I had the recent good fortune to review Raw For Dessert: Easy Delights for Everyone, by Jennifer Cornbleet. Jennifer is the author of several raw cookbooks, as well as an internationally recognized raw food chef and instructor at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, California.
Raw For Dessert is 128 pages long, with easy to read two-colour printing and a selection of glossy colour photos. The book opens with a section on Essential Information – this includes a listing of required ingredients and recommended equipment, as well as handy tips and techniques like how to soak nuts. There is also a section on knife skills as they apply to ingredients specific to recipes in the book – very handy, and I learned a few things about how to tackle a young coconut. The recipes are divided into the following categories: Basics (creams, fillings, sauces, crusts – components that will be needed in other recipes in the book); Fruit Desserts; Sorbets, Ice Creams, and Sundaes; Cakes, Cookies, and Bars; Pies and Tarts; Creamy Desserts; and Candy. The book closes with a section on Resources.
Thoughts: Those who wish to avoid highly processed ingredients like white sugar, white flour, dairy, eggs, trans-fats, saturated fats, and fake foods, will have those wants accommodated by default with a raw diet. While the desserts in this book are automatically dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and vegan*, they are also undeniably knock-your-socks-off delicious. One thing you immediately notice when tasting raw desserts is the explosion of flavour – I’m talking about intensely good taste experiences here. And the energy burst you get is immediate: You can’t help but feel vital when eating raw food. Most of the recipes are super fast and easy, some with as few as four complimentary ingredients. And if you take the time to prepare some of Jennifer’s basic components (fillings, etc) and keep them on hand in the fridge, you can make the more complex recipes at the drop of a hat. I also appreciate the flexibility inherent to many of the recipes – Jennifer makes some non-raw ingredient substitution suggestions in case the raw version is not available – cocoa powder for example, or the option to use maple syrup. (*some recipes call for raw honey – Jennifer indicates that, for those who don’t consume it, honey can be replaced with light agave syrup or even maple syrup. Maple syrup is not raw, but it’s definitely my favourite)
In the kitchen: For the purpose of writing this review, I chose to make the following treats: Ginger Spice Cookies (with the perfect amount of sweetness and spice, these are some of the best cookies I have ever tasted – seconds have already been demanded by my family), Really! One Bowl Brownies (who says you can’t be health-conscious and have chocolate? These remind me of my favourite chocolate Lara bar – yum!), Classic Ambrosia (so refreshing, simple ingredients – the perfect balance of tangy and sweet), Apple Compote with Golden Raisins and Pistachios (so simple and satisfying - this healthy treat is truly a guilt-free indulgence, and the perfect treat to enjoy on a chilly Fall day). Needless to say, there were no disappointments here – this book’s a winner. And guess what? My taste testers didn’t even realize that they were eating raw. And there are many more great sweet treats to try: I’m seriously looking forward to making the Pistachio Ice Cream, Bitter Chocolate Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Truffles, and Pumpkin Pie, next.
To sum up: Like many, I find myself wanting to increase the amount of raw food in my diet for the obvious health benefits – and what sweeter way to accomplish this than by making raw desserts. This book offers a truly extensive collection of sweet treats that make you forget this is a book of raw desserts. The recipes offer simple, straightforward, no-bake treats that allow you to satisfy your desire for both indulgence and healthy options. Jennifer shows us how easy it is to enjoy our favourite desserts while enjoying the benefits and vitality of eating raw. And the measure of deliciousness these treats boast rivals their baked counterparts. The excellent reputation and strong following enjoyed by Raw For Dessert is clearly well deserved. I’m a fan.
Click on the Luscious Vegan Desserts Logo below for a chance to win your own copy of Raw For Dessert!
Book Publishing Company is currently running an online promotion called “Luscious Vegan Desserts” from now until the end of October. Clicking on their logo will take you to the Luscious Vegan Dessert Page, where you can click to register for a chance at winning one of the following vegan dessert cookbooks – very cool:
- Raw For Dessert, by Jennifer Cornbleet
- Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik
- More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, by Fran Costigan
- Simple Treats, by Ellen Abraham
- Lick It! by Cathe Olson
- Living in the Raw Desserts, by Rose Lee Calabro
Did you know that Book Publishing Co. is a member of Green Press Initiative? They also have loads of awesome books on vegan cookery, baking, and more, that promote a healthful and sustainable lifestyle. I like them.