I almost can’t believe another Christmas has come and gone, just like that. Because even though I made sure to thoroughly embrace all of my favorite holiday traditions, life was just so busy this year that it feels like the day kind of sneaked on past with barely a whisper. A really lovely and peaceful and joyful whisper, but still a whisper, and it’s a decidedly surprising feeling to be on the other side of it already. And yet here I am, thoroughly preoccupied with my New Year introspection and figuring out who I want to be as 2019 spreads before me with all of its (glorious) possibilities. You know, the where-am-I-now? versus the but-where-do-I-want-to-be? thoughts. Like trying to settle on the one area that I will work really, really hard on improving. Or the goals and the intentions that I will set and achieve (unless God’s got other plans, obviously). Or the habits I will break and the habits I will make. I can’t tell you how much I love this clean-slate feeling, this chance to redirect my story; I look forward to it every year as January 1 rolls around. But I’m getting ahead of myself – more on the new year in the next post. This one is all about my bittersweet Christmas farewell and a small tribute in the form of some chocolate deliciousness.
So if I’m going to be completely honest about the holidays, I have a small confession to make. As much as I adore Christmas, there’s always this tremendous sense of relief when it’s slipped past, taking all of the hustle and bustle with it. Because no matter how low-key I strive to keep the season, I never fully succeed. Evening meditations always end up shorter; sleep is lost; chores get pushed aside (repeatedly); and life always feels more than a little bit rushed. Almost like it’s a mad dash to fit in all things holiday before the 25th rolls around. In a (possibly desperate?) attempt to remedy this, I’ve made the mistake in years past of suggesting that we skip gifts altogether and keep things more about the spirit of Christmas. Personally, I thought it was a pretty inspired idea, but unfortunately my suggestion wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. In fact, the objections may have been somewhat fierce (and more than a little horrified) and I wisely decided to let it slide, as if the words had never been spoken. And even though a couple of years have passed since I dared to utter the taboo words, I’m still not sure if I’ve been forgiven. So obviously I pretend like it never even happened, because the girls are sure to forgive me. Eventually.
But really, my most favorite holiday celebrations are the quiet moments: the lights, the heartwarming Christmas movies, the carols, the constant reminders of Jesus, the steadily-growing collection of festive cards, and of course…the food. When it comes to planning my holiday menu I always seem to gravitate towards the labor-intensive, spend-two-days-in-the-kitchen fare. They’re dishes so rarely made that they become family favorites and anticipation always runs high. This, of course, is coupled with some tension on my part because failure is always a very real possibility, but thankfully my family will eat almost anything I put in front of them. But this year I probably could have skipped the many-stepped stuffed mushrooms, and the time-consuming lasagna, and the oh-so-carefully sliced baked potatoes and just made this pie. That’s it. One pie…or maybe two. It was met with more enthusiasm than the entire rest of the meal, and I can’t say that it didn’t deserve the lavish praise it received; it really is chocolate perfection in a crust. And when I decided that today’s post would be the pie, which meant making another just days later, I didn’t hear one single objection (unlike those to skipping gifts, which are still reverberating somewhere up there in the ether).
Unfortunately, this delectable pie is not my creation (however, you can find my cookbook here), but slightly adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. I don’t use much maple syrup, instead relying on stevia and dates for sweetener, so there was some tweaking to be done. And I thought almonds would make a tasty crust (they did) and a thick layer of whipped coconut cream would be perfection (it was). Add a sprinkle of roasted cashews and some extra chocolate chips and it was a dessert worthy of a prince. Fitting for Christmas day, right?
So, today I’m going to share that here with you. I know there’s not much time, but if you can whip one up before your New Year’s celebration then I think you’ll be profusely thanked. And it will be well worth the last minute effort.
And now I will leave you with the wish for a happy 2019. May your year be full of lessons, growth, joy, peace, friendship, love and dreams coming true. Happy, happy New Year, friends.
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- 1/2 cup cashews roasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F
1. Add the almonds to the food processor and process until small and crumbly in texture. Add the remaining crust ingredients to the food processor and process until a sticky dough forms.
2. Using your fingers, spread the crust dough into a parchment lined 9-inch pie plate, bringing it halfway up the sides and smoothing it firmly and evenly over the bottom. (If you're having any trouble it helps to wet the fingertips slightly to prevent them from sticking.)
3. Bake the pie crust, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Chocolate Pie Filling
1. Pit and soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes.
2. Add the drained dates, raw cashews, coconut oil, cacao powder and vanilla extract to the food processor. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. Scoop the chocolate filling into a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Mix gently before scraping into the cooled pie crust. Smooth flat.
4. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm (or freeze for quicker results).
Whipped Coconut Cream
1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Once chilled, turn the can upside-down, remove the cover, and pour out all of the liquid. Scoop the remaining (solid) coconut milk into a mixing bowl.
2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla to the coconut solids and beat until light and creamy. Spread evenly over the chilled pie. Sprinkle on the chopped, roasted cashews and chocolate chips. Keep the pie refrigerated until ready to serve.
Note: The maple syrup in the whipped cream can be replaced with a dash of Sweetleaf stevia powder if preferred