Posts tagged dates

Speedy (Health Conscious) Millionaire Shortbread


‘ll start by warning (yes warning) you that this recipe should not be compared to the decadence of the traditional millionaires shortbread. Firstly is the reduciton in indulgence ingredients, mainly butter and sugar, that I love so very much and praise. However, if you have a craving for this dangerous treat, but also want to balance this guilty indulgence with some form – even if tiny – of health awareness then its a good one. That said, it really is a speedy way to make your own version! The traditional version takes time – baking the shortbread base, making the caramel and then applying the chocolate. This, can be done in an hour!

If you do want to make a recommended amendment if time isn’t your’e enemy here, I think this recipe could be equally as good as the real thing just by changing the base for a traditional baked shortbread. Use 50g caster sugar, 125g unsalted butter and 150g plain flour – example recipe here. I personally think the date caramel is far tastier than the normal boiled sugar version! Firstly, its less rich so you can eat more of it…and secondly its natural sugar. Yes, still sugar but its far healthier.

(Based on a recipe by ‘The Plant-Based Londoner’)


  • 90g oats
  • 130g nut of choice (cashew, brazil, almond)
  • 1 tbsp lacuma powder (optional)
  • 6 tbsp of nut butter of choice (try substituting in some coconut oil. Note, it will dominate the flavours)

Caramel & Topping

  • 300g pitted dates
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Start on the base. Pulse the flour, lacuna powder, nuts and nut butter in a food processor until you have a soft dough that holds together. If it needs to be more moist add a little more nut butter. Tip out into a lined baking tray (line with parchment, foil or cling film) big enough so that the mixture is about 1 cm deep. It doesn’t matter what dish you use, just use one that is a suitable size.(20cm x 20xm recommended) Cover and chill in the fridge.
  2. Next, pulse the dates, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla in the food processor. Add a splash of water and keep adding until you get a smooth but thick date caramel.
  3. Spread this caramel evenly over the chilled base and then cover and chill again.
  4. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water until fully melted.
  5. Tip the chocolate over the chilling date layer and smooth out until even and completely covering the caramel.
  6. Cover again and chill until the chocolate has set hard.
  7. Once hard, tip the bar out onto a chopping board and cut into the desired square/rectangle. Please note – the top layer WILL crack where unwanted and not every piece will look perfect, if any. The 3 in the image I have are the only ones that did not misbehave. But the look isn’t everything so cut randomly into chunky morsels. Its more tasty that way.


Pecan, Cinnamon & PB Energy Balls


alling all sports fanatics, runners, lycra glad cyclists and yogis. Energy balls. In the fast paced and immediate society we now live in (London specifically), time is something that we so regularly abuse…’I’m just so busy I didn’t have time’. Which has carved the way for the new found energy ball to eat on the go before that lunch time pilates class or to fill a void between your next avocado. The happy balance being convenience and keeping a healthy lifestyle.

The energy ball currently populates the nation from supermarket to sport shop and will in the oh so near future be a much bigger part of my life (cliff hanger). Many health bars/snacks on the market are unhealthily and sneakily filled with naughty ingredients and additives. But homemade energy balls really are pure and clean. And full of….energy!? And I’m more than pleased to add that these really are as quick to make as they are to gobble down before that spinning class.

Provided you have a food processor (I’m being presumptuous) then all you need to do is pulse it all together! I mean…if you want to squat at the same time then be my guest. And hey…who said they had to be balls? Make them triangles if you have the time.

Adapted from ‘Deliciously Ella’

Ingredients (makes about 20)

  • 400g dates (pitted). I also threw in a handful of prunes for good measure
  • 100g oats
  • 100g pecans
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (feel free to use any other nut butter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  1. Blend the oats and pecans until a fine mixture in a food processor.
  2. Add the other ingredients and pulse until you have a sticky mixture.
  3. Roll into balls (golf ball sized) and chill in the fridge (covered) until needed

Coffee and Date Drizzle Cake






This cake is moreish, moist and had me (who has the most pathetic of sweet tooth) eyeing up my second piece as I licked the crumbs clean from my greedy fingers after my first piece. Its not as ‘coffee-ey’ as a traditional coffee and walnut sponge but the use of this Percol fine powdered espresso coffee works wonderfully to create a deep coffee background hum. Super fine and smooth and a good way to get your coffee cake hating friends to relish the joys of this treat.

Feel free to experiment a little here with the icing flavour or dried fruit. Figs or prunes would be effective for example instead of dates. Try soaking them in brandy, cognac or even rum first! Try flavourng your icing with cinnamon or cocoa for a mocha effect. However, I feel the icing needs to be coffee flavoured to really bring out the flavour in this cake!

1 small Cake

  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 220g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 small eggs
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 100g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 12g cocoa powder
  • 160ml strong coffee (I used Percol espresso powder), cooled slightly
  • 65ml buttermilk
  • 80g dates, sliced (reserve a few for decoration)


  • 250g mascarpone
  • 80g sieved icing sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee mixed with a splash of boiling water.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line and grease 2 cake tins. I used 2 small 6inch tins so the sponges were fairly thick. Make up the coffee and soak the dates in the hot liquid briefly if you like.
  2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until fluffy. Whisk the eggs and vanilla and add, a bit at a time, until combined with the buttercream.
  3. Sieve together the bicarbonate, flour, almonds and cocoa and fold in to the egg mixture.
  4. Mix in the cooled coffee and the buttermilk to form a smooth batter and divide equally between the tins.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 180C°. Bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar and add the coffee. Chill until needed.
  7. Make the syrup by mixing together about 1 tbsp of coffee with 50ml hot water and a tbsp of caster sugar.
  8. Once the cakes have cooked, remove from the oven and leave in their tins to cool for 10 minutes or so. Prick the cakes and spoon over the syrup and leave to cool completely.
  9. Once cooled, they are ready to ice. I could have got away with cutting each of my sponges in half horizontally to make a 4 tiered cake but do as you please. Divide the icing over the sponges.
  10. Decorate with some slices of dates and some crushed cocoa nibs if you like!





Chewy Date Slice



However delicious, I was unsatisfied with churning out another generic batch of star-topped, icing-dusted mince pies this weekend. Before you bar-humbug me (as those who know me know I a Christmas LOVER) these have the festive touch of chewy sweet dates, punchy orange zest and warming cinnamon that make a welcome alternative to the mince pie. Especially if, like my glamorous Gran, you are raisin hater. Devour after a cold walk with some warm mulled wine to warn off the teasing sniffles of a brewing cold that threatens to sabotage your Christmas day..

Makes about 12 slices

  • 175g plain flour
  • 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250g dates
  • 1 orange
  • 75g butter
  • 150ml water (maybe a bit more)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g flaked almond
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Start with the shortbread base. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and the cold cubed butter until a dough forms. Alternatively, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you form a dough.
  2. Line a tin (about 25cm x 16cm) with parchment and mold the dough into the tin pressing it down with the back of a spoon. Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the shortbread for about 15-20 minutes until golden but it doesn’t matter if not completely cooked as you will cook it again with the topping. Leave to cool while you make the topping.
  4. Put the dates, cinnamon, 25g of butter, water and the zest of the orange in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool and puree in a food processor. Add a splash more water if too thick.
  5. Combine the flaked almonds, vanilla, sugar and remaining 50g of butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Coat the almonds in the melted butter and leave to cool a little.
  6. Spoon the date puree over the shortbread base and spread out evenly. Scatter over the buttery almonds and bake for about 25-35 minutes until golden.image
  7. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into slices and dusting with icing sugar.