Kale and Apple Salad with Candied Pecans and a Creamy Tahini Dressing

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This salad is probably one of my favourite way of eating raw kale which I am going to be honest is not the most immediately friendly veg to be eaten raw, especially if you are a kale beginner!

The key to eat raw kale is to chop it extremely finely (the smaller pieces the better) and to massage it for few minutes with a bit of lemon juice and salt. In this way the leaves soften and wilt so it’s also much easier to digest. To balance the bitterness of the kale I like to add chopped apples, grapes and goji berries, apart from adding so much antioxidants and vitamins their flavours and texture just works perfectly together.

Finally the tahini dressing just brings everything together, it’s super creamy and decadent and make the kale even softer and juicer. This salad is also perfect to make in advance as it won’t go soggy, even after few days in the fridge it will still be crunchy. I like to make a generous portion on Sunday and then bring it into work with some some sweet potatoes wedges or some veggie burgers.

Ingredients: Serves 2

200gr of cavolo nero or curly kale

1 Jazz apple

½ cup of pecans

1 teaspoon of maple syrup or date nectar

1 cup of grape

1/3 cup of goji berries

The juice of ½ lemon

 

For the tahini dressing:

2 heaped tablesoon of tahini paste

1 teaspoon of sweet miso paste

2 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 tablespoon of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix the pecans halves with the maple syrup and place them on a baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes.Wash the Cavolo nero and remove the stem. Chopped the leaves finely (if you are not used to eat raw kale or cavolo nero I would suggest to chop it as finely as you can, in this way it will be also easier to digest)

Place it in a bowl and add the juice of ½ lemon, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. With your hands start to massage the leaves, continue this process for a couple of minutes, you should start to see the leaves wilting. Leave it on one side.

To make the dressing:

Simply whisk all the ingredients apart from the water in a bowl. At last add the water gradually until you reach the desired consistency. Ideally you want the dressing to be creamy but not too thick.

Chopped the apple in bite size pieces and cut the grape in half.

Remove the candied pecans from the oven and leave them onto one side.

To assemble the salad simply add the apple pieces, the grape halves, goji berries to the bowl where you massaged the cavolo nero and mix everything together. When serving sprinkle the candied pecans on top and drizzle with the tahini dressing.

 

 

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Raw Cacao, Coconut and Goji Berries Slices

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I love playing around with raw sweets, they are so easy to make and they are almost always fail proof! They are also so quick to make as they obviously require no baking. Medjol dates is almost always the base for this kind of treats, as they are sticky and naturally sweet so they are perfect to bind the ingredients together and they don’t require any added sweetener. If you are allergic to nuts you can totally substitute the ground almond either with more oats or with more shredded coconut (yes, is not a nut!). Raw cacao for me is the always the perfect match in terms of flavour, it literally transform them into fudgy, gooey and decadent bites of heaven!

 Ingredients- makes about 10-12 slices:

 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

 1 cup of ground almond

9 Medjol dates (pitted)

3 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

 1/2 cup of jumbo Oats

 1 teaspooon of cinnamon powder

 1/2 cup of goji berries

 For decorating (optional):

 An handful of coconut chips

 An handful of goji berries

This recipe couldn’t be simpler! Place all the ingredients apart from the dates into a food processor and blitz for a minute until everything become the consistency of a coarse flour. Add the pitted dates and blitz again until a sticky ball starts to form.

 Remove the mixture from the food processor and with your hands press it down into a tin layered with baking paper. Spread the mixture evenly, I like to use a rolling pin as I find it helps to make the process easier. Place the tin in the fridge and leave it to set for about 1 hour.

Remove it from the fridge and slice it in bars of the size you prefer. Sprinkle them with the coconut chips and goji berries and enjoy!

