I decided a few days ago to join the Blonde Vegan’s sugar-free month challenge, because I usually bake or make something every day, and there’s always something sweet to chase down all my meals. I figured a bit of mindfulness is therefore in order and that I should stop defining my meals by the sugar-y treat at the end, and hence the reason for the “easy dinner meals” I’ve been posting lately. Alas my broken oven and Man-thing’s impending birthday have put a spanner in those plans, and, because I won’t be able to bake him the cakes I’d been researching for months (seriously), I decided to make some quick but utterly delightful raw treats to serve up to any guests that may wander by tomorrow. I absolutely loathe not having anything to offer people, especially since I spend a lot of time talking about food!
Anyway, these things are in some ways better than a slab of chocolate (that’s right, I went there!), and easier to space out over a long, glorious summer (or in our case in the Southern hemisphere, over a frigid bladdy winter). Frozen treats actually make sense in winter time because when you have a frog stuck in your throat, as is usually the case when you work with people and don’t live in a bubble, there is nothing more soothing than cool sweetness at the back of your throat. I usually open my freezer at least four times from when I get home to pop a frozen banana or mango slice into my mouth, but making these yum cups is infinitely more refined than trying to coat the slice in nut butter and sprinkle goji berries everywhere but the floor (massive fail). It’s less nonchalant a process than one would imagine, I tell you.
Ingredients (14-16 mini muffin sized cups)
– Mini muffin pan
– Food processor
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup macadamia nut butter
- 1.5 cups frozen mango, cubed
- 1/8 – 1/4 cup tea
- 2 TBSP goji berries
- OPTIONAL: 2 TBSP agave
- 1 cup walnuts (OR 1 cup almond flour for a different taste/undertone)
- 1 cup dates (soaked for half an hour in some delicious tea – I chose chai)
- a few drops NuNaturals NuStevia Liquid Lemon drops (I used about 6-7)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- OPTIONAL: Blend 1/2 cup frozen blackberries/raspberries with the goji berries and use this for the goji filling.
- OPTIONAL: Melt some chocolate/make homemade chocolate to pour in between the layers or atop the raw cup.
- I soaked my dates overnight, but it’s not actually all that necessary – it just makes it easier on one’s food processor.
- Process the walnuts & dates together until they stick (pinch and release – it shouldn’t gloop apart). It shouldn’t be an absolute mush – you should be able to see the different ingredients.
- In your mini muffin pan spoon out the date & walnut mixture to above 1/2 of your pan’s depth. Flatten a bit with the back of your spoon and set aside (some people like to pop it into the freezer but I’m too lazy for such tricks).
- Sprinkle some goji berries into the middle of your base. If you like you can pour some homemade chocolate (or melted chocolate chips) over them!
- If your mango comes straight out of the freezer then I suggest pouring your cooled tea over it just to let it thaw a bit (again, if your processor is a bit troublesome). Spoon your mango pieces into the processor with the NuStevia lemon drops, nut butter and tahini and whirr till smooth, adding tea as necessary if it becomes too thick and doesn’t smooth out evenly. If you are using agave syrup add it in – I left mine out because I thought the natural sugars were enough, but if serving to non-vegans especially I would recommend it.
- Spoon out the rest of the filling atop your goji sprinkles and smooth out the top. It helps to wet your spoon a bit.
- Place into the freezer to set (half an hour).
- I like to keep and eat my treats straight from the freezer, so I’m not sure how melty they’d get in the fridge. Freezer treats are better, anyway 😀
The tahini is just AWESOME in this recipe – it really brings a deeper layer to the whole ensemble, and next time I’ll even go 100% tahini for the topping and then just add some lemon zest and 1 TBSP extra agave…..mmmmmmmmmmm!
Anyway, a more long-term project is getting my siblings used to this idea of veganism, vegetarianism, raw food, etc. I want them to grow up in a world where a raw 3-course meal is not obscene or disrespectful but actually exciting and wonderful! Little treats like this are easy enough to sneak onto a side plate with some tea when non-vegans come knocking on the door, and are harmless enough to feed little rascals without parents suspecting you of some major brainwashing effort. My little sister is very conscious of what she calls my “vegetarianism” (because I don’t think she fully gets the distinction between that and veganism yet, even though she knows I don’t consume dairy or eggs). She’s five so I’m amazed more than fussed about labels at this point (and they are rather silly in general, but serve a practical purposes), but her parents’ philosophy, and what they enforce, is that when she’s an adult she can do what she likes, and because I’m adult I can be vegan.
The way she talks about it it’s very clear they had some serious conversations with her on this point, so I wonder just what sorts of questions she ended up slinging their way. As a big sister a lot of what I do is somehow magical and interesting in small bursts, and kids are quick to spot differences between people and their habits. Still, she’s always uber polite when I make something to eat and bring it along, to the point of sheer adorableness. Even giving her a little bit of pause and having her consider the link between animals and animal products (without direct prodding and flashcards) is awesome on a conceptual level, because it seems those logical connectors are not always encouraged in a meat-eating society, even though it is so…obvious.
Therefore I suspect I have a lot of pressure to make veganism seem in equal parts cool, normal, wonderful and do-able. I guess that applies to people who aren’t five as well, but then I can scratch “cool”, because even she’s already getting too old to consider me cool! With that in mind, I think I should make something more epic for Man-thing’s bday raw cake than just these lovely mango-lemon cups(although they are stellar!). Trouble is, with people like Emily, Gabby, and others around, there are wayyyy too many choices for raw delights!
*settles in for an evening of stalking raw food*