Monthly Archives: September 2012

Berry Banana Protein Cake

Living with a fructose intolerance means that I am careful about which fruits I eat and how much.  Most of the time, I stick with the ones I know don’t hurt me – bananas, berries, and citrus.  I think I eat my bodyweight in berries every year and I’m not far behind with the bananas either 🙂

So, just because I want to show I can leave out the chocolate …

What?  No chocolate?  Am I running a fever? 

Seriously, I can leave out the chocolate!  Here’s the proof.  A dense, moist, but light protein cake, bursting at the seams with fresh berries, banana, and lemon.  OK, cakes technically don’t have seams, but you get the imagery, right?

This cake is more like a dessert than a cake, as it is so incredibly moist from all the fruit it contains.  If you want your cake to not sink a little in the middle and be upstanding, decrease the amount of fruit that you add to the batter.  I’m never willing to make that sacrifice so I’m happy for it to settle a bit in the middle.  Plus, it’s a great place to dollop some thick Greek yoghurt, protein ice cream, protein fudgy sludge, or anything you fancy.  Including more berries.

You can enjoy this guilt free.  I don’t condone feelings of guilt in relation to food.  I mean, it’s food.  But if you are concerned with the macros (and if you are reading this, you probably are, as am I), then this cake is on your side, baby.  So fruity delicious, my family had no idea this was one of my crazy protein recipes 😀

You can substitute coconut milk, dairy milk, or a grain milk according to your preference.  This won’t affect the cake at all.  You can use either egg whites only or whole eggs for a richer cake.  I used egg whites as I had some liquid egg whites to use up.  Mix up the berries you use as well, anything goes – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, whatever is in season or frozen.  Cherries would also be lovely.

This cake is gluten and dairy (lactose) free and is free of refined sugars.  It is a good source of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and dietary fibre and is almost fat-free.  You know, that means you could save up your fat quota for some whipped cream or ice cream.  Maybe with some nuts sprinkled on top or a drizzle of chocolate.  I think I just figured out tonight’s plated protein dessert menu.  Looks like I found a way to work in the chocolate 😉

Enjoy!  Macros at the bottom of the recipe, as always.

Makes 1 cake (21cm x 10cm loaf tin) or about 8 slices

Ingredients
160 grams sliced banana, very ripe
25 grams Natvia*
198 grams egg whites (6 large whites), or 3 jumbo eggs
60 grams (2 scoops) un-flavoured pea protein isolate (I recommend and use this one or this one)
1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice (about 45 ml)
100 millilitres unsweetened almond milk
30 grams coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
120 grams mixed berries (I used 50:50 raspberries and blueberries this time)

*Natvia is a stevia based sweetener that is very suited for baking.  You can use whatever you like.  In this recipe, it would also be appropriate to use pure stevia extract.  I would recommend starting with 1/8 teaspoon and adjust from there.  If using pure stevia, add to the batter just before adding the berries.  Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may not need more sweetener.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper, if not using a silicon mold.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the banana and Natvia until the banana is well mashed.  Add the egg whites and whisk until combined and frothy.  Add the protein powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond milk.  Whisk on low-speed until combined.  Add the coconut flour, baking soda, and baking powder, and beat on low to medium speed until the batter is smooth.

You could, of course, just blend all the ingredients together in a food processor or with a hand-held stick blender.  I like to whisk mostly unless blending is necessary 🙂

Add the berries and gently fold them in with a spoon or large fork.  They will get mooshed a little, but that is OK.

Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out fairly clean.  It will be somewhat more moist than most cakes, due to the amount of fruit it contains.

Remove from the oven and cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.  Transfer to a serving dish.

As it has no dairy, it will keep for a couple of days, in an airtight container.  In hot weather, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for the recipe as stated above, as well as per serve, on the basis of 8 serves (or slices) in one cake.  As usual, I have taken care to include the most accurate macro information as possible, but they should be taken as a guideline.  If you substitute other ingredients – milks, berries, or protein powders – this will affect the total macros.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Fruit, Protein, Protein Cakes, Special Diet

Double Strawberry Macarons … au naturale

Me: Hey, I’ve got these leftover egg whites.  What … ?

