Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Sticky Date Protein Bars

OK here goes, my first 'crossover' post...  Crossover in terms of it being something driven by my work in the gym world but calling on my baking skills.  I was asked by a good friend last week if I had a recipe for a homemade protein bar that didn't involve peanut butter (most of them do).
Sure, I replied knowing I had at least one or two tucked away.  However when I pulled them out they both involved bananas.  Now for our non-Australian readers the reason this is a problem for us here is that we don't import bananas into the country as we grow our own.  However with recent natural disasters our banana crops and trees were devastated meaning local banana pricing is over $13/kilo making a single banana over $2 to buy.

I have taken a recipe today and adapted it for use with something easy to come by, packed full of fiber and other goodies and naturally sweet - thus eliminating the need for sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Dates!   These make a beautiful baked bar perfect for a quick brekky on the run, after workout snack, or any time of day treat.  I hope you like them.  Make sure you can tolerate all the ingredients in your own brand of Protein Powder and if you don't like powders - leave this one to the gym junkies.

200g Pitted Dates roughly chopped
100g Pitted Prunes roughly chopped
60g Protein Powder (I use Protein FX Low Carb Chocolate)
180g GF Oats (not Quick Oats)
100ml Reduced Fat Milk
1 teaspoon Carob
3 Large Egg Whites
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (You could use Flaxseed Oil)

  1. Heat Oven to 160 Celsius
  2. Place chopped dates and prunes into a large bowl and just about cover with boiling water.  Place in Microwave and heat on High for approx 2-3 minutes or until fruit has softened.  Alternatively place in small saucepan and bring to gentle boil for approx 5 minutes or until soft.  
  3. Gently mash fruit to a pulp it should not be too runny nor thick - about the consistency of mashed ripe bananas.
  4. In a large bowl combine all ingredients with the pulped dried fruit.
  5. Line a Slice Pan with baking paper then pour in the mixture.  Don't worry if it looks 'runny' or about the consistency of cake mixture.
  6. If you want you can sprinkle the top with sesame seeds or I dotted mine with Pecan Nuts - this is not counted in the overall nutritional values below though.
  7. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until firm.  Allow to cool in pan then lift onto chopping board and cut into 12-16 bars.
Here is the Nutritional Info for the mix as I made it - minus the Pecan Nuts used to decorate.  The figures are for one bar when the slice is divided into a total of 12 serves.

736 kj / 176 Calories
7g Protein
0.7g Saturated Fat
25g Carbohydrate
34mg Sodium

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

I stumbled across these cupcakes on holidays in Hawaii last week.  The list of ingredients was as long as my arm and in teeny tiny writing (never a good thing) there were that many preservatives, chemicals and God knows what else in them but they did taste gooooood.  I arrived home from holiday armed with a Hawaiian Cookbook in which these cupcakes featured - Good Taste has just run a recipe for these also so they must be the "in thing" right now.  The recipes are nearly identical.   I have reproduced it here with my own twists and Gluten Free.

I have popped these ones together this afternoon with my own little quirks working with the ingredients I happened to have in my cupboard.  My son is calling them "Blood Cupcakes"  and I have to agree they do look quite gruesome.  The taste however is something else entirely.  Because of my use of Coconut cream (lite) in place of buttermilk and organic carob in place of cocoa the flavour may be a little different from some recipes but I like it.  Its unusual in a good way.  Top them with a creamy cream cheese icing to contrast in both colour and flavour from the cupcake beneath.

200g Unsalted Butter
1 cup Light Coconut Cream (or whatever milk/buttermilk you have to hand)
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar ( you can use white vinegar, ACV was all I had)
2 tsp Red food colouring (I used Pillar Box Red)
2 eggs
30g (1/4 cup) Organic Carob (You can use ordinary cocoa)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
300g (2 cups) Plain GF Flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
315g (1 1/2 Cups) Caster Sugar
1 tsp Coconut essence
For Icing
2 x 250g packets Cream Cheese
120g Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

  1. Set your oven to 160Celsius and pop your muffin cases into the muffin pan ready to go.
  2. Place flour, Bicarb Soda and sugar into a large bowl and sift in your Carob or cocoa powder ensuring no lumps then stir with a whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl measure then melt your butter, add your coconut milk/milk or cream, eggs, vanilla and vinegar.  
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in the wet mix and stir until combined.  Then add your food colouring and stir until even colour.
  5. Use an icecream scoop to evenly fill your muffin cases then bake for approx 15-20 minutes every oven varies.
  6. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.
  7. Now make your cream cheese icing by bringing cream cheese and butter to room temp and using a handheld beater beat until combined then add your icing sugar and beat until smooth.  Ice then refrigerate your cakes or icing will melt off.
I hope you enjoy these they are just beautiful,