Finding healthy snacks and treats has become a bit of an obsession with me, especially post Christmas where I still find myself rummaging through cupboards in search of a reward. Sugar is something I consciously try to avoid but at Christmas it just seems to be everywhere and as I hide most of it from the kids there’s a constant stash that inevitably ends up on my lap late in the evening. Now it’s time to stock up on things I actually want to eat.
January is the perfect time to get creative with recipes and make some healthier alternatives. I find I still have the odd craving for a pick me up of the sweet and comforting kind, but at the same time want to start the year full of energy and healthier food choices. This is one of my favourite nutritious treat recipes. I love the textures of these fig rolls – crunchy on the outside with a chewy centre and the combination of oats, chia seeds and coconut oil mean they’re satisfying so you don’t eat the whole lot in one go.
I used xylitol, but sometimes use palm (coconut) sugar, or just add more maple syrup instead. The problem with table sugar is that it’s been stripped of any goodness and robs the body of nutrients. No sugars are great, but natural sweeteners such as maple syrup do provide nutrients and are a better choice. Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol which has no impact on blood sugar levels and tastes the same as sugar without doing the same damage. I use it sparingly but it really can make the difference to baking.
You can use normal tea, chamomile or just add water, but I do like the complexity of flavour by adding rooibos and it does provide extra antioxidants which is always a bonus. You can even buy vanilla rooibos which would add even more flavour.
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fats as well as fibre, protein, antioxidants and minerals.
Not only are they a staple in most of my baking as they form a gel which works perfectly as an egg substitute, but they are also one of my top foods being so versatile and so nutrient-packed. We have them daily in porridge or yoghurt and they work really well in pancakes, muffins and even soup.
Filling: 150g dried figs, ½ cup rooibos tea, 1tsp vanilla essence, 2tbsp lemon juice
Biscuit: 1 tbsp chia seeds (or flax) 100g rolled oats, 20g xylitol, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, pinch of salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 3 tbsp rooibos tea, 5 level tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Make the tea in a cup using two bags so it’s lovely and strong. In a pan, mix half the cup of tea with the roughly chopped figs and other filling ingredients. Heat on a low heat for about ten minutes by which time the figs should have broken down and formed a kind of paste. Blend the mixture, adding a little water if needed until you have a jam-like consistency.
Mix the chia seeds with three tablespoons of tea and leave aside to form a gel.
Meanwhile put the oats in a food processor and blitz to form flour. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well before adding the rest of the ingredients including the chia gel. Mix again until a dough-like ball has formed.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper which is a great way to stop pastry sticking to everything and being really annoying. You’re looking for a size of around 12 x 30cm. Spread the fig paste down the centre of the strip.
Fold in both sides of the dough so that it meets in the middle. Press gently to hold it together and lay flat on a paper lined baking tray.
Cook in the oven at 175 degrees for about 25 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from a great food blog by Sarah B called my new roots.
We hope you enjoy these chocolates, let us know how you get on in the comments below or on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive more recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.