Tuesday 23 October 2018

Bite-sized bliss

 

Superfood supergood bliss balls. Photography © Elisa Watson
Superfood supergood bliss balls. Photography © Elisa Watson
Bliss Bites by Kate Bradley (Hardie Grant, £8.99) Photography © Elisa Watson
Breakfast bars. Photography © Elisa Watson
Raspberry ripe truffles. Photography © Elisa Watson
Blueberry crunch bliss balls. Photography © Elisa Watson

For lunchboxes or eating on the go, these portable snacks are packed with healthy ingredients that give a boost of nutrition as well as energy

SUPERFOOD SUPER-GOOD BLISS BALLS

These are the perfect, tasty snack to pop into kids' lunchboxes, or into your own bag to nibble on while you're on the run and trying not to be tempted by junk food. Throw some optional protein powder into these too if you like, and use them as a little post-workout treat. Delicious flavour bites at any time; just the thought of eating these makes me feel great.

Makes 30

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

60g sunflower seeds

70g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

40g black or white chia seeds

30g shredded coconut

40g Brazil nuts

40g almonds

30g hemp seeds

2½ tbsp bee pollen (optional)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

40g raw cacao powder

40g plant-based protein powder (see note, optional)

14 medjool dates, pitted

80ml rice malt syrup

Desiccated coconut, for rolling

Method

1 Place the sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds and shredded coconut in your food processor or blender and pulse until a fine meal is formed.

2 Add the Brazil nuts and almonds and pulse until they are finely chopped but still have a bit of texture; they shouldn't be like meal (see note).

3 Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the hemp seeds, bee pollen (if using), cinnamon, raw cacao powder and protein powder (if using).

4 Place the dates and rice malt syrup in the food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients in the bowl and combine well - you may need to get your hands in there and really mush the ingredients together if mixing it with a spoon isn't doing the trick. (Just make sure you wash those hands first!) Add a tablespoon of water if the mixture seems a bit dry.

5 Next, take about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll it into 2.5 cm (1 in) balls. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut to lightly coat then place them in an airtight container. Refrigerate or freeze them. These will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.

NOTE

If you want a softer truffle, pulse the ingredients until everything is a fine meal. Use any flavour protein powder you like - chocolate, vanilla or coconut, for example.

BREAKFAST BARS

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Breakfast bars. Photography © Elisa Watson
 

This recipe is inspired by the breakfast bar my friend Ryo makes at my favourite Melbourne eatery, Walk Don't Run, and they're as mindful and as goodness-packed as they come. They're super delicious, foolproof to whip up and make a winning breakfast when you're running out of time (or sprinting out the door.) I can also endorse these bars as wonderful hiking snacks.

Makes 10-12 bars

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Setting time: about 2½ hours

Ingredients

185g sunflower seeds

105g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

50g goji berries

40g sesame seeds

40g cacao nibs (optional; these can be substituted with another seed or nut)

40g white chia seeds

45g linseeds (flax seeds)

175g raw honey or rice malt syrup

90g tahini, cashew butter or other seed butter

40g cacao butter, melted

Method

1 Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.

2 Line the base of a 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 in) baking tin with baking paper. Transfer the mixture to the tin, pressing it firmly and evenly over the base then refrigerate for 2½ hours or until firm.

3 Once the mixture is firm, cut into 10-12 even-sized bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to two months.

RASPBERRY RIPE TRUFFLES

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Raspberry ripe truffles. Photography © Elisa Watson
 

I was never a fan of the Cherry Ripe chocolate bar, a very sweet mash-up of coconut, glacé cherries and chocolate. But these, I am totally down for. They're the perfect combination of tangy raspberry and sweet coconut and they never fail to go down a treat.

Makes 18

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the filling: 180g desiccated coconut

100g dried raspberries

1½ tbsp raspberry powder

60ml rice malt syrup

2½ tbsp coconut butter

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the coating: 150g raw dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Method

1 Place all the filling ingredients in your food processor or blender and pulse together until they're chopped and well combined.

