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Christmas spiced, chocolate orange flapjack – gluten & dairy free

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Orange Flapjack - A Free From Life

I haven’t been baking much recently and I miss it. This latest invention is loosely based on my granola bars, but I fancied something a bit more Christmassy and when I bought some dairy free orange-flavoured dark chocolate from Tesco’s the other day, it gave me an idea for a flapjack recipe.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Orange Flapjacks - A Free From Life

The flapjacks are bound with the melted chocolate as well as coconut oil, so this recipe is a much healthier version than the syrup and butter-laden varieties you might find in the shops. Also, the only sugar added comes from what is already in the chocolate, plus some raisins.

I decided to put the flapjack mixture in cupcake cases, just for a change, but I think this worked out rather nicely. They remind me a little of the chocolate cornflake cakes we always used to get at parties and with this recipe being no-bake, they are really quite similar. They are as easy to make too.

As my kitchen is so warm now the underfloor heating has kicked in, I had to keep these flapjacks in the fridge, as the temperature of the room was enough to soften the coconut oil and make them go crumbly. I actually think they were nicer cold anyway.

The chocolate orange, combined with the mixed spice and the crunch of the added pecans – what can I say? If you love all these flavours and they too, speak to you of Christmas and all that it entails, then I’m sure you will enjoy these flajacks. Chocolate orange happens to be one of my favourite things in the world, so this is like comfort food to me!

I hope you like them and if you are looking for other Christmas recipes, check out my Frangelico Chocolate Truffles, Christmas Spiced Place Name Cookies, Cranberry, Orange and Chestnut Stuffing and Duchess Sweet Potatoes.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Orange Flapjack - A Free From Life
Christmas-spiced, chocolate orange flapjack - gluten & dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 20 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 20 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Christmas Spiced Chocolate Orange Flapjack - A Free From Life
Christmas-spiced, chocolate orange flapjack - gluten & dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 20 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 20 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Break up the chocolate and add it to a pan with the coconut oil. Warm gently in order to melt.
  2. Add the oats to the pan and stir to cover fully with the melted oil and chocolate. Continue to stir for around five minutes to cook the oats.
  3. Take off the hob and add the chopped pecans and raisins to the mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Divide the mixture between twelve cupcake cases and press down firmly with the back of the spoon.
  5. Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a fridge for 1-2 hours until they are firm.
  6. Store in the fridge, or somewhere cool.
Recipe Notes
Le Coin de Mel
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Cookies

Pecan Cookies – gluten, dairy and egg free

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Few things are more comforting in life than the smell of freshly baked cookies (fresh baked bread and ground coffee are up there too). It’s home, it’s childhood memories and a great big hug all wrapped into one.

‘Free From’ cookies don’t have to be tasteless, dry or gritty and just because you have to avoid gluten and dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t experience that same home-baked, fresh cookie experience.

The ideal mix of crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, this cookie recipe is gluten, dairy and egg free, but is so tasty, I’d put money on no one telling the difference, or even caring for that matter.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe includes chopped pecans, but if you want to make it nut free, just change this part of the recipe for something else, such as raisins or chocolate chips. The combinations are endless, really. You can take out the cinnamon and add ginger, substitute the vanilla for almond essence or for a citrus flavour, add orange or lemon juice.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

These are so easy to make, my 10 year old made a batch all on her own. She used dark chocolate chips, instead of nuts or raisins and kept the cinnamon. It was a lovely combination.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and mix together well. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Add the golden syrup and vanilla extract
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar and continue to beat to until the mixture is incorporated into a soft dough
  4. Weigh out the pecans and chop, either by hand or in a coffee grinder. Add these to the dough and mix well
  5. Take desert spoonfuls of the dough and make into a round before putting onto a baking tray (lined with non-stick parchment paper) and flattening with the back of your hand
  6. Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 12 minutes or until golden
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Uncategorised

Frangelico chocolate truffles

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

These chocolate truffles were so easy to make and took next to no time to prepare. I made them with my daughter and whilst she made a batch and added vanilla extract, I added Frangelico liqueur to make mine boozy!

Have you tried Frangelico? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s the hazelnut equivalent of Amaretto and in my opinion, far superior. I’ve never been a fan of Amaretto anyway, finding the almond taste too overpowering. Frangelico, on the other hand, combines sweetness, with the nuttiness of the hazelnuts in order to complement the warmth of the alcohol. It’s delicious and I’ve been wanting to try it out in something like this for ages.

Don’t you just love Christmas? It gives you the excuse to go over the top and indulge. Love it!

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

I managed to get 9 truffles from my batch, whilst my daughter made 14! Hers were very small though, but as we used dark chocolate, they are quite bitter, so you don’t need much to make an impact. They would be ideal to offer with after dinner coffee, to clear the pallet after a big meal. If you want to make them sweeter, use milk chocolate.