My father: Macarons!

I got no further with my question.  I made macarons.  Strictly speaking, these strawberry beauties are the second batch after reaching this “consensus”.  But more on that other batch another time 🙂

I’m still no big fan of eating macarons although I do manage to have one or two from a batch as a taste test.  Mostly, I just make them for my father or give them away as gifts.  Hey, don’t judge me 😛

But they are fun to make, for sure.  So I’m secretly pleased when I get a request to make them at home.

I like to add some flavour to the shells when I can and am known to eschew the easy route of adding food colouring.  Sometimes it’s nice to do things au naturale, so to speak.  Especially when you have such wonderful ingredients on hand like fresh, sweet strawberries.

Oh, let’s not forget some outrageously good chocolate … that’s always on hand 🙂

Ganache made with puréed fresh fruit won’t be as smooth and creamy as ganache made purely with cream, or with fruit preserves, of course.  Sure, it is lovely and creamy before it sets, but it will set more quickly and firmly, once cooled.  All this means is that you work quickly to pipe the ganache.  Once sandwiched and stored, the ganache will be soft and creamy and …. ohhhhhhhhh mamma 🙂

I don’t add butter to this ganache as I want the strawberry flavour to dominate and be really clean and fruity against the chocolate.   You can use whatever chocolate you prefer for the ganache – dark, milk, or white.  We all have our preferences for chocolate strawberry combinations, don’t we?  I personally love dark chocolate but tend to keep it to a milder chocolate around 55% to 67% cacao, in order to not overpower the berry flavour.  I think white chocolate would be amazing too.

Freeze-dried strawberries are used to flavour the shells.  If you cannot find freeze-dried berries, you can leave this step out.  There is plenty of strawberry flavour in the ganache.  But if you can find them, it’s worth it.  You can also add a little pink or red food colouring to the shells if preferred.  I didn’t because I liked the tiny flecks of the pulverised dried berries to show through.

They did not last long.

Two days all up and only because I rationed them out with the excuse of “oh but you really should leave them for 24 hours before eating …

Of course, no one fell for that big fat lie but I did manage to stop them being devoured as I assembled them.  My father declared them his favourite macarons.  He says that about all of them, of course, but he did try to sneak some of these when he thought nobody was watching so …  😉

These macarons would make a special treat served with fresh strawberries and your favourite bubbly at a party or with coffee at the end of a meal.  We’re heading into summer here in Australia and I can see these featuring at summer parties quite a bit.  I hope you like them.

Makes 30 macarons

Ingredients
Strawberry Macaron Shells
30 grams freeze-dried strawberries
150 grams almond meal
150 grams icing sugar
55 grams egg white
pink or red food colouring (optional)
135 grams sugar
40 grams water
55 grams egg white
pinch cream of tartar
pinch of salt
Fresh Strawberry Ganache
150 grams couverture or good quality eating chocolate – dark, milk or white
180 grams fresh strawberries (or frozen)
60 millilitres cream (35% fat)

Directions
Strawberry Macaron Shells
Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Line 2 – 3 large baking sheets with silpat sheets or baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the freeze-dried strawberries into the bowl of a food processor and pulverise to a fine powder.

Add the almond meal and icing sugar to the pulverised strawberries and pulse until the mixture is very fine and silky in texture.  You can test it between two fingers.  I do this before sifting the mixture, but if you prefer, just sift the almond meal and icing sugar together.  Once done, place in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together the 55 grams of egg white and the food colouring, if using.  Add the egg white to the almond meal mixture and mix well with a spatula or pastry scraper until you get a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Place the remaining 55 grams of egg white, cream of tartar, and salt into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and start whisking at low to medium speed.  Place the water into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Dissolve the sugar, in the water, over a low heat.  Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar reaches 118°C.  By this stage the egg whites should have reached a soft peak stage.  Continue whisking at medium speed as you pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream.  Keep whisking until the bowl cools to just warm.  I usually whisk the meringue for about 10 minutes or so and turn up the speed for a minute or two at the end.  The meringue should be fairly stiff.  When you lift the whisk, there should be a solid stiff clump on the whisk.  It should be able to look you in the eye without flinching.

