There are so many delicious recipes out there for Christmas treats. Unfortunately, most of them by default are heavily steeped in alcohol. There’s no need to miss out, though — you just need to know how to convert them.
Of course you could just go out and buy a ready-made product from the supermarket. I’ve noticed a change in attitude towards people with dietary needs in recent years, and finding products to fill your requirements seems to be getting easier.
There is a downside to this, though, in that they tend to try and lump some of these dietary needs together, so if you’re going alcohol-free, you may have to go nut-free, too. But if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (well, clovey and nutmeggy), you can easily solve this by making your own spicy treats.
A great way of doing this is to take one of the many delicious alcohol-based recipes and then substitute the alcohol for something else.
Good substitutes for alcohol in recipes:
- spicy chai tea
- pomegranate or cranberry juice
- the syrup from preserved stem ginger
- a freshly squeezed clementine
- your favourite cordial.
Just try to match up the sweetness levels: cranberry is slightly sour and can be used where less sweetness is needed. If you want more sweetness, go for a cordial or flavoured syrup.
Here are some great xmas recipes, complete with tips on how to adapt them:
I find this Nigella recipe to be really good and spicy, and it’s not too late to make it this weekend! Though she does bang on a bit about the Pedro Ximénez (the alcohol component in this pudding), she rather usefully explains why: it’s “sweet, dark, sticky” with a “hint of liquorice”.
So use this as your cue – substitute with some sweetened chai tea, choosing one that lists liquorice root as an ingredient, such as Pukka’s version. Or if you’re crazy for the root, use Liquorice Tea. If you’re a less-is-more type, go slightly easier on the cloves in this recipe.
Also, here’s a family-friendly recipe from Ready for Ten. It seems obvious when you think about it, but if you were doing your stir-it-up day with your children, would you really want to be using alcohol in your recipe?
A big hit with my family last year were frangipan-topped mince pies. Because there isn’t a pastry lid, the whole thing feels lighter and the lovely almond scent fills the boots of any alcoholic addition other people may favour. My bet would be if you made a batch of these from Mary Berry, and popped them next to the traditional type they’d disappear much faster. Think of them like a mincemeat Bakewell tart.
Not much of a baker? Try these ‘Unbelievably easy minced pies‘. When looking for mincemeat, remember to check the label for alcohol if you’re teetotal.
Again- it’s really not too late! Why not try my own Christmas Cake recipe from last year. I made a small one and ate it the following week with my mum back in November because we couldn’t wait. It was just as delicious as the one I made so far ahead of time last year.