Twas the Night Before Christmas // Festive Cranberry Pistachio Fudge

fudge

With Christmas festivities just around the corner, I’ve been busy in the kitchen in swirls of chocolate, sticky with dates and adorned in a Santa apron to bring you a very special treat. Before navigating my way to health, my specialty at our annual Christmas buffet was a fudge that took 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make. And though smooth and rich and delightful, it was a decadent swirl of insulin spiking sugar & bodily congesting dairy, straight from a BPA laden can.

Naturally, I had to revamp this recipe and created a healthy version! One that not only takes minimal time and effort to make, but is made with only the BEST ingredients and one you would never know is secretly good for you! (In moderation of course). And ahhh, this effortless fudge delivers and is sure to be an annual staple at your holiday treat table!
What’s more: 
  • It is rich in healthy fats which signal fullness and satisfaction to the brain so that you will feel satisfied after only a few sweets
  • It is sweetened with dates: a whole food with natural fibre to reduce blood sugar spikes.
  • Raw cacao is the less processed form of cocoa and therefore retains the most nutrients found in only your highest quality dark chocolate! Among them:
    • Antioxidants
    • Magnesium
    • Iron
    • Potassium
    • Calcium
      • Bonus: since it is raw, we are not losing any of these beautifying nutrients as we would if cooking with it.
  • This fudge is:
    • Dairy free
    • Gluten free
    • Soy free
    • Refined sugar-free
    • Raw
Top Notch Ingredients: 
Here’s what to look for: 
  • Medjool dates should be soft and moist! This is critical in this recipe that is raw and needs a smooth, rich base.
  • Raw cacao can be found at a health food store and sometimes in your local grocery store in the organic section, although I always like to support small local stores whenever possible. My favourite is quality sourced Giddy Yoyo.
  • Pistachios: look for unsalted and raw.
  • Cranberries: look for sulphate and soybean oil free
  • Coconut oil: Virgin, unrefined, organic and in a glass container if possible
Festive Cranberry Pistachio Fudge
Ingredients
  • 1 C Medjool Dates
  • 3-4 tsp Coconut milk
  • 1/4 C Nut Butter (I used the mix of cashew and almond)
  • 1/2 C + 2 TBSP Raw cacao
  • 1 tsp Alcohol free vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C Pistachios
How I make it
(Please read through the instructions first, especially the note at the bottom)
  1. Blend dates with coconut milk until smooth.
  2. Add nut butter, cacao, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and blend to desired consistency. Do not blend on high if you have a powerful blender as this could cause you to heat the mixture and the cacao to curdle. The mixture should be smooth and silky but still hold firmly.
  3. Stir in your cranberries and pistachios.
  4. Pour into a small pan lined with parchment (the size depends on how thick you want the slices of fudge to be)
  5. Pop into the fridge at least 1 hour to set before serving
Notes:
  • Now there is one issue I’ve had; sometimes the milk separates from the mixture, however it is necessary for getting that smooth, fudgy texture. So if this happens to you, don’t freak out. Simply remove the excess with a spoon and you should be just fine! Being a raw dessert, it leaves a lot of room for playing around, so don’t be discouraged. Once in the fridge, it has always worked out!
  • I used a mortor and pestle to crush some pistachios to garnish the top.
  • Holistic life hacks:
    • Whenever baking, especially with something as gooey and tempting as this fudge, it can be easy to get carried away taste testing. You have to be sure it’s juuust right, right? But here’s my trick to avoid going overboard on your bowl licking skills: keep a healthy treat at hand. Mine is a kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea with ginger. Refreshing, balancing and satisfying.
I can’t get enough of this fudge and your guests won’t be able to either! Rich, decadent and sneakily healthy, you can enjoy all of the indulgences of Christmas and still feel energized and light at the end of the night,
Wishing you a sweet, gooey, chocolatey Christmas Eve,
Suzanne Eden

Raw Lemon Raspberry Velvety Cream Chocolates

A sweet, fully raw Friday fix for you this morning!

 What began as a mouth-watering vision became a master piece of a white canvas shirt splattered in chocolate with raspberry dipped sleeves and a kitchen devoured by cashews and chocolate, lemon juice and raspberry bits. Let me assure you, it was worth every bit of the demolished shirt and stomach overstuffed from recipe tasting for these decadent bites.   But with such a rich dessert, one or two of these will satisfy your taste buds and what’s more? The high quality fats of the cashews will keep you satiated, meaning you’ll consume less and feel satisfied for longer. With a rich chocolate coating and burst of velvety, refreshing cream,  these sweet treats will satisfy both your taste buds and  your body!
Raspberry
I am thrilled to announce that I initially made these to be featured in the upcoming Jesse Lane cookbook but I’ve had permission to share them with you on here first! The second time I made them (learning my lesson and salvaging my remaining white shirts) was for my brother and new sister- in- law’s celebration of their recent wedding. They had the most gorgeous day anyone could ask for and enough leftover food to last them a month.
Don’t let them fool you, though a little time-consuming, these chocolates are easy!

