[Grab a few of these babies and while away the afternoon. . . . ]
Seriously, what more do you need than the word “bon bons” in a recipe title to know you want to make these asap?
Still need more? Okay, then, how about this:
COOKIE DOUGH-LIKE FILLING!
AMAZING COCONUT-CINNAMON COATING!!
I ATE SIX OF THEM IN LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!!!
(Oh, wait. Did I say that last one out loud?)
I got the inspiration for these little balls of bliss from the recent Raw Cake Pop event co-hosted by Lisa of Vegan Culinary Crusade and Nicole of A Dash of Compassion. I was late to the party and didn’t have a chance to enter the event, but just looking at all those innovative cake pops made me want to try my own hand at these confections. Even missing the necessary equipment (just imagine they’re beckoning from atop a lollypop stick), I forged ahead anyway. As soon as I saw Deanna’s raw cake pops, each irresistible orb in its own shiny white coat(ing), I knew I’d use that for my recipe, too. But what about the all-important interior?
[And also delicious as a snack without the coating.]
While I’ve made raw chocolate chip cookie dough before and absolutely loved it, this time I wanted to go for a less common flavor (but one I love equally well). One of my all-time favorite recipes in my sugar-fheavy, pre-ACD, pre-gluten-free, pre-HH days was called Triple Ginger Cookies from that 80s and 90s staple, the Silver Palate cookbook. It’s a mélange of molasses, three kinds of ginger and loads o’ brown sugar that bakes up into chewy, crackly, intensely ginger cookies that are extremely addictive.
Without the candied ginger (or most of the other ingredients), I decided to go for the same ginger intensity. To reproduce the distinctive bite of molasses, I chose yacon syrup, which has a slightly milder flavor and not quite the same mineral undertones, but worked well nonetheless. I also added more spice to the mix, with cinnamon and a touch of cloves to balance out the ginger. These are great eaten on their own without adornment, but if you have the time and inclination, the “white chocolate” coconut coating is a showstopper. It firms up completely after a few minutes in the freezer and remains firm at room temperature, so you can line these up on a plate and serve at the end of a dinner party or on a buffet table. Or, if you’re like me, you serve them for no particular occasion at all. . .mostly because you just like the word, “bon bons.”
[A mouth-watering bite of gingery cookie dough bliss.]
Raw Gingersnap Cookie Bon Bons
The variations are endless for these yummy bites–either press into a loaf pan and cut in squares, or roll into balls and coat in “white chocolate” coating for a mind-blowingly good treat (and an impressive gift). The balls are great without the coating, too, for a healthy snack, or frost the bars with icing before cutting–either way, they won’t last long.
2/3 cup (110 g) raw natural almonds
2/3 cup (110 g) raw or lightly toasted cashews
2/3 cup (65 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
2 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
2 tsp (10 ml) whole chia seeds, measured and then ground into a powder in a coffee grinder (or use 1 heaping Tbsp/20 ml chia meal)
pinch fine sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely grated fresh ginger pulp
2 Tbsp (30 ml) yacon syrup
50-70 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste (about 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml)
up to 2 Tbsp (30 ml) almond or soy milk, as needed
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut sugar (for ACD Stage 1, use more stevia)
15-25 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
extra cinnamon, if desired, for sprinkling
Make the dough: Place the almonds, cashews, oats, cinnamon, cloves, chia and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles a very fine meal (like a coarse cornmeal). Add the remaining ingredients and process until it begins to come together in a ball. It should look fairly dry but stick together when pinched between your thumb and fingers. Add milk only if absolutely necessary to make the dough stick together; it should not be wet.
Using a small scoop or a teaspoon, scoop the dough and form into balls. Place on a plate in the freezer to firm up and become very cold, 10-20 minutes. (Alternately, press the “dough” in the bottom of a loaf pan and refrigerate).
Prepare the coating: Place all ingredients in the container of a high-powered blender and blend until perfectly smooth and liquid, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary. Pour the mixture into a small, deep bowl. (If you don’t have a high-powered blended, you can first process the mixture in a food processor until it comes together and looks like coconut butter, up to 10 mintues. It should be loose. Transfer the coating to a regular blender and blend, in batches if necessary, until perfectly smooth and liquid. Transfer to a bowl).
Coat the bon bons: Line a large, flat plate with plastic wrap and set aside. Dip each ball in the coconut coating until it is completely covered. Scoop out carefully with a fork, and tap the fork handle on the edge of the bowl so that excess coating drips back into the bowl. Place on the plate and return to the freezer until coating is solid (about 5 minutes); then repeat the coating process once more. Sprinkle gently with cinnamon, if desired. Once the coating is hard, the bon bons may be kept in the refrigerator. Makes about 20 bon bons. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to one week.
