Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Raw Almond Joy Energy Bars

The combination of coconut, almonds, and cacao is simply heavenly in my mind.  At least as an adult.  Funny, because I always gave away my Almond Joy candy bars from my Halloween candy stash.  I think it was the sweetened coconut that I couldn't stand.  I was not fond of coconut until later in life when I had the real stuff. Just unsweetened, dried nothing added coconut.  Once I tried that, it became one of my favorite things as you can probably tell from my recipes since I use it in a lot of things.  So, if Almond Joy candy bars had been made with good coconut I think I would have loved them.

 I often combine the flavors of an Almond Joy in my desserts, but this week I decided that they would make a delicious energy bar.  It was all there...the coconut, cacao, and almonds, plus lots of add ins that I consider to be perfect energy and protein foods.  Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds, all good sources of omega 3 oils which I consider important parts of my daily meals and snacks.

The best part about these is not just that they are packed with nutritional goodness, but they are delicious as well!  Dessert, snack, and re-energizer in one, and they will keep you going throughout the day!

Raw Almond Joy Energy Bars
Makes 12

2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft and drained well)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 cup finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup ground flax seed
2 scoops raw protein powder (I used Garden of Life Raw Vanilla)
1/4 cup raw, shelled hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
1 cup finely shredded dried coconut

Chocolate Drizzle:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar, or agave nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

In a food processor, combine the coconut nectar, dates, sea salt, banana, almond extract, vanilla extract, and coconut butter and process until smooth. Add the cup coconut, flax seed and protein powder and process until well combined.  Add the seeds and buckwheat groats and process briefly just to incorporate (so that there is still texture).  Remove from the processor and knead in almonds, raw cacao nibs and coconut (the mixture may be a little sticky, but that is ok*).  Spread out on a lined dehydrator tray 1/2 inch thick in a square (using a bench scraper to shape the sides and an oiled rolling pin helps).  Cut into 12 bars, and place in the dehydrator.  Dry for about 12 hours at 115F until dry but still chewy. Or, alternatively, you can just place in the freezer until firm (about an hour) but they will be not be as firm, or keep as long.
Once the bars are ready, to make the chocolate, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Then drizzle over the finished bars (I like to put mine in a pastry bag and drizzle it).  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate.  Store finished bars in the fridge in an airtight container.

*Note: if you do not want to dehydrate these, add more flax meal, a little at a time until they are not sticky, kneading it in, then refrigerate them to firm up.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raw Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos

 More jalapenos?  Why yes!  I apologize to any of you that do not like hot peppers for all of my spicy pepper posts lately, but I love the little guys and I have been given a lot of them lately.  I make a lot of hot sauce, but I have been a little more inspired to make actual recipes with them too.  The latest of which was Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos.  To be honest, I have been wanting to make something of the sort for over two years now, or since I went raw really.  Every time I would hear about jalapeno poppers or stuffed jalapenos, I would say to myself...I need to make some raw ones.

Well, now was the time.  I know the classic raw recipe for stuffed jalapenos uses a cashew cheese, but I try to limit my nut intake (because I can not always tolerate lots of them and they are spendy) except for special occasions or times when I want to splurge.  So, the solution was a coconut cheese.  Before you go thinking that sounds weird, and too sweet...it is actually a wonderful cheese base!  I have been experimenting with it a bit lately, using probiotics  to give it a tang as well as make it healthy for my gut.  So, I used some of this raw coconut cheese I have been experimenting with laced with a bit of nutritional yeast to make it cheddary for the filling.  I mixed in some of my home made sun dried tomatoes, and it was as simple as that!  These were yummalicious savory goodness!  Cheesy and spicy, but not heavy.  If you have fresh peppers from your garden, first off I am envious of you lucky duck!  Second, you should try these out, you will be happy you did!

Raw Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Jalapenos
Makes 24

Creamy Cheddar Cheese:
2 cups finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup young coconut meat
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
a pinch turmeric
a pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp probiotic powder

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

12 jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed

To make the cheese, Add the coconut to a high speed blender* and blend until a smooth butter.  combine all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover, and let sit on the counter in a warm place for 12 hours until it starts to become a little tangy.  Place in the fridge until it firms up a little (to the consistency of spreadable cheese, you want to be able to pipe it).  Stir in the tomatoes.  Place the cheese in a pastry bag or a ziplock back with the corner cut off, and pipe into the prepared jalapenos. Serve!

