Energy balls are such a fantastic snack – they are filling, tasty, and portable. Plus, they stay fresh for about 4 weeks when stored in an airtight container so can be batch prepped. However, I find that most recipes are hideously overcomplicated, requiring ingredients that can either be located in some niche health food store, or a long lost plant in a far corner of the earth. I’ve simplified the recipe using mainstream ingredients you’ll find in your local supermarket, but still taste great.
These energy balls mimic the Middle Eastern flavours you’ll find in baklava and other traditional desserts – pistachio, rose and cardamom – such a great combination. You’ll need a food processor for this.
Ingredients: Prep time: 10 minutes Makes 10 energy balls
100g medjool dates, pitted
50g pistachios, shelled and unsalted
1/4 teaspoon rose extract (or 1/2 teaspoon rosewater)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons mixed seeds – linseeds and sunflower seeds are good options (optional)
Place your dates and nuts into a food processor and blitz for 1 minute on a high speed.
Add your rose extract, cardamom and honey and blitz again for 1 minute on a high speed.
Remove the mixture from the food processor and place in a mixing bowl and stir in your seeds (if using these)
Roll into balls using your hands. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Out of all the cookies I’ve ever made, these cookies are probably my favourite. They are rich and gooey and melt in your mouth, whilst still being crispy on the outside. The decadent chocolate orange flavour is one of the best combinations, in my opinion, well done Joe! (Joseph Terry, who founded the chocolate orange in York in the 19th century – fun fact)
Prep time: 10 mins
Makes 20 small/medium sized cookies
125g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g self raisingflour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 whole Terry’s chocolate orange, chopped into chunks
Line your baking tray with baking parchment. Preheat your oven to gas mark 5/190C/375F
Using an electric mixer (if you have one, otherwise by hand will do!) mix your butter and sugars together until combined
Beat in the egg and vanilla essence
Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and orange essence and mix until you have a cookie dough.
Fold in the chocolate orange pieces
Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. For small/medium sized cookies I use a heaped teaspoon sized ball. You can make these any size you like, just make sure they are all the same size so they bake uniformly.
The Groovy Food Company have developed a new coconut oil, infused with turmeric, which seems to currently be the nation’s favourite spice! This combination makes their coconut oil perfect for adding to curries, stir fries or even granola bars, as I tried myself. I was sent a jar of their coconut oil and asked to try out a recipe their team have developed for these tahini and turmeric granola bars. Tahini and turmeric are both ingredients that have traditionally been used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, but is gradually becoming more and more popular in the UK. I must admit, that when I initially read the recipe, I was slightly apprehensive, as these are not ingredients that I’ve commonly used to prepare granola bars! However, the end product was great, you are left with a granola bar full of warming spices, that is not overly sweet.
The Groovy Food Company also have a whole collection of other great recipes on their website using their products.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes approximately 30 granola bars
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread oats evenly on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for 8 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
Combine agave nectar, tahini and turmeric infused coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, coriander, salt and black pepper and mix well. Add dates and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine toasted oats, pistachios and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add agave and tahini mixture and mix well to ensure the oats are well coated.
Grease the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish and line well with parchment paper. Transfer oat mixture to the lined dish and flatten using your hands (compressing the mixture helps the bars hold together better).
Bake for 25 mins and leave to cool for 15 before transferring out to a wire rack. Allow a further 10 minutes before cutting.
I recently jumped on the overnight oats bandwagon (a bit late, I know), but I think i’ve now found my favourite recipe, which lets you get your morning coffee and oatmeal all in one go. The oats and chia seeds combo helps keep you full all morning, whilst the coffee provides your caffeine hit. They’re also good as a mid-morning or pre-gym snack.
I am not exaggerating about the prep time. It will take you no longer than TWO minutes to prepare. So there’s really no excuse now to not start the day with a healthy breakfast every morning!! These should be prepared the night before in a mason jar, bowl, or tupperware box, so you can just quickly grab and go in the morning. You can use your milk of choice, I personally prefer full fat milk as you end up with a nice creamy coffee. Feel free to leave out the honey if you normally don’t put sugar in your coffee!
Prep time required: 15 minutes Makes 15 medium sized cookies
I broke my foot 7 weeks ago and was put on a strict ‘no-gym’ regime for a minimum of 3-4 months. This means no running, cycling, swimming and even no walking initially. As someone who usually hits the gym 4-5 times a week, I’m ashamed to say that the first thought that crossed my mind when I was diagnosed was ‘what will this do to my waistline!!!’. I initially tried to cut out chocolates and biscuits, but found it required a lot of willpower when you’re sat at home, resting your foot and doing mostly nothing all day. All I really wanted to do was reach for the nearest hob nobs packet!
