As a continuation of my ‘less refined sugar health kick’, this week I have some ‘healthy’ orange, date and walnut biscuits to offer you. And yes, I did mainly use this recipe as a way of using up the massive pot of Stevia I now have in my larder after making my rhubarb, spelt and pecan crumble for my last post.
While I have to admit I am still slightly sceptical about using stevia as a substitute, it also gave me an excuse to use a book I have only opened a couple of times since I bought it a few years ago. This recipe is rather unashamedly adapted from a recipe for simply sweet biscuits in Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’, but I have to admit the reason it has taken me so long to use is because I have mixed opinions towards the detox and recipes she suggests. Yes, you cannot argue her attempts to try and reduce sugar intake are necessary, but not only do I disagree with her stance on eating butter over fruit, I also think her use of Stevia and artificial sweeteners in a lot of her recipes as a bit of a cop out when trying to remove sugar from your diet (sorry Sarah). In this case I decided to sustain my disbelief and to give her the benefit of the doubt, using my pre-tough mudder state as an excuse to put my concerns aside and whip it back out.
This recipe is extremely simple and not only replaces sugar with stevia, but eggs and flour with the combination of butter and ground almonds. While I admit this isn’t the best recipe for reducing fat intake, it does serve my purpose of finding a less sugary substitute for that sneaky jaffa cake after work. After some confusion over almond meal and ground almonds (yes, they are the same thing), I decided to add orange, dates and walnuts to my batch to give them a bit of extra flavour. As Wilson acknowledges herself, however, it’s a recipe in which you can easily play around with flavours, so feel free to make your own additions as an alternative.
But I wouldn’t say this is necessary. Being modest as per I have to admit I quite like the flavour combination. The biscuits themselves without any additions do have a very simple flavour and, in some ways, resemble shortbread. Orange and date, however, is a foolproof option (even though it probably does boost the amount of sugar quite considerably) and works really well with the walnuts, which create more of a crunch to contrast the crumbly texture. The only thing I will add is that I ended up having to cook mine for a lot longer as Wilson only suggests about 8 minutes baking time in her recipe. However, I did not press mine a huge amount, so you might find this time reduces depending on the height of each biscuit. But whatever size you decide to have them, and whichever flavours you do choose, that is entirely up to you. Either way I hope you enjoy!
‘Healthy’ Orange, Date and Walnut Biscuits (makes approx. 25 biscuits)
- 2 1/2 cups ground almonds.
- 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- 120g butter.
- 1 tbsp powdered Stevia.
- A handful of chopped dates.
- A small handful of walnuts.
- Zest of an orange.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C Fan.
- Put the almonds, bicarb and salt in a food processor and blitz until they are incorporated.
- Chop the butter into cubes and add gradually, whizzing between each addition. Once all the butter is added, blitz in the Stevia and then transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Roughly chop your dates and walnuts and stir into the dough with the orange zest.
- Space out evenly on a lined baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, turning half way through. Remove when golden.