The Perfect Holiday Treat, The Double Chocolate Hazelnut Candies by GreenChef Julie Morris

chocolate raw candy holiday julie morris 01 The Perfect Holiday Treat, The Double Chocolate Hazelnut Candies by GreenChef Julie Morris Photographer: Julia Morris

I have to admit, as a natural food enthusiast, Halloween and the entire holiday season ( Thanksgiving, Christmas ) really puts me in quite a quandary. On one hand, I love the mild madness that ensues around this time of year. The costumes, the parties, the creativity, the (idea of) candyland-come-true . . . clearly there’s some serious residual little-kid excitement in full force here. The irony is that much of what Holidays is about (conventional candy . . . and lots of it) is basically my nemesis. It’s not a matter of fun-size package denial, it’s a matter of reality: hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, red #5, or any ingredient made in a labcoat for that matter, generally equates to things humans should not consume.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to pull a scrooge moment. I understand this isn’t the time of year to tout the benefits of things like toothbrushes, raisins, or a nice apple. But don’t you worry; I’ve got plans for us. Better plans. Plans like, ahem, chocolate hazelnut plans. And while these chocolate hazelnut plans may still totally reside in the treat category (aka – don’t eat the whole recipe in one serving . . . everyday), this dessert is billions of times more beneficial than traditional holiday candy fare. Aside from using clean natural ingredients, it’s full of superfoods too. Raw cacao powder lends its copious antioxidant content and abundant minerals, and the chocolate coating utilizes the natural sweetness of mesquite powder (the milled mesquite pods from a low-lying South American shrub) making the exterior especially low in sugars. I’ve even snuck a little bit of optional adrenal-supporting maca powder into the filling of these candies, perhaps as a preemptive healthy strike against any conventional sugary “incidents.”

This dessert is billions of times more beneficial than traditional holiday candy fare.

Needless to say, these candies are an all-around “yes.” The exterior chocolate coating will remain solid at room temperature, and the inside pocket is a soft, sweet blend of cacao and hazelnuts. You can use ice cube trays for as molds for these, or get fancified and use real-deal candy molds with deep vessels to properly contain the filling. If using candy molds, double the amount of chocolate coating that the recipe calls for (the filling will remain the same). Short on time? Simply melt down a dark chocolate bar and use as the exterior coating instead of the raw chocolate recipe below.

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Julie’s Sweet Seed Candies

sweet seed candies 01 Julies Sweet Seed CandiesPhotographer: Julie Morris

Similar to the traditional Greek sesame candy “Pasteli,” which is made with honey and sesame seeds, these superfood candies take advantage of yacon syrup’s more complex flavor and healthy benefits. Crunchy and chewy at the same time, these all-natural candies are addictingly delicious. If you cannot find pre-roasted/toasted sesame seeds, use raw ones — just pop them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees ahead of time.

For the Candies:

½ cup yacon syrup

¼ cup hemp seeds

½ cup toasted sesame seeds

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