Brownies

Friday Favourites: Healthier Sweet Snacks

Snacking, often the cause of many a failed healthy eating attempt, is something we can't live without at The Amazing Blog. Fortunately, the expansion of the health food market has unearthed a vast selection of new and healthier alternatives, so we can snack healthily, without cutting out our favourite snacking foods. Below are a few of our latest discoveries, which have encouraged us to snack more mindfully in recent months!

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Firstly, we came across The Nu Company, a German brand, with the vision of providing cutting-edge health products, that don't cut out flavour. As a company, they aim to change our perceptions, not only about healthier foods but also about the way in which we consume. This includes the desire to enable large-scale reforestation, planting a tree for every product sold. While eating their raw cacao bars, we have already helped to plant eight trees - what better way to help the environment?

Made only from "ingredients you are able to pronounce", these raw cacao bars come in a variety of different flavours that do not contain artificial additives. Instead, each bar contains raw cacao, hemp seeds, coconut blossom nectar, almonds, lucuma and acerola - flavoured with natural flavourings for a delicious pop of Espresso, Barberry, Hazlenut and Coconut. This combination of natural and organic ingredients provides a vast array of health benefits, from adding plant-based protein, to providing a new method of incorporating your daily vitamins and minerals. They also contain omega-3-fatty-acids, and we can confirm that the Espresso bar proved popular on a Monday morning! The Nu Company endeavour to push environmental awareness further - their bars are wrapped in home-compostable foil and are encased in recyclable cardboard boxes, ensuring their packaging is plastic free. What more could you ask from a chocolatey snack? To try a Nu+cao bar for yourself, purchase from a wholesaler (The Health Store, Tree of Life or CLF) or click here to order a 40g bar for £2.79.

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For a non-chocolate based sweet treat, we came across Abakus, founded by Helen Wang, who wanted to introduce the lesser know Jujube Fruit into the UK market. If you're unsure of what Jujube is, then you're not alone - perhaps it is fair to insinuate it as the forgotten member of the date family! That said, we didn't know what we were missing, and the naturally sweet and caramel like flavour has encouraged us to become more adventurous with our snacking.

Jujube has a host of health benefits, it is packed with nutrients and essential amino acids, and is a known adaptogen (proven to help the body adapt to stress). We tried three different variations of Jujube fruit, the first being the original Red Dates. Pitted and dried, they work well as a snack on their own, but we also found them equally delicious when added to our favourite brownie recipes - not so healthy but they say it’s all about balance! They have a chewy texture, and like all of the products in the Abakus range, are gluten and dairy free, and count as one of your five a day. Secondly, we tried the Crunchy Crisps, which, as the name suggests, are sliced into smaller pieces, giving them a crunchy yet chewy texture. These proved delicious when sprinkled over porridge, adding a bit of texture to our regular oats.

Finally, we also tried the Red Dates Stuffed with Almonds, perfect for a post-workout snack thanks to the additional energy and healthy fats of almonds. As with the other variations, these Jujube pieces are vegan, paleo, sugar and sulphate free, making them an excellent snack for anyone with a sweet tooth. To try Jujube Fruit for yourself, visit the Abakus website (here), where you can purchase a range of different multipacks from £13.00.

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Thirdly we came across Elements for Life, a brand founded by husband and wife, Dan and Paula Knowlson. After embarking on a health, nutrition and diet journey, through which they discovered raw chocolate, Paula suggested making their own, and the rest is history! What has emerged is a company that is committed to creating products suitable for a wide range of people, with products suitable for vegans, diabetics and coeliacs, as well as those with lactose intolerances. This popularity is proven through the recent celebration of their 8th birthday, and so we couldn’t wait to try their offerings.

We tried their Yummy Scrummy Raw Chocolate Brownie, a delectable and rich product made with Criollo raw cacao, dates, walnuts, raisins, goji berries, brazil nuts and fruit extracts. These ingredients not only taste scrumptious, but they are free from refined sugar, dairy, gluten and soya, meaning we can indulge in a chocolately afternoon treat without feeling too guilty. We found that the use of goji berries provides a welcome pop of flavour to lift the rich nature of cacao, and it’s safe to say that these brownies didn’t last long in the office. To try a Yummy Scrummy Raw Chocolate Brownie for £2.79 per bar, click here

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If you’re more of a pudding lover, then Pudology may well be the brand for you. Founder Lucy Wager took to the kitchen after realising there were few puddings suitable for her dairy and egg intolerance. This emerged a brand that is vegan, suitable for coeliacs and free from gluten and wheat. The real winner here is the creamy and decedant consistency of the puddings, often expected to be lacking in vegan desserts.

