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If you are anything like me, you opened this posting, and immediately scanned the ingredient list. Then you scrolled back up to see what words of wisdom I had to impart. (haha) One might be wondering why I have the word caramel in the recipe title when you clearly don’t see the ingredients that make up caramel, no caramel flavoring, no caramel coloring, so how does caramel come into play in this recipe? Dates are the answer… dates are a great dried fruit that provide a caramel flavor in recipes.
If you want to make this recipe completely nut free you can replace the almond meal with fresh ground buckwheat or even ground rolled oats. You can read here on how to make your own flours. Once I made the batter and tasted it, I had one of those OMG moments… hmm, I seem to have those quite often don’t I?
But seriously, I am always amazed as how great raw foods taste in their raw form. In the cooking world, you can’t always taste test the food in its raw form, the magic happens after it is cooked. But with raw, the magic happens right away. So instantly, I knew this recipe could be enjoyed in several forms; as a cereal, as a cracker, broken into crumbles and tossed into your granola or in trail mixes. It would even be a wonderful topping for raw cobblers and ice cream. Having recipes like this are real-time savers and allow you to get very creative.
I served this cereal with raw coconut milk instead of the typical nut milk. All the wonderful flavors were quite complimentary with one another. I also sprinkled some dried cranberries on top which added another layer of texture and flavor. I did do a test on the cereal to see how long it takes to takes to get soggy and after 20 minutes, while sampling it every 5 minutes (I set a timer), it was all gone.
BUT I will tell you that it stood up to sitting in the coconut milk for 20 minutes and it still had a crunch in the center. Another thing that I loved about this cereal was is that I didn’t add any sweeteners! Outside of the natural sweetness of the banana and dates, it remains pure and refined sugar-free! I so love that.
One batch of the Pumpkin Caramel Cereal makes approximately 10 ~ 1/2 cup servings or 20 ~ 1/4 cup servings. Keep in mind, as with most raw foods, it is a lot more filling than standard processed cereal, so it takes much less to fill you up. I always snickered at the serving sizes on commercial cereal boxes. On the side of the box it usually indicates a serving size of 3/4 cup. On average an ordinary person typically eats one bowl of cereal at a sitting.
Doesn’t sound so bad does it? But… and there is always a but, over time our bowls and plates are more often than not, super-sized. So, in the end, we end up eating 2-4 servings per sitting. Sure boxed cereals may appear to be less expensive at first glance, but when you think about what I just said, and that they are processed, garbage filled, high-sugared, low-nutritional value… they are not such a good deal after-all. Just saying…
yields 4 1/2 cups
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.