holiday gifts

chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls (vegan)

17th December 2016

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These make a wonderfully healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are this homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts. If wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls

ingredients 

15 large Medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

3.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

4.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut.

5.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving, or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite-size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  

A recipe inspired by Anna.

Makes 18 – 20

ingredients 

12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tbsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

preparation 

1.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

2.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.

3.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

4V7A9372_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

chocolate covered ‘caramels’ (vegan)

20th December 2015

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The rain has been heavy and relentless these last days.  The air thick with mist & fog, so much so I cannot see the vegetable garden from where I sit.  No choice but to stay inside, to go inside.

A few photos taken a while back, on drier sunnier days

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These are a lovely gift to give to family and friends for the holiday season, just wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere.  Some other ideas are homemade raw halvah and zesty mango bliss balls.  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate covered ‘caramels’

Makes 14 bite-sized balls

Recipe inspired by ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen.’ 

Once set, the texture is a lovely chocolate crunch on the outside with a soft gooey caramel on the inside. And no nasty sugars or additives. To speed up the process, melt down your favourite chocolate bar.

for the caramel bites

100g Medjool dates, pitted – about 7 large dates (can use regular dates, but keep in mind soaking time will be longer)

4 Tbsp coconut butter

dipping chocolate sauce

25g cocoa butter

15g cacao powder

2½ Tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

chopped toasted almonds & coconut for garnish

pre-soak

1.  Soak the dates for at least 1 hour in water, then drain.

2.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

preparation

3.  Drain the dates and blend with the coconut butter.  Use a hand blender/immersion blender as this seems to work best.  You will have to scrape down the bowl and blade as you blend, then place the mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to thicken a little before rolling.

4.  Remove from the freezer.  Using a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, roll into a small ball about half the size of a golf ball and place the balls on the lined tray and place in the freezer for half an hour (this will make the chocolate dipping easier).

prepare the chocolate dipping sauce

5.   Put 1 – 2 inches water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Place another small non-reactive bowl (glass works well) on top so that it sits over the water, but is not touching the bottom of the saucepan.

6.  ‘Shave’ the cocoa butter with a sharp knife and place into the bowl (shaving the coconut butter will make it easier to melt), add the coconut sugar to the bowl and stir to combine.  When the cocoa butter has melted,  sift in the cocoa powder, drizzle in the vanilla essence and whisk until completely smooth. Remove from the stove, cool the chocolate mixture ever so slightly, keeping it runny, but not too runny for dipping.

7.  Dip the caramel balls into the chocolate mixture.  I find using a fork helps scoop them out of the chocolate and to place them back onto the tray. Sprinkle with chopped almonds or coconut and repeat with the remaining caramel mixture.

8.  Place in the fridge to set for half an hour.  Once the caramel balls have set, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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