*Note: this will not work if you do not have a high speed blender strong enough to turn the coconut to butter.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Raw Tomato Basil Cheesecake

I know what you may be thinking...tomatoes and basil in a cheesecake?  Aren't those savory items fit for things like pasta sauce or salads?  Well, yes they are but...they are just as equally delicious when used creatively in sweets.  I love tomatoes and basil, so much that I wait all year for them, and I do not buy tomatoes at the store, I wait for the ones from my Grandpa's garden.  I grow my own basil in a pot on the patio as well, and nothing compares to those two ingredients combined, fresh and home grown.  Most often I like my tomatoes just with a hint of sea salt, with a little torn basil.  To me that is like dessert.  Savory dessert.  But tomatoes do have a hint of sweetness that can be brought out for a sweeter dessert. Like this Tomato Basil Cheesecake!  

 No, I am not crazy.  This is how the idea came about.  I have been wanting to try making a basil cheesecake for a long time, years in fact since I saw a recipe for a baked one that intrigued me. I love basil and I love cheesecake, so why not?  I have actually made sweet tomato desserts before, caramelized tomato ice cream and a tomato spice cake so I knew that tomato would work in a dessert.  I decided to combine the two by swirling a caramelized tomato jam throughout the cake. Tomato is a fruit after all, and it is wonderful in a jammy state.

This cake was freaking amazing.  The marriage of flavors that are usually savory with sweet. My kind of dessert.  Something outside of the box. If you don't believe me I wish I could invite you over to try it.  Simply heavenly and a perfect use of the end of the summer tomato and basil harvest!

Raw Tomato Basil Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake

2 smaller tomatoes (preferably local and organic), cut into quarters
3 Tbsp maple syrup (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/2 cup fresh organic basil, packed 
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)**

Caramelized tomato jam:
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water until soft, and drained***
1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup maple syrup (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt

For the garnish, toss the tomatoes with the maple syrup and sea salt and set on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate overnight, about 12 hours until the tomatoes have shrunken and flavors are intensified but are not completely dry.  Set aside in the fridge.  
Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and cardamom and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla and basil in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and and process for a minute until blended. 
To make the tomato jam, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  If it seems too thick add a little more maple syrup or water.  
To assemble cheesecake, 1/3 of the basil filling over the crust, then drop some of the tomato jam by the tsp over that and swirl with a knife. Then pour half the remaining filling over that, then drop more of the jam over that and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining basil filling over that, and then drop more jam over that. Once the pan is full, tap the bottom on the counter to level, and swirl with a knife in a spiral from the outside in to the center, then a toothpick if you want more intricate swirls.  Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until set.  When ready to serve, garnish with dried caramelized tomatoes, and basil.  

*If you are unable to get young coconut meat, you may substitute 4 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours and drained and filtered water instead of the coconut water.
**If your coconut meat is very soft and watery, you may need to add a few More Tbsp coconut butter.
***To make sun dried tomatoes, cut your tomatoes into wedges (about 4 for smaller and 8 for larger), and dehydrate on a lined tray at 115F for 24 hours or until dry.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Stuffed Chili Peppers

I love my hot peppers. In fact, I keep a jar of my habanero hot sauce on hand at all times to drizzle over my food nightly.  It has been this way for at least 3 years now.  I think I am addicted to them.  Besides the hot sauce though, I enjoy using them in my food. My boyfriend Eric does too.  He asked me to make him a ghost pepper (one of the hottest peppers in the world) smoothie a couple weeks back.  I thought it sounded crazy until I thought about it and heat goes well with fruit...so the combo of the berries and habaneros turned out to be a delicious win.

I had some serrano peppers sitting on my counter last week and I thought they needed to be made into something delicious.  Something sweet and delicious.  With chocolate.  I have heard of chocolate dipped peppers, but not chocolate dipped peppers stuffed with peanut butter.  Yes, I am on a peppers, chocolate and peanut butter kick this week because I also made Jalapeno Lime Peanut Butter Fudge (which was freaking delicious and amazing too).  Anyways, I decided to make something with the pepper as more of a major ingredient with these.

