weekend treats Archives - Lifelab Testing

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you been looking for delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies? Then you’re in the right spot. Finding a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe that is not only great on your taste buds but also intolerance-friendly can be challenging. When you have intolerances like wheat, milk, eggs, gluten, and others, finding recipes for baked goods that you can enjoy and share with your friends and family without being afraid of getting intolerance symptoms is a little challenging.

If you discover you have specific allergies and intolerances to food, you can recreate recipes you used to enjoy with ingredients that won’t affect your health. This vegan chocolate chip recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free.

It is beneficial to make your own food at home when dealing with food allergies and intolerances because when cooking or baking at home, you can always decide which recipes to use and the amounts to use in each recipe. By doing this, you’re keeping yourself safe and creating healthy options for yourself. Most baked goods we buy contain too much sugar and fats, but when preparing the recipes at home, it gets easier to ensure that you’re eating healthily.

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar

3/4 cup soft dairy-free butter

1/4 non-dairy milk

1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (150°C fan). Preheating the oven ensures that the heat inside is evenly distributed, and once you start cooking your cookies, they will cook all the way through, not just on the surface. Line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment to prevent the cookies from sticking to the baking tray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugars and beat or mix until smooth and well combined. Creaming the butter and sugar evenly ensures it disperses sugar evenly into the mixture and increases the mixture by introducing more air into it.

Add the chocolate chips to the cookie dough

3. Add the milk and vanilla and mix again. Evenly mix the wet mixture until everything is incorporated fully.

4. Add in your flour and baking soda and mix until combined. Mix baking soda and flour beforehand so that you don’t need to do a lot of mixing when adding your dry mixture (flour) into your wet mixture (butter, eggs, and milk). The less mixing you do when introducing flour into your wet mixture, the fluffier your cookies will be. We all want cookies that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside but well cooked.

5. Pour your chocolate chips into the bowl and fold these in. when folding, don’t overdo it, just ensure an uneven distribution of the chocolate chips. Overmixing the cookie dough will prevent it from being fluffy and rising.

Mix thoroughly
Mix thoroughly

6. Using a tablespoon (or I prefer to use a small ice cream scoop), place balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheets. Gently press the dough flat. For more decoration ideas, you can use the back of a fork to press them down to create unique textures.

7. Bake for 10 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown. Cookies continue to bake after they have been taken out of the oven, so don’t worry if they look slightly underbaked.

8. Leave to cool on the baking trays or a wire rack and enjoy!

An ice cream scoop is a great way to get the right size.

FAQS

How many calories are in a cookie?

Each cookie contains approximately 195 calories.

How to store cookies

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for five days at room temperature or refrigerated. If refrigerated, leave to return to room temperature before eating for a more enjoyable experience.

Can you freeze cookies?

If you do not want to make all cookies at once, you can freeze the unused dough for up to 3 months.

When baking cookies using frozen dough, you may need to add 2-3 minutes to the baking time to give it a little time to return to room temperature.

Should you melt the butter in the recipe?

It’s recommended not to melt the butter before using it in the recipe. Bring the butter to room temperature instead. This will stop your cookies from spreading too much during baking.

If you want to explore more allergy-friendly recipes, you can visit our dedicated vegan recipe page, where you’ll find many tasty desserts and snacks to make at home.

Vegan Brownies Recipe

Enjoying brownies is something no one should be denied ever! I mean, all that chocolatey goodness in your mouth should make you drool. If you have a dairy intolerance or allergy, you also deserve to enjoy brownies just like everyone else, and that’s why we have drafted this simple vegan brownie recipe for you to enjoy.

When looking for a vegan, gluten-free brownie recipe, you might think it will be tasteless and won’t enjoy it as much, but you’re wrong. This recipe makes these brownies as sweet as those with dairy, if not more. Making brownies allergy-free at home is the best because you know every ingredient that goes into the recipe and can adjust accordingly. If you want to reduce the sweetness level, you can always tone down on the sugar or even alternate it with a different sweetener of your choice.

This intolerance-friendly brownie recipe is loaded with all the healthy ingredients. You’ll have plant milk, flax seeds, and even dairy-free chocolate chips. It has all the right ingredients without any dairy or animal products that could flare up any of your allergies or intolerances.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free plain flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 x Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 x Tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
You’ll need cocoa powder, sugar, and gluten-free flour in this recipe.

Makes 16 brownies.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Preheating the oven allows it to be the correct temperature before you start baking otherwise your brownies will end up being undercooked. To sufficiently ensure your oven is preheated, allow it to heat for approximately twenty minutes.

