Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas food ideas: No bake edible presents

I'm conscious that there are a number of posts around on edible Christmas gifts (and non-edible ones for that matter), but I have so much fun with Christmas treats and baking that I didn't want to skip over this post.

The food-related presents I make at Christmas usually change from year to year. My Mum set up a tradition of making decorated Christmas cookies with me and my sister, and those are a stand-by that I can't imagine not making. Around those cookies, though, I enjoy trying different things and experimenting with whatever takes my fancy each year.

This year I decided to make peppermint chocolate bark, raw papaya and cashew balls, and milk chocolate hearts. As a bonus, none require an oven and all can be made at least a week in advance.

I used Lindt when chocolate was involved, thanks to Coles heavily discounting the Lindt Excellent blocks last weekend. However, any chocolate of your choice would work.

You can print all recipes (such that they are) here, but they are also below - and all are incredibly simple.

Peppermint chocolate bark

This idea came from my Chocolate Recipes calendar, with peppermint bark providing the December recipe. It is extremely easy and the bark could be also used to top cupcakes or cakes.

There are only 3 ingredients and the preparation is limited to melting and then setting chocolate. Simple!

Melt 100g Lindt Dark Chocolate with Mint (or equivalent)

Spread over the base of a lined loaf tin

Set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Then melt 100g Lindt White Lindor chocolate (or equivalent)

Spread the white chocolate over the dark chocolate

Sprinkle 2 large candy canes, crushed, over the top

Return to the refrigerator and set for at least 1 hour

Break the bark into rough pieces


(or eat)

These are going to Mr Bite's family, but we squeezed in some taste tests of our own - which I greatly enjoyed. I really liked the inclusion of mint in the bottom chocolate layer, and the crushed candy canes provided a fun texture. 

Raw papaya (pawpaw) and cashew balls

I thought it was probably wise to do something non-chocolate, and this was it. Although I don't usually like cashews, I thought they might pair best with papaya and the ingredients did seem to work well together. The balls taste mostly of papaya, with a little coconut, and there was no discernible (to me) cashew flavour.

This recipe has 1 more ingredient than the bark, but it is equally simple!

Place 160g (~1 cup) chopped dried papaya and 80g (~1/2 cup) cashews in a food processor and process until well chopped and combined 

Add 1 tsp vanilla and 20g (~1/4 cup) dessicated coconut and continue processing until the mixture clumps together

Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into balls, coating each with extra dessicated coconut

Place on a lined baking tray and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour

I really like the pink colour and suspect I'll be using papaya in fruit and nut balls again in the future. These are going to my Mum, but a repeat effort may happen in the future so I can have a whole batch to myself...

(Edit: For a pineapple version of these tried on 17th January 2012, see here!)

Milk Chocolate Hearts

These require small heart-shaped moulds in which to set your chocolate. I used silicon ones, which help with removing the chocolate, but I have also seen foil moulds in supermarkets, including some decorated with Christmas themed pictures.

I used dried cranberries, almonds, and crushed peanuts to decorate the hearts, but any decorations you like would do.

I also had enough melted chocolate left over to make two round discs, which were set in the bottom of sturdy foil muffin liners.

Melt 150 - 175g Lindt milk chocolate (or equivalent)

Use half of the melted chocolate to fill 8 small heart-shaped moulds approximately 3/4 full

Top each of these 8 hearts with dried cranberries, an almond, or crushed peanuts

In 8 separate heart-shaped moulds, place dried cranberries, an almond, or crushed peanuts in the bottom of the mould

Then fill these 8 hearts with the remaining melted chocolate, approximately 3/4 full

Place hearts on a plate or baking tray and refrigerate at least 2 hours, until fully set

Remove the chocolate hearts from the moulds before serving

Three products, minimal kitchen time, easy to package up, and from my taste testing - all highly enjoyable.

As the top photo may suggest, I also packaged up some non-homemade food. Liquorice allsorts in bags for my sister and her boyfriend; a jar with layered chocolate almonds, cashews and liquorice for my brother; and a bowl with nuts and chocolate almonds for my Dad.

It's feeling rather Christmassy under our mini Christmas tree...

Do you have favourite treats or gifts to make at Christmas?

Previous Christmas food posts:
Cranberry rolls
Christmas ice cream and jazzed up fruit
Main meals and sides (recipe round up)


  1. definitely worth sharing - I love all these edible treats - so many presents kick around too long but food is enjoyed and then it is gone - like your packaging too - I don't do enough edible gifts to feel I have the hang of the packaging.

  2. my holiday treat making starts next week - and I cant wait!

  3. Consumable homemade presents are truly the best. Love them, love them.
    All of them look wonderful Kari.
    Biscuits, jams, chocolate, bread and chilli sauce is what people are getting my neck of the woods.

  4. They all look gorgeous! I've seen a few posts recently about peppermint bark recently, I would like to try this if I can find the time before Christmas. I always make a batch of unhealthy rum balls to bring along to Christmas lunches/dinners but this year I'll probably do the mint or orange variety. Your papaya and cashew balls sound a lot healthier!

  5. Oh Kari, I *love* the pretty-in-pink pawpaw creations! I've never bought dried pawpaw, but will definitely have to do so now that I know they gorgeous colour they can lend to no-bake truffles :) xo

  6. Edible presents are tha best. I especially love those gorgeous pawpaw balls. I can imagine they would go well with other tropical dried fruit - I'm imagining a bowl full of pineapple balls, mango balls, and pawpaw balls. Would be so pretty!

  7. Thanks Johanna, I'm not sure I really have the hang of packaging either, but have started to think in terms of buying small bowls / plates for a few dollars rather than going with fully disposable options. The sturdier bases helps!

  8. Ooh, exciting! I'll look forward to hearing about what you make :)

  9. Your list sounds very enticing...I suspect you'll have some happy gift-receivers in your neck of the woods :)

  10. Thanks Mel. I was actually going to make your mint chocolate balls, but then realised that even for me all chocolate products may be too much! They do seem perfectly themed foor Christmas though.

  11. I was so pleasantly surprised by how pink the balls remained! I thought the cashews might dilute the colour but they didn't seem to. I love dried papaya in its own right too, so definitely buy it and try some before truffling!

  12. That is a great idea...and I was thinking as making the papaya ones that pineapple would work equally well. Mango would make for a perfect trio.

  13. I am so pleased that you have posted these gifts from the kitchen!! I love the idea of the Papaya balls and I will be making them and sending them to my vego brother... with they be okay out of the fridge and posted in a tin??

    The Chocolate bark will be made today with my daughter and up on my website by tomorrow! I love it!! Naturally full credit will go to you!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I'm so glad you like the look if them! Regarding posting the papaya balls, I am not 100% sure how they'll travel - they don't need refrigerating all the time but do soften if it's hot. It might depend if you're Australian (where it's hot!) or not. I'd say it's 80% likely they'll be fine though :)

  14. I made the papaya balls and they were delicious. It is incredibly hot here so I decided not to send them :(

    I posted the chocolate candy cane bark story today. I am so happy with it, thank you for sharing!

    1. At least there's all the more for you to eat ;) Thanks for letting me know how you got on, it means a lot when others make recipes I've posted!


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