Last spring, I went on a sugar-free cleanse and ended up feeling so great I decided to ditch sugar for good. Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally should know that that didn’t last long, but I still get a kick out of making raw desserts. It’s a whole other ball game compared to traditional baking. Lots of dried fruit (usually dates) and nuts and food-processing and using your hands to get it all to come together (and they’re a great option for someone whose pilot light on her oven went out and who doesn’t know how to re-light it). This recipe for raw brownies from Dreena Burton is my personal favorite in the raw desserts arena. I adapted the recipe just slightly from the original, using almonds exclusively for the nut component instead of a blend of almonds, cashews and walnuts. The icing, however, is exactly the same as the original and it is absolutely heavenly.
Before we get to the recipe, just a quick note about my kitty, Finch, who is staying at the vet’s office overnight for some urinary tract issues. Please send him healing vibes and keep him in your prayers!
These are really rich. One square will be more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
1 3/4 cups raw almonds
2 cups pitted dates, packed (about 22-24)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
To make the base, grind the almonds in a food processor for about 45 seconds, until crumbly and flour-like (be careful not to over-process or it will turn into almond butter). Add the dates and process just a bit more, until the mixture is all crumbly but not coming together just yet. Add cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and process until mixture comes together and holds together when pressed (again, be careful not to over-process). Transfer the mixture to an oiled (I use coconut oil) 8×8 baking pan (or lined with parchment paper) and use your hands to press it firmly into the pan (this is an important step to ensure the brownies will hold together — don’t get lazy here).
Now, make the frosting. Use a mini-food processor (I’ve also found a spice grinder to work here) to whip the coconut butter and agave nectar together (you can also do this by hand in a bowl, just make sure to mix it vigorously). Add the cocoa powder and salt and mix until uniformly mixed (don’t over-mix here either). Spread evenly over the base of the brownies and set in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting into squares and telling yourself how awesome you are for making these.
Yield: 9 squares