This month’s edition of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, hosted by the always creative Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, is all about what we eat at the end of a meal. The theme “It All Ends Here” got me thinking. What’s the perfect way to close a meal?
For me, nothing beats a sweet treat that’s not too filling but still indulgent enough to kick a pesky sweet tooth. In the summer, a few ripe cherries or fresh Black Mission figs often will do the trick. Dates stuffed with almonds are another easy favorite. It’s always inspiring to visit the website of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse and browse the desserts on the weekly cafe menu. While there are tarts and ice creams and plenty of artisanal pastries, the restaurant always offers a pure fruit option. Yesterday, for instance, I found my mouth watering at the first item on the dessert menu: A bowl of Sunny Slope Orchards Santa Rosa plums.
Just the name, Sunny Slope Orchards, conjures up visions of grassy hills, fertile earth, and bluebird skies. Surely their plums must taste like gems from heaven.
It’s true. Fruit in it’s purest from plucked straight from the tree is nature’s perfect dessert. Nutritious and naturally sweet, I try to use fruit as the base for most of my treats and after-dinner indulgences. These raw-inspired Raspberry Brownie Bites make a satisfying end to any meal. The flavors just sing. You get richness from the chocolate “crusts,” creaminess from the lightly-sweetened coconut “frosting,” and plenty of fresh, summery flavor from the raspberries.
Two or three bites of a luscious, guilt-free treat are all it takes for me to kiss that sweet tooth goodbye without feeling bogged down by a big piece of cake or pie. And for me, there’s no better way to end a meal than feeling my very best.
Raspberry Brownie Bites
Makes 16-18 bites, plus extra coconut frosting
You’ll have more coconut cream “frosting” than you need for the recipe. Save the extra for dolloping on fresh fruit bowls or adding to smoothies. Also, note that you’ll need to use Thai Kitchen coconut milk here. I’ve tried other brands and they have been hit or miss with solidifying properly. Thai Kitchen works every time.
1 (15-ounce) can Thai Kitchen coconut milk (full fat), chilled in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup raw pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
Fresh raspberries, for topping
Carefully open the chilled can of coconut milk. Use a spoon to scoop the solid coconut cream from the top of the can into a bowl. Be careful as you get toward the bottom so that you don’t scoop up any of the coconut water that has settled in the bottom of the can. (Reserve the liquid for another use.) To the bowl with the coconut cream, whisk in the agave nectar and lemon zest until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Place it in the freezer as you proceed with the recipe.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the pecans, cinnamon, and salt until finely ground. Add the cocoa powder and pulse to combine. Add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when pinched between two fingers. Form the mixture into balls about 1 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Flatten the balls to form small disks. Arrange on a platter.
Pipe the coconut cream onto the brownie “crusts.” Top each with a raspberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag, use a plastic food storage bag instead. Snip off one of the corners for a makeshift piping bag.
More of my fruit-based dessert recipes you might like:
- Blueberry Oat Crumble Bars
- Carrot Cake Bites
- Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Balls
- Flourless Banana-Nut Cookies
- Cranberry Apple Bars
Check out Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs for more healthy inspiration.