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Chia pudding and Apple Crisp Parfait

Apple and chia pudding parfaits

My new summer obsession has officially began, parfaits! I actually don’t know why I haven’t experiment with it before as they are so easy to make, and they are just the perfect dessert or healthy snack! In this version I have decided to use one of my favourite fruit, apple. Although apples might sound a bit boring to you, they are actually a powerhouse of goodness! They are rich in antioxidants and fibres. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and even heart disease!

 

I love the combination of sweet and soft apples with the crunchy textured of the nuts and seeds and the silkiness of the coconut yogurt, is literally a match made in heaven!

 

 

 

Makes about 4-5 pots depending on their size

 

Ingredients:

 

For the chia pudding layer

 

½ cup of chia seeds

 

1 and ½ cup of almond milk

 

1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or vanilla essence

 

 

For the coconut layer:

 

125 gr of plain coconut yogurt, I have used 1 pot of Coyo

 

For the apple compote layer:

 

1 apple

 

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

 

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

 

For the apple crisp topping:

 

2 apples

 

¼ of a cup of pumpkin seeds

 

¼ of a cup of sunflower seeds

 

¼ of a cup of goji berries

 

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

 

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

 

2 tablespoon of coconut sugar (optional)

 

 

Method:

 

Start by making the chia seeds pudding. I personally prefer to make this the night before and let it thicken up in the fridge overnight. If you didn’t have the chance you can leave it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or so.

In a mixing bowl combine the chia seeds with the almond milk and the vanilla essence. Whisk everything well together to avoid any clumps. Cover with cling film and place it in the fridge. After about ½ an hour take out of the fridge and give it another stir.

 

To make the apple compote: chopped the apple in bite size pieces and place them in a pan with the cinnamon, turmeric and a splash of water. Cover with a lid and cook gently for about 15-20 minutes until the apples are all soft and squishy. Transfer it into a blender and blend it until smooth. I didn’t add any sweetener as I think the apples are sweet enough but feel free to add a tablespoon or 2 of maple syrup or honey.

 

To make the apple crisp: chopped the apples in small pieces. Chopped roughly the pecans. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to a pan and let it heat up. Add the chopped apples, nuts and seeds to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add all the spices, goji berries and the coconut sugar (if using). Cook for a further 5-7 minutes until the apples start to soften and the nuts and seeds are crispy.

 

To assemble: place about 2-3 tablespoon at the bottom of the glass, top with the apple compote, then proceed with a layer of coconut yogurt. Top the parfait with the apple and seeds crisp. I love having mine while the topping is still warm as I love the contrast with the cold chia pudding and coconut yogurt, but cold is delicious too!

Cover the pot with cling film and store in the fridge up to 5 days.

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Apple and Coconut Bliss Balls

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I really enjoying trying new flavour combination of bliss balls, the sky is literally the limit when it comes to energy balls. I personally love the classic nuts, dates and raw cacao powder but this apple and coconut have definitely stole my heart.

This is the first time I have used and oats base and it worked really well, they also pack a fibre and complex carbohydrates punch so they are perfect for a speedy breakfast or for a post workout snack. I love the combination between apples, figs and coconut. It might sounds a bit weird but it works really well!

Makes about 10-12 balls

Ingredients:

½ cup of pecans

¾ of cup of oats

3 tablespoon of shredded coconut + more for coating

6 dried figs (if possible try to buy the ones without any preservatives or sulphates)

½ apple grated (skin included)

1 tablespoon of date syrup (optional)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

 

Place the oats and the nuts into a food processor and blitz for until a flour starts to form. Add all the remaining ingredients and process for another minute or so until you have a sticky dough. Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll them into balls of the size you prefer. Coat them in the shredded coconut and place them in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.

