No-Bake Date Ball Cookies

Every Christmas since I can remember my mom has made two special treats. One, so simple and straight forward that it hardly needs a recipe, is her white chocolate covered pretzels with peanuts. Those we would make multiple batches of, wrap them up, and give as gifts. The other special treat we kept for ourselves.

Each year as we were preparing to bake, my mom would get her recipe box down from above the fridge and extract the stained index card that held the recipe. Neither of us know where it came from, but we are thankful for it none-the-less. She would make the candy bit, I would mix in the krispies, she would roll the piping hot mixture into balls, and I would roll them in powdered sugar.

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

Is it healthy? Certainly not, but it’s Christmas and it’s tradition.

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? 

Besides the baking, my other favorite tradition is having breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve. This year the Kiwi is making his famous buttermilk biscuits, I’m making my goat cheese grits, and we’re having scramblers with bacon and the left over goat cheese. It is going to be so good!

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies from Kiwi and Peach

No-Bake Date Ball Cookies

{makes about 35-40 balls}

The Candy
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 ounces of dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt

The Krispy
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup coconut, shredded
2 cups of rice krispies cereal

about 1/4 cup powdered sugar for rolling

In a medium sized pot on low heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and dates. Stir it around to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Let it simmer until it begins to be frothy and bubbly. Stir in the vanilla and salt then take the pot off the heat.

{The original recipe says to simmer for 5 minutes, but you don’t want to burn it. If its really frothy and bubbling before 5 minutes go ahead and take it off the heat or your end product will be rock hard.}

Mix in the pecans, coconut, and rice krispies and let it cool for about 5 minutes or until you can stand to touch it.

Pour your powdered sugar into a bowl you can roll the cookies around in.

Once it doesn’t feel like you’re holding a handful of hot coal, roll bits of the mixture into 1 inch balls and drop them into the bowl of powdered sugar. Roll them around a bit until they are lightly covered then, being sure to knock off the extra sugar, transfer them to your Christmas cookie tin and you’re finished!

Merry Christmas y’all!

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Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

The Kiwi is a pie person. Seriously, the man loves pie. But sadly, since the person doing the baking {i.e. me} is more of a cake lover, he doesn’t get them very often. The only two occasions he can count on having pie is his birthday and Thanksgiving.

Case in point, last Thanksgiving, despite having the flu,  I went all out making bacon wrapped turkey, some disastrous stuffing, the very best cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, and, the crowning glory, a pumpkin pie… from scratch.

I’d love nothing more than to have a repeat of last year {with better dressing}, but it’s just not in the cards this year. Most of my precious kitchen tools have either been shipped or sold, and all we have left are the things that came with the apartment which includes, um, basically nothing useful. Plus, we deep cleaned for an inspection that was supposed to happen Monday but is now happening Saturday, so we have to keep the house spotless. No big Thanksgiving feast will be happening in that kitchen this year.

Now, I could wax poetic about gratitude and how it should be present in our lives everyday, not just Thanksgiving. It’s just a day after all. {A day followed, I might mention, by it’s antithesis, Black Friday, which in my opinion is one of the most atrocious American holiday traditions. Ever.}

But really, I do love this day of celebration: for thanks, for generosity, for family.

Don’t worry, we aren’t letting the day pass us by completely without a tiny bit of cheer. Besides, tomorrow also marks 2 years of living in Munich! Let’s face it, the Kiwi isn’t going to let me get away with not making pie

As a compromise between a messy and complicated, full-fledged, from scratch pie and the ‘I can’t be bothered,’ nonexistent pie, I whipped up this. Basically, I just stuck pumpkin pudding in a pie crust.

Will it fall apart when serving? Signs point to yes.

Will it be mind-blowingly delicious? Absolutely.

Whip it up tonight, stick it in the fridge, and forget about it. Dessert is done. Pull it out at lunch tomorrow and prepare for folk’s mouthful mumblings of “Oh my gah, it’s so good.” At least, that’s what I got from the Kiwi.

Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

{makes 1 pie}

Spekulatius Crust
20 spekulatius cookies, about 180 grams {ginger snaps, or ginger nuts for the Kiwis, will probably work perfectly, but if you can get spekulatius, do it.}
6 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Give the cookies a whiz in the food processor until they are just crumbs. In a small mixing bowl melt the butter then add the crumbs. Mix the crumbs and butter until the butter is completely incorporated.

Press into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely before filling it with the pudding.

Pumpkin Pudding
1 cup milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree {canned will do also, just make sure it’s pumpkin puree not pie filling}
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger

In a medium pot on medium heat, bring the milk and maple syrup to a simmer.

In a bowl, cream together your egg yolk, sugar, and cornstarch. While stirring your egg yolks, add a spoonful of the warm milk. This will keep your eggs from curdling when you add the egg yolk mixture to the pot of milk. Go ahead and do that—add the creamy egg yolk mix to the milk and maple syrup. Then add the vanilla and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes so it will thicken up.

While it’s cooking grab a mixing bowl and whisk together your pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and spices.

Once the milk/egg yolk/maple syrup mix has thickened enough to coat your spoon, slowly start adding the pumpkin mixture stirring as you go. Once it’s all combined pour it into your pie crust and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then pop it in the fridge until you are ready to serve!

Serve with whipped cream, or, in my case, whipped coconut cream. Yum!