Vanilla Almond Butter Fudge

Healthy fudge?! Yes indeed! This recipe for Vanilla Bean Almond Butter Fudge comes from Dreena Burton of the Plant Powered Kitchen.

Vanilla Almond Butter Fudge (Dreena Burton)

I was thrilled to take the blog photos for this delicious dessert. You might remember that wonderful pumpkin pie I photographed for Dreena a little while ago…

This one’s a snap to put together so it’s ideal for a last minute Christmas gift or family treat!

Find the recipe here.

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V is for…


Vanilla Cashew Cream (no added sugar)

As much as I love chocolate in its solid form, when it comes to desserts I’m a vanilla girl. I’d choose vanilla ice cream and vanilla cake over their chocolate counterparts without even pausing to think.

I made a glorious Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream to top my Raw Banoffee Pie a little while back and was very tempted to make it again but wanted to try something different, as usual.

I use cashews a lot to make creamy sauces and had already seen a sweet cashew cream over at Gluten Free SCD and Veggie, so that’s what I went for, adapted slightly to my tastes. I’m now back to student living and trying not to go overboard with spending so I opted for Vanilla Bean Paste instead of whole vanilla beans, a more economic choice and still just as tasty in my opinion. Read more about the difference between vanilla extract, bean and paste here. I also sweetened the cream with a couple of dates but use whatever sweetener you like, agave nectar, maple syrup, stevia or powdered coconut sugar, as I did for my coconut whipped cream.

Vanilla Cashew Cream (no added sugar)

Vanilla Bean Cashew Cream:

(Adapted from Gluten Free SCD and Veggie)

1/2C Cashews
1-2 Soft pitted dates (or 1/2T Agave, Maple or other Sweetener)
1/2C Almond milk
1t Vanilla bean paste OR 1/2 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

Soak cashews and dates in separate bowls in water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse cashews and drain dates. Blend together all ingredients until completely smooth. I used a Tribest personal blender, you may need to double the ingredients if using a regular-size blender in order to get the cream completely smooth.

Makes approx 1 C


I don’t think anyone can truthfully say they don’t like vanilla, it’s a lovely flavour and adds an extra hint of something in the background of any sweet treat.

But it is usually that, in the background. How often do you eat vanilla ice cream on its own? Ok, I know someone who does but I’m counting them as an anomaly here…!

So, choosing vanilla for my letter “V” I knew I’d be making 2 things…something vanilla-y and something to go with it.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

It’s been a little while since I’ve featured something sweet on Coconut and Berries so decided to go all out for today’s recipe with a Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake.

It sounds extremely decadent and certainly tastes it with its soft, fluffy crumb and gooey caramel topping, but I promise it’s still reasonably healthy! I used wholegrain flour and a modest amount of low glycemic coconut sugar instead of refined flour and sugar.

It’s extra delicious served with a generous dollop of the vanilla cashew cream.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Notes: This recipe makes a small cake, for a larger one, double the ingredients, use a standard-size cake tin and cook for approx 25 minutes.

1C Light spelt flour
1/2t Baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
1/8t Salt
1t Cinnamon
3T Coconut sugar
1/2C + 1T Non-dairy milk
3T Sunflower oil (or other neutral oil) (For Lower Fat sub 2T apple purée + 1T oil)
1 Medium dessert apple, cut into fairly thin slices
2T Coconut Oil
1 1/2T Coconut Sugar

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together sunflower oil and non-dairy milk. Add wet to dry and stir gently to combine.

Lightly oil the sides of a small cake tin (mine was 6 1/2”)

Add 2T Coconut oil to tin and place in oven for a few seconds to melt. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the oil and arrange the apple over the top, as close together as possible in one layer.

Pour the cake batter over the top carefully, ensuring not to disturb the apple slices.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute then invert onto a plate.

Serve warm with Vanilla Cashew Cream, coconut cream, non-dairy ice cream or custard.

Serves 4-6


I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly link-party, Wellness Weekends, and the Comfort Foods Potluck Party.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Here are a couple of tasty-looking recipes where vanilla features prominently:

Raw Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla Sesame Shake

FF Vanilla Waffles

Vanilla or Chocolate?

It’s the last day of September tomorrow and the official end of Vegan MoFo, but as mentioned in my last post I’m finishing my A-Z series so will be posting for a few more days before resuming normal blogging. 


D is for…



Boy have I got a treat in store for you today folks!

Today I’m sharing my recipe for a Little Raw Banoffee PieSmile

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with raw desserts after just one taste. Usually creamy and rich, as well as their taste, I love that they’re made with whole ingredients- nuts, fruits and seeds and that they’re so easy to prepare. Although I do enjoy baking too, raw food is often quicker since there’s no cooking time involved and it must be said that it generally leaves me feeling much better physically than baked goods too.

If you haven’t made a raw dessert yet I can’t urge you strongly enough to give them a chance. The first recipe I made, and one I still love, was Ricki’s Cocoa Nibbles. I’ve got a few raw dessert recipes on my blog so far- Raw Mango Coconut Tartlets, Mini Raw Cacao, Coconut + Raspberry Cupcakes, and my latest Raw Vegan Matcha Ice Cream… oh and my Chocolate-Coated Peanut Butter Banana Pops can be made raw too using raw nut butter and a raw chocolate coating.

Dates are a magic ingredient in raw desserts, contributing a caramel-like sweetness without the need for refined sweeteners, and a stickiness which helps to bind everything together.

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

Of course Banoffee Pie involves bananas. I’ve probably mentioned that until I was 13/14 I didn’t eat any fruit. Nope. Not apples, not oranges, not strawberries and definitely not bananas! I gradually forced myself to start trying fruits again after over a decade of deciding I didn’t like them and bananas were my final fruit-shaped stumbling block. It’s pretty obvious that I’ve well and truly got over my fruit fears and am now a veritable fruit bat! It’s now a sad day when I don’t have any ripe bananas on hand.

