The Recipe Redux is a group of like-minded food bloggers whose mission is to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Each month members post recipes to their blogs following a theme set by the group moderators. This month’s theme is healthy small bite dessert creations. Be sure to click the Recipe Redux link at the bottom of this page to see all the posts for this month’s challenge.
Happy Birthday to The Recipe Redux! In honor of their 6th birthday, member bloggers were asked to create a healthy small bite dessert so I came up with these Healthy Hedgehog Candies. Are they not the most adorable little treats? The best thing about them though, is how delicious they are and how much they taste like real (i.e. not so healthy) candy. The bittersweet chocolate exterior hides a chewy, delicious, caramel-like interior that is made primarily from dates. Dates are among the sweetest fruits in the world so they make an excellent, healthier substitute for processed sugars. Unlike refined sweeteners, dates are chock-full of iron, potassium, vitamin A, and calcium, as well as other trace minerals. They’re also high in fiber. Trust me, you’ve never had candy like this before!
If you have children you can involve them in making Healthy Hedgehog Candies. The date mixture needs to be rolled into 15 oval shapes, pressed on slightly to form the hedgehog heads, and then pierced with pine nuts. These are jobs even small kids can handle. The decorative piping (for the hedgehog eyes and noses) requires fine motor skills so that is best handled by a teen or adult. This is a fun recipe to make with kids and a great way to show them that even candy can be healthy if it’s made with the right ingredients and eaten in moderation.
The inside of Healthy Hedgehog Candies looks almost exactly like the inside of a traditional chocolate covered caramel.
It’s nice to have a small bite of something sweet at the end of a meal. The trap we can sometimes fall into is eating a dessert that’s bigger and more decadent than what’s needed to satisfy our sweet tooth. That’s when the calories can really add up, often with very little nutritional value. By sticking to small bite desserts made with healthy ingredients we can enjoy dessert more frequently and feel good about the quality of food we’re putting into our bodies. I guarantee everyone in your family will love these Healthy Hedgehog Candies, especially the kids. Some other small bite dessert you might like are: Guilt Free Chocolate Pecan Turtles, Healthy Pecan Pie Cups.
- 2 cups (220 grams) pitted dates
- 1 cup (120 grams) unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- ½ cup (60 grams) ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce pine nuts
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 8 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg white
- Place the dates, peanuts, flaxseed, vanilla, and salt in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender and, with the aid of the tamper tool process until smooth.
- Pinch off 1 ounce pieces of the mixture and roll into ovals. Press down one end of the ovals slightly with your index finger to make the hedgehog heads. Behind this indentation, insert 9 pine nuts, pointed side down.
- Spray a wire rack liberally with olive oil cooking spray and set it over a sheet pan. Transfer the hedgehog candies to the rack.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over barely simmering water until completely smooth. Drizzle the chocolate evenly over each hedgehog using a spoon. Let the chocolate set/harden.
- To make the decorative icing for the hedgehog eyes and noses, combine the powdered sugar and egg white in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is thick. Fill a handmade paper cone, or a piping bag fitted with a #2 tip, with 2 tablespoons of the icing and pipe the eyes and nose on each hedgehog. Dip a toothpick in the remaining chocolate (reheat if necessary) and place tiny dots in the center of each eye.
- Once the decorative icing hardens, use a spatula to loosen and remove the hedgehogs from the wire rack. (They make stick slightly.)
- Store in the refrigerator.
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