Skye’s Scran for SCAN: Easy Sweet Treats

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Homemade Banana Bread. Photo: Skye King

 

Hello everyone, I hope you have had a good Easter holiday! Hopefully the break has left you refreshed and ready to tackle the final term of the year aka exam-hell season.

 

During this particularly stressful time healthy eating is probably the last thing on a student’s mind. A diet of burritos, pasta, pizza and Haribos might be tempting when you are drowning in final deadlines and worrying about exams. However, try to resist the junk! Good food is vital to keep your body and brain in tip-top condition during this challenging period. As the saying goes, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’!

 

Therefore, this term my columns will focus on healthy foods that you can easily dish up and taste delicious. This column in particular is all about easy sweet treats that will satisfy your sweet tooth and help fuel your brain.

 

Avocado and Chocolate Pudding

Instead of reaching for a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream why not try this healthier chocolate-y pudding? This pud is deliciously moreish and packed with antioxidants and vitamins that your body will love.

Serves: 2-4 | Prep time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

4 ripe avocados

60ml coconut milk

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons raw honey

60g dark chocolate (72% or higher), melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Equipment:

food processor

 

Method

  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor.
  2. Blend the avocados until smooth then add in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend the mixture for 1-2 minutes until combined and creamy.
  4. Pour into ramekins to serve four or small bowls for two. Or if you’re lazy like me and you want one less thing to wash up, then just eat this pud straight out of the food processor.

 

Recipe inspiration source:

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/02/chocolate-avocado-pudding-yep-its-a-thing/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+howsweeteats/smSp+(How+Sweet+It+Is)

 

Banana Bread

This basic banana bread is my favourite! I mainly love this recipe because it is very forgiving, for instance you can easily swap bread flour for plain flour, or if you’ve run out of brown sugar you can use white sugar. I’m still searching for The One, the perfect banana bread – I have come pretty close to perfection with a few batches however I am still experimenting. Every time I bake this treat I like to deviate from the recipe slightly. According to my housemates the recipe below aka banana bread batch 3 is the best ever.

Makes: 1 loaf | Prep time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 55-65 minutes

 

Ingredients

knob of butter (to coat the loaf pan)

115g unsalted butter

175g brown sugar

2 large eggs

5 medium bananas, very ripe (skin should be very brown)

60ml milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or maple syrup)

300g baking flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

90g dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate squares)

 

Equipment:

loaf pan

stand mixer or hand mixer (if not making by hand)

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Rub the nob of butter around the inside of the loaf pan.
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat on the stove.
  4. In a mixing bowl whisk the melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until combined.
  5. Add the eggs to the bowl and whisk until smooth, then add the milk and vanilla extract to the batter.
  6. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl. Next use either a whisk or a fork to mash them into the batter.
  7. Add the baking soda, flour and salt into the bowl and use a spatula to gently stir to combine the mixture.
  8. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes — start checking the bread after 50 minutes and every five minutes thereafter.
  10. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes to help the loaf solidify. Then remove the bread from the pan and cool for a further 10 minutes. Wait a further 10 minutes before slicing the loaf.
  11. Enjoy this simply tasty bake with a good cup of tea.

 

Recipe inspiration source:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-banana-bread-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-139900

 

No-bake Cookie Dough Bites

Okay so this is probably the naughtiest sweet treat in this column with not much nutritional benefit at all… However, these no-bake cookie dough bites are super easy and quick to make! If you are a cookie dough enthusiast you simply must make these bites – I promise you will adore ‘em!

Serves: 8 | Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

80g butter, melted

100g light brown sugar

85g cream cheese

4 tablespoons granulated sugar (white)

160g plain flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

130g mini chocolate chips

 

Method

  1. In a bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Mix in cream cheese and white sugar until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla, baking soda, salt, and flour until dough is formed.
  4. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  5. Roll cookie dough mixture into small balls.
  6. Best enjoyed immediately!

 

Recipe inspiration source:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/robertbroadfoot/heres-what-happens-when-chocolate-makes-love-with-cookie-dou#.chARlD2LE

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

These brownies are the ‘sweetest, gooiest, softest, most moist, chocolatey brownies ever’ to quote Deliciously Ella, the creator of this decadent treat. If that description doesn’t tempt you to make them then perhaps the fact they are bursting with nutritional goodness will!

Makes: 10 slices | Prep time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 medium to large sweet potatoes (600g)

2/3 of a cup of ground almonds (80g)

1/2 a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (100g)

14 medjool dates

4 tablespoons of raw cacao

3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

a pinch of salt

 

Equipment:

food processor

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 180°C and line a baking tray.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into chunks and place into a steamer until they become very soft (roughly 20 minutes).
  3. Add the sweet potatoes to the food processer with the pitted dates.
  4. In a large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and then stir in the sweet potato date mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes (or until a pierced fork comes out dry).
  6. Remove the brownies from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting it up and nomming.

 

Recipe inspiration source:

http://deliciouslyella.com/vegan-sweet-potato-brownies-gluten-free/