Three reinvented classic sweets and treats with a healthy twist

Hinesey's hedgehog slice.
Hinesey's hedgehog slice. Photo: Rob Palmer/Pan Macmillan

​Love a good chocolate crackle? Can't pass on a Wagon Wheel or some old-fashioned hedgehog slice? Cookbook writer and TV presenter Luke Hines' new collection of sweets and snacks is all about indulgent recipes with a healthy twist. 

Virtually every dietary preference is catered for: dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, nut-free, plant-based and refined sugar free. Recipes marked LC can be made low-carb/keto friendly by using monk fruit sweeteners. If a recipe calls for nuts or nut butter and you'd like to make it nut tree, simply swap for seeds and tahini.​

Here are three recipes from Hines' new cookbook Guilt-free Snacks.

Luke Hines' new book.
Luke Hines' new book. Photo: Supplied

Hinesey's hedgehog slice

Growing up, one of my all-time fave snacks was a chunky piece of hedgehog slice. With the first bite of this chocolate cookie crunch, I am transported back to my childhood and every mouthful is like a little nostalgia trip. (DF, GF, LC*, PB, SF)

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g (1 cup) chocolate (see below

Cookie dough

  • 100g (1 cup) blanched almond meal
  • 90g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, honey or coconut nectar
  • 250ml (1 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Chocolate base

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  • 250ml (1 cup) maple syrup, coconut nectar, or monk fruit syrup for low carb
  • 90g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 100g (1 cup) pecans
  • 120g (1 cup) cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder

METHOD

  1. Line a 21cm x 11cm loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. For the cookie dough, place the almond meal and desiccated coconut in a bowl and mix well. Add the sweetener, coconut oil, vanilla and salt and mix to form a slightly sticky dough that holds together. Set aside in the fridge to firm up slightly while you get on with the chocolate base.
  3. Combine the chocolate base ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Divide the cookie dough into small handfuls, then gently fold them into the chocolate base with your hands until incorporated but still in chunks. Tip into the prepared tin, press to flatten the top and transfer to the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. Pour the melted cooled chocolate over the chocolate cookie dough base and return to the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Turn out the hedgehog slice onto a chopping board and cut into 8 to 10 slices. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Serves 8-10

Tip If you like your hedgehog slice extra chunky, feel free to add a handful of macadamia nuts as you're folding the cookie dough into the chocolate base.

Chocolate crackle slab

When we were kids, was it even a real birthday party if there weren't chocolate crackles? This recipe is a next-level way to enjoy that moreish flavour and crunch, but with the added nutritional benefits of healthy ingredients. (DF, GF, LC*, NF*, PB, SF)

INGREDIENTS

  • 110g (½ cup) cacao butter
  • 135g (½ cup) crunchy peanut butter
  • 125ml (½ cup) maple syrup, coconut nectar or monk fruit syrup for low carb
  • 60g (½ cup) cacao powder
  • 60g (1 cup) shredded coconut
  • 120g (1 cup) roughly chopped pecans
  • 20g (1 cup) buckwheat puffs or extra shredded coconut (optional) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder

METHOD

  1. Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the peanut butter and sweetener, remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Combine the cacao powder, shredded coconut, pecans, buckwheat puffs (if using) and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. 
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and transfer to the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the chocolate crackle slab from the fridge and cut into your desired serving shape and size. Enjoy at once or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Serves 12-14

Tip Make the slab nut free by swapping the peanut butter for tahini and the pecans for sunflower seeds.

One-pan western wheel

As the slogan on the ad once went: "Eat the wagon wheel!" Well, now you can as often as you like, because my version is as good for you as it tastes. (DF, GF, LC*, SF)

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g (1 cup) chocolate (see below

Biscuit base

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, coconut nectar, or monk fruit syrup for low carb
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut cream
  • 100g (1 cup) blanched almond meal
  • 60g (½ cup) arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

Marshmallow

  • 250ml (1 cup) filtered water
  • 1 tbsp gelatine powder
  • 125ml (½ cup) maple syrup, coconut nectar, or monk fruit syrup for low carb

Raspberry chia jam

  • 1 tbsp gelatine powder
  • 3 tbsp cold filtered water
  • 250g (2 cups) fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Line a 20cm square, deep cake tin with baking paper. For the biscuit base, place the eggs, sweetener, coconut oil and coconut cream in a large bowl and whisk well until smooth. Add the almond meal, arrowroot or tapioca flour, vanilla and baking powder and mix until well combined. Pour into the prepared tin, then spread out and press with your fingers to create an even base. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, for the marshmallow, combine the water and gelatine in a saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk well to dissolve the gelatine. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the sweetener. Continue to whisk with a hand-held mixer on high for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture turns white and thickens enough to form soft peaks. Pour over the biscuit base, cover the tin with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour to set completely.
  3. For the raspberry chia jam, place the gelatine in a small bowl, add the water and allow the mixture to bloom for 5 minutes. Combine the raspberries and chia seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the gelatine liquid. Cook, stirring, until the raspberries have broken down and the mixture is quite thick and jammy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Remove the marshmallow and biscuit base from the freezer, pour over the jam and return to the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until firm but not frozen.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. Pour the cooled chocolate over the western wheel base and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
  6. To serve, remove the western wheel slab from the tin and use a hot knife to slice into your preferred portions. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Serves 10-12

Tip Although this recipe is slightly more time consuming than others in my cookbook, the taste pay-off is next level and you won't regret the time or health investment you've made.

Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

  • 110g (½ cup) cacao butter or coconut oil
  • 60g (½ cup) cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, coconut nectar or maple-flavoured monk fruit syrup for low carb

METHOD

  1. For the chocolate, combine the cacao butter or coconut oil, cacao powder and sweetener in a saucepan over medium-low heat and melt, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat, cool slightly and try a small amount on the tip of your finger. For a darker chocolate, add more cacao powder; for a sweeter chocolate, add more sweetener, to suit your taste. Set the chocolate aside for 10-15 minute to cool and thicken. 

Makes about 250g (1 cup)

This is an edited extract from Guilt-free Snacks by Luke Hines, Plum, RRP $26.99. Photography by Rob Palmer and Mark Roper. Buy now