Oh-Wow! Holiday Sweets
Of all the holiday food challenges, nothing can kill willpower for most people like nutritionally void sweets. Following are some amazing treats that address the cookie and calorie conundrum. These goodies can also serve as a perfect host/hostess gift.
Nut–Butter Dates With Macadamia Nuts (vegan, gluten-free)
24 pitted fresh medjool dates or boxed soft dates (found in produce section)
¼ cup raw cacao nibs
¼ cup raw almond or macadamia butter
cayenne pepper, to taste
macadamia nuts for garnish
Halve each date, fill each with sprinkling of cacao nibs and top with small spoonful of almond butter. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper as desired.
Arrange on serving platter garnished with macadamia nuts. Makes 48 date halves.
Sweet ’n’ Spicy Maple Nuggets (vegan, gluten-free)
These fantastic little gems are super-easy to make, and the spices will boost your immune system. Double the recipe, buy some decorative glass jars and ribbon, and fill them for delectable “made with love” gifts. Store nuggets in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
4 cups raw nuts (combine almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc. . . . your favourites)
½ cup unhulled sesame seeds
1/3–1/2 cup maple syrup or unprocessed natural honey
1/2–3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4–1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, ginger and cardamom powder
½–3/4 tsp cayenne or crushed chili pepper flakes, to taste
Preheat oven to 150-160C. Line large baking sheet with 1- to 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper.
Combine nuts, sesame seeds, maple syrup or honey, and seasonings in large bowl, stirring well. Spread out evenly onto baking sheet, place into oven and bake 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished baking, stir nuts again and let cool. Makes 14–16 ¼-cup servings.
Organic Cocoa-Coconut Gem Truffles (vegan, gluten-free)
2/3 cup organic cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
1 cup almonds, ground
¼ cup organic coconut, small flakes
3/4 cup pitted fresh medjool dates or boxed soft dates (found in produce section)
3 tbs extra-virgin organic coconut butter, gently warmed to melt
¼ tsp sea salt
soft hemp seeds, to roll balls in or to sprinkle on bars, if desired
Combine cocoa powder, ground almonds and coconut flakes in large food processor.
Add dates, coconut butter and sea salt; purée until mixture sticks together. If needed, add a little more melted coconut butter or dates to adjust texture to desired stickiness and level of sweetness.
Roll into 1-inch balls or 2-inch patties, or press into 8- x 8-inch square baking dish and cut into bars. Roll balls/patties in hemp seeds, or sprinkle seeds over bars. Chill for minimum of 1 hour.
Store in refrigerator or freezer for up to 2–3 weeks—if they last that long!
Tip: Soaking/sprouting the almonds for 8 hours removes some of the enzymes that inhibit nutrient absorption. Makes approximately 24 truffles (or if bars are preferred, fills one 8- x 8-inch baking dish).