Saturday, 14 December 2013

Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats and Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts

The christmas cooking, tasting, planning and eating has begun! I have started to trial a few homemade christmas treats and gifts. The first on the production line was Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats for an early christmas picnic to celebrate with hubby's stepsister who won't be able to make it to the big family celebration. These were a hit with the kids in particular, and are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. The best part is that these are really easy to make, and utilize the gorgeous fresh strawberries that are in abundance at this time of year.


Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Directions: 
These santa hats are really just a combination of 2 super easy recipes - Chocolate Brownie Bites (recipe adapted from http://www.health-bent.com/treats/paleo-brownie-cake-bites), and my totally addictive Homemade Coconut Butter

Bake the brownie bites and allow to cool. If you don't have coconut butter already made, whip up a batch while you are waiting for the brownies to cook. The coconut butter will need to be firmish so that it doesn't run everywhere when you put it on top of the brownies (as mine started to a little as you can see in the photo). 

Take the green stem off of 15 medium sized strawberries. Once the brownies are cooled, put a dollop of coconut butter on top (you may have to use a sharp knife to level the tops if they are not flat enough for a strawberry to sit on). On top of the coconut butter, place a strawberry. Either serve straight away, or if you are waiting, place in the fridge. This will keep the strawberries cool and also allow for the coconut butter to set (the heat at this time of year can make it soften quite easily!).



The next recipe I have been putting together today is a big tray of these incredibly moreish Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts. Yum! I put together a mix of raw nuts, added oil and freshly chopped herbs, and roasted gently. I then place them in a small glass jar with a Christmas bow, and voila - yummy homemade christmas gift! You can use any mix of nuts that you like. These nuts are not only a great gift, but would also be an ideal addition to your pre-dinner snacks for your christmas party.


Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:

1/2 a cup each of any combination of raw nuts (I used cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts).
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I used half thyme, half rosemary. You can use dried if you don't have fresh available)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
a couple of grinds of black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line a cookie tray (with slight sides) with baking paper.
2. In a medium bowl, place all of the nuts and the oil and mix to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Tip the herb mix into the nuts and mix well to ensure a nice even coating.
5. Place in the oven, and cook until light golden brown (about 10-15 minutes, but keep a close eye on them as they can turn quite easily.

If you are making as a gift, allow the nuts to cool, then place into a small jar and tie a christmas themed ribbon.

Enjoy!

x