Vegan Salted Caramel Bars

These vegan salted caramel bars are so good they almost made me bust my macros!!!

Hello friends!  I’m now 2 days out from my upcoming bodybuilding competition, and today is my last day of carb and calorie depletion before refeeding tomorrow in final preparation for the show on Saturday.  I’m hungry!!  In every sense of the word.

The fun part of “peak week” for me is deciding what post-show treat I’m going to indulge in. …

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No-bake Peanut Butter Fudge

Howdy folks!  This no-bake peanut butter fudge is hands-down one of my “must-have-in-the-house-at-all-times” recipes, not only for contest prep, but for every single day of my life.  I hope it will become one of yours as well.

Remember my no-bake sweet potato brownies?  Well, these are a close cousin… …

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Vegan “Buttercream” Frosting

Hello friends!  In Philippines you’re allowed to celebrate your birthday all month long… and so I have.  Even though my calories have been lowered (boo!) and my workouts have been stepped up (whoa!), I’ve still found time to relax a bit and really enjoy turning 47.

47!!!  I know!!  I kind of can’t believe it… especially when I consider that I remember my Granny Cox (my Ma’s mother) when she was 47….

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The Expat Dietitian Turns 2!

Carrot Cake with Coconut Cashew Frosting

Hello, friends!  My little blog is 2 years old!! Is it a birthday, or a blog-i-versary?!  I’m not sure, but in any case, let’s celebrate with this yummy carrot cake with cashew coconut frosting…

How I wish you could all gather around my table so I could slice each of you a piece of this cake and say a big “THANK YOU!!” to you all for reading.  It does mean the world to me that you would choose to spend your time in my little corner of the Internet….

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins

Hello friends!  It’s almost the last day of the year, and I had thoughts of writing you all a grand and reflective post called “The Best of 2016” linking up your favourite recipes of the past 12 months and waxing poetic on how much the blog has grown.

But to be honest, the blog actually hasn’t grown that much over the past year… and I’m ok with that.  I’ve had zero advertisers and zero sponsored posts… and I’m ok with that, too.  I suppose you would say I’ve redefined my vision of “success” for this little space on the Internet.  Sure, it would be great to have…

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Vegan Pecan Pie

Vegan Pecan Pie

I find it a bit ironic, don’t you, that I’m sharing this rich, decadent pecan pie with you immediately after announcing that I’m training for a bikini competition.  I also find it ironic… or maybe masochistic is a better word… that I began this program immediately prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I didn’t really think about the timing on that one……

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Hello friends, it’s pumpkin season!  (At least it is in North America!)  And actually, in Philippines, it’s pumpkin season all year long… Philippines has beautiful local pumpkins called kalabasa that are a bit softer and milder than “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins.  I do everything with them, from roasting slices with cinnamon & curry powder, to cubing them up in curries, to pureeing them for pies……

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Chocolate Chia Freezer Fudge

Chocolate Chia Freezer Fudge

Some things are annoying, and beyond our control.  For example:

  1. Traffic: in Manila we don’t say “traffic jams,” just “traffic,” and everyone just nods their head…
  2. People who say mean things…
  3. And blogs that break themselves even though you haven’t changed anything.

Yes, #3 happened to me, and is still happening!!  My recipe thingamajig just up and turned on me… broke itself!… I’m sure all of you readers over 40 can understand how this kind of thing happens. …

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Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

You know you’ve hit on something good when you have to make two batches of it in order to have enough for a complete photo shoot!  And I still had to be careful of camera angles…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

This recipe originated in my Ma’s kitchen, probably about 20 years ago.  I told you she was “eating clean” before that was even a thing!  I still have her handwritten recipe for these kisses on an index card, and the only changes I’ve made are to roll them in balls (she flattened them into cookies), reduce the maple syrup a tiny bit, and dip them in chocolate.  This indulgence takes these kisses to a whole ‘notha level, and I’m sure Ma would approve.  Of course, if you want to keep it simple, just skip the dip, and you won’t be disappointed. Well, you might be a little…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

These kisses require only 5 ingredients and about 35 minutes to prepare, including the dipping.  That’s pretty amazing for a Christmas cookie!  They are vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and suitable for paleo diets (although I’m not sure cavemen had access to chocolate…)

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

The only slightly tricky part is forming the dough into balls (or mounds, or whatever shape you want,) because it’s really sticky!  You can get around this by keeping a little dish of cold water by your bowl and dipping your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to them too much.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Melt your dipping chocolate while you wait for your baked kisses to cool, then dip away!  I dipped half in the chocolate, then used the tines of a fork to fling the rest of the chocolate on top.  But do whatever suits you!  Dip the whole thing if you like, or just glaze the top… whatever floats your boat.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

I have to warn you, though- they’re addictive!  They’re small and easy to pop into your mouth.  I don’t normally have the urge to eat past my, ahem… “reasonable point of fullness”… but these little bites of heaven defy all sense of reason.  The flavour and texture combination of sweet toasted pecans, chewy coconut, tart dried cranberries, rich dark chocolate, just a pinch of salt… well, they can be dangerous.  There, you’re warned.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Now, go make them.

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 18 kisses

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt
    To dip:
  • 2 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C (375F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pecans in a blender or food processor, and process until fine crumbs form. Don’t over-process or the pecans will get oily.
  • Remove to a mixing bowl and add coconut, maple syrup, chopped cranberries, and salt. Mix well, until mixture sticks together when you press it.
  • Form small (¾-inch) balls, wetting your fingers as necessary to keep mixture from sticking. Place on baking sheet about 1½ inches apart.
  • Bake 14-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and cool for 10- 15 minutes before dipping.
  • To dip, melt chocolate and coconut oil over very low heat in a small saucepan. Dip one side of each pecan ball into the chocolate. Set on parchment paper. Use a fork to distribute the remaining chocolate over the dipped kisses.
  • Chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set, then store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.

Notes

The prep time includes the time it takes to cool and dip them... these cookies are fast!

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