You can store them in air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. ( I normally tend to eat them all in a couple of days :))

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3 Seeds Chocolate Bars

imageThis recipe has been inspired by the ever so Talented Audrey at Unconventional Baker. When I saw her mini hemp chocolate bar I knew I had to make them as they looked absolutely stunning! (like everything else she does). If you are not already familiar with her make sure to check her amazing blog: http://www.unconventionalbaker.com/

In case you are not familiar with hemp seeds, these little guys are literally a gift of nature, they are actually the most nutritious seed in the world! They are packed with protein, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes. Raw hemp seeds have also be proven to help weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce inflammation and control blood sugar level.

I wanted to add even more goodness to this already super-good-for-you bars so I have added pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds which are another great nutritional bomb in small size. Pumpkin seeds have a variety of nutrients, from manganese copper to iron and zinc. The latest is such an important mineral for healthy looking skin and it has also been proven to help healing acne! On the other hand sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium which apart from being great at preventing cancer is also amazing for strong nails, luscious hair and glowing skin!

Aside from being so good for you  these bars are also so ridiculously easy to make, it literally takes 10 minutes to put them together and they last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients- Makes 8-9 bars

½ cup of hemp seeds

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup of sunflower seed

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or powder

9 pitted medjool dates

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of date syrup

 

For the raw chocolate layer:

2 tablespoon of coconut oil

2 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon of date syrup

 

Method:

Place all the seeds into a food processor and blitz for few minutes. Add the coconut oil, dates, vanilla and date syrup and blitz again until a sticky dough starts to form.

Remove the dough from the form processor and transfer it to a baking tray covered with parchment paper. With your fingers press the sticky dough down and try to spread it evenly across the tin. Place it in the fridge to firm up further.

To make the raw chocolate: Simply place the coconut oil in pan on a low heat. Let the coconut oil melt and once is all melted add the raw cacao powder and the date syrup. Whisk everything together and remove from heat.

Take the tin out of the fridge and pour the liquid raw chocolate on top, spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon until everything is covered. Place it back in the fridge for another hour or so until the chocolate become solid.

Slice it in bars and store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

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Tropical Bliss Mousse

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I had a bit of nostalgia of my Mexican holidays the other day and all of a sudden I find myself craving juicy coconuts and all the gorgeous tropical fruit that I was able to eat everyday.

So when Mighty Bee frozen coconut meat arrived in the post I was literally in heaven!

I never used frozen coconut meat before so I was a bit unsure what do with it at first, but it turn out to be super easy. I just defrosted ibn the fridge over night it and use it as I would do normally with fresh coconut meat and the texture is perfectly meaty and creamy at the same time.

This mousse I promise you will literally tele transport you to a tropical island with swishing palm trees, bright colourful flowers and crystal clear waters, you got the picture right? It’s also the perfect summer pudding, light and fresh but creamy and decadent at the same time. I love topping it with passion fruit, I think it just create the best combination of flavour but feel free to experiment with different toppings!

Make about 4-5 pots depending on the size

Ingredients:

1 cup of soaked cashew for at least 8 hours

1 very ripe mango

1 very ripe banana

About 100gr of frozen coconut meat or the meat of 1 young coconut ( I have used Mighty Bee frozen coconut)

The juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoon of coconut syrup

1 cup of rice milk

3 passion fruit for topping

 

Method:

This recipe couldn’t be simpler!

Drain and rinsed the cashews. Peel and chopped the banana and place them in a blender with all the remaining ingredients. Blend everything together until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency.

Pour the mousse into pots or dessert glasses. Cover them with cling film and place them in the fridge to set for at least an hour. This will help to make the mousse even thicker and creamier.

Just before serving sliced the passion fruit in half and pour the juicy pulp on top of the mousse. I have used ½ passion fruit for every pot. You can also add whatever fruit you like, I think chopped papaya or melon will taste amazing as well!

Cover with cling film and store them in fridge for up to 3 days.

 

 

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Healthy Caramel Digestive Biscuits

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When I first moved to London one my first food love was definitely digestive biscuits. When then they brought out the chocolate and caramel flavour I knew my life was complete! Jokes apart caramel and chocolate digestive biscuits used to be by far my favourite biscuits. They just dunk so well in your tea and then the chocolate goes a bit soft and squishy, YUM! I would easily go through a whole pack by myself.

