Besides being refreshingly flexible, every recipe in this book has the added bonus of being free of dairy, eggs, gluten, wheat, soy, peanuts, corn, refined grains, refined sugars, yeast, starch, and other nutrient-poor ingredients. Many recipes are free of grains, oils, nuts, and added sugars as well…
Most importantly, these desserts are mouthwateringly scrumptious. – from Practically Raw Desserts: Flexible Recipes for All-Natural Sweets and Treats, by Amber Shea Crawley
Sounds like a dream cookbook, doesn’t it? Rich, decadent, scrumptious, quick and easy to make – not to mention beautiful – desserts that are kind to our bodies and actually provide vital nutrients while indulging our love of sweets. Practically Raw Desserts delivers on these promises and easily fulfills my sugar-coated dreams.
It probably sounds pretty good to you, too, but maybe you’re intimidated by raw cuisine. Or maybe you don’t have a dehydrator or high-speed blender. No worries. Amber has not only provided instructions on how to create these desserts without special equipment (use your oven – or not; crank the food processor, not the Vitamix), but she gives you tons of ingredient alternatives as well. Swap the cashews for walnuts; don’t have coconut palm sugar? Brown sugar will work just fine. She even shares ways to make these healthful treats lower in fat and calories, should you so desire.
Practically Raw Desserts begins with a section on ingredients and tips, as well as describing how to personalize each recipe to fit your own likes and your kitchen. From there, Amber provides recipes for various nut and seed milks as well as flours, butters, and luscious date syrup – a key ingredient in many of her treats. Chapters on cookies, bars, cakes, pies, puddings, candy, plus frostings/glazes/drizzles/ganaches follow, while in the final chapter, a resource guide provides readers with information on where to source ingredients.
Dulce de Leche Spooncream
In my first book Practically Raw, I explained that “spooncream” is my word for a thin, pudding-like dessert you eat with a spoon. This stuff is very rich, so I keep the serving size fairly small—for a fun presentation, serve it in decorative espresso cups with tiny spoons.
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
- 3/4 cup coconut milk or other nondairy milk of choice
- 1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes and drained
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth. If using a food processor or regular blender, you may need to add water or additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to help it blend smoothly. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight before serving. The spooncream will thicken as it chills.
Store the spooncream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Yield: 6 servings
From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.
To say I had a blast working my way through this cookbook would be an understatement. I’ve battled with The Refined Sugar Monster most of my life, and though I’ve banished refined white sugar, it’s been difficult to completely empty my cupboards of slightly less-refined sugars. Amber’s recipes have not only provided me with a trove of delicious whole foods desserts to create, she’s expanded my ingredient horizons – all while satisfying my raging sweet tooth. But one of my favorite things about Amber’s recipes is that they are dead simple, quick, and easy to create. And they’re lovely; each one would be absolutely perfect for a party or a gathering of family and friends – impressive for non-vegans and vegans alike.
By the way, Amber’s first cookbook, Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make, is another wonderful raw food collection. It was one of the first raw cookbooks I bought and I reference it time and again. You can find out more about Ms. Crawley at her blog, Chef Amber Shea.
Thank you, Jon Robertson, Dianne Wenz and Vegan Heritage Press for including me in this blog tour and for providing me with a review copy of Practically Raw Desserts. Many desserts remain for me to create and devour. And thank you, Amber, for your delicious creativity!
Giveaway runs through September 30
Open to U.S. & Canada residents only