If you’ve never tried making raw desserts because you thought it may be too complicated, required special equipment or called for ingredients you could never possibly find, then Practically Raw Desserts: Flexible Recipes for All-Natural Sweets and Treats by Chef Amber Shea Crawley will change your mind. Packed with easy, innovative and approachable recipes, Practically Raw Desserts utilizes completely nutritious and wholesome vegan ingredients to create both familiar and one-of-a-kind desserts, like Carrot Cake, Mango-Pistachio Kulfi Pops, New York Cheesecake, Devil’s Food Cupcakes, Baklava Brownies and Russian Tea Cakes. If you can’t find every ingredient for a particular recipe, there are plenty of substitutions and variations offered to produce similar results (with the exception of coconut flour, which there is really no substitution for). I found coconut flour in the bulk bin at a health food store in Cambridge, but you can also buy it online. I love that Chef Amber took the time and care to ensure her recipes could be made by anyone, with almost any kind of pantry ingredients.
When I received my copy of Practically Raw Desserts from Vegan Heritage Press to review on the blog, I was pleasantly overwhelmed with the array of diverse choices, and loved that there were full-color photographs to accompany the majority of the recipes inside. Although everything looked fantastic, I was instantly drawn to Chef Amber’s Salted Tahini Caramels, and it turned out to be a fantastic way to start using the cookbook.
These rich and slightly salted caramels are binded together with coconut flour, sweetened with a hint of raw agave, then placed in the freezer to create an adorable two-bite dessert. These can then be placed into mini muffin cups or cut into cubes once firm, and pulled out of the freezer here and there for a cold, rich and not-too-sweet mini treat. Because I adore this simple yet flavorful use of tahini, I’m excited that Vegan Heritage Press has kindly allowed me to post Chef Amber’s recipe below. If you love tahini and lean towards a more savory and light type of dessert, then this is the perfect recipe to try out—but if you like sweet, chocolate or fruity then Practically Raw Desserts offers all of that and more.
Salted Tahini Caramels
There are two types of people in this world: those that adore tahini enough to eat it straight out of the jar, and those that do not. I am of the former persuasion. If you are too, you’ll love these tahini-rific little freezer caramels. Have all the ingredients ready to go at room temperature to make for easy mixing.
• 1/2 cup tahini
• 1/4 cup coconut flour
• 1/4 cup coconut nectar*
• 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
*(or agave nectar, maple syrup or any other liquid sweetener)
Combine the tahini, coconut flour, and coconut nectar in a medium bowl and stir until very well-mixed (the mixture will be thick). Pour into a small glass container (lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper for easy removal, if desired) or divide between mini muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with the sea salt and freeze until very firm. Once frozen, slice into bite-sized pieces with a very sharp knife. Enjoy straight out of the freezer.
Store the caramels in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Yield: 16 small caramels