When I changed my diet 3 years ago sweet and desserts were definitely the hardest thing to replace, especially back then when even in the health food stores they weren’t that many healthy and plantbased options. That’s why I started baking and making my own sweet treats.

 In case you haven’t noticed I have got a massive sweet tooth and I tried to fight it for so many years, thinking that maybe I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates, trying every trick on hearth to stop me from craving sweet things, until it got to the point where I was just so fed up of restricting myself. Now I just happily embrace it but I always make sure that my treats are still full of plant goodness and free of refined sugar.

Saying that if you have skin issues, especially hormonal acne, sugar (even natural sweetener like maples syrup, honey, dates etc..) is definitely something which you want to be cautious with. From my personal experience fresh fruit does not affect me but when it comes to dried fruit like dates, figs or cakes, biscuits I need to sensible and don’t eat 10 in one go, which sometimes can be definitely proven to be a challenge!:)

Now whenever I crave something sweet I always try to make it myself and if I make a big batch I ll save few for me and I ll take the rest into the office for my colleagues to share. In this I can enjoy baking without having the temptations of eating the whole lot.

These healthy digestive have all the richness of the traditional biscuits but they are full of goodness and they actually have digestive properties thanks to fibres in the oats and dates. I love coating mine with very dark raw chocolate to still have some antioxidants from the cacao. The contrast between the sweetness of the almond butter and date caramel with the bitterness of the chocolate is literally to die for! Thank goodness I brought most them into the office otherwise I would have easily scoffed the whole batch by myself!:)

Ingredients:

For the biscuit layer:

1 cup of oats

1 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

2 tablespoon of melted coconut oil

2 tablespoon of almond butter

2 tablespoon of almond milk

4 tablespoon of coconut syrup

2 tablespoo of flaxseeds + 6 tablespoon of water

For the caramel layer:

10 medjool dates

2 heaped tablespoon of almond butter

a splash of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or essence

For the chocolate layer:

100 gr of good quality dark chocolate – I have use Ombar raw chocolate 72% cacao

Method:

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees.

To make the “flax egg”in a bowl simply mix the milled flaxseeds with the water and leave it on one side until it assumes a gloopy consistency.

Place the oats into a blender and blitz until a flour starts to form. Transfer the flour to a bowl and add the coconut flour, brown rice flour and the baking powder.

In a separate bowl mix the coconut syrup, almond butter, coconut oil and add the “flax egg”.Whisk everything together. Add this wet mixture to the bowl with the flours. Combine everything well , first with a spoon and then with your hands. You should have a sticky quite hard dough.

Dust your working surface with a bit of flour and with a rolling pin roll the dough. It can be quite crumbly so you want to be gentle with it. With a cookie cutter or a glass cut out your cookies and place in a baking tray layered with parchment paper. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 20 minutes or until the edges start to be golden brown.

 While the biscuits bake make the caramel middle layer. Simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a thick and creamy spread (which by the way is sooo delicious by itself!). My food processor is not the strongest one so I had to let it run for a good 4-5 minutes scraping the mixture from  the edges every now and then.

Once the biscuits are baked let them cooled down for 10-15 minutes. With a knife spread the caramel on top of them and put them in the fridge to set for half an hour. For the chocolate layer simply melt the dark chocolate in a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water.

Pour the melted chocolate on top of the biscuits and gently spread it with the back of a spoon.

Store them in an air tight container for up to a week.

