Dessert Decadence

These are amazing plant-based and healthy gluten-free, (if that’s a concern for you) desserts.  They are not low calorie, just like any other traditional dessert and that’s why they’re called ‘dessert’; but these recipes are way different from your traditional fat, sugar and dairy-laden desserts.  These are rich in nutrients like protein, vitamin B-6, fiber, iron, calcium, and best of all, void of all dairy and animal products… just ain’t necessary!

I dare you to try any of them.  My two particular faves are the Crazy Chocolate Chickpea Cookies, and the Biscotti with pistachios and cranberries!  Excuse me while I whip up a batch….

Before I go taking credit for any of these recipes, I have to say thank you to Karen, the Healthy Eating Specialist from my local Whole Foods Market.  Karen provided all these recipes and showed many of us how to make them.  She also teaches many of the plant-based cooking classes and demos.


Raw Apple Crisp (or pie)



1 ½ cups pecan halves or walnuts

1 ½ cups hazelnuts or almonds

¼ – ¾ cup pitted dates (less for crisp, more for pie crust)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp sea salt


4 crisp apples, cored and diced

Braeburn or Honey Crisp work well for this

¼ cup orange juice

½ cup raisins or dried cranberries

½ tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp finely chopped peeled ginger root

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

What to do:

In food processor, combine nuts, dates, cinnamon and salt  If using as pie crust, mix until dough forms a ball, and press into an 8”-9” pie tin, and refrigerate.  If using as a crisp topping, pulse until just combined and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss diced apples with remaining ingredients.  For the pie, pour apple mixture into the prepared crust and refrigerate for more than an hour to let flavors meld together,  For the crisp recipe pour apple mixture into an 8” square baking dish or 2-qt. casserole dish.  Sprinkle nut topping over apples and refrigerate until serving.    Drizzle with Creamy Toffee Sauce if desired…trust me, you’ll want to!


Crazy Chocolate Chickpea Cookiescookie closeup

Makes about 2 dozen


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chickpea flour

2 tsp vanilla extract

Heaping ½ cup Sun butter or almond butter

½ cup maple syrup, agave nectar or date paste

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt if your nut butter is unsalted

½ cup add-ins (raisins, non-dairy chocolate chips, chopped nuts)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, except for your add-ins.  Process until very smooth, scraping the sides and top to get all little chunks of chickpeas and process again until thoroughly combined.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in your add-ins of choice.  The mixture will be very thick and sticky.  Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the lined cookie sheet. Press down slightly to flatten the cookies; they don’t rise too much.  Bake for about 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Spiced Almond Biscotti with Cranberries and Pistachios

This is a crispy and mega-healthy alternative to the traditional biscotti cookie.  It’s a great dessert with plant-based banana cinnamon ice cream, or as a breakfast treat!


1-1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1 Tbls arrowroot starch (can substitute cornstarch)

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cardamom or ginger

½ cup date paste

¼ cup chopped pistachios

¼ cup dried cranberries

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.

In a food processor, combine almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, baking soda and spices.  Pulse until well combined.  Add date paste and pulse until dough forms a ball.  Remove dough to a bowl and mix in pistachios and cranberries with your hands or a spoon.   Form the dough into a flattened log shape and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is firm and golden brown.  Remove from oven and let it cool for 1 hour.

Lower oven heat to 300 F.  Cut the cooled log in ½ inch slices, on the diagonal with a very sharp knife.  Bake slices for 12-15 minutes until tops are golden brown.  Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes to cool and become crispy!

Creamy Toffee Sauce


½ cup date paste (recipe below)

¼ cup cashew butter

2 Tbls lite coconut milk (may sub any other non-dairy milk)

½ cup water or date soaking liquid (this is liquid gold)

1 tsp coffee extract

½ tsp maple extract

Dash of sea salt

What to do:

Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor, using the S-blade, and blend until smooth.  Serve on top of your favorite dessert or as an apple dip!  This should last up to 10 days in the fridge.

Dates in food processor

Dates in food processor

Date Paste


1 cup pitted dates (Medjool are great, and be careful to remove all pits)

What to do:

Soak dates in enough water to cover them all for at least 2 hours.  Add the dates, along with ½ cup of your soaking water to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.  Use more soaking liquid if a thinner paste is desired.  Refrigerate any unused paste for future use.

Date Paste is a versatile sweetener

Date Paste is a versatile sweetener

Cashew Cream

This is a decadent, sweet cream that can be used as a dip for fruits, topping for your apple crisp, or layered in parfaits.


1 ¼ cup raw cashews

2 Tblsp pure maple syrup or date paste

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch of fine sea salt

½ cup to ¾ cup date soaking liquid (for desired consistency)

What to do:

Place cashews in a bowl and cover with warm water; let sit 2 hours to soften.  Drain soaked cashews and discard liquid.  Please cashews along with remaining ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Eat for Your Life!

2 replies
  1. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    They are better than Tollhouse. I made them this morning and my house still smells yummy. I will admit that I added more chips to the second batch….a gal can’t have enough chocolate! You should make these; they’re super easy.


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