Say Nuts to Flour! Raw Desserts Your Whole Family Will Love
Posted on February 05 2010 | (0) Comments
Category:Raw Snacks and Desserts
Raw foods and raw food recipes are starring in meals prepared by top chefs on TV and receiving standing ovations from diners at upscale restaurants from coast to coast, while heartland home cooks are finding new ways to ‘un-cook’ their favorite cooked recipes.
But for the Next Food Network Star and your next door neighbor, alike, the biggest challenge comes at the end of the meal. Although many people are excellent cooks, they are lost when it comes to making dessert. More science than art, baking involves precise temperatures and methods that even master chefs find challenging.
It’s raw food to the rescue...with vegan desserts, gluten-free desserts, and raw food recipes of all kinds!
Raw for Dessert? Yes!
While preparing for my Raw for Dessert book signing tour, I realized something. While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, dessert may be the most important way to win over new converts to just how delicious raw food can be. After all...what’s not to love about cookies, pies, tarts, candies and ice creams that are flavorful, but filled with nutrients?
And then it hit me that replacing white flour with ready-to-eat-and-enjoy nut flours turns anyone into a no-bake dessert wizard. It was a win-win-win situation.
The ‘Other’ Sugar
Highly processed white flour sometimes sold as ‘enriched wheat flour’ or simply ‘wheat flour’ is missing the two most nutritious and fiber-rich parts of the seed: the outside bran layer and the germ (embryo). And while flour doesn't taste sweet, it breaks down into sugar (glucose) and can lead to the very same problems caused by eating too much refined sugar, including diabetes and heart disease.
This isn’t news.
In 1906, the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment asked flour mill executives to comment on the flour bleaching process. Eighteen responded and said that flour bleaching was harmful to those eating the flour and was deceitful to the public buying the flour. And in 1910, bleached white flour was declared unfit as human food by the Federal Western District Court of Missouri.
More than 100 years ago, it was clear that white flour may provide potassium and phosphorus, but little else in the way of nutrition. It is the very definition of unhealthy refined food. So why use it when super-healthy walnuts, almonds, and other nuts can be substituted?
Who Needs Gluten?
Many adults and children have wheat allergies and cannot tolerate gluten, the substance in flour that helps hold dough together, trap air bubbles and make bread light and airy. Most of them have given up on the idea of delicious desserts...but they don’t have to! Raw desserts are the perfect solution for anyone with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Healthy nut flour readily replaces white flour.
What’s REALLY Sweet – Healthy Nut Flour
Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
The FDA has approved the heart health claim for almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts as these nuts contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g.
In the gluten-free recipe below, from my book, Raw for Dessert, walnuts are the featured ingredient, processed with Medjool dates and cocoa powder to create the base of a rich, satisfying cupcake that will have you reaching for seconds...which is why two of these mini cupcakes is considered a serving.
Chocolate-Frosted Chocolate Mini Cupcakes
Yield: 12 (2 per serving)
- 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
- Pinch salt
- 8 pitted Medjool dates
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon filtered water
- 1/3 cup Chocolate ganache (see below)
- Unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional)
- Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until finely ground.
- Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together.
- Add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and process until the powder is incorporated.
- Add the water and process briefly.
- Line a mini-muffin pan with 1 3/4 x 1-inch paper baking cups. (If you don’t have a mini-muffin pan, place the baking cups on a plate.)
- Fill each baking cup with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture.
- Press down with your fingers to compact each cupcake.
- Frost with the chocolate ganache (below) using a small offset spatula
- Sprinkle with dried coconut, if desired.
- Chill the frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Yield: 1 cup
‘Ganache’ is the French term for a smooth mixture of chocolate and cream and what most of us think of when we refer to frosting. My version replaces the traditional butter, cream, and refined sugar with virgin coconut oil and agave syrup.
- 3/4 cup dark agave syrup or maple syrup
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar with a rubber spatula.
Covered with plastic wrap, Chocolate Cupcakes will keep for 5 days stored in the refrigerator or for 2 weeks stored in the freezer...
...if you can keep from eating them that long!
Cupcakes are all the rage right now, but for those of you who prefer a full-sized cake with full-sized flavor (and no processed ingredients), Raw for Dessert also includes a recipe for a decadent 6-inch chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
You’ll lick the bowl, the spoon, and your plate! Enjoy!