Sweet Treats

Why is it that this time of year is full of unhealthy food? It’s all those yummy sweet treats leading up to Christmas. I have always thought to myself that the downside of having a summer Christmas in New Zealand is that your body needs to be ready for the beach, not for hibernation in winter! Last night my family celebrated an early Christmas as it was the last time that we would all be together before Christmas. I have four gorgeous nephews and one niece, all belonging to my sister. These kids are very blessed and have a giant room overflowing with toys. I decided to give them some cold hard cash to use over the long summer break for activities or something they would enjoy. Alongside the cash was a little sweet treat for them. I made Annabel Langbein’s Swedish Chocolate Balls, coating some in Hundreds and Thousands, and some in coconut. If you wanted to theme this properly to Christmas then you could colour some coconut with food colouring and do white, red and green coated balls. I also have another recipe (handed down from my Mum) for Chocolate Snowballs which I would usually use. I am quite fond of adding the peppermint flavour instead of vanilla for variety, particularly at Christmas time. After making them both, I think I prefer the Chocolate Snowballs to the Swedish Chocolate Balls, both for taste and texture. Let’s forget all the sugar and butter inside them!

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Swedish Chocolate Balls
Ingredients

200g butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
4T cocoa
3 cups of rolled oats
2t vanilla essence
4T cold strong coffee, or water
Hundred and thousands, to coat (you may need two bottles if using only these)
Method
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa, rolled oats, vanilla essence and coffee or water. Make into small balls then coat in Hundreds and Thousands (or coconut) then put in the fridge to set. They can be kept for up to a week in the fridge.

Recipe by Annabel Langbein, A Free Range Life

Chocolate Snowballs
Ingredients

75g butter
4T cocoa
3T milk
250g icing sugar
1 cup coconut
1 cup sultanas
1t vanilla or peppermint essence
Method
Melt butter and then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. If the mixture is too wet for rolling then add more icing sugar. Roll into balls, coat in coconut and put in fridge to set.

Recipe author unknown.

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Full of goodness

Cookie time! Whether the content of these are actually healthy or just tasty, these Cranberry, Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Cookies are full of my idea of goodness. My Mum makes these cookies and can squeeze sixty odd cookies out of the batch, creating a flat crunchy style biscuit. I wanted to give these a go creating a thicker and soft style cookie which yielded thirty odd. The Cranberry, Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Cookie Recipe was actually published back in 2006 in the New Zealand Women’s Weekly Magazine. You can’t help but feel healthy eating them because of the seeds, nuts and fruit in them, even if they do contain butter and sugar. Perfect with your morning or afternoon coffee!

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Welcome Home Carrot Cake

Subconsciously most of the baking I have done lately contains walnuts. I still have half of the bag left to crack. The other day I realised I needed to use up a tin of sweetened condensed milk before it went off. Many recipes only use a portion of the tin, so I found one that used it all and it happened to call for nuts too.. so hello Walnuts! If you love sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and nuts then you must try this slice. I took it into Michaels work and it was nearly gone before morning tea and someone had requested the Chocolate Oat Slice.

Anyway, I decided to make Carrot Cake for my husband who has been away in China for five days, so I thought I would have a treat waiting for him. I have never made carrot cake before and there were so many options online. I decided to go with a Carrot Cake Recipe that had many good reviews from others who had tried it and surprise surprise it had walnuts in it. It turned out great in terms of baking, but we will see how it tastes tomorrow. I haven’t had any experience decorating cakes so that was fun to pipe cream cheese icing and write with chocolate (you just melt it, pipe onto parchment paper and then freeze for a bit to set). All nice and simple for the novice cake maker!

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