Christmas has definitely arrived in my house this week. I had been planning on holding out another week, but I blame Delia and Nigella! I’ve been catching up on some old Christmas specials on Good Food this week and all the spicy, cosy, twinkliness was too much to bear a moment longer. So my modest little tree is up and I’ve been adorning the place with fairy lights.
I also succumbed to a bit of proper Christmas baking at the weekend; I have a friend staying and we really got the urge to bake biscuits. Although I loved the making, the eating was not doing so much for me, as I woke up on Sunday with a real sugar hangover. I realised that I need to stick with some healthier sweet treats over the festive period and my mind has been whirring with ideas this week. Nigella has a Christmas puddini truffle recipe and inspired by that, I’ve come up with my own Christmas Pudding Bites, which only use dried fruits and nuts and a few aromatics along the way. They give all the right Christmas notes, with none of the saturated fat or sugar. The walnuts offer some excellent nutrition, including some essential omega 3 fats. These are quick and easy to make in a food processor and would make a lovely gift. I rolled mine in coconut for a snowball effect, but they could be luxed up further with a coating of dark chocolate: simply melt some good quality chocolate, dip your pudding ball in the chocolate then leave to set.
Christmas Pudding Bites
Makes 30 bite sized balls
12 medjool dates pitted
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of orange extract
a pinch of salt
1 cup raisins
3 cups (300g bag) walnuts (pecans would also work)
Up to ½ cup of desiccated coconut for rolling
- Blend the dates, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract, orange extract and salt in a food processor to form a paste.
- Add the walnuts and raisins and continue to process until you achieve a soft firm dough.
- For bite-sized balls, take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hands and then roll in the coconut to coat lightly.
- Alternatively press the mix into a small brownie tray, press some coconut on top, leave to set in the fridge then cut into squares.
- These treats can be eaten immediately but they benefit from a night in the fridge to firm up.