I hate wasting food. I’d love to say that my concern for the environment is what compels me to do my best not to waste, but in reality it’s probably mainly because I love food and hate the thought of throwing anything away! I’m also pretty tight-fisted and wasting food = wasting money. I try to follow all the rules: I plan my meals weekly, make sure to store my produce correctly, keep my cupboards and freezer well-stocked with staples to make the most of leftovers, and don’t buy more than I can eat (most of the time at least… I’m pretty easily tempted by fruit and vegetables! all the more so when shopping at farmers’ markets)
I mentioned I’ve started making my own almond milk at home. I was initially reluctant to try it given that nuts are so darn expensive, as well as thinking the process was somewhat wasteful since you’re left with quite a bit of nut pulp after squeezing out all the goodness from the whole nuts. Going through with it and doing a little calculation proved me wrong though- in fact, if you buy your nuts in bulk, as I do, you can make your own almond milk for less money than the bought stuff, and the nut pulp needn’t be wasted but is a bonus that you can use in other kitchen creations. I love how much tastier it is and that it contains no added anything…Oh, and there’s none of the packaging either! A winner all round.
A bit of scouting about online for how to use this precious pulp unearthed all sorts of exciting recipes: From raw nut pulp hummus and vanilla almond cookies to sweet + savoury crackers and these beautiful little cupcakes, the recipe I decided to start off with.
There are hundreds of recipes for raw nut + date balls out there and I’m definitely a fan of them, but these are a little different, the texture is much “cakier” and they’re not so intensely sweet. The mild chocolatey coconut base pairs well with the zingy raspberry topping and prevents them from being cloying at all.
I changed up the recipe just a little bit to suit the quantities of nut pulp I had, as well as boosting the chocolate flavour and zipping up the topping a touch.
Mini Raw Cacao, Coconut + Raspberry Cupcakes
(Minimally adapted from Sweetly Raw)
For the Cake Base:
3/4C Almond pulp (Leftover from making almond milk- it should be dry and crumbly)
1 C Walnuts
1/4 C Raw cacao powder OR Cocoa powder (if not concerned for raw status)
1 Recipe date paste (see below)
1/2 t vanilla
2T Melted coconut oil
Pulse walnuts and almond pulp together in a food processor until you get a coarse meal. Be careful not to over-process as it will turn to nut butter!)
Add salt, cacao powder, date paste and vanilla and process to form a thick dough.
Finally drizzle in the coconut oil and pulse briefly. Scrape out mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer to firm up before shaping.
Roll the mixture into little balls with your fingers and place into petits-fours cases or mini muffin cups.
Pop the cakes back into the fridge until ready for the topping.
For the Date Paste:
1/3C Pitted, chopped, packed dates
2T Warm water
2T Agave nectar
Soak dates in warm water for 15 minutes to soften them up.
In food processor or short cup blender combine dates and water with agave nectar and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down sides a couple of times so everything is incorporated. Set aside.
I’m not a fan of traditional cake frostings with vegan butter and powdered sugar-they’re always too sickly sweet for me. This cashew and coconut oil based frosting, on the other hand, is wonderful. It’s much healthier, though still very rich, and doesn’t leave you with a stomach ache.
For the Raspberry Topping:
1/2 C Raspberries ( I used defrosted frozen berries)
1/4C Cashews, soaked for a couple of hours, rinsed and drained
1T Agave nectar
1 1/2 T Lemon juice
2 T Melted coconut oil
Blend all ingredients, except for coconut oil, in a high-powered blender until smooth. Add coconut oil and blend again for 1 minute.
Pour topping into a bowl and leave to thicken up in the fridge for at least 2 hours, especially if you want to pipe it onto the cupcakes.
Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Move quickly as in warm temperatures it melts quite fast! Top with fresh raspberries if so desired.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.
Makes 18-20 mini cupcakes
I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog party Raw Foods Thursdays
What are you making with your leftover nut pulp?
Do you have any tips for minimising food waste?