Tuesday, September 3, 2013

VeganMoFo 2: Raw Chocolate Blueberry Hazelnut Crumb Cups

I absolutely adore raw desserts.  The first raw dessert I ever tried was the coconut cream pie from Cafe Gratitude.  Yowzah!  So rich and creamy.  After that one slice, I was hooked.  Nowadays, you can find ready-made raw cheesecakes at Whole Foods or other natural foods stores.  I've also tried my hand at making raw desserts at home such as:

Mini Mango and Chocolate Cheesecakes
Brownies with Avocado Cashew Frosting
Chocolate Hemp Seeds Balls and Cashew Cream Thumbprints
Chocolate Hemp Seed Ice Cream

The most common ingredients in raw desserts are nuts, dates, and coconut oil, which can sometimes cost a bundle.  I chalk it up to the 'you get what you pay for' philosophy.  These are natural, wholesome, and minimally processed ingredients.  In fact, most of the processing is done by you.   It's true that a blender or food processor is required for most recipes.  I've been getting by with my trusted KitchenAid food processor and handy Tribest personal blender.  The Tribest blender is awesome for making small batches of cashew cream, raw sauces, and of course green smoothies. It also comes with a mason jar attachment that's super cool.  I love it!  I haven't taken the plunge to invest in a food dehydrator yet, but that's another piece of equipment often required in raw dessert recipes.

The assembling of raw desserts is pretty quick, however time is required to soak the nuts beforehand and to wait for the dessert to set in the freezer or refrigerator. All in all, I love making (and eating) raw desserts.  I firmly believe that they're worth the time and money.

This recipe is adapted from the Raw Desserts cookbook by Erica Palmcrantz Aziz and Irmela Lilja.  It's a wonderful cookbook with creative recipes and beautiful photographs.  I mainly changed the crust ingredients and also added the crumb topping...because who doesn't love crumb toppings?  :)

Makes 12 pieces

2 cups raw hazelnuts (or pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts)
1 cup pitted dates

  1. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups.
  2. Grind the nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
  3. Add the dates and continue to blend until a sticky mixture forms. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to help the blending.
  4. Set aside about 3/4 cup of this mixture in a small bowl. (for the crumb topping)
  5. Divide the rest of the mixture evenly among the bottoms of the muffin pan and press down well to form a thin crust. 
{clean out your food processor or blender at this point}

1 cup frozen wild or regular blueberries, defrosted 
1/2 cup pitted dates
  1. Blend the blueberries and dates in a food processor or blender until there are no large chunks of dates left.
  2. Divide the filling evenly among the crusts in the muffin pan.
{clean out your food processor or blender again}

Chocolate Layer & Topping
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
  1. Blend the melted coconut oil, cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder, and maple syrup in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Using a spoon, pour the chocolate over the blueberry filling in each muffin cup.
  3. Sprinkle each cup with some of the crust mixture that you set aside earlier. (I also sprinkled each cup with hemp seeds)
  4. Cover with foil and let the cups set in the freezer for about an hour or until firm. Allow time for them to defrost before serving if you let them chill overnight.  

I loved these. The natural sweetness from the blueberries was well matched with the rich chocolate.  The size of each cup was perfect. I think I'll try this with raspberries and almonds next time.  The chocolate will sort of melt in your hands if you hold on to it long enough, but I guess that gives you good reason to quickly  inhale each piece without stopping.  Just kidding. Kinda. :)