We made this using dairy free cream – a coconut cream to be precise, so they are both gluten and dairy free. As you can see, we rolled some in cocoa powder and others in dessicated coconut.

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

The preparation to make these took no more than five minutes, but once the ingredients are melted together and mixed, they must be cooled before you can work with them. The tricky side to making the truffles is in the working of the cooled mixture. You have to work fast so they don’t melt.

It’s an ideal recipe to get the kids involved with though, especially those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life
Frangelico chocolate truffles
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life
Frangelico chocolate truffles
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Break up the chocolate and add it to a mixing bowl with the butter and cream
  2. Sit the bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir until melted, then add the Frangelico or vanilla
  3. Leave until the bowl is cool to the touch before transferring to the fridge. Return at five minute intervals to stir. In the meantime, set out a plate with cocoa powder and another with the coconut and lay out your truffle cases
  4. Once the mixture has hardened to the consistency of fondant icing, remove from the fridge and roll teaspoonsful into balls
  5. Roll each ball in either the cocoa powder or coconut and put into truffle cases. Store in a refrigerator
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Cookies

Christmas spiced place name cookies

Christmas spiced place name cookies

Day three of my make ahead Christmas recipes is for Christmas spiced cookies.

Christmas spiced place name cookies - A Free From Life

There will be ten of us around the table on Christmas day and I like to make it look extra special for the big occasion.

This year, I’m trying something different to the usual place name holders by making them edible! These Christmas spiced cookies were fun to make because I let the children decorate them (yes you read that right, I relinquished the control on this one). With our collection of angel, snowman, Christmas tree and star cookie cutters, we were able to make some lovely little place names that the guests can eat if they feel that way inclined (or can fit anything else in).

Christmas spiced place name cookies

These are wheat free, as I made them with spelt flour. They are also dairy free.

A variation of gingerbread, I used mixed spice instead of just ginger, to give the lovely blend of spices that remind us of Christmas and I’m hoping they’ll make an interesting addition to the table. That is, if you can see them amongst the crackers, selfie masks, napkins and little stocking cutlery holders. Perhaps it’s over the top, but who cares? It’s Christmas.

Christmas spiced place name cookies - A Free From Life

 

Christmas spiced place name cookies
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4 and grease and line two baking sheets
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarb, salt and mixed spice
  3. Rub in the butter to the flour mix, until you get a texture resembling breadcrumbs
  4. Add the sugar and mix well
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg and golden syrup
  6. Use a fork to whisk in the egg and syrup to the mix until it starts to form a dough, bring it together with your hands if necessary
  7. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to about 3mm thick and cut out your shapes, taking the extra and re-rolling until all the dough is used up.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden
  9. Leave to cool completely before decorating and for a finishing touch, dust with icing sugar
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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

My second make ahead Christmas recipe this week is for cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls. If you didn’t catch yesterday’s recipe for Duchess sweet potatoes, you can find it here.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

Made with gluten free sausage meat and the crumbed crusts from one of my gluten free loaves, this stuffing recipe is also suitable for those following a dairy free diet.

I decided to make these as stuffing balls, to serve as an alternative to the pigs in blankets I usually offer. You can, of course, use this recipe to stuff the cavity of the turkey, or bake it in an oven proof dish. The citrus burst of the orange zest, complements the sweetness of the cranberries and apples, with just a hint of the nutty chestnuts coming through. I think you could eat these on their own, they’re that good. Cooked as I did, they are the equivalent of meatballs and could quite easily go alongside some salad and other leftovers from your Christmas lunch.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing ball s - A Free From Life

The next recipe I’ll be sharing is for Christmas spiced name place cookies.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and fry the chopped shallots and herbs until softened
  2. Add the cooked onions and herbs to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well (you may have to use your hands to do this)
  3. Form in to walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Recipe Notes

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Duchess sweet potatoes (gluten and dairy free)

It’s the countdown to Christmas and time to start prepping for the big day. One way to get organised and give yourself less to worry about, is to make ahead as much as possible. This week, I’m excited to be sharing with you some Christmas recipes you can make in advance, so on the day itself you can wow your guests with your creative handiwork. All the recipes are gluten, dairy and nightshade free.

First up today is a recipe I’m resurrecting from the 1980’s – Duchess potatoes.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

These were a childhood favourite of mine and something we only ever had on Christmas day, so it was always something to look forward to. I remember mum making them in advance and freezing them, so all she needed to do was defrost and warm through on the day. Mum always made them with white potatoes to go alongside the roasties, but as I don’t eat white potatoes, I thought I’d try something different and make them with sweet potatoes instead.

