Cooking Them Healthy share with us some cracking Christmas recipes for the upcoming festive season
We so look forward to the festive season to welcome relaxed celebration, time with family and friends and the exchanging of gifts. Inevitably, with festive celebrations comes the temptation to indulge in more sugary, less “healthy” foods. The Cooking them Healthy girls have therefore created three ideal gifts you can make at home to help curb the unnecessary sugar coated frenzy and get excited with the lead up to Christmas.
Our Chocolate Truffles and Homebaked Oatcakes are made without refined sugar or other nasties and our Spiced Oranges make the ideal Christmas tree decorations. All are the perfect Christmas gift or can be simply just enjoyed yourselves.
Christmas Chocolate Truffles
Life would simply be no fun without the occasional indulgence, and trust us, these truffles are out of this world and well worth the (momentary!) guilt. Despite tasting richly indulgent, they contain no refined sugar and good quality dark chocolate is packed with health supporting antioxidants. Wherever possible we encourage you to choose organic dairy. Despite the high cocoa content of the chocolate children appear to love them and they never seem to last long when we make them!
You will need:
180g – 70% dark chocolate green and black organic
220ml organic double cream
20g unsalted organic butter
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a mixing bowl.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring up to the boil. When bubbling around the edges, remove the pan from the heat and pour directly over the broken chocolate pieces. Stir to combine with a spatula or wooden spoon. When the chocolate is melted, add in the butter – there should be enough residual heat to enable it to melt. Place in the fridge to firm up until solid.
When the mixture is solid, simply take a dessert spoon and scoop out truffle sized lumps.
With clean hands, take a chocolate ‘lump’ and roll into rough shaped balls. Try not to over handle or they will simply melt. On a plate sprinkle on some cocoa powder and roll the truffles to coat. This gets pretty messy!
They are ready to be bagged or boxed up.
You can try rolling them in different toppings such as chopped nuts, freeze dried raspberries or grated coconut all work brilliantly.
Makes at least 20
Classic Homebaked Oatcakes
With so many rich and sweet treats available throughout the festive season these simple yet delicious oatcakes offer a welcome alternative and provide a perfect base for dips or topped with festive cheese and a dollop of chutney. Oats are also a rich source of fibre and B vitamins. They work brilliantly packaged as a fun gift or keep them handy as a healthy snack to serve guests over Christmas. You can also have fun experimenting with different shapes and flavour additions – our favourite is freshly chopped rosemary – adding the herbs to the mixture before baking.
You will need:
200g rolled porridge oats (140g blitzed in a food processor and leave the remaining 60g whole)
100-130ml boiling water
20g unsalted butter (added to the boiling water)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
A few good grinds of black pepper
Rosemary/thyme/lavender – optional
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Weigh out the porridge oats and place 140g in a blender to grind the oats to a fine powder (it should only take about 20 seconds). Place all the oats in a bowl, add the salt and any fresh or dried herbs (if using). Pour in almost all of the water and stir well with a wooden spoon. If the mixture feels sticky add no more water, but if it’s looking dry and floury gradually add in the rest of the water. You want it to come together as a firm dough. Leave the mix to sit for 5 minutes in order to allow the water to cool down slightly and for the oats to slightly swell (this will also allow the mix to dry slightly too if feeling sticky).
Place a little flour onto a work surface and lightly flour your hands. Turn the dough onto the work surface and knead for 30 seconds. It should feel soft but firm and not sticky.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll the dough to approx a £1 coin thickness (or less if you prefer a more delicate biscuit). Cut out your desired shapes and place each oatcake onto a floured baking sheet. Place in the top of the oven for 15 minutes, turn them over and return for another 10 minutes. You want the oatcakes to be completely cooked and dry all the way through. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
Makes at least 20
Although these aren’t actually edible they are such a lovely gift to give, especially if made by little hands. The smoothing smell of the cinnamon and soft scent of the orange will make any room smell Christmasy.
You will need:
3-4 Cinnamon sticks
Coloured twine – we like red and white, ribbon or string would work too
Pre heat the oven to 140
Line a baking sheet with non stick baking parchment.
With a sharp serrated knife cut your oranges into thin slices (about 1/2cm thick)
Place them onto the baking sheet and into the oven and bake for 45 mins to 1 hours – turning them half way through. You want them to be completely dry.
Tie your ribbon (or twine) around a cinnamon stick and secure with a knot, then thread through the centres of the orange slices, layering them up as stacks. Create a little loop at the top so that they can be dangled on trees or around the house.
Makes 3-4 (depending on the amount of layers you do)