As I’ve got older I’ve definitely become less obsessed with presents and the “stuff” that comes with Christmas. It’s much more about quality time with family, catching up with friends, long wintery walks, cosy Christmas films and spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I still love the gift giving part of it and really like to take my time and think about what that person would really love.
Personally I love it when I get a gift from someone that I can tell shows how much they know me. You don’t need to spend a lot of money of gifts anymore. It’s the thought that counts and as I become a more conscious consumer in all areas of my life I want to carry this through to my gift giving this year. Very UK’s #LoveGiving campaign is all about giving thoughtful and meaningful gifts that have a lasting effect rather than just mindlessly spending money.
FOOD IS LOVE
Anything food related for me is the best pressy ever. I have a few clients who sometimes make me a batch of granola or bliss balls when they come to Pilates sessions and it’s the dream. Who doesn’t love being baked something homemade and delicious. With this in mind I thought I’d make some homemade bakes this year for my friends for when I meet them for pre Christmas get togethers.
Christmas can be a nostalgic time for me, some of my best memories and happiest times were at my nanny and grandads house this time of year. I can literally smell their Christmas tree and taste my grandads English breakfast tea with 3 sugars that I used to take a sip of.
I remember they kept a biscuit tin in their lounge stocked with dark chocolate digestive biscuits and they’d always let me have one before breakfast when I stayed over. It was THE BEST! I got this beautiful cookie tin from Very UK to keep all my homemade bakes in for and it bought back those happy memories.
It would also make such a lovely gift when giving somewhere they homemade cookies they can keep and use it at home and maybe inspire them to get in the kitchen too or just stock with digestive biscuits but either way you never know when a tradition is starting or that usually the simplest things like my grandad’s biscuit tin would have a lasting effect.
So here’s three recipes that you could put in a little tin and gift to somewhere this year.
PECAN CRUMBLE COOKIES
As you may know I am obsessed with making cookies and have pretty much nailed my tahini ones. This pecan version is a simple twist on my original recipe.
Pecans feel like a christmassy nut to me so they had to go in, my dad (who never usually likes my homemade vegan gluten free bakes FYI) loved this but did request that next time I add more pecans so they must make a great addition.
I also used a cinnamon flavoured honey as apposed to normal and the chocolate I used was plain 85% rather than sea salted.
120g gluten free porridge oats
100g desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp flaked sea salt
200g cinnamon honey
1/2 a vanilla bean pod (you could also use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
50g 85% dark chocolate (I used Divine)
Preheat oven to 170C fan. Line two baking trays with baking parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the gluten oats, desiccated coconut, baking powder and sea salt until well combined.
Break up the pecans and add to the dry ingredients.
In a small saucepan heat the tahini and honey until they are well combined and starting to thicken. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half length ways and then gently scrap out the black vanilla beans with a spoon and stir into the tahini and honey mixture.
Add the tahini mixture to the oat mixture and combine. Create one big doughy ball in your hands and let it sit for 10 mins.
Allow the dough to cool slightly then break up the chocolate into small squares and gently mix in. Try to keep it in chunks.
Then create little balls with the mixture and place them on the baking trays. It will make between 10-16 depending on how big you make them.
Press each ball down with the back on a fork to flatten into cookie shapes, you may need to press the sides together again if they are quite crumbly but that’s how they should be.
Bake for 8 minutes, keep an eye on them, you just want them to be slightly browned and the chocolate will be gooey and melting.
Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack on the baking paper. Do not move or touch them with your hands as they will be very soft.
Buy the beautiful yellow mixing bowl here.
VEGAN GINGER BISCUIT TIFFIN
My aunty Sam makes the best tiffin ever, we had it at my brother’s wedding and it would always come out at occasions like Christmas and New Year. Over the last 6 months I’ve stuck to a gluten free and dairy free diet so I wanted to attempt a version of tiffin that I could enjoy; oh and of course gift this Christmas! This honestly is so delicious I shocked myself. Super simple, oh so indulgent and dangerously morish.
75g coconut oil
200g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
200g Nairns gluten free ginger biscuits
3 x medjool dates (chopped)
50g pistachios (toasted and chopped)
Lightly oil a square tin with a little coconut oil and line the base with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and maple syrup syrup in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.
Break the ginger biscuits into small pieces in a bowl and add the dates and pistachios.
Pour in the melted chocolate and mix to combine then spoon in into the tin. Spread it out evenly.
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours until set and hard. Cut into mini squares and enjoy!
Thank you to Very UK for sponsoring this blog post.
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Love and festive wishes,