Sugar Overload and Homemade Christmas Candy
Christmas is almost here!
I think I could run a marathon with all the energy I have from my sugar overload. Of course, I would completely crash after mile 3, but at least I FEEL like I have that much energy right now. Give me a couple hours though and I’ll be wanting to sleep along with take some Tums…but that’s besides the point 🙂
I enjoy making homemade holiday goodies for people; I love cooking for others as I find joy in sharing my treats with people that I care about. For the past 6 years or so, you can expect for me the break out the baking ingredients and whip up some candy or goodies around the holidays. This year is no different….
Enter in exhibits A, B and C:
A. Coconut Trail Mix Bark
B. Dark Chocolate Sweet & Salty Stacks
C. Nutty Chocolate Bark
Now onto the homemade goodies!
First up is coconut trail mix bark – this is a lightly sweetened treat made with homemade coconut butter and a mix of roasted peanuts and fruit-sweetened cranberries, lightly scented with vanilla and dusted with shredded coconut.
Coconut Trail Mix Bark
1 1/2 cups coconut butter or Homemade Coconut Butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
pinch of sea salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup roasted, unsalted almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews or peanuts (could leave out for nut-free)
1/3 to 1/2 cup juice sweetened dried cherries (cranberries, blueberries, apricots or other dried fruit would be yummy too)
2 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
Optional for a sweetener bark: 2-3 tbsp liquid sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup etc) or stevia to taste
1. Melt coconut butter on low over double broiler, in oven safe dish at 200F for several minutes or in microwave for 30-60 seconds or from freshly made coconut butter while still warm (this is what I did). For an even smoother consistency, add one tablespoon of liquified coconut oil when melting over double broiler.
2. Add extracts, salt, nuts and fruit and stir to combine.
3. Spread the mixture onto a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle with coconut and set in the freezer to harden (about 15 minutes). Break into pieces and enjoy!
Next up – sweet n’ salty chocolate stacks…which is just a long name for chocolate covered pretzels with a few optional add-ins…so easy but so delicious!
Sweet n’ Salty Stacks
12 oz of your favorite chocolate bar chop into chunks (chocolate chips could be used too – I used Chocolove 73% bars) use dairy free chocolate like Enjoy Life for vegan
2-3 Tbsp of unsalted, unsweetened nut butter or homemade (peanut butter, almond, cashew, etc) – can omit for nut free
3 – 4 cups crushed/chopped gluten free pretzels (I used glutino twists)
pinch of ground cinnamon, optional
Optional add-ins (1/3 to 1/2 cup of) – chopped nuts, dried fruit, marshmallows, coconut, etc
1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper
2. Melt chocolate and nut butter on top of a double boiler over gently simmering water, stirring until smooth. (or in a microwave on 50% power at 30 second intervals until melted)
3. Stir in pretzels gently into the melted nut butter-chocoalte mixture and other add-ins if desired.
4. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool until set, can refrigerate if desired.
I ate too many stacks but these are OH SO GOOD!
Nutty Chocolate Bark (adapted from make-it-your-own chocolate bark)
8-10 dates (OR 8 prunes + 3 Tbsp raisins OR 1/2 cup raisins OR 6 dates and 4 Tbsp raisins)
1/2 cup cocoa powder/cacao powder/carob powder (add 2-4 Tbsp for a darker chocolate)
4-6 Tbsp raw or roasted nut or seed butter* (I used 4 Tbsp)
1 cup coconut oil (refined for no coconut flavor, unrefined for hint of coconut)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Drops of stevia or small amount of honey/agave to taste, optional depending on how sweet you like it
Sprinkle of sea salt, optional (brings out chocolate/carob flavor)
1/4 cup Sunspire peanut butter chips (optional if peanut allergy)
1/4 cup juice-sweetened dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts (can sub with another nut if desired)
1. In a small bowl, add dates/prunes/raisins and cover with boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside.
2. Meawhile, melt coconut oil. (I set the glass jar of coconut oil in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot or boiling water and let it melt that way).
3. Add softened dates/raisins, liquified coconut oil, nut/seed butter, cocoa/cacao/carob powder, vanilla and a dash of sea salt to the bowl of a food processor and blend until well incorporated (about 1 minute).
4. Mix 1/2 of the peanut butter chips, peanuts and cranberries into the mixture and pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining chips, nuts and fruit. Freeze or refrigerate until hardened, break or cut into pieces and enjoy!