It is official! The holiday season is underway. The reason I know this is because I have begun getting the texts, emails, calls, smoke signals about what we are doing, who we are going to be with, what people want to make, all of it. It’s a bit crazy but what can you do when you are trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule.
The funniest email I have received so far was from one of my friends who is already planning a get together for over Christmas break. For 38 people! I remember trying to organize prom with only twenty people, and it was like pulling teeth. Someone didn’t want to take pictures there. Someone couldn’t make it at that time. Someone disliked coral so they couldn’t stand next to so-and-so. Prom is a very weird experience.
Not only are people’s breaks not lining up exactly, but we are dealing with families coming in and out of town, holiday traditions, and everything else that keeps us running around like maniacs. But after this email where she says all the problems with scheduling and the possible alternatives, she simply wrote: “How about Christmas in March?” I am all for sledding down the mud-covered hills of Minnesota mid-march!
But before we can get to the next holiday, we need to survive through this one. With all of these reminders of Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, it is time to get down to business. I have begun dusting off all the old family recipes, finding ways to veganize them, and then planning out what exactly I am going to make.
One of my all time favorite Thanksgiving day recipes is Pecan Pie. I don’t know any other pie in my family that is solely made when all of us are getting together for one giant meal. But just like every other annual thing, it comes and goes so quickly that you don’t ever get to fully enjoy it before it’s gone.
However, after toying around with my own recipe for a while, I found a way to combine all of the amazing flavors that you get in a pecan pie into a small bite form so I can enjoy this taste all month-long.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I do have a bit of a thing for taking different kinds of pies and forming them into portable versions of themselves whether through energy bites or even cookies. Sometimes they are way healthier than the original and other times… they are a dessert. I can’t completely take away its identity as an unhealthy treat.
Although I would qualify this recipe as an ‘energy ball’ recipe, it is not the cleanest and healthiest version out there. But it’s still healthier than the actual pie. You take what you can get.
What is especially nice about these energy bites is that you can get younger kids involved in the holiday fun, without having to constantly be monitoring them to make sure that they are getting the exact ratio of ingredients into the age-old family recipe. Because in my opinion, I much rather have them rolling out pecan pie bites instead of measuring how much salt goes into those sugar cookies. A lesson I had to learn the hard way.
Any of these ball recipes are perfect for this because once you throw in all the ingredients and blend it up, all that is left is rolling the dough into small balls and enjoying.
The most difficult piece of this recipe was pretty much what I expected to happen with the extracts. Since it is such a condensed form of the dessert, I knew that it would be hard to get the right balance of extracts and maple syrup without either overpowering the flavor of the bites or making them a soppy mess.
All of the flavors are such powerful and bold tastes that if not balanced just right, one definitely will stand out from the rest. This doesn’t necessarily ruin the recipe in the traditional sense, but it makes the batch have a very distinct flavor about it that may leave the bites being unrecognizable as a pecan pie substitute.
A few of my attempts I ended up with a slightly more “hoppy” version of a pecan pie, but like I said they weren’t ruined just different. However, I was determined to get the correct pecan pie taste and after several attempts, and a lot of taste testing, I final got it just right.