By Chana Billet
M Y FORAY IN TO the tasty genre of raw desserts began as a fluke. I was hosting a fancy
dinner party, and my oven and stove malfunctioned the morning of the big event.
While I was able to prepare dinner on the
grill, dessert posed a problem. Instead of
making a peach-blueberry crumble, I decided
to macerate peaches in fresh orange juice and
serve them with a sprinkle of sweetened nuts
and a dollop of cashew crème, made by blending cashews with maple syrup, vanilla and sea
salt in my Vitamix blending machine.
From this experience I learned that raw
desserts, often defined as food prepared with
whole-food ingredients in their natural state
(nothing is heated above 118 F, to preserve
nutritional value), can be just as delicious and
elegant as traditional desserts—and they can
be a lot better health-wise.
“People are surprised that raw desserts
taste so good, even though they are missing
ingredients like flour and refined sugars,” says
Heather Pace, a Costco member, author of
Sweetly Raw Desserts (Quarry Books, 2015;
not available at Costco) and founder of the
blog Sweetly Raw ( sweetlyraw.com). “We
replace ingredients that don’t have nutritional
value with nutrient-dense nuts, fruit, health-
ful oils and natural sweeteners. So you can
actually have your cake and eat it, too.”
Other mainstay ingredients are coconut
oil, coconut butter (a creamy paste made from
dried, ground coconut meat) and nut butters.
For sweetness, unrefined favorites include
fresh fruit purées, raisins, Medjool dates,
coconut nectar, coconut sugar, stevia and
maple syrup. The boiled sap of maple trees,
while technically not “raw,” is often used
because it’s minimally processed; contains
manganese, zinc and other minerals; and has
a distinct, irreplaceable flavor.
Any style of dessert, whether raw or
cooked, wouldn’t be complete without chocolate. Whole-food forms of chocolate include
cacao nibs, cacao butter and cacao powder.
Carob powder is also used in raw recipes as a
Raw ingredients make
healthy, delectable desserts
chocolate substitute, although it is not from
the same tree.
“Raw desserts leave you feeling light and
energetic because they aren’t made from processed ingredients your body has to work
hard to digest,” says Pace.
The technique of making raw desserts is
fairly easy. Ingredients quickly come together in
a food processor or high-speed blender, and are
then set aside in the fridge or freezer to chill.
“Making raw desserts is much simpler,
and quicker, than traditional baking,” says
Susan Powers, a Costco member and author
of Rawmazing Desserts (Skyhorse Publishing,
2013; not available at Costco), and creator of
the blog Rawmazing ( rawmazing.com). “Even
though we mostly blend or stir ingredients,
the end result tastes amazing because everything we’re using is all natural.”
Powers and Pace both advise using fresh,
high-quality ingredients. Since nothing is
baked, it’s the great flavor of the natural ingredients that makes these healthful treats taste
To get started, try these three recipes to
see how easy and delicious raw desserts can
be in your home. C
Chana Billet is a freelance writer from south
The Costco Connection
Costco offers fresh and frozen produce and
dry ingredients, as well as food processors to
help you create the perfect raw dessert.