Random Acts of Sweetness
July 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
What’s the best way to thank a man who loves scotch?
I’m not completely sure I’ve figured that out yet but I have been dreaming up luxurious sugar free, alcohol infused, sweet thank you’s to send via post man ever since an old friend sent me a very thoughtful gift. It’s amazing how distracted we can get with the details of a project and then find that we never actually complete our original intentions due to our obsession of the fantasy about it all. After fighting off day dreams of spiked lollipops and bourbon cakes I came up with an amalgamation of pecans, dark chocolate and scotch. Now what could better than that?
I must admit that I wavered quite a bit on whether or not to post this recipe and so I will warn you before you read on that I gave into lucifer himself and used S#%@!. Ohhh the humanity!!! God save us from our evil gluttonous lusting of chocolate and buttercream frosting. What do we do, What do we do? Well, I decided to share it with you all! I came to the conclusion that the only way to help teach people to overcome the junk food bonanza that consumes the grocery store isles is to simply share indulgences that won’t send you into a dizzying coma of high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin.
AN EXERCISE IN FOODISM:
My goal is and always will be to help people get back to the way real food tastes. So where to start? How do we know what is real and what is not? There is a simple exercise that may help ya’ll in your navigation of the labyrinth we all call the grocery store. I know you have been told time and time again to read labels and I hate to be the nag repeating this mantra but it really is the only way to know what you are eating. However, before your eyes glaze over and you pull the “uh huh” on me just humor me a little while longer and keep reading. While you’re scanning the FDA’s approval stamps and nutritional confusion tables, use a little visualization tool to help you along. As you come to each ingredient try to imagine what that ingredient looked like in its whole food form. Imagine it sitting on your kitchen counter and then visualize what had to happen to that food to get it into the product you are about to put back on the store shelf. I’ll give you an example of this below.
The ingredient list for a lindt chocolate truffle reads:
Dark Sweet Chocolate [sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, skim milk, milkfat, soya lecithin (emulsifier), vanillin (artificial flavoring)], vegetable oil (coconut, palm kernel), sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk, soya lecithin(emulsifier), barley malt powder, artificial flavors.
So, let’s break it down. The very first ingredient, Sugar, already poses a problem for me. I can certainly visualize a sugar cane but I’m not as clear on how we get from the cane to the actual sugar crystals. Chocolate poses a similar problem as does cocoa butter. However, I CAN visualize these foods in their whole form! Skim milk and milk fat pose their own problems as well, but I am going to skip this subject for another time. Soy lecithin….Now here I am stumped. I know what emulsifier means but that doesn’t tell me a god damn thing about what this thing actually is. Artificial flavour sends up a pretty rouge flag as well. Vegetable oils are easy, although I’m not sure I have ever actually seen a palm kernel and that brings us back to sugar and more soya lecithin. So… here we are. Visualizing away and coming to some conclusions about whether or not we really want to put this thing in our mouths. Well, I vote no. I vote to make my own little orbs of energy and chocolate filled delight. I vote for real food and real ingredients, even if that means I use a little sugar here or there.
This recipe was born out of the “Raw Food Brownie” recipe which can be found on the web in various places. The basis of this recipe is to use 1 cup of dates to 1 cup of raw nuts (soaked and rinsed), raw cacao powder and various add ins. Although I understand the basis of raw food, I am not a purist and so in an effort to start small and simply get back to real food I will say that the “raw” is not as important as the “real”.
1 to 1 1/2 Cups of Pecans, Peanuts and brazil nuts
(or any combo of nuts of your choice)
1 Cup Dates soaked overnight in a liquid of your choice ( I used SCOTCH:)
2 to 3 Tablespoons high quality cocoa powder
(I did use raw cocoa powder but it’s not absolutely necessary. I would caution however, to stay away from Hershey’s and focus on things like fair trade when reading labels for this stuff!)
Now the add ins:
Feel free to add in whatever dried fruits, seeds or extras you might like. I added a 70% pure cacao bar that I shredded in the food processor. The ingredients on this bar read: Cocoa mass, sugar. I also rolled the little guys in a mixture of raw cocoa and turbinado sugar. I would recommend however that if you like coconut it makes for a pretty display, as does crushed pistachio’s and dried rose petals.
Simply process the dates in your food processor until they become a paste, add the nuts a little at a time and then the cocoa powder. Pulse in the processor until the mixture looks a little like dirt. Do the “pinch” test to see if it will all hold together. If it is too dry you need to add more dates or a bit of liquid. If it is too wet and sticky add a few more nuts or cocoa powder. The more cocoa powder you use the more bitter and dark chocolatey these will taste. Throw in whatever add in’s you want and then spoon out small amounts at a time to roll in-between your palms to create the orb. Roll in a plate of cocoa powder or coconut or “topping” of your choice.
WHALLA!!! JUNK FOOD BE GONE!!!