We are currently in the Karthik month - a month in the Hindu calendar where lots of festivals take place, including Diwali. On Wednesday, it is Karwa Chauth, and so I thought I would make some sweets for the day. Generally, Indian sweets tend to be heavy on the sugar, dairy, and often fried. I wanted to make something that was none of that, plus healthy. Something I could keep in a jar and has a long shelf life seeing as its only my husband and I in our household. And that is when I made these yummy cardamom and rose, fruit and nut discs. They have no added sugar, they're packed with nutrients, serve as the perfect bite when feeling peckish, and are vegan.
This fruit and nut recipe is very adaptable to your taste, and what you have in your pantry. You can literally add whichever fruits, nuts and seeds you like. In this recipe, I used dried figs and Medjool dates as the base. The dates are really important to use as they act as a binder, while adding natural sweetness. Then I used a variety of nuts and seeds, along with a little raisins and cranberries. The nuts and seeds I chose were walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and black sesame seeds. And for added flavor, cardamom is your best friend here - so, so delicious and is what makes this sweet treat!
The reason I love these fruit and nut treats is because they're the perfect guilt-free grab and go snack. They are perfect to nibble on when working from home, or great in the kids packed lunches. They're also fun to make with kids, and did I mention they're healthy?!
This recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make from start to finish and will keep well in an air tight container for up to two months. To make the fruit and nut discs, all you need to do is roast the nuts and seeds for a couple of minutes in pan, then warm the dates and figs, add cardamom and knead everything together until it's completely mixed. To make this entirely vegan, use coconut oil instead of butter as stated below. The key is to make sure that the nuts and fruit do not burn. The heat needs to be at the lowest setting, enough to toast everything and keep it warm, but not burn it.
I made these fruit and nut goodies into discs as they are easy to store, and make for a good bite-sized snack. However, you can make these into round balls, or spread flat and then cut into bars. To make them into discs, after kneading the mixture, roll into a log shape, pushing it back in so its tightly packed. Then once decorated, and chilled, cut into discs.
To decorate, again you can use anything you like. Poppy seeds, coconut flakes, crushed pistachios and cacao nibs work great. Or make them how I did with pretty pink rose petals. I crushed a handful of these, spread them onto a flat surface, then rolled the log onto the petals so they stick. A tip to remember is to grease your hands so it's easy to handle. I used butter but you can use ghee or coconut oil.
Once complete, all you have to do is tightly roll the log in aluminium foil, and place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so it can set. Then cut the log into discs, around 1.5cm pieces.
CARDAMOM FRUIT & NUT DISCS
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 10 mins Total Time: 30 mins Yield: 20 discs
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup pistachio
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons raisins and cranberries mix
200g Medjool dates
50g dried figs
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
a handful of cooking rose petals
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil (if vegan) or ghee to toast
Gather the nuts onto a chopping board and roughly cut them in pieces.
Heat a pan on low flame and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, coconut oil or ghee.
Add the chopped nuts and seeds, toasting them for 2 minutes, stirring them constantly.
Remove from the heat when fragrant, and place in a bowl.
Add the raisins and cranberries to the dry pan, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and add to the nuts and seeds bowl.
Deseed the dates and chop up into small pieces using a knife. Also chop the dried figs into small pieces.
Place onto the dry pan and allow the dates and figs to soften on low heat for 3 minutes. As this heats up, it becomes sticky and will gather together.
Switch off the heat and add in a teaspoon of ground cardamom. Mix this entirely so the cardamom is not visible on the surface.
Add the dates and fig mixture to the bowl with the nuts and seeds.
Once its is cool enough to touch, knead the mixture like you would knead dough, until everything is fully combined. The mixture needs to still be warm to do this, so do not let it cool down too much.
Grease your hands and roll into a log, tightly packing it together.
Crush or cut rose petals and spread them across a flat surface.
Roll the log onto the rose petals, gently pushing them into the log mixture so they stick.
Cover with aluminium foil and place into the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Cut into 1.5cm disc shapes and store in an air tight container for up to 2 months.