2019-lifestyles-nov_dec-holiday_treats-18.jpg

Homemade treats make great holiday gifts. (Food and styling by Leslie Harrison; photo by Cara Campbell) 

Homemade edible gifts make the holiday season brighter. These types of thoughtful, personal presents take some planning, but they convey to the recipient how much you really care about them.

Many of our fondest holiday memories involve food, from our favorite delicious seasonal indulgence to the aroma of spices indicative of this enchanting time of year.

It’s truly heartwarming not only to receive an edible gift, but also to give one. Even if the holidays have snuck up on you this year, you still have time to make these simple, tasty and healthy treats.

Take your gift up a notch by pairing it with a bottle of wine or packaged in a decorative bowl or

plate. If baking is your love language, get "talking" in the kitchen and spread some holiday

cheer.

SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES

  • 2¼ cups superfine almond flour
  • 6 Tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sugar coating
  • 6 Tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons + ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Add the almond flour, tapioca, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk very well, making sure to break up any lumps from the almond flour.

Add the syrup and vanilla and stir with a spoon for several minutes until it all comes together into a thick, sticky batter. Keep stirring and pressing the mixture with the back of the spoon. Add more syrup a little at a time if necessary to achieve a batter.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating on a plate or in a shallow bowl and whisk well. Form balls with the batter using about 1½ tablespoons of the cookie dough.

Roll into tight balls with your hands. The batter should be somewhat sticky, but you should be able to roll into balls. If it is too sticky to roll into balls, then place the batter into the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Place each ball in the  cinnamon and sugar mixture and rotate it several times to coat them well.

Add them to the pan 2 inches apart.

Press each cookie down between ¼- to ½-inch, making sure the whole cookie is pressed evenly to help them crackle as they bake and spread. Bake 1 pan at a time for 10 minutes. The cookies should puff up and slightly crackle. Leave them to cool on the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooler rack to cool another 10 minutes.

They will flatten back out a bit as they cool. Store sealed in a container.

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

PUMPKIN CARAMELS

  • 12 ounces (approx. 1¼ cups packed) medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin butter or pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F and place raw pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet. Bake seeds for 5-7 minutes and then set aside. If the dates are not sticky and moist, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly. Add dates to a food processor and mix until a ball forms.

Add in pumpkin butter or puree and spices and mix.

While mixing, stream in melted coconut oil until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed. If it the mixture isn’t combining well, add 1-2 tablespoons hot water.

Transfer mixture to the freezer to chill/harden for at least 2 hours, but preferably 4-6, so the mixture is sticky enough to handle and roll into balls.

Once set, remove date caramel from freezer and scoop out rounded tablespoons and roll between your palms to form a ball. Roll in pumpkin seeds to coat and sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or plate and return to the freezer to set.

Keep these in the freezer for freshness until you are ready to share them.

CHOCOLATE NUT CLUSTERS

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup mixed raw nuts
  • 7 Tablespoons coconut or date sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons cold water
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • Desiccated coconut or sea salt to garnish

Break the chocolate into small chunks and melt it either in the microwave or in a heat proof bowl over a pan of boiling water on the stove.

Divide the mixed nuts between the twelve holes in a mini cupcake tray. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of the melted chocolate on top of each pile of nuts and place the tray in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.

Meanwhile, make the caramel by heating the date sugar and water together in a pan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil before adding the coconut milk and reducing heat to a high simmer.

Cook for 10 -15 minutes until the caramel thickens, stirring regularly and watching so it doesn’t burn. When the caramel is ready remove, the cupcake tray from the fridge and spoon approximately ½ teaspoon of caramel on top of each of the clusters. Add a final ½ tablespoon of melted chocolate on top and garnish with desiccated coconut or sea salt.

Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.

Once the clusters have cooled and set, use a knife to loosen the edges and remove them from

the cupcake tray. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a

week.

Adapted from My Fussy Eater

LAYERED NO BAKE PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Peanut Butter Layer

  • ½  cup medjool dates, pitted
  • ½  cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • ½  cup natural peanut butter

For the brownie layer, pulse dates in a food processor to form small pieces. Remove from processor and set aside in a small bowl. Add walnuts, almonds, chocolate chips and cocoa powder into the processor and pulse until well combined.

While the processor is running, drop the dates in until a dough ball is formed. Press the date mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment until it is flat and then place in the freezer.

For the peanut butter layer, process dates to form small pieces. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Add raw almonds and peanuts to the processor and pulse until they form small pieces.

Add dates back into the processor with the peanut butter and process until well combined.

Press on top of brownie layer until smooth. Placing parchment or wax paper on top of the top mixture and then using a pastry roller over the paper can help get the layers completely flat.

Freeze for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan and cutting.

Leslie Harrison of Tyler, Texas, is a certified Food for Life nutrition and cooking instructor. 

Recommended for you

Load comments