Raw foods have a bad rap for being overly complicated, expensive, and way too time-consuming for home preparation. While we’ll give you that raw foods can be pretty daunting, especially for a beginner, one chef has unlocked the key: Flexible raw recipes for everyday life, with substitutions and variations that ensure anyone can prepare her foods. That chef is Amber Shea Crawley and her newest book, Practically Raw Desserts, makes sweet raw treats accessible to everyone. How could we not give away a copy of this go-to cookbook to a lucky Vegan Cuts blog reader?
Crawley is a certified raw and vegan chef, and Practically Raw Desserts is her second book. Her first book, Practically Raw, demonstrated a flexible, real-world approach to raw foods and offered up recipes for savory and sweet dishes, along with options for substitutions, variations, and cooked methods for most of the raw recipes. This approach makes it a snap for beginners, the raw-curious, and busy folks of all sorts to integrate some raw foods into their lifestyle without breaking their budgets or busting their humps.
In Practically Raw Desserts, Crawley uses the same approach. Each recipe comes with a list of ingredient substitutions and variations as well as a variety of preparation methods, including raw (using a dehydrator) or cooked (usually baked at a low temperature). On top of that, many recipes are simply no cook and no fuss as you can see from the two that I sampled below.
Salted Tahini Caramels
This recipe calls for just 4 ingredients and absolutely no fancy equipment. In fact, no equipment is needed at all. You just stir the ingredients together and press the mixture into the mold of your choice. I had these cutesy heart silicone molds that seemed to be about the right size, so I went with that. After a couple of hours in the freezer, I had plenty of decadent roasty sweet caramels to eat (and some to share).
This is a spectacularly easy treat with a truly unique flavor profile. Even if you’re not a tahini lover, it’s one worth trying. It might change the way you think about tahini.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
When I first flipped through the book, this recipe caught my eye. I could not wait to make it. This decadent cake is deceptively simple, too. The recipe comes together in a matter of minutes and makes a perfectly portioned small cake. If large cakes are more up your alley, it also includes tips for doubling the recipe to make a larger portion. As with all her recipes, Crawley offers the full scope of preparation methods for this one. Lacking a dehydrator of the correct size, I chose to bake my cake in the oven. It bakes at a low temp for a pretty short amount of time, but that’s all this little treat needs.
After baking, I allowed the cake to cool and refrigerated overnight before serving. This was the perfect treat for a celebration with my sweetie, as we both enjoyed the delicate flavor of this surprisingly light cake.
Enter to Win a Copy of Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley
Want to make these treats yourself? One lucky blog reader will win a copy of Practically Raw Desserts. You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Open to U.S. residents only.