Why We Steer Clear of Packaged Chocolates

  • Sugar and dairy and soy, oh my!
    • Packaged chocolates are typically bite sized morsels of decadent death. Just about everything we are trying to avoid for optimal health and wellness is morphed into these sneakily small packages.
  • Small but mighty
    • Being very tiny, we psychologically underestimate their effect. This can happen in a few ways: We end up eating more than we think, we underestimate their effect to wreak havoc on our bodies. (how could something so small be so harmful?) and we feel we need more of it in order to satisfy our sweet tooth.
  • Post munch slump
    • These chocolates will spike our blood sugar causing us to crave more sweets once, shortly after, our blood sugar crashes taking our energy levels with it.
These raw homemade chocolates are designed to combat these common issues:
  • Moderation here won’t be a problem as the fat content of the cashews will help to prevent a major spike in our blood sugar. It will also create a psychological feeling of satiety to help you feel full faster and keep you full longer. This is further enhanced by the richness of the cream, psychologically signalling your sweet tooth satisfaction.
  • How do we curb a sweet tooth? By increasing the healthy fat and protein content of our diet. These chocolates do just that with the cashews helping to curb your sweet needs without overindulgence.
  • They are dairy free, soy free, palm oil free, preservative free & refined sugar-free. This is a treat worthy of your body!
Where Pleasure Meets Quality
Cramming as much health in as possible:
It all comes down to properly sourcing your products. Here’s how to keep them satisfying your taste buds as well as your health:
  • Cashews – cashews are a definite treat as they have a high toxicity warning. However, they make for a great occasional treat that a healthy body will be able to handle. What to look for: raw, unsalted, organic cashews in an air tight container. Be sure to check your sourcing as most some raw cashews have in fact gone through some heat processing at some point during their manufacturing. And the air tight casing? This means no Bulk Barn. When left exposed to air, the delicate oils in nuts and seeds will go rancid, turning these beautifully healthy fats into holistic nightmares that will wreak havoc on your health and waistline.
  • Chocolate: Look for a raw, organic, vegan and soy free dark chocolate bar. You want at least 70% dark chocolate as the higher the content, the less sugar is added in. Also, aim for sweeteners such as coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. Coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index so it won’t spike your blood sugar the way other sweeteners will.
  • Lemon : this recipe calls for the rind and so it’s imperative that you purchase organic produce as the rind is where you’ll find the toxins and that’s just not an appealing ingredient in any dish.
  • Honey : Look for a high quality, raw honey from a pure source. You will typically need to look to your health food store rather than the conventional supermarket. A good quality honey is abundance in sweet nutrients.

chocolate

Lemon Raspberry Velvety Cream Chocolates

Ingredients

1 cup cashews
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free)
1 cup frozen raspberries
3 tsp honey
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1-2 of your favourite vegan, soy free, dark chocolate bars

Filling

  • Soak cashews in 2 cups of water for 2-4 hours. Drain.
  • Combine all ingredients, excluding the chocolate, in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
  • In a pan over low heat, melt the chocolate bar in a little coconut oil to avoid burning.
  • Fill ice cube trays with a soft, pushable bottom or chocolate molds with some of the chocolate, pour a dab (I pipped mine in for ease but either way will work) of the lemon raspberry cream in the centre and pour the rest of the chocolate over-top, just enough to cover the cream.
  • Pop in the fridge to cool and set overnight.
  • In the morning, carefully remove (you may need to leave the out of the fridge for 10-20minutes first) and savour! Store in the fridge to avoid oxidation of your delicious fats and to keep these chocolates fresh.
The lemon squeeze:
A funny thing happened when we tried these and you can weigh in too. My family came back to our house to try some left over chocolates. Some of my eager taste testers experienced far more lemon, others far more raspberry. It seemed a different flavour took precedence for each person.
.
I am personally a raspberry, I find the raspberry hits a strong flavour on my tongue with a subtle enhancement of lemon.
Are you team lemon or team raspberry?
The switch up:
There are so many inventive ways to use this cream cheese like filling. Here are a few:
  • Raw Lemon raspberry cheesecake using a nut and date crust
  • Raw Cake/Cupcake frosting

 Seat of the soul

As we move into the tail end of the week, how has your practice of gratitude come? Did you notice a lot of absentminded negativity during the swear jar challenge? This is normal. The good news is that in the same way negativity can compress into habit, positivity can expand into habit. This is what the gratitude journal is doing for you: shifting your focus, developing habits that serve you and expanding your positive energy. You can only invite more positives into your life!
Need something to put in your gratitude journal this weekend? Make these chocolates, savour a few, and pass them on!
In decadent spatters of chocolate & raspberry,
Suzanne Eden

