On the Second Day of Christmas... Cooking Through the Twelve Days of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two chocolate date-nut turtles

and a winter green salad on a roasted pear tree!

Why go for turtle doves when you can go straight for the turtles? Here's a "wholier" Christmas turtle for the kiddos... a yummy mix of dates and your choice of nut butter under a delectable layer of chocolate.

HERE'S WHAT TO DO: Put a handful of dates in water to cover and let soften for several minutes. Reserving the soaking water, throw the dates into a food processor along with your nut butter of choice and a dash of sea salt. (I used tahini because I love the taste and because it has a caramel-like consistency. I also dropped in a few drops of orange extract.. it was really good! Although definitely an abstraction from the original chocolate turtle.) Process into a paste, adding some soaking water if needed to help it blend.

Bare naked turtles

Roll the mixture into little balls, you can roll them in shredded coconut to keep it off your fingers if desired. Line a sheet pan with parchment, and place each ball onto three pecans laid out like two little turtle legs and a head. Flatten the balls so they look like turtle shells on top of the legs. Melt some chocolate and spoon it over the top to cover. When the chocolate has cooled a little, but is still soft, decorate with some pumpkin seeds for a tortoise shell effect.