It’s been a while since I’ve baked. I’ve been focusing on holidays and fitness so much that I haven’t had the time to set aside a few hours to do what I love. A few people have requested some ‘healthy’ bakes which are lower in fat and a bit more guilt-free. Bank holiday Monday seemed the perfect chance to do some experimenting and here’s what I came up with!

One of these bakes is a tried and tested recipe, but it is considered a healthy alternative to the typical shop-bought muffin so I’d throw that in here. The other is something I’ve been after for a while now; low-fat chocolate brownies. Again, an alternative to those found in shops, these are low calorie, low fat treat that you can have to curb those sugar and chocolate cravings without spending the whole day regretting you’ve eaten.

Blueberry & Banana Muffins
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[Nutrition per Muffin: Calories – 200, Fat – 5g]

This is one of my favourite bakes; such an easy recipe to follow and they come out perfect every single time. I took these to a friends BBQ & someone thought I’d picked them up from Starbucks on the way over. WINNING. They’ve got much less calories than shop bought muffins and when you bake them yourself you can be exactly sure of what’s going in them. The only ‘unhealthy’ thing would be the sugar, and even that is light brown sugar. They’ve also got oats in them – not just on top – so they make a perfect breakfast muffin. Recipe is from the well trusted www.bbcgoodfood.com; give them a go, you’ll love them!

Ingredients:
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g light muscovado sugar
50g porridge oats, plus 1 tbsp for topping
2 medium bananas, the riper the better
284ml carton buttermilk
5 tbsp light olive oil
2 egg whites
150g punnet blueberries

Method:
1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Tip the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Hold back 1 tbsp of the sugar, then mix the remainder with the flour and 50g oats. Make a well in the centre.
2. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until nearly smooth. Stir the buttermilk, oil and egg whites into the mashed banana until evenly combined.
3. Pour the liquid mixture into the well and stir quickly and sparingly with a wooden spoon. The mix will look lumpy and may have the odd fleck of flour still visible, but don’t be tempted to over-mix. Tip in the blueberries and give it just one more stir. Divide the mix between the muffin cases – they will be quite full – then sprinkle the tops with the final tbsp of the oats and the rest of he sugar.
4. Bake for 18-20 mins until risen and dark golden. Cool for 5 mins in the tray before lifting out onto a rack to cool completely.
TIP: Enjoy while still slightly warm, i prefer them this way, while the blueberries are still runny. MMMMMMM, nom
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Low-Fat Chocolate Brownies
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[Nutrition per Square: Calories – 105, Fat – 3g]

I’ve seen a lot of healthy blogs giving different alternative to chocolate brownies, most of which include some kind of nuts or prunes. I prefer smooth brownie bites without a crunch and so it’s taken a while to find a nice healthier recipe. Alas, spending more than 10 minutes looking, I found one! I couldn’t wait to make these and popped out to buy the chocolate to  get started straight away. Another very easy recipe – absolutely fool proof, in fact – these little brownies taste incredible. The texture is more of a chocolate sponge, but the crispy layer on top gives these bites their brownie trademark. Soft and light, the recipe includes yogurt and coffee. Again, they’re low in calories, and fat, and are great to satisfy cravings. This recipe was taken from www.goodtoknow.co.uk.

Ingredients:
100g bar dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, in squares
2 medium eggs
75g each golden caster sugar and light muscovado sugar
½tsp coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
1tsp vanilla extract
90g 0% fat Greek yogurt
90g plain flour
¼tsp baking powder
15g cocoa powder
Icing sugar, for dusting
17cm square tin, lined with baking parchment

Method:
1. Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Melt chocolate over a pan of hot water. Cool for 5 mins.
2. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light. Stir in the chocolate, then the coffee, vanilla and yogurt. Gently fold in the sifted flour, baking powder and cocoa powder.
3. Smooth the mixture into the tin. Bake for 25-30 mins. Leave to cool. Cut into 16 squares. Dust with icing sugar.

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Despite being healthy-er versions of the calorific, fat-filled treats you will find in supermarkets, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you can eat 12 of them. Everything in moderation, after all. It’s so important to remember when you’re healthy eating that you can still have the things you enjoy, just have the one, though, not 6. For those being a lot stricter with your meals and diets, just limit your cheats to once a week to satisfy the things you’ve been craving.

I hope everyone is enjoying their bank holiday weekend! 🙂

KC. X