Superfood Cranberry Chocolate Macaroons

Ever wonder what to make to delight the taste buds of the shamelessly picky eaters and health nuts alike? This, right here, is your fix!  I have made this treat for just about every occasion this year from house parties to Christmas gatherings and they are always an instant hit. The best part? They take about 15minutes to make, have minimal ingredients, require zero baking, and have some superfood benefits! What originally began as Kimberly Snyder’s recipe from her book became a smash hit with my friends and family alike and lead me to create my own spin and thus: the delectable cranberry chocolate macaroon was born!

raw macaroons
Just yesterday I demoed these treats for a class of fellow holistic-practitioners-in-the-making and for Joy McCarthy from http://www.joyoushealth.ca/. Today I brought another batch to share with the rest of campus which were gone in a chocolatey flash and received requests for more. So I will once again be getting chocolate covered in my kitchen with more macaroon making to share this upcoming week!
These are:
  • Dairy free
  • Soy free
  • Refined sugar free
  • Flour free
  • Gluten and wheat free
  • Nut free
  • Egg free
  • Pretty much anything but sheer goodness free!
Your quick guide to super packing these bites with nutrition:
  • Raw cacao is less processed than cocoa, high in antioxidants for anti-aging, and has energizing and mood enhancing effects.
  • Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, stabilizes blood sugar and boosts brain function! This is my secret ingredient for anything chocolate to enhance and add depth to the rich flavours.
  • Maple syrup – may I take a moment to redirect you to my article on the 8 facts about maple syrup that make it just plain sweet, here: https://lifeofeden.com/2014/07/02/8-facts-about-maple-syrup-that-make-it-just-plain-sweet/
    But as wonderful as it is, please remember that this is also a treat and not an everyday staple and that  buying real, high quality syrup is the only way to go to reap its beneficial properties.
  • Vanilla – If opting for the vanilla extract, look for one that is organic and alcohol free.
  • Himalayan salt can be replaced with a high quality sea salt. I like Himalayan because it adds depth to the rich flavours of the macaroon.
  • Dried cranberries and coconut – for both of these you want to be aware of what is in them. Sneaky things such as sulfites and unwanted oils or soy may find their way in, so be sure to check the labels.

 

Warning: Though a raw macaroon may make a room full of nutritionists swoon, those not so nutrition savvy may be high tailing it in the opposite direction. I am constantly reminded of this by the look on my families face when I say that I’ve made something “healthy”! They are not quite so enthusiastic, sporting an expression that says they think I’ve made a macaroon from kale and sauerkraut rather than chocolatey goodness. The trick ? Think as though you’re mischievously sneaking brussels sprouts into your child’s dinner and omit the fact that they are relatively healthy until after your guests are gushing for more. They would never know 😉
Ingredients:
Dry:

  • 2 Cups coconut flakes
  • ½ Cup Raw cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp Powdered stevia
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon

Wet:

  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ Cup Maple syrup
  • 1/3 Cup Dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add in wet ingredients and stir until fully combined. Add the dried cranberries in last.
  3. Scoop into small, macaroon sized balls and place on parchment, putting them in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours before serving or in the fridge overnight.
  • Best served the next day but can be stored in the fridge after that.

So there you have it! I am so excited for you to give these a try and, if you’re anything like me in the kitchen; become a sweet, gooey, chocolate covered macaroon making machine from here on out!

Suzanne Eden

Chocolate Chia Pudding and Ginger Cream Parfait

Layers of rich chocolate chia and creamy banana ice-cream topped with crunchy cacaonibs. Sugar free, dairy free, soy free, and absolutely heavenly!

chia parfait

Chia as a superfood:

  • Just 2 TBS has 24% of your daily recommended fibre causing you to feel full longer and helping to cleanse your body
  • Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, just 2 TBS provides you with 10% of your daily calcium, and 8% of your daily iron
  • These tiny beauties are a good source of omega 3s and complete protein

NOTE: to reap the benefits of this beautifying and cleansing seed, you need to soak them first until they gel. otherwise, they will go in one end and out the other without being digested and absorbed. And on that lovely note…

Recipe:

Chia Pudding:

  • 3 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 Cup coconut or almond milk
    • 2 Tsp cacao powder

(the minimally processed form of cocoa. Can be found at your local health food store)

  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 5 drops stevia

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined. For a smooth consistency, blend the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Place your mixture in the fridge for at least 5 hours or allow it to sit overnight.

Ginger Cream:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 drops of liquid stevia

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until combined. Adjust flavours as needed. Note: the higher the speed and the longer you blend, the more your banana will soften and the less “ice cream” consistency you will have.

From here, simply layer your pudding and cream in a fancy glass (too pretty not to display), top with raw cacao nibs, and enjoy!
P.S. with a dessert like this, I don’t think anyone would judge you if a picture just so happened to slip onto instagram 😉