by Matthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Tamborra, North Atlantic Books.
Spring is the time of year that inspires many of us to clean up our habits and lifestyle choices. I strongly believe that taking good care of yourself is the only way you can have the energy and longevity necessary to change the world.
With this in mind, I bring you a collection of recipes from the geniuses at Cafe Gratitude in San Fancisco that provides guilt-free sweet treats without the impact of consuming processed or cooked foods.
Matthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Tamborra seem to have found the secret to having your (raw almond flour) cake and eating it too. These dessert chefts provide 90 not-so-sinful yet delightful recipes. With their focus on minimally processed ingredients (nuts, seeds, coconut, agave, dates), these recipes would be perfect to share with raw foodists, vegans and anyone with lactose intolerance, soy sensitivities or a wheat gluten allergy.
The recipes cover the gamut, from those inspired by traditional treats to entirely new taste experiences. Some recipes call for a food processor, a high-powered blender or a dehydrator. And while I found myself ordering some of the more obscure ingredients online, you could make a number of these recipes after a trip to any health food store.
The authors provide an overview of the preparation technique used at the beginning of each chapter – and their tips have really improved my results in creating impressive raw desserts. There are chapters on pies, cakes, cheesecakes, dehydration (cookies, granola, etc.), ice creams, cacao (truffles, chocolate cups, etc.) and one detailing the particular properties of Irish moss.
After drooling over the enticing images for a few days, I started with the Ginger-Spice Cranberry Cookies. The recipe contains an entire cup of ginger juice and four cups of almond flour, which was a great use for all of that almond pulp I had in my freezer as a result of whipping up jugs of almond milk over the last few months. The directions are very simple: just process and then mix the ingredients together. The amazing aroma of these cookies was hard to resist as they hung out in the dehydrator for 27 hours, making my apartment smell like a gingerbread house.
I shared these treats with my colleagues and the TVA Resource Centre crew. Everyone commented on the layers of delicious flavours that were revealed with each bite. Even though my testers felt the texture was closer to an energy bar than a cookie. I loved the flavour and texture and will be making many more batches in the future.
The second recipe I tried was a pumpkin pie that didn’t actually contain pumpkin. Butternut squash took centre stage, blended with spices and coconut milk, creating a smooth filling for the pecan-date crust. Again, the testers were impressed by the depth of flavour, and the samples disappeared quickly. The pie was simple to prepare and required only a short stay in the fridge to firm up before serving. The raw squash flavour was an acquired taste for some of the testers.
Recently I made the Brazil Nut truffles and currently in my freezer is a raw pear ginger cheesecake setting up for a passover celebration. I am still inspired to explore more of the recipes. I can’t wait to try out the Chai spice-orange cake, pistachio baklava or white chocolate lavender cups. Most of the preparation time is for soaking or dehydrating, which leaves you free for napping, strolling, perfecting your dancer’s pose, or whatever the spring weather inspires you to do. If you’re hoping to increase your intake of raw whole foods this season, Rogers and Tamborra have lots of creative, delicious ideas to share.
Lemon Cashew Cookies
Makes 25 small cookies
2 cups soaked cashews (soaked 4-6 hours)
3/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup coconut flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbs liquid vanilla (1 vanilla bean blended with 1/2 cup of water-store in the fridge and use as needed)
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until the consistency is like thick oatmeal (1-2 minutes), stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed. Spoon or pipe small cookies (1 1/2 inch) onto the dehydrator sheet.
Dehydrate at 145F for 3 hours, then turn down to 115F. Dehydrate at 115F for 2-3 days, or until cookies are dry but still chewy. Cookies should be easy to remove from mesh sheets.
Cookies will last for 2-3 weeks if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.