OK, as promised, here are the results of my "baking" (you don't actually bake these treats) experiments to find Christmas treats that are both delicious, and also healthy. I love improvising and finding new recipes, but it usually takes a few times to get one that really works. Here are the ones that turned out great.
The recipes below are healthier than normal treats in 3 main ways:
Chocolate Almond Squares
2 oz 100% bakers chocolate
1/2 cup almonds
1 Tablespoon Cream
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional Ingredients (these make it yummier and healthier):
1/4 teaspoon acerola powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Try using pecans too! If you want to be even healthier, buy your nuts raw, soak them for 12 hours in salt water, then dry them crispy in an oven on low heat, or in a dehydrator/ This reduces the phytic acid in the nuts, and activates enzymes to make them more digestable.
4 oz 100% bakers chocolate
1/4 cup cream
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon acerola powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely Chopped Almonds or Cacao Powder (We use a raw organic cacao powder from Amazon.)
Variation: use 20 dates blended into a thick paste instead of the syrup. Stir / fold in the dates after melting the chocolate in the hot cream. The result will be a slightly stickier, more fruity truffle -- still quite good! Don't forget to let the mixture partially cool before strying to form into balls.
Make these exactly the same as the truffle recipe, but add 3-4 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil to the mixture. Shape them into balls, or patties, or whatever you like. These taste best on their own with no extra coating on the outside.
Chocolate Covered Dried Cherries
Use the truffle recipe above and form balls of truffle surrounding a dried cherry in each one! You can also do this with raisins to make chocolate covered raisins, but this is pretty time consuming since they are so small. The cherries go a lot faster! Also try putting a whole almond or pecan in the middle.