Desserts

Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

According to the Food Network, the earliest known ice cream sandwich recipe was made with two slices of sponge cake. They have gradually evolved until the ice cream was eventually sandwiched between cookies and crispy wafers which more closely resembles the treat we enjoy today.

I have never been a particular fan of the wafers but since my first introduction ice cream being sandwiched between two cookies, I have never looked back.. Although I had originally thought that plant-based eating would mean saying farewell to such decadent deliciousness, it seems not! With “nice cream”, a tasty frozen filling, sandwiched between a couple of vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, the treat lives on!

Orange and Lemon Sweets (Vegan and GF)

When you think of oranges and lemons, what comes to mind? More than likely it is a vision of a couple of citrus fruits characterized by their leathery rind, white pith and juicy segments! Not at all surprising as these fruits are a common ingredient in baking and cooking and can have many uses for both sweet and savoury dishes. However, when I think of oranges and lemons something quite different comes to mind.

The “Happy Pear” Flapjacks

Although these treats are definitely unlike any flapjack I have ever tasted, the appeal of this healthy treat is that you can be creative with the ingredients and mix up the fruits and nuts as long you keep approximately the same volume of ingredients. I modified the original recipe replacing some of the walnuts with pistachio nuts and adding sunflower seeds in place of some of the pumpkin seeds to add colour and texture.

Raw Ginger Bites (Vegan and GF)

Ginger is one of my kitchen staples and I appreciate its versatility as a kitchen spice for both savoury and sweet dishes.

Not only is ginger valued for the bite it adds in the kitchen but, historically, ginger has also been used as a preservative, a tonic to treat common ailments and is renowned in both Eastern and Western medicine as a digestive aid. After the holiday season, which can involves eating more rich foods than normal or, in general day-to-day eating, ginger can serve as a natural remedy to assist with the digestive process.

Gingerbread and Cranberry Chocolate Cups (Vegan and GF)

Throughout history, winter solstice festivals have been held across the world to celebrate the changing seasons and to mark the longest night of the year and rebirth of the Earth. The origin of baking treats for holiday festivities such as Christmas dates back to these solstice rituals.

One of the reasons these celebrations tended to revolve around food was because it used to be necessary to feast before the winter famine. In addition, the festivities and food often had an emphasis on the Earth itself incorporating natural foods.

Full of natural foods such as nuts, berries and spices, this recipe makes a delicious, healthy treat which can be enjoyed as part of holiday celebrations or packaged and shared as special gifts.

Christmas Mincemeat (Vegan and GF)

Growing up in England, one of my strongest associations with feasting at Christmas includes mince pies! These days I make my own mincemeat and tend to experiment with different variations every year. Although the recipes generally include a mix of fruit, dried fruit and spices, one of the beauties of modern mincemeat is that it is extremely flexible and forgiving. Some years, I have been ambitious enough to make candied peel from scratch. Not this year, however! Still, regardless of how it evolves, mincemeat with its distinct taste and aroma will always be a holiday favourite of mine.

This is the first mincemeat recipe I have tried that uses a Dutch oven rather than the stove-top method. The slow cooking of the mincemeat in the oven over 90 minutes fills the kitchen with the familiar and delicious aroma of dried fruit and spices.

Triple Layer Tahini or Caramel Bars (Vegan and GF)

Traditionally, treats have been considered unhealthy as they tend to be processed foods, high in calories with little if any nutritional value. They can also contain harmful levels of added sugar, sodium and fat. In some ways, this “unhealthy” aspect of treats seems to defeat their intended purpose if the rituals of celebrating, rewarding or consoling includes eating potentially unhealthy ingredients.

Even though a lot of the WFPB treats contain healthy and nutritious ingredients, they still need to be consumed in moderation especially if they are part of a weight loss plan. However, there is no doubt in my mind that all treats are not created equal so next you are looking for food to treat yourself, why not give one of these healthy and nutritious WFPB treats a try?

Apricot and Peanut Recovery Bars

After any endurance event the body needs time to recover so it can reenergize itself for next time. For the body to recover more quickly, another important piece is choosing the right foods.
This is one of the challenges I face as I often don’t feel like eating after strenuous activity. However, these tasty apricot and peanut butter bars provide a great mixture of healthy ingredients that I find appealing even right after a workout to help kickstart the recovery process..

If you are not athletically inclined, the good news is that recovery bars are not just for after sports! There are lots of situations in life that involve recovery and the one most of us experience at some point is stress. Much like a workout, the “fight or flight” response of stress can impact the body leaving it needing recovery. As this can come in the form of time, rest and healthy sustenance, these decadent bars make a great recovery treat for even the worst of days!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble (Vegan and Gluten Free)

One of my favourite desserts from childhood is the classic crumble with either an apple and blackberry or rhubarb base. As my cooking now involves quite a different array of ingredients than it did at one time, it is always a bonus when one of the classics can be adapted to a vegan and gluten free version. I have tried a number of variations and this Apple and Blackberry Crumble recipe seems to most closely resemble the original texture.

Oat and Apple Biscuits (Vegan and Gluten Free)

What comes to mind when you think of a biscuit? My guess is that it probably depends on where you live! Having grown up in one country and then lived most of my adult life in another, I have found there are several words that are used quite differently in each country. One of these is the humble biscuit!