In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is a pretty polarizing “holiday”. Generally, you have the camp that thinks that spoiling someone/people you care about and making it an event, is mandatory. Then the other side, that thinks the whole holiday is a crock and an excuse for people to sell heart-shaped things, cards, and chocolate. I fall somewhere in-between, but feel that if I have any excuse to go crazy on food and celebrate, I’m going to go for it. Insert: the Deluxe Valentine’s Sweet Treat Platter!
One look at this spread, and you might think that I’m obsessed with desserts. You would not be wrong! I would be 100% okay with eating just a salad for V-day dinner and following it up with this masterpiece. And maybe a couple glasses of wine wouldn’t hurt. 😉
If I’m being really with y’all, it took me longer to style this Valentine’s Sweet Treat Platter than it did to actually make the components on it. There are three main snacks, with plenty of easy and customizable add-ons, in case you want to take short cuts or you just don’t like certain types of fruit, etc. The star of the platter is the Raspberry Merlot Creme Fraiche, which sounds way fancier than it is. It has a creamy, almond base with a light tang and a ribbon of raspberries cooked down in a little wine.
The other recipe I’m giving you today, is for Maple Cashew Butter Truffles! Simple, super rich and perfect for dessert, anytime. Obvious treats included here are chocolate-covered strawberries, slices of fresh fruit and some toasted crostini for the creme. Then, I added a few Chocolate Puffs (think vegan whoppers) from I Heart Keenwah for crunch and variety.
Basically, this could be your entire starter, entree and dessert, all in one. And that’s without the cute, heart-shaped shortbread cookies that I forgot to add! That’s what happens when you’re in the kitchen at 11pm after a long week. So, treat yo’self, treat someone else, I don’t care, but we all deserve treats!
Raspberry Merlot Creme Fraiche
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
- boiling water
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup vegan red wine (merlot, blend, pinot noir) - Check Barnivore to see if your wine is vegan!
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons plain non-dairy yogurt
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Place raw almonds in a small bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes, and almond skins will start to wrinkle and loosen.
- While the almonds are soaking, in a small saute pan, warm raspberries, wine, and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium-low heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.
- Drain and rinse almonds, then peel the skin off by squeezing the almond (pointed end toward the bowl), and popping it out. Some may need additional peeling, but this is the easiest way.
- Place peeled almonds in a high-speed blender with yogurt, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend until very smooth, noting this may take a couple of minutes, and scraping down the sides to blend everything.
- Once the raspberry wine sauce has thickened, pour it into a shallow bowl and place it in the fridge for 10 minutes, along with the creme in another container. When you are ready to serve, layer the wine sauce and almond creme fraiche in a small dish, then swirl together with a knife. Serve chilled with fresh fruit, toasted crostini, crackers, etc.
Maple Cashew Truffles
- 1/4 cup pitted dates
- hot water, if necessary
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup toasted cashews finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain dates and place in food processor with maple syrup. Pulse and puree until mostly smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides to include every bit.
- Place date maple puree in a small bowl, clean out processor, then place raw cashews inside. Run food processor until cashews are completely broken down and have turned into a thick butter (about 4-6 minutes).
- When you have cashew butter, add date maple puree, vanilla, cinnamon and pinch of salt to processor and run until mixture is combined and has created a large ball.
- Separate cashew butter into 30 balls, roughly equal to a heaping teaspoon. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place toasted cashews, cacao nibs, and salt in a small bowl, mix until combined.
- Take naked truffles out of the refrigerator and roll them in crust mixture, pressing down lightly to make sure it adheres. Refrigerate truffles until you're ready to serve them.