PB and J biscuits

I saw the divine Reece Hignell and Jess Lemon (from Australia’s Masterchef ‘Back to Win’) share an epic 3 ingredient peanut butter biscuit recipe on Instagram.

So I thought, “let’s make it PB&J – but healthy?”

The original recipe is just 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 egg, mixed together into balls and flattened with a fork, baked at 170*C for 12 minutes.

I changed mine up a little and used:

  • Baked at 170*C for about 15 minutes, then drizzled with Noshu low sugar white chocolate chips and served with a dollop of Natvia low sugar raspberry spread – bliss!
  • Hazelnut Cherry Cheesecake

    This is not healthy in the slightest really BUT it is deceptively easy to make! To ease up on the calories (because every little bit counts), I use fat-reduced cream cheese and ricotta, and I don’t add any more sugar. It does produce a slightly more tart cheesecake though, so if you’re after something sweet, add 1/2 cup of caster sugar to the filling.

    Ingredients 

    • 250g block of cream cheese
    • 125g smooth ricotta
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tbsp flour (can use gluten free plain flour if required)
    • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
    • 200g chocolate biscuits (I used chocolate ripple, but substitute for whatever suits your diet)
    • 70g butter, melted
    • To decorate – cherries, chocolate lindt balls (+/- 200g chocolate with 2 tbsp cream for ganache).

    Method 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. To create the layered look, I used three different sized cake tins but in reality, a single 24cm springform tin will suffice! Line the base and sides of the tins with baking paper.
    2. Crush the biscuits until fine crumbs, and mix with the butter until starting to form clumps. Spread onto the base of the lined tin/s and bake until starting to firm (about 10 minutes).
    3. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, hazelnut spread and flour until well combined. Pour into the lined cake tins and bake until firm (about 20 minutes but keep and eye on them!). Return to the fridge to cool as the mixture will reduce down and become much more firm.
    4. If using ganache as part of the decoration, melt the 200g chocolate and cream in a pot over a saucepan of boiling water until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Once the cake is firm, assemble the layers with toothpicks if you’ve used different tins. Then pipe or drizzle the ganache around the edges, then decorate with cherries and lindt balls (again, use tooth picks to hold them on!).

    Nutty Carob Granola

    Nutty, chocolately granola without the hidden sugar!

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
    • 1/4 cup oats
    • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
    • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
    • handful each of hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts and flaked coconut
    • 2 tbsp carob
    • 2 tbsp cacao
    • 3 tbsp olive oil Nuttalex, melted

    If you prefer your granola sweeter, add 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
    2. Mix all of the ingredients together and spread onto the baking tray.
    3. Bake until crispy (~ 15-20 minutes), using a fork to turn the mixture every 5 minutes.

    S’mores Brownies

    Life is all about balance. And sometimes, that involves eating brownies that make your soul incredibly happy, even if your pancreas isn’t. After a little trial and error, I’ve discovered the perfect way to make your usual brownies taste just like s’mores – and wow do these little s’moresels (hehe) pack a punch!

    Ingredients (makes 12-24 depending on how you cut them, I prefer mine smaller as these are pretty rich!)

    • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
    • 1 packet McVittie’s digestive nibbles (or similar, but essentially you need small balls of digestive biscuits that are entirely covered in chocolate – normal digestive biscuits will just go soggy in the mix!)
    • Your usual favourite brownie recipe (or packet mix, there is no shame in using a packet mix!)

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven as per your usual recipe or packet mix instructions. Line a brownie tray with baking paper.
    2. Prepare your usual brownie recipe or as per the packet mix instructions.
    3. Just before baking, mix in the marshmallows and the digestive nibbles, stir well to combine.
    4. Pour into the tray and bake until just cooked through. Allow to set and cool in the fridge before cutting as the marshmallow will be incredibly sticky while hot!!

    Peanut Butter Protein Brownies

    Peanut butter, banana and chocolatey goodness with the added benefits of being high fibre, low in refined sugar AND high protein? These gloriously fudgy mouthfuls may just be the best brownies ever!

    Ingredients (makes 9-12 depending on how you cut them!) 

    • 1/2 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (can substitute with LSA)
    • 1/2 cup cacao pea protein (I use hazelnut cacao pea protein by Botanika Blends)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tbs cacao (can substitute with cocoa powder, or carob for something sweeter)
    • 2 tbs coconut oil, melted
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 2 extra-ripe bananas
    • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter (i.e. no added oil, salt or sugar – I use crunchy PB by Mayvers)

    Note if you prefer yours sweeter, you can also add 2 tbs maple syrup or coconut sugar.