Pudology offer a range of seven puddings, we tried their Bannoffee Puds previously, and were excited to try the newly launched ‘Skinny’ versions: Skinny Chocolate and Raspberry Puds and Skinny Lemon and Yuzu Puds, which contain under 60 calories. The Skinny Chocolate and Raspberry Puds contain coconut cream, dark chocolate and raspberry compote, which together give a hit of intense chocolate while remaining light with the zing of fruit - a classic flavour combination that is most certainly a winner here. What’s better, is that despite the creamy texture, the calorific content is much lower than other chocolate puddings. The Lemon and Yuzu Puds were lighter and fruitier, ideal for people with less of a love for chocolate. That said, they proved equally popular with the biggest chocolate fiends at The Amazing Blog. We loved the use of yuzu, which adds a grapefruit like zing without an overly tangy aftertaste, and again were pleased to discover the low calorie content. To purchase two Chocolate Orange Puds for £2.25, click here, or for the Lemon and Yuzu Puds for £2.25 click here.

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Last, but not least, we were fortunate to try Nibble Protein Bites once again. Founder Erin Moroney formulated a range of high protein snacks after discovering a distinct lack of low sugar snacks on the market. We tried Nibble Protein’s offerings last year (see here), and as avid runners at The Amazing Blog, we were keen to find more protein snacks that do not contain counterproductive added sugars. All ingredients in Nibble Protein Bites are dairy, gluten and soy free, instead favouring pea protein and dried plum purée for natural fibre and antioxidants.

Firstly we tried the classic flavour combo of Choc Orange Brownie, made with dark chocolate chips and packed with natural orange flavouring. These scrumptious nibbles contain coconut nectar and gluten-free oats, providing a low GI and fibre simultaneously. They were certainly a welcome treat to power us through our to-do lists. Equally delicious, the Choc Walnut Brownie was a hit with the nut lovers of the office. We particularly enjoyed the pop of vanilla and found this flavour a perfect mid-morning snack to accompany a coffee (or two!) Finally, we tried the Mint Choc Brownie flavour which was subsequently our favourite. Made with cacao nibs and enriched with peppermint oil, we found it hard to believe that these decadant packets could be regarded as ‘healthy’.

To add some scrumptious protein into your diet, visit the Nibble Protein Bites website where you can purchase a 12 pack of your favourite flavour for £16.00

As you can see, swapping to healthier snacks doesn’t always call for bland and boring choices. We hope to have opened your eyes to a new way of adding sweetness to your diet, we are certainly loving it!

Brownie Boxes - Bad Brownie

Here at The Amazing Blog we are self-confessed chocoholics. We love anything chocolatey, and we really cannot get enough of it. So you can imagine our delight when a big box from Bad Brownie arrived at our office. Within seconds there was not a single crumb left.

We were sent the chefs selection box. This box included 24 heavenly brownie bites, which should be enough to eat between 5-8 people (although we could have one box each), and has a selection of 6 different mouth-watering flavours. They keep changing their specials and the brownies you may get are usually all different, but no need to worry! they are all delicious and the box will always include the three most popular flavours: Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate and Peanut butter. Bad Brownie use fairtrade chocolate and free range eggs to make sure everyone benefits from their brownies. They also produce a gluten free ingredient salted caramel brownie which tastes identical to the standard one. This Salted Caramel brownie, apart from being their best seller, it was also our favourite. We loved the crumble and caramel combination, irresistible! 

Satisfy your sweet tooth and treat yourself to these brownies for £25 here.

Happy Kitchen Brownies

Image of Happy Kitchen Brownies We all know that it is alright to have a naughty treat once in a while, personally anything involving chocolate hits my treat sweet spot, but what if you could have a treat that is healthy, but still tastes naughty? Here at The Amazing Blog, we recently found out about Happy Kitchen, a bakery and canteen in London offering up healthy and delicious dessert. When we heard about their famous Brownies, we had to get our hands on them.