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Superfood Rhubarb and Strawberries Spring Crumble

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Sorry for the lack of recipes in the past week or so but I have been quite busy celebrating my 31st birthday, time literally flies! I have been so lucky to have received some seriously amazing gifts, one of my favourite is definitely this gorgeous blue Le Creuset oven dish from the lovely people at Steamer Cook Shop which you can find here: https://www.steamer.co.uk/brands/le_creuset

If you like me are a kitchenware nerd you will love Steamer website, from gorgeous tableware, bowls, cutlery and quirky jars to everything you can possibly need for cooking, baking or entertaining  friends and family. Apart from having an amazing website they also have 37 stores nationwide and 1 of them is in Buewater, not far from where I live so I will definitely pay it a visit soon! Some girls dreams of bags and shoes, I lust after muffins tins and mixing bowls! 🙂

 When I receive this gorgeous oven dish I knew immediately I had to make a crumble, it literally had “crumble” written all over it. I am totally loving the seasonal British produce at the moment, spring has finally sprung and English strawberries and rhubarb have hit the supermarket shelves. Normally you would pair Rhubarb with apple for a crumble (a combination which I love by the way) but I wanted to make the most of what’s in season so I added some lovely juicy strawberries. To add even more goodness to this already superfood crumble I have also added goji berries which have been recently become one of my favourite pantry staple. Goji berries are high in vitamin C, iron , selenium, beta carotene and numerous antioxidants so they are possibly one the best superfood for healthy glowing skin. When you combined them with vitamins packed rhubarb and strawberries and fibre and healthy fats rich oats and nuts you are creating possibly one the healthiest crumble ever! As usual you can decide how much sweetener you want to add, I always try to keep mine quite low so I can also enjoy it as breakfast when I fancy something a bit more special.

Ingredients:

For the fruit layer:

 2 stalks of rhubarb

200gr of  fresh Strawberries

100gr of fresh raspberries

½ cup of Goji berries ( soak them in water for at least 20 minutes before making the recipe)

2 tablespoon of chia seeds

4 tablespoon of coconut syrup

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

A splash of water

For the crumble layer:

 1 ½ cup of oats

 ½ cup of mixed nuts of  your choice ( I like to use a mix of almond, pecans and sunflower seeds)

 ½ cup of coconut chips

 2 tablespoon of coconut oil

 2 tablespoon of coconut syrup

 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

 A handful of flaked almond to sprinkle on top (optional)

 Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

 To make the fruit layer: wash and chopped the rhubarb into small chunks and place it in a pan with a splash of water. Cook it on a low heat for 10 minutes. Wash and chopped in half the strawberries and add them to the pan together with the raspberries , goji berries, chia seeds, coconut syrup and the cinnamon powder. Cook everything together for another 5-7 minutes. Don’t overcook ut as you still want to have some chunk of fruit in your crumble. Remove it from the heat and spread it onto your baking dish using the back of a spoon.

 To make the crumble:In a food processor blitz the mixed nuts until a coarse flour start to form. At this point add the oats and pulse for another minute or so. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the other ingredients: coconut chips, melted coconut oil, coconut syrup and cinnamon powder. Stir everything together until all the oats and nut are covered with the coconut oil and syrup.

Spread the crumble layer on top of the fruit layer and sprinkle with the flaked almond (if using).

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges start to become golden brown.

 Remove it from the oven and let it cool on one side for 5 minutes. I personally love serving it still warm with some coconut yogurt and fresh strawberries.

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The Best Chocolate Mousse

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In the past I have tried different type of chocolate mousse and although they were all delicious in their own right they never felt like the “real deal”, you know what I mean, right?

This chocolate mousse is the final combination of all my previous attempts, it’s super easy to make and it just so decadent, rich, thick but fluffy at the same time, for me it’s just the ultimate, dairy free and healthy chocolate mousse.

The best thing about it is that you can enjoy it without any guilt attached as it’s made of only wholesome ingredients and as usual you can decide how much sweetener you want to add to it. It’s also the perfect dinner party dessert as I promise you nobody will ever think that is vegan and  actually good for you!