2 Line a tray with baking paper. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll it into 1.5 cm (½ in) balls. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate to coat completely, draining off any excess chocolate. Place the balls on the tray then refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

3 Store them in an airtight container in the fridge or the freezer. These will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.

QUINOA, BUCKWHEAT & TAHINI LUNCHBOX BARS

I don't have much to say about these, except that they are totally nut-free and totally awesome. They're the perfect lunchbox bar or snack bar to have whenever you want a bit of pop and crunch in your mouth!

Makes 14

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Setting time: about 2½ hours

Ingredients

12 medjool dates (about 240g), pitted

60g hemp seeds or sesame seeds

180g tahini

2½ tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp raw honey or rice malt syrup

Pinch sea salt flakes

50g puffed quinoa

90g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

60g activated buckwheat (see panel)

40g sunflower seeds

For the topping: 80g raw chocolate, melted and cooled

Hemp seeds or desiccated coconut, for sprinkling, optional

Method

1 Place the dates, hemp seeds, tahini, coconut oil, honey and salt in your food processor or blender and process until smooth.

2 Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the puffed quinoa, pepitas, activated buckwheat and sunflower seeds. You may need to get your hands in there to properly mix this one.

3 Line the base of a 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 in) baking tin with baking paper. Transfer the mixture to the tin, pressing it firmly and evenly over the base, then refrigerate for about 2ƒ hours, or until firm. Pour over the melted chocolate and return to the fridge to set.

4 Cut into 14 even-sized squares and transfer them to an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. These will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.

NOTE

For these bars to become super firm, substitute the coconut oil with 40g cacao butter (melted).

BLUEBERRY CRUNCH BLISS BALLS

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Blueberry crunch bliss balls. Photography © Elisa Watson
 

Sometimes you just need a bit of crunch and texture in your bliss balls, and these definitely have that. They're also a great replacement for the refined sugar-filled muesli bars you can get in bite form. Not only can these be whipped up in minutes, they will keep you energised to take on whatever the day throws at you.

Makes 18

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

80g ground almonds

2 tbsp coconut oil

40g ABC (almond, Brazil and cashew butter), or almond or cashew butter

1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

5 medjool dates (about 100g), pitted

2½ tbsp maca powder

80g activated buckinis (see panel)

50g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

90g dried blueberries

Method

1 Place the ground almonds, coconut oil, nut butter, honey, vanilla, dates and maca powder in your food processor or blender and process until combined.

2 Add the activated buckinis, the pepitas and blueberries and pulse once or twice until everything is combined but still has a bit of texture.

3 Take about a tablespoon of mixture at a time and roll it into 2.5 cm (1 in) balls. Place the balls in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze. These will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.

ACTIVATING INGREDIENTS

Activating ingredients, such as nuts, seeds and buckwheat groats, helps to break down chemical compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Activating also helps start the sprouting, or germination process, which makes nuts and seeds easier to digest. You can buy ready-activated ingredients from most health food shops, but it's cheaper to make your own.

To activate your nuts or seeds, place 280g (10 oz) nuts in a bowl and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the water and mix well. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to soak for 7-12 hours, or overnight. (Almonds may take longer - up to 14 hours - to soak.) Strain the nuts, then spread them out on a baking tray. Transfer to an oven preheated to the lowest possible temperature (usually between 50-65˚C [120-150˚F]) and leave to dry for 12-24 hours. Ensure the nuts are completely dry and crunchy before removing them from the oven as still-damp nuts can turn mouldy. Once completely cool, store your activated nuts and seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in a sterilised jar at room temperature for up to three months.

To sterilise jars, remove the lids and wash the jars thoroughly in warm soapy water. Place jars, mouths up, on a baking tray and place in a low oven until completely dried. The lids should be boiled for 10 minutes and left to air-dry on a clean tea towel.

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