Right before Vegan MoFo starts, I have something special for you. My first cookbook review!
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to review the book Raw for Dessert by Jennifer Cornbleet and I happily agreed. I was exited about my first cookbook review. Plus, I was very curious about a book that featured only raw desserts. While the book was shipped to me all the way from New York I started to feel a little bit intimidated. What if the recipes called for ingredients that were hard to find here in Germany? What if many recipes would need expensive kitchen tools like a dehydrator? What if preparation times were very long?
When the book arrived and I flipped through I started to get really exited. The recipes in the book are very simple, many call for only a few ingredients, of which most happen to be staples in our pantry (nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, agave nectar, dates, etc.). Not a single recipe calls for a dehydrator and I was able to do all the grinding and mixing with the help of my mini food processor.
At the beginning of the book is a helpful ingredient list that mentions substitutes or recipes for some of the staples. If you for example have a hard time finding cashew butter, there is a recipe for cashew butter in the this section of Raw for Dessert. And if you have no access to raw cacao the author tells you to simply use regular cocoa.
Although you will find honey mentioned on this ingredient list, it is not called for in any recipe. All recipes in this book are vegan. So if you want to prepare vegan desserts but don’t want to use dairy substitutes, this book is for you. If you have a major sweet tooth like me, this book is for you. And if you want to eat sweets but want to stay healthy at the same time, avoid sugars and refined fats, this book is for you as well. It is also for you, if you don’t have much time cooking or if you hate baking or think you can’t do it. It is for you, if you don’t want to spend much money on a lot of different ingredients. And of course it is for you, if you like to try new things and love to prepare food. So Raw for Dessert is probably for everyone.
The first recipe I made from this book was the Chocolate Cashew Freezer Fudge. I used regular cocoa powder instead of raw cacao and it worked out fine. The fudge is very fast to prepare and, like most other recipes from the book, can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. It had a very rich and nutty taste and was a wonderful afternoon snack:
The next recipe on my list was ice cream. There are several wonderfully sounding recipes in this book and I intend on trying them all, but the one that catched my attention most was the Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream. Since strawberry season sadly is over, I went straight for the second option that was listed below the original recipe: Nectarines ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream. Wow! This was so good! The base for this ice cream is a nut milk made from Brazil nuts. Since I didn’t have these on hand I used almonds. All you have got to do to make this ice cream is to prepare the nut milk, mix it with the remaining ingredients, chill it, and transfer it to your ice cream maker. Unfortunately, my ice cream maker was giving me the hardest time. It didn’t want to work with me and refused to make this ice cream. It was definitely not the fault of the recipe. Although this ice cream may not look perfect, it for sure tastes perfect. It is sweet and rich with a very pleasant undertone of vanilla and the fruit pieces balance that sweetness and make it smell fantastic, too:
I stored the leftovers in a container in the freezer. When I wanted to get another portion of this wonderful treat, I didn’t bother thawing it and just cut it into beautiful little pieces:
The last recipe I’ve tried so far is the one for Raspberry Squares. These are so good! You would never believe that something that is made from only berries, dates, and nuts can taste so wonderfully and comforting. These squares are really addictive. If I was into menu planning, these would be a part of my menu every week. They are made from raw raspberry jam and shortbread. Jennifer Cornbleet describes the shortbread crust as “rich, buttery, and crumbly” and it is called for in several tart recipes throughout the book. This crust is really delicious. One of its ingredients is coconut which matches so well with the raspberry jam on top of the squares. And like this ice cream this dessert consists of different flavours. There is the really sweet, buttery crust and then there is the slightly tart and fruity raspberry topping. It is so perfect together! After I had made the Raspberry Squares I happily reached for them whenever I craved for something sweet. I wonder how these delicious little cakes did last a whole week.
[In the background you can see the raw raspberry jam]
If there is something I learned from this book it is that food made from the most natural ingredients is really the most delicious food. Made with only a few high quality ingredients and without any fancy kitchen gadgets these recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth and nourish you at the same time. Raw for Dessert is a fantastic book because Jennifer Cornbleet has come up with some absolutely delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare dessert recipes accompanied by easy to understand instructions. I am sure this would make a great addition to everyone’s cookbook and un-cookbook shelf.
Here are three more great reviews for Raw for Dessert: