This holiday post is brought to you by California Raisins.
Who says cute holiday treats have to be loaded with sugar? Well, usually, I do, but I have challenged myself to come up with at least one reasonably healthy edible craft for each holiday and for Christmas I made these delightful No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Reindeer.
I do realize much of what I make for you here on Hungry Happenings is not nutritious. In most cases, the festive foods I create for this blog are not meant to be eaten every day. They are treats, to be enjoyed on special occasions.
Of course, I am making them all the time, and eating them too. I do my best to eat healthy meals and exercise every day to balance out my diet but have decided I really need to try using some more wholesome ingredients like California Raisins in my edible crafts.
Last month I used California Raisins to make some Raisin and Peanut Power Bar Pumpkins. I loved the simple combination of raisins and peanuts processed together to create a dough that could easily be molded into pumpkins. Sticking with this original idea, I began adding more ingredients to the mix until I came up with a combination that bursts with raisin flavor with hints of oatmeal and chocolate.
It's so good, that I had to stop myself from eating it so I could actually make my reindeer.
Now, you might have noticed that these treats are decorated with some sugary candy eyes a big red Mega M&M nose, and chocolate antlers. I did my best to use nutritious ingredients in this recipe, but just had to add some candy eyes. If you prefer, you could use a red grape for the nose. I'm sure they'd look cute too, but I was pretty excited to have crafted something so adorable out of healthier ingredients, that I was fine with a little candy added.
Cocoa No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Reindeer
Ingredients: (makes 8)
8 ounces raisins
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup roasted and salted almonds (if you use raw almonds, add a pinch of salt)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon dutch process cocoa powder, plus about ⅓ cup more for coating
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped semi-sweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and tempered or dark cocoa confectionery coating melted*
16 candy eyes
8 large red candies (or use red grapes)
*To learn more about chocolate and confectionery coating and how to melt it, check out my Chocolate Making Tips page.
paper straws or lollipop sticks
fine mesh shaker, sieve, or sifter
squeez-it mold painter squeeze bottle or zip top bag
parchment paper lined baking sheets
Combine the raisins, oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until it forms a ball.
Divide raisin dough into 8 equal size pieces. Roll into egg shaped reindeer heads.
Dip one end of a paper straw or lollipop stick in melted chocolate and insert it into one of the raisin dough reindeer heads. Repeat. Allow the chocolate to dry for about 10 minutes.
Use the remaining chocolate to create antlers. I put the chocolate in a Squeeze-It mold painter squeeze bottle fitted with a small round tip and piped antlers onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You could also use a zip-top bag. Be sure the ends that will go into the reindeer heads are thin and long.
Once the antlers have dried, insert two of them into each reindeer's head.
Sprinkle cocoa powder over the reindeer heads, covering the chocolate antlers as well.
Use your finger to make indentations where you want to add the eyes and nose. Brush off any excess cocoa powder from inside the indentation. A paintbrush or cotton swab works well for this job.
Use melted chocolate to attach two eyes and one nose to each reindeer.
Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or keep refrigerated for several weeks.
Items used to make this project are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales).
Be sure to check out all my fun Christmas Recipes!
More Holiday Treats
from Hungry Happenings