Tag Archives: walnuts

Raw Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s a rainy day here in Southern California (I didn’t sign up for this), and the streets are far too flooded to walk around (I just soaked my tennis shoes on the way to the Campus Center), so naturally, I headed to my blog. There are a few things I could post on, but I’ve always found chocolate to be the best remedy for a gloomy day. So I give you, not just chocolate, but Chocolate Cupcakes from Raw for Dessert!

Yep, the same little cuppies who are now gracing my new header, which a few of you were kind enough to comment on!

These miniature cupcakes are super simple and fun to make, like every other recipe I’ve made from Raw for Dessert (see my review). The “cake” is made of dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and vanilla, and the frosting of cocoa powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup. My sister was a fiend for these!

They’re moist and rich–just like any chocolate cake should be–baked or raw! Man, I wish I had one of these right now. I’ll have to console myself with the knowledge that I’m going to the LA Babycakes tomorrow! ;)

Raw for Dessert

I was recently contacted by the Book Publishing Company in Summertown, Tennessee with the opportunity to review one of their many vegan cookbooks! Being a fan of some of the BPC’s classics–such as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and Becoming Vegan–I was more than happy to take advantage of the offer, and gleefully requested a copy of Raw for Dessert by Jennifer Cornbleet.

I love raw desserts. Not only are they easy to make and incredibly healthful, but they generally seem to feature more unique, creative, and exciting combinations of flavors and textures than their cooked counterparts. I’m not gonna lie–I love me a good chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, but sometimes a raw chocolate brownie, rich and dense, can do the job just as credibly.

Before I get to the recipes I made, I just want to say that this book is laid out really nicely, and it truly runs the gamut of the dessert world in its 7 chapters: Basics (mix-and-matchable creams, sauces, frosting, and crusts that many of the subsequent chapters require), Fruit Desserts (ranging from simple strawberries soaked in orange juice to the more complex Banana-Caramel Crumble, which I made), Sorbets, Ice Creams, and Sundaes (whether you want Concord Grape Sorbet or a Knockout Brownie Sundae, this chapter’s got it!), Cakes, Cookies, and Bars (Cheesecake, brownies, etc.), Pies and Tarts (which includes a pumpkin-less Pumpkin Pie that I’m dying to try), Creamy Desserts (you probably thought you’d never have crème brulée again after going vegan, but what about a raw Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée?!), and Candy (Truffles and stuffed dates galore!).

I tried to cover the book’s variety in choosing my review recipes, so there’s a little of everything!

First up, Dark Chocolate Truffles.

Talk about crack in spherical form. Made from coconut oil, dates, maple syrup, and cocoa powder (okay, so these aren’t quite raw due to the last two ingredients, but they’re a heckuva lot more raw than what I’d be eating otherwise!), these little gems were melt-in-your-mouth sinful.

I made half of them with the traditional cocoa coating, and half using the coconut variation that the recipe provides.

Next time I make these, I might try the curry variation. My mom vetoed it this time around, but what does she know?!

Along with the truffles, I made some Pine Nut Caramels. Who knew that dates, pine nuts, and vanilla were so sexy together? These caramels lived up to their name–buttery, sweet, and, well, caramel-y!

Leaving the Candy chapter, I also explored Fruit Desserts by making the Banana-Caramel Crumble, and, boy, did I choose wisely.

Bananas are mashed with a Shortbread Crust, then topped with a date-cashew butter-maple syrup caramel sauce, and finally with more crust crumbles. I took Cornbleet’s suggestion and placed the crumbles in a slightly heated oven so that they would “warm up,” while still remaining raw.

The crumble was quite sweet, but given that it’s served in small ramekin-sized portions, it’s just right. My family and I agreed that no one would ever know that this dessert was raw without being told.

In my last post, I mentioned that I made a raw carrot cake to go with the standard carrot cake for my sister’s birthday. What I was actually referring to was the Spice Cake from this book, to which I added some grated carrots, and frosted with Vanilla Cashew Cream. Lucky for you, the Book Publishing Company has given me permission to share one recipe, and I knew it had to be this one.

Raw Spice Cake with Vanilla Cashew Cream
Yield: one 6-inch cake (8 servings)

Cream Ingredients
1 cup cashews, soaked for 8 to 12 hours (1 1/4 cups after soaking), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup light agave syrup or maple syrup (I used maple)
1 vanilla bean, seeds only or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used extract)

Ahead of time: Soak the cashews for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse. Soaked cashews can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Place the cashews, water, and agave syrup in a blender and process until very smooth. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla bean seeds and process until well combined. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, Vanilla Cashew Cream will keep for 5 days.

