When you live in a hot place like Western Australia at Christmas time, these delicious gingerbread balls are a better option than baking. They really hit the spot with their spicy ginger flavour. This healthy snack is not only gluten and grain-free but is also vegan.
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Add the dates and coconut to a food processor and blend for 15 - 20 seconds until the dates have broken up into the coconut.
Add the remaining ingredients and process for 20 - 25 seconds to combine well.
Spoon out small amounts of the mixture into your hand, then squeeze to compact the mixture. Roll into walnut size balls and place on a lined tray and refrigerate until firm.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Suitable to freeze for up to 3 months.
I use Medjool dates in my recipes, I like the flavour and softness of these dates. A bonus, there are no preservatives used with these dates. They blend easy when adding to recipes and give a slight caramel flavour.
Medjool dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, rich in potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I use finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
Almond butter may also be called almond spread. It is finely ground down almonds to a texture resembling a paste. In my cookbook I have a recipe for roasted almond butter, which has extra flavour due to the roasting and a little organic salt added. If purchasing a commercial almond butter in a jar, make sure it's 100% almonds.
Quinoa flakes are essentially just pressed quinoa, each little quinoa seed is rolled flat to make a flake. Quinoa flakes are an excellent replacement for rolled oats which are a grain and high in phytic acid. Quinoa flakes are a complete protein, which means they contain all the essential amino acids and they are full of good fibre. They are very quick to cook as they are small and thin flakes and make great gluten-free porridge.
Golden flaxseed meal is finely ground linseed. You will find it in many of my recipes. It is also a great egg substitute when mixed with water. Flaxseed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of carbs. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is the key force against inflammation in our bodies. Flaxseed must be stored in the fridge. I like to use golden flaxseed as it is lighter in colour, than the brown variety and produces a nicer colour to your baking.
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Allspice is a dried fruit and gets its name from its flavour, which seems to be a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The fruit is picked when green and ripped in the sun, when dried they are brown and look similar to a peppercorn, it is then ground for use in cooking.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Blackstrap organic molasses is a nourishing sweetener which contains a considerable amount of nutrients that are essential for the body. Molasses contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorous, chromium and cobalt. It also has various vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine and riboflavin. Choose an organic unsulphured brand when purchasing.