Eating foods as close to their raw state as possible is not only beneficial for digestion, but also for the availability of many nutrients. How does eating raw translate to desserts? By removing the “baking” component and thinking ahead, creating raw decadent desserts will not only impress your friends and family but provide the added benefit of hidden nutrition. Today’s inspiration starts by soaking my nuts (haha) and my current favorite, local cold brew coffee concentrate from Jupiter Cold Brew. Although cold brew coffee isn’t a raw product (the beans have been roasted), the process of cold brewing takes 18-24 hours and is a gentle way to create an end product with lower acidity than a regular cup of coffee. Using Jupiter’s cold brew concentrate as my inspiration, I’ve created these amazing mostly Raw Turkish Coffee Bars. I hope you’ll give them a try!
Benefits of soaking nuts:
- Nuts become softer after soaking which is beneficial for digestion. If you suffer, like many of us, from any digestive issues, I highly recommend soaking any nuts and seeds before consumption. Your tummy will thank you!
- Nuts contain natural enzyme inhibitors. These “enzyme inhibitors” are nature’s way of protecting the nut until the conditions are right for germination. Our digestive tract is better served when these enzyme inhibitors are neutralized. This not only helps with digestion but increases the availability of nutrients. Vital for anyone suffering from allergies, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis or Autoimmune diseases. Proper digestion and absorption is the name of the game when dealing with these issues.
Now for the fun part…Making these beautiful Turkish Coffee Bars:
The crust: Start by soaking your nuts overnight. In the morning, rinse well and drain. I also pat the soaked nuts with a clean cloth to remove most of the water before making my raw crust.
The Filling: I use both soaked cashews and the meat of a young Thai coconut in most of my creamy pies and bars. Although I love the taste of cashews, they seem rather strong in desserts. Softening the strong flavor of cashews with the softness and gentle flavor of a young Thai coconut is the perfect mix for me. Play around with it and adjust according to your own liking. Note: Cashews only need to be soaked from 2-4 hours, not overnight.
- 2 1/2 cups soaked nuts of your choice (I used 1 cup almonds, 3/4 cup pecans and 3/4 cup walnuts)
- 3 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted (increase if you like a sweeter crust)
- 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 young Thai coconut (Tip: Ask the folks in your produce department to crack open your coconut for you)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1/2 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup Jupiter Cold Brew Concentrate
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- 1 pinch of high-quality sea salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (Cardamom is a bit strong if you go too far with it...I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 1 Organic Dark Chocolate Bar, melted
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper - this makes for easy removal after your bars have set up in the freezer.
- Using a food processor, add soaked nuts, pitted dates, cacao powder, maple syrup and sea salt.
- Pulse until your crust comes together and nuts have broken down to your liking. Some people like their crust chunky, however, I like mine a little more broken up...it's totally up to you.
- Press crust into prepared baking dish.
- Start by cleaning your coconut meat, making sure to remove any woody pieces. Rinse well.
- Using a food processor or high-speed blender, add all filling ingredients: coconut meat, soaked cashews, coconut oil, cold brew coffee, raw cacao powder, maple syrup, sea salt, cardamom and vanilla.
- Blend, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides. Continue to blend until creamy.
- Pour filling over crust and flatten with the back of an offset spatula.
- Melt 1 dark chocolate bar using a double boiler. When melted, drizzle over the filling using a spoon or fork with a back and forth motion to create a pleasing pattern. Optional: sprinkle with cacao nibs for an added punch of chocolate love.
- Place in freezer for 2-4 hours or until set.
- Carefully remove frozen mass from your pan. Let sit at room temperature for about 3-4 minutes. Using a sharp knife, on a solid surface, slice into bars and serve.
- vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free