I recently saw a post at Vegan Culinary Crusade about a Raw Cake Pop Challenge. Raw and vegan cake pops...raw, as in none of the ingredients are heated above 105 degrees. Not raw as in taking uncooked cake batter and trying to form balls out of it. True raw foodies do not eat anything that is heated above 105 degrees, preserving the nutrients and enzymes that support proper digestion and a healthy immune system.
I was intrigued by this challenge! I use raw recipes a lot. I try to eat a good amount of my fruits and vegetables raw. I follow a lot of raw food bloggers because the recipes are healthy and nutritious. And the desserts...oh my, raw desserts are stupendous! Have you seen my recipe for Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie? Pure heaven. How about the Raw Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake. Lovely.
So, on to the Raw Cake Pop Challenge. I wanted to do something original. Raw chocolate recipes are everywhere, I decided not to do chocolate. My first attempt was key lime pie...it was okay, but not top-notch quality. My second attempt was carrot cake...still not amazing. Then I got frustrated and tried a chocolate recipe. I could have made it work, but as I mentioned I really didn't want to do chocolate. So those became Raw Cacao Snack Balls. :)
I then decided to do one of my favorite desserts: Strawberry Shortcake. My first two creations were disastrous. They tasted good, but were too mushy. I almost gave up, but I had the "candy" coating perfected. I wanted it to have that snap of a real candy coating. I just had to try one more time. I started wishing that I had it already done...then it hit me! I had some left-over crust from the Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie in the freezer. It is divine! I can just eat it plain. In fact, I think I will start making them into little dessert balls. :)
This was a challenge, no doubt about it, but I am so happy with the results. It tastes just like strawberry shortcake!
Update 4/30/11: These should be eaten the same day. They get too mushy the next day.
Raw Strawberry Shortcake Pops
Makes 16 Pops
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (any nut will do, but macadamia is my favorite)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons raw agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw almond meal
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small chunks
16 lollipop sticks
1. Place all ingredients, minus the strawberries, in a food processor until it resembles a crumbly, but moist dough. Transfer dough to a bowl and with a spatula mix in the strawberries, being careful to not mash them. Form the dough into 2" balls. Push a lollipop stick into each ball, about half way in (If the dough is too soft, freeze for 15 minutes). Place the lollipops standing upright in a block of foam and freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the Candy Coating.
4 oz raw cocoa butter, grated
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut cream (1 can of coconut milk will be needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons raw agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons finely grated raw red beet (optional, for color)
1. Place the grated cocoa butter in a small bowl. Place this bowl in a larger bowl with hot tap water in it, about half way up the small bowl. Occasionally stir the cocoa butter until melted, changing the cooling water, if necessary. Transfer the melted cocoa butter to a medium bowl.
2. Open a can of coconut milk, do not shake it. You will find a thick layer of cream on top. Skim off the desired amount. You can mix the remaining cream into the milk and save for a future use.
3. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the blade of the knife scrape out the vanilla seeds. Add the coconut cream, agave and vanilla seeds to the cocoa butter. Beat at medium speed until well combined. Add the grated beets, stirring with a spatula until the mixture becomes slightly pink. If the mixture starts to solidify, place it over hot tap water to melt again. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, strain the beets from the liquid. If the oil from the cocoa butter has separated, whisk to combine.
4. Remove the lollipops from the freezer and spoon the coating over the pop. Place the pop back in the freezer for 5 minutes. If desired, add another layer of coating. Melt the coating again, if needed. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Voila! Raw Strawberry Shortcake Pops. Enjoy!