“Having a perfectly decorated tree is not what Christmas is about. It’s about being with the people that you love.”
I’ve always been a huge Christmas entusiast. I don’t know when it started and I can’t even remember caring that much about the presents I would get when I was a kid. But I do remember, since ever, being very excited about what I would eat. Since very young I’ve always loved gathering at the table, specially with all the family sitting together. Unfortunately ocasions like that are not as common as I would like it to be. Specially nowadays that I live far from home.
Boiled salted codfish with chickpeas, roasted lamb, clams with garlic and coriander, “caldo verde”, sweet potato “trutas”, cidra squash “trutas”, stuffed dried figs, “broas castelares” and, of course, “bolo-rei”. A lot of portuguese food that you never heard about. Food that I can’t even tell what I used to like better. And of course all this food is still present at our Christmas table, just far away from my plate. Well, almost everything. Just last Christmas my mom got me “trutas” and “bolo-rei” without animal products and even my grandma used a soy based sausage for “caldo verde” 🙂
It was sometime during my adolescence that I started “putting the hand on the dough”, as we say in portuguese. Started cooking, in other words. I even did stuffed turkey one time, but, as the good supporter of the traditional portuguese food I once was, I decided to cut the bullsh*t and stop importing ideias. That was probably when I fell in love with “bolo rei“, which is a dried and candied fruit based cake with present in every portuguese Christmas table. I think it’s one of those things that you love or hate, because I know a lot of people that can’t stand it. Anyways, I would bake this cake every christmas. I would love to share a recipe with you guys, because this here I am making 100% plant based “bolo rei”, but I will just be able to do it next week in Portugal, because in Norway I can’t find the candied fruit we use in Portugal 🙁 But I will share a recipe for it as soon as possible.
I was actually thinking about sharing a recipe for “broas castelares“, some sort of sweet potato and almond flour based cookie also present in every table in Portugal, but the truth is that, for me, Christmas means dried fruit. Dried fruit is the real Christmas spirit.
1+1/2 Cup of Cooked Chickpeas (~1 Can of 265 gr.)
2/3 Cup of Homemade Almond Butter (165 gr.)
5 Dates (previously soaked if not using a juicy variety)
1/4 de Cup of Raisins
1 TSP of Baking Powder
Pinch of Cardamom
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Flor-de-sal
- Turn on the oven on 180ºC;
- In a bowl, mash the dates with a fork;
- If you’re not using a juicy variety, it may be a good ideia to soak them in lukewarm water for about an hour;
- If necessary, add in a tablespoon of water to help mashing it;
- Add the dates, chickpeas, almond butter and the rest of the ingredients (except the raisins!) to the food processor;
- Bliz everything until you have a homogeneous dough;
- Throw the dough in a bowl and mix in the raisins;
- With your hands, shape it like small cookies and spread them on a baking tray;
- I may suggest you to put some warm water in a bowl and slightly wet your hands every time you make a cookie. This helps the dough not to stick to your hands;
- And yes, of course you need a baking sheet to bake them;
- Now that your place is smelling like burnt toast because the oven is hot and you forgot a tray with bread crumbs inside, it is time to bake your cookies;
- Throw them in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are nice and golden;
- Avoid the tempation to eat them straight out of the oven if you and to avoid a diarrhea before Christmas;
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(I got 14 cookies with this recipe, so the nutrition card refers to 1 cookie = 1/14 of the recipe!)
Blue – 37% Carbs
Red – 50% Fat
Green – 13% Protein
It helps A LOT if you comment and share this recipe 🙂
Note: It is not the first time I mention this, but I’ll say it again – it is important to understand the difference between natural fats comming from whole foods and processed fats! This recipe, except for the baking powder, it is made strictly out of whole natural foods!