As many of you may know, my latest book Healthy Baking – Cakes, Cookies + Raw has recently been launched, and I’m so grateful that this book I’ve always wanted to write has finally come to life.
What few people may not know, however, is that Healthy Baking took many months to create. The past year has been mostly writing and developing the recipes, shooting them with my husband Paul, and bringing together the design and feel of the book with my creative team.
This week I wanted to answer some popular questions readers have had on Healthy Baking so far. You can find the full interview on Eat Drink Paleo.
What does ‘healthy baking’ or ‘healthy desserts’ mean to you?
To me, it’s about going back to basics, keeping things simple and using quality ingredients that are good for health and wellbeing. The recipes in this book are designed for pleasure, as well as to nourish the body and soul. All my recipes are low in sugar, allowing the natural flavours and organic essence of all the wholefoods I use to shine through.
In your experience, what are the top 10 must-have pantry or/and fridge staples you need for healthy baking and desserts?
Nuts, almond meal, oats, maple syrup, vanilla, extra virgin olive oil, spelt, cacao, buckwheat flour and grass fed butter are all must-have healthy baking ingredients in my book!
All my recipes are low in sugar, allowing the natural flavours and organic essence of all the wholefoods I use to shine through.
What are your favourite wheat flour alternatives?
Buckwheat flour is a great gluten-free flour alternative I use a lot of the time. I love how it has an intensely nutty and grainy texture and contains amino acids, minerals and fibre. Another favourite is almond meal because it creates a lovely result every time and is full of protein and vitamin E.
What are the best ways to convert recipes to ‘egg-free’ in baking?
I love to make a “chia egg” it is an easy way to make any recipe “egg free”. Sometimes, with the right ingredients and if there is enough olive oil, coconut oil or butter in a recipe, you don’t need eggs to get the same result. It really depends on what you are trying to make.
What are the best sugar-free sweeteners for baking, in your opinion?
Fresh and dried fruits are my all time favourite natural sweeteners to use in baking. They add wonderful flavour, texture and antioxidants. For example, I love to smash bananas in my banana bread or add a handful of fresh apples into a gorgeous apple cake to allow the natural sugars shine through.
What are the best healthy fats to use in baking and desserts?
My favourite fats to use include extra virgin olive oil and grass-fed butter. They impart a scrumptious, decadent texture and flavour to homemade cakes and pastries, plus they can often mean you can significantly reduce the amount of sweeteners in all your recipes.
Favourite nut-free ingredients to use in baking for kids lunchboxes?
I love to use oats, desiccated or flaked coconut or wholemeal spelt flour for baking nut-free kids treats.
I enjoy discovering how to make much-loved recipes, such as scones, doughnuts and celebration cakes, into healthier versions. While some have been more of a challenge than others, I have been able to include all the recipes I’ve wanted to make healthier into the book.
When it comes to making a healthy cake, do you have a secret to make it moist and fluffy?
To make a cake moist, add a good quality olive oil or grass-fed butter. To make it fluffy, always add eggs.
Have you tried any new healthy starches or flours recently that you would recommend people to try using at home?
I’m currently developing a Healthy Chef baking mix so I’m experimenting with so many flours… It’s a bit of a project I’m really excited about… you’ll hear more soon.
Your top 5 kitchen gadgets or utensils for a healthy baking experience?
A high-speed Vitamix blender, a food processor, glass storage jars, a good wooden spoon, rolling pin and a wire whisk.
Is there a dessert that you would rather not adapt, or found hard to adapt to a healthier version?
To be honest, I enjoy discovering how to make much-loved recipes, such as scones, doughnuts and celebration cakes, into healthier versions. While some have been more of a challenge than others, I have been able to include all the recipes I’ve wanted to make healthier into the book. Everything is possible.
Your book has so many fantastic recipes that it’s almost hard to choose what to make first. What are the top 5 recipes in the book that everyone should make?
1. My Paleo Apple Cake – as it’s a classic recipe that’s easy to make, gluten-free and perfect for any occasion.
2. Sweet Potato Brownie – I simply love adding veggies to desserts! This one is especially decadent and delicious while offering plenty of minerals and antioxidants from sweet potatoes.
3. Vegan Banana Bread – Who doesn’t love a good banana bread? This is one of my most popular recipes since I had The Healthy Chef café.
4. Olive Oil Zucchini Bread – This one is great for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with tea.
5. Raw Chocolate Tahini – This is so simple and tasty you’ll be eating it out of the jar! It’s great as a chocolate frosting or to enjoy as a nut-free spread for brownies and toasted bread!
I simply love adding veggies to desserts! My Sweet Potato Brownie is especially decadent and delicious while offering plenty of minerals and antioxidants from sweet potatoes.
Top 3 tips for healthy baking success?
1. Weigh all your ingredients.
2. Use good quality ingredients.
3. Bake when you are happy and listen to good music for best results, every time!