Archive for January, 2010

January 30, 2010

Chocolate truffles with a creamy maple butter centre

As promised, here’s a post on my post-beet ravioli dessert the other night: raw chocolate truffles with a creamy maple butter centre! These are like heaven on your tongue… it was impossible to stop at one, and I definitely ate too many. Eating raw cacao before bed is usually not wise, but I think I was so exhausted from the long week that even the usual buzz couldn’t keep me from sleeping. Anyway, these little chocolate bites of awesomeness are not only tasty, they’re also really easy, and require only two ingredients: raw chocolate, and maple butter.

I tend to periodically mix a large batch of raw chocolate, let it harden in a container in the fridge, and keep it on hand for making tasty treats like these. If you’ve never made it before, raw chocolate is remarkably like any regular dark chocolate bar you might come across, and is generally made from raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder, and a form of sweetener. I’ve used the chocolate recipe in Cafe Gratitude’s stunning dessert bible, Sweet Gratitude, and I’ve tinkered around with my own recipes as well. I was in a rush when I made this most recent batch of chocolate, so I kept it simple.

Raw Chocolate

Ingredients

1 cup raw cocoa butter

1 cup raw cacao powder

1/3 cup sweetener (I used agave this time, but powdered sucanat works, as does fine maple sugar)

1 teaspoon soy lecithin (helps with smoothness, not essential)

seeds from one vanilla bean (again, not fatal to omit this)

Instructions

Melt the cacao butter by shaving it into a bowl with a veggie peeler and popping it in the dehydrator at 115F (alternately, you can use a double boiler at a low temperature, or set the bowl of cacao butter in a bowl of hot water). Place all ingredients in blender (high speed is best if you have one) and blend until smooth. Pour into molds if using immediately, otherwise place in container for later use. The chocolate will firm up fairly quickly as the cacao butter returns to room temperature. It’s best to store in the fridge for freshness.

Now comes the fun part. I found some cute little chocolate mold sheets on a trip to NYC over the holidays, and love the little chocolate shapes they deliver. To make the maple butter truffles, start by dropping a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate into the molds. Use your finger to swirl the chocolate up the sides of the molds, as in the photo, and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden.

Once the chocolate is firm, drop a dab of maple butter into the molds. Pour additional chocolate into the mold so the maple butter is covered, and the shape is filled. Return the molds to the freezer and give them another 10-15 minutes to firm up. You can then flip the molds upside down, and shake out the chocolates. Voila – your very own maple butter chocolate truffles!

Obviously, there are a zillion potential fillings for chocolate truffles: your favourite raw jam, a coconut mixture, almond butter, ground nuts… the possibilities really are endless. Likewise, you can spice up the chocolate with some mint or orange extract, or some buckwheat groats for crispiness. I’m already planning my next batch!

And in case you’re wondering, no, maple butter isn’t raw, but hey, I’m a Canadian. Maple syrup is part of my heritage!

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January 29, 2010

Beet ravioli with pine nut goat cheese and rosemary cream sauce

This raw ravioli recipe from Sarma Melngailis’ Living Raw Food — one of my favourite raw recipe books. I’ve been planning to make this one for awhile, but I bumped it up to the top of the list after seeing it on the Happy Raw Kitchen the other day. It was totally easy to make — the hardest part was actually slicing the beets thinly enough on the mandoline. The issue there may be that my particular mandoline isn’t exactly what I’d call high quality, and the blade is probably getting dull. It eventually got the job done, however, and here are a few pics of the process and the result!

Ingredients, pre-assembly

The beet slices were stuffed with pine nut cheese, and served with rosemary pine nut cream. I served the finished dish with raw asparagus, marinated in olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, and dehydrated for an hour or so.

This ravioli is totally tasty – it’s a hit! I’ve had the beet ravioli at Pure Food & Wine, and I’ll admit the version coming out of their kitchen is

My beet-stained hands!

probably superior to anything I’ll ever make at home, but this was pretty good.  I have some extra filling and sauce left, so I might have left over ravioli tomorrow for lunch instead of my usual kale salad. The ravioli recipe is online at Epicurious.

The finished product

For dessert, I made raw chocolates, filled with maple butter — possibly my new favourite way to consume chocolate. I’ll do a separate post soon with that recipe and some photos.

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January 27, 2010

Spicy raw kale chips

Let me start this post by explaining just how much I love kale. It’s my absolute favourite kind of green, and my top choice is always the straight-up, curly green variety. Sadly, my local Whole Foods hasn’t had any of the curly green goodness on the shelf for the past few days, so I’ve been forced to resort to the purple and dinosaur varieties (which are also great, just not quite the same).