Scrape a small amount of the meringue into the bowl with the almond mixture and work it into the mixture to lighten it, using a spatula or pastry scraper.  I prefer the scraper.  Scrape the remaining meringue into the bowl and fold it into the almond mixture, flipping it over on to itself, and turning the bowl with each fold.  Make sure to scrape down the bowl to make sure the mixture is homogenous, and there are no streaks of meringue or almonds.  Continue folding until the macaronage is at the stage where a little mixture, lifted, will fall back into itself slowly (i.e. the magma/lava stage everyone goes on about).  Be careful not to overmix the macaronage.

Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and pipe small mounds on to the baking sheets.  Rap the baking sheets hard on to the bench to expel any air bubbles.  Rap it again, harder, if you’re not sure.   You can pop them straight into the oven or leave until the mixture forms a light crust.  It’s up to you.  Won’t matter either way.  Bake for about 15 – 16 minutes.  Depending on your oven, they may need another minute or so.

Out of pure curiosity, I tried the Pierre Hérme trick of keeping the oven door held slightly ajar with a wooden spoon for the first 10 minutes of baking.  Frankly, I noticed no difference in the results, so if you are keen on doing it, go ahead, but it really makes no difference.

Remove the macaron shells from the oven and set aside to cool.  Remove from the baking sheets and pair up shells of the same size.

Fresh Strawberry Ganache
Chop the chocolate into small pieces, unless you are using couverture callets, and place in a bowl.
Hull and puree the strawberries.  Pass the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds.  This step is optional but will make sure a smooth ganache.  Place the strawberry purée and cream into a saucepan over a low to medium heat.  Stir to combine the cream and fruit and bring to simmering point.  Remove the berry cream from the heat and pour evenly over the chocolate.  Stir gently until melted and smooth.

If making the ganache ahead of time, you can cover and let it cool at room temperature.  If you make the ganache as the macaron shells are baking, cover and refrigerate until slightly thickened to a piping consistency.  Do not refrigerate for too long or it will set to a consistency that will make it difficult to pipe.  I quite like to have the ganache at room temperature for this type of ganache.

Use a plain piping tip and fill a piping bag with the ganache.  Pipe the ganache on to half the shells and gently top with the paired shells, using a gentle twisting motion to press the shells to the ganache.

Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for a couple of days, if they last that long 🙂

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Biscuits & Cookies, Chocolate, Fruit, Special Diet, Tarts & Patisserie

Salted Caramel Profiteroles

If I had my way, choux pastry would be THE NEXT BIG THING.  Actually, it would be a PERMANENT next big thing!

I ♥ choux.

More than any other pastry.  It is fun to make, delicious to eat and provides one with endless possibilities for all manner of stunning desserts and a whole universe of flavours to play with.  It’s a perfect canvas.  Yes, it can be tempermental … humidity is no friend to the making of choux.  But all great things have their foibles, right?

Every year, on Father’s Day, I generally make my father some kind of chocolate cake or tart or other pastry.  That’s how we roll most years.  This year, we agreed we would go chocolate free on Father’s Day.  Probably because I’ve been on this chocolate …. chocolate … and more chocolate again baking binge for weeks.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But my father is quite partial to salted caramel, as is my mum, so I thought a pure caramel experience might be the go.

