No-bake gluten free, reduced sugar, reduced fat, vegan Christmas log

Chocolate logs are very popular here but they different to the ones we find in the UK.   Here the no-bake Christmas log is one that is made in almost every home.

My Christmas log is based on the local recipe but I use dates to sweeten it instead of refined sugar. I also use almond milk and no added butter for a reduced fat and dairy free option. It is delicious you do not notice the absence of condensed milk that is usually used.  You will need:

3 packets plain gluten free and lactose free biscuits [I use Nutrifree]
250g dates
350ml almond milk
300 g hazelnuts
50 g cherries
4 tablespoons cocoa powder powder
2 tbsp brandy
a pinch of cinnamon [to enhance the chocolate flavour]
a pinch of instant coffee [to enhance the chococlate flavour]
400 g dark chocolate to decorate

Roughly crush the biscuits and chop the dates.Place the almond milk and the dates in a saucepan on low heat and stir until the dates break up and the mixture obtains a smooth consistency.

In a bowl mix the biscuit crumbs, the brandy, the hazelnuts, the cherries and the cocoa powder.Use your hands to bring the mixture together. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Form the cooled mixture into a log shape and leave it in the fridge, covered, overnight.

The next day, decorate with chocolate that has been melted in a bain-marie, and with other decorations of your choice.