It is cranberry season and I could not be happier! I admit to having performed my signature dance of joy with reckless abandon in the middle of the farmer's market on the weekend whilst salivating over all of the plump delicious fresh cranberries on offer. The "tart-at-heart" in me was rejoicing as I contemplated "death by excessive cranberry consumption." Just call me the scarlet lady!
What can I say, those plump glossy tart little berries were just begging to be exploited! So, I snatched a few bags and was inspired to create some delectable cranberry dishes for my contribution to the holiday issue of Super Raw Life Magazine. I decided right then and there to celebrate "all things cranberry" and lock myself in my kitchen with one goal: to create four mouth watering cranberry treats for the holiday season! I will share all of these recipes over the coming weeks.
These cranberry recipes can be enjoyed all year round. But it is best to eat fresh cranberries in season, which is why I suppose, we typically associate cranberry dishes with holiday menus. Fiona Kennedy, in her article about cranberries for the November issue of Vegetarian Times said, "Deep cranberry red is as much an autumn hue as the golds and oranges of the changing leaves" I couldn't have said it better myself. Except to say, "cranberries rock and I intend (perhaps at my own digestive peril) to gorge myself silly all season long". Yeah….Fiona's version is a lot more poetic.
Fresh cranberries (which contain the highest levels of phytonutrients) are in season from October through December. If you are eating them fresh, choose firm, evenly colored cranberries with no spots or dents. Moisture spells death for our beloved cranberry. So be sure to purchase bags or boxes that are completely dry, and refrigerate uncovered or opened so the berries can breathe. They will last up to a month this way. But cranberries freeze extremely well. If you want to freeze them and stock up for the rest of the year, pack them in sealed containers, where they will retain their freshness for up to two years. You can also dry your own cranberries in your dehydrator for use later.
My first cranberry recipe utilizes dried cranberries. After my little rant about the benefits of eating fresh foods in season and utilizing the power of the fresh cranberry it seems a little ridiculous. But this raw cranberry oatmeal cookie recipe is so amazing that I had to share it immediately. I literally just pulled these no bake raisin oatmeal cookies out of the dehydrator and am currently typing with cranberry cookie in one hand and lap top in the other.
I absolutely love cranberry raisin oatmeal cookies. Oh, show me the way to heaven with a smile on my face. But I wanted to create a raw version of the beloved cranberry raisin oatmeal cookie that rival it's baked counterpart. I have struck the jackpot with this recipe. I love raw cookies. I have already shared my raw chocolate cashew cookies and raw mint chocolate chip cookies. Those no bake cookies are delicious. But I wanted to create some dense chewy raw no bake oatmeal cookies that would satisfy my cravings for something baked.
These raw cookies really do taste like they have been baked! My friend Stacey came over to sample my efforts (all of the recipes were given an enthusiastic thumbs up by the way) and she seconded my assertion that these tasted like soft chewy baked oatmeal cookies. Trust me, serve these to any of your raw skeptics out there and they will never know the difference. Raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free and refined sugar free bites of heaven.
I will caution you, that these cookies are rich! I confess, that is what I love about them. You could always omit the optional sweetener and reduce the lemon zest. I love the lemony kick. But the best thing about raw cookie dough is that is tastes the same before and after you put in the dehydrator. So tweak your "batter" to taste to ensure you get it juuuuust right and you know exactly how it is going to taste. My money's on this blend. You could also make smaller cookies. The hardest thing about these cookies is waiting 12 hours to eat them. I licked the mixing bowl clean!
*For those of you without dehydrators, you can try making these oatmeal cookies in a conventional oven by preheating your oven to 300°F (150°C), placing the cookies in, closing the oven door, turning the oven off and allowing it to cool with the cookies inside. The cookies should have a nice chewy texture.