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Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

Have you ever wondered what a perfect bite of the Christmas Holiday tastes like? I think for each of us, the holiday has a unique memory.  Maybe it is the taste of peppermint candy canes, spiked egg nog or grandmas' cinnamon rolls in the morning.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I was sitting down with a snuggly cup of fragrant TWG's Noel Noel Tea.  I closed my eyes and thought to myself this does tastes just like the perfect cup of Christmas. I can almost hear Santa and his sleigh landing on the roof of my high-rise in Hong Kong.

I can smell the essence of citrus, cinnomen, allspice, ginger and maybe even a hint of vanilla wafing from my steamy cup of tea.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I was woken abruptly from my deep plum fairy slumber by my two hungry teenagers. The eldest one said, "Mom there is no real food or snacks in this house only like nuts, dried fruits and what the heck are chia seeds anyways..?"

My youngest boy said, "Mom I have two weeks of IGCSE exams and I want to have healthy snacks that can give me some quick energy but taste good."

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I took another sip of my fragrant TWG Noel Noel tea and began looking at my panty inventory. My eldest was right all I have is a lot of nuts and seeds and such. I took another sip of my Noel Noel tea and then I had and hallelujah type moment.

Granola is so last year.

Instead, I made delightful cranberry spiced holiday balls with pecans, walnuts, dates, dried cranberries, spices and orange zest that would make sugar plums dance in your head and make Mrs. Claus proud. These little holiday wonders are chewy, sweet and little bit tart, fragrant and full of wholesome goodness and Christmas spices. They are rolled in a little ground almonds that looks like fresh snow.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

These little Cranberry spiced holiday balls are gluten-free, lactose free, egg free, vegan, and even can work in small portions on a paleo diet. In addition, no oven is required to make these little delicious bites. They are great as gifts and store easily in the freezer until you are ready to serve. You can even feel like you are being a little bit naughty but still be true to your diet as you give yourself a little treat this holiday season.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I used my food processor to grind up my pecan and walnuts. (If you do not own a food processor you may be able to use a blender but a little more difficult or use a mortal and pestal for nuts and chop fruits with knife but it is a lot more work.) A lesson learned here is that if you decide to put your nuts in the food processor, don't decide to help your kids with their homework or start on dinner until you remember to take your finger off the pulsed button. I already have completed this scientific experiment for you so need to try this at home for yourselves, if you pulse nuts one step beyond ground it becomes "nut butter". I now have some fantastic pecan butter that is actually quite lovely and have been using it to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. However, the consistency you are looking for here is a rough crumble.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I also experimented with a few ingredients and found dried cranberries in the health food store without any added sugar or oils which was an added bonus. (If you are not following a paleo or diabetic diet then it is okay to use regular pre-sweetened dried cranberries). A bit of fresh citrus zest adds a vibrant flavour to these little Holiday Balls.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I used naturally sweet dried Medjool dates as a method for making my holiday balls sweet without adding any unrefined sugar and as a way to bind my ingredients together.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

In another science experiment, I put my dried seedless dates in the food processor and tried to pulse. Smoke came from the motor of the food processor while it working so hard to try to break up the dates. I tried to add a teaspoon of water to my dried fruit and it went around a bit easier. With the second batch, I pre-soaked the dates in with a few teaspoons of hot water first and that worked like a charm. No more smoke came bellowing from the food processor motor and I was able to make a soft date paste.

Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

I ran one other successful experiment and made a different type of health bar much like a "Lara bar" for my youngest son to get through IGCSE exam week with dates, walnuts and cocoa nibs. He is actually going for these little health bars instead of the Christmas cookies stashed in the freezer. Amazing!!!

Cocoa Nip Homemade Lara Bars

Organic Cocoa nibs are made from pure cacao beans that come straight out of the tropical cacao fruit. They are peeled and crumbled from whole cacao beans and are nature chocolate chips without any unrefined sugar. Cocoa nibs high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. I used one cup of dates, one cup of mixed walnuts and raw almonds, 2 tablespoons of cocoa nibs and a dash of vanilla and mixed together. I put parchment on the bottom of a flat tupperware 8x6 and then spooned and pressed the mixture flat. I froze the bars for about 6 hours and cut into little 2x2 squares and poof the batch is already gone. Inhaled by the teenagers who said they would never go near my healthy dates and nuts.

