I love to bake, so when Currys asked me if I’d like to take part in their blogger bake sale challenge I was most definitely up for it! You can read more about the challenge here, and check out the websites of the other fabulous bloggers. I was challenged to get creative with a brilliant new piece of kit, a Kenwood Multi Pro Food Processor which I really enjoyed using. As I don’t work somewhere with loads of staff, I decided to make mine a week long bake sale and take treats with me to family get togethers, into the office (only 3 of us work there!) and along to some of my community projects to raise money for my chosen charity, the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation as I really love what that charity stands for and promotes when it comes to food and nutrition, particularly for kids.
I wanted to make some great treats with a bit of a healthy twist. All of these are what I would call ‘crowd pleasers’. They have some healthier swaps, but still taste naughty enough for people that are maybe more used to high sugar processed foods. I think some of these are a great way to introduce sceptics of healthier swaps to try them out! I made 5 recipes in total, with most of them being based on one of my own recipes or a twist on another recipe I found. One recipe where I did stick to the original was these lovely Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins from Sally’s Baking Addiction:
The recipe made a nice big batch and they turned out really well! Next up was some brownies. I’ve always wanted to try a black bean brownie recipe and thought this was a great opportunity to make some. Of course a food processor is a must for blending the black beans and creating a smoothie brownie batter:
I based my recipe on this one from Skinny Taste, but changing up the sugar for a healthier option and adding some mint extract:
- 1 carton of black beans, rinsed and drained (380g)
- 2 large free range eggs
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup truvia
- 1 tsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb
- 1/2 tsp mint extract / flavouring (optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Pre heat the oven to 180c. Rinse and drain the beans and add them to the food processor. Blitz until they are mushy. Add the eggs, cocoa, truvia, melted coconut oil, almond milk, mint extract and baking powder and soda and process until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove the blade attachment from the food processor, scraping off any brownie batter back into the bowl. Add about 2/3rd of the chocolate chips and stir them in. Prepare a brownie pan (I used an 8 x 10 pan) with spray oil and line with grease proof paper. Pour the brownie batter into the pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for about 30 minutes until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out without dough on it. Leave to cool a little before removing from the pan and then slicing into squares. Eat!
These were absolute winners! My little 5 year old nephew ate one of these no problem, as did fuss pot James who doesn’t even like beans! A really terrific recipe, which of course you can make without the added mint extract for some plain tasty brownies.
Later this week I started on another batch of recipes starting with these chocolate chip muffins:
- 1 1/4 cups wholegrain or spelt flour
- 1/2 cup plain white flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup of natural caster sugar
- 1/3 cup of oil - I used a mix of walnut and rapeseed
- 1 cup of non diary milk
- 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips (check for dairy free to keep them vegan)
- Pre heat the oven to 180c. Sift the flours together in a bowl and add the baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix to combine. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, oil and milk. Pour the wet into the dry mixing gently until combined. Add most of the chocolate chips, reserving a few for sprinkling on top. Divide the mix between 10 - 12 muffin cases, I used silicone liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out without any dough on it. Leave to cool, or enjoy warm!
I based this recipe on an old vegan cupcake recipe I’d made a few years ago with a few tweaks, they also turned out very well indeed and proved to be extremely popular too. Next up I thought I’d make some yummy chocolate chip cookies!
- 2/3 cup plain white flour
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup of natural caster sugar
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free to keep them vegan)
- 2 tbsp oil (I used walnut)
- 5 tbsp non diary milk
- Pre heat the oven to 200c. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda sugar and chocolate chips together. In a separate bowl combine the milk and oil. Pour the wet into the dry and mix well until you get a big ball of dough. You might need to get your hands in there! Break off balls of the dough, roll into balls and press down into cookie shapes on the baking trays. Bake for about 10 minutes until just turning golden. Leave to cool on the baking sheet so they can firm up before removing them. Store in an airtight container...if they last that long!
These aren’t soft cookies as they have a bit of crunch but are delicious all the same, definitely a winning recipe!
Last but not least I decided to try something a bit different. One of my colleagues has several intolerance’s and I wanted to ensure that she had something to enjoy as well. After looking at a lot of delicious raw dessert recipes last week, I thought I’d make some raw carrot cake bars as another recipe to test out the food processor as I had already created the cashew coconut butter I used as the frosting in it the week before:
- 2 carrots - heaped 1/2 cup once grated
- 1/2 cup coconut - shreds or desiccated
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 - 1 tsp of mixed spice
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- Add all of the coconut, walnuts and half of the almonds to a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add the grated carrot, dates and mixed spice and process again until the mixture starts to clump together. Add the remainder of the almonds and process again until they are chopped into smaller pieces and the dough is sticking together in a big ball. Transfer the raw carrot cake dough to a cling film lined pan or lunch box and press down with some cling film on top so that you create a flat layer. Pop it in the freezer to firm up.
- To make the cashew coconut butter, add the cashews and coconut to the food processor and process on high, stopping every minute or so to scrape down the sides. Keep going for about 10 minutes until the cashews and coconut become a smooth nut butter.
- Take the carrot cake out of the freezer and spread about 2/3 of a cup of the butter (keep the rest in a jar and use like any other nut butter) over the top until it is smooth. Place back in the freezer for that layer to firm up, then after an hour or so remove from the fridge and slice up to enjoy!
- Slices wrapped in foil will keep in the freezer for several months or in the fridge for a week.
How good do they look! Completely gluten free and refined sugar free, the creamy cashew coconut butter really sets them off.
As you can see, it’s been a busy week in my kitchen! I still have the weekend and a few days next week when I hope to sell a few more treats but so far I’ve raised just under £50 which I don’t think is too bad considering the amount of people I’ve been able to reach.
Have you ever taken part in a bake sale? Do you have a go to recipe you know everyone will like?