Cake Ingredients
1/2 cup raw almonds (unsoaked)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup raw walnuts (unsoaked)
1 cup raw pecans (unsoaked)
8 pitted medjool dates
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup raisins
1-2 carrots, grated (my addition!)
1 tablespoon maple syrup or dark agave syrup (I used maple)

Place the almonds, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add the walnuts and pecans and process until finely ground. Add the dates and orange zest and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Add the raisins, maple syrup, and carrots and process briefly to incorporate.

Line a 6-inch cake pan with a parchment-paper round. Pour the nut mixture into the pan and distribute it evenly. Press down with your hand to compact.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the cake pan. Invert, then lift the pan off. Remove the parchment round.

Frost with Vanilla Cashew Cream.

Covered with plastic wrap, Spice Cake will keep for 5 days stored in the refrigerator or for 2 weeks stored in the freezer.

This cake is wonderfully dense, moist, and rich, so a little goes a long way. The orange zest was an especially nice touch–every bite was full of its vibrant flavor. Paired with the velvety sweetness of the cashew cream, this cake was dreamy.

If you didn’t get the message yet, this is a book that’s worth buying. Whether you’re an omnivore, vegan, or raw foodist, you’ll flip over these and countless other recipes. Plus, as far as I could see, none of the recipes called for a dehydrator, which, if I may generalize based on my own experience, can be frustrating for the average raw food amateur. As far as I’m concerned, Raw for Dessert blows Ani’s Raw Desserts (the only other raw dessert book I have) out of the water!

What are you waiting for? Go make some raw cake! If you’re still skeptical, check out Hannah’s, Celine’s, Bianca’s, and aTxVegn’s reviews!

More Simple Food, "Crummy" Muffins, and Magic Cookies

Today’s post is almost exactly the same as yesterdays: simple (yet delicious) flavors for me, and some decadence for my lucky family. :)

I had the same mango-banana-papaya-coconut smoothie as yesterday (also with flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice), but I took a picture today so you can see its lovely shade (and my adorable baby bowl that I recently purchased from Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe).

A great smoothie strategy I’ve discovered lately is using extracts to pack flavor without extra calories. For example, in the above smoothie, I used a 1/4 tsp of coconut extract, which imparted a rich, yet calorieless coconut flavor to my smoothie (instead of coconut milk, which, though healthy, is pretty fatty, and in a smoothie with so many other flavors, I can do without i). I’ve also used almond extract – my favorite smoothie with it being cherry-almond. Obviously, vanilla goes with everything (especially PB smoothies!). I can’t wait to experiment with maple/coffee extract when I eventually get my hands on them.

My family requested muffins for brekkie, so I made the Apple Crumb Muffins from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! I’m actually not a HUGE fan of crumb toppings on muffins–they just annoy me when they get everywhere), so I didn’t mind making these when I couldn’t have them. Plus, I love the act of baking in itself so much, who cares?!

This recipe is loaded with a delicious apple-maple-cinnamon-“buttery”-flavor, or so I heard, haha. I made 10 muffs instead of 12 to get the tops, but, as you’re about to see, that didn’t work out too well…The tops just broke right off (I think the crumb topping weighed them down too much, so they couldn’t really achieve their full potential and sturdiness). Behold the saddest muffin of the batch:

OMG, I know. You don’t even need to say anything. But, they weren’t all like that, I swear. See?

For lunch I had the exact same chickpea-brown rice-kale bowl as yesterday, but for dinner I switched things up a little and had red quinoa with cumin, lime, cinnamon, raisins, and hemp seeds with green beans, peas, and leftover white sweet potatoes. I decided to go sauceless because I think that cuke-yogurt sauce goes better with the rice and chickpeas.

Extra cinnamon on top!

My mom requested cookies after dinner (they request a lot, don’t they?), so I whipped up Magic Cookies from the same cookbook as the muffins (You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!). Now, these. THESE, I was jealous of not being able to eat. As in, the monster of jealousy inside me was greener than the peas in my detox bowl.

These are everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of cookies, loaded with carrots, pecans (and walnuts because I ran out), oats, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes. You’re supposed to make them really large (the recipe says 9 cookies per batch, and it’s NOT an unusually small amount of batter), but even making them as big as the book says, I got almost double the amount of cookies out of this recipe–and had to almost double the baking time, weird. Can’t complain, I guess. Their size allows them to have a crispy exterior while being delightfully chewy in the middle (or so I imagine, again…). My fam raved about these and said I could become FAMOUS for them!

I think that when I’m finally able to make these for myself, I’ll use: carob chips, oats, pecans, carrots, sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, and PEANUT BUTTER. Doesn’t that sound like an even lovelier combo. Get better, tummy, please!