Friday, October 15, 2010
Delightful, Delicious, and Dairy-Free
When my daughter was about 3, she had a bumpy rash on her arms and legs that wouldn't go away. I decided to cut dairy from her diet to see if that would help and it was really difficult. Dairy is in everything!
I became obsessive about reading labels. Obviously pouring milk on the cereal was out, but a lot of products have milk lurking inside as an ingredient. Finding dairy-free products was my grocery store challenge.
We substituted soy and rice milk for liquid milk, but the hardest to find replacements for were cheese and ice cream. Sorry, but tofu cheese is just nasty. She got to the point of telling friends' parents, "I'm allergic to milk, but I can have pizza!" And dairy-free desserts weren't any easier.
After about 6 months of cutting out (most of the) dairy products her rash was much better, and when we gradually reintroduced dairy into her diet, she was fine. Although I no longer have to do the dairy-swap-tango, I learned that people with special needs diets have a tough time and whenever we can bring some joy into their life with a treat that's "allowed," it's a huge blessing to them.
If you know someone who's got issues with eggs or dairy, but loves chocolate, I've got just the thing. This pudding is so rich and creamy, you'd swear it was stuffed full of extra heavy whipping cream and egg yolks and that it took a long time over a hot stove and lots of stirring.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It goes together in a matter of minutes and is blended in a food processor. The secret ingredients? Cocoa, dates, and…..avocados! Really, avocados. The pudding tastes nothing like avocado, but the avocado gives it a rich, smooth, satisfying mouth feel. And I love that it has zero fake food ingredients in it. It's all 100% good and good for you. Finally, a dessert everyone can enjoy! Unless you hate chocolate, in which case I really can't do anything for you.
Delightfully Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding
- adapted from Raw Foods Made Easy
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peeled, pitted and mashed avocado (about three avocados)
3/4th cup cocoa powder
1- Place the dates in a small bowl and add the hot water. Allow to soak for about 15 minutes. Drain the dates, reserving the liquid.
2- Place the soaked dates, maple syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocados and cocoa powder and process until creamy. Stop and scrap down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
3- Add the water (from soaked dates) and process briefly. Add more water if needed. Serve chilled or at room temp.