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.
Oat balls are perfect for a healthy snack on the go, they are made for outdoor adventures or lunchbox treats.
These balls are a no bake version so you never have to worry about them falling apart or sticking to the baking tray, so a real winner in my eyes.
Dark chocolate gives you an antioxidant boost whilst the dried apricot adds an all important sugar kick. I have used almond butter in this recipe but your nut butter of preference would be perfect.
I love to have these as a snack on the way to training and matches or as a sweet treat in the late evenings.
The inspiration came for these from one of my favourite food bloggers Gina Matsoukas who blogs at Running To The Kitchen so be sure to check out her site.
- 30g dried apricots
- 20g raisins
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- zest of 1/2 small orange
- 2 tbsp coconut chips
- 3 tbsp milled linseed
- 100g jumbo oats
- 50g dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 75g almond butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Roughly chop the apricots and place in a bowl with the raisins, orange juice and zest. Mix together and allow the apricots soak up the juice.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the apricots and raisins.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, honey and vanilla essence until smooth.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry either with your hands or a fork until well coated.
- Dampen your hands and roll 1 tablespoon at a time of the mixture into ball shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
- Place the tray flat in a freezer for at least 20 minutes to set. Once set, you can transfer to a resealable box or bag and store in your freezer or fridge.
- When eating them from your freezer, allow them to defrost for 5 minutes before eating.
A babka is a sweet bread similar to a brioche. It has been on my recipe to-do list for quite some time as I think it just looks and sounds amazing. I thralled the internet for inspiration and tried one or two recipes with not so good results then I stumbled upon Melanie Lionello’s recipe for a spelt version and thought it was worth a try…..I think the picture of the final result says enough! I mixed the filling up a bit with some melted dark chocolate and crushed toasted hazelnuts but keep it simple just with chocolate or whatever takes your fancy.
Makes 1 loaf.
- 90ml lukewarm milk
- 125g butter, melted
- 300g spelt flour
- 3/4 tsp dried fast-action yeast
- generous pinch of sea salt
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 40g coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 100g dark chocolate, melted
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted & crushed
- Place all the ingredients for the babka dough into a large mixing bowl and using a dough hook and a kitchen mixer combine for 10-15 minutes until a smooth dough is formed, transfer to a clean surface. If you don’t have a mixer combine by hand in the bowl and then transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for at least 10-15 minutes by hand until a smooth supple dough is formed.
- Once the dough is fully kneaded, leave to sit on your work surface whilst you prepare the filling.
- Once the chocolate is melted, stir through the solid coconut oil to form a shiny, supple liquid.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a large rectangle shape. Pour over the chocolate mix and evenly spread over the dough. Sprinkle with 3/4 of the crushed hazelnuts.
- Now for the fun and messy part, I kind of got too engrossed in the process to take pictures so if you get a bit lost there are tons of how-to videos on Youtube. Evenly roll the dough length ways into a swiss-roll shape. Using a sharp knife, cut it length-ways in half leaving a 5cm gap at the end un-cut. Gently separate the two lengths and braid over each other as if plaiting hair until the dough is fully braided.
- Place the dough into a lined loaf tin, sprinkle over the remaining crushed hazelnuts, cover with cling-film and allow to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, pre-heat an oven to 180°C and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Happy Easter and what better way to say it than with a chocolate bunny! No need for any messing with added sugars in the form of honey, maple or golden syrup with this simple recipe. Add or remove the orange zest and cranberries as you fancy but I personally think it’s adds a real richness. Biscuit cake is perfect for anytime of year just cut into any shape or number to act as a quick birthday cake or simply just allow to set in a lined loaf tin, slice & enjoy!
- 35g butter
- 200ml milk
- 200g dark chocolate
- 300g broken biscuits (digestive, rich tea, goldgrain)
- 200g chopped marshmallows
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts, halved
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- Line a large rectangle baking tray if cutting the biscuit cake into a shape, otherwise use a loaf tin or 20cm square tin.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter in the milk.
- Once the butter is fully melted, stir through and remove from the heat. Add the dark chocolate and allow to fully melt.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, pour over the liquid mix once the chocolate is fully melted.
- Stir well to combine and pour into the lined tin. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 40-60 mins if in a hurry.
- To decorate: I used some leftover coconut cream with desiccated coconut to create the ears and tail. A whole almond acted as the eye with a raw coconut shard for the mouth.