Cocoa Nip Homemade Lara Bars

I am keeping my Cranberry Spiced holiday Balls and Cocoa Nib bars in the freezer as I love these little treats chewy, cold and fresh. Don't tell me I did not warn you but these little treats are completely addictive. Feel free to substitute any of your favorites nuts, fruits or spices as you like.

Go ahead and whip up a batch of cranberry spiced holiday balls this weekend and you can have something a little naughty and nice to keep you feeling satisfied over the holiday season without blowing your diet.

LESS THAN 30 MINUTE DINNERS

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Cranberry Spiced Holiday Balls

By HWC Magazine  , , , , ,

December 13, 2013

These little holiday wonders are chewy, sweet and little bit tart, fragrant and full of wholesome goodness and Christmas spices. Makes about 14-16 holiday balls.

  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yields: 14-16 Holiday Cookies

Ingredients

walnuts - 1 cup (120 grams)

pecans - 1/2 cup (60 grams)

dates - 1 cup pitted (250 grams)(Medjooul or your preference)

cranberries - 1/2 cup dried

water - 1/4 cup of hot water to soften dates and cranberries

ginger - 1 teaspoon

cinnamon - 1 teaspoon

allspice - 1 teaspoon

orange zest - 1 teaspoon

almond meal - 1/2 cup (finely ground raw almonds)

Directions

1Place hot water in dates and cranberries to soften for about 30 minutes.

2Place walnuts and pecans in food processor to crush until a coarse meal. If you like your bars more crunchy do it less and if you like your bars more chewy pulse more but not so long that you make nut butter.

3Drain dates and cranberries of extra water and place in food processor to chop and mix until you have a date paste. Mix cranberries in food processor until a coarse meal.

4Mix the date paste, cranberries, ground pecans and walnuts together.

5Add ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and orange zest to mixture and mix well.

6Form into 1.5 inch balls and roll into ground almond meal and place into Christmas paper cups.

7Place Cranberry Spiced Holiday Bars in freezor for at least 6 hours or overnight and serve. You may just want to keep them stored in the freezor as they are really nice cold and chewy.

8Wrap up and give away for gifts or simply enjoy as a healthy snack anytime you need a little energy.

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  • Christmas takes of memories, don’t you think? You’ve created some great ones here.Such a fun post – thanks.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hi there John, indeed the holidays has such a unique experience for everyone. I think I am ready to try some of your wonderful holiday cocktails.

  • Kumar’s Kitchen

    such adorable little precious treats…loved the fact that they get made quickly but taste absolutely delectable,thanks so much 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      You have to love these 15 minute little wonders that you do not even turn the oven on for. Around this time of the year, time savers are so welcome. Take Care, BAM

  • You are so creative – happy holidays!!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Happy Holidays to you Dawn!

  • Robyn

    These are fantastic, Bam! It’s the perfect gift during the holidays when everyone is trying to eat right despite all the unhealthy temptations. Have a Merry Christmas!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks Robyn, I think there is no better gift then the gift of health and this one is really tasty too! Wishing you a happy holiday!

  • What a nice festive, healthy and yummy treat for the holidays!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

  • these are some true holiday wonders! I was a little surprised to see dried dates in the recipes as I don’t normally see them in Western creations. The use of nuts and fried fruits just sounds so delicious and inviting. Great post BAM!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Yi! I am drinking dried chinese date and goji berry tea as I respond to you. I love dates and other warming fruits that give a light delicate sweetness. Take Care, BAM

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    These do sound festive! Lots of things say Christmas to me but I’ll admit most of them are northern type (winter) things. One day I might get used to Christmas in the middle of summer but it’s not going to be this year. 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      But Santa looks so hot in Burmuda shorts! Enjoy decorating the palm trees and writing your name in the sand instead of the snow. Wishing you a super weekend. BAM

  • Jo (http://blog-diggidy.com)

    Mmmm… These look tasty!! And they fit right into my new diet, assuming I can use almonds and pecans… I’m drooling already! 😉

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hi there Jo, I do not know much about the blood type diet but I am sure there are some recipes on my site that work out. take care

  • These look sweet!

