Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Caramel Apple Trifle


Hard to believe that Christmas is just two sleeps away eh?! As you're reading this, J and I are on our way to Cuba! In this post I'm sharing a delicious holiday dessert that we enjoyed the other evening. You might like to make it for the holidays too. It turned out just what I had envisioned, and is tasty beyond words.


My raw caramel apple cheesecake recipe proved to be a hit for Thanksgiving. I was so happy to hear from lots of you who made it and I enjoyed the photos that some of you posted on FB and emailed to me. This trifle is a just a deconstructed version of the cheesecake. Oh so easy, pretty, healthy, and delicious. I served it in mini trifle dishes that I found at Walmart, but you could double the recipe and make it in a large trifle dish that would serve many people.

Creamy apple pudding layered with apples, thick caramel, and chopped pecans...

Caramel Apple Trifle

Instead of cake, as in traditional trifle, I used sliced apples (more like apple sticks), but you could also add a layer or two of apple cinnamon nut crust. I used the apple cheesecake filling and then blended extra apples into it to make a creamy pudding.

Apple Cream


2 cups peeled, diced apples
3/4 cup raw cashews
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced apples

Blend the first 5 ingredients until completely smooth.
Add the butter and oil. Blend again to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the filling and add back to the blender with the 1 1/2 cups diced apples. Blend until smooth (or measure out more filling and and diced apples to use up all the filling. Equal ratio.)
Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours. 

Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons lucuma, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Add the maple, almond butter, and vanilla to a small bowl. Sift the lucuma over top. Stir in.

Assembly

Layer the apple cream, caramel sauce, sliced apples, and chopped pecans. Optional: Add the apple cinnamon nut crust too. 



Happy Holidays my friends! May you enjoy a magical Christmas! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Best Christmas Cake and Farewell


For several years I've been making a very scrumptious raw vegan fruit cake for Christmas. If you're not a fan, pretty please stay with me on this one. As a kid I always thought fruit cake was gross. My mom served it every year with a special sauce - I ate whatever other dessert option was available instead. BUT everything changed when I ate Snowdrop's raw fruit cake and I proceeded to make it every year since 2008. I also adapted the recipe to be a bit easier than the original. It's a really delicious dense, spiced raw cake.


Christmas Fruitcake

A sweet, dense, fruit and nut based cake spiced with citrus, ginger, and almond extract. It's best frosted with a thick layer of coconut whipped cream and garnished with pecans and dried cherries. Make individual mini cakes, or a large cake and slice into pieces. 

Cake Dough

1 cup almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cashews
3/4 cup packed dates
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 orange, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoon almond extract
1 " ginger, minced
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Grind the almonds, coconut, and cashews in a food processor. Set aside.
Blend all the remaining ingredients in the food processor until blended. 
Add the dry mixture back in and process to combine into a dough. 
Fold in the fruit and nuts (below). 
Press the dough in a cake mold of your choice. I like to use a 7" spring form pan with a cup in the middle to make a bunt looking cake. Or use 4" spring form pans and make a hole in the center. Chill. 

Fruit and Nuts

I like to use a combination of dried cherries, raisins, mulberries, goji berries, and pineapple. Chop any bigger fruits like pineapple or mango, and use unsulfured fruit whenever you can. The original recipe included making candied nuts in the dehydrator but after making it a few times, I discovered that it's just as tasty to add plain nuts and cuts down on time. 

3/4 cup dried fruit 
1/4-1/2 cup fresh fruit juice
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Toss the fruit and juice together and marinate for 1/2 - 1 hour (or longer).

Aren't they cute? Thin the chilled coconut whipped cream with extra coconut milk and spoon over the cakes for a drizzle effect.

Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup cashews
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Blend all but the coconut oil until smooth and a high speed blender (important for the cashews to be completely broken down for proper thickening).
Add the oil and blend to incorporate.
Pour into a large shallow pan and chill in the fridge for 12 hours (if you want to speed up the firming, freeze for 1 hour and then put back into the fridge).


Remember the Mandarin Orange Cheesecake I posted in my last post? I've made it again but with a few changes:


- I made mini cheesecakes in 4" spring form pans.
- A chocolate crust (which I think goes so nicely with orange.
- Omitted the pomegranate powder this time as I realize not many people have access to that and it still turns out great.
-I topped it with pomegranate seeds since I omitted the powder.
- I also swapped the cacao butter for coconut butter since someone who wanted to make it couldn't get cacao butter. It's just as great!

