The holidays are my favorite time of year… Family, friends, gifts, and… FOOD! One of the things I love to do is give raw vegan desserts as gifts. I make them for family, friends, co-workers, clients, my hair dresser, mail / UPS / FedEx delivery people, and for Santa. Gone are the days of giving unhealthy, artery-clogging, processed chocolate concoctions. Make way to usher in gifts of healthy exquisiteness…raw organic cookies and candies. Mmmmm. The beauty is that it’s healthy, fun, and easy! We could all use some "easy" during the holidays. And, let’s be honest… it spreads vegan love. What better way to introduce this amazing lifestyle to others, right? Woo them with raw chocolate. So, here’s what you do. Make the Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs recipe featured here. They’re pure decadence and sure to be enjoyed by everyone. Rich hazelnuts alongside the raw chocolate will surely get anyone excited about plant based food. Next, you need fun packaging. Go to a craft store and buy cute little eco-friendly bags or boxes, or even better, use glass mason jars, with a ribbon tied around it, so people can reuse the jars after they’re empty. Or, do what I did and look for things to reuse…see those gold boxes in the picture? They were given to me a previous year with gifts in them. I’m reusing them to be environmentally friendly.

Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs [Vegan]

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Serves

15 - 20 cookies

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, dried, shredded, and unsweetened (divided)
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract
  • 8 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
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Preparation

  1. Process a 1/4 cup of the dried coconut (reserving the other 1/4 cup for rolling the cookies in) along with the hazelnuts, chocolate and salt in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until coarsely ground. Add the hazelnut extract, dates, and raisins. Process the mixture until it is a texture which holds together when gently pressed between your fingers. Roll into balls and then roll in the remaining coconut. These freeze wonderfully.
Fun variations:
  1. Use raw carob instead of raw chocolate or a combination of them
  2. Substitute the hazelnuts with pecans or walnuts and use almond extract in place of the hazelnut extract
  3. Replace the raisins dried cherries
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