Recipe: (Slightly) Healthier Peanut Flapjacks

Another peanut butter recipe on here… #sorrynotsorry.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.28.59_zps5ueznb75.jpgI’ve been going through a really hardcore peanut butter phase since I started exercising more. Even to the point of branching out into almond butter, and I’d be having a go at making me own if I owned a half decent food processor. If I’m heading out on a run I try and have a little snack before hand as otherwise I’m quite shaky afterwards, same goes for other cardio workouts. My current favourite is a ricecake thinly spread with nut butter, topped with half a sliced banana. It might not be the healthiest thing around but it keeps me going and it’s got to be better than a packet of biscuits, right?! This obsession coupled with a crazzzyyyy craving for flapjacks and an abundance of oats last week meant I took advantage of an unexpected day to myself and got baking.

 photo 2015-03-07 18.01.23_zps9pzn4stz.jpgThe issue with unexpected baking is a lack of ingredients. No butter, and only a small amount of sugar (reserved for tea drinking, thank you very much!). In the end I threw what I could find together and I’m actually really pleased with the end result. Rich, chewy, slightly crumby, with a hint of nut. I’d like the peanut flavour to be a little more obvious, but they are damn good flapjacks. The drizzle of chocolate isn’t totally necessary, but it only adds roughly 15 calories per slice and makes them feel like so much of a treat.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.29.12_zpslxrjc1bx.jpgI’ve worked out these are roughly 175 calories each if cut into 12 (I fancied some bigger squares!), but I’m not sure MyFitnessPal is being totally reliable at the moment. Even so, with no butter and less refined sugars (I’m not totally sure on how honey is thought of!) these feel so much better for you than normal versions. I find they keep me fuller for longer too, and don’t give me a huge sugar high. And, you know, they’re yummy.

 photo 6b0a8a35-d4ff-478d-8d26-f4396c70b423_zpsuxz5ivee.jpgIngredients

  • 100g of honey
  • 4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 60-75g of peanut butter (I found 60g wasn’t quite enough for my tastes)
  • 180g oats – I’m currently using Flahavans*
  • 1 pinch each of salt and cinnamon
  • 3 squares of dark chocolate

Note: I’ve been trialling Sainsbury’s basics range recently. The honey, peanut butter and dark chocolate are all from the range, and aren’t too bad. Sure the peanut butter isn’t the best (and it contains added sugar, oils and salt) but for the price it is definitely better than expected. The chocolate is the best of the bunch, and I would definitely buy it over more expensive brands.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.22.17_zpsjywi9at6.jpgSo, a simple recipe this. Throw the honey, coconut oil, and p-butter into a saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring every now and then. When ready the mix will be smooth and silky, ignoring the peanuts if using a crunchy spread.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.24.01_zpscf8ww26e.jpgPut the oats into a big bowl with the salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.33.02_zpsde6hkzaf.jpg photo 2015-03-07 14.33.21_zpsedlf8zrl.jpgAdd the melted mix to the oats and mix well to really combine. Tip into a lined tray (around 20cm square), and press down well with the back of a spoon – this step is really important or the flapjacks will crumble everywhere. Back at 150C for 20-25 mins.

 photo 2015-03-07 15.01.26_zpsxewvxoae.jpgScore lightly with a knife whilst still warm, then cool completely. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over, let set, then fully slice.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.29.06_zpsvaffxlko.jpgI found that these were perfect with a cup of tea, as they weren’t too sweet.

I’ve really gotten into trying to make some healthier bakes recently…what are your favourite treats and how do you make them healthier?

Baking: Peanut Butter Cookies

I looovvveeee peanut butter. I’m sure you have noticed by now! Peanut Butter Cups are my idea of perfection, B&J’s were certainly thinking of me when they brought out that flavour! Craving some right now as I type…

 photo e89e1b60-d10e-493d-a321-1471c82a6fc1_zps21f3fc95.jpgThis is such a simple recipe, so quick, and the result is utterly delicious. The quantities made a huge amount, filling my biscuit tin and lasting for a good week. My boyfriend then visited and they disappeared a whole lot quicker, which says a lot about how good this recipe actually is.