I won't be making any fruit cakes this year because J and I are off to Cuba for Christmas tomorrow!!! We're so excited! I wish you a wonderful holiday season and happy new year.


To satisfy your chocolate cravings, download a copy of my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook now! All recipes are vegan, raw, gluten free, and refined sugar free.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cheesecakes


I've been so busy with holiday chocolate orders (thanks to all of you who have ordered!) that I haven't created any new raw desserts lately, but I thought I'd share some of my favorite Christmas dessert recipes from the past. While I've made these cheesecakes/squares at different times of the year, their flavors are perfect for the holidays. I might also mention that these desserts are so pretty and delicious that no one will know they're raw, vegan, gluten free, and healthy!

Check out the winter wonderland here right now! We had a huuuge dump of snow this weekend. I went for my first snowmobile ride of the season with J today.


Mint and chocolate invoke a holiday feeling so I've also featured my mint chocolate cream squares in this post.


Chocolate Mint Cream Bars

Chocolate Brownie Crust

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons water, as needed

Grind the almonds in a food processor.
Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine into a dough.
If the mixture is too crumbly and dry, add a little water.
Press into the bottom of a 9x9" pan. Set aside.

Mint Cream Topping

1/2 cup irish moss gel
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup packed peppermint leaves
1/4 cup liquid sweetener of choice
5-7 drops stevia
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1-3 drops pure peppermint essential oil*
2 teaspoons melted cacao butter

Blend all ingredients until smooth, except the cacao butter. Start with less mint oil and add more, to taste.
Add the butter and blend again to incorporate.
Spread the mixture over the chocolate crust and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before slicing.
Drizzle chocolate sauce or any other garnish you like.

*Irish Moss Gel

3/4 - 1 cup water
2 oz soaked irish moss

1. Rinse a handful of irish moss in cold water until any bits of debris have been removed. Rinse until the water runs clear.
2. Allow the moss to soak in cold water for 6-12 hours.
3. Remove the moss from the soak water - do not rinse.
4. Chop the moss and blend it with the 1 cup water until it warms up and turns into a gel (you may have to scrap the sides of the blender down a few times).
5. Chill the gel in the fridge for 6-7 days, or use immediately. When using in recipes where it's already chilled and firm, make sure to pack it into the cup to get a proper measurement.

*Use a high quality one. Remember, a little goes a long way!

I posted this raw mandarin cheesecake recipe two years ago for Christmas and have made it a few times since then, including my raw food classes in Australia. 




Mandarin Orange Cheesecake on Pecan Ginger Crust with Cranberry Pomegranate Compote, and Candied Pecans

I love the flavor and texture combination of this cheesecake. A creamy smooth citrus cheesecake on a dense gingery crust, paired with tart cranberry and sweet pomegranate, and rounded out with the crunchy candied pecans. It's really light and refreshing. Raw candied pecans found HERE

Pecan Ginger Crust

1 1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup pitted, packed dates - finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor to create a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of an 8" or 12" spring form pan.

*grated finely on a microplane

Mandarin Filling

2 1/2 cups mandarin segments
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
6 drops stevia
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon packed orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 drops orange essential oil, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter, or coconut butter

Blend all but the oil and butter until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil/butter and blend briefly to incorporate.
Pour the filling over the crust.
Chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Cranberry Pomegranate Compote

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup mandarin orange juice (or juice of regular oranges)
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder, optional
4-6 drops stevia
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 drops orange essential oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seed
2 tablespoons goji berries

Blend all but the chia and gojis, in a food processor or blender, leaving a little texture, if desired.
Pulse in the chia seed just to mix it in, but avoid breaking it down.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the goji berries.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours. The chia will soak up some of the liquid, causing the compote to thicken.
Spoon over the cheesecake when you are ready to serve it.

These coconut cardamom mini cheesecakes I made for Easter but I think they'd be a nice compliment to any holiday event.

Coconut Cardamom Cheesecake
RAW * VEGAN* GLUTEN FREE

Crust
I made a plain crust that you see here, and I made some of them with a chocolate crust too, which was just almonds, dates, and cacao powder. 

1 cup almonds
2/3 cup raisins
Pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon water

In a food processor grind the almonds into crumbs. 
Add the raisins and salt. Process until the raisins are completely broken down. 
Add the water starting with 1/2 teaspoon. If the mixture is still too crumbly, add more water. The mixture should hold together when pressed in your hand. 
Press into the bottom of mini silicone muffin cups or bottom of an 8" spring form pan. 