Happy Kitchen was started by two best friends who shared the same love for baking, and wanted everyone to benefit from their love of food, thus Happy Kitchen was born. They make healthy and eco friendly foods which they sell both through their bakery, and through various stockist. We opted to try their Brownies, and we were not at all disappointed. The brownies are individually packaged and come in four delicious flavours: plain chocolate, pecan, raspberry, and orange. The best part is: they only contain seven ingredients! They are vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened with fruit instead of refined sugar. Oh, not to mention that they are absolutely scrumptious, moist and packed full of flavour. The best part is they are good for you! It has certainly made us feel a lot less guilty about our afternoon snacking.

If you are interested in trying out these tasty Brownies yourself then visit the Happy Kitchen website, Brownies retail at £1.49 each. There, you can also learn more about the other delicious desserts that the baking duo sell in their shop as well as how to get to their bakery/canteen.

Brownie Box

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Who can resist a nice, rich and 'chocolatey' brownie?  Well... we here at The Amazing Blog certainly can't. So when we came across the Brownie Box we knew we had hit the jackpot. This cosy family-run bakery is located right in the heart of Earl's Court off Brompton Road.  They offer brownies, cakes, muffins and cupcakes that are each baked fresh daily with a range of flavours that vary from day-to-day.  All of these delights are clearly prepared with care and detail ensuring that each tastes just as good as it looks.

 

The incredible Brownie Box team was ever so kind and delivered us our very own sample box. The assortment was beautiful and included just enough treats for all of us to try several varieties each. The wide array had incredible flavours such as the original brownie, the peanut butter chocolate blondie, the white chocolate chunk blondie, and the pistachio chocolate brownie as well as many others.  I think the best way to describe all these different cakes and desserts is by simply saying that we finished off every bit within 15 minutes of receiving them - no joke. They were quite literally irresistible. The textures were fabulous as each was moist and sweet without being too sugary or soggy. It was obvious that each treat was fresh. Plus, they all tasted like they were made by our own mothers, which makes sense as each recipe has been handed down by moms from generation to generation. While it's merely impossible to decide on a favourite treat, the group consensus is that the original brownie and the red velvet cupcake were two of the best. But honestly, there wasn't a single treat that was disappointing.

 

Being in Chelsea we are fortunate enough to be just down the road from the Brownie Box. If you are in the area, stopping by this gourmet baking boutique is a definite must. They are open Monday - Friday 8am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 8pm and Sunday from 10am to 7am. There really is no excuse to pass this place up, their hours and location are far too convenient. And for those upcoming summer birthdays and celebrations, they offer luxurious fresh baked cakes as well. Get your own delicious indulgences from Brownie Box and check out their website for a complete list all treats, flavours, and cakes.

The Mortimer Chocolate Company

Here, at The Amazing Blog, we're self-confessed chocolate lovers who, more often that not, enjoy a daily chocolate treat. Two of my colleagues however, have somewhat bravely given chocolate for lent, so when Mortimer's Pure Dark Chocolate Powder arrived recently, there was all the more for the rest of us! And with hot chocolate being perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up, I was more than happy to try it out. Unlike a number of hot chocolate drinks on the market that are laden with flavourings, sweeteners and additives, Mortimer Chocolate Powder is simply that - pure dark chocolate powder.

My favourite flavour is the West African, a blend of cocoa liquors from Foresterotype cocoas from Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, containing 100% chocolate with 70% of cocoa solids. The Mortimer Chocolate Company imports cocoa en mass from factories in Africa and South America, and then they make it into chocolate to their own recipes in the UK. Having a cup of Mortimer's hot chocolate on a cold spring day like today is the perfect antidote to a stressful day in the office. It's also very easy to prepare, just heat some milk, add 4 heaped teaspoons of the chocolate powder in each mug and enjoy! As I’m Spanish, I would accompany this with some delicious “churros”, but I'll have to wait til I get back to Spain!

And I guess I’m not the only one that loves this flavour, because the West African chocolate has been voted as the Nation’s Favourite Hot Chocolate by the Chocolate Festival.  Available in Waitrose stores and also online.

All Mortimer Chocolate products are gluten and soya-free, they don’t use lecithin and they don’t contain nuts. And if you want to find your inner domestic goddess, why don’t you check out their website for their mouth-watering chocolate brownies recipe? Having been sent a batch ourselves I can confirm they were devoured in a matter of minutes and were simply delicious!