I love combining something which is usually savory with sweet. I did not put any sweetener in my peanut butter, because I wanted it to be just salty, gooey, spicy, then rich, sweet and chocolaty.  These peppers were epic.  Eric loved them too!  If you make these, you can use whichever pepper you have or you enjoy the most.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Stuffed Chili Peppers
Makes 12

12 serrano peppers (or your favorite chili, but keep in mind it has to be big enough to stuff)
1/4 cup raw jungle peanut butter (or peanut butter if you don't mind it not being raw)
1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave nectar (optional for sweeter filling, I did not use any)

1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar, or agave nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

To prep the chilies, make a slit down one side of each one lengthwise and carefully remove as much of the ribs and seeds as you can (being careful not to tear them).  Mix the sweetener into the peanut butter if you are using (I did not put any in mine because I like it less sweet), and place in a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off in a small hole.  Pipe the peanut butter into the peppers, being careful not to fill too full. Set aside.
Line a tray with foil.
To make the chocolate, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  Set the the chocolate bowl next to the peppers, and the foil lined tray.  Dip each pepper into the chocolate, using the stem to hold it and letting the excess drain off.  Then place them onto the foil .  Once the peppers have all been dipped, place them in the freezer to harden (just about 3-5 minutes).  Enjoy!  Extras can be stored in the fridge.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Raw Ginger Peach Hand Pies

Sadly, summer is drawing to a close soon and that means so is the summer produce...like the gloriously sweet juicy peaches.  They are so good right now that I am taking full advantage of enjoying them while they are still here.  Eating plenty of them just as is mostly, but I decided that they deserved to be made into pie.  Not just pie though, laced with ginger and a dash of cinnamon and shaped into individual portions hand pie style.

I don't know about you, but I love the idea of having my own little whole dessert.  Yes, a big round pie is beautiful, but once you cut into it, and the filling oozes out it is not always so pretty the next day.  Plus I feel like I am getting away with something eating a whole pie (even if it is a small hand pie).  Because I would probably eat a half of a round regular sized pie...since there is no individual portion to stop me.  You know what I am talking about, don't you?!

I used plenty of ginger in the sweet, jammy peach filling so it had a little kick, and it was delicious wrapped up in the cinnamon scented pastry drizzled with a little coconut glaze.  So delicious and the perfect use for late summer peaches.  These are wonderful warm from the dehydrator, with a little raw ice cream if you have it on hand.

Raw Ginger Peach Hand Pies
Makes 6

2 1/2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
2 cups sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat (or additional coconut)
2 cups ground golden flax seed
1 1/2 cups soft medjool dates, pitted (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain well before using)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 2 medium)

5 1/2 cups diced peaches, divided
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 tsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp filtered water

To make the crust, combine all the ingredients but the banana in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Add the banana, and process until holding together like dough (if it seems too dry add a tsp of filtered water, if too sticky a few more Tbsp flax seed). Divide the dough into 6 balls, and roll out 1/8 inch thick on a piece of parchment (if too sticky, refrigerate for about 10 minutes and oil your rolling pin).  Set rounds aside in the fridge.
To make the filling, combine the 1 1/2 cups of the peaches, dates, ginger, cinnamon, coconut nectar and sea salt in a food processor and process until smooth.  Stir in the remaining peaches. Spoon a little filling into the center of each dough circle, then fold it over and flute the edges (or use a fork to crimp them shut).  Dehydrate for about 1 hour until the outside of the dough is dry (this step can be skipped the dough will just be softer). 
To make the glaze, whisk together all ingredients until smooth (it may seem clumpy at first, but it will thin out). Drizzle over the pies (I find it easier and neater to put it in a ziplock back and clip the corner off then drizzle) and serve!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Raw Dragonberry Rose Ice Cream Cake

I had gotten my hands on some dragon fruit last week and I was excited.  It is not something that is easy to come by in Minnesota.  Plus I had never had it before so I wanted to make something beautiful with it since it has such a lovely deep pink hue.  It was still warm outside and I wanted some ice cream, so it ended up being a raw ice cream cake.  

 I didn't have a whole lot of dragon fruit, so I decided to combine it with strawberries for the cake filling and it made the most glorious flavor I decided to call dragonberry.  It was sweet and simply crave worthy!  I also added a little bit of rosewater which was beautiful with the dragonberry flavor. I decided to make a white vanilla cake for the base layer to go under the ice cream layer and it was perfect with the aromatic dragonberry ice cream.

I also made a swirl from the dragon fruit and berries to give it extra pops of flavor throughout.  This cake looked like the girliest cake ever and I loved that about it!  The flavor was intense but delicate and floral.  I hope I get my hands on more dragon fruit in the future so I can experiment more!

