Raw for Dessert

It seems that raw foods are all the rage these days, at least in health-conscious circles and for more open-minded foodies. It can be a proposition that’s a bit difficult to swallow, whether you follow the guidelines in full or attempt a diet of partially raw edibles and cooked dishes, due to difficulty more than anything else. Preparing a few simple snacks such as crackers or cookies? No problem, only it will take you at least half a day to dehydrate anything to the point of approaching crispiness. Craving something comforting like meatloaf or veggie burgers? Easy enough to fix, but you may just need to hunt down rare, hard to find ingredients online. The worst offenders, however, tend to be the desserts. Typically requiring crazy equipment, expensive ingredients, and up to two days of waiting before you can even take the first bite, it’s hard for this die-hard baker to fully embrace such a diet.

That doesn’t mean I would snub a whole wide universe of vegan food, simply based on the concept of applying no heat above 110 degrees. Always eager to try new things, I was excited to get my hands on a promising new book called Raw for Dessert, by Jennifer Cornbleet. Ranging from your standard raw fruit desserts to more elaborate ice cream sundaes and layer cakes, you definitely have a good variety to choose from.

Skipping over the simpler fare and diving right into- What else?- The ice cream section, I quickly decided that the Cookies and Creme Ice Cream was an absolute must-make.

Made from a base of brazil nuts, cashews, and agave, this frozen treat is nothing if not rich. Chunks of raw chocolate pie crust are mixed in at the last moment for the “cookies,” and even your seasoned ice cream pro might be fooled into thinking that this was a traditional treat. Surprisingly not as nutty as I had expected it to taste, a quality vanilla extract can really shine and lend a great depth of flavor here. Best served within a few days, lest it become too hard to scoop, the texture is perfectly creamy, accented nicely with an occasional chocolatey crunch. I would gladly make this one again, and again, and again.

Unfortunately, the Mint Ice Cream wasn’t nearly as big a hit. What I would have given for just a touch more sweetness, and just a bit more mint flavor! Although the color was a gorgeous, natural green, that was about the only vibrant thing about it.

Nuts about coconut? I sure am, and I was pleased as punch to see that it gets plenty of usage throughout this book. Wanting to focus on the fresh flavors of whole coconut, the Coconut Creme Pie sounded like a perfect showcase. Making mine into individual mini pies, it was only a matter of blending, forming the crust into tins, and blending some more, before a brief chill and all was done. Delightfully smooth and creamy, with nothing to impede the pure coconut essence, it’s hard to believe these were created without the aid of any heat, or refined sugars even!

Finishing off my trial run with a bang, it seemed only right to test the waters for a true chocoholic. Terribly curious as to what a raw Chocolate Lava Cake might taste like, I whipped out that raw cacao powder and bag of walnuts faster than you could preheat an oven. This is one simple yet incredibly impressive dessert that may very well convert full-fledged carnivores to the idea of raw foodism. Deeply chocolaty and fudgy all around, breaking into the flowing center is like opening up a sweetly wrapped present, to discover jewels inside. If you were to only make this one dessert in the whole book, it would still be worth the price.

Happily, all you need to make such desserts is just a sturdy blender or food processor, no fancy dehydrator required. I would argue that it could use a few more pictures, as only a couple of centerfolds are scattered throughout, but then I am a bit spoiled when it comes to cookbook photography. Clear instructions make each recipe a breeze to follow, and although almost all require serious servings of raw nuts, often making for a very expensive, high-fat venture, I would argue that it’s nothing outrageous for a healthier, yet still truly decadent dessert.

[Written for Go Dairy Free]

46 thoughts on “Raw for Dessert

  1. Raw desserts can be incredibly tasty,and since I started to make them, I prefer them to any other desserts.Yours look so pretty and tempting Hannah!

    1. They have fat but it is the good fat. Also, all of the ingredients have a high nutritional profile. There should never be an unhealthy ingredient it it!

  2. That ice cream looks so impressive! And oh myyyy that chocolate lava cake! That is what I would make, for sure. Anything with the words chocolate and lava in it will be a winner in my book. Lovely photos!

  3. That lava cake looks delish! I’m happy to hear that no dehydrator is needed–that keeps me from experimenting more with raw foods.

  4. I have half a dozen raw cookbooks and Jennifer’s “Raw Food Made Easy” is my favorite — she’s a terrific author.

    I actually don’t care for heavy, flour-laden desserts so I’ll grab this one and get to work. The fat from nuts is far healthier than typical butter-based desserts, so I wouldn’t hesitate to eat these… once in a while!

  5. Beautiful photos! That sounds like a pretty cool book.

    I wanted to mention to the people who read your blog that it’s not necessary to have equipment, or “raw” labeled nuts, or anything refined to be a raw foodist. Most of the healthier ones I know, including myself, eat a simple diet of fruit and greens, opting to never eat the poorly combined and fatty recipes, or maybe just saving them for an occasional dessert or meal. You stay more hydrated and balanced without the fat, dehydrated items, etc.

  6. These desserts look and sound so good! I really have to get this book and make some of these. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and mouth watering descriptions!

  7. Those desserts look like little dreams come true for raw foodists and plain old sweet teeth everywhere! Thanks for supplementing the book’s meager photos with your own. If I buy a copy, I’ll refer back to your post for the beautiful photos. :)

  8. I agree with you about going to a raw diet. It’s been a hard concept for me to think about and I haven’t brought myself to try it yet. I do eat a very high raw diet anyway, but steering clear of all food cooked seems a little obnoxious to me (no offense, raw foodists!). Anyway, this looks fabulous. I do think I will give this recipe book a try.

  9. It’s so great that you tried raw foods! Raw desserts are actually the easiest dishes for raw foods. And you can never go wrong, it’s actually easier than baking. No deflated souffles or burnt cookies ;)

  10. The ice cream looks just like that of traditional ice cream. It’s hard to believe those are the ingredients.

    I have not really tried raw desserts, but I would love to. Where do you get your recipes?

  11. omg, give me the chocolate lava cake!!!!
    it looks amazing but then it’s probably room temp.
    not as nice as the baked version unless you put it into the dehydrator to warm it up

  12. Yay for raw desserts. I love just about very thing raw, desserts and savory dishes. It’s great to see more and more people trying raw desserts, they really are tasty and delicious. Thanks for a wonderful post. :-)

  13. Yummm Hannah!
    omg can we “unbake” (or whatever you call it) together because these look AMAZING! watch out, though, I lurrrvvvee nuts and coconut so I can imagine that I would love these and, well, they might not last long.
    exquisite photography btw! you are amazing, girl :)

  14. Hi ! Do you have the recipe for the lava cake ? I wanna give it a try (I am a lava cake lover, but don’t know how to make this… raw).
    Thanks a lot :)

  15. Hi there! Awesome pics! And the food looks delicious. I have only one tiny problem: I’m not from USA and I desperately need the molten lava cake recipe! Do you think is possible to send me the recipe via email? Please please please!

  16. Just had to add my “RAW ICE CREAM?!!” to the list :)

    As always, the photos are to die for. I need to stop visiting this blog before lunch! Can’t wait to talk about this ice cream with my local foodmakers group.

Leave a Reply