Thursday, 27 April 2017
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Christmas & New Year 2016

Nothing is as sweet at Christmas time as a lovingly prepared gift from the kitchen. These deliciously easy recipes from award-winning food writer Nicola Graimes are perfect for little hands to help make...

Chocolate Bean Brownies
Makes 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

80ml/2½fl oz/1/3 cup melted coconut oil or sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
100g/3½oz/heaped ¾ cup spelt or plain/
All-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g/1¾oz/½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao
175g/6oz/scant 1 cup light soft brown sugar pinch of sea salt
400g/14oz can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs, light beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk of choice

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas 4. Line the base and grease the sides of a 20cm/8in brownie pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to a smooth batter, occasionally stopping to scrape the mixture down the sides.

4. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and just cooked through – you want it to be a little squidgy in the middle. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 squares.

Choccy-Nut Balls

Makes 24
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus soaking and chilling
Cooking time: 4 minutes

150g/5½oz/heaped 1 cup soft, pitted dried dates, chopped
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
100g/3½oz/heaped ¾ cup cashew nuts
50g/1¾oz/heaped ¹⁄³ cup hazelnuts
1 tbsp hemp seeds
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao, plus extra for coating
6 tbsp desiccated/dried shredded coconut, for coating

1. Put the dates and orange juice in a bowl to soak.

2. Toast the cashews and hazelnuts in a large, dry frying pan over a medium-low heat for 4 minutes, shaking the pan until they start to colour. Tip into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put the nuts in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the soaked dates with the orange juice to the processor and blend to an almost smooth purée, pushing the dates down the sides of the processor.

4. Spoon the date mixture into the bowl containing the nuts. Stir in the hemp seeds and unsweetened cocoa powder until mixed to a thick paste.

5. Cover a small plate with a layer of unsweetened cocoa powder and a second plate with the coconut.

6. Divide the mixture in half, then divide one half evenly into 12 pieces. Roll each one into a ball, about the size of a large marble, then roll them in the cocoa powder until evenly coated.

7. Repeat with the remaining half of the date mixture, this time dunking the balls into the coconut to make about 12 balls in total. Arrange all the balls on a plate and chill for 1 hour to firm up. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipes extracted from Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids © Nicola Graimes 2016, commissioned photography by Tony Briscoe. Published by Nourish Books, London. RRP Paperback £12.99.

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