What I love most about blogging is the creative witchcraft that takes place. Whether I’ve just discovered another blogger with great cooking ideas, or I’ve dipped into New Hope Network’s Blogger Box for the next Green Gal recommendation, or one of my friends passes on a fabulous recipe that was passed on by someone else who found it on another blog somewhere out in the Universe, bloggers are a magic force of sophisticated sorcery.

My new sweet love—Raw Caramel Cream Sauce—is a case in point. My friend Sally Burgess, owner of Studio Gaia and creator of Green Gal favorite Protein Recovery Balls, was telling me about this healthy version of traditional caramel sauce and how she uses it for dipping her apple slices. Mmmmm, I thought, I’d like to try that. So Sally sent me to a blogger at Nutrition Refined, who had her own version of this sauce–not Sally’s version—but the inspiration for Sally’s version. Hmmmm, I thought, I’d like to make a new version of that, too. And there it is…passed along, tweaked and turned, a pinch of this, a dash of that and the next transformation appears.

A lot of blogging is like this. People share, offer compliments, make recommendations. It’s a friendly place, filled with from-the-heart hocus pocus that goes into each recipe reimagined. The Raw Caramel Cream Sauce is no exception, but it is exceptionally good…and good for you and all your little goblins, too! Easy, peasy to prepare—great for dipping apples and pears, light and fluffy enough to spread on a muffin, wholesome enough to be the perfect after-school snack with no guilt. Presto!

Raw Caramel Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Serving Size: 2 or 3 tablespoons

Raw Caramel Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • One-quarter cup pure maple syrup
  • One cup unsalted raw cashews, soaked at least one hour in filtered water and drained well
  • One teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Large pinch coarse sea salt
  • Three or four soft Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • A drizzle of your favorite nut beverage

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor except the dates and the nut beverage of your choice. Process on low until everything is starting to smooth out. Add the date pieces little by little through the tube on top, while continuing to process on low.
  2. Once the dates are incorporated, add a drizzle of the nut beverage (I used cashew milk that was slightly sweetened.) until you achieve a desired consistency. Finish on high speed to make sure everything is smooth.

Notes

The prep time includes the time it takes to soak and drain your cashews. No cooking necessary!

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Did I not say easy peasy??? This is definitely more of a whipped cream than a true caramel sauce, fluffy and yummy!

Box of Big Island Coffee Roasters Espresso BitesFor Grown-up Goblins Only

Ever heard of Big Island Coffee Roasters? Me neither, until the New Hope Network Blogger Box arrived earlier this fall. But once Don and I started nibbling on their Classic Espresso Bites, it was love at first… well…bite! You’d swear there was a ton of chocolate somewhere in these little dark squares, but it’s mostly cocoa butter, a bit of sugar and a LOT of 100 percent Hawiian-grown coffee. So, it is for the more mature ghosts and goblins, I think.

But what about the company? Coffee production can be an environmental hardship, if it’s not carefully executed. So I went hunting, and what I found was pretty impressive. Big Island Coffee Roasters is not big at all—it’s small batch, low environmental impact, kinda quiet and purposeful, and owned by this adorable couple who had no idea coffee farming was going to be their destiny. Kelleigh Stewart and Brandon von Damitz were not searching for a coffee farm to buy, but then…
In 2010 the unexpected opportunity emerged to buy a small coffee farm in a wild, disadvantaged region of Hawaii — Puna. With little to lose, we thought, ‘Why not?’ As we integrated with the community of farmers and sampled coffees from around Hawaii, we were surprised by the diverse coffee varieties and origins that largely get overshadowed by Kona. We wanted to change that. 
“Over the next two years we taught ourselves to farm, roast and cup coffees. We tested the difference between processing methods, cultivars, regions and roast profiles. Our end-goal was always the same: the objectively best coffee we could produce from our land. When we found methods and profiles that produced great results, we worked with neighboring farmers to do the same and began sourcing their coffees as well.”

In the end, I guess it is still all about community. Big Island Coffee Roasters keeps it simple but elegant. They have great respect for the land they farm, hoping to never resort to chemicals but remaining realistically empathetic and non-judgmental for the farmers they work the land beside. They are always striving for the sustainable path to success. And they have plenty of success—awards and accolades to line their hut walls for a diverse array of coffee varieties. And as we all know sustainability begins with the ability to diversify.

And then there are these smoky, rich and surprisingly chocolatey Espresso Bites. Definitely a winner. Maybe not your choice for those little tricksters at the door, but a wonderful treat for sophisticated grown-up goblins everywhere. I think these will make the perfect little afternoon pick-me-up at the office or on your way to the gym after a long day. And, actually, just about any time, except maybe right before bed…there is a lot of coffee in this cauldron, after all.

And with that, may your pumpkin overflow with sugary riches and your journey from door to door be safe and spooky.

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