Christmas is nearly upon us. Are you stressed, or are you one of those super-organised people who’s chosen, shopped and wrapped everything by mid-November and written out your 10-day Christmas and New Year food and party plan? I wish I was the latter, but sadly I’m not. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime, that’s all I can say!
I have to admit, I’m a little bit bah humbug when it comes to the frenzy that Christmas seems to stir in the retail sector. The Christmas jingles that start in November, the endless food ads on TV, and the tense, packed aisles of the supermarket drive me a little bit crazy!
Ours will be a small intimate Christmas with close family. Some indulgence, of course, but not too over the top. I’m so looking forward to seeing my little one enjoying the festivities. Last year he was just a babe in arms, this year he’s a toddler, and fascinated by the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree. He loves unwrapping presents too, especially if it involves a cardboard box. It can be totally empty – it’s fine with him!
I’ll be taking a shot break from the blog over the Christmas period – some online downtime is a wonderful thing! Wherever you are, and whether your celebrations are large-scale or small, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
I plan to be back on the blog early in the New Year with some fresh impetus, and a greater focus on healthy, clean eating, as well as some helpful ideas for shifting some of those Christmas pounds.
Christmas pudding bites
And with that, I’ll introduce you to my cute, healthy little Christmas puddings – they’re great for party buffets, or as a sweet little novelty bite alongside your festive drink of choice.
They’re made from entirely wholefood ingredients (apart from the white chocolate ganache topping – well it is Christmas after all!) and can be created in no time at all in a food processor. You don’t even have to bake them – just hand roll into balls and pop them into the fridge until you’re ready to serve them.
They look really pretty when laid out on a plate or platter.
I love all the sweet-spicy flavours of Christmas pudding, but really find it quite heavy to eat. These little bites are flavoured with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and orange, and they’re rich in dried fruit and nuts.
They’ll last for a couple of weeks stored in an airtight container in the fridge, although in reality they’re unlikely to last that long!
They also make great little healthy and appealing snacks for kids, as a break from all that sugar they’re most likely to be eating over the Christmas period.
Leave some out for Santa on Christmas Eve, along with a glass of milk. I’m sure they’ll be gone by Christmas morning.
Ingredients (makes 12 small balls)
Half cup of prunes (California prunes are the best), soaked in a little warm water for at least 30 minutes
5 large dates (Medjool dates are the plumpest)
Half cup pecan nuts (roughly chopped)
1/3 cup ground almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of half an orange (plus around a teaspoon of orange zest if desired)
A splash of vanilla essence
For the ganache topping
30g white chocolate
1.5 tablespoons double cream
Coarsely chop the soaked prunes and the dates and add to the food processor. While running the processor, slowly add the chopped pecans and ground almonds, as well as the spices and vanilla essence (and the orange zest if desired).
Slowly add the freshly-squeezed orange juice a little at a time. This helps to slightly loosen the mixture so it binds, but you don’t want it to get too wet. After a few minutes the ingredients should start to bind together as one mound (it should resemble a dough ball). When this happens it’s time to turn the processor off. You should have a firm dough that’s not too dry and not too soft.
Use your hands to roll the mixture into little balls. This mixture should produce 12 small balls, or nine medium-sized balls.
Leave to chill in the fridge while you make the ganache. Put the white chocolate pieces in a bowl and warm in 10-second bursts in the microwave until it’s completely melted, then stir in the double cream. Allow to cool slightly before dipping half of each pudding ball into the ganache. Garnish with half a sweet cranberry or a goji berry and then return to the fridge until the ganache has completely set.
I enjoy these little bites at room temperature alongside a small glass of port. Happy Christmas!
I developed this recipe for the lovely Kendra and her new publication Kreative Living Quarterly. Check it out for some festive craft and recipe inspiration. You can visit her blog at www.kreativecreationz.com and also download the free magazine here: http://kreativecreationz.com/blog/download/4412/