I read blog posts so often and get inspired by the wonderful recipes. I drool and swoon. I bookmark and plan. Then life gets in the way of good intentions. I get distracted. It can take months or even years before I actually make the recipe. So today’s recipe is unusual because within 15 minutes of reading about Ricki’s Carob Coconut Sweeties I had made my version of them. Why? Let me tell you:
1. The recipe is so simple and quick to make. I can make it in the amount of time it takes a baby to take a deep breath between cries. Well, almost!
2. My version is made of ingredients in my cupboards. No palaver of dressing Sylvia in a cardigan and hat, putting her in the pram, crying on the way to the shops, battling my way through the supermarket, queuing behind some arrogant old man arguing with the check-out chick, and rushing back in time for another feed.
3. It is as gooey, chocolatey and coconutty as my favourite grubs but with less processed ingredients. It feeds the inner child in need of comfort food but with an adult’s appreciation for nutrition.
4. Ricki understands that sometimes we need to make ourselves food that gives instant gratification but will not linger temptingly once the urge passes. This recipe has mercifully small quantities.
5. It comes from Ricki’s wonderful Diet, Dessert and Dogs. I love her recipes which are always inspiring and interesting.
I have been reading Ricki’s blog since late in 2007 when her recipes started inspiring me. It is always a pleasure to see her posts pop up in my blog reader. She is creative, entertaining, and generous. Diet, Dessert and Dogs is written with humour and poignancy and always has something interesting to offer. Whether it is a new word (such as chillaxing), a new ingredient (such as coconut oil) or just a recipe that I know I must try (such as these these heavenly truffles), I can be guaranteed to find it on DDD.
Ricki also has a fine appreciation of dietary restrictions, having faced many of them in her own life. She has lots of interesting recipes suitable for vegan and gluten-free diets. So refreshing after the same old recipes in magazines and cookbooks. And Ricki is always up for a challenge. Most recently she has been on an anti-candida diet (ACD). Her list of what she must not eat on this diet shocked me but it is admirable and amazing how many delicious creations she continues to enjoy despite this.
One of her recent ACD recipes were the Carob Coconut Sweeties which I mentioned above. They were just so good I have now made them 3 times and on one occasion didn’t even both making balls but just ate the mixture straight from the bowl. They have that sort of informality. I was even happy that E wasn’t interested in it. All the more for me.
Ricki sometimes has ingredients that are beyond my reach. In her recipe she used carob, chia seeds, stevia liquid and hemp seeds – none of which have ever graced my kitchen. So I substituted using what was about. I tried using less cocoa in the first batch (see photo below) but they do need the 2 teaspoons that Ricki instructed. They are both vegan and gluten free. I think these would be nice healthyish snacks for children and I have wondered about trying a nut-free version with just coconut, tahini, cocoa and maple syrup or honey. The other substitution I would be interested in trying is different nuts and nut butters. I have finished my ground almond stash but have some chopped peanuts and have wondered if they could be substituted.
There are many more of Ricki’s recipes I am keen to try (chocolate pate, vegan molten chocolate cake, and pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce, to name just a few). Her tempting photos make you forget about dietary restrictions. These recipes will have you drooling whatever your diet. Ricki has spent many valuable hours getting her versions of the recipes just right and even ran a baking business for a few years.
But there is exciting news. Ricki has a new sweet cookbook which will be released on 15 May 2009. I can’t wait to get my copy. As you will see above, I love her recipes and highly recommend them to any reader who has not yet discovered her charms. The book is called Sweet Freedom and you can see some preview photos at Ricki’s cookbook blog. Ricki describes the book as featuring ‘delicious, foolproof recipes for baked treats and other sweets designed for those of us with dietary restrictions’.
If you like the sound of her sweet treats that I have described here then this could be a cookbook for you or even for your friends and family. If you are interested, I encourage you to look at this post for information about how to purchase it. Ricki has also invited anyone to leave a comment on that post to go into a draw to win a free copy. I told you she was generous didn’t I?
Coconut Almond Balls
(Adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs)
Makes 5-6 balls
¼ cup desiccated coconut
1 heaped tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 heaped tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp ground almonds (or coconut)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cocoa
1 tsp cocoa nibs (optional)
Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until combined. Use your fingers to roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into walnut-sized balls. Ricki advises to place in fridge to firm up but I like them a little soft.
See Ricki’s post for an anti-candida version.
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