It’s only a week until Christmas Day! I love this time of year, particularly the food! We’re having our main meal on Christmas Eve this year to be able to get everyone together. As well as ensuring quality family time, it also means the big day itself is much more relaxed and we can have two days of eating ‘Boxing Day food’ – baked potatoes, leftovers and cake!
For anyone following a plant-based diet, whether because of food intolerances, health reasons or personal choice, Christmas can be a challenging time, particularly when temptation is everywhere. Over the last few years, I’ve managed to adapt most foods to be dairy-free and fairly whole-food, although some things are more challenging than others, especially if it involves pastry and you can’t rely on a handy packet of the ready-made stuff! If you are struggling to find good and tasty substitutes, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites over the next couple of days – an early Christmas gift for you all!
First of all, Christmas cake. I have made a traditional cake, or sort of! It’s dairy free, fully plant-based and doesn’t even have any oil in it. It is incredibly sweet though, even though it only has a small amount of coconut sugar in it, so not one for the ‘healthy’ category. But these raw Christmas cake balls can claim that sparkly crown (as long as you don’t eat the whole lot at once). Packed full of whole fats and sugars in the form of nuts and dried fruits, the seasonal spices add that unmistakable flavour so that it really is a little bit of Christmas in a ball. They are also super easy and quick to make, and make a great home-made gift.
So, if you are a Christmas cake lover but need something a little different, or want to make something special for a sensitive eater, then these tasty little balls could just be the thing for you. Enjoy!
Raw Christmas cake balls (makes approx 12 depending on size)
80g pecan nuts
75g dried dates
160g dried mixed fruit (currents, raisin, dried peel etc)
1 tablespoon cranberry juice
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons desiccated coconut
If your dates are really dry, soak then in some warm water for a few minutes and drain. Place the nuts, dates, dried fruit and cranberry juice into the bowl of a food processor and blitz a couple of times to break down. Add the cacao powder and spices, then blend until everything is broken down and well combined, sticking together. Add a little more cranberry juice if it’s too dry but don’t make it wet.
Sprinkle the desiccated coconut onto a plate. Take a small spoonful of mix (about 20g) and roll into a ball with your hands, then roll in the coconut to cover. Put to one side and repeat until all the mix is used up. Keeps in an air-tight container for up to seven days. Can be frozen.