Great choice.  Guess who was the favourite child on Father’s Day?  OK, I’m the only child … but hey, I outclassed the cat for a day 😀

Not only are these classically pretty, you get a wonderful crunch from the toffee as you bite into them that contrasts beautifully with the crisp pastry and creamy crème filling.   With all the sugar that goes into the caramel and toffee, you’d think they were super sweet, but they aren’t.  The sweetness is perfectly balanced with a hint of orange to spike the caramel filling.  Fresh.

Unfortunately, my photos have suffered a little from having to photograph these a little late in the day and lighting at my home is always an issue.  My best time is around midday but I don’t always have the luxury of timing things so I can take advantage of that.  Nonetheless, they are a lovely feast for the eyes and the tastebuds 🙂

If you are making these for a celebration, you have all the makings of a stunning croquembouche right here.  It would look beautiful with the spun sugar and classic flower decorations.  It would also be lovely for a wedding with tiny white sugar flowers and silver cachous.  A bit retro, a bit classic, a whole lot of deliciousness  🙂

They are still very lovely served as individual profiterole and that’s what we did this time, as I made enough to give away to family as well.  They are at their best eaten the day they are made.  However, they will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  The toffee will soften a little when refrigerated so remove them from the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving to allow the toffee to harden up again at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Makes 24 profiterole

Ingredients
Salted Caramel
140 grams sugar
100 grams cream (35% fat)
140 grams unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Sel de Guerande
Blood Orange Crème
zest of 1 large blood orange, finely grated
50 grams sugar
20 grams cornflour
76 grams egg yolks (4 large)
300 millilitres cream (35% fat)
200 millilitres whole milk
Profiterole Shells
240 millilitres water
120 grams unsalted butter
4 grams salt (½ teaspoon)
10 grams sugar
150 grams plain flour, sifted
156 grams whole eggs (3 large), beaten
Toffee & Spun Sugar
210 grams sugar
70 grams water
70 grams glucose

24 crystallised violets, sugar flowers, or cachous for decoration (optional)

Directions
Salted Caramel
Place the sugar into a stainless steel saucepan.  I prefer stainless steel as this allows me to see the colour of the caramel as it cooks.

Place the pan over a low heat and gently stir the sugar as it dissolves.  The best action is to gently move the sugar toward the middle of the pan and back, checking the edges of the pan for any sugar that is dissolving and colouring too quickly and mix it in.    Don’t take your eyes off it for a second and have patience.  When it is all dissolved, stop stirring and let it cook until the colour deepens.  You can gently swirl the caramel on the base of the pan to make sure the caramel darkens evenly.  Cook the sugar until the caramel is a lovely deep amber colour.

When ready, carefully pour in the cream, stirring as you go.  Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture is smooth.  Remove from the heat, add the salt, and stir in the butter in two batches.  Stir until the caramel is smooth and silky.  Pour the caramel into a bowl and set it aside to cool while you make the crème.
Blood Orange Crème Patissiere
If making ahead, you can infuse the milk and cream with the orange zest overnight for a more intense flavour, stored in the refrigerator.  It is not a necessary step, but does produce a more intense orange flavour that is lovely with the caramel.

In a mixing bowl, add the sugar, cornflour, and egg yolks.  Whisk together until creamy.  Place the blood orange zest, cream, and milk together in a saucepan over a low to medium heat.  Bring just to a simmer  and add to the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place back on a low heat.  Stir gently with a whisk or wooden spoon until the cream starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon easily.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Cover the surface of the crème with a layer of dampened waxproof paper, to prevent a skin forming.  Set aside to cool.  When both the caramel and crème have cooled a little, you can cover them with cling film and refrigerate until ready to assemble the profiteroles.
Choux Pastry Shells
To make the profiterole shells, follow the instructions detailed here.

Use a large plain tip and pipe 24 choux pastry rounds and bake as directed in the recipe.  Leave to cool on a wire rack until ready to assemble the profiteroles.
Assembly
If the caramel has been made ahead and refrigerated, remove it at least thirty minutes before assembling the profiterole.  Whisk the caramel until light.  Add the caramel to theblood orange crème and whisk together gently until smooth and light.

