I recently realized how much living full-time in an RV has simplified my life. I knew from the start that paring down my possessions to only the most necessary while residing in a small space would force me to embrace a simper existence. But what I didn’t expect was how other aspects of my life would shift in the same direction.
The holidays are the perfect example. I’ve already told you about my quest to avoid all the holiday shopping hoopla and my very minimal holiday decorations. Now I am adding holiday baking to my new repertoire of simple living.
I guess you could say that I once had the tendency to over do it when it came to the holidays. I admitted last week just how many decorations I used to put up, but I didn’t tell you about the excessive holiday baking I once took on. Cookies, bread bark, brittle, chocolate covered pretzels, candied orange peels…you name, I’ve made it. One year I made 10 different kinds of cookies packed in intricately decorated handmade boxes and gave them as gifts to nearly everyone I knew. It was a ton of work.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this kind of stuff. I have fond memories of spending hours pouring over recipes, making lists, and gathering ingredients. Several years in a row I did my holiday baking with my mom and we had a blast covering the entire kitchen and dining room with trays of chocolate dipped macaroons, delicately decorated gingerbread, and fancy peppermint pinwheels. But it was also a tiny bit stressful. I would work myself into a frenzy planning it all out and striving for perfection (which I never achieved).
This is our third year spending Christmas in the Airstream, and my third year only making one single holiday treat. Just one! I can hardly believe it. And that one treat is getting simpler every year. The first year I made snowflake shaped gingerbread cookies with colorful icing, the second year I made peppermint chocolate brownies, and this year I went super simple with Chocolate Drops Covered in Dried Fruit and Nuts.
If I keep going in this direction, a few years from now I’ll find myself buying a bag of candy canes and calling it a day.
In some respects, I’ve given up on all the holiday craziness out of necessity. Obviously, I have way less space to make and store holiday treats. I also have less people to give them to, and as much as Tim might disagree, we really don’t need 10 kinds of cookies hanging around the house.
But in other respects, there is something inside of me that has undergone a permanent shift. I no longer feel the need to outdo myself at the holidays, and can honestly say that if we went back to living in a house with a normal size kitchen and tons of family and friends nearby to bake for, I still wouldn’t ever try to tackle the holidays with quite as much gusto as I once did.
All of this leads me to a super simple holiday baking recipe that I want to share with you. Because everyone deserves a bit of simple in their life.
Chocolate Drops with Dried Fruit & Nuts
There’s not much instruction to give for this fool proof dessert. Basically, the “recipe” consists of chopping dried fruit & nuts of your choice (I went with almonds, cranberries & apricots), melting some chocolate of your choice ( I used dark & white), dropping the melted chocolate on a piece of parchment paper, and dotting with the dried fruit & nuts. Super simple right?
These tasty morsels store nicely in the fridge or at room temperature depending on how warm your house (RV) is. For gifts, you could package them in tiny plastic bags and tie with a festive ribbon. I plan to bring these babies to a pot luck we’re attending tomorrow, so I just stacked them inside some snowflake paper cups and called it a day.
Chocolate Drops with Dried Fruit & Nuts
Makes 40 1-inch drops
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 4 ounces white chocolate
- 1 cup total assorted nuts & dried fruit (I used almonds, dried cranberries & dried apricots)
- Chop the nuts and dried fruit into small bits. You’ll want to chop them pretty small.
- Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
- Drop small spoonfuls of the melted chocolate on a parchment lined backing sheet. I made my drops about a 1-inch round, but you could easily go bigger.
- Dot the still warm chocolate with the chopped fruit & nuts.
- Repeat with the white chocolate.
- Let cool until hardened. Depending on how big your chocolate drops are this will take 1-4 hours.
- Remove from the parchment paper and store in the fridge or at room temperature.