One night when I was sixteen, I watched Marvin Hamlisch (composer of A Chorus Line, etc.) on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The previous guest was Adrienne Barbeau, the buxom actress who played Bea Arthur’s daughter on the sitcom Maude. I was appalled as I witnessed Hamlisch, seated on the couch beside her, stammer and fidget (eyes flitting repeatedly toward her massive chest) while more or less grovelling for a date on air. Despite his musical genius, despite his fame and fortune and an upcoming gig at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, it was painfully apparent that Hamlish reverted to a tongue-tied nerd when faced with a beautiful woman who, clearly, barely registered his existence.
As soon as I got up off the sofa and turned off the television (no remotes in those days), I went to my typewriter and typed a letter to Marvin. It said:
Dear Marvin Hamlisch,
Someone with your reputation shouldn’t have to lower himself to ask Adrienne Barbeau for a date. Obviously, she doesn’t appreciate your genius. If you ever come to Montreal, I would go on a date with you any time.
(Miss) Ricki Heller
I addressed it to “Marvin Hamlisch, c/o Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, USA” and popped it in the mail.
The following week, I received a handwritten letter on Marvin’s personal stationery. It said:
If I ever get to Montreal, you’re on.
Sometimes I think back on that letter and ask myself, “Wow, did I ever really have such audacity? Where did that starry-eyed insouciance go? And why didn’t Marvin ever call me for that date?”
Then I remember: oh, yeah. I was sixteen.
Well, dear readers, I’ve decided it’s time to dredge up my inner 16 year-old once again. And you can help!
Even at my advanced age, I’m still a pop culture groupie. I’ve been a fan of Ellen’s for as long as I can remember (almost as long as it’s been since I heard from Marvin). I love her even more now that she’s vegan and sugar-free–and I want to be on The Ellen Degeneres Showso I can bring her some amazing baked goods from my cookbook, Sweet Freedom!
[Elsie's definitely on board! (or is that a little board on Elsie?)]
Am I a little bit crazy? You betcha!
As someone who’s followed a whole foods diet for over decade, I know first hand how much a healthy diet can affect your well-being (just look at the impact of the ACD on me over this past year!). Based on the cookbook’s reviews and all your fabulous feedback (thank you! thank you! My blog readers are the best!), I’m confident others will agree that treats from the book are both healthy AND delicious. What better venue to spread the word than The Ellen Show, especially since the show’s star herself has adopted–and now promotes–this same way of eating?
["Here, Mum, you'll need this to dance on the show."]
Besides, I’d be a perfect guest for the show! We have so much in common, Ellen and I: She loves dogs; I love dogs. She eats a vegan diet; I eat a vegan diet. She’s sworn off sugar; I’ve sworn off sugar. She loves American Idol; I love American Idol. She’s gay; I’m—
She loves dogs; I love dogs!
And you can help! On April 2, 2010, I tweeted for an entire day nonstop, with every single tweet that day directed to @TheEllenShow–with NO laptop, NO BlackBerry, NO pre-scheduled tweets–just me sitting at my desktop computer, typing away (with the occasional bathroom break)! The major blitz is over, but I’d like to keep the campaign going!
["Mum, I know you named me Elsie, but I think I'd like to be called Ellen from now on."]
Together, we can make this happen! If you like my recipes and want to see me serve delicious, vegan and sugar free treats on The Ellen Show, please feel free to tweet Ellen at @TheEllenShow, or send an email in support byclicking here. You can also post a link to this page on your blog, Stumble this blog entry (just click on “I like this” at the top of the page if you see this on StumbleUpon), tell your local librarian, get a tattoo–whatever works!
And don’t forget tohop back here to leave a comment telling me you did so (so I can send you a free copy of the book if when I get onto the show)!
[But where's Mum?]
If I get invited on the show, every single commenter who participates in this blitz will win a FREE copy of Sweet Freedom, the ebook , which is identical to the paper copy! (And isn’t giving away free goodies very Ellen-like of me?).
And even if I don’t get asked to appear on the show, I’ll still choose 10 names at random on Sunday–three people will win hard copies of the book, and seven will win ebook. It’s my way of saying “thank you” for all your support!