Raw Dragonberry Rose Ice Cream Cake
Makes one 6 inch round cake

1 1/2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
1/2 cups ground flax seed
1 cup raw sprouted buckwheat flour or raw oat flour
2/3 cup ground psyllium husk
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak in filtered water 30 minutes and drain well before using)
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pear or apple

Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups coconut water
3 cups young coconut meat*
2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup fresh strawberries
2 dragon fruit, chopped
3/4  cup raw coconut nectar or another raw liquid sweetener if you prefer
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 1/2 tsp rosewater
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid

1 cup dragonbfruit pulp
1 cup strawberries
4 soft medjool dates , pitted (if not soft, soak them in filtered water until they are then drain well)
a pinch sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

About 1 Tbsp coconut butter warmed to liquid (if you wish to decorate the top)

For the cake bottom, in a food processor, combine coconut, flax seed, flour, psyllium husk , and process until fine like flour.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Add the dates, coconut nectar, pear, and vanilla extract to the food processor and process until smooth.  Mix into the dry ingredients with your hands until holding together and combined (you do not want to over mix or the cake will be heavier).   Remove from the food processor and press into the bottom of a 6 inch round spring form pan lined with plastic wrap (for easy removal).  

For the ice cream, add coconut water to a food processor, along with young coconut, bananas, dragon fruit, strawberries, coconut nectar, rosewater, vanilla, and sea salt. Process until smooth, then with the processor running, add the coconut butter slowly and process until well incorporated, about a minute. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to directions. 
While the ice cream is churning, make the puree. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Set aside. 
Once the ice cream is done churning, to assemble the cake, spread a few Tbsp of the puree over the cake, then pour 1/2 the ice cream over that. Drop about 3 Tbsp more of the puree over that, then swirl down into the ice cream layer with a knife.  Pour the rest of the ice cream over that and smooth the top.  Place in the freezer for about 6 hours or overnight until firm.  
Whisk a little of the coconut butter into the remaining puree until it thickens if you wish to decorate the top with it (you need to make sure it is at room temperature though so it does not clump up). Place it in a pastry bag and pipe it over the cake.
Store the cake in the freezer if not enjoying right away, but let it sit out for at least 15-20 minutes before serving to soften.
*If young coconut meat is unavailable, you can substitute the 3 cups fresh coconut with 3 cups finely shredded, dried coconut and 1 1/2 cups coconut water.  But, you MUST have a high speed blender to do this or it will never become smooth.  Blend the coconut first until it becomes butter, using the tamper to press it into the blades until it is liquidy, then add the coconut water and blend until combined. Add this to the ice cream base in place of the young coconut meat.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jalapeno Cheddar Kale Chips

I have been making sweet kale chip flavors like red velvet, berries and cream, and mocha for a while now because I had been craving them, and they make the perfect dessert when I want something munchy.  No, I am not crazy and in case you hadn't seen my sweet kale chip flavors on this blog, you should try them out because they are amazing (not weird as you might suspect with sweet and kale, because you just taste the coating).  But anyways, I decided to go out of my normal routine this week and make savory kale chips.  I have been in the mood for more savory things lately and I listen to my cravings.  I wanted to make something I hadn't before, so I decided on Jalapeno Cheddar Kale Chips.

Now, I know everyone and their Grandmother makes cheddar kale chips, and probably some with jalapenos, but these are different, trust me.  At least as far as ingredients are concerned.  As some of you may know, I try to use nuts sparingly in my recipes, not as a main filler ingredient (unless it is specifically a peanut butter cup or something) so I had to figure out what to use as the bulk of my batter that wasn't nuts.  I used my go to ingredient, shredded coconut (which I find easier to digest than so many nuts) along with carrots.  Now before you go thinking that sounds weird and not cheddar like at all, trust me it was!  After I had added garlic, nutritional yeast, cider vinegar and salt plus the kick of jalapeno you would be none the wiser that it was not cheddar.  These were freaking amazing.  Cheesy, a little spicy, and crave worthy deliciousness! If you don't believe me, try some for yourself!

Jalapeno Cheddar Kale Chips
Makes 8 cups

2 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, chopped
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 cups filtered water
sea salt to taste

2 bunches kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces

In a high speed blender, combine all of the ingredients but the kale until smooth.  Combine with the kale in a large bowl, and massage batter into the kale with your hands until it is coated.  Spread out on 2 lined dehydrator sheets and dry at 115F for about 24 hours until completely dry and crispy.