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3 Healthy-ish Sweet Treats to Try this Christmas Season

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Santa’s go-to treats

The festive season may be a time for indulgence, but there are ways to make it just a little healthier. The best way? Making things from scratch! It’s a touch more effort, but by making things at home, you can be sure of everything going in to the recipe, and the treats can also be wrapped up and made into cute edible Christmas gifts. So, what’s stopping you? Pop on your favourite Christmas tunes, grab the little ones to help with decor (wishful thinking?) and get cooking!

Read more:  The Only Mulled Wine Recipes You Will Need This Festive Season

Raw Christmas Cake Balls

Not everyone is a fan of the classic Christmas fruit cake, or Christmas pud, but we can’t get enough of these raw fruit and nut balls. Made with a customisable selection of dried fruit, nuts and festive spices these are easy to whip up and are sure to give you a bite-sized taste of the season.

Ingredients:

  • 100g mixed nuts (we used cashews, almonds and walnuts)
  • 100g mixed dried fruit (we used cranberries, sultanas and apricots but feel free to mix it up!)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Juice of one orange
  • 10g crushed nuts
  • Zest of one orange

Method:

1. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are in small pieces.
2. Add in the dried fruit and pulse once more (or, you can chop by hand and then add to the mix).
3. Transfer the mixture in to a large bowl and stir in the coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger, along with the juice and half the zest of your orange.
4. Line a baking tray or large plate with baking parchment and roll your mixture into small balls, before placing on the lined tray (tip: slightly damp hands will make this much easier!).
5. Roll the balls in your remaining crushed nuts and orange zest, or leave plain.
6. Pop in the fridge to firm up and enjoy.

Chocolate Orange Star Biscuits

These zesty orange biscuits smell heavenly and when drizzled with some dark chocolate are a great festive treat. We have used honey in place of the usual white sugar as it has a stronger flavour so you can use less of it, but you could also use maple syrup instead. Make into plain rounds, or shape with a star cutter (or other festive shapes) and drizzle with chocolate and orange zest for an easy-crowd pleaser. A perfect festive addition to kiddo lunch boxes and teatime snacking!

Ingredients:

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 20g dark chocolate

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Add the ground almonds, sea salt and bicarbonate soda to a bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside.
3. Melt your honey and coconut oil together in a small bowl, and then add in the vanilla, orange juice and half of the zest.
4. Mix your wet ingredients gradually into your flour mix until a dough forms.
5. Wrap the dough in some cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 10 minutes.
6. When the dough has chilled use a rolling pin to roll it out on a floured surface, to about half a centimetre thick.
7. Cut into shapes using a star-shaped cookie cutter and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
8. Bake at 180°C for 10 minutes until just browned on the edges. Leave on the tray to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack. They will still be soft in the middle, but as they cool they will crisp up.
9. Break the chocolate into chunks, and melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
10. Drizzle or spoon the melted chocolate over the cookies and sprinkle over the remaining zest to decorate.

Festive Dark Chocolate Bark

Similar to the Raw Christmas Cake Balls, this chocolate bark is easily customisable. Pick your kiddo’s favourite dried fruit and get started! Use the darkest chocolate you can find, as the dried fruits added on top will add a touch of sweetness. We also topped ours with nuts and seeds, but what you choose to use is up to you! Wrapped up with cellophane and tied with string or a ribbon, they make for an easy and delicious gift to add to a hamper.

Ingredients:

  • 300g dark chocolate (or your favourite chocolate)
  • 50g mixed nuts (cashews, almonds and walnuts) chopped into chunky pieces
  • 50g dried fruit (we used sultanas, cranberries and chopped apricots)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Method:

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring every now and then.
2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment or cling film.
3. Pour the dark chocolate onto the prepared tray and spread it into a rectangle, roughly 20 x 25cm.
4. Scatter over your toppings, then leave somewhere cool to set.
5. Break into shards or leave whole, wrap in cellophane and tie up with ribbon. Will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Photos courtesy of Tiffany Ku. These images may not be reproduced without prior permission from the photographer.

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