Oreos with a spoonful of peanut butter spread on top was the snack that got me through my first year at University; it is completely incredible, and vegan, as Oreo’s are one of those lovely ‘accidentally vegan’ products. They kept me going through many terrible revision sessions, and were also probably the reason I found myself seeking out a healthier diet after living off junk food and sugary alcoholic drinks for a whole year. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I would quite often have mashed potato mixed in with some baked beans for dinner, which is completely gross, and I fully understand if you are quietly judging me right now for being so utterly useless. However, my cooking skills have improved a little since then, and I know this is an incredibly bold claim, because Oreo’s have achieved almost iconic status; but I think my raw Oreos with peanut butter are better than the real thing.
If you are expecting these to taste like a traditional Oreo cookie, then you may be a little disappointed as the ‘biscuit’ layer is soft and chewy, but I think these healthy Oreos are far more flavourful and scrumptious because they are both moist and rich; something those little dry, crumbly Oreo cookies are really lacking! Don’t even get me started on the cream filling; this stuff is dangerously addictive, and it is absurdly difficult to hold yourself back from digging in and devouring the whole lot with a spoon!
The cream filling in Oreo’s is arguably the best damn thing about those little black ‘n white biscuits, but since I have cut refined sugar out of my diet (bar the occasional naughty sugary treat!), I find overly processed, sugary snacks are quite bland and tasteless. Sugar does a really good job at masking the lack of flavour in junk food, and it’s easy to forget how flavourful ‘real’ food can be. One of my favourite chocolates was always Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but since changing my diet to include mostly raw food, and discovering how incredibly easy it is to make healthy, raw peanut butter cups, I have found Reese’s just don’t do it for me anymore. All I can taste is sugar, and the delicious peanut butter flavour is completely masked by the sugary sweetness.
It can take some time to get used to the bold taste and lack of sugar in raw desserts, which was demonstrated at the weekend when I gave my sisters some raw chocolate to try; which they all promptly spat into the bin; charming! However, once you are used to it you realise that most sugary snacks actually have very little flavour at all. That is certainly not the case with these raw Oreos; the cream is sweet, creamy (obviously!), and has a gorgeous hint of vanilla, that really balances well with the intense, rich flavour of the carob biscuit. I just cannot get enough of the rich, almost smokey flavour of carob, it is divine, and I love the dark black colour. I decided to use carob for these biscuits firstly because it gives the biscuits a much blacker appearance, which makes them look a bit more authentic, but also because it is much less sweet than cacao, which really allows the creamy filling to shine through. I also added a few pecans to give a little extra sweetness to the cookies, but if you want to simplify this recipe you substitute the pecans for almonds instead.
I decided to add a layer of peanut butter because, to put it simple, it takes these biscuits to a whole new level. Plus, if you hadn’t already noticed, I like to add peanut butter to everything, although feel free to skip this step if you prefer to keep things sweet and simple. To make these fully raw, I made my own peanut butter, which is incredibly quick, easy and cheap to make, and it tastes every bit as delicious as the shop bought versions, which typically contain added sugar and palm oil. To make your own nut butters, you will need a high-speed blender, or a really good food processor to be able to blitz the nuts into small enough pieces enough that they start releasing their oils. If you have never made nut butters before, I would recommend checking out DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, and More: From Almonds to Walnuts
there are a lot of different tips and tricks to help get you started. If you don’t feel like making your own, I would recommend getting your hands on some Meridian Natural Smooth Peanut Butter , which, whilst is not raw as it is made with roasted peanuts, is quite possibly the healthiest peanut butter available to buy in the shops.
There’s something really nostalgic about having milk and cookies that brings childhood thoughts and feelings come rushing to the surface; it’s so strange how evocative of memories food and drink can be; although taste and smells have been proven to be incredibly powerful senses when it comes to triggering your memory. These raweos taste amazing with some almond milk, blended with a a bit of almond butter, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon, or add some cacao and banana for chocolate milk!
I have already munched my way through half of these, they are truly irresistible! I even chopped some up and had them with some vanilla flavoured banana ice cream and carob sauce as a healthy Oreo sundae!
I mean, if that sundae alone isn’t enough to convince you that you need to make these healthy raw Oreos, then I really don’t know what it?! But make them; seriously.
I have also recently started a Facebook page, so feel free to stop by if you want to ask me any questions, or if you just want to come and chat about cakes, ice cream or anything in between!
- ¾ cup (100g) brazil nuts OR macadamia nuts
- ½ cup (72g) almonds
- ¼ cup (27g) pecans (can substitute another ¼ cup of almonds)
- 12 Medjool dates (approx. 200g, or 1 cup)
- 3 Tbsp carob powder
- 3 Tbsp water
- ¾ cup cashews (115g)
- 3 Tbsp coconut butter
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup raw (shelled) peanuts (you can roast these if you want a more traditional, rich, flavour, but it wont be raw)
- 2Tbsp peanut oil (this is optional, but recommended as it makes the peanut butter creamier and easier to spread)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- Place the nuts into a food processor and pulse until they have turned into a coarse flour.
- Add the dates and pulse until they have combined with the nuts.
- Add in the maple syrup, carob powder and pulse until everything has combined into a dough. The mixture should come together in the food processor, and should stick together. If it doesn't, add the water one Tbsp at a time.
- Roll out the dough to approx. ½ inch thick, between two pieces of greaseproof baking paper.
- Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the cookies. Mine was 2inches in diameter.
- You may need to roll your excess dough into a ball and re-flatten it so you can cut out extra cookies. Place the cookies in the fridge whilst you may the filling.
- Soak your cashews for six hours.
- Place the cashews in a blender and pulse until they are broken down into a chunky paste.
- Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Place the cream in a bowl, and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Place the peanuts into a food processor (or blender) and pulse for roughly one minute, until they are broken down into very small pieces.
- Scrape down the sides of your food processor (or blender) and pulse again for another minute or so until the peanuts have broken down into tiny pieces. Repeat this process until the peanuts start to clump together like cookie dough.
- Add in the salt, oil (if using) and pulse again until you have a smooth, creamy peanut butter. It won't be quite as smooth as shop-bought peanut butter, but it will be delicious, cheap and easy to make!