March 13, 2014
When normal high schoolers play hooky, they go hide under bridges or eat greasy pizza or whatever.
Not this girl. I made chocolate peanut butter pie, inspired by Rawsome Vegan Baking, a cookbook I have been eyeing for months. And, technically, I wasn’t playing hooky. I just didn’t feel like spending a majority of my day being bored.
As we all know, I am not a raw vegan, nor am I a vegan, nor am I even a vegetarian. I am a girl that likes to eat, and likes to eat a wide variety of things, including meat, dairy, seafood, and other animal products. That said, I do love raw vegan desserts, particularly for their creativity. I mean, it’s pretty amazing that you can use infinite combinations of nuts, fruit, coconut oil, and raw chocolate to create everything from cakes to cookies to ice cream. They’re also almost idiot-proof: you throw a bunch of ingredients in the food processor, squish them into a pan, and refrigerate or freeze. Easy-peasy!
In this recipe, I have used gluten-free oats and peanut butter, two ingredients that aren’t featured on Yes to Yummy very often. These were matters of personal preference: I felt that oats provided a lighter, crunchier texture for the crust, and peanut butter is just awesome. Sorry, sunflower seed butter, but peanut butter takes the cake (or pie, shall I say). While I prefer to soak and sprout my grains and legumes, I’ve found that I digest oats and peanuts pretty easily, regardless of preparation method. Also, soaked and sprouted peanut butter is…uh…not tasty. Like at all. (Trust me, I’ve tried. Just no.)
If you’d rather use a grain-free alternative, I’d suggest substituting blanched almonds, walnuts, or buckwheat groats (buckwheat is a grass, FYI) for the oats. If you don’t want to venture into legume land (though paleo people have recently shifted a bit) or are allergic to peanuts, use sunflower seed butter instead of the peanut butter. Really, this recipe is very easily adaptable for any eating style, which makes it perfect for feeding a crowd of picky eaters–or just eaters, for that matter.
Ready to make this delicious 9-inch circle of heaven? Good. Let’s go.
Soak 2 cups of whole raw cashews with enough warm water to cover them completely for at least 3 hours and up to 6. If you soak the cashews for too long, they’ll be slimy and gross; if you don’t soak them for long enough, your blender or food processor will make so much noise your cats will run for cover. Moral of the story: soak wisely.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 1 1/2 cups of oats (or preferred substitute, see above), 1 1/2 cups of dates, 1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until the texture of coarse sand. The ingredients should hold together very easily when touched, and no crumbs should flake off; when in doubt, add another date or two or another tablespoon of peanut butter.
Press into the bottom of a spring form pan and refrigerate for an hour.
Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Give them a gentle rinse over, and throw into the blender or food processor with 1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/2 of a large avocado, 2 cups of soft pitted dates, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and 1/3 cup of water. Process or blend until smooth.
It will look disgusting. Do not be afraid. You shall soon be saved by the power of…chocolate.
Pour in 1/2 cup of good-quality cacao powder and process or blend until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor bowl if necessary.
Now, it’s time to examine the texture. If it’s like a thick pudding, you’re good to go. If it’s more like raw cookie dough, keep adding water–a little bit at a time–to get it smoother and creamier. If it’s too liquid-y, add more peanut butter or dates.
Once your desired texture has been reached, take the crust out of the fridge and pour the filling on top, taking care to scrape the bowl’s sides. Put back in the fridge overnight, or freeze for at least four hours.
When ready to serve, combine 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, and stir to combine. Using the stirring spoon, drizzle the peanut butter-and-oil mixture all over the top of the pie. Because the pie will be cold, the drizzle will solidify almost immediately, creating a cool pattern.
To enhance the prettiness factor, sprinkle the top with cacao nibs or dark chocolate curls, if you’re feeling fancy. Serve cold.
What is your favorite kind of nut (or legume) butter? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: Allergy friendly, baking, chocolate, dairy-free, delicious, dessert, easy, gluten-free, healthy, no-bake, peanut butter, pie, vegan
September 2, 2013
This year at my school, there’s a new addition in the cafeteria. It’s not a salad bar like I was hoping for, but an ice cream bin. I’m not talking about frozen fruit bars, here: I’m talking about giant ice cream bars and cups covered in chocolate and brightly colored sauces. I peeked at the ingredients one day out of curiosity, and it was DISGUSTING. I’m not even sure if there was milk or cream in these things—what really caught my eye was the high-fructose corn syrup and modified starch and bean powders. I’m all for real ice cream made with good-quality dairy (hey, I did eat five scoops of it for lunch when I was in France…), but this is just wrong.
