Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

I was never a fan of Fig Newtons growing up — I opted for Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. But as people say, your preferences, including your tastebuds, change every seven years. While I still love sinking my teeth into a rich piece of fudge, my sweet tooth often opts for fruit flavors instead.

Last year, I followed a raw diet for three days, and after three days, I was ready to eat simple things like steamed vegetables and cooked quinoa. Nonetheless, I still like to experiment with raw recipes because eating foods in their raw form keeps all of nutrients intact and at their highest levels. This raw recipe hits the fruit lover’s sweet tooth and is easy to make. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of the filling and topping, so if you’d like to eliminate some of the carbs here, just try those two layers.

Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

Ingredients:

> 1 cup brown rice flour
> 3 tablespoons maple syrup
> 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
> 2 cups dried Mission figs, soaked in water for 3 hours
> 1/4 teaspoon salt
> 1 1/2 cups pecans

Instructions:

To make the crust, combine the brown rice flour and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a medium bowl. Add fig water until it sticks together. Press into a 9×9-inch pan.

To make the filling, blend the figs, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and salt in a food processor. Add the fig water until it’s a smooth consistency but still thick. Spread the filling on top of the crust, leaving about 1/4 cup in the food processor.

To make the topping, add the pecans to the food processor and pulse until there are small but chunks, but it’s not too fine. Spread and smooth on top of the fig filling. Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

Makes 9 servings.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Raw Apricot Lemon Bites

When fresh fruit doesn’t sound like it’s going to satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to this dried fruit and nut recipe that combines for the perfect balance between sweet and salty. The bites are so dense that it only takes one bite to give you a sugar boost.

Apricot Lemon Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped walnuts
> 1 cup dried apricots, torn into pieces
> 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1 teaspoon salt
> zest from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 1/4 cup shredded dried coconut

Instructions:

Process walnuts in a food processor until they resemble a gritty flour. Add the dried apricots, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until well combined, and the mixture is sticky.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut and apricot-lemon mixture. Combine with a spoon or your hands until the coconut is distributed evenly.

Press mix firmly into a parchment lined pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate for two hours and cut into bars or form into bite-sized balls.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Blueberry Cashew Bars

A vegan picnic calls for hummus, pita bread, veggies, sweet potato chips, guacamole, apples and peanut butter — but the missing link is the dessert. To add a sweet something to the menu, I made these blueberry cashew bars that were marketed as cheesecake bars but really take on their own nutty consistency. They are full of flavor and delicious to all, regardless of following a raw or vegan diet.

Blueberry cashew bars

The recipe was adapted from Choosing Raw.

~ 1 1/2 cups walnuts
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1 cup apricots, cut into bites
~ 1 cup blueberries
~ 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours and drained
~ 1/3 cup maple syrup

1. To make the bottom layer, place the walnuts, raisins and apricots in a food processor and pulse to break the ingredients down. Process until the mixture is ground up and sticking together when you squeeze a little in your hand.

2. Press the bottom layer into a 9 x 9-inch pan that is lined with aluminum foil, and chill.

3. To make the top layer, process the blueberries, cashews and syrup in a food processor until they’re as smooth as possible, about two minutes. Pour the top layer over the bottom layer in the pan. Use a spatular to smooth the top layer evenly.

4. Refrigerate for at least three hours. Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 15-20 bars.

Raw Brownies

When you see the name raw brownies, what does that make you think of? I was initially drawn to this recipe when reading The Oprah Magazine because I love chocolate but also because these health movements are all the rage right now. The raw food diet is one of the most extreme in which you can’t eat foods cooked above 104 degrees. Other than the raw food diet, recently gluten-free diets have risen in popularity. Initially gluten-free eaters were only those who suffered from celiac disease. Now some people are choosing to eliminate anything with wheat in it, purely for health benefits.

So when I saw raw I knew it was going to have veggies in it. How do veggies and brownies go together? Simple. Lots of cookies and other baked goods incorporate veggies into their ingredient list such as cookies with zucchini and sweet potatoes. The raw brownies that I made have avocado as their vegetable ingredient.

The recipe was taken from The Oprah Magazine.

Base:
~ 2 cups pecans (or walnuts)
~ 13 oz pitted dates
~ 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
~ 1/8 tsp orange zest
~ 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
~ 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
~ 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Frosting:
~ 2 avocados, pitted and peeled
~ 1/8 tsp sea salt
~ 1/2 cup cocoa powder
~ 1/2 cup agave nectar, plus more to taste

Note: The original recipe calls for 3 avocados in the frosting. I used two and there was a heaping amount of frosting to cover the brownie base.

1. In a food processor, mix all base ingredients.
2. Press down the mixture of base ingredients in an 8-inch square baking pan.
3. Puree all frosting ingredients in a food processor and spread on base.
4. Cover and freeze at least 3 hours. Cute into 2-inch squares and serve cold.

Because there is no liquid component in the base, mixing the ingredients in a food processor can prove difficult. Instead make sure that the pecans, dates and avocado and broken into small enough pieces to be integrated; then mix by hand in a bowl.

This recipe is good for those who want to have a decadent dessert to serve but don’t have time to prepare it right beforehand. Beware that if you tell people what is in the brownies, they may be resistant to eat them. In reality, the brownies don’t taste like they have avocados in them if the base mixture is integrated well enough. Also be sure to taste the frosting before covering the brownie mixture as extra agave nectar may be required to offset the avocado flavor.

On another note for those who love to eat healthy (even when you’re eating dessert), these are perfect for you. While dessert without fat is sometimes hard to avoid, these brownies have healthy fats from the nuts and the avocado. Indulge because you can feel good about what you’re eating.

Would you try these brownies if you knew the ingredient list? Comment with your answer below!