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MDX Redbeat

‘Tis the season for sweet treats

Sweet, sweet winter! With Christmas and New Year right around the corner, baking is at an all-time high; it has been a pastime for many of us during the past eight months. It is time to put Dalgona coffee and banana bread to rest and do better. This festive season, we bring you a compilation of three comfortable, budget-friendly desserts that anyone can whip up at home. If buying an expensive dessert seems to be out of the aisle for you, get your shopping bags ready to grab a few essentials and try these recipes out for yourself.

Christmas chocolate bark

(Serves 6-8 people)

Fig. 2: Christmas chocolate bark. 


  • 1 cup dark/semisweet chocolate (for a vegan substitute, one can use dairy-free chocolate) 
  • Toppings of choice (Oreos, pretzels, roasted peanuts, almonds, MnMs, marshmallows, the options are endless!) 


  1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for two minutes, stopping every 20 seconds after the first minute, to stir it. 
  2. Once the chocolate has completely melted into a smooth and silky note, pour it over a wax sheet or aluminium foil placed on a baking tray. Immediately, use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly, as the chocolate can harden fast.
  3. Sprinkle your choice of toppings over the chocolate and let it cool for 10 minutes on your kitchen counter. Sometimes, condensation can form if you do not let it cool well before setting it in the refrigerator/freezer.
  4. Set it in the refrigerator for two hours, or the freezer for an hour until firm.
  5. Take it out of the refrigerator, break into bite-size pieces and enjoy! The bark thins can be stored in an airtight container either in your refrigerator or on the kitchen counter, if you live in a cool climate. These bites can last up to two weeks refrigerated, but you probably will not leave much of it behind since it is such a delicious snack. 

Approximate budget – AED 17.

Vegan salted peanut butter blondies

Fig. 3: Vegan salted peanut butter blondies

(Serves 6-8 people) 


  • 1 cup white sugar (this can be substituted with coconut or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup melted all-natural peanut butter (using crunchy peanut butter will give it a crispy texture) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup oat flour (pulse regular steel cut oats in a blender for around a minute to obtain fine flour) 
  • ½ cup whole oats 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 
  •  A pinch of sea salt/table salt 
  • A pinch of cinnamon and coffee (optional, gives a hint of strong flavour)
  • ½ cup of chocolate chips (for a vegan substitute, one can use dairy-free chocolate)
  • 1 cup of milk (for non-dairy alternatives, use oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk) 


  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract using a whisk until a moist, crumbly mixture forms.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly mix the oat flour, whole oats, baking powder, salt, and extra flavourings, and add them to the wet ingredients. 
  3. While folding in the dry ingredients, slowly add the milk in ½ cup increments until you get a moist batter. You can add some more milk if the batter has not reached a pourable consistency.
  4. Fold in ¼ cup of the chocolate chips 
  5. Pour the batter into a baking tin lined with parchment (or lightly coat the tin with oil). An 8×8 inch square baking tray is recommended. 
  6. Bake in the oven pre-heated at 180°C for 30 mins. 
  7. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, 25 minutes into baking the blondies.
  8. Once the baked blondies have cooled down slightly, drizzle the melted chocolate and add a pinch of sea salt over the blondies. 
  9. Let them cool completely (this will take around an hour). You can set the blondies in the refrigerator to cool a little faster or leave them on your counter. 
  10.  Slice them into small bite-sized pieces (bigger if you prefer it that way) and enjoy! This recipe yields 16 blondie squares.

Approximate budget – AED 20. 

Apple crumble

Fig. 4: Apple Crumble.

(Serves 6-8 people) 


For the filling-

  • 6 diced apples (Apples should be diced to medium bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch 

For the coating-

  • ¼ cup white sugar 
  • 1 cup whole oats 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 tablespoon oil or margarine

For garnish

  • Choice of ice cream (you can use brands like The Brooklyn Creamery or Halo Top for vegan ice cream) or coconut whipped cream 


  1. Lightly coat all the sides of your baking dish with olive oil. An 8×8 inch square baking tray or Pyrex dish is recommended. Set aside.
  2. Combine the diced apples, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and corn starch in a medium-sized bowl. Evenly, spread this mix to your baking dish. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the white sugar, oats, oil, and vanilla extract well. Coat the apples with this mixture evenly. 
  4. Pre-heat your oven at 180°C and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Let it cool slightly, spoon into a serving dish and top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

Approximate budget – AED 15

These recipes are indulgent and customisable to your liking and are also perfect for sharing, or can be enjoyed alone. You do not have to be an excellent baker to make any of these at home, since the recipes use inexpensive ingredients that are easy to find at any local supermarket. Happy baking and Merry Christmas! 

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