melted and stir through the coconut oil.
- Gently remove the cake from the tin and peel off the cling film. Pour over the dark chocolate topping and top with some fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint.
- Store in the fridge.