Filling

The mango is just an undertone in the filling - you won't really taste it with the coconut and cardamom, but I had some very ripe mango that needed to be used up and knew the flavor was neutral enough to combine with the other flavors.

1 cup diced mango (I used champagne mango)
2/3 cup cashews
6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons agave
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp)
4 tablespoons melted coconut butter
7 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Blend all but the butter and oil until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender. 
Add the last two ingredients and blend to combine. 
Pour the filling over crust. Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours or in the freezer at least 5 hours.

Coconut Crunch Topping

This is so yummy and crunchy! It would be a great topping on raw ice cream too!

6 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 teaspoons maple sugar
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons melted coconut butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. 
Set in the fridge or freezer to firm up, 10-20 minutes. 
Break into pieces using a butter knife. 
Sprinkle over the set cheesecake.

If you want a refreshing cake after all the rich flavors that this season brings, try lemon ginger cheesecakes

Lemon Ginger Mini Cheesecakes

Crust:

1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup pitted, packed dates

Grind both ingredients together in a food processor.
Add 1 teaspoon of water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Press the crust into your pans of choice (I used mini silicone muffin cups). Set aside.

Filling:

2 cups cashews
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons packed, minced ginger
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pinch of himalayan salt
6-7 tablespoons melted coconut oil

In a blender, combine all but the oil until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil and blend again briefly, to incorporate.
Pour the mixture over the crust.
Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm.

Caramel apple cheesecake RECIPE HERE is very festive too and so gorgeous!

Elvira recently made my Decadent Raw Chocolate Cake. Love the chocolate drizzle!

And Sarah's boyfriend made my raw chocolate mint tart for her birthday (check out her post)! Into a pie and squares.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some Updates


I've got some updates to share today. From Food and Yoga for Life and a few other fun things!

To recap from Food and Yoga

I did a post featuring a yummy dinner of thai noodles and veggies in peanut sauce. I gave options for raw, vegan, and for the carnivore.


For American Thanksgiving I featured a healthy pumpkin pie recipe - gluten free and dairy free.


Next, I posted a raw taco salad recipe and raw chili con corn.


Then I did my first yoga DVD review! One of my favorite yoga videos that I've had for years.


I posted a recipe that I tried for gluten free/grain free bread which I made into buns for elk burgers...


...And shared a link to my guest post on Cara's Cravings for Raw cheddar salsa stuffed cocktail tomatoes.


And lastly, I shared my recipe for brownies (gluten free/grain free/refined sugar free) with raw chocolate frosting. These babies are amazzzing!


Recently Chef Amber Shea posted a Holiday Gift Guide of Cookbooks and included my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook! Check out all the awesome books she recommends.


My darling friend Hannah of Wayfaring Chocolate reviewed my Sweetly Raw Choccies! She's a true chocolate connoisseur and gave them a thumbs up. She also tried a moonie pie when she came to visit.


A few gals have shared pictures on facebook of my recipes they've made. They look great!

Melissa made my raw caramel peanut chocolate bars (aka raw snickers) from Raw Chocolate Dream eBook

Gabby made my vegan pumpkin pie squares


Elvira made my raw blueberry cheesecake from Just Desserts- but with raspberries!


Don't they all look so nice?! Wishing you a happy Sunday!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Order My Raw Vegan Chocolates For The Holidays!


I can't believe it's that holiday time of year again already. Where does the time go?! As you probably know, I sell my raw chocolates locally but I like to do web specials during the holidays to make my healthy treats available to anyone in North America who wants them.


For this Christmas season my organic raw vegan chocolates are available to you - from now until December 17. You won't find these goodies in any of my dessert books, but there are lots of other great chocolate recipes in my Raw Chocolate Dream ebook HERE. Treat yourself or give them as gifts! To order, contact me heather@sweetlyraw.com

Choose from...

Raw Vegan Caramel Pecan Choccie Clusters
Caramel and pecans covered in rich dark chocolate

Cinnamon Caramel Pecan Clusters too!

Jumbo Raw Vegan Almond Butter Cups


Jumbo Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
(Peanuts not raw)
Chocolate Truffles 
6 different flavors: dark chocolate, mint, coconut, orange, banana, and cinnamon spice 

Order within the next 24 hours (to evening of December 5th) and receive a FREE raw chocolate macaroon.
To order, contact me: heather@sweetlyraw.com


And remember, if you prefer to make your own healthy raw vegan chocolates for the holidays, download a copy of my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook HERE.
 
Order my raw chocolates from now until December 18th! Contact me heather@sweetlyraw.com.