2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with greaseproof paper or silicone baking mats. If you don’t want your brownies to stick to the pan. You can start by making the flax ‘egg.’

To make a flax egg, add 1 Tbsp of ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp of water to a small bowl and mix them. Leave to sit for a few minutes until it thickens.

3. Combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder in a bowl and once it’s fully combined, add in the vegetable oil, flax egg, and plant milk.

4. Add the baking powder and gluten-free flour to the bowl, adding the flour in half a cup to ensure it combines well with the rest of the mix. Combine until you can no longer see bits of flour.

Flaxseed egg
5. Combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder in a bowl and once it’s fully combined, add in the vegetable oil, flax egg, and plant milk.

6. Add the baking powder and gluten-free flour to the bowl, adding the flour in half a cup to ensure it combines well with the rest of the mix. Combine until you can no longer see bits of flour.

Brownie mix

Then add 3/4 of your dairy-free chocolate chips to the brownie mix. You can choose to mix it in, or just sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the mixture. Pour your mix into your baking pan and smooth down.

You can add your remaining chocolate chips to the top of the mix and press them in.

Vegan brownies ready to bake
7. Now that your job is done, place it in the centre of your pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

8. After 30 minutes have elapsed, check with a toothpick to the centre to ensure it is cooked. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your brownies are done. But if it comes out with brownie mixture sticking on it, then it needs more time. Once it’s done, you can let it cool down if you want to eat it as a snack or eat it warm with ice cream for an indulgent dessert.

Ready to eat vegan brownies

Calories per brownie: 196 calories

Tips for vegan brownies

  • Don’t overbake the brownies. Doing so will leave you with a hard, inedible, mess.
  • Use good-quality cocoa powder and chocolate. The quality of both ingredients will highly determine how good your brownies will be.

If you’re craving more chocolate, you can check out this Home-Made Chocolate Recipe. You can even eat this with your vegan brownies.

FAQ’s for vegan brownies

Does it have to be vegan?

This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. Making foods dairy, egg, and gluten-free means they’re suitable for a lot more diets and more people can enjoy!

How many calories are in each brownie?

Each brownie contains 196 calories if made to the recipe. If substitutions are made, this will change the calories in each brownie.

Can I substitute the flour?

Plain flour can be substituted on a 1:1 basis if you do not wish to make the recipe gluten-free. If using plain flour, you can also remove the flax-egg.

What’s the best cake tin to use?

We recommend using a 8x8inch non-stick cake tin.

What’s the best way to store the brownies? Can they be frozen and defrosted?

The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 5 days. If in warmer climates or during summer, I would recommend refrigerating and bringing back to room temperature before eating. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months (they’re extremely delicious when defrosted in the microwave and eaten with ice cream!)

If you want to explore more allergy-friendly recipes, you can visit our dedicated vegan recipe page, where you’ll find lots of tasty desserts, snacks and salads to make at home.

Banana and Oat Biscuits – Weekend Treats

While we’re all trying to be healthier it’s fair to say that not everyone can go without a quick snack between meals, but that doesn’t mean caving-in to temptations at every turn. We’ve got a light oat biscuit recipe to keep you powering through those mid-afternoon slumps, without the guilt and come-down that comes following a chocolate bar. 

These light banana and oat biscuits are the perfect, guilt-free solution to those midmorning hunger pangs. Low in fat, no excessive amounts of sugar and free from common allergens. You can use these biscuits to satisfy your sweet tooth while staying healthy.

Ingredients 

  • 90g rolled oats 
  • 60g cup quick oats 
  • 2 ripe bananas 
  • 30g chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)

Description 

  1. First, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (gas mark 4).
  2. Next, pour all of the oats into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Take a separate bowl and mash the bananas until they turn soft and liquidy. 
  4. Mix the bananas and oats together until they’re a combined mixture. 
  5. Scoop the mixture with a small cookie scoop, and place them on a lined baking tray, leaving plenty of space between each scoop.
  6. Flatten your cookies before baking and top them with a few chocolate chips. 
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them, and allow to cool before eating.

You can opt for gluten-free oats and chocolate chips to make this recipe gluten-free if it has shown up in your results. If you want to make these biscuits even more nutritious, swap out the chocolate chips for your choice of nuts – we recommend walnuts if you aren’t allergic to them.

To make the recipe vegan while keeping that chocolatey taste, try swapping the chips for these delicious cacao nibs from MyVegan. They’re rich in magnesium, iron and antioxidants too, giving you a nutrient-boost when you’ll need it most.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to mean constantly feeling hangry and renouncing all snacks that aren’t a piece of fruit or carrot sticks. Don’t be afraid to get baking and pack a few of these tasty light bites to help you through the day.

