Healthy Edible Gifts

by Lentine Alexis
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Healthy Edible Gifts

‘Tis the season of gift-giving, and one of the best ways to show you care is homemade gifts. A sweet jar of homemade jam, a supply of quick pickles or even some creamy, dreamy homemade nut butter all make great gifts. The following festive snacks are pretty delicious gifts, too.

Coconut Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unpopped corn kernels
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 8 ounces coconut butter
  • Fine-grain sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large pot with a lid, set over medium-high heat, combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with a few corn kernels. When the kernels start to pop, add the rest of the kernels, cover tightly with a pot lid, and shake the pan until the remaining kernels pop. Keep the popcorn moving to prevent burning.

In a separate small saucepan, warm the coconut butter and remaining 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir until smooth and viscous — you want the mixture to pour easily. When melted, toss with the popcorn until the kernels are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the popcorn to cool and the coconut butter to set by spreading the popcorn on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Portion the popcorn into bags for gifts and seal tightly. Popcorn keeps in airtight bags or containers for up to two days.

Recipe makes 30 servings at 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 72; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 15mg; Carbohydrate: 2g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 2g

Dark Chocolate Bark

Though we used goji berries, bluet flowers, hemp seeds and sesame seeds in our bark, any nuts, seeds, tea flowers or herbs you have on hand will make beautiful bark.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon bluet or chamomile flowers
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, pepitas, hemp seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup goji berries, dried cherries or dried blueberries
  • Flaked sea salt, to taste

Directions

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a heat-safe bowl over the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl is suspended above, not touching, the water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl and add 2/3 of the chocolate. Heat, stirring continuously, until the chocolate reaches about 100°F (38°C), being careful not to exceed 120°F (49°C). Gradually add the remaining 1/3 chocolate and stir until completely melted.

Remove the bowl from the pot and allow the chocolate to cool to 82°F (28°C). Return the bowl to the pot of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches between 88°F (31°C) and 90°F (32°C). Remove the bowl from the heat. You can test to see if your chocolate is tempered by spreading a small spoonful on a scrap piece of parchment paper. If the chocolate is glossy and dries quickly, it is tempered. If it has streaks or a dull finish, it is not tempered. (Alternatively, if you’d rather not temper the chocolate, you can melt it all at once and refrigerate it once assembled to harden.)

Divide the melted chocolate evenly between the prepared baking sheets. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Sprinkle with the toppings berries, nuts, sesame seeds, herbs, flowers and flaked salt.

Let the bark rest until hardened. Peel the chocolate from the parchment paper and use a knife to break the bark into rough pieces. Transfer to an airtight container for storage.

Store at room temperature for 3–4 days. (If your chocolate is not tempered, store in the refrigerator.)

Recipe makes 8 servings at 2 ounces each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 458; Total Fat: 26g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 5g

Spiced Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt (or other flaked sea salt)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or one vanilla bean split and scraped

Directions Preheat your oven to 250°F

In a small, heavy, saucepan (or a heatproof bowl in the microwave,) combine the water and the coconut sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, nibs, spices and salt and mix until combined. Add the oil and vanilla extract to the brown sugar syrup and stir until combined then pour over the oat mixture. Mix well with your hands until evenly coated and uniform in texture. Rinse your hands, then pat the oat mixture into the bottom of a rimmed 13-by-18 baking sheet or two smaller baking sheets. Pat down the mixture in an even layer; it will be thick but shouldn’t be higher than the rim of the pan.

Bake the mixture until golden brown, roughly 60 minutes in a convection oven, and 75 minutes in a standard oven. Use a large metal spatula to flip the granola, keeping as many of the large clumps intact as possible. Return the granola to the oven and bake until it’s golden brown on both sides, is completely dry and no longer soft to the bite.

Store the granola in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Recipe makes 8 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 429; Total Fat: 19g; Saturated Fat: 9g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 218mg; Carbohydrate: 61g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 32g; Protein: 8g

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