 photo dbeaf0a3-a045-435e-8718-a32103a5b245_zps91183892.jpgI’ve adapted it from this year’s GBBO book, a birthday present from the lovely Libby. It’s now completely suitable for when your cupboard is empty of most ingredients. Polenta is a bit of a luxury I admit, but I love it for scattering over chicken wings or, in this case, adding crunch to biscuits. Its not overly expensive, so worth having some tucked away for biscuit cravings!

 photo 821cb269-d292-4cbc-8075-80e98a6b7e41_zps020dc610.jpgIngredients

  • 1 jar peanut butter – around 300g
  • 125g sugar (I used standard granulated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of polenta

 photo a6c3b395-83ef-4602-81f4-5cb44076c864_zps1233f6e3.jpgI told you this recipe was super simple – here we go. Mix your p-butter and sugar together until fully combined, and slightly fluffy. Crunchy peanut butter works really well, but it’s harder to beat properly. I prefer to work hard with the elbow grease, I figure it burns off the calories of at least one extra biscuit…

 photo 23832948-23a2-40f6-80ed-0b27f16f2d97_zps9d9f835b.jpgStir through your egg, followed by your polenta.

 photo 57cc7074-0d08-4ffc-a551-00575a0f5d42_zps1cd6ae63.jpg photo 467fdcaf-8649-47d7-8d8a-5af09e8ccae0_zps2607d37c.jpgRoll into small (large marble sized) balls and spread out on a lined baking tray. Dipping a fork in warm water between each, flatten out. Bake at 180 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack until cold.

 photo 3214a376-de96-4355-bf36-abbbe1c7765d_zpsde97d3ef.jpgPerfect with a cup of tea, dipped into a hot chocolate, or scoffed out of the tin. The original recipe calls for sandwiching them with jam, but I’m not sure it’s necessary. Delicious just the way they are!

PS – apologies for no Wednesday post this week. My Christmas party kinda took it out of me – it was a conference followed by lunch, but the food wasn’t served until 4:45. Needless to say I was hungry and feeling pretty dreadful by the time I headed out of London! I spent last night napping and trying not to snack as it’s really screwed up my eating pattern. Yep, I had to get up and eat at 3am Wednesday morning as I had had such a late lunch, then not eaten dinner. These biscuits were needed then!

Are you a fan of peanut butter? Will you be trying out this easy recipe?

Baking: Peanut-aires Shortbread

 photo 2014-09-01191654_zpsc5e6aa72.jpgWhy have ordinary Millionaire’s Shortbread when you can add peanut butter? If you haven’t already guessed, I love the nutty, salty, crunchy spread, great on toast but it also makes a fabulous baking ingredient. I often find that traditional Millionaire’s Shortbread is too sweet and sickly for me, so I decided to make it more to my tastes by adding peanut butter. Of course, I then forget to sort out the caramel part, and this recipe was born. In fact I now prefer this one – not to mention it’s easier to make, less messy to eat andddd I can eat multiple pieces without feeling too sick. The perfect bake in my eyes…

 photo 2014-09-01191624_zpsfdd03a55.jpgI planned for this recipe to be mini – only making a few servings, so halved my existing shortbread recipe (it’s one I got in Food Tech when I was about 12) and used my smallest baking dish. Turns out I still got eight decent sized squared out of it so I’m going to give it to you in those quantities…

Ingredients

  • 90g butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 40g sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 120g chocolate

 photo d89dbf37-2b55-4344-83b6-1064549205e4_zpscf8e6088.jpg photo 2014-08-31155032_zpse23bb7a5.jpgStart by rubbing the flour and butter together, until it looks a bit breadcrumb-y like. It won’t be as breadcrumb-y as pastry as there’s a little more butter, but it should look something like my photos.

 photo 2014-08-31155039_zpsf593ae55.jpg photo 2014-08-31155313_zps46646099.jpg photo 2014-08-31155421_zps707e2fb1.jpgAdd the sugar and rub that in too.

 photo 2014-08-31163450_zpsc9c2a15e.jpgTip into a tin (lined with tin foil if you are lazy about greasing) and use a spoon to press down and into the corners – you want it nice and compacted. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake at 160C for about 25 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Let cool.

 photo 2014-09-01191642_zpsa932263c.jpgMelt the peanut butter slightly and spread over the shortbread. This is where using crunchy peanut butter made things slightly tricky, so I’d suggest going with smooth. Then melt the chocolate, drizzle over and smooth out. Sprinkle over some peanuts – make some caramelised ones if you’re feeling fancy!

 photo 2014-09-01191632_zpsc3e82980.jpgThats it – simple, effective, yummy and perfect for sharing. Or eating by yourself whilst Bake Off is on, which wasn’t what I was doing last night…

Do you like peanut butter?