It does take a little preparation to make these, but don’t be put off. My piping skills are non-existent, but I managed to produce something that looks as though I actually knew what I was doing. They are a show-stopping side dish that will add that something extra to your Christmas meal and the colour of these is just so vibrant and gorgeous, they are going to look amazing alongside the purple of the red cabbage and the bright green of the sprouts.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

Tomorrow I will be making stuffing balls, with cranberry, orange and chestnuts.

Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings: 20-24
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender (about 20-30 minutes)
  3. Drain and return to a low heat for a minute to allow the remainder of the water to evaporate
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes, using an ordinary potato masher, then use an electric mixer to whisk them until smooth and creamy
  5. Add the butter and egg yolk, along with salt and pepper to taste and continue to whisk for another minute or two until light and fluffy
  6. Lightly oil two baking trays
  7. Spoon the sweet potato mixture in to the piping bag and push down. Twist the open end and push the mixture until it comes through the nozzle. Test it before you start to make the real things.
  8. Work in circles, by piping the sweet potato in spirals until you have a rosette shape. Feel free to get creative at this point.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool on the trays before removing to freeze.
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Uncategorised

Carrot cake muffins – gluten and dairy free

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

It was my birthday yesterday, so naturally this calls for cake.

gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

Deciding on carrot cake muffins with ‘cream cheese’ topping, I set about converting a recipe. I’m not a fan of overly sweet things, really I’m not. Not since I’ve been doing yearly sugar detoxes anyway. Whilst I enjoy the occasional sweet treat, I find when I bake myself, I can reduce the sugar considerably and still produce a treat that satisfies.

I’m also a fan of wholesome cakes – my chocolate courgette cake being a family favourite. The sweetness of the carrots, combined with juicy raisins and the crunch of chopped walnuts, just fits the bill.

As you can see, I went a little overboard and made 24 muffins, which is a lot of cake, but I wanted to make plenty to share the birthday love!

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

 

The muffins came out a lovely golden brown. They held well and the result was a delicious, moist cake.

If you would like to try them for yourself, you can find the recipe below.

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 5. Line 2 muffin trays with paper cases.
  2. Beat together the oil, sugar and eggs
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the tapioca, sorghum and quinoa flours with the baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat together until fully incorporated.
  5. Grate the carrots and finely chop the walnuts. Add these, along with the raisins the the mix and stir in.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. To make the cream cheese frosting: Sift the icing sugar and cream with the margarine. Add the vanilla extract and cream cheese, then beat together until smooth. Once the cakes are cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on to each muffin, then refrigerate until set.
Recipe Notes
Le Coin de Mel
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Desserts

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake – dairy and gluten free

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

We sometimes make strawberry cheesecake for a special occasion, but my daughter and I couldn’t resist trying out the same recipe with a new combination of flavours – rhubarb and ginger – just for the sake of it.

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

And why not? You always need a bit of cheesecake in your life.

I know rhubarb is normally cooked with a lot of sugar to sweeten it, but we wanted to use as little added sugar in this recipe as we could get away with, so we baked it in the oven and added some orange juice, along with some chopped stem ginger in syrup (shop bought).

We used gluten and dairy free ginger biscuits, so there’s already sugar in these and we added just a tablespoon of icing sugar to the cream cheese topping, to help marry all the ingredients together.

As you can see from the photos, we like to put the fruit in the middle of the biscuit base and cream cheese toppings, which works really well in this case. The tartness of the rhubarb ‘jam’, sits well with the ginger biscuit base and the combination of flavours is complemented nicely with the cool creamy topping.

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

 

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free
Print Recipe
A lovely combination of flavours, with the tart rhubarb, baked with ginger and orange juice and a cool, creamy topping - all gluten and dairy free
Servings
10
Servings
10
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free
Print Recipe
A lovely combination of flavours, with the tart rhubarb, baked with ginger and orange juice and a cool, creamy topping - all gluten and dairy free
Servings
10
Servings
10
Instructions
  1. Put the ginger biscuits into a large clear sandwich bag, re-seal and bash with a rolling pin until formed into crumbs
  2. Melt the dairy free spread and add the ginger biscuit crumbs to the melted butter, stirring until fully coated. Pour into a 9 inch round, greased cake tin and press down with the back of a wooden spoon. Put in the fridge to set.
  3. Cut the rhubarb in to 2 inch pieces and add to an oven proof dish. Add the orange juice and stem ginger in syrup, stir to coat and cover with tin foil. Bake in the oven on a medium heat for 30-45 mins until soft. Leave to cool.
  4. Whisk the coconut cream, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
  5. Spread the cooled rhubarb over the biscuit base and pour the cream cheese mixture over the top. Put back in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until set.
Recipe Notes

Linking up with Free From Fridays.

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