These could almost be considered guilt-free Christmas treats - no dairy, no gluten, no refined sugar, no added fat. There's just a tasty mixture of dried fruit, nuts and honey, with orange zest, orange flower water and cinnamon for flavouring. The recipe comes from the December 2013 issue of Good Food magazine, but isn't available on the website yet.
Here's a brief overview of the recipe - it isn't difficult, but you do need at least a mini-chopper, if not a full sized food processor. My mini-chopper was big enough to process all the dried fruit in one batch.
200g soft dried figs and 100g dates are processed to a purée with 40g of well-flavoured honey (I used wild thyme), 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, the finely grated zest of an orange and 2 teaspoons of orange flower water, then 100g chopped pistachios and 50g of chopped blanched almonds are worked into the paste. The mixture is rolled into cherry-sized balls and placed on baking parchment to be chilled. I found it easier to roll the very sticky paste by chilling it first, and got the recommended 25 balls out of the mixture.
There is an option in the recipe to roll the fruit balls in cocoa before serving, but I was taking them to a dinner party where one of the guests could not eat chocolate, so decided not to do this. A tempered dark chocolate covering might be a tasty, sophisticated finish too. For presentation I put each ball into a petit four case before filling a shallow box with a single layer.
Kate, of What Kate Baked. The theme she has chosen is one which fits well into December - Festive Foodie Gifts. The rules for the Tea Time Treats challenge can be found here, on co-host Karen's blog (Lavender and Lovage). Karen will be carrying on setting TTT challenges in the new year.