Baking: Peanut Butter Jam Muffins

 photo 2014-08-03153439_zpsb87ffac8.jpgAnyone know what the difference is between a cupcake and a muffin? I always thought muffins were bigger, but it seems the pans in the shops (well, Wilkinsons, I’m not made of money!) are all the same size. I’ve decided cupcakes are iced, and muffins are appropriate breakfast food!

 photo 2014-08-03153516_zps2bb22f2a.jpgThese muffins would definitely back fabulous breakfasts…in fact I know they do as that’s exactly what I had this morning. A cup of tea (or three), a banana, and a muffin. Yum yum. I seriously enjoyed getting my bake on over the weekend, I’ve recently moved into new accommodation for my placement year and was itching to play with the cooker! A huge improvement on student accommodation I have to say! Back to the muffins, and these do make relatively acceptable breakfast fare – especially good for one the go when I’ve snoozed turned off all my alarms. Went down well with the office too, though I’ve made a mental note that my boss is allergic to peanuts!

 photo 2014-08-03133923_zps750492ea.jpgI made these with another of the hand-stirred conserves I received from Mackays* – this time the raspberry one. Again I’m not 100% convinced this has the fruity flavour I’d want from a jam, but unlike the bakewell recipe it doesn’t matter too much here. You just want a nice fruity sweetness against the peanut!

I’ve moved towards cup measurements recently, as I’ve found it a lot easier to make up my own recipes using these quantities – the mathematical-geek part of me loves the ratios involved with baking…

Ingredients.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter – I used crunchy which added a fab texture
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil (which I forgot to add, hence mine were a littleeee dry)
  • Jam*

This is such an easy recipe; I love muffins as they really are throwing things into a bowl, a little mix, then bake. Couldn’t be simpler!

 photo 2014-08-03134622_zps1f5c7468.jpgMix your flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. You should probably sieve them, but I’m lazy and lacking in the sieve department right now…

 photo 2014-08-03134856_zps7d8ee533.jpg photo 2014-08-03135401_zpscc1a6e07.jpgAdd your peanut butter, and mix until it looks bread-crumby. This is probably the hardest part as p-butter is so sticky – I’d recommend using a knife and chopping motions.

 photo 2014-08-03135735_zps72a4188c.jpgMix together your egg, milk and oil in a jug, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

 photo 2014-08-03140134_zpsc0db9850.jpg photo 2014-08-03140142_zpsed85ee81.jpgHalf fill twelve muffin cases (in your tray, of course!) with the mixture, then top with a small teaspoon of jam. Top with the rest of the batter mix, and smooth over so no jam is visible…or it bubbles up and burns…

 photo 2014-08-03142041_zps1cbd3aa6.jpg photo 2014-08-03142048_zps28b9e2e9.jpgBake at 180C for 15 minutes – they should be risen, golden, and give when pressed. And they should smell delicious too!

 photo 2014-08-03153439_zpsb87ffac8.jpgLet cool completely, as hot jam is not something you want to bite into. Enjoy for afternoon tea, or breakfast; hide them away for yourself, or leave unattended in the office – and enjoy the classic ‘peanut butter and jelly’ flavours in a muffin. Yum…

Have you baked anything recently?

 

Baking: Peanutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

 photo 2014-07-10113127_zpsdf574723.jpgThe eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed some colourful bits looking out of place in last week’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Here’s the explanation;

 photo 2014-07-10113141_zps98925580.jpgYou see, whilst my sister let me photograph (if I did the annoying bits – the creaming, the dolloping, and the washing up…) “her making” cookies I wasn’t actually going to be allowed any. We halved the recipe and she needed 12 to take to the stables (lucky horses!) BUT there was a little bit of mixture leftover. I quickly claimed it, but then spied some Peanut M&M’s on the side. Knowing we had peanut butter in the fridge I got mixing, and after a quick bake I had chewy, nutty, salty, chocolatey, crunchy delights. Not quite as good as my boyfriend’s cookies, but pretty damn good all the same!

