Dessert has always been my favorite part of any meal (though I do love apps!) and while I’ve managed to tame my sweet tooth in the last few years, I’ve by no means eliminated it. (By tame I mean I can get my sweet-happys from maple syrup, honey, and desserts made with fruit and less sugar.) Frankly, I’d rather carry around an extra five pounds than skip desserts, in all their toothsome glory. But I try to concoct or uncover desserts that are healthy as well as tasty. Just because it’s dessert doesn’t mean that it has to be a nutrition wasteland!
So stumbling upon Ani Phyo’s wonderful raw dessert cookbook (with 85 recipes!) was a coup. As you may already know, raw foods retain all sorts of wonderful enzymes, vitamins and minerals, plus are less ‘predigested’ (I know it’s a bit gross, but that’s basically what cooking is; partial digestion of food before you eat it). That means your body has to work a bit harder to digest, which makes you feel full longer and is actually really good for your gut. All of which means you get more nutrition and eat less when you go raw. While I’m not a raw foodist by any means, I’m going on my 19th year of vegetarianism and love the way whole foods that are minimally processed taste and make me feel. And the more I’ve read about the benefits of raw, the more I try to incorporate it into my diet.
I’ve done that by preparing raw (or just barely cooking) more of my veggies, eating only raw honey, nuts and nut butters (which taste SO much yummier, and mix better into recipes too), and seeking out raw cheeses and milks instead of pasteurized. The recipe below, which is for a raw coconut spread, is delicious on fresh fruit, and incredibly tasty all by itself. It’s also quite filling; a little goes a long way. I think it would also make a great thick ‘frosting’ on a raw or cooked cupcake or cake.
And don’t let the cute name fool you; this recipe is a nutritional powerhouse; raw coconut and coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids, which can lower cholesterol and burn faster than other types of fats (read more about all the amazing health benefits of coconut here!) and the raw nuts are packed with healthy proteins and fats. So this ‘dessert’ would also be great fuel for wintertime activities and would keep the body warm, while tasting absolutely decadent on top of whatever you add it to.
Ani Phyo’s Raw Coconut Kream Recipe
Note: The fabulous Ani Phyo, who wrote this original recipe, is vegan, and doesn’t use animal products, so her original recipe, here adapted by me, calls for agave nectar rather than honey. I really believe that raw honey is one of the best natural foods out there, and is less processed than agave, though it does come from bees who probably don’t want to give it up! The choice is yours, I just subbed honey for agave and loved the way it turned out. I’m sure it would also be delicious with agave
Taken from Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Desserts
3/4 cut shredded coconut, ground finely
3/4 cup cashews, ground
3/4 cut filtered water
1/4 cup + two tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/4 cut + two tablespoons agave syrup (I used raw honey)
Place all ingredients in a good quality blender, and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Will keep in fridge for a week or for several weeks in the freezer.