Posts tagged gifts
Nutty chocolate truffles... the perfect last minute christmas treats and gifts!

Christmas is so nearly here now… I can't believe it's been a whole week since I've posted, and I had so many things I want to write up for you!

However, I have been struck down with a horrible cold for the most of this last week, not that it stopped me from doing anything I wanted to, but it has reminded me I have to take my health bit more seriously and factor in that crucial downtime.

I'll write a little bit more about this coming days. It's so important for all of us take time to centre ourselves that recalibrate. In the rush and overwhelm of setting up my coaching business and my food business over these last twelve months I realised I had been putting my own wellness on the back burner....yes i'd been eating the right foods, but that plays such a small part in the overall picture as I have personally come to appreciate more than ever before.

Christmas is the ideal time for rest and recuperation. It's as if the whole world breathes a sigh and slows down.

I have more recipes I am prepping today up today for the main meal tomorrow and I hope i'll be able to capture a few photos to blog later in the week if they turn out to be winners!  I really hope they do!

For now a final recipe that I can't believe I haven't already shared (I checked back through my posts and couldn't find them!)  I previously made a version of these with almond butter for The Real Food Source quite a few months back and I have been making countless variations ever since, usually with peanut butter as it's so much more cost effective.

If you make one chocolately treat this Christmas time... make it this one!!

The ground almonds give these raw bites and almost cake texture unlike the regular 'larabar' style raw bite. As I mentioned you can change up the nut butter base for almond, cashew, or even something like hazelnut butter for a ferrero rocher style treat!!

These freeze really well too. I made some about three weeks ago that I put in the freezer specifically for Christmas, but I kept stealing them and now I need to make another batch as I don't think there will be enough! oops...

I also makes these as gifts and they always go down very well!

Recipe: Nutty chocolate truffles

Makes approx. 12 truffles

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup ground almonds

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other buy butter)

  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup or agave

  • 12 pitted dates (this is based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • Dark chocolate for coating

Method:

Soak the dates in boiling water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, mix all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not too sticky to handle.

Roll into walnut sized balls and chill until they are a little firmer.

Melt the chocolate and either dip the firm truffles into the chocolate to half coat them,  or just drizzle the chocolate over the top of the truffles on a tray.

Best kept refrigerated. Eat within 1 week or freeze.

 

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Vanilla extract (prepare it now for xmas!)

When it comes to the flavours and spices in my baking, I have a few favourites (other than chocolate!!) cinnamon, ginger and vanilla are my top three, they also happen to team up well with chocolate…..

It occurred to me a few weeks back that I get through a lot of vanilla, and for good quality (I use Nielsen-Massey) it gets pretty expensive.  Hmmm, I wonder if I could make my own?

Subsequent investigations revealed that yes indeed I could, and actually it’s pretty cheap and simple to do.  The instructions I have listed below are quite paired back and are the summary of my findings as a quick-fire user friendly set of instructions to follow as you go.  I did however review a variety of sources in putting these together. This is the best resource I found giving much more in depth background information, and also here is another recipe resource you may also find as a useful guide.

All the reviews indicated that the extract would be ready to use after about 8 weeks, and that it would continue to infuse for the months to follow. Quick… make some up now and you’ll have fab little Christmas gifts for the foodies in your life!!  

Recipe: Home-made vanilla extract

Ingredients

  • 35-40% rum or vodka
  • Vanilla beans

That is it!

I am making a few bottles each of rum and vodka for a taste comparison. I purchased six empty 250ml bottles or the vanilla and one 70CL bottle each of rum and vodka- thus three small bottles of each type of extract. (perfect pressie options… unless I keep them all to myself!) I used approx. 50 vanilla beans all together- Ebay have some great deals in organic beans. I used cheap alcohol varieties as my consensus (and the consensus of my integrate searches) was that once fully infused the extract will dominate any of the original alcohol flavouring.

Method

Sterilise all equipment prior to use with boiling water.

Use approx. 8 vanilla beans for each 250ml bottle of extract. Cut each of the beans in half exposing the 'caviar' in the middle. Some guides suggested scraping out the caviar to get a greater surface area when it is all added to the bottle, however I felt that this wasn’t necessary as there was still a lot of exposed surface area once the bean was slit and it seemed like unnecessary mess (I usually love a good bit of mess but had wastage!) Fill the bottle(s) evenly with the split beans and then add the alcohol of choice. Secure the lid (I used a screw top with a pourer) then give a good shake, keep shaking… shaking…. Shaking!!

Shake once a day for about a week and then a few times a week thereafter for 8-12 weeks until ready. 

I can’t wait to take a good sniff of the stuff once its begun to deeply infuse… oooh the anticipation.


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