Vegan Cardamom & Clove Creme Brulee

A crème brulee you can feel good about! Made cruelty-free with tofu, cashews, and comforting spices, this unique dessert is super easy, light on the sugar, and perfect for any special occasion.

Produce On Parade - Vegan Cardamom & Clove Creme Brulee - A crème brulee you can feel good about! Made cruelty-free with tofu, cashews, and comforting spices, this unique dessert is super easy, light on the sugar, and perfect for any special occasion.
Grandma D and I visiting after a dinner a couple years ago.

Grandma D and I visiting after a dinner a couple years ago.

Life likes to throw curveballs.

One day everything is normal and you're worried about what to make for dinner and the fact that you really, really need to vacuum; the next, you suddenly find yourself in the CCU surrounding by family. You're watching your grandma fervently, hoping more than anything in the world that she'll wake up from her coma. She doesn't. You plead with the forces to be. You'll be a better person, you swear. You'll eat less sweets, walk the dogs longer, and volunteer at the food bank. You'll try be nicer and less introverted. You bargain. The doctors give her eight days. You get angry, your eyes are constantly swollen, and you hide at work and find little closets to sob in secret. On day six, the doctors tell you she has a 1-5% chance of waking up. When they remove her breathing tube and lower her morphine dose, against all odds... she breathes on her own. She can move her hands and as the week progresses she begins to open her eyes and even speak a little. I hold her hand and tell her I love her. She tells me, "That's good." The following week she passes a test showing she can swallow food and she goes home in a wheelchair. And life, somehow continues after a heart attack.

Grandma Nancy and I at the Alaska State Fair several years ago.

Grandma Nancy and I at the Alaska State Fair several years ago.

It's about six years ago and my grandma slowly begins to change. She's forgetful. She thinks Todd is my younger brother, Ryan, and not my husband. She thinks I'm her younger sister who lives in the states. I sit beside her and try to talk to her, but she doesn't talk much anymore. Her journal is solely comprised of row upon never-ending row of the date and time. Every couple minutes she writes down the time. As the year passes she becomes slightly aggressive; it's shocking and wholly unlike her. Her tastes change. She always had a penchant for bitter things but now wants ice cream constantly and to go for a drive to pick some up, but as soon as we go down the driveway she wants to go back home. She says funny things that make us laugh despite the pain and sorrow we feel. On Thanksgiving three years ago she lays in a bed in a family member's home; she can't be out of the house long or around many people. It's too overwhelming. I lie with her in the dark and tell her that I love her. As I read her a story book, she tells me she loves me too. I record it on my phone. The following year she is moved into a small nursing home. I visit, but she doesn't talk. She just rolls towards the wall by her bed and goes to sleep. I stop visiting as much as I should. It wracks me with a guilt so fierce I can hardly stand it. I pass by the home everyday on my way to and from work and imagine her lying in bed, sleeping, and I tell myself I don't want to disturb her peace... but really I just don't want to cry in front of her. And life, somehow continues after stage six of Alzheimer's. 

Two awful stories, both completely different yet somehow the same. And equally as painful. Both have shown me how truly precious life is. How immediately it can be snatched from you or how long and agonizing it can be to lose yourself. There's so much I want to tell them both. Tell the ones you love what you need to now.

That was tough. Life is tough. So now, a much happier note! As you may know if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter... we got a new family member! His name is Anouk (ann-ook) and he's a seven month old rescue pup from the small, chilly village of Kalstag, Alaska. He was found following children home and sleeping under their porch. He didn't get a lot of love as a homeless little fella, but now he has all the love in the world from Todd and I and his ever-patient big brother, Bailey (Bob). Just look at that face! (see more at the bottom of the post)

My Valentine's wish for you is to be surrounded by your family. New members and old members, and all those in-between. Regarding your life partner or spouse; someone very wise once told me that the most common mistake to make in love and also the easiest one is to take that person's love for granted. It's something I always remember and keep tucked away in the back of my mind. 

I also hope you enjoy some delicious, fancy treat. Like this creme brulee! I hope you'll love it as much as we do. 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Cardamom & Clove Creme Brulee - A crème brulee you can feel good about! Made cruelty-free with tofu, cashews, and comforting spices, this unique dessert is super easy, light on the sugar, and perfect for any special occasion.

