Ok, so being the big liar that I am, I’m opting to do a “real” (aka what I’d actually intended to post last week) New Year’s post. It’s a week late technically, but if you really think about, today is actually my first post of 2018 so it’s really my first post of the New Year, so it still counts 😉 . Today, I’m bringing you these super easy and quasi healthy (i.e. “let’s take something healthy like grapes, and add a bunch of unhealthy stuff to it! Yeah!!!”) grapes three ways. Actually, you could even say four different ways if you wanted to include the even lazier option of just straight up grapes (possibly also the more virtuous option, but Bah Humbug I say!)…..or possibly even five ways if you decide to reduce your laziness by a factor of 0.1 and place said plain grapes in the freezer for a delicious frozen treat. So many choices…hopefully you are not like me and having so many options doesn’t cause you to take a billion years to make a decision 🙂 .
“Why grapes Amber?” you might be asking your computer screen (You talk to your computer too???!!! Phewf, I thought I was the only crazy one 😉 . Also, sorry if you weren’t asking, because I’m obviously going to be telling you anyway 🙂 ). There’s actually a couple of “fun” traditions around this one. Apparently in Spain, it’s traditional to eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. According to Wikipedia:
“The Twelve Grapes is a Spanish tradition that dates back from at least 1895 but became established in 1909. In December of that year, some alicantese vine growers popularized this custom to better sell huge amounts of grapes from an excellent harvest.
The tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. In some areas, it is believed that the tradition wards away witches and general evil, although this “magic” is treated like an old heritage, and in modern days it’s viewed as a cultural tradition to welcome the new year.”
(Because obviously, where witches and general evil are concerned, you want to avoid this situation 😉 :
An addendum to this one is also that some believe that each grape represents a month of the year and if you get a bad grape, that month will be not so…(wait for it) grape 😉 .
Of course we do the whole champagne/ sparkling wine thing here, and I did very strongly consider doing something like champagne truffles or cake pops and attaching them to say, a pretzel stick, and affixing them with white chocolate inside a champagne flute so it would look like the ball dropping at midnight. Wouldn’t that have been cool???!!! Alas, laziness prevailed (also, I didn’t realize until after I’d rejected this plan that you can buy mini bottles of sparkling wine/champagne. Part of my decision not to do it was that I didn’t want to open a whole big bottle when I really only needed a half cup or so (getting super drunk at 2pm on New Year’s Eve seemed a sure fire way for me to be asleep by 4pm…and then I’d miss eating my 12 grapes and be doomed to a terrible year ahead 😉 ). Damn you LCBO, where was your way-too-in-my face marketing when I needed it??!!!)
This article had a bunch of fun worldwide New Year’s Eve traditions if anyone’s interested (my personal favourites from this list? I love that Romanian’s have accidentally confused New Year’s with Halloween. Seriously, look at the pictures. Terrifying. Denmark sounds super fun – but also possibly dangerous, and the Germans really know how to celebrate….mmmmmm….doughnuts. Siberia is a bit insane, but this one feels a bit awesome to me as well…kind of reminiscent of our polar bear swim, except there’s an actual purpose behind it instead of just trying to prove your machismo (of which I have 0 where cold is concerned) Is that too many favourites? By the strictest definition of the word…yes….sooooo…I guess that means yes 😉 ).
Essentially, I wanted to work in some sort of food based New Year’s Eve tradition, but a lot of traditions more tended to be actions. Or they incorporated foods that I was just not jonesing at the moment to put into dessert (lentils, onions, fish. Not that these things can’t be put into dessert, because I most definitely love a challenge, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it this time around. Actually, I can promise you that fish will absolutely never make its way into any of my desserts for the obvious reason…their eyes really freak me out 😉 . ( Unless you can count these grapes as fishes since people often use grapes as eyeball substitutes at Halloween? Yeah, let’s go with that 😉 ).
Happy New Year and here’s hoping it’s a grape year filled with lots of wine (and no whine), where we’re grapeful for all we have, and, of course, one in which we set about raisin a little hell whenever we get the chance 😉
Yield: as many as you want
- Orange liqueur (or other alcohol of choice, or juice, whatever floats your boat)
- Chocolate liqueur (or other alcohol of choice, or chocolate syrup, whatever floats your boat)
- Flavoured drink crystals or cane sugar
- Flavoured drink crystals or cane sugar
Fancy Pants Grapes:
- White chocolate chips
- Dark chocolate chips
- Crushed pecans (or other nuts of choice, peanuts would be nice here too)
- Boozy Grapes – Place grapes in a small bowl and just barely cover with alcohol. Freeze for a couple of hours. Place drink crystals or sugar in a small bowl and dip or roll each grape in sugar mixture. Store in the freezer.
- Sugared Grapes – Place drink crystals or sugar in a small bowl. Dip each grape in water, then dip or roll in sugar/ drink crystal mixture. Allow to dry at room temperature until a slight crust forms.
- Fancy Pants Grapes – For easier dipping, place a toothpick in the centre (where the stem would’ve been) of each grape and line a baking sheet or plate with wax or parchment paper. Place white chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave for 1 minutes and stir until melted. Dip 3/4 of each grape in white chocolate and place on baking sheet. While white chocolate is firming up, place crushed nuts on a small plate. Next, pour dark chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute and stir until melted. Once white chocolate is dry to the touch (feel free to refrigerate slightly to speed up this process), dip 1/3-1/2 of each grape in dark chocolate, then roll the base in crushed nuts. Return to baking sheet. Repeat until all grapes are done. Store in the refrigerator.