Christmas is nearly approaching, we are already starting to eat chocolate, cookies… The festive season is usually associated with gaining weight, but this year it won’t be the same! The food that will destroy your diet the most is dessert, we have gathered some healthy dessert recipes that will indulge your craving for a Christmas sweet. You can tell us thank you;)
We have to start with a chocolate recipe, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without chocolate. Eating chocolate can be good for your health, it improves your cardiovascular health. This is because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa , contains flavonoids. However the high fat and caloric content of chocolate can counteract these benefits by causing weight gain if regularly eaten in large amounts. Also it’s better to avoid any of milk chocolate or white chocolate (high in sugar and fat).
Fruity Chocolate bar
- 8 ounces good quality, dark chocolate (70-80%), very finely chopped
- 1 cup assorted Giving Tree fruits, large pieces roughly chopped
Gently melt chocolate on the lowest possible heat setting. Stir regularly, removing from heat as needed. The goal here is to keep the temperature under 90 degrees, be patient, keep stirring, and even with the heat on a low setting the chocolate will melt eventually.
Once melted and smooth, pour chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer (it will not cover the entire pan, just spread it until it’s as thick as you want your final bark to be).
Sprinkle evenly with Giving Tree fruits. Let dry, uncovered at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours or until set. Break into serving size pieces.
Because of the nature of freeze-dried fruit, this particular bar is best enjoyed within a day or two, as the fruit will begin to soften once exposed to humidity. The bar is good for up to a week, however, the fruit just might be a bit softer after a few days out in the open.
A traditional dessert that nobody can resist is the apple pie… with less sugar.
In a food processor, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/4-inch pieces); pulse until large flakes form. Add 7 table-spoons trans fat-free shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cold water over the mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, tossing with a fork to mix. Roll the pastry into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 3/4-inch thick disks on separate sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Step 2. Make the apple filling
Peel, core, and slice 5-6 apples, enough to make 6 1/2 cups. Add 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss well; set aside.
Step 3. Assemble the pie
Preheat oven to 400º. Place larger half of chilled pastry on a 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap. Dust dough with flour and roll into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin, then invert over a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off plastic and gently tuck pastry into pan, letting edge drape over sides. Lightly moisten upper edge of dough with a damp pastry brush. Transfer filling to pie shell. Roll other half of pastry into an 11-inch circle on plastic wrap. Invert over filling, then peel off plastic. Pinch edge to seal; trim excess.
Step 4. Bake till golden
Create decorative edge on crust with fork. Slit top pastry for steam vents. Brush top of pie with milk and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes on center oven rack, shield-ing edges of crust with foil. Reduce heat to 375º; continue baking until the pie is golden brown and juices bubble through at least one vent, another 30 minutes. Insert wooden skewer into pie; there should be no resistance. Transfer pie to cooling rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving.
(inspired from the www.health.com)
No-Bake Cranberry Jam Tarts
- 1Cup Almonds
- 1/2Cup Rolled Oats (not quick-cooking)
- 3/4Cup Soft Dates
- Pinch of Salt
Quick Cranberry Jam:
- 1 1/2 Cup Fresh OR Frozen Cranberries
- 2T Maple Syrup
- 2T Coconut Sugar
- 1/4C Orange Juice
- 1/2C (approx) Water
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/2t Vanilla Extract
Using a food processor, blitz the almonds and oats together to form a fairly fine flour. Add the salt and the dates and process until you have a thick mixture which holds together when pinched between finger and thumb. You may need to add a couple of extra dates if it’s too crumbly.
Divide mixture between the 12 holes of a shallow cake/tartlet tin and press firmly in the base and up the sides to form 12 neat tart shells.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to fill.
For the jam, place all ingredients except vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until the cranberries have all popped and the jam has thickened up. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until cool. (I left mine chunky but blend with an immersion blender if you prefer yours smooth)
Run a knife around the edges of the tart shells to loosen them and pop them out of the tin. Fill each with a couple of teaspoons of the jam.
Serve at room temperature
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 egg
- ½ cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup wheat flour
- Turbinado sugar (for garnish)
- In a medium bowl, add 1 egg, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, ¼ cup almond butter, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 tablespoons applesauce; vigorously whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons allspice, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ¼ cup all purpose four, and ½ cup wheat flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a large spoon until well combined. Turn out onto plastic wrap and form into a rough ball; cover with plastic and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Flour a flat surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the dough to around ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men, about 25-35 total. Place gingerbread men on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for about 8 minutes, until until puffed and slightly firmed. Let rest on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Store covered at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer term storage.
- 4 ripe halved and pitted pears (I cut a little whole in mine for the pecans to fit it)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup of honey
- 1.5 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of candied pecans
Preheat oven to 350°
Fill holes with candied pecans
Sprinkle pears with spices
Drizzle with honey
Bake for 25-40 minutes (they are done when the skin begins to curl).
BANANA BREAD RECIPE
We absolutely love this Chocolate & Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe from the Minimalist Baker… In fact, we just LOVE the Minimalist Baker! Husband and wife team, John and Dana, created The Minimalist Baker as “a space for simple, delicious food” which often uses 7 ingredients or less. Their site features a wide range of recipes, which cater for everyone. They also have a section called “one bowl” which is where we found this mouthwatering, Vegan and Gluten Free, Chocolate & Peanut Butter Banana Snack Bread recipe… Not only can you make this wonderful recipe using just one bowl, but you can also use TWO dairy free, Chi ingredients; Chi 100% Natural Coconut Milk and Chi Coconut Oil.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BREAD
Preparation Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 1 flax egg ( 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water | or sub 1 egg)
- 3 medium ripe bananas (~1.5 cups)
- 3.5 tsp baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 1/3 cup salted natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
- 2.5 Tbsp rape seed or coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
- 1 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup gluten free flour blend
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- 1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup Peanut Butter Chips
- Preheat oven to 350 (PLEASE NOTE: this is according to US oven temperature settings) and line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
- Prepare flax egg in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes to activate.
- Add banana and mash thoroughly.
- Add all ingredients through almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add cocoa powder, almond meal, gluten free flour blend, oats and stir.
- Last, stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips (if using).
- Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. When ready, it should feel firm and be crackly on top. My sweet spot was about 1 hour 5 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form (preferably overnight).
Store completely cooled leftovers in a covered container for up to several days, though best when fresh. Slice and freeze for longer term storage.
CREDIT: John and Dana, The Minimalist Baker | http://minimalistbaker.com/ @minimalistbaker
Ingredient suggestions from Chi…
Chi Organic Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Chi 100% Natural Coconut Milk