I often consume two or more servings of kale per day — usually in a breakfast smoothie, a lunchtime salad, and maybe another way, too. That’s why I was immediately intrigued the first time I saw kale chips on the raw goods shelf of my favourite health store. It took me awhile to try them (possibly because of the hefty price tag), but once I did, I was hooked. I recently made my own for the first time, coming up with a recipe based on a few that are floating around online.

Kale chips: on their way into the dehydrator

Raw BBQ Kale Chips

Ingredients:

1 big bunch of kale

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons tamari

liquid smoke (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

water (to thin, as needed)

Instructions:

Tear kale into bite-sized pieces in a large bowl. In a blender, combine remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the mixture to the kale, and massage with hands until kale is well-coated with the seasoning. Spread kale on lined dehydrator trays, and dehydrate at 115 F for 6-8 hours, or until crisp. This a great snack to dry overnight. If you don’t have a dehydrator, apparently you can also pop them in the oven at the lowest temperature, leaving the door open a crack until they’re done.

These chips didn’t stand much of a chance in my house after they came out of the dehydrator. They were devoured within the hour, eaten so eagerly that I neglected to take a photo of the finished product – oops! Honestly, kale chips are just too good. Even potato chip addicts will fall for their crispy deliciousness.

This is a totally versatile snack, as there are tons of options for variations on the seasoning. Next time, I might try a wasabi garlic twist. Or maybe a cheesy version.

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January 26, 2010

Banana ice cream with almond butter cup candy

Since the name of this blog does contain the word “Candy”, I figure it’s appropriate to write my first real post on a dessert-type meal. Or two dessert-type meals, actually.

I was craving raw ice cream after dinner on Saturday, so I thumbed through the dessert sections of a few of my favourite raw cookbooks. (As an aside, I’ve never felt completely comfortable calling them “cookbooks”. Is “recipe books” more accurate? Or some other term?) Using some tasty-looking ice cream recipes for inspiration, I came up with banana vanilla ice cream with cacao nibs, and chocolate almond butter cup candy.

Banana vanilla ice cream with chocolate almond butter cup candy

Banana Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 hours

1 large banana

2 cups water

1/4 cup agave syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Let the mixture chill in the fridge or freezer for a couple of hours, then pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

I topped the finished ice cream with a handful of raw cacao nibs, and lots of chocolate almond butter cup pieces. This recipe can be found in Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw, and it involves a layer of almond butter mixture sandwiched between layers of chocolate, chopped into little pieces. The photos below documents the process.

Spreading the top chocolate layer

Spreading the top chocolate layer

Chopping up the chocolate almond butter cup candy

Last night, I felt like something decadent after a long day at the library where I didn’t make much of a dent in my to do list. I had lots of almond butter cup left, but no more ice cream, so I decided to whip up some easy banana soft serve, first made famous on the awesome blog Choosing Raw. It couldn’t be simpler — frozen bananas thrown in the food processor for a few minutes — and I think I actually prefer the banana ice cream to the more decadent cashew-based one. Straight-up frozen bananas are closer to nature, and healthier for you, too. Both versions were incredible, and left my sweet tooth satiated.

January 24, 2010

Welcome to Raw Candy

Welcome to my new blog!

I’ve been eating mostly raw for some time now, and have been thinking of starting a raw food blog for awhile. I’ve been so inspired by the amazing recipes other bloggers are creating, and by reading about the raw journeys many of you have taken. I’m often found making something yummy and raw in the kitchen myself, photographing tasty raw meals, or looking for new raw options when eating out. So I figured, why not take that extra step and throw all of this up on a blog?

Raw Candy was thus born. The name suggests sweets, and there will be a fair share of desserts featured (perhaps my favourite type of raw dish to make). But I try to avoid eating too much of the sweet stuff, so expect to find mostly veggie-based recipes and photos, speckled with some delicious raw desserts. I love photography, and will try to do the food justice with a few photos. Perhaps “Raw Eye Candy” would have been more appropriate?

I’ve been vegetarian since 12, vegan since my early 20s, and started eating more and more raw foods a couple of years ago. I eat mostly raw on a daily basis, and have never been healthier or felt better. I love spreading the raw word, and showing others how tasty raw food can be. Whether you’re vegan, vegan-friendly, raw, cooked, or somewhere in between, I hope you’ll enjoy this space.

Thanks for stopping by!