As this is my first post, I wanted to share a recipe which is a favourite amongst myself and my family and friends. When asked to bring dessert to a dinner party, this is usually my first choice. These raw chocolate brownies have also been very popular on my blog and I have had only positive feedback regarding making (and tasting!) them.
They are very easy and quick to assemble, require only a few ingredients and are sure to please even the toughest of critics. A strong blender is recommended though, especially if using dried dates (instead of Medjool). The brownies are best kept in the freezer until serving (in fact, I often make a batch and store them in the freezer for moments when that chocolate craving hits!) Although raw cacao is the healthier option, the brownies will come out a rich dark chocolate colour if using normal cocoa powder. For an even healthier version, carob powder could also be used in its place. I hope you enjoy these as much as we have!
(Info from www.organicfacts.net)
Nuts: are rich in amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain protein, fib and minerals such as zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Nuts can help to improve immunity, assist with digestion, protect your heart’s health, strengthen bones, stimulate growth and development, lower the risk of diabetes, improve cognitive ability, reduce inflammation and even lower anxiety.
Dates: full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A and K, thiamin, rioflavin, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium and zinc. Dates can help to relieve constipation and other digestive issues, improve bone health and strength, assist in muscle development, boost energy and increase strength (and with high levels of iron, are excellent for those who suffer from anemia), boost the nervous system health and contribute to a healthy heart. Apparently dates can even help with hangovers! Who knew that these small and tasty treats could offer such amazing health benefits – dynamite truly comes in small packages!
Raw Cacao: is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, zinc and fibre. The benefits of raw cacao can be controversial, with many people both for it and against it (I will cover this debate in a later article). However, those who promote its benefits claim that it is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic and contains antioxidants which help to neutralize free radicals in the body. Raw cacao is also believed to help to improve brain health, enhance your mood, provide relief for bronchial asthma, and even offer skin care properties.
Cinnamon: has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, astringent, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium and is high in fibre. Cinnamon can help to improve brain function, purify the blood, assist in improved blood circulation, relieve pain and stiffness of muscles and joints (great for arthritis sufferers) , relieve cold-related headaches, control blood sugar levels (great for diabetics), fight infections, facilitate healing processes, provide protection against heart disease, relieve indigestion and respiratory problems, and provide relief from PMS.
Raw Chocolate Brownies Recipe
– 2 cups nuts/seeds (I usually use a mix of pecans and walnuts)
– 2 cups Medjool/dried dates (if using dried dates, soak in hot water for at least 30 min – this makes it easier to blend, especially if your processor is not a powerful one)
– 1 cup cocoa/raw cacao powder
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– pinch Himalayan salt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
– 1-2 TBS maple syrup/honey (optional – if you want it sweeter)
-Place all the dry ingredients (everything except for the dates and maple syrup) in a food processor and process until finely ground.
-Using a sieve, drain as much of the liquid as you can from the pre-soaked dates – squeeze out any excess water (hint: you can save this “date water” to sweeten smoothies)
-Add the maple syrup and dates, a few at a time, and process until all ingredients are well combined.
-For thicker brownies, press into an 8 x 8-inch brownie pan (use a standard Pyrex dish for thinner brownies)
-Spread icing or ganache on top (see recipes below)
-Tip: desiccated coconut, fresh orange zest or chopped/sliced nuts sprinkled on top of the icing is a delicious addition. Add a dried cranberry or fresh berry of choice to each slice and you’re good to go!
-Allow to chill in freezer for at least an hour before cutting and serving. Enjoy!!
1) Simple Choc Icing
– 3 TBS cocoa powder
– 3 TBS honey
– 3 TBS coconut oil, melted
– 3 TBS nut butter (eg: peanut butter, almond or macadamia nut butter)
– Optional – if adding orange zest to icing, add some of the juice as well (about 1 TBS)
-Mix all ingredients together with a spoon.
-Pour over top of brownies and spread evenly. Chill until set (best kept in freezer until ready to serve)
-Cut into squares.
2) Choc Ganache
– ¾ cup dates (soaked in hot water for a few minutes to soften)2-3 TBS raw cacao
– 1 TBS coconut oil
– 1-2 TBS nut butter
– 1-2 TBS water
– optional: 1-2 TBS sweetener (eg: maple syrup/honey)
-Using a food processor, blender or hand blender, blend the ingredients together for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.
-Spoon onto brownies and spread evenly. Chill until set (best kept in freezer until ready to serve)
-Cut into squares.