I love a good cooking challenge. A number of my friends and family members have dietary restrictions - dairy-free, wheat-free and refined sugar-free to name a few. Finding any recipe that meets this challenge, let alone a dessert recipe presents a unique opportunity...to eat something delicious. Enter an idea for a build-your-own dessert. Fresh fruit, whipped cream and a wheat-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free crumble topping allows anyone to select from the three options and create their own. Since I couldn't find a recipe for a crumble topping that met all of these needs, I decided to do what any reasonable person would do - I made it up. The measurements are listed, but since I never really measured in the first place, you can feel free to adjust as needed. And feel free to substitute any ingredient for another. In fact, don’t think of this as a recipe so much as it is a general how-to. A quick note for anyone who wants to make the whole dessert dairy-free, substitute coconut cream for whipped cream and just add a little vanilla. I've included links for a few of the more unusual ingredients.
- 1 cup shredded coconut (the unsweetened kind)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 3 Tbs. virgin coconut oil
- Cinnamon to taste. And here is the only part of the recipe where I will be a total stickler. I used Vietnamese Cinnamon. The flavor is incomparable (think Red Hots, only more awesome) and it can be found online - http://www.spiceace.com/herbs-spices/cinnamon-vietnamese.html
- ¼ cup. chopped walnuts or pecans
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Author’s note: I once toasted this in stages in a toaster oven set to 400 because our oven was broken at the time. Both methods work just fine.)
Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl. No need to melt the coconut oil, since it is soft at room temperature, just use your hands to massage all of the ingredients in a bowl. Or use a fork if you don’t like getting your hands involved. Taste the mixture before baking and adjust accordingly. Taste it again just to be sure. And then, oh wait, better taste it one more time just to be extra certain. Family members will likely invite themselves to taste this too. (Author’s note: better make a double batch, just in case).
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to bake until crispy; just don’t let it burn. As it cools, the sugar will make this harden and you can crumble it over ice cream, or oatmeal, or onto a spoon that you will put right into your mouth.
Alternative ingredients - leave out the nuts (for anyone who is allergic or just averse), add a shot of bourbon (the consistency will be slightly different and this version also burns more easily), add a Chai Spice mix instead of or in addition to the cinnamon, use crushed almonds instead of pecans or walnuts.
Oh, and I’m not kidding about making a double batch. This stuff is like crack.