Visions of Sugarplums (and Other Tasty Things) Danced in Their Heads

The holiday season is a great time to try out new recipes – many of us have some time off from work and are surrounded by family members and/or friends on which to test new creations. I’d been on the lookout for holiday recipes for a few weeks and found three that sounded great. These are all dairy-free recipes, the sugarplums are vegan and the thumbprint cookies can be made vegan if you sub something in for the honey (the original recipe used maple syrup, which I didn’t have on hand).

Sugarplums

Note: The sugarplums mentioned in the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) are very different from this more modern recipe.

Sugarplum single

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) dried figs
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dried cranberries and/or dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp candied ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Topping: granulated sugar and candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Place the pecans and walnuts in a dry skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In food processor process dates, figs, cranberries/cherries, apricots, ginger, orange zest, and cooled nuts until minced. Add enough orange juice to make it all stick together.
  3. In a smaller grinder, combine sugar and candied ginger and process until uniform in size. Transfer to a small bowl and roll sugarplums in mixture before placing on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Allow the sugarplums to sit until they’re no longer sticky.

These sugarplums were a bit too tart/orange-y for me; in the future I will probably leave out the candied ginger and some of the orange zest.

Source: Slightly adapted from recipe printed in St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 12, 2013

Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • Jams, fruit butters, etc for filling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the nuts until they are whatever size you prefer. I like the nuts in these cookies minced – I like the nutty taste but don’t want to be chewing large chunks of nut. Transfer the nuts into a large bowl.
  3. Using food processor/blender, grind the oats with the salt into a coarse meal. Transfer the oats to the bowl with the nuts, then add 1 1/4 cup of flour, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup.
  4. Pour the oil into the bowl, then add the honey. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. Form the dough into balls about the size of a whole walnut and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Using a small measuring spoon or your thumb, make an indentation in the middle of each ball and fill with jam, fruit butter, etc. I like to taste a bit of the filling with each bite of the cookie, so I fill them accordingly.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on pan for a few minutes. Move to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Adapted from The Kitchn

Dairy-Free Eggnog

Eggnog 1

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sweetener (your choice)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste (and more for on top)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut and almond milk to about 160°F. I used a meat thermometer to gauge the temperature because that’s what I had on hand.
  2. While milk is heating to desired temperature, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until they’re light yellow. Once milk temperature has reached 160°F, pour 1 cup of the milk into egg yolks while continuing to whisk.
  3. Once the milk and eggs are fully incorporated, add the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Chill for 1 or 2 hours. I chilled the mixture in a metal mixing bowl in my garage for about an hour.
  4. When mixture is cool, pour into a blender and add the vanilla, spices and sweetener. Blend well. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy.

You can add more egg yolks to this if you like a stronger egg-y flavor. You can also add your choice of alcohol to the nog if you’re in the mood for an adult beverage.

Need to use up leftover egg whites? Use them in a variety of recipes or freeze them for later use.

Source: Slightly adapted from Indian Country Today Media Network

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One thought on “Visions of Sugarplums (and Other Tasty Things) Danced in Their Heads

  1. Pingback: Triple Ginger Cookies with Lemon Icing | A pinch, a dash, and a dollop

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