Have ready a large piping bag fitted with a narrow plain piping tip.  Fill the bag with the caramel crème and fill each of the profiterole with the crème.  You can either pipe the crème into the base of each choux shell or from the sides.  Continue filling the choux shells until all are filled.
Toffee & Spun Sugar
To make the toffee, place the sugar and liquid glucose into a stainless steel saucepan over a low heat.  As for the caramel, cook slowly until the sugar and glucose are dissolved, but do not stir the toffee this time.  Cook until the toffee is a light amber only.

When ready, work quickly to dip the top of each profiterole into the toffee.  Allow any excess to drip back down into the pan.  Set onto a rack of line baking tray to set.  If decorating with flowers or cachous, place on to each profiterole after dipping so it sets with the toffee.

If the toffee starts to cool in the pan before you are finished, place back on a very low heat just long enough to melt the toffee.  Remove from the heat again and continue until all the profiterole have been dipped into the toffee.

If you wish to assemble a classic croquembouche, use a little toffee to attach each profiterole to the croquembouche conical stand, starting from the base, and building the tower upwards.

For a spun sugar decoration, use a tablespoon or wooden spoon.  Dip it into the toffee and then work quickly to swirl it over the profiterole in a circular swirling motion, leaving trails of spun toffee over the profiteroles.  This is entirely optional but looks really lovely.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Desserts, Tarts & Patisserie

Wild Jaffa Cookies

Knock knock!  Hello 🙂

Life and work have got in the way of blogging for some time now in CCMville.  When things get a little crazy, I tend to find solace and inspiration in two things: working out and chocolate.  So there has been no shortage of workouts of late and plenty of chocolate.  In fact, this has been going on for some time … the last few posts are all chocolate infused!  Hmmmmmm … I’m just glad these are two excellent strategies for overcoming trying times, right?

One of my favourite chocolate treats now … or possibly ever … are these Wild Jaffa cookies.  I love orange and dark chocolate together and these are so intensely flavoured, they hit the spot with a cup of coffee or as a guilt free snack anytime.

What makes them wild?

You know I use my trainers as my lab rats taste tester super foodies … it works out great for me and hopefully also for them!  We rabbit on about nutrition ad nauseam and I feel so very lucky to share a passion for health and fitness with them.  I really appreciate their willingness to try my experiments too … not just fit, not just strong, also brave 😉

Well, my awesome kettlebell and boot camp trainer at Wild Fitness is addicted to these cookies.  Bazinga!  That’s a great tick of approval.  She thinks they taste like Jaffa cakes and she’s so right.  They really do.  So it’s only right to name them Wild Jaffa Cookies … and they are 😀

Blood oranges are still in season and I love using them as much as I can while the season lasts.  They have such an intense, sweet, delicious flavour that a little goes a long way to making the ordinary … extraordinary 🙂  You can use any sweet oranges in season, of course.  But, aren’t they just beautiful?

These cookies are soft and cakey with a lovely crumbly texture.  They literally melt in your mouth.   They are perfect whether you make them plain or add chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips.  I usually make half a batch plain and half with chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, just for variety.  If macros and/or healthy eating are important for you, try to use a good quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cacao.

You can even make Mini Wild Jaffa Cupcakes.   How versatile is this recipe, huh?

Want to make a healthy delicious base for a protein cheesecake?  Crumble up some cookies (without the chocolate chips), mix in a little butter, cacao butter, coconut, or macadamia nut oil, or use them as is … press into the base of the pan and top with your favourite cheesecake filling.

Sandwich two cookies together with your favourite protein creamy filling, cashew nut butter, or some protein ice cream!

See?  These cookies are totally amazeballs.

Try eating just one.  Can’t do it?  Didn’t think so.

Does it matter which cacao powder you use?  Yes.  If you use a rich, flavourful quality cacao you will notice a significant difference, for sure.   I’m using Valrhona but any good quality cacao will make these special.

