Around Christmas pot luck season, I was debating what I'd contribute. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I'm always running a bit ragged at that time of the year and wanted something I could make ahead that also contained veggies - I always like to bring a vegetable dish to potlucks because the ones I frequent are way likelier to feature 20 types of brownies than a salad. I was thinking about my favourite foods as a kid, and remembered ants-on-a-log - YUM! - celery sticks filled with peanut butter with "ants"/raisins stuck into the peanut butter. I made a (slightly) more grown up version for most every potluck or house party this year.
These "gourmet" ants-on-a-log celery sticks are a lot of fun to make, and keep crisp and fresh in pyrex or tinfoil for lunches or snacks for at least a week, and look gorgeous on a fancy serving tray as appetizers. The sesame apricot are my favourite, but the variations are near endless, and I've made an almond fig version that was very yummy. I've gotten great reviews from two inestimable crossfitters, who pushed me to take some sort of picture so I could post the recipe here (thanks Shari and Julie!). I've also had good luck having kids eat them - sometimes kids are a tough sell on the sugar-free snacks.
Note that there is nothing perishable in the "filling" - you can store any extra indefinitely in the fridge just like you would nut butters! It is like spreadable trail mix! Unfortunately for me, like regular trail mix, that means that it doesn't actually get stored - it gets eaten almost immediately straight out of the jar - but for those of you with more will-power, making a big batch to spread on celery for a few months is an awesome option.
Gourmet sesame apricot ants-on-a-log
- All the decent sized stalks from two bunches of celery, cut approximately 4" long
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 T sesame seeds
- 2 T unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 1/4 cup dried medjool dates
- Huge pinch of sea salt
Note: If you aren't a fan of some of those ingredients, or want to substitute in your favourites, this recipe boils down to:
- 1/2 cup nut or seed butter (almond, coconut, cashew, tahini, sunflower seed...)
- 1/2 cup raw nuts or seeds (shredded coconut, macadamia, pistachio...)
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, dates, apples...)
- Huge pinch of sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put your raw nuts and seeds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown.
- Pulse everything in the food processor until combined to your liking.
- Use your (clean?) fingers to stuff the celery.