Meet The Healthy Baker Who’s The Middle East’s Answer To Deliciously Ella
A healthy ‘Snickers’ for breakfast? Sign us up…
Once upon a time, many of us would have given little thought to throwing back a Kit Kat with a cup of tea after dinner. In the health conscious days of 2016, we’re more likely to nibble on a couple of squares of Lindt 85 Per Cent Cocoa and call it a treat.
But old school snacks could be set to make a return to our refrigerators – albeit minus the emulsifiers and glucose syrup – thanks to the Dubai-based baker creating vegan versions of some of our favourite childhood chocolate bars.
Kamilla Omarzay, 31, is positioning herself as the Middle East’s answer to Deliciously Ella, the British heiress whose chia seed-fuelled culinary exploits helped to spark the plant-based eating trend, and spawned a thousand #avoontoast Instagram posts at the same time. Sure enough, the drool-inducing snaps Omarzay posts on her @thesnacksociety account (hello, healthy Hob Nobs) have already attracted a growing following.
Just like Ella, it was health woes that inspired Omarzay, whose family moved to the UAE from Afghanistan following the Soviet invasion in the late 1980s, to experiment with a different way of eating.
“Having faced a lot of health issues and digestion problems, and having consulted with several doctors in Dubai, I finally decided to put the saying ‘you are what you eat’ into practice,” says Omarzay, who ditched gluten and dairy from her diet last year. “I felt heaps better and a lot of my unpleasant symptoms vanished.”
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It was her failed search for desserts that didn’t come loaded with the ingredients she had chosen to avoid that inspired Omarzay to launch the Snack Society.
Her additive, preservative and refined sugar-free treats feature arrowroot powder, buckwheat or coconut flour in place of regular flour, while sweetness comes courtesy of honey, coconut sugar or dates. So far, so familiar, you might say.
These once niche ingredients, already a firm fixture on menus in New York, LA and London, are becoming ever more visible here in Dubai too, thanks to restaurants like Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah and Wild and the Moon in Al Quoz.
But what sets Omarzay’s recipes apart are the much-loved snacks that inspired them. She’s created healthier versions of the chocolate bars familiar from school lunch-boxes and childhood party bags – we’re talking Bountys, Snickers and Twixes. With her vegan-friendly answers to old favourites, Omarzay has created a welcome taste of nostalgia, with no-added guilt.
Here, she shares the recipe for the Snack Society’s sugar-free Snickers slice with emirateswoman.com readers…
1 cup dates
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 cup coconut milk or cream
3 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups peanuts
Pinch of salt
For the chocolate topping:
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp honey
1. Roast the peanuts for five to 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven, then chop roughly – not into a powder – and set aside.
2. Blitz the dates, vanilla, coconut cream or milk, peanut butter, coconut oil and salt in a food processor of blender
3. Stir the chopped peanuts into the ‘caramel’ mixture until well combined, then pour it all into a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten with a spoon and set aside while you make the topping.
4. Mix all of the ingredients for the chocolate topping together and pour it over the caramel mixture.
5. Refrigerate for one to three hours, slice into squares and serve.
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