As I have mentioned before and will no doubt mention again, I am doing my best to avoid all processed sugars and to reduce the overall amount of sugar/carbohydrates I am eating. So this year I made all my own Easter sweeties, sans processed sugar, but super delicious and so I’m sharing the recipes at the end of this post.
But first, seeing as for most people, Easter is a massive sugar-fest, I thought it was timely to talk a bit more about sugar.
If you haven’t yet seen the the fabulous Australian Documentary “That Sugar Film”, you totally should. It’s very good.
But if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, and until you do, I thought I would pack you up with a few videos you can watch online. I’ve put in a couple of short ones a couple of longer ones 🙂
This cute little 3 minute video from a 2012 American campaign to try to help people eat less sugar.
Nicole Avena’s 5 minute TED talk – How sugar affects the brain
A Catalyst episode from 2013 – Toxic Sugar?
And lastly another TEDx talk, this time by Dr Robert Lustig called Sugar – the elephant in the kitchen.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that our daily intake of food should include no more than 10% from sugar, and that a reduction to 5% would provide additional health benefits. 5% equates to around 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, current statistics show the average australian is having around 30 teaspoons per day. Imagine how many teaspoons that increases to over the Easter long weekend!
One of the main reasons for the high sugar intake is the result of added sugars in the foods we buy from the supermarket. It is currently estimated that 80% of all supermarket-bought foods contain added sugar, and in most cases this is refined-sugars. Refined sugars, as I am sure you are already aware, contain no nutrition for the body and in many forms are actually quite toxic, one well-known example being our not-friend – high-fructose corn syrup.
As I have mentioned a number of times before, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth, and I am definitely not at the stage of giving up sweet foods completely. I figure that, given there are a number of sweeteners provided to us by nature that do contain nutrition, I must be meant to eat them 🙂
So, as I mentioned, this Easter I made all my own Easter chocolates. For the record, making my own was as much about making sure I had chocolate to eat this Easter, as it was for any other reason 🙂
Without question, my favorite natural sweetener is maple syrup. Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, which is heated to remove some of the water content so that it creates that lovely syrup. Maple syrup contains small amounts of vitamins and almost all minerals, which means our body knows what it needs to do with it. Just don’t eat too much of it, because when you eat too much sugar/too many carbohydrates, your body knowing what to with it = adding it to your fat cells.
Ok, enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff, here are the Easter sweeties I made this year, each of them super easy and super delicious.
Chocolate Almond Crunch Recipe
Up till this recipe I had been making all my own chocolate from coconut oil, this was first go with cocoa butter and I don’t think I can go back. It is very delicious.
- 1 cup cocoa butter
- 1 cup of cocoa
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or more or less to taste)
- 1 cup of almonds
What to do:
Melt the cocoa butter in a saucepan over low heat, then stir in the cocoa and maple syrup. Scatter the almonds on the bottom of a non-stick tray and pour over chocolate mix. Freeze. Eat.
These are best kept in the freezer but you can keep them in the fridge but they will be more of a chocolate almond chew than a chocolate almond crunch 🙂
Chocolate Rough Type Things
My comment above about never going back was a bit hasty, I had no trouble going back to these.
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
- 2 cups shredded coconut.
What to do:
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat then add the cocoa and maple syrup to taste. Put the coconut into a bowl and stir through the chocolate concoction. Place smallish balls of the mixture onto a non-stick surface and freeze. Now eat.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese or “cream-cheese” icing
Adapted from Donna Hay
For our family celebrations I put my hand up to make an Easter themed dessert, I didn’t want to do anything chocolate as there is always plenty of that around so I decided on a carrot cake, themed so as the Easter bunny eats carrots. This cake has the added benefit of being grain free to help keep you under your daily carbohydrate limit 🙂 The smell of this cake whilst it was cooking was amazing, and it is without question the tastiest carrot cake I have ever eaten.
- 5 eggs
- 1 -1½ cups maple syrup (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
- 3½ cups almond meal
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon aluminium-free baking powder
- 400g carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup sultanas
What to do:
Pre-heat oven to around 160 degrees celsius. Beat the eggs and maple syrup and vanilla with electric beaters until the mixture becomes thick and basically triples in size, this can take a while, took me around 10 minutes. Combine all other ingredients into a separate bowl and then fold through the egg mixture. Pour into a springform non-stick tin and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cake is ready when a knife/skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool completely in the tin and then refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours.
Top with either cream cheese icing, or if you are avoiding dairy (like me at the moment), this “cream cheese” icing which is what is on my cake, and is surprisingly good:
Coconut Cream Cheese Icing
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
- 1 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
What to do:
Using a stick blender whip all the ingredients, excluding the water, until you have a lovely, fluffy mixture. Add water/coconut oil as required to adjust the thickness. Add apple cider vinegar/maple syrup as required to adjust taste.
Slap the icing on the cake. Eat the cake.
That’s enough sweet treats for today 🙂