Tag Archives: dates

Raw Caramel

DSC_0708 I feel like raw caramel is a bit of a trendy thing to do these days (I’ve seen about ten million recipes for it… I feel like even Lauren Conrad has one…). BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE IT TASTES LIKE SUMMER AND ALL THINGS GOOD. I love caramel. Specifically I love caramel apples. When my sister lived in Vancouver I would always demand to buy a caramel apple from Granville Island… I even forced her to fly one home on a few occasions… All that to say caramel has a special place in my heart.

The best part about this caramel is that there’s no boiling of cups and cups of white sugar! Or maybe the best part is that it tastes awesome… regardless, it’s super easy and made for a wonderful afternoon snack with some cut up apple. The main reason this is considered “raw” is because I used raw almond butter. Of course you can use any nut butter you want, and it can be roasted or salted if that’s what you have (I imagine this to be good with cashew butter).

As you can see in the picture, I had this caramel with apple slices (an organic Pink Lady apple, if you were curious). I imagine it’d be awesome with any other fruit, with chocolate, on toast with jam, in oatmeal or chia pudding in the morning. As I mentioned, it’s refined sugar free… therefore it’s the best kind of snack for any moment in the day.

RAW CARAMEL: (Makes 1/2 cup)

  • 1/3 cups dates, pitted and soaked for 4 hours in water (reserve the soaking water*)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons raw nut butter of choice** (I used almond)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Method:

In food processor, or a high speed blender (I used my handy little magic bullet), blend the soaked and pitted dates, nut butter, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the dates’ soaking water. If it’s too thick, add more of the soaking water.

Notes:*Instead of using the soaking water from the dates, you could alternatively use almond milk. **I’ve seen many recipes that use nut butter AND coconut oil. I imagine that’d be awesome and make it SUPER creamy… as always: feel free to play around!

 

Much love and peace in these stressful days of end-of-semester-madness.

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Rum Balls

DSC_0193 - CopyWho doesn’t love a rum ball?!

For ukrainian christmas, my pop and I made these tasty vegan treats to serve with coffee. The traditional Ukrainian Christmas meal includes 12 dishes, all without meat or dairy. Essentially, it’s a feast full of mushrooms and beets and hearty grains.

This is the recipe we were inspired by. We added more melted chocolate, and rolled some in good quality cocoa powder (it made for a prettier plate). We also didn’t have a lot of dates so we made up for the difference with raisins (as a raisin fiend, I was very happy with this choice). The final touch, was that instead of the 4 tablespoons of rum, we did 3 tablespoons rum and 2 tablespoons cognac.

The one thing we were sad about was that as the hours passed, the alcohol either evaporated or was seriously absorbed by the fruit. Luckily these puppies didn’t wait too long to be consumed but it did pose an interesting problem.

HOWEVER, if you didn’t add the booze, these would be AWESOME energy bites/snacks. The dates provide the needed sugar for a good work out and the fat in the nuts would keep you satisfied and keep you going longer. Huh. From boozey party time to sweaty dancing time!

RUM BALLS: yields about 50 satisfying balls

  • 3 cups medjool dates (about 36 large dates)
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • cocoa powder to coat

Method:

In a food processor pulse the dates, rum, cognac, vanilla, brazil nuts, walnuts, and cashews until they are chunky but well mixed. Drizzle in the melted chocolate and run the food processor until everything is finely chopped and sticking together.

Spoon the mixture into a large bowl and using your hands (or a wooden spoon), mix in the coconut. Once everything is well combined use your hands to roll out the balls.

If desired, roll the ball in cocoa powder (and tap off the excess).

Store in an air-tight container.

These balls were a huge hit with my fam… and I’m sure they will be with your fam too. (Unless your fam is my fam because my fam are my only readers… hehe)

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Much love and warmth.

Coconut Bread

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So I’m quite positive I’ve found the cure to all things. I was inspired by this coconut bread recipe. However, it calls for 1 cup of white sugar and I can never bring myself to physically measure out and pour in SO much refined sugar. I instead used maple syrup and a few Medjool dates to sweeten it and BOY, did it turn out well. For the spicing, I added cinnamon and a bit of cardamom, and I’m glad I did. Neither of the spices are very strong but instead accentuate the coconut flavour. The crispy crust and the texture of the shredded coconut in the chewy center actually made my knees a bit weak. With a hearty helping of tahini, I’m pretty sure I found nirvana.

The cool thing about this recipe is how versatile it is! I’d love to add raspberries, or blueberries, or walnuts, or pumpkin seeds, or dried cranberries, or figs, or cherries, or apple, or pumpkin puree. THE LIST GOES ON! I do recommend that you try it as plain coconut first!

COCONUT BREAD (Makes 1 8.5×4.5 loaf – serves 8-10)

  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 small banana
  • 3 medium, soft Medjool dates
  • 1 cup milk alternative (I used almond milk)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8.5×4.5 loaf pan (I used coconut oil).

In a small bowl combine the flaxmeal and water to create the flax egg and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

If your coconut oil is solid, warm it in a small saucepan on low heat until it’s liquefied. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mash the banana with the three dates and add the flax egg, coconut oil, milk alternative, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla bean scrapings and shredded coconut.  Add the dry to the wet and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepped loaf pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center (approximately 1 hour and 15 mins).

Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it and letting it finish cooling on a rack.

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Spinach Salad with Almonds and Dates

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SO. I made the tastiest salad. It was (again) inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, but this came out of his book Jerusalem. I hit a gold mine in that my roommate bought both Plenty and Jerusalem for himself… so I’m indulging and making ALL the food.

Since this salad has quite a strong flavour, it is worth having on it’s own or as a starter to another dish. Another thing, I used a spice called za’atar. It’s a middle eastern spice consisting of thyme, sesame seeds, oregano, sumac (or lemon zest) and salt. If you don’t have any za’atar mix you can make your own by combining those ingredients (it’s a fairly chunky spice mix). A final note, I had a day old bagel I ripped up and cooked with the almonds but I imagine ripped up pita or naan would work just as well.

SPINACH SALAD WITH ALMONDS AND DATES (serves 2)

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion (or shallot), thinly sliced
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 bagel, sliced in half then ripped into medium sized chunks (about 1 inch square)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon za’atar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt

Method:

In a small bowl, mix the onions and the dates with the vinegars and a pinch of salt. Set aside and let marinade for 20 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat. Once the oil heats up, add the bagel (or pita) bits and almonds and cook for 6 minutes (or until the bread is golden and crispy/crunchy), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the za’atar, chile flakes and a large pinch of salt.

Once the bagel bits and almonds are cool, toss with the spinach in a large bowl. Add the dates and onions and a drizzle of olive oil and the lemon juice. Mix well and serve immediately.

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I say “serve immediately” because that’s when the bagel is still nice and crunchy. However, I let a portion of it sit in the fridge overnight to have for the next day’s lunch and the flavours had mingled SO wonderfully. But of course letting it sit overnight meant that the bagel was no longer crispy or crunchy but became chewy. IT WAS STILL PHENOMENAL.