I just checked the calendar... and yes, Easter IS going ahead this year! While the big family get together may be off the cards, and you’re thinking twice about whether a trip to the store for chocolate eggs counts as “essential”, the good news is you can still give yourself a taste of Easter at home. To help you get into the spirit – without derailing your fitness goals – I’ve put together a few of my favourite pre-workout snacks that taste like Easter.
For an extra Easter touch, feel free to get inventive by drizzling chocolate egg shapes onto your Rice Crunch Squares or arranging bunny ears and noses with nuts on your Florentine Bites. Have some fun baking these healthy snacks – then, even more, eating them! Happy Easter everyone x
1. Chocolate & Nut Protein Bar SERVES 10 | PREP 25 mins Ingredients
1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight & drained
8 pitted medjool dates, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
3/4 cup rolled oats (or brown rice flakes or quinoa flakes if gluten free)
100g vanilla protein powder
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey (rice malt syrup or maple syrup)
1/4 cup water
70g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
20g roasted almonds, finely chopped
Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
Drain dates and process with cashews, oats, protein powder, cocoa, honey and water. Blend, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth and mixture resembles dough.
Press mixture firmly into prepared tin. Place another sheet of baking paper on top and use a flat utensil (such as a pastry scraper) to smooth out. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Just before removing bars from freezer, place chocolate pieces in a non-plastic bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted. (Or place bowl over a saucepan with a small amount of simmering water and stir until melted.)
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 10 even-sized bars.
Dip a corner of the bar into melted chocolate and immediately top with almonds before the chocolate sets.
Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
2. Chocolate & Almond Rice Crunch Squares SERVES 16 | PREP 20 mins | COOK none! Ingredients
200g pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup (150g) almond butter
1/3 cup (80g) coconut oil, melted
1 tbs cocoa or cacao powder
2 cups (40g) puffed brown rice
1/3 cup (60g) chia seeds
60g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
Place dates, almond butter, coconut oil and cocoa in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Transfer to a large bowl. Add puffed rice and chia seeds and mix well to combine and rice is coated. Press into tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag, or use a fork to drizzle chocolate over slice and allow to set at room temperature.
Once chocolate is set, cut into 16 even squares.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 days.
3. Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns SERVES 16 | PREP 110 mins | COOK 30mins Ingredients
3/4 cup almond milk, lukewarm
2 tsp dried yeast
500g plain flour (or gluten-free if required)
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, melted
1 orange, zested
200g honey (rice malt syrup or maple syrup)
1 large egg
150g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plain flour (or gluten-free if required)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp honey (rice malt syrup or maple syrup)
Whisk together milk and yeast in a jug, set aside to allow mixture to foam.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt. Add the yeast mixture, butter, orange zest, honey and egg. Mix until a sticky dough forms then turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Knead through chocolate until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for one hour until doubled in size.
Line a 22cm square cake tin with baking paper and pre-heat oven to 160°C.
Divide the dough into 16 even pieces, roll into smooth balls and arrange in tin. Cover and allow to rise again for a further 30 minutes.
For the paste, in a small bowl mix together the flour, water and cocoa until a thick paste forms, transfer to a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes.
To make glaze, place orange juice in a small saucepan and simmer for 3-4 minutes until reduced to 1 tablespoon. Add honey and stir to combine. Brush warm glaze over hot cross buns. Store remaining buns in an airtight container for 3 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.
4. Florentine Bites SERVES 10 | PREP 5 mins | COOK none! Ingredients
2 tbs mixed nuts, roughly chopped
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
2 tbs dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup air-popped popcorn, salted
80g 70% dark chocolate
In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together, except chocolate.
Break chocolate into pieces and melt 2/3 in a non-plastic bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, then 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted. Add remaining chocolate and stir until melted.
For Stove Top- Place a heat proof non-plastic bowl on a saucepan filled with a small amount of simmering water. Break chocolate into pieces, add 2/3 to the bowl and stir until melted. Remove from heat when melted, add remaining chocolate and stir until melted.
Divide chocolate between 10 mini muffin holes or chocolate moulds. Divide nut/fruit mixture between moulds, gently pressing into chocolate.
Set in freezer for 2-3 hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.