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a brownie tray with baking paper.
    2. In a bowl, mash the bananas, then add the eggs and oil and mix until well combined.
    3. Add the flour, flaxseed, pea protein, cacao and baking powder to the mix and again, stir everything until well combined.
    4. Pour the mixture into the brownie tray, then swirl the peanut butter on top (place blobs about 1/3rd of the tray apart from each other, then use a fork to swirl into the mixture).
    5. Bake until a sewer comes out clean (about 20-30 minutes). Allow to cool before cutting.

    For a bit of crunch, you can also add your favourite nuts or cacao nibs to the mix! 

    Choc Peanut Banana Swiss Roll

    I make no apologies, this is a completely indulgent, over the top version of a recipe I found in a Gourmet Traveler magazine. There is nothing remotely healthy about it, aside from the fact it does wonders for the soul!

    Swiss roll cake

    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 80g cocoa powder
    • 2tbsp plain flour
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp almond milk
    • 50g dark chocolate
    • 50ml cream

    Creme patissiere

    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 tsp cornflour
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Filling

    • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
    • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180*C.
    2. Beat 4 egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then stir in flour and cocoa.
    3. Melt the chocolate, mix with the cream and almond milk, then fold into the egg yolk mixture.
    4. Whisk 4 egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly fold into chocolate egg yolk mixture.
    5. Spread onto baking tray and smooth the edges, and bake for 12 minutes. Once baked through, wrap the cake around a rolling pin and place in the freezer to cool for 15 minutes.
    6. To make the creme patissiere, mix the 4 egg yolks with cornflour, sugar and vanilla until combined. Heat the milk until just bubbling in a saucepan over medium heat, then add to the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly. Return the entire mixture to the stove and continue to whisk quickly until mixture thickens, then immediately remove from heat and place in the fridge to cool.
    7. Unroll the cake. Spread with PB and banana, topped with cacao nibs and creme patissiere, then roll back into a log shape. Top with extra cocoa powder before serving.

    Pavlamingtons

    The Pavlamington is the glorious love child between a rich sweet lamington and a particularly frisky meringue. This recipe is a variation of my favourite pavlova recipe by Donna Hay, made all the more exciting with the addition of chocolate, coconut and strawberry jam.

    Ingredients 

    • 4 egg whites
    • 1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or white vinegar)
    • 1 cup caster sugar
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • 1 cup dessicated coconut
    • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
    • 1/2 cup thickened cream

    Method 

    1. Preheat the oven to 120*C and line a couple of trays with baking paper.
    2. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until peaks form, then add the sugar one teaspoon at a time until dissolved. Once glossy, add the vinegar and beat for another 2 minutes.
    3. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a reasonably broad nozzle (or you can cut the corner off a plastic zip lock bag). Pipe the meringue into 50c piece sized discs onto the baking trays, and bake until firm (about 40-50 minutes). Set aside to cool.
    4. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the chocolate and cream until melted and mixed through. Set aside to cool slightly.
    5. To assemble the Pavlamingtons, sandwich two of the meringue discs together with strawberry jam before dunking the side of the sandwich into the chocolate ganache. Roll the chocolate coated side in coconut and place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

    Note: if you find your meringues start to melt when you dip them in chocolate, place the meringues in the freezer for 5 minutes before dipping. Also place the ganache in a shallow dish to ensure it cools evenly (as in a deep bowl it may still be warm on the bottom).

    Choc Peanut Tarts

    One fantastic way to save on calories without sacrificing taste is to use baked wonton wrappers instead of pastry. They are deliciously light but crunchy, and can be filled with virtually any topping. Previous experiments of mine have included baking them with vanilla sugar before serving with ice cream and fresh fruit, and I have also used them as quiche bases.

    These involve the winning combination of peanut butter and chocolate, making these a very moreish, low sugar and low guilt treat! 

    Ingredients – per mini tart you’ll need;

    • 1 wonton wrapper
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (choose the kind with no added salt, sugar or oil for best results)
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1/2 tablespoon cacao / cocoa / carob powder
    • stevia to taste*

    * I only needed about 1 teaspoon for a total of 10 tarts as I prefer the chocolate layer to be slightly bitter. You could also use maple syrup or brown sugar instead. 

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Place the wonton wrapper in a muffin tin and bake until brown (about 10 minutes, be careful they don’t burn).
    2. Mix the coconut oil, cacao and sweetener together.
    3. Allow the wrappers to cool before filling with the peanut butter. Pour the coconut oil mixture on top and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set. Serve while still cold (otherwise the coconut oil will melt!).