I asked O how he would describe these brownies, as he licked the crumbs of the lone survivor off his lips. Would he call them “raw frosted brownies with cherries”? Or maybe “raw cherry brownies with frosting?” Or maybe.. “Good,” he proffered. “Dank,” he literally suggested. While he might not be the most helpful when it comes to naming my treats, he’s certainly good at endorsing them. I was inspired to share this particular recipe with you guys because only a few minutes before, he’d been nodding off whilst watching the Tour de France (don’t worry, honey, I think it’s that boring, too). He reached for the last of these in the fridge and only a few moments later claimed, “I always feel so good when I eat these. Like I have so much energy”. So dank energy bars? Raw, full of natural fiber, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes? Rich and chocolatey with the perfect balance of vibrant, tart cherries? I’ll take it. We even gave one to an older Bosnian guy my father-in-law got to paint our house. This man knew about zero English, and he gave me vegetarian enchiladas with goat cheese two literal thumbs up. But this brownie, I kid you not, is what kept him asking for more. He was shocked that we had made them, and I was shocked he had liked a raw dessert! I figure most people would always take a sugar-flour-butter dessert over a healthy one, but not us, not for this recipe! I’d made raw brownies before, but they were nothing like this batch, with its unbelievably creamy and deep “frosting”, its luxurious ruby pockets of fruit. And you know what? I don’t think I’ll ever go back! These are perfect to keep in the fridge for when hunger or the sweet tooth strikes. They’re not a bowlful of steamed kale, of course, but they’re so much better for our bodies than anything processed or prepackaged! They provide stellar energy and the taste simply cannot be beat. You’ve got a houseful of believers in us, at the very least, and we think you’ll love them, too. You could replace the dried cherries with goji berries (mmm!) or dried blueberries.. or even dried saskatoon berries! Add in a few roughly chopped walnuts to the final “brownie batter”, if you prefer a bit more crunch. They’re really pretty versatile, but I guarantee you’ll be head-over-heels for the recipe as it’s written, too!
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons pitted Medjool dates*
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons pitted Deglet Noor dates*
- 1 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 1 cup whole raw walnuts
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped, optional (for mixing in)
- ¾ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- ½ cup Medjool dates
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil, liquid form
- ¼ cup warm water
- Combine almonds and walnuts (except that extra ¼ cup for mixing through) in food processor or Vitamix and process until fine. Remove from the bowl and set aside. Add dates to food processor/Vitamix and blend to a paste.
- Return ground nuts, along with cacao/cocoa powder, and blend until the mixture forms a pebble-like consistency that clumps together when you press it between your fingers. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in dried cherries and optional walnuts.
- Press your brownie mixture into a parchment-lined 8" square baking dish with a bit of parchment overhang. If you desire, use a pastry roller to smooth the surface. Place in the fridge while you make your frosting.
- Blend the dates to a paste, then add in coconut milk and cacao/cocoa powder. Blend to combine. Add in warm water and blend again until smooth. Lastly, add in your melted coconut oil and process until smooth, glossy, and all-around lovely.
- Pour frosting over your brownie base and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from tray by lifting the parchment overhand and slice into the desired number of brownie squares using a sharp knife occasionally dipped in water. Store in air-tight container for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for 4-6 weeks.
Adapted from Peachy Palate.