Superfood White Christmas ~ A journey from sickly sweet, to superfood healthy…
The problem with traditional recipes…
Research has revealed that old-fashioned White Christmas recipes, often contain:
- dried milk powder
- icing sugar
- mixed nuts, raisins, glace cherries and crystallized ginger
- rice bubbles
- vanilla essence
Whereas, modern simplified recipes often call-for white chocolate in place of the copha, dried milk powder and icing sugar. One is no better than the other because:
- Copha (Hydrogenated coconut oil) – is bad… the hydrogenation process alters the chemical make-up of the oil, creating trans fatty-acids (TFAs), which are toxic. TFAs block the utilisation of essential fatty-acids and are detrimental to cell function… in short – it’s an unhealthy fat.
- Dried milk powder – is as it’s name suggests – dried milk, however, it’s no good if you’re trying to avoid dairy and in my opinion, fresh and unprocessed is always better anyway.
- Icing sugar – need I say more about this highly refined, high-fructose sweetener? Fructose is basically stored as fat, but that aside, it is believed to be the number one cause of practically all modern health problems. Check out the blog: The Health Cost of Sugar by the ladies at Well Norished to get a quick overview and link to the full story.
- Rice bubbles – are not puffed rice grains. Instead, they are little sugary puffs made from refined white rice flour, sugar, salt and barley malt extract. They are promoted as having “7 Vitamins and Minerals” added and it’s no wonder given that they’re otherwise seemingly lacking in nutrients.
- Glace cherries and crystallised ginger – again – these guys are packed with sugar to preserve them.
- White Chocolate – You can shop around to find all kinds of ingredient combinations, but majority of the stuff contains a myriad of ingredients including: sugar (far too much fructose), milk solids (dairy isn’t for everyone), cocoa butter (processed cacao), emulsifiers (soy lecithin, 476) (any ingredient made-up of a number and that you can’t recreate at home always gets my alarm bells ringing), flavours (what flavours?). In short, it’s highly processed, but can be recreated into a simpler and far healthier version at home.
- Vanilla Essence – Contains vanilla bean extract, water, usually over 30% alcohol and sugar. While the scent is still enchanting it’s a far cry from the real deal.
The rest of the ingredients aren’t so bad…. in fact coconut, nuts, raisins and all dried fruit are fantastic. Yes, they are high in fructose, but, it’s naturally occurring in these guys and if you chose brands which are without added-sugar or vegetable oil, then you can’t go wrong. While consuming copious amounts of dried fruit isn’t good for our blood-sugar or tummies, it certainly plays a very important role in my recipes and that is to eliminate the need for added refined-sugar.
Elevating White Christmas to Superfood status
This White Christmas recipe gets it Superfood status due to the following substitutions:
- Raw Cacao Butter & Coconut Oil instead of white chocolate or copha, icing sugar & dried milk powder: Both of these are amazing health promoting superfoods. Together, in their raw form, they’re high in antioxidants, comprise anti-viral properties, boost metabolism, manage type-2 diabetes, aid weight loss and supports immunity. They’re both gluten-free and sugar-free and are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Raw cacao gives us that natural loving feel-good boost too!
- Puffed Brown Rice or Puffed Quinoa instead of rice bubbles: I’ve trialled and nailed! this recipe, once using puffed brown rice and a second time using puffed quinoa grain. Basically, any unrefined puffed whole-grain is a fantastic, sugar-free alternative to highly refined rice bubbles. They’re both gluten-free too and using puffed quinoa or even puffed amaranth ensures your end result is comparatively higher in protein too.
- No-sugar-added Cranberries, Sour Cherries, Goji Berries instead of glace cherries: Sugar-free cranberries are hard to find, but they are out there. Sour cherries are a natural alternative to glace cherries. Keep in mind, they are dark in colour, so in keeping with the Christmas and superfood themes, red goji berries have also been included. Goji berries are high in antioxidants which protect our bodies from free radicals, keeping us looking young!
- Ground ginger, instead of crystallised ginger: This is a simple one. Ground ginger is pure ginger, dried and ground. It’s without added sugar and provides health benefits such as aiding digestion, relieving nausea and fighting cold and flus. It’s also though to be anti-inflamtory.
- Real Vanilla Bean instead of vanilla essence: I recommend using the seeds scraped from a real vanilla bean, or a teaspoon of dried vanilla & ground vanilla bean, more commonly labelled as vanilla powder. Either option is simply pure. Arousing the senses, vanilla provides a warm and nurturing feeling to us all.
Makes 20 squares
- Mixing bowl
- 20 x 30 cm tin
- 250g raw cacao butter, melted*
- 250g coconut oil, melted*
- 2 cups puffed GF grain: eg. puffed brown rice, puffed quinoa or puffed amaranth
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup mixed dried berries e.g. no-added sugar cranberries, sour cherries and/or goji berries
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1 cup flaked or slithered almonds, toasted**
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
*Melt the raw cacao butter like you would chocolate, in double boiler (in a bowl, set atop of a saucepan of simmering water) and mix the coconut oil through once melted
**Place the almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring regularly for a couple of minutes until lightly golden
Swap the 2 cups of puffed grain for 2 cups of flaked or shredded coconut.
Swap the 1 cup of almonds for 1 cup of flaked or shredded coconut.
- Line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with baking paper and set aside.
- Once the raw cacao butter and coconut oil are melted and the almonds are toasted, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin, spreading it evenly, into the corners, flattening the surface.
- Freeze for 30 minutes, or until set.
- Once solidified, slice into squares.
Keep fresh by storing in an airtight container, in your freezer.