I think it’s a win-win-win. If Ellen invites me to her show, she’ll have the opportunity to try some amazing, healthy baked goods. I’ll get to fulfill the dream of a starry-eyed teenager (and, more recently, a starry-eyed menopausal blogger). And you will get a FREE copy of my cookbook–everybody wins!
Let’s make it happen! Let’s show the world what “grassroots marketing” really means! Let’s prove to all the aloof, disinterested corporations that even the little guy (okay, technically I’m not quite “little” yet–but 45 pounds is nothing to sneeze at) can drum up support for an independent project without a huge marketing budget! Let’s help Ellen discover some truly delicious sweets to eat on her sugar cleanse–and share them with the world! And let’s all go try out one of these raw cookie dough truffles right now! (Well, you’ll need a good source of quick energy for all that typing, I figure).
As soon as I saw this recipe on Alicia’s blog, I knew I had to try it. The filling emulates a real raw cookie dough almost too well–gooey, sweet, chocolately. Except, um, it’s not bad for you! AND it’s ACD-friendly! Variations are endless, as well–in addition to the two provided, you could try banana cookie dough, gingersnap, or snickerdoodles–mmmm!
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips*
1/3 cup (80 ml) whole old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
2/3 cup (160 ml) lightly toasted cashews*, walnuts, macadamia nuts or hazelnuts
10-20 drops plain or vanilla flavored stevia liquid, to taste
1-2 Tbsp water or plain soy or almond milk, if needed
4 ounces (110 g) unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
2 Tbsp (30 ml) carob powder, sifted (it helps cut the bitterness when unsweetened chocolate is stevia-sweetened)
20-30 drops stevia liquid, to taste
In a small food processor or coffee grinder, pulse the cacao nibs 3-4 times to chop them up. Turn the chopped nibs into a small bowl.
In the same processor or grinder, whir the oats, cashews, cinnamon and salt together to form a fine flour. Take care not to process too much–it should still remain dry and floury.
In a very small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the yacon, vanilla, stevia, and 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water. Pour this over the mixture in the processor and process to form a soft “dough” (if you need more water, add it one teaspoon/5 ml at a time). Turn the dough into the bowl with the cacao nibs and stir to distribute the nibs throughout.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough and place scoops on parchment-lined tray. Freeze until firm, then roll into balls; refreeze until solid.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate coating: In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and carob, whisking to ensure that no lumps develop. Whisk in stevia until smooth.
Once cookie dough balls are solid, remove from freezer and quickly dip them in the chocolate; roll them around if necessary. The coating should harden almost immediately. Remove with a fork and tap the fork on the side of the pot to remove most of the excess coating. Place truffles on a tray and refrigerate until firm. Store truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Makes 10 truffles. May be frozen.
* Some anti-candida diets veto cashews. If you don’t eat cashews, use one of the other choices. For ACD Phase I, you can use unsweetened carob chips instead of cacao nibs; omit the coating and just roll the balls in carob powder.
Carrot Cookie Variation: use 2 Tbsp (30 ml) dried unsweetened coconut in place of cacao nibs, walnuts in place of cashews, and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely grated carrot in addition to other ingredients. Reduce initial water to 2 tsp (10 ml).
Post-Script: I realize this stunt may seem rather, well, adolescent to some of you (and to others, a clear indication that midlife crisis has struck with a vengeance). And after this post, I promise we’ll be back to business as usual here on DDD. But you know what? I still get a kick out of that letter from Hamlisch. So for now, I’ll once again channel that audacious sixteen year old, just for today. I figure, what have I got to lose? I’ll either be asked on the show; or I may be permanently banned from the show. Either way, the process will be fun.
And maybe–just maybe–that 16 year-old girl of yore will be surprised and delighted once more, with an opportunity of a lifetime. Here’s to healthy baked goods for all!
* that’s “bites” in the sense of, “little tidbits that can be eaten in one mouthful,” rather than the sense of, “really sucks” (as in, “reality bites”) or even “little nibbles on the flesh of the one you love” (though, to paraphrase our most famous Prime Minister, DDD has no business in the kitchens of the nation–go ahead and nibble your sweetie, if you so please!).
[Two ACD-friendly confections: chocolate fudge on the left, carob-speckled halvah on the right (halvah recipe adapted from the one inSweet Freedom)]
Well, it’s almost V-Day again. So, got any plans?
Over here in the DDD household, the HH and I long ago abandoned romance. Or perhaps I should rephrase that: the HH abandoned romance. I, on the other hand (nerd alert! nerd alert!) am the kind of gal who would swim in a river of romance if I could find one. I’d eat a triple-decker Banana Split of romance. I’d paint a billboard of romance. I’d crochet a three-piece suit of romance. I’d sleep on a duvet of romance. (“Mum, we’d sleep on a duvet of romance, too, you know. Except you won’t let us on the furniture.”)