The irony? My school has also outlawed bake sales this year, because they’re “unhealthy.” Excuse me? This is the same institution that sells pizza for lunch daily, rarely offers any fresh produce, and keeps all kinds of candy and chips stocked up in the school store. How is ice cream a healthier choice?
In protest, I have created this healthy, delicious ice cream sundae, which I happily ate the entirety of. Aside from straight-up fruit, this is pretty much the most allergy-friendly dessert you can eat. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, ANDsoy-free, plus it has no added sugar. (If you are allergic to bananas, I am terribly sorry.) The ice cream itself only has three ingredients, and it’s all REAL. FOOD. I don’t want to feed you beaver anal gland. (An ingredient labeled as “castoreum,” found in many store-bought vanilla ice creams and fruit syrups.)
So, go bananas and get started!
You can make this recipe as big or as small as you want, but figure about a banana per person. I froze 6 bananas, which made PLENTY of ice cream for myself, my parents, and my two friends.
The riper your fruit is, the sweeter your ice cream will be, so I suggest using bananas whose peels are speckled brown or darker. Make sure you peel your bananas and put them in a freezer bag AT LEAST twelve hours in advance, preferably overnight. Be careful not to freeze your bananas for too long, either, or they’ll get super icy and tough to break up.
To make the ice cream, simply chop the bananas into chunks and throw them in the food processor. Let it run for a while and stop it every few minutes to scrape down the sides and help everything blend smoothly.
When only a few chunks remain, add in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter OR smooth peanut butter (salted or unsalted, it’s your preference) and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Your ice cream will not be a pleasant color, but I promise it’ll taste good.
Keep the food processor going until the mixture is just smooth, about 2 or 3 minutes longer. It should be homogeneous and creamy, just like soft-serve ice cream that’s been in the sun for a bit.
Now, you can eat it as is, but your dessert will be much more like a cold soup than ice cream. I recommend scooping everything out into a big glass dish or plastic container, covering it well, and placing it in the freezer for 4 or 5 hours to harden up.
Let the ice cream sit out for 5 to 10 minutes before digging in or assembling into sundaes.
Looking for some other flavors? Here are a few to get you started.
- Nutella: replace the sunflower seed/peanut butter with Patella (Paleo Nutella)
- Autumn Apple: replace the sunflower seed/peanut butter with apple butter (NOT applesauce) and add in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- Coconut: replace the sunflower seed/peanut butter with coconut butter (NOT coconut milk)
- Fruit: reduce the bananas by half and add in frozen strawberries, cherries, raspberries, or even blueberries
- Tropical: reduce the bananas by half and add in frozen mango cubes, then replace the sunflower seed/peanut butter with coconut butter (NOT coconut milk)
- Go Nuts: replace the sunflower seed/peanut butter with your favorite nut butter (I recommend almond, cashew, or even pecan)
Another great idea is to set up an ice cream bar, especially if you’ll be serving kids or teenagers or just want to impress your guests. That way, everyone can customize his or her ice cream! You can do just a few toppings, or go all out and have a dozen or so. Here’s what I had out:
- Magic Chocolate Shell: simply melt together 2 parts refined coconut oil with 3 parts chocolate. (I used 50 grams of coconut oil and 80 grams of chocolate.) Cool and pour your desired amount over the ice cream, letting it sit for a minute or two to solidify.
- Coconut Whipped Cream: place a can or two of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, then open it up from the bottom and pour off the liquid-y stuff. Scrape the remaining coconut cream into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until airy.
- Sliced strawberries
- Slivered almonds
- Cacao nibs
- Pink sea salt
You can also top the ice cream with…
- Fruit: berries, pitted cherries, sliced kiwi, cubed mango, chopped apples, pomegranate seeds, sliced peaches, more bananas…
- Dried fruit: apricots, figs, raisins, tart cherries, dates…
- Chocolate chips
- Toasted coconut
- Roasted, salted nuts: almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans…
- A swirl of maple syrup
- Bacon (because hey, why not?)
- A splash of strong coffee (to create an Italian-style affogato)
So, give one of these combos a try and enjoy your ice cream without any guilt. It’s always nice to feel good about eating a dessert.
What is your favorite ice cream combo? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: Allergy friendly, bananas, dairy-free, delicious, dessert, gluten-free, healthy, ice cream, no added sugar, nut-free, paleo, peanut butter, vegan