I love topping it with fresh berries and coconut chips and for an extra indulgence I love to drizzle melted dark chocolate on top, the contrast between cold and hot is just to die for! J

Makes 2 pots

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1 very ripe banana (spotty skin)

 1 heaped teaspoon of almond butter – you can also use cashew butter

 2 heaped tablespoon of coconut milk – For this recipe is very important to use the coconut milk from a can and to use only the solid part. If you buy organic, without any emulsifier,coconut milk it will normally be solid on top so you can just scoop it out with a spoon. If you buy regular coconut milk make sure to put the can in the freezer the night before and that should work the trick.

 2 tablespoon of coconut syrup or sweetener of your choice (it has to be liquid)

 2 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

 Toppings (all optional but all delicious):

 Fresh blueberries

Fresh raspberries

Coconut chips

Melted dark chocolate

This recipe couldn’t be simpler! Peel the banana and the avocado and place them into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. You want a thick and silky consistency. Scoop the mousse out of the blender and divided into glasses or dessert pots and place them in the fridge for an hour. This will help to thicken up even further, resulting in a super creamy, dense and chocolately mousse!

Remove them from the fridge and top them with the fresh berries and coconut chips. To finish drizzle them with the melted dark chocolate and enjoy!

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Orange and Chocolate Oats Cookies

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One of my favourite combination in the sweet world is definitely orange and chocolate. Jaffa cakes used to be one of my most loved treats, I just adore the contrast between the tanginess of the orange and the richness of the chocolate, yum!

These cookies incorporate perfectly this delicious contrast but they are also packed with goodness! They are almost entirely made with oats which I like to call the “Everyday Superfood”. Oats have been proven to lower cholesterol, they are also packed with a specific antioxidants which reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease, they help stabilize the blood sugar level, they are high in fibre which have been famously known to help protect us against cancer. Apart from all these incredible health benefits oats are by far my favourite  grain to bake with as it’s so easy to transform them in flavour (just put them in a blender) and they work well in almost any recipe.

I like to dip the cookies in melted dark chocolate (the darker, the better) and top them with chopped pistachios and shredded coconuts. So far these have been my favourite combination of flavours and textures but you can totally experiment with different toppings of your preference. These cookies are also so cute and pretty to look at so they could be the perfect handmade gift or they would be ideal for kids parties too.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of oats

2 tablespoon of melted coconut oil

2 tablespoon of almond butter

3 tablespoon of coconut or date syrup (for this recipe you want to use a sticky sweetener so it will help to hold the dough together, you can add more if you like it sweeter)

The zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon of orange essence

The juice of 1/2 orange

2 tablespoon of brown rice flour

 

To decorate:

75 gr of good quality dark chocolate ( I have used 80% cacao Madecasse)

shredded coconuts

chopped pistachios

Method:

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Place the oats into a  blender and blend until they reach a flour consistency. Transfer the oat flour into a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients apart from the rice flour. Start by mixing it with a spoon and when the flour starts to absorb the liquid use to finger to roll it into a dough. It should be quite sticky but not too wet. If it’s too wet add the rice flour.

With a rolling pin gently roll the dough onto baking paper (so it won’t stick to the surface). With a cookie cutter of your choice cut out the cookies and place them onto a baking tray. The dough is slightly crumbly so you will have to be extra gentle in rolling and cutting it but it’s worth the effort!

Once you have cut all your cookies bake them in the oven for 15 minutes until the edges are starting to get golden.

While the cookies are baking melt the dark chocolate by placing it into a ceramic/glass bowl on top of pan with boiling water. It shouldn’t take more than few minutes until all the chocolate is completely melted.

Remove the cookies from the oven and leave it on one side to cool. After about 10 minutes decorate them with the melted chocolate, you can drizzle it or you can completely cover them with it,it’s entirely up to you! Topped with the chopped pistachios and shredded coconuts. Leave them to harden up for about 20-30 minutes. You can place them in the fridge to speed up the process. Enjoy!

 

 

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