The following is a guest post by Michelle Uher.
Most everyone loves dessert. As we know, an excess of sugar results in many undesired repercussions: weight gain, skin and hair problems, lethargy and can even lead to even more serious conditions such as diabetes and other hormonal imbalances.
But let’s face it, sometimes resisting a sweet treat is next to impossible.
So how do we create harmony with (what some may refer to as) this “necessary evil?” For me, I have found the answer in raw desserts.
Firstly, what is raw?
There are varying levels of raw foodism, but a raw food diet simply refers to eating (whole) foods that are not heated above about 104 degrees. It is believed that raw foods have enzymes, beneficial bacteria and other nutrients that aid in digestion and are destroyed when heated.
Personally, I do not adopt a fully raw foods lifestyle, but I do partake in aspects of the raw food diet, specifically: raw desserts!
It’s hard to think about dessert and be tempted by anything other than pies, cookies, cupcakes & anything else you can bake with flour and butter. In fact, you may think a raw dessert is merely an in-season piece of fruit and a handful of nuts. It is, in fact, much more than that.
Raw desserts are crafted with nuts, seeds, and sweetened with fruit, raw honey or dates. This allows a raw dessert to be packed with nutrients that are actually beneficial for you! A trim waist, soft hair and smooth skin from my dessert? Yes, please!
In addition, utilizing locally sourced raw honey can aid in managing allergies in addition to benefiting from the vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Also, adapting recipes to in-season fruit helps utilize those CSA boxes!
Raw Dessert Essentials
Coconut Oil: I can go on and on about the health benefits of oil! Coconut Oil is the best oil to cook with as it withstands high heat, enhances metabolism, the immune system and digestion and is excellent for topical treatment to hair and skin, but we are talking about raw desserts. Coconut Oil is essential, because when slightly heated, the oil is liquid. When cooled it solidifies, so it binds to the other ingredients , solidifies, keeping the dessert together.
Dates provide the essence of any dessert: sweetness! In addition, dates are full of fiber and provide many vitamins and minerals, such as: calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and magnesium. Dates also help provide the proper consistency to hold many desserts together.
Nuts: Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts & Cashews seem to work best. You can do a little research to find out how long to soak each type of nut. Cashews work the best at creating a cheesecake-type texture.
Cacao is amazing.The cacao bean is a seed and is the raw form of what we commonly call chocolate. Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea! (http://livesuperfoods.com/raw-cacao-powder.html) Using Raw, Organic Cacao not only gives you a dose of nutrients, but also allows you to control the level of sugar involved in the dessert.
A food processor is absolutely necessary! This is your primary tool for a simple raw dessert. Toss in your ingredients and blend!
Just remember, sugar is sugar and no matter the source, it should be limited! With that stated, here is my delicious recipe for ‘raw truffles’! These tasty truffles are packed with healthy fats as well as small amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, & enzymes.
Michelle’s Raw Truffles (updated with correct ingredients!)
1 Cup Raw Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, or Almonds)
3 TBS. Cacao/Cocoa Powder (or nibs for more texture)
2 tsp. Alcohol Free Vanilla Extract (or Vanilla Bean)
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt (Celtic)
2 TBS. Raw Honey
2 TBS. Coconut Oil (melted)
Place all ingredients for filling into a food processor and blend until smooth. Roll (about 1-2 TBS worth) into little balls and tuck a nut into the center. I place into freezer while I clean up and prepare for the next step. This way, as the ‘dough’ cools and the coconut oil solidifies, it will be easier to work with.
Equal Parts Coconut Oil, Cacao Powder, & Raw Honey* (usually 1-2 TBS. each)
*I imagine that sweeteners such as xylitol or stevia may work just as well with the chocolate coating. I have never tried it.
Melt ingredients together and stir until smooth. Take the lil’ balls out of the freezer and dip into chocolate coating. Immediately roll into of your choice of coating. I prefer dried unsweetened coconut flakes.
Editor’s note: Don’t those truffles sound amazing? Michelle is a real-life friend of mine and I can attest to their goodness! Have you tried any raw desserts or sweet treats?