THESE treats USE AL­MONDS IN THREE WAYS TO LET THE FLAVOUR OF THIS EV­ERY­DAY su­per­food SHINE AND MAX­IMISE THE heart-healthy BEN­E­FITS.

donna hay - Fresh + Light - - Light Energy Bars -

al­mond cup­cakes with creamy al­mond ic­ing

1½ cups (180g) al­mond meal (ground al­monds) ¾ cup (135g) ra­padura sugar

¾ cup (105g) whole­meal spelt flour

2 tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der

¾ cup (180ml) light-flavoured ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 3 eggs

1 cup (250ml) but­ter­milk

2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract

buck­wheat al­mond crunch

½ cup (80g) al­monds, roughly chopped

½ cup (8g) puffed buck­wheat+

2 ta­ble­spoons maple syrup, plus ex­tra to serve

creamy al­mond ic­ing

1½ cups (360g) firm ri­cotta+ ¼ cup (60ml) milk

¾ cup (240g) al­mond spread 2 ta­ble­spoons maple syrup Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the al­mond meal, sugar, flour, bak­ing pow­der, oil, eggs, but­ter­milk and vanilla in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and beat for 3 min­utes or un­til well com­bined. Spoon the mix­ture into 12 x ½-cup-ca­pac­ity (125ml) cup­cake tins lined with pa­per cases. Cook for 25–28 min­utes or un­til cooked when tested with a skewer. Place on a wire rack to cool com­pletely.

To make the buck­wheat al­mond crunch, place the al­mond, buck­wheat and maple syrup on a large bak­ing tray lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Toss to com­bine. Cook for 16–18 min­utes or un­til golden. Set aside to cool com­pletely, or place in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 10 min­utes un­til firm. Us­ing your hands, break up into small pieces.

To make the creamy al­mond ic­ing, place the ri­cotta, milk, al­mond spread and maple syrup in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 1–2 min­utes or un­til smooth and creamy.

Spread the ic­ing over the cooled cup­cakes, sprin­kle with the buck­wheat al­mond crunch and top with ex­tra maple syrup to serve. MAKES 12.

+ You can find firm ri­cotta in the deli sec­tion of supermarkets and puffed buck­wheat in health food stores.

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