 photo 2014-07-10110419_zpsafb3566d.jpgTo make these delicious cookies, you simply need to follow the recipe above, adding in a couple of spoons (I used a tablespoon for a small amount of mixture, so use your judgement) of crunchy peanut butter at the butter-sugar stage, and peanut M&M’s with the chocolate chips. Dollop onto the baking trays and bake – I found these took slightly less time.

 photo 2014-07-10112459_zps6291bb7c.jpg photo 2014-07-10113127_zpsdf574723.jpgThere you have it – a quick and easy adaptation that takes a simple recipe a step further. And it combines peanut butter and chocolate, what could be better?!

What do you add to your cookies?

Baking: Caramel Peanut Butter Cake

 photo 2014-03-16162548_zpse897652a.jpgI’m sitting here typing this post having just eaten huge wedge of this cake, yet the pictures are still making me hungry. That’s how good it is! Its a moist sponge, almost salty with peanut butter, sandwiched with toffee sauce to sweeten and more peanut butter (the type that almost glues your mouth together, both gooey and chewy at the same time), and topped with a dark chocolate. Oh, and remember those wonderful caramelised salted peanuts I talked about on Thursday? Well the cake is topped with those too – there’s even a scattering in the filling.

I first made this cake well over a year ago for my boyfriend’s birthday and have been craving it ever since. The craving finally got too much last weekend – I caved in and made it. This time I remembered to take photos so I can share the recipe – however I apologise for the exceptionally bad quality, as I forgot to use my usual mixing bowl so everything is tinted slightly pink. Whoops.

 photo 2013-01-04113244_zps5b1a361d.jpgAnyway, back to the cake…mmm cake…

This sponge cake mix is exceptionally easy, my version has never failed me. I got the inspiration for the cake from this recipe, but just adapted an already known sponge recipe to include peanut butter (and exclude the ingredients I didn’t have, like yoghurt and more than three eggs!). Everything else is simply a collection of ingredients really, but it all goes so well together, and it looks so impressive. Great as a birthday cake, but I also enjoy it sitting down with a cup of tea after a difficult day of lectures. Its probably my perfect cake actually, so I really suggest you try it!

 photo 2014-03-16161450_zps799fb199.jpgAnd besides, who could resist this?

Ingredients 

  • 150g butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 50g-ish peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (if using plain flour use two)
  • Splash of milk
  • Filling – more peanut butter (around half a tub or enough to generously sandwich the cake), toffee sauce
  • Topping – 100g dark chocolate, the cheapest brand is fine
  • and some caramelised salted peanuts!

Now to make a yummy cake…

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Ideally you want the butter to be very soft before you start this – I always beat the butter on its own a little bit too!

 photo 2014-03-16105915_zps04ffa18e.jpg Beat in the peanut butter.

 photo 2014-03-16110222_zps25be40da.jpg Now add and beat in the eggs, one by one. I find that occasionally my mix curdles at this point – if this happens everything will still work out fine, but it helps to beat in a tablespoon of flour before continuing with the eggs.

 photo 2014-03-16110619_zpsa90fdcaa.jpg Finally sift in the flour and baking powder, and fold in until just combined. Add a splash of milk – I actually added nearly 100ml of milk in the end.  photo 2014-03-16111024_zpsca9309fe.jpg Divide the mix equally between two lined and greased 10″ sandwich tins. You want these tins to be properly lined as this cake will stick – I have no patience in lining (my lovely boyfriend does this part for me!) but this link is roughly how he does it.

 photo 2014-03-16112045_zps94dcd234.jpg Cook at 180C for 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), until rise and golden brown. A skewer (or sharp knife!) should come out clean when poked in the centre.

 photo 2014-03-16115724_zps44af20a9.jpg Let the cakes cool before you filled them. Then spread the bottom cake generously with peanut butter, and top this with toffee sauce. Scatter over some caramelised peanuts.

 photo 2014-03-16161444_zpsb8e86073.jpg Top with the other cake, then melt the chocolate. Pour over the centre of the cake, and spread out to the edges with a spoon. Scatter over more caramelised peanuts. Eat as a dessert, or with a cup of tea because (insert reason here) or just because you like cake.  photo 2014-03-16162548_zpse897652a.jpgWhats your favourite cake?