The holidays are my fav time of year. It is a chance to get together with family plus I love any excuse to bake up a storm in the kitchen, Below are three easy, crowd-pleasing recipes you can whip up in advance and modify to accommodate any dietary needs.
I’ve made all three recipes on several occasions and always received rave reviews. Above all, I value having balance in my diet and never feeling deprived. You should be able to enjoy yourself at holiday parties without feelings of shame or judgement. Remember, this is the time of year to be kind not only others but yourself.
Pumpkin ‘Peanut’ Butter Cups
- 600 grams of dark chocolate
- 4 tsp coconut oil, divided
- ⅓ cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup sun butter (sunflower seed butter for nut-free) OR peanut butter OR almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on desired sweetness)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
Makes 24 full-sized treats
1. Chop 300 grams chocolate bar into a large bowl and add 2 tsp coconut oil, melt in the microwave or on stovetop under smooth and easy to stir.
2. Fill the bottom of 12 large muffin cups with chocolate. Freeze for 5-10 minutes
3. Combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well mixed.
4. Take muffin cups out of the freezer and add 1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin mixture on top. At this point, you should have half the pumpkin mixture left.
5. Melt the remaining chocolate with 2 tsp oil and cover each muffin cup.
6. Sprinkle sea salt on top and place in the fridge to harden.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 with other chocolate bars and the remainder of filling.
Optional- cut the recipe in half and use mini muffins liners for a small but tasty treat. This dessert is best stored in the fridge or freezer, making it an easy thing to prepare in advance for Christmas parties.
Adapted from chocolatecoveredkatie.com
For the Vegan Caramel:
- 1 cup pitted soft Medjool dates (***if dates are hard, soak in warm water first for 10 minutes)
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Chocolate Coating:
- 100 grams dark chocolate sea salt bars, chopped
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
Makes 20 bite-sized treats
1. Process the pitted dates, peanut butter and cinnamon in the food processor until sticky paste forms.
2. Lightly wet fingers and shape into balls should make about 20 smalls balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place balls in the freezer for ten minutes or until firm.
3. Melt chopped chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave until smooth.
4. Remove the caramel balls from the freezer and insert a toothpick. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate, one at a time. Roll around to coat completely and tap off any excess chocolate. Place onto a plate or cookie sheet covered in foil
5. Freeze the balls for at least 20 minutes, or until firm. Store in the freezer, remove 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Oh She Glows Cookbook
Gluten-free & Vegan Shortbread
- 3 cups gluten-free flour blend
- 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 ½ cups organic cane sugar
- 1 cup vegan butter (do not sub coconut oil)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup of water
- Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients (flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt)
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together sugar, vegan butter, vanilla, ground flax and water.
- Slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.
- Chill dough in the fridge for two hours or overnight tightly wrapped in plastic
- Roll into balls and flatten with a fork on baking sheets.
- Bake for ten minutes, and let cool completely before serving.
Adapted from Kelly’s Bake Shop
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, taking away from the joy this special time is supposed to bring us. Deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation and acupuncture can all help you stay calm and bright!