Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 14, 2009

Warm the heart of that someone special with a blushing red, homey dessert you can prepare a day ahead and serve chilled. For a romantic touch, garnish the old-fashioned tapioca pudding with homemade chocolate hearts so irresistibly infused with love Cupid is sure to hit the mark. Valentine’s Day planning is the perfect opportunity to get out those heart-shaped cookie cutters that wait a full year to help love blossom. The Chocolate Hearts can be made several days ahead and either baked in the oven or dried in the dehydrator. Seal the Chocolate Hearts in a zipper-lock plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator.


Yield: 6 servings

2 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 cup organic sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups soymilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract

1. Combine the raspberries, organic sugar, tapioca, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and mix together. Gradually stir in the soymilk and lemon juice until the mixture is well blended.
2. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.
3. Cool 5 minutes, then spoon into serving bowls and chill 2 to 4 hours or until firm. Serve with Chocolate Hearts.

Chocolate Hearts

1 cup walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons golden raisins

To make the Chocolate Hearts in the oven

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a jellyroll pan with parchment. Have ready various sizes of heart-shaped cookie cutters.
2. Combine the walnuts, dates, water, cocoa, and golden raisins in the food processor and process to a lightly textured puree. You will have to stop the machine several times to redistribute the ingredients until everything is well incorporated and the nuts are broken down to a fine, slightly textured meal. The mixture will be very thick.
3. Spoon the chocolate mixture onto the prepared baking pan and use the back of the spoon to press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan to form a rectangle approximately 8 x 9 inches by 1/4-inch thick.
4. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the chocolate sheet is set but still soft. Remove the pan from the oven and cool about 30 minutes. Then use the cookie cutters to create several hearts. The hearts will firm as they cool.

To make the Chocolate Hearts in the dehydrator

1. Prepare the mixture as for baking. Then, simply spread the chocolate-date mixture on a teflex-lined dehydrator tray and place it in the dehydrator. Set the dial at 115 degrees and dehydrate for 9 to 12 hours.
2. Invert the chocolate-date sheet onto an unlined rack, remove the teflex sheet, and use the cookie cutters to press in several hearts, leaving the chocolate sheet intact. Return the tray to the dehydrator and dehydrate 8 to 12 hours longer to create a soft, but solid sheet. Allow the chocolate sheet to cool completely before removing the hearts.

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