Vegan Cardamom & Clove Creme Brulee

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

A crème brulee you can feel good about! Made cruelty-free with tofu, cashews, and comforting spices, this unique dessert is super easy, light on the sugar, and perfect for any special occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb firm silken tofu (the kind in an aseptic box)
  • 1/2 cup erythritol (or vegan granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 cup vegan granulated sugar + more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 4-6 ramekins with a nonstick cooking spray and place in a large casserole dish. Fill the casserole dish with water until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into the ramekins. Bake for about 45 minutes until the custard doesn’t jiggle when given a little shake, and the tofu begins to pull away from the sides of the ramekins.
  3. Remove the ramekins from the water and carefully place on a wire baking sheet in the fridge to cool for about 45 minutes. Once cooled, sprinkle the top of each custard with a thin and even layer of vegan granulated sugar. Broil for about 3 minutes until the sugar darkens slightly and crystallizes; keep a very close eye on the sugar so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Serve immediately. If stored in the fridge, the crunchy sugar top will soften.

Yield: 4-6

Tags: dessert, creme brulee, vegan, vegetarian, clove, cardamom, tofu
Produce On Parade - Vegan Cardamom & Clove Creme Brulee - A crème brulee you can feel good about! Made cruelty-free with tofu, cashews, and comforting spices, this unique dessert is super easy, light on the sugar, and perfect for any special occasion.

And... just one more photo to end on a happy note! Anouk say's, "Have a happy Valentine's Day everyone!" And that he loves you, of course.

In case you haven't cried yet... just in time for V-Day, this is the saddest/sweetest music video ever, featuring the cutest old man and his kite. #passmeallthetissuesnowplease

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews

Is it wrong to make chocolate treats for dinner instead of...actual dinner? I should think not. My biggest issue with this is not that I eat my weight in chocolate (surprisingly) or deprive myself of nutrients not found in chocolate alone. No, it's that I won't have a lunch for work the following day. For example, today's lunch is corn tortillas and a can of black beans...and I didn't even bring a can opener. Who does that?! Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews It's all in the name of chocolate. And speaking of chocolate...Valentine's Day might be my favorite holiday. You thought I forgot, huh? Alas, I'm not even remotely romantic. I grew up with two brothers, the vast majority of my friends are of the male variety, and I'm more tomboy than prettygirl. But if there's two things I love, it's flowers and unexpectedly receiving chocolate goodies. Arguably the things to recieve on this blessed, blessed holiday. 

I don't care if it's over-commercialized. Seriously, what isn't? No really, I really want to know. A day of celebrating love (let's not forget flowers and chocolate) is a pretty radical day in my book. I'm down for that. Plus, my favorite color might be pink. It's a win, win, win, win!

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews This recipe is a win, too. These little guys are absolutely delectable. I got the idea from a friend who told me her husband buys her a huge bin of those salted chocolate cashew clusters from Costco on Valentine's Day. That's pretty awesome. I decided to add a little date of nature's chewy caramel to them because, let's be real, caramel deserves to include itself in anything and everything. Also, nothing is as good as it could be if it's not salted. It's a fact. Seriously

These are scrumptious little cashews, wrapped in chewy caramel dates and dipped in smooth chocolate, all finished with a sprinkle of flake salt. 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews 

Makes about 50 balls (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. non-dairy creamer or milk (I used hazelnut Silk creamer)
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raw whole cashews (about 50 nuts)
  • flake salt for topping

In a small pot, bring about 1 inch of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and place a small, heat-safe bowl over the pot of water. Add the chocolate and the creamer to the bowl to melt. Stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate then remove from heat but keep the bowl over the pot. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Meanwhile, pit the dates. Cut in half and then cut each half into thirds. There should be six pieces to each date. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Take one cashew and wrap one piece of the date around it, like they're hugging, to make a ball. Continue with the remaining date pieces. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Dip the cashew/date ball in the chocolate to coat and place on the parchment paper. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Sprinkle the top with salt and continue with remaining balls. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Freeze for 15 minutes to harden. Store in airtight container in freezer. 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews As I was cleaning, I moved the curtain and to my squealing delight I found this guy hiding! I felt so bad because I didn't know he was growing back there and he was so thirsty! Poor little fella. It's a Valentine's Day miracle! 

Produce On Parade - Salted Caramel Chocolate Cashews Can you see me?

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