Oh yes! Approaching the most button-popping, feast- and party intensive, energy-draining yet most fun time of Winter! Indeed, it’s time for my annual Winter Box’o’Chocolates bash again as the Holidays are edging closer and closer. As usual, I prep my boxes a bit earlier than they actually need to be ready to make an appearance below splendidly decorated Christmas trees, on office desks, banquet tables or simply on the palms of the night owls amongst my friends and family, so you guys get a – hopefully inspiring – sneak peek as well as the chance to request a recipe in addition to my pick today to appear just in time to prep a batch for your Holiday festivities or personal pleasure~
As always: just let me know~! So without further ado, here are the contents of this year’s Winter Chocolate Box!
Roasted Almond & Cinnamon Apple Bites
Orange-Ginger & Chilli Chocolates
Black Forest Gateau Chocolates
My first pick to share with you guys out of this box, after carefully considering how busy and stressed out a lot of people allow themselves to get during this season, is the easiest one of the four to make. Actually, this year, the first three of the four are basically done with the flick of a wrist, but these energy bites, at least in their speed-version, don’t even need a mentionable time to set, chill or rest until you can pack them up or eat them to power up low-running batteries! And just for the record: I highly recommend using my additional little time-and-effort-“cheat” as well, no matter how busy (or not~) you might be!
The Roasted Almond & Cinnamon Apple Energy Bites
100g Dried Apples, roughly chopped
100g Soft Dried Dates, roughly chopped
75g Roasted, candied Almonds – and here’s the cheat! Unless you’ve got a magical kitchen-gizmo able to sugar-caramel-candy-coat and roast nuts at the same time at your disposal, I suggest finding and collecting a baggie full of the delicious little gems at a nut roastery on a christmas market, farmer’s market or in a well-sorted candy store.
½ Tsp ground Cinnamon
1 Pinch of ground Allspice
1 Pinch of Salt
½ Vanilla Pod
Opt: ½ – 1 Tbsp Almond Butter in case the Mixture turns out too crumbly
Alt: a few drops of water for the same reason
Opt: 100g Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
Fleur de Sel Flakes
As always with energy bites like this, the steps taking you from the raw ingredients to delicious little treats are very few indeed, so here we go~
1) Line a large tray or cutting board with a sheet of baking parchment.
2) Pop all of your ingredients into a food processor and hit the whizz-o-matic button until the mixture inside starts to ball up as it whirls around the sides of the container.
3) If it doesn’t ball up after a few rounds, add the almond butter I mentioned above. Blame the apples~
4) Pick up hazelnut- to walnut-sized – whatever floats your boat – knobs of the mixture and gently, yet firmly roll them into tight little bites between the palms your hands.
5) Set them onto the salted parchment as you work your way through the lot. And that, as they say… is that~! Unless…
6) Enter the optional chocolate – in this case I highly recommend scrounging up the extra seconds and (minimal) effort since the dark chocolate works wonders with the caramelized almonds~!
So: Melt the chocolate chunks in your usual bain marie setup and, once it’s melted, allow it to cool back down to room temperature.
7) Dip each bite halfway into the liquid chocolate, tap off any excess and set it back onto your salt-dotted tray.
8) Stash the tray away in a cool spot – not the fridge yet, just an unheated room, drafty windowsill or the like – until the chocolatey bottoms have set and dried completely.
9) Carefully transfer them into a sealable container once that’s done and pop it into the fridge for at least another hour before serving them.
10) This goes for the non-coated speed-version as well, by the way. As soon as the exterior has dried off and set, move them into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge until it’s snack’o’clock.
11) And that’s it~! Wrap them up into little presents, eat them, hide them to eat them later, string them up and decorate your evergreen with them, but whatever you do…