WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

HALLOWEEN

COCONUT PALM AND SALTED ALMOND DUSTED TOFFEE APPLES

Snacks, Sugar Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

I arrived in New York October 23rd. People were already in fancy dress. People's dogs were already in fancy dress. Halloween in the USA is no joke. It is real.

A brief timeline of my first few days in the city:

Settled into my friends apartment in East Village.
Ate at Dimes too many times. Ate at Hu Kitchen too many times.
Saw too many dogs dressed in tutu's.
Said Hola to my agents, had new digitals taken and began a marathon of castings.
Regretted bringing so many jumpers because the weather here is currently tropical.
Said goodbye to my laptop as my flatmate bathed it in lemon and ginger tea. Was forced to take a break from my usual work, so between castings and meetings, made some healthy toffee apples.

Toffee apples are everywhere right now as Fall celebrations like Halloween and Bonfire Night arrive. I was never very fond of them as a child, they were too tough to get into, and the reward for hurting teeth, cutting lips and getting sticky hands wasn't tempting enough for me. They just aren't that good. There I said it. But what I came up with in my friends apartment on the rainiest Fall afternoon, using organic coconut sugar instead of refined sugar, no dairy and the juiciest organic apples, kind of changed my mind about a few things. Particularly my opinion on toffee apples. These ones are much less sickly, much more nutritious, much more flavoursome and the coating is slightly chewy, as opposed to the solidified shards of toffee commonly found coating shop bought options. And if you're worried about people (kids) not liking a healthier version, my flatmate and her boyfriend polished these off in under 2 days, blissfully unaware of what ingredients went into them. They probably don't even know what coconut palm sugar is. So go with it, no one will know...

INGREDIENTS
makes 4-6

1 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
250ml Cold Water
1 1/4 Cups Almond or Coconut Milk
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice - optional
4 Small - Medium Apples of choice (I used Granny Smiths)

+ You will need a selection of bamboo sticks, kebab sticks or lollipop sticks.

TOPPINGS (estimate the amount required depending on which ingredients you choose, and how much you want to coat the apples)

Chopped Salted Almonds (or any nut/seed of choice)
Golden Linseeds
Chia Seeds
Cacao Powder
Maca Powder
Chopped Cacao Nibs
Granola or Qnola

METHOD

Start by boiling the water in a medium saucepan. As it begins to boil, stir in the coconut palm sugar, and let the mixture boil on a high heat for 2-3 more minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a medium heat, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer here for 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly as it can stick to the pan or burn easily. Keep a close eye on it, watching it thicken, and continue to simmer until it becomes darker brown in colour, thicker and begins to reduce slightly. To test whether it is done, take a teaspoonful and rest it on a plate to cool. As it cools it should become even thicker and should be slightly tough to touch. If it is still sticky and runny, continue to simmer and allow it to thicken even more. Once you are happy with the consistency and once it begins to set more solidly, remove the pan from the heat.

Now you need to work relatively quickly as the toffee will cool rapidly. Lightly grease a plate or a baking tray with coconut oil. Take one apple at a time and insert whichever sticks you are using through the middle of it. It shouldn't go all the way through to the other side, but deep enough to ensure it won't slip out. Now, carefully tilt the sauce pan to one side, dip the apple into the toffee mixture, and turn the apple repeatedly to coat it evenly. Lift it out of the toffee and continue to turn it above the mixture, to let any excess drip off. I recommend scraping the bottom gently, to ensure it doesn't stick too much to the plate/tray that you place them on. As the toffee begins to stop dripping, place the apple on your prepare surface, and repeat with the other apples. You can either leave the apples bare like this, or roll them through the toppings of your choice. I chopped some salted almonds finely and placed them in a medium bowl, then gently rolled the apples around in the bowl until the almond dust stuck. If it is easier, you can top the apples by taking a handful of your toppings and pressing it into the toffee coating.
Once coated, or if you are leaving them bare, place the apples in the fridge to cool and set a little more, for around 1 hour. The longer you leave them, the better.

