December 24, 2012

Recipe Round Up: Holiday Treats 2012

Merry Christmas Eve!  I hope those of you who are celebrating Christmas are ready for the big day tomorrow and are enjoying spending time with loved ones over the next couple of days. I've been home for a few days already and I've been loving the homecooked meals, watching Christmas movies, and making treats to have around!

Last year around this time, I did a round-up of no-bake, bite-sized vegan treats that I had tried from other blogs, and I thought I would continue that tradition this year. Not all of the treats are no-bake and vegan this time, but they're still small bites that won't weigh you down too much with richness or sweetness!

Cheesecake-Stuffed Cinnamon-Sugar Pillow Cookies

First up are these cookies that I adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie. The cookie dough is kind of like a cross between a sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle, and each one is stuffed with a cream cheese filling in the middle. I loved how soft and "pillowy" these were, and the cream cheese surprise inside made them extra tasty! I brought these to our cookie swap and they got lots of compliments (and disappeared quickly too!)

Notes: I doubled the recipe, which got me 23 small cookies. For the cookies, I used all-purpose flour and coconut oil, and I had to increase the amount of milk slightly to about 3-4 tbsp for the double batch, until the dough could stick together. I rolled my cookies in a mixture of 2 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon.  I also changed the filling ingredients to the following:

Heaping 1/4 cup low fat cream cheese, softened
2 tsp melted white chocolate
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Stir all ingredients together until smooth.  Use about 1/2 tsp of filling per cookie.

No-Bake Coconut Snowballs

These were one of the healthier treats that I made and gave away as a homemade gift for a friend (one who doesn't like most sweets because of all the butter and sugar that usually go into them).

The recipe is from the Kitchn, and the only change I made was to use a bit less maple syrup because I didn't want them to be too sweet. They had a very chewy texture from all the coconut without being too dry, and I liked that I could eat them as a snack or as a non-sweet dessert!

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie Truffles

Another treat with coconut that I made recently was these sweet potato pie truffles from Cara's Cravings, as seen on Clean Eating's website.  I made them mainly because I love anything with sweet potato, but also as an excuse to use some of my coconut flour.

I have to say, these got mixed reviews. I personally loved them - I thought they tasted just like sweet potato pie in bite-sized form, and I liked that the natural sweetness of the sweet potato came through without needing a lot of additional sweetener. When I tried sharing them with my family, however, they didn't go over very well - they all thought they weren't sweet enough to be a dessert and tasted more like a dinner side dish!

So I would still recommend the recipe, but with the caution that to enjoy them as much as I did, you have to love sweet potatoes, and be okay with less-sweet desserts!

Popcorn, Pretzel & Peanut Brittle

I love trying out different kinds of bark and brittle around the holidays.  I can never seem to get brittle quite right though, and this time was no different!  The original recipe for this popcorn peanut brittle came from Ezra Pound Cake. I increased the amount of popcorn a bit and added 1 cup of broken pretzel pieces, since I figured they would go well with popcorn and peanuts.

Despite using a candy thermometer, I still managed to overcook my sugar mixture so the brittle ended up much darker than it should have been. It did taste a tad on the burnt side, but we all still enjoyed it! It was super crunchy and sticks in your teeth, but was actually quite addictive! I would definitely try this again but keep a better eye on the syrup next time!

Peppermint Crispy Bark

After I made the peanut brittle, I wanted to make a chocolate bark to have one more dessert option around the house. I decided to go back to a recipe that I made last year and loved, this peppermint rice crispy chocolate bark.

I made a couple of changes this time, like adding a layer of melted white chocolate on top of the rice crispy layer, and instead of using Hershey's candy cane kisses (which I couldn't find, probably because it was the weekend before Christmas!), I chopped up those white christmas mint nonpareils that you can find in bulk bins.

This had tons of minty flavour and was nice and light and crispy - just what I was going for!

And here are a few other vegan holiday treat ideas that I didn't have time to make this year, but they're on my list for next year!

Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies - Vegan Yack Attack as seen on Keepin' it Kind
Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Coconut Snowflakes - Purely Twins as seen on Cara's Cravings
White Chocolate Peppermint Rounds - Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
Gingerbread Muffin Cookies - The Kabocha Fashionista
Gingerbead Granola Bars - Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Eggnog Cheesecake Thumbprints - The Sweet Life

Now I'm off to prepare some food for our Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvre party with family tonight!  I'm looking forward to stuffing myself with lots of appetizers and desserts, and for my part I'll be contributing these bourbon peanuts and goat cheese & pistachio covered grapes, plus some gingerbread cream cheese truffles and the leftover peppermint bark!

Merry Christmas everyone!


  1. I will take one of each! :D I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. And Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Love the round up- the pillow cookies look amazin, those will definitely be on my list for next year!



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