’Tis the season to be jolly! Yes, indeed. December brings with it a wave of excitement, because Christmas is coming! Cue the Christmas carols. It’s that time of the year when children are on their best behaviour, in anticipation of shiny new toys from Santa Claus, and parents are busy, decorating their homes and baking delicious treats. Simply put, it’s a magical time of the year, and we’re here to try and make it all the more magical for you.
As Christmas Day approaches and you begin to put together a detailed Christmas menu, make sure to skim through our list of California walnut-approved recipes. Not only are these recipes Christmas appropriate, but they are also pretty nutritious, considering the fact that they make use of Pure Gold California walnuts, which are sun-ripened to perfection! A handful of walnuts (28g) are packed with the essential fatty acid omega-3 ALA (2.5g) and also offer protein (4g), fiber (2g), and other key nutrients. Not just that, walnuts are versatile enough to meet sweet and salty cravings plus, they’ve been connected to benefits for the heart, brain, and gut, making your everyday healthy.
So, this Christmas, let’s celebrate good health and good taste with these hearty recipes.
California Walnut Christmas Cookies with Chocolate Espresso Ganache – recipe
For the Dough:
80g California walnuts
250g wheat flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
150g cold butter
70g icing sugar
For the Ganache:
150g 60% dark chocolate
100g whipping cream
200g approx. dark chocolate couverture
25 California walnut halves
Flour for rolling out
1. Roast the walnuts in a pan without fat until golden brown. Allow to cool and finely grind in a food processor.
2. Mix the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter in small pieces and knead everything with your fingers until it forms a fine crumbly mixture, with no visible pieces of butter.
3. Add the ground California walnuts, icing sugar and egg, then quickly mix to form a homogeneous dough. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for approx. 1 hour.
4. While the dough is resting, prepare the espresso ganache. Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate along with the espresso. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then stir well. Cover the chocolate mixture and place in the fridge to cool for about 1 hour. Check its firmness periodically, it should be spreadable for easy application on the cookies.
5. Roll out the walnut dough in portions on a floured work surface to a thickness of approx. 5 mm. Cut out approx. 50 cookies. Place the cookies on two baking trays lined with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 160-180 °C for 8-10 minutes.
6. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.
7. Melt the dark chocolate couverture over a hot water bath. Dip the tops of half of the baked cookies into the chocolate coating. Place them on baking paper and top each with a walnut half while the chocolate is still liquid. Let it set.
8. Transfer the ganache into a piping bag with a large opening. Spread it on the remaining cookies. Place the chocolate-coated tops on them and press down gently.
Antipasti California Walnut Puff Pastry Tart – recipe
1 package of fresh refrigerated puff pastry
1 jar of artichoke hearts (165g drained weight)
80g dried tomatoes (in oil)
80g California walnuts
6-8 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove puff pastry from refrigerator about 10 minutes before use. Preheat oven at 220°C. Drain artichokes and tomatoes. Halve artichokes and chop tomatoes. Coarsely chop California walnut kernels. Wash thyme, shake dry and set aside some for garnish. Pluck the leaves from the rest. Season the ricotta with salt and pepper.
Also read: Healthy Snacking with walnut recipes for snacks
2. Unroll the puff pastry with baking paper on a baking sheet. Spread ricotta cream on the dough. Fold dough over filling about 1 cm on each side and score lightly with a knife, crimping the edge slightly. Beat egg and brush the edge with it.
3. Top tart with artichokes, tomatoes, walnuts, and thyme. Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove, sprinkle with thyme, and set aside.
California Walnut Cheesecake – recipe
50g coconut oil
150g wholemeal oat biscuits
150g California walnuts
400g sour cream
600g yogurt cream cheese
150g + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium egg
200g whipped cream
1 sachet vanilla sugar
100ml maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven at 180°C. Grease a springform pan (26 cm diameter). Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan. Finely chop the cookies and 50g California walnuts and mix into the oil. Pour the mix into the mould and press to form a flat bottom. Pre-bake in a hot oven for about 5 minutes, remove.
2. Meanwhile, gently whip 200g sour cream, cream cheese, 150g sugar and starch until creamy. Add egg and cream and stir in briefly (as little air as possible should get into the batter). Pour the cream on the base and bake at the same temperature for about 45 minutes. Mix 200g sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla sugar. Spread the icing on the cake, bake for another 5 minutes. Let cheesecake cool with oven door open. Then store in refrigerator.
3. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator. Roughly chop 100g walnut kernels and toast them briefly in a hot pan without fat until it smells fragrant. Stir in maple syrup, bring to the boil once and remove from heat, allow to cool. Remove cake from pan, place on a cake plate. Spread walnut crunch on top.
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