Each year I like to made a little treat box or container of my baking for friends and family. This year I only added two new recipes and altered or played with a few goodies from last year. As I mentioned before I recently discovered coconut sugar and have been experimenting with it with great results.
Coconut sugar, derived from the flowers of the coconut tree, is an organic, sustainable natural sweetener that shows promising results for people who suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, gallstones, cancer, heart disease, obesity or simply want to reduce sugar intake. This sugar has a low glycemic index (approximately 35) and is also a nutrient powerhouse, filled with lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut sugar is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives. Sounds good to me!
So the recipes I altered are the Almond Butter Cookies , Gluten Free Short Bread and Raw Vegan Rum Balls, all worked great subbing in the Coconut Sugar. For the short bread this year I rolled the dough out and cut small but thick rounds and with half pressed a dried cranberry on top and the other half a sprinkle of coconut sugar. These were a definite hit!
The other two recipes I put together are below. Also look for my two other Holiday experiments: Coconut Milk Bailey’s Irish Cream and Home-Made Healthy Clamato Juice. Click here for Holiday Baking 2011.
Dark Chocolate, Cranberry, Pistachio and Tangerine Zest
Baking sheet, flipped over and covered with tin foil or parchment paper
1 pound Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/8 cup Raw Cacao Pieces
2/3 cup Raw or Shelled Roasted Pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup Juice Sweetened Cranberries, coarsely chopped dried
1 large firm Tangerine, zested with a citrus zester (can use an orange here too)
Coarse ground sea salt
In a double boiler melt chocolate over simmering water, stirring frequently – this is standard chocolate melting procedure, I fortunately have a “warming zone” on my glass top oven and can slowly melt chocolate in a pyrex bowl. There are few methods to melt chocolate, I suggest Googling it. Just be careful not to burn your chocolate, melting it on the stop in a pot will likely burn it!
Once your chocolate is melted, pour onto tin foil or parchment paper -lined pan and spread with a rubber spatula until it is about ¼ inch thick.
Sprinkle with zest first, then with pistachios and cherries and finished with cracked sea salt.
Allow toppings to settle a bit before transferring to your refrigerate to harden hardened. Once hardened, break into pieces and serve. Can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Flour-less Pistachios Sugar Cookies
Oven 325 degrees
Two parchment paper lined baking sheets
2 cups Raw or Roasted Pistachios
1 cup Coconut Sugar
2 large Egg Whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 drops Green Food Coloring *Optional
¼ cup coarse chopped Pistachios and/or Dried Juice Sweetened Cranberries
Grind pistachios in your food processor until a paste. Add coconut sugar and grind some more. Add remaining ingredients and process until you have a thick and sticky batter.
For a small, bite sized cookie use a teaspoon and drop onto your prepared cookies sheet.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little sugar and chopped pistachios or a cranberry and gently press. I like to do half and half.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden on the edges. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before eating or storing.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!