Since then, I’ve been experimenting with ‘healthy’ baking, so I could have some treats and feel less guilty. My healthy carrot cake was my first stint at this, but if you prefer something more chocolatey I’d recommend these double chocolate chip cookies. I can’t say that they are 100% free from refined sugar, as they do contain a teeny bit of dark chocolate, but they are healthIER than their sugar filled alternatives. They’re great as an afternoon treat or snack for work.
150g plain flour
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons honey
85g dark chocolate chips (50g melted and 35g keep aside for mixing in whole)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees/gas mark 4.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla essence and coconut oil and honey and beat until incorporated.
Melt 50g of your chocolate chips in a glass bowl over a boiling saucepan of water. Stir into your mixing bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix together until combined.
Cover a baking tray with baking parchment.
Scoop tablespoon sized portions of the batter into balls and place on the baking tray.
Wouldn’t life be so much better if you could eat cake completely guilt free? My healthy carrot cake is the answer!! It is free from refined sugar and is packed with vegetables, fruit and nuts…yet it really does taste as good as the sugary version (in my opinion). This means its not only good as a sweet treat, but also as an afternoon snack to take to work, or even a pre-gym pick-me-up.
320g carrots, grated
80g dates, finely chopped
1 tbsp honey
3 large eggs
150g coconut oil
Zest of 1 orange
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
160g plain flour
120g desiccated coconut
1 tbsp baking powder
120g chopped walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Mix the carrots, dates eggs, coconut oil and orange zest together in a mixing bowl.
Stir in the rest of all the ingredients except the walnuts.
Blitz the mixture in a food processor or blender and then stir in the walnuts.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 65 minutes. You’ll know when its cooked when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
I originally saw this recipe being made on Blue Peter over a decade ago! They called it ‘Blue Peter Party Cake’, but then a few years later my best friend came over with the same exact cake calling it ‘Polish Cake’. Either way, it’s been a firm favourite in our household ever since, and we now call it ‘Chocolate Biscuit Bites’ because, well, that’s basically what it is!
They are super buttery and delicious and basically taste like biscuits dunked in hot chocolate. What’s not to like?
Prep time: 15 minutes
225g plain biscuits (I used plain digestive biscuits)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 dessertspoons cocoa
2 dessertspoons drinking chocolate
1 dessertspoon caster sugar
Break up your biscuits by placing them in a freezer bag and smashing them with a rolling pin. Break until they are around the size of 5p pieces.
In a saucepan, mix the margarine, the golden syrup, cocoa, sugar and drinking chocolate over a low heat until combined.
Once they’ve all melted together, pour the mixture over the biscuits and mix it all together with a wooden spoon.
Spoon the mixture into a well greased cake tin, I used a square one so it can be cut into mini squares but you can also use a circular one if you prefer.
Put some greaseproof paper on top and then, to keep it tightly packed together, stick a plate on top and then a couple of tinned soups or beans to weigh it down.
Leave to set overnight in the fridge, then remove and cut into squares.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, enjoy!
Sometimes, the best cure for a Monday is… A big dollop of Nutella! Seriously, I actually believe that Nutella fixes most of life’s problems, or at least definitely improves them 🤔. Hence why I’ve just whipped up a batch of my Nutella granola. 😍
It can be eaten dry as a snack, or even served with milk to make a tasty cereal. It tastes even better if you use hazelnut milk. I’m normally one for healthy eating and would never usually have anything chocolatey for breakfast, but sometimes you’ve just gotta #treatyoself 🙈
250g rolled oats
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
50g chocolate chips
1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Melt the Nutella, coconut oil and honey over a low heat until combined.
3. Pour the rolled oats into a mixing bowl and pour the melted Nutella mixture over it and stir until all the oats are covered.
4. Stir in the almonds, walnuts and chocolate chips then lay the mixture on the baking tray
5. Bake for 30 minutes.
6. Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
With cold and flu season just around the corner I’ve been trying to incorporate more ginger into my daily food intake! Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet, its great for digestion and warding off colds and flu, however, most of us don’t eat enough since its… well…an acquired taste! Blending them into these energy bites reduces its sharpness whilst also adding a hint of spice to these otherwise sweet treats.
Energy bites are my new favourite snack – they’re super easy to prepare, very healthy, can be stored for weeks and are perfect for taking to work to zap away the pre-lunch hunger pangs! Check out my cacao energy bites too if you haven’t done so yet!
Total time required: 15 minutes
Makes approximately 20 energy balls
50g cashew nuts
1 tablespoon chia seeds
80g dried apricots
A fresh piece of ginger, about 4cm – finely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1. Place the nuts into a food processor and blitz until they are broken into tiny shards.
2. Add the apricots to the food processor and blitz again until the nuts and apricots are blended together.
3. Add the honey, ginger and chia seeds and process again until a sticky dough has formed
4. Roll into balls using your hands
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks! Bon appetit.