I’d–well, you get the idea. Basically, I’m just a big blob of schmaltz (in the figurative sense, that is. I’m only a half blob of schmaltz in the literal sense, what will all that weight loss and everything).
In our house, my approach to Valentine’s Day goes something like this:
February 17, 2009: start thinking about ideas for next year’s V-Day.
July 12, 2009: while enjoying the outdoor jazz festival at the Beaches, surreptitiously write down all the HH’s favorite musicians so I can buy CDs for Valentine’s Day.
November 4, 2009: Stop at craft store to select yarn to knit a romantic scarf for the HH for V-Day. If I start knitting now, I’ll have it for Feb 14th.
January 15, 2010: So many cards for Valentine’s Day–which should I buy? Can’t decide. Buy two.
January 28, 2010: Browse through a plethora of blogs and magazines to find the perfect, romantic meal to cook up for Valentine’s Day. Consult existing list (alphabetized by course) to see which dishes would work best for the Big Feb One-Four.
February 2, 2010: Forget the groundhog! Must choose the perfect ribbon to wrap the HH’s Valentine’s Day gift!
February 9, 2010: Consider how best to deliver the HH’s gifts for the Day of Hearts–only five days away! Should I wrap each one separately, and hide them throughout the house in a kind of scavenger hunt? Should I put them all in the same box, and wrap it as one gift? Such decisions!
February 11, 2010: Pretend I’m baking for a TV spot when I am really secretly cooking up various kinds of chocolate truffles to include in my gift for the HH.
February 14, 2010: Fill a shoebox with mini teddy bear, hand-knit scarf, bag of cinnamon hearts, boxes of homemade truffles, key chain with “I heart You” on it, Miles Davis CD and Card #1 (the sappy one). Spend a couple of hours painstakingly drawing hearts and flowers plus line drawings of Ricki and the HH, in various shades of pink and red, on the outside of the shoebox, then wrapping with blue satin ribbon; stick Card #2 (the funny one) on the outside of the box. Set table with best linens (well, polyester made to look like linen, anyway), china, wine glasses and candlelight. Play something soft and romantic like Satie’s Petite Overture a Danser, and wait for the romance to unfold.
The HH’s approach? Goes something like this:
February 14, 2010: “So, is today one of those holidays where I have to get you a card or you get mad at me?”
Okay, I exaggerate. He usually asks me that question on February thirteenth.
Well, for anyone with similar romantic aspirations to mine, I present you with little bites of chocolate fudge–ACD friendly. These are an adaptation of the super-successful Fudge Two Ways I made a couple of years ago (and feel free to use that recipe if you can consume other sweeteners). The communion of unsweetened chocolate, yacon syrup and stevia creates an irresistible flavor, a bittersweet blend of cacao underscored with subtle hints of molasses.
Whether or not you’re hoping for romance this V-Day, these little bites will definitely bring some alluring chocolate into your life. In fact, you may just fall in love.
Love Bites (ACD-Friendly Chocolate Fudge–suitable for Phase I or II)
[Little white dots of cashew and macadamia nut are visible throughout, a result of my home-ground nut butters; the storebought kind won't have these same speckles.]
3/4 cup (130 g) chopped good-quality unsweetened chocolate (I used Cocoa Camino); or use unsweetened carob chips for ACD Phase I
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic (USE ONLY with carob option)
1/4 cup (60 ml) natural smooth cashew-macadamia butter (I just mixed together half cashew, half macadamia nut butter); or use all-macadamia for ACD Phase I
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 ml) yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, or a combination
10-20 drops plain, vanilla, or chocolate stevia liquid, depending on the brand and your desired sweetness level
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/4 cup (30 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, if desired
Lightly grease a 6 inch (15 cm) loaf pan, or line with plastic wrap.
In a large glass or metal bowl set over a smaller pot of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), stir the chocolate (or chips and coconut oil, if using carob chips) until melted and completely smooth. Add the nut butter and salt and stir again until combined. Remove from the heat.
Add the yacon syrup, stevia, vanilla and nuts and stir well. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Chill until set, about an hour; then cover with more plastic wrap and chill until very firm, 2 hours to overnight. Turn out onto a cutting board, peel away the plastic wrap, and cut into small squares. Makes 12-20 love bites. Will keep, wrapped in the refrigerator, up to 2 weeks. May be frozen.