+ These will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge or in an airtight container.
+ You can also use this toffee recipe to make individual toffees. Instead of coating apples, simply allow the toffee to cool a little, and then take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and mould it into individual shapes, or fill chocolate moulds with the mixture, and set in the fridge.

BUCKWHEAT BAT BISCUITS AND SUGAR FREE ICING

Snacks, Sugar Freedanielle copperman1 Comment

As I child I have fond memories of walking around the tiny village we grew up in, dressed proudly in devil horns or, in some cases, mummified with toilet roll. An enthusiastic albeit moderate group of children, eyes gleaming, full of hope that the next door we knocked on would promise even more candy than the previous. We’d enjoy a game of apple bobbing, or attempt to eat a ring donut off of a line of string without using out hands, before doing the rounds and disturbing unenthusiastic neighbours, there lack of excitement portrayed in their choice of ‘treats’. (Baked beans, a half empty packet of liquorice allsorts, and even a healthy muesli bar on one occasion, which, as a 6 year old expecting candy, I took as a trick, not a treat. 

The lead up to halloween was just as exciting. We’d make halloween biscuits or concoct some unruly potions whilst our mothers ‘enjoyed’ making our costumes. Icing and decorating the biscuits was the best bit, even though I didn’t like the taste of icing. Despite a severe case of sweet tooth, I never liked that part of a cake. I actually felt insulted by fondant icing, and although I went with it, was even hostile towards butter cream. I’m much the same now. I ice my cakes with creamy frosting like cashew or coconut cream, as opposed to sickeningly sweet icing. I love experimenting with natural colourings too, using an easy coconut base and simply adding vibrant superfood powders. The recipe below is a sweeter icing recipe compared to nut based alternatives like cashew cream. The creamed coconut is a brilliant consistency to work with, and sets perfectly in the fridge. Mixed with a little liquid, like nut milk, or blended smoothly with cashews, it will become slightly softer which is ideal for cakes, but for biscuits, it is best left as it is. Coconut is an incredibly source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so not only is this recipe completely natural, sugar free and made without artificial colours or flavours, it is incredibly nutritious too. 

QUICK BISCUITS

100g Coconut Oil
35g Coconut Palm Sugar
1 Tabelspoon Raw Organic Honey
100g Buckwheat Flour
2 Tablespoons Almond or Cashew Butter, or Smooth Tahini

EASY ICING

1 Bar Creamed Coconut
1 Teaspoon Natural Sweetener, optional

NATURAL COLOURS/FLAVOURINGS

Charcoal Powder or Capsules
Sweet Orange or Freeze Dried Mango Powder
Beetroot Powder or Fresh Beetroot (to stain)
Spirulina Powder
Tumeric Powder
Cacao Powder
Vanilla Extract or Seeds
Lemon Juice or Zest

MEHTOD

Preheat the oven to 190c.

Beat the coconut oil, sugar and honey together in a bowl until fluffy. Then stir in the flour and the nut butter and form into a bowl. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour. Flour a surface and roll out the dough so it is no higher than 1cm. Use cookie cutters or a knife if you are free styling, and make your desired biscuit shapes. Arrange them onto a baking tray, either greased or lined with baking paper, and place in the oven for 12-18 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the icing. Fill a small bowl with boiling hot water and sit the bar of creamed coconut inside. (Make sure not to cut the plastic at this stage). Leave for a few minutes, and when the water is cool enough, start to massage the creamed coconut to encourage the mixture to melt. When it is soft, remove from the water, cut the plastic it is in and pour into a medium bowl. Add your colourings/flavourings of choice (charcoal for bats, turmeric for pumpkins, beetroot for some blood) and mix with a spoon or spatula until the coconut is vibrantly coloured.

Remove the biscuits from the oven when they are beginning to brown. (They will be browner than normal biscuits due to the buckwheat flour). Let them cool for about 10-20 minutes before icing them. Once they are iced, set in the fridge for 1 hour until ready to serve.