Raw desserts are a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional desserts. When done right, raw cakes, cookies and dips are just as satisfying and tasty as your average baked good. Many raw desserts pack a nutritional punch thanks to the almighty date fruit. Dates are sweet and substantial, so they boost the texture and flavor of raw desserts. According to LiveStrong.com, they contain nearly three grams of fiber and one gram of protein per quarter cup, making these desserts energizing, filling and good for your digestive health.
You can also use the date’s slightly sweeter cousin, the fig. BBC Good Food reports that in addition to being full of fiber and protein, figs are also a good source of calcium and prebiotics, so your bones and your gut will actually thank you for chowing down. Let’s explore these nutritious desserts further, shall we?
I’m a bit of a salted caramel addict. Like, polish-off-an-entire-pint-of-salted-caramel-gelato levels of obsessed. Unfortunately, caramel is nutritionally bankrupt. Eating it every day is not the best idea, but it’s pretty hard to resist. If you’re like me, you’ll soon be giving thanks to Megan at The Detoxinista for creating this creamy vegan Salted Raw Caramel Dip. Yes, you read that right. No dairy, no cooking. There’s not even any sugar, just good old dates providing sweetness. It’s not an exact match for typical caramel, but it does curb my caramel cravings. Sure, you could use this dip for apples, strawberries or other fresh fruit, but don’t limit yourself! I’m pretty sure that pretzels coated in this dip could be considered food of the gods, as could a dollop of this dip swirled in one-ingredient banana ice cream. Pure indulgence.
Fig bar cookies were a luxury in my household as a child. You know there was a sale when those bad boys showed up in the cupboard. Perhaps it’s this association that makes figs seem like such a special food, and its powerhouse nutritional status is a major bonus. I also love raw energy bars, simple fruit and nut combinations that help me refuel after a workout or during a chaotic day when I’m on the go. I have discovered how to mash these two experiences together for a tasty energy fix. Homemade energy bars don’t get much easier than this recipe for two-ingredient Cashew Cookie Dough Bars from Edible Sound Bites. Simply use dried mission figs in place of dates, and bam! Childhood nostalgia meets healthy living. You’re welcome.
I’ve just decided to start ignoring winter completely and dive into the flavors of warmer seasons, so naturally, I’m looking to all things lemon. This Rawsome Life’s recipe for Lemon Bars with Coconut fits the bill perfectly. These bars, which get their creamy texture from ripe bananas, are tart, sweet and refreshing. The crust, a mix of oatmeal, coconut and dates, is reminiscent of a streusel topping. Pro tip: use the zest and juice of the lemon for a more complex favor. Also, if you have super juicy lemons like I did, you may not need all three called for in the recipe. Go with one at a time and add to taste. You can also use this lemon banana topping as a vegan lemon curd with scones or toast. Substituting figs for dates in the crust will bump up that summer flavor even more. You know what’s better than luscious lemon coconut bars with figs? Luscious lemon coconut bars with figs topped with berries. Try this super easy, naturally sweetened Chia Seed Jam recipe from Oh She Glows using any frozen berry — I used a combination of blueberries and blackberries — and revel in the taste of summer, slush and sleet be damned!
Macaroons, those fluffy little snowballs of chewy, sweet goodness, are one of my favorite treats, so I was hyped to find Eating Vibrantly’s recipe for Raw Date Coconut Macaroons. This is a rainy day recipe that requires some patience, but it’s so easy to follow. Making coconut butter is easy, but I’m glad I read this tutorial from Vegan Family Recipes first to help me understand the process of creating coconut butter at home, including a very helpful note to take your time so your processor doesn’t overheat. Don’t worry if your coconut is not completely creamy; mine was not and the macaroons still held together and tasted delicious. If you don’t own a dehydrator, no worries! Use your oven as directed by the notes in the recipe for a similar effect.
Grab your blender or food processor and whip up these fantastic treats. Tell us: what are your favorite raw desserts?