I was trying to explain to my 10 month old what Christmas tastes like. It was a fairly one-sided conversation but I’m pretty sure she got the gist of it.
I was cutting pomegranate seeds in half for her like the paranoid mom that I have become and she was mmmm-ing as she swallowed fistfuls of them whole. These had been preceded by some sage-y buckwheat with mushrooms, all flavours that seem very Christmassy to me.
We haven’t decorated yet, so next we went down to our lobby and touched the fake Christmas tree branches and (discreetly) sucked on some sparkly decorations. Nothing says Christmas spirit like the UPS guy pretending like you’re not there while your baby is ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAH-ing’ enthusiastically with sparkles all over her face that you know will wind up in her diaper.
While sparkled baby is a fairly new-to-me Christmas flavour, this combo of real chocolate and mint together in a thin little package is as classic as it gets. They taste just like Christmas and if you’re having a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit (in our case, without a foot of treacherous ice on the sidewalks, like last year) then these will help.
They are made of only real food, and are as cool and minty as an icy cold day, minus the salt lines on your boots. We like to sweeten with dates, which usually give off a disappointing shade of brown when you really want lemony yellow or strawberry red. In this case, it is actually chocolate, so the chocolaty brown from the dates is both appropriate and appealing.
We have cut the dates with (sulphite-free) dried apricots. They have a very high fiber content and just add a little oomph to these treats. The hemp and coconut add some blood-stabilizing healthy fats and a fatty roundness to the texture that goes well with chocolate.
The cacao nibs on top are so that you get the crunch that would come from crushed candy cane, only instead of frankensugar and food colouring you get an antioxidant-rich chocolate punch. A little sprinkle of Maldon sea salt would go very well too, if you’re feeling wild (or wildly trendy).
We have rolled these out into ‘thins’ but you could easily roll them into balls instead and top them with cacao nibs so that they are more like truffles. We use peppermint oil, which has a far truer cool peppermint flavour than the extract (although you could also use that if it’s all you can find). Just make sure to find food-grade peppermint oil if you’re going to use it.
The idea is to keep them in your fridge or freezer to pull out bit by bit as visitors come over. Or have a couple after dinner between now and the new year. But I am living proof that they can actually cover off at least two meals a day if they have to.
More of our Holiday Sweets if you’re feeling in the mood:
Chocolate Covered Sunbutter Bites
Breakfast Hot Chocolate
- 12 Medjool Dates
- ¼ c Dried Apricots (sulphite-free) (the brown ones not the beautiful orange ones)
- 3 Tbsp Raw Cacao
- ¼ c Hemp Hearts
- ½ c Dried Desiccated Coconut
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 6-10 drops of Peppermint Oil (or 1 tsp Peppermint extract)
- ¼ c Cacao Nibs
- In a food processor, blend all ingredients except for the nibs until they come together into a smooth ball.
- Add half of the nibs and pulse to combine.
- Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper to about ¼ inch thick.
- Remove top piece of parchment paper and sprinkle the nibs over the rolled out mixture evenly.
- Gently roll the rolling pin back over it to partially (not all of the way) press the nibs into the top.
- Slide the slab onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so (or freeze for 5-10 mins).
- Pull it out of the fridge, slide onto a cutting board and cut into squares (or any shape you want).
- Serve immediately or store in a container in the fridge or freezer.
This recipe is meant to be sweet, like dessert. We use dates because they are a whole, unrefined source of sweetness. They will spike your blood sugar more than many other whole foods, but on their own, they are full of nutrients and fiber and paired with the other ingredients in the recipe, there is plenty of fat and fiber to slow down the ‘glycemic load’ (slowing the rate of sugar absorption). That being said, this recipe is meant as a treat, not an all the time thing, but on a whole is far better for you than most sweets.
Dates raise blood sugar, so isn’t that bad for cancer also?