Better than sex?
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to claim that, but one of my former coworkers had everyone calling my usual potluck contribution by that name.
Of course, it wasn’t always referred to in such a mature fashion. Growing up, my mom used to make this simple, yet decadent, delight, calling it her “Chocolate Éclair Dessert.” You’ve probably had it yourself, once or twice (maybe more; one serving is never enough to satisfy most cravings for this indulgence. It’s highly addictive).
It’s so easy to make, too. The original version layers a mixture of instant vanilla pudding and Cool Whip topping (makes me think of this song), sandwiched between rows of traditional graham crackers and topped with some kind of chocolate icing (either homemade in a double boiler or scooped out of a Duncan Hines container). Oh my! Chill until firm, and you’re in for a sweet treat.
The dish was such a hit with the ladies and gents, alike, that most of the staff kept hinting to me to bring it to each and every food-related occasion in the office (birthdays, baby showers, boss’s day, etc.).
So, that’s what I did … until someone else decided to show up with the same dish (as I said before; you’ve probably already tried it. Did you think my mom was really the first to come up with it? Just look at all the versions of the recipe posted on this site alone).
The other girl bringing this enticing recipe must not have gotten the memo; that was supposed to be my specialty (the key word being “was”). But, not anymore, that was the last time I brought that dessert to a work-related event.
No hard feelings, though. It gave me an opportunity to spread my wings and become more experimental (in the kitchen that is). And, when I did get a chance to rekindle things with my tried-and-true simple pleasure, it was pure bliss (I’d never take this dish for granted again). I came back for more every time.
However, since becoming raw, this happy ending was reduced to just a tasteful memory. That is, until this weekend. The love affair is back on with this raw version, which you have to experience for yourself. Be careful or you’ll be hooked, too.
This calls for a little mood music; now here we go:
Shannonmarie’s “rawifed” and sexy éclair dessert
For the graham crackers
- 1 cup pecans
- ½ cup almonds (or more pecans)
- ¼ cup coconut flakes, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp. mesquite
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey or agave nectar
- 3 soft pitted dates
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- dash of sea salt
In a food processor, grind pecans, almonds, coconut and mesquite, until it reaches a flour-like consistency. Add honey/agave, dates, vanilla and sea salt, and process into a ball of dough.
Divide the dough into three equal sections, and then flatten each section into a rectangle or square, approximately the same size as the container you’ll be using to make your layered dessert. I used one about the size and shape of a standard loaf pan.
Then, mark the flattened dough into sections with a knife and poke holes in each section, like on the original graham crackers.
Then, the cookies are ready to “bake.” I put mine in my dehydrator for roughly 24 hours to make them nearly crisp, although they will soften once layered with the vanilla pudding filling.
For the vanilla pudding filling
- 1 ½ cups young Thai coconut meat
- 1 cup cashews, soaked
- 1 cup filtered water
- ¾ cup agave nectar
- ½ cup raw cocoa butter
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- dash of sea salt
- pinch of turmeric for a hint of color
Blend all of the pudding ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Chill to thicken slightly.
Then, assemble your dessert, starting with a layer of graham crackers, followed by about half of the vanilla pudding filling. Top with another layer of graham crackers, the other half of the filling and the last layer of graham crackers. Chill to set.
For the chocolate topping
- ½ cup almond or other nut butter
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- dash of sea salt
Mix all topping ingredients in a bowl. Spread this chocolaty goodness across the top of your layered dessert and serve. You will have extra topping leftover. What you do with it is your business. I won’t tell ;-)