Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Whole Food Dessert Revolution

I have always been an eat-dessert first kind of human. This has historically put me into some sticky situations with massive amounts of cake and ice-cream. If it wasn't for my revelations about whole foods, I'd probably be the size of Texas by now. My dessert binges always came with a sense of taboo and guilt. I knew that eating a whole bowl of ice cream wasn't the best for me, but my dessert alarm rings undeniably every day after dinner.

Two key catalytic realizations came to me in the past few years. One: I don't have to feel guilty about eating dessert. Two: I can make desserts that are more nutritious than all of the food some people eat for the whole day. This totally changed my idea of what dessert could be.

My approach to making sweet things involves using plant-based, nutrient-dense, whole foods that are unprocessed and uncooked where possible. Much of my inspiration has come from the raw food world (a movement where the majority of the diet involves whole foods that have not been heated in any way in order to retain maximum nutrition). Raw food desserts blew my mind by using nuts, dried fruit, raw honey and various other tricks to create decadent yet healthy creations. We are talking pecan and date pie crusts with coconut creme and cacao filling topped with fresh raspberries. Some raw foodists quip that in the raw food world, you really can eat cake for breakfast. A slice of raw cake is probably 40 times more nutritious than a bowl of captain crunch.

Here are two recipes for bite sized candy-like desserts that are storable and portable (if there's any left).

Whole Food Snickerdoodles
1 cup shredded coconut
3 tbsp almond butter (creamy is preferred)
1 tbsp honey (local and raw is the best)
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Superfood add-ons to supercharge the situation:
1 tsp mesquite powder (a superfood powder that has a creamy, sweet taste)
1 tsp maca powder

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until they adhere into cookie-dough like consistency. Roll into balls and serve. Store in the refrigerator. Feel free to experiment with measurements. I always eye-ball it.

Next is an old favorite that I always find myself trying to teach people at parties, but we get interrupted in the middle of the recipe and the transmission is never complete...

Elf Dirt Level I
This recipe looks like dirt, but is highly tasty. This means that elves must make it. The name was created a long time ago by someone I inherited the concept from. As you become more creative and adapt the recipe to your taste, you will develop your own flavor of elf dirt. It is amazing how no two people's elf dirt is the same.


1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw honey
1-2 tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil.
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch of good salt
1/2 tsp powdered ginger

Put sunflower seeds into the food processor and process until as small as you can get them. Then, add the honey and oil and pulse until mixed. Then add all other ingredients. Roll into balls and store in the fridge.

Elf Dirt, Level II
This version of the recipe is for those more equipped or ambitious, who might have some of these ingredients around already. It is important to me to have accessible recipes (above), but also be honest about what's really going on in my kitchen (below). This is my current embellished elf dirt recipe.

1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw honey
1-2 tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil.
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch of good salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp spirulina (high in protein, chlorophyll and nutrients. Get this into your life asap.)
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp mesquite powder
pinch of cayenne
bit of natural vanilla extract

Grind sunflower seeds thoroughly in food processor. Add honey and oil, process. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until fully mixed. Roll into balls. Journey to mystical lands.

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