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

There are a few components to this recipe but it still comes together much quicker than a cooked version would.

A date-nut crust topped with sliced banana, a thick layer of raw caramel,  more sliced bananas and finally a vanilla bean whipped coconut cream.

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

I’ve given a few pictures of putting it together but it’s pretty self-explanatory really.

Raw Banoffee Pie:

1/2C Walnuts
1/4C +2T Pitted dates, packed
Pinch of salt
1/4C Pitted Dates, packed
1/2T Almond Butter
1/4t Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2T Water
Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 Can Coconut milk, refrigerated (full-fat)
1/2-1 Vanilla bean
2T Coconut sugar

1 Medium-sized Banana

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

For the crust, whizz the walnuts and salt in a food processor until you have a coarse crumb. Add dates and process until the mixture sticks together when pressed between 2 fingers. Press crust onto a plate, or into a little tin if you have one, and shape into a circle. Refrigerate while you prepare the other components

In a food processor (I used the mini insert bowl), you might need to double the mixture if you don’t have a small food processor bowl. Blend all the caramel ingredients together, stop and scrape down the mixture several times to ensure everything is incorporated. You should end up with a reasonably smooth thick caramel. Try not to eat it all now! Remove to a bowl and refigerate as well.

Finally, prepare the coconut whipped cream. Remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and carefully remove the thick layer of cream from the top of the can. It should have separated out from the liquid underneath. Be careful not to get any liquid or your coconut cream will be on the runny side (like mine…). With an electric whisk whisk the coconut milk until fluffy and thick.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream

Using a spice grinder or blender whizz the coconut sugar until powdered (or use powdered sugar). Fold this through the coconut cream along with the seeds of a vanilla bean. Refrigerate while you assemble the pie.

Slice the banana and arrange 1/2 the slices over the crust. Spread a thick layer of caramel over the bananas (you won’t need all the caramel so you can keep the rest for later to eat with apple slices dipped in , or spread on another banana). Add a second layer of sliced banana.

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

Top with as much coconut cream as you like, any remaining banana slices, and a dusting of raw cacao powder.

Serves 2-3

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog parties, Wellness Weekends and Healthy Vegan Fridays

Raw Banoffee Pie (for 2)

There are so many raw desserts out there using dates so for now I’ll just point you to my favourite site for all things raw, This Rawesome Vegan Life.

I also love dates in savoury dishes though too. I really like to add little bites of sweetness with fruit in salads- I used prunes in this Moroccan Puy Lentil, Carrot + Mint Salad, but chopped dates would be great too. This Lentil, Date +Tomato Salad with Chili Tahini Dressing is another favourite .

Try them in baked goods  too of course. The Banana Date Scones from Veganomicon spring to mind as do these tasty Carob- Date Pancakes from Ricki.

Have you embraced raw desserts yet? Any interesting date recipes to share?

We’re heading back to savoury for the letter “E” tomorrow!

Vegan MoFo Banner


Apricot + Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

I adore nuts of every kind, but it’s probably only since going vegan that I’ve actually really started eating them regularly, and certainly that I’ve discovered their versatility. In the past, my encounters with nuts were probably mainly limited to chocolate coated peanuts, salted + roasted peanuts, peanut butter (the kind with sugar and preservatives…), and that’s about it.

Wow was I missing out.

They’re well and truly a staple in my kitchen now: A handful of nuts is a great snack- cashews, almonds and walnuts are my favourites; nut cheeses (see my courgette galette with cashew chèvre); an ingredient in salads and stir-fries; a key component of raw desserts; a lovely addition to baked goods,  and of course nut creams and milks, among many other uses.

I’ve been buying almond milk for a long time, but only very recently started making my own at home. If you haven’t tried it yet you really must. It’s far creamier and tastes so much more like the actual nut than any stuff you’ll find pre-packaged. It’s hardly any effort either.

DSC_0249 (333x500)

I’m not usually a big smoothie drinker but the warm weather has made me fancy a lighter start to the day. This cool, creamy smoothie is ideal for breakfast ( I enjoyed it alongside a little homemade chamomile muffin I found lurking in the freezer), or makes a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, or would even be a delicious dessert.

Dried Apricots and Almonds

I’ve just got back from a week in Spain and enjoyed tonnes of gorgeous stone fruit- peaches, nectarines and apricots galore. What we get over here is mainly imported and of course nowhere near as good as the fresh stuff. I found a bag of the soft dried type, and although very different they worked really well in this smoothie, their concentrated sweetness making it feel rather decadent.

Dried Apricots come in two varieties: sulphured, and un-sulphured. Sulphur dioxide is often unnecessarily added to dried fruits as a preservative and is what retains the bright orange colour of the apricots. I prefer to use organic dried apricots with no added preservatives or other added ingredients. This means that they are not bright orange, but are naturally dark instead. In my opinion these are far more delicious and fruity-tasting than the artificially-preserved variety.

Smoothie Ingredients: Dried Apricots, Almond Milk, Frozen Banana, Vanilla + Almond extracts

Apricot + Almond Smoothie

3/4C Homemade almond milk ( I follow these instructions)
1/2 Frozen banana ( I freeze peeled, halved bananas when they’re turning brown)
4 Soft dried apricots (organic, un-sulphured)
1/2t Vanilla extract
1/8t Almond extract
1/8t Ground cardamom (optional)

(Serves 1)

I’m submitting this to the Weekly Blog Hops: Raw Foods Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Wellness Weekends

Apricot and Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

Do you make your own nut milk?

What’s your favourite kind of nut?