I stick to a no-refined-foods diet – no flour, no sugar, no juice, fruits with the peel on,etc. My complex carbs come from whole grains cooked like most people do rice, except I do whole oats (not rolled), barley (not pearled), whole wheat, rye, kamut...you get the picture.
And overall I try to keep the simple carbs to a minimum, so I try to limit my intake of fruit. Modern day fruits, and increasingly more and more vegetables are bred to be higher and higher in sugar...sigh.
Anyway, I do enjoy treats as much as the next person, and with the holidays coming, I am busy making standard American treats for friends and family...and decided to do a little something for myself. I also am a chocolate lover and while I still indulge in a square of dark gourmet chocolate daily....I thought it would be cool to find a less refined way to enjoy what the natives referred to as the "food of the gods"
Score! Raw cocoa beans can be purchased on line, and joy of joys, to the unrefined foods palate that is used to low sugar...they taste yummy right out of the bag. Really, I am NOT kidding. OK, this isn't going to fly for most people, even whole foods people might find a raw cocoa bean daunting (though I dare you to try it), and I like variety so I came up with the following recipes.
They are easily adjusted (if necessary) for vegan, vegetarian and raw food diets.Raw Chocolate:
In a small food processor, grind raw cocoa beans with raw almond meal or whole raw almonds until very fine, add 2 or 3 whole dates (no pits) and grind, a pinch of salt brings out the flavor. If you are not on a strict raw diet, add 1/4 tsp real vanilla extract, or to taste. Remove, knead slightly and form into balls. Ultra yum. For variety, add a small amount of ground cinnamon and/or chili powder (I prefer chipotle),
If you are looking for a more traditional looking or tasting treat, here is something I whipped up this morning. The possibilities are nearly endless!
First you make a raw cashew cream, if you are not on a strictly raw diet you can use almond butter or cashew butter instead.
Cashew cream, in a blender pour 1/2 cup of any of the following depending on your dietary choice...milk, evaporated milk, rice, soy or almond milk, water or non acidic fruit juice. Add 5 dates, blend for 2 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, blend until dates are completely ground and incorporated into the liquid. Taste test for sweetness. If you are still on a sugar consuming diet, this may not be sweet enough for you, you can add more dates.
Continue blending adding raw cashews a few at a time (through blender cover hole, they splash), just until the mixture becomes a thick cream that will no longer mix, cream until smooth.(I estimate this is between one and two cups cashews) If you need to, add extra liquid a spoon at a time to keep mixture blending. This mixture is the cashew cream and the base for any number of delicious treats.
Take some of the cream and add cocoa powder, I use raw cocoa powder. Mix in with a spoon, add a barest dash of salt, and vanilla extract to taste. You may like to add other flavorings now as well, orange or lemon zest, cinnamon, powdered chili, etc. When mixture is like a firm dough and no longer sticky, turn out on to a board, knead with hands to fully incorporate ingredients, if you like, knead in chopped nuts. form into a square 1/2 inch thick and cut into squares...yum. raw fudge!
For "milk chocolate" or milder flavored fudge...try the following, to some of the cashew cream, add almond flour until the mixture becomes very stiff, then proceed as above, this gives you a milder chocolate taste.
For delicious coconut fudge, I add desiccated coconut to the cashew cream (I prefer the reduced fat organic)I know that won't work for a raw food diet, sorry, I have not tried this one with fresh coconut. Add coconut until the mixture is a stiff dough. A little vanilla extract is good here too. You may flavor this with extracts or essential oils, spices, or knead in small bits of dried fruit at the end, as you prefer. Form into balls, or cut into cubes.
Where I live pecan meal is available, but you could use almond meal as well. Add enough to cashew cream to make a stiff dough, knead in small bits of snipped dried apricots. Form into balls.
I suggest you keep these treats in the fridge or freezer, as raw ground nuts can go rancid quickly. I made one batch of cashew cream, and within 30 minutes had made five flavors of treats.
I reserve a few teaspoons full of cashew cream so that if I add too much cocoa or coconut, I have a little reserve to soften up my dough. Any extra cream is eaten off a spoon!
You can see how the basic recipe is easily adjusted to fit all tastes. Hint...after you mix up your stiff dough, I'd let it sit 5 minutes for the cocoa, coconut or nut meal to soak up any liquid, otherwise your finished treat may be too dry. Then when you knead your dough at the end, you can tell if it needs a touch more cream or dry ingredient.
These goodies are low in simple carbs, high in fiber and healthy fats. Technically, they are not totally unrefined, but if you aren't completely strict about that, they will do in a pinch.
They just plain taste good!
If you try this recipe, please add comments, suggestions or variations below so others can benefit from your experience. Thanks.