HOLIDAY RECIPES

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MINTY REINDEER BROWNIE COOKIES
PRETZEL WREATHS

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This month’s recipes feature a sugarless (naturally sweetened) mint brownie cookie (flavored with black beans) and dark chocolate pretzel wreaths.  We made these two recipes in our final classes this fall, which we always call “The Sweet Life.”  We teach children how white refined sugar (a simple carbohydrate) has a negative impact on both the body and brain (and why).  Our kids know that even if they eliminate white sugar from their diets, they can still enjoy “treats” that taste just as good (if not better) by substituting fruit and/or dark chocolate.   Our brownie is sweetened ONLY with the use of fruit (dates) and by our last class, our kids also know that fruit has powerful antioxidants that fight disease-causing “bad guy” free radicals in our bodies – what an added benefit!  The beans in this recipe add a good dose of protein and fiber (and make our brownies super moist and delicious!)  Do you tell the kids about the beans?  In our classes, we normally do not hide anything, but this time we waited until we got the thumbs up on taste.  It added an element of fun to our classes to have the kids try to guess what the secret ingredient was (chocolate ice cream? chocolate mousse?)  All that matters is the valuable lesson about white refined sugar and how baked goods can taste great without it!  Happy Holidays!

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MINTY REINDEER BLACK BEAN BROWNIE COOKIES

(makes 12 brownies)


Ingredients:
¼ cup Cocoa (100% pure cocoa)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ cup White Wheat Flour
4 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
¾ cup chopped Dates (Sunsweet)
6 Tablespoons 100% Apple Juice (or 6 Tablespoons water)
½ cup low-sodium Black Beans, pureed with 1 Tablespoon Apple Juice*
1 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste or pure Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
½ cup Mint Chips (Andes Crème de Menthe baking chips)
Heart-shaped Cookie Cutter (3 inch)
Parchment Paper (optional)

*Place black beans in a stainless steel colander, rinse, and drain before pureeing in a food processor or blender.

For Decoration:
Sundrops (naturally colored/no artificial coloring)
Colored Sunflower Seeds (Trader Joe’s seeds with natural coloring/no artificial coloring)
Miniature Candy Canes

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Microwave Dates and Apple Juice for 3 minutes.  Remove from Microwave and let cool until warm (but not hot) to the touch (about 5 minutes).
3.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together Cocoa and Baking Soda until completely combined; then whisk in Flour.
4. Combine warm Date mixture with Coconut Oil in a separate bowl. (NOTE:  make sure Coconut Oil is dissolved but not soupy).   Add pureed Black Beans to the bowl.
5. Add the Egg, then the Vanilla to the Date mixture.
6. Gradually mix-in Flour mixture until combined, being careful not to overmix.
7. Stir in Mint Chips, being careful not to overmix.
8. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet (or use an ungreased cookie sheet); then, for each cookie, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter and spoon about 2 Forkfulls of brownie mixture inside the cookie cutter (3/4 full), press to the edges, and slowly remove the cookie cutter using a fork to assure that the brownie mixture remains at the edges of the cookie cutter.
9. Decorate with Sundrops and sunflower seeds (both naturally colored).
10. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
11. Add Candy Canes as soon as the Brownie Cookies are removed from the oven, and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.

©2010-2013 Kids Heart Felt Health Inc.

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DARK CHOCOLATE PRETZEL WREATHS

Ingredients:
Dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa)(250g)
Miniature pretzels (unsalted)
Sundrops (no artificial coloring)
Colored Sunflower seeds (no artificial coloring)
Mint chips

Instructions:
1.  Melt dark chocolate in microwave, being very careful not to overheat.  (NOTE:  to prevent “seizing” (or overheating) chocolate, microwave in 30 second intervals until most of the chocolate (but not all) is melted.  Remove from microwave and mix until remaining chocolate is melted.  The wreaths will harden quickly if care is taken to melt chocolate in this way).
2. Roll out parchment paper.  Using a spoon, draw circles with the dark chocolate on the parchment (or letters if giving as a gift).  Immediately place pretzels on top of warm chocolate.
3. Spoon melted chocolate on top of pretzels. 
4. Decorate as desired.
5. Wait at least 30 minutes until wreaths are dry (chocolate hardened).
6. Tie a ribbon to wreath to make an ornament, if desired.

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©2012-2013 Kids Heart Felt Health Inc.

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