Allergen-Friendly Christmas Pudding Recipe – Weekend Treats

Christmas Pudding (It’s not too late!)

It’s not too late for you to bake your very own Christmas pudding before the big day! This allergen-friendly recipe is devoid of any nuts, gluten, soy and dairy, making it the perfect dessert for any family – whether you’ve got an allergy sufferer or someone with a food intolerance. The vast majority of people can enjoy this moist and boozy Christmas pudding.

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, grated (no need to peel it)
  • 1 tablespoon unwaxed orange zest (or substitute 1 teaspoon of orange extract)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or substitute a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 120ml unsweetened almond milk (or another plant-based milk)
  • 150g gluten-free flour blend (substitute plain flour you don’t need gluten-free)
  • 150g ground walnuts (or substitute ground almonds)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder (ensure it’s gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 200g dried fruit, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons date syrup (you can substitute another sweetener)
  • 60g coconut oil (olive or vegetable oil will also do)
  • Generous amount brandy/sherry (use vegan/gluten-free if necessary. Or substitute with apple or orange juice)

Instructions

  1. Place the orange zest, grated apple, dried fruit, cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice in a bowl. Then add a generous amount of brandy or sherry, until roughly everything covered.
  2. Keep the fruit covered in the fridge for around 24 hours, to allow the flavours time to develop.
  3. Place your coconut oil in a large bowl and melt it over a saucepan of boiling water, or in the microwave (skip this if you’re using an already liquid oil).
  4. Once melted, add the milk to the bowl of oil along with lemon juice, vanilla, salt and ground walnuts.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mix.
  6. Add the dried fruit mixture, and add a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking a bit too dry.
  7. Next, grease a medium-sized deep glass bowl or pudding basin and transfer the pudding batter into it
  8. Place the bowl in a pan (one that’s bigger than the bowl) and fill it up with cold water to roughly halfway up the bowl.
  9. Then, cut out a circle of baking paper and place it directly on top of the pudding batter so that it’s completely covered.
  10. Use some foil to cover the top and fold it around the edges of the bowl.
  11. Then, place a lid on the pan and bring it to the boil.
  12. Then turn down the heat and cook on low for around 2 hours.
  13. Leave the cake to cool for a bit before continuing to take it out of the bowl.
  14. Carefully remove the foil and baking paper. Use a blunt knife around the edge of the bowl to help the pudding come away from the sides (this is much easier once the pudding’s cooled down).
  15. Now turn the bowl upside down on a plate and shake until the pudding pops out.
  16. Keep it covered in the fridge and serve either hot or cold. Both are lovely! The pudding should keep for a few days, but not much longer.

Vegan Gingerbread Muffins – Weekend Treats (gluten-free)

Gluten free Vegan Muffins

Gingerbread muffins are perfect as a breakfast treat or healthy(ish) snack. This vegan muffin recipe can get very hot during baking, so make sure to let some of the steam escape before eating them. They’re moist, like banana bread or cake, and taste best once they’ve cooled and set a bit. While you don’t have to wait, they do reach peak scrumptiousness after around 30 minutes of resting.

These delicious ginger muffins are vegan, gluten-free and nut-free, so their moist, warm flavour can be enjoyed by most. They’re also completely devoid of soy, so those sensitive to soya products needn’t worry either!

Ingredients

  • 250ml canola oil
  • 250ml plus 2 tablespoons light agave nectar 
  • 375ml unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 360g Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200g plus 2 tablespoons raisins or currants

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven on gas mark 4, then line a cupcake tray with 12 cake cases.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the canola oil and agave nectar, by mixing on medium speed for roughly 20 seconds.
  3. Add the applesauce and ginger and mix for about 20 seconds.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  6. Turn off the mixer and fold in the raisins.
  7. Fill the liners to the rim with batter.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway through.
  9. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Vegan Banana Bread Loaf – Weekend Treats

Vegan Banana Bread Recipe

This week we’ve got a moist banana bread recipe for you to try out. Not only is this recipe vegan, (as usual) but it’s also nut-free! So it’s a great option for anyone suffering from common food allergies – almost allergen-free. Why not give it a go over the weekend and let us know how you like it? 

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 180g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 very ripe, mashed bananas
  • 50g sugar
  • 125ml plain soy-milk yoghurt
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method 

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Line the bottom and two long sides of a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, with baking paper. Be sure to leave a 2-inch overhang on each long side, and lightly coat with cooking spray. 

2. Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl.

3. Whisk the bananas, oil, sugar, yoghurt and vanilla together in another bowl. Then, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, with a spatula until the batter just comes together (lumps are perfectly fine).

4. Transfer the batter into the loaf pan from earlier and bake for approximately 55 to 60 minutes – until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. You can tent the loaf with foil if it starts browning too quickly. 

5. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Then lift it out from the pan by the overhanging baking paper and cool the loaf entirely on the stand. Store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. 

No-Bake Cacao Round – Weekend Treats

If you’re in the mood for some chocolatey goodness, we’ve got the recipe for you this week. This gluten, wheat and dairy-free recipe needs no oven and is ready in just 4 steps. For those of you with a nut allergy or almond intolerance, it does contain almond butter so you’d be better off trying out a replacement.  

Here’s what you’ll need for this weekend pick-me-up;

Ingredients 

  • 30g coconut flour 
  • 30g almond butter 
  • 30g cacao powder (or cocoa powder) 
  • 60ml applesauce 
  • 60ml water 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
  • 30g cacao nibs 

Description 

  1. Combine the coconut flour, almond butter and cacao (or cocoa) powder into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Next, add in applesauce, water, vanilla extract, and stevia. Mix it all thoroughly.
  3. Scoop out the dough and roll them into equal-sized balls.
  4. Coat with cacao nibs and enjoy!

We recommend storing them in the fridge and consuming within 3 days (in case you needed an excuse). If almond butter is off the table for you, another nut or seed-based butter, such as; peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or cashew butter should work well while keeping the recipe vegan too. Tahini (sesame butter) is also a decent choice.

Scrumptious Coconut Truffles – Weekend Treats

These coconut-based sweets are almost guilt-free. You may have noticed that a lot of vegan treats make use of coconut or nuts (or both!), but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same! And besides, who doesn’t love the taste of coconut?

They’re vegan (and, hence, dairy-free) and take no baking, so you can get your little ones involved without worrying about any burns. But the best part of this recipe is that it’s straightforward, with only four steps before you’ve got some yummy nibbles to hand.

Quick note: This recipe does contain nuts, for those of you who are allergic or intolerant, though you may be able to substitute for another butter.

Ingredients 

  • 30g coconut flour 
  • 30g almond butter 
  • 60ml / 30g cup applesauce
  • 45ml Tbsp water 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 12 drops liquid stevia extract
  • 3 Tbsp reduced-fat shredded coconut

Description 

1. Combine the coconut flour and almond butter in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. 

2. Add in applesauce, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and stevia. Mix thoroughly. 

3. Next, scoop out the dough and roll it into equal balls. 

4. Coat each ball with shredded coconut and enjoy. 

As I said, it’s super simple — a wonderful treat for the lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant and vegans among you. But you don’t have to have special dietary requirements to enjoy them! 

You chocoholics can substitute the cinnamon for cocoa or cacao powder if you’d prefer a chocolatey taste. If you have any more substitutes, feel free to get in touch and comment below. We love to hear your recommendations.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Weekend Treats

We’ve found another nut-free and dairy-free treat for you all to try out this weekend (provided you use nut-free and vegan ingredients). It’s perfect for anyone with a dairy intolerance or allergy. Unfortunately, this delicious cookie recipe isn’t gluten-free, but those adventurous bakers among you could always give this a go with some wheat flour alternatives.

Ingredients 

  • 120g coconut oil, solid (be sure it’s not melted at all) 
  • 270g light brown sugar, packed 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 60 ml cup coconut milk 
  • 60 ml unsweetened applesauce 
  • 270g all-purpose flour (be sure not to pack your flour) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 300g chocolate chips (use vegan chocolate chips if vegan)
  • Flaky sea salt, optional 

Instructions

  1. Start by Preheating the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190 C) and Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Whisk together the brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla, in a large bowl, beating until it’s all well-combined.
  3. Whisk in the coconut milk and applesauce until well combined and set it aside.
  4. Next, in a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk well to mix them. 
  5. Add all dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until the ingredients are combined, with a wooden spoon. The batter will be very thick – don’t worry, that’s normal!
  6. Fold in roughly 260g of the chocolate chips. 
  7. Next, scoop three tablespoon-sized mounds of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie for spreading.
  8. Bake your cookies for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centres have set.
  9. Press the remaining chocolate chips onto the cookies while they’re still warm, and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  10. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 15 minutes to cool before transferring them to a cooling rack.