You can substitute sugar for the granulated stevia sweetener if you prefer.  It will increase the total calories, carbohydrates and sugars per cookie.  You may need to increase the amount slightly to about 75 grams or so.   This recipe benefits from the bulk in the granular sweetener so won’t work quite as well if you use pure stevia extract.  I like to use a stevia blend as a personal preference.

You can also substitute almond, dairy or coconut milk or coconut water for the water in the recipe.  You can even just top it up with more orange juice.  I’ve tried them all and I prefer adding a little water or more juice instead of the milks.  It might just be my imagination but the chocolate orange flavour is much more intense and pure this way 🙂

You will find the macros at the bottom of the recipe, as usual.  They’re pretty good, huh?

As usual, these are gluten-free, dairy and lactose free, and suitable for anyone with fructose intolerance.  They are also free of refined sugar, if you don’t add any chopped chocolate or use a 100% cacao chocolate.

Before I forget, if you follow the Chocolate Chilli Mango Facebook page, you will know that there is some work going on with the website now.   I’m giving this blog a lot of thought in terms of what I’d like to do with it and what direction it should take.

But in the meantime, CCM has a new logo!  I would love to hear from you about what you think.  Like it?  Love it?  Not so much?  I love it.  Chocolate and a whisk.  The two most important things in my kitchen LOL.  All feedback would be most welcome.  But right now …

Go bake!  Go workout!  Eat!  Enjoy!

Makes 18 – 24 cookies or 12 mini cupcakes

Ingredients
75 grams cashews or 100% cashew nut butter
2 medium blood oranges – about 155 grams each (or other sweet oranges in season)
105 grams brown rice protein powder*
15 grams coconut flour
30 grams unsweetened cacao powder
60 grams granulated stevia sweetener (e.g. Natvia)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
water, about 60 millilitres

90 grams good quality dark chocolate with minimum 70% cacao or chocolate chips (optional)

* If you prefer a fudgier cookie, substitute 40 grams pea protein isolate + 65 grams rice protein for the rice protein in the recipe.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line one large or two medium baking sheets with non-stick baking paper or silpat mats.  Set aside.

If using cashews, process them in a food processor until reduced to a smooth and creamy cashew butter.  Transfer the cashew nut butter to the bowl of a mixer.  Finely grate the zest of the oranges and add to the cashew butter.  Juice the oranges and measure the amount of juice.  It should measure around 120 millilitres or a scant half cup of juice.  Add to the bowl.

Add the rice protein, coconut flour, cacao, stevia,  and bicarbonate of soda to the cashew butter and orange mixture.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on low to medium speed until well combined.  Continue mixing and add the water slowly.  You may not need all the liquid if the oranges yielded more than 120 millilitres of juice.  The resulting batter should be smooth and a good dropping consistency but not sloppy – much like a soft cake batter.

If you want to add chocolate chips, add them now, and mix briefly until well incorporated into the batter.

Drop walnut sized spoonfuls of the cookie batter on to the baking sheets, leaving space between them.  If you want to decorate the cookies with a chocolate chip button, place them on top now.  If making cupcakes, line twelve muffins tins with cupcake liners and divide the batter evenly among them.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes (the cupcakes will take about 18 minutes or so).  Remove from the oven.  Use a spatula to gently remove the cookies and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.  They don’t last long in our house but I have set a few aside to see how they keep and they were fresh and lovely for up to a week at least.

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for the cookies without the chocolate chips, as per the recipe as stated (i.e. using water, not milk).  If you add chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate, you will need to add in the macros to the total recipe.  This is easy as I give the full recipe macros as well.

I have used SunWarrior unflavoured rice protein powder, Valrhona cacao, and Natvia stevia blend sweetener.  If you use different brands, there may be some variation in macros, but they should be fairly similar.

Plain cookies without chocolate chips

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Protein Cookies, Special Diet