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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mexican Chocolate B(raw)nies


I love using dates for raw desserts because they are high in fiber, potassium, manganese, and antioxidants, and unlike other dried fruits like cranberries or apricots, dates are naturally sweet.

These raw brownies, made from a sweet, sticky mixture of dates, chocolate and nuts topped with coconut butter frosting, are divine. If you can't find plump Medjool dates add a little water to the mixture. You can also substitute dried cherries for some of the dates, or swap out walnuts for some of the cashews.

I served these b(raw)nies at a dinner party last weekend to a group of friends who fell in love with them. I keep them on hand in the freezer and pair them with a little coconut milk ice cream or go all out with a mini chocolate coconut ice cream milkshake.

To make these 100% raw you need cacao powder, but cocoa powder works really well too. If you can't find agave nectar use maple syrup.

These brownies are just as good without the spices, or you can mix it up a bit and add some warming cardamom, allspice or ginger. I have even added curry powder and topped them with coconut for an Indian spice version.

Serves 8-12

Base:
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cups (packed) pitted medjool dates (see note)
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder (or regular cocoa if you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange

Frosting:
1/2 cup coconut butter (or vegan margarine like Earth Balance
1/4 cup raw agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)
2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder (or regular cocoa)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt

8-inch pan lined with plastic wrap or with a square of parchment cut out to fit the bottom. This is important

1. In a food processor, pulse almonds and cashews until very fine, about one to two minutes.
2. Add dates and pulse until mixture is very crumbly. You don't want it to be a puree, but make sure there are no big chunks of dried fruit left.
3. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, cloves, almond extract, orange extract, vanilla extract and salt and process until the mixture comes together.
4. Test the mixture by squeezing it between your fingers. You want it to be sticky and hold together.
5. If the mixture is still a little dry add water 1/2 tsp at a time until the mixture sticks together.
6. Press the base into the pan with your hands. If the mixture sticks to your hand rub a little bit of coconut butter (or vegan margarine) into your hands so the mixture won't stick.
7. Wash out the food processor and make the frosting. Process the coconut butter and agave nectar until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon and process until combined. You will need to scrape down the sides several times, but be careful not to over process because the heat will make the coconut butter separate.
8. Smooth the frosting over the brownies and refrigerate for at least an hour or until the brownies are set.
9. Cut into squares. The brownies will save in a sealed container in the fridge for a week. They also freeze really well.

Note: If your dates are a little dry side, you can add 1-2 Tbsp of water to the mixture to help assist the pureeing and the mixture easily coming together.

{KATE}

4 comments:

  1. YUM! They look awesome!

    ~Have a lovely day!

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  2. They are pretty rock star. I am going to post several variations on these in the upcoming months. You can never have enough raw chocolate goodies. Let me know how they turn out. I am always up for suggestions.

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  3. You had me at chocolate. These look amazing.

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