Earlier this week I gave a Healthy Edible Gifts demo in The Cake Cafe in Dublin. Making really gorgeous food presents is a great idea, and perfect for the last minute especially when you want to avoid queues and panic buying.
Below are two of my favourite ideas and ones that I would love to get myself! The Chai tea mix is incredible and so fresh, it’s especially nice made with homemade hazelnut milk. The bark will keep in the freezer for up to three months and is a big hit with small kids too!
Have a lovely Christmas!
Chai Tea Mix
Makes about 12-16 servings
If you know someone that goes weak at the knees for a chai latte then this is the perfect gift for them! By making your own chai tea mix you can be sure that it has really good quality ingredients and doesn’t have the reputed 42g of sugar that a leading coffee retailer’s grande chai latte has!!
12 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup loose black tea or I like to use Rooibos
Preheat oven to 180°C.
With a sharp knife, split the cardamom pods in half. Place on a baking tray or into a shallow cake tin along with the peppercorns, fennel, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant. Remove and cool.
Crush spices lightly with a rolling pin or in a mortar and pestle. You may have to crumble the cinnamon stick with your hands.
In a bowl, toss the spices, candied ginger and tea together until blended.
Once your tea is blended spoon into your container of choice (mason jar, jam jar or parchment or waxed paper bags, vintage tea tin, etc.) Include fillable tea bags and brewing instructions. Alternatively, you can fill each tea bag with approximately 1 tablespoon of the chai mix and tie it loosely to close. A really nice idea would be to buy a pretty tea pot with a filter for using leaf tea. I got a lovely Zero Japan one in Love Supreme that I use each morning. www.lovesupreme.ie Don’t forget to include the Brewing instructions below!
Brewing Instructions for the Chai Tea Mix
tea for one
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of Chai Mix placed into a tea bag
Sugar or honey to taste
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the teabag. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Add the milk then reheat until hot. Remove from heat, discard teabag, sweeten to taste, enjoy!
Raw, Vegan Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Sunflower Seeds
This is, strictly speaking, not vegan because I use honey here, but you can use Agave syrup or Maple syrup just as easily. The coconut butter gives this bark a real richness along with the pure chocolatey goodness of the raw cacao. This bark becomes deliciously crunchy when eaten straight from the freezer. I like to layer this in little air tight boxes with sheets of greaseproof paper between each layer. It lasts for three weeks in the fridge and even longer in the freezer.
Yield: 3-4 cups
175 g (solid) coconut butter (just over 3/4 cup after melting)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup honey (you can adjust this to your taste, and also substitute agave syrup if you like)
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup goji berries
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Melt the coconut butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, or over a double boiler..
Pour the melted coconut butter into a mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder, agave, sea salt, and vanilla, and whisk till the ingredients are totally smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture onto a foil-lined baking tray. Allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes (Keep the baking tray in the fridge or freezer before you pour–it’ll give the chocolate a head start on solidifying).
Sprinkle the chocolate with the goji berries, then with the sunflower seeds.
Transfer the chocolate to the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove it and break it into pieces with your hand. Layer in an airtight box.