  • Eha

    Oh Bobbi ~ As I just told someone a moment ago, I am getting thru’ pre-Yule hurry-scurry by reading only ‘my’ kind of posts – savoury, savoury, savoury till after Yule! Am laughing at my own presumptiousness – I thought these were ‘sweet’ instead of absolutely ‘gorgeous’ 🙂 ! Shopping coming in on Thursday – everything for these will be included! Rather lovely gift for a couple of neighbours also . . .thank you!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Eha, I know how you feel it feels like a sugar rush out there. I think these little cranberry spiced holiday balls are a nice healthier alternative. Wishing you a warm and safe holiday. Take Care, BAM

  • These are wonderful, healthy and so festive!

    • Bams Kitchen

      And something you can eat as they are gluten free. Wishing you a super holiday season. Take Care, BAM

  • Oh yes! Some healthy treats! Looks yummy.

  • Oh Bam, you’re teenagers are certainly setting you some challenges. Are these ok for the hungry man diet? I love these sort of things over chocolate any day. I often by a fig ball for my cheese board, I’ll make some if these and see how they go down.

    Fingers crossed for some snow in HK this Xmas 😉

  • These holiday balls came out so well, little pretty things! Also love how they have a healthy approach because I really need that around the holidays!

  • Gorgeous and festive! Lovely and healthy too!

  • Your description is so detailed, I can practically taste the delicate spices and soft, sweet bite of these treats without even assembling the ingredients. Of course, I’m sure the real thing is only so much better, so I’ll have to whip up a batch right away! It’s so perfect since I always end up with extra cranberries around this time of year.

  • I’m baking Christmas cookies right now and I’ve lost count of how much sugar I’ve gone through already… so nice to see a holiday recipe that is not going to send you into a diabetic coma!!

  • They sound delicious, they look festive – what could be better?

  • I’d love to share a nice cup of Christmas with you along with a holiday ball or two 🙂 I adore dates and know these chewy beauties would taste amazing!!!

  • This would be a good idea for a Christmas giveaway, yum!

  • I think your cranberry balls would be most welcomed as a sweet treat without all the added sugar for those wanting a healthy morsel at Christmas.

  • So delicious! Happy Holidays!

  • Yes, I think you did come up with some Christmas magic here. Those look so festive & sound like a great tasty treat – if the boys like them, I’d say they passed the test. Thanks for the tips on how not to process – did you put that in there just for me?

  • I mostly have nuts and seeds in my pantry too, really have to get my hands on some of these 🙂

  • Hi Bobbi, how are you doing? These holiday balls are just the perfect treat, love that it’s vegan! Have a blessed merry merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! 🙂

  • These look so festive and yummy! Happy holidays!

  • This looks so awesome for the holidays!!! Happy holidays to you!

  • Buona sera, BAM! You sure are the creative one. These cranberry balls sound wonderful, sweet but not too sweet. The dates had a lot to do with that, I’m sure. Rolling them in the grated nuts was a nice finishing touch. Your cocoa nib bars also sound really good. Your youngest preferring them is quite a testament. Amazing that both are so healthy, something you don’t normally see this time of year. 🙂

  • Thanks for all the tips. Your cranberry spiced holiday balls looks like snow balls. I would enjoy them straight out of the freezer.

  • Those are gorgeous and I bet they taste amazing. Great post, thanks for all the tips.

  • No teenagers in the house anymore, thank god, but these look like they would suit me just fine, what a lovely collection of flavours. have a gorgeous day, hope you don’t have to wear those socks for too long! c

  • What tasty spiced holiday balls, these are perfect for serving guests during the holidays! I love nuts & dates & dried fruits! Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family!

  • Your creativity is amazing.. I would never have thought of this idea for a healthy energy ball:) Only Bam could sip a cup of tea and dream up a new recipe in a snap! I love that you sneak these little nutritious goodies into your boys’ snacks.. I will have to add these to my list to make. I’ll pin them so I remember:D I love Christmas flavors!!! xx

  • Very nice holiday balls! I love that you used dates in this – kind of rare, right? Dried fruits and nuts…I would eat extra and still feel not guilty about it. 😉 They look beautiful!

  • What a delicious flavour combination! Perfect for Christmas!!!

  • Thank you for doing all of the experimenting for us! These cranberry balls sound wonderful and do look like snowballs … I would have to keep them hidden from myself! I love dates and never use them … yummy 🙂

  • Yum! These look wonderful!

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