Sunday, February 4, 2018

Raw brownies

Raw brownies; because sometimes you don’t have time to turn the oven on, regardless of the fact that it would have been a very welcomed heat source.

Because you want something healthier and more nutritious than your regular brownie. Something that’s guilt free and less sweet without, however, missing out on great flavor and texture, because these raw brownies have both.

Made with Medjool dates that have an intense caramel flavor and a soft and fudgy texture, with all sorts of nuts —almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts—, with cacao powder, but can be made with regular Dutch-processed cocoa powder as well, a hint of espresso and some maple syrup for added sweetness.

They’re intensely nutty, with a rich date and cocoa flavor and they’re not too sweet, with a lovely balance of acidity and bitterness coming from the cacao and espresso powder. They’re fudgy, soft and crunchy at the same time, and I know this is going to sound very weird to you, but their flavor reminds me of nutella, only without the cloying sweetness.

There’s a harmony of flavors in these raw, no-bake brownies and they are perfect for those of you who appreciate the distinct flavors of each ingredient rather than eating something that’s overly sweet.

Enjoy them in the morning as a quick pick-me-up, with your afternoon coffee or as a late-night sweet treat to cure those dangerous, for some of us, cravings.

Raw brownies

These brownies are just two-bites each. You can certainly make them bigger if you want.

I use Medjool dates because they’re soft and jammy with a caramel flavor. I wouldn’t suggest you use another kind but if you can’t find them, and the sort of dates you use are too dry, soak them for a while in some freshly squeezed orange juice to soften them up.

Yield: 20 small brownies

70 g almonds with skin on
45 g walnut halves
30 g raw cacao powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting over the top of the brownies
Pinch of ground espresso beans (or instant espresso powder)
Pinch of sea salt
160 g Medjool dates (weight with pits), pitted
1½ Tbsp good-quality maple syrup
20 g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Special equipment: large food processor, round spring-form pan (15 cm in diameter), baking paper, plastic wrap

In the bowl of your food processor, add the almonds and walnuts and grind them finely. Then add the cacao powder, espresso and salt, and process briefly to combine. Transfer the mixture into a clean bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your food processor, now add the pitted dates and the maple syrup and process until you have a sticky ball. Remove the mixture from the food processor using a spatula and place it into another clean bowl.

Return the cacao-nuts mixture into the bowl of your food processor and with the motor running, add small handfuls of the date mixture through the food tube (hole at the top of the lid), and process until you have thick and moist crumbs, and the brownie mixture holds together when pressed in your hand.

Empty the brownie mixture into a bowl, add the chopped hazelnuts and mix with a spatula to combine and evenly distribute the nuts in the mixture.

Place a piece of baking paper at the bottom of the pan (then add the sides of the pan and lock it) and empty the brownie mixture inside. Press it with your hands to flatten it and even it out. It should be firm. You can either leave it as a round, or do as I did and remove it from the pan and shape it into a square. You can do this by pressing the sides with your hands, touching the baking paper rather than the brownie mixture so it doesn’t soften. Make sure to gently flatten the top too, as the brownie mixture will be slightly pushed up during shaping. Mine turned out as a square of 14x14 cm and with a 2 cm thickness.

Once shaped, fold over it the baking paper and then tightly cover it with a large piece of plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
Then, take the plastic wrap off and cut into 20 square pieces (2 bites each), making sure that it is very firm before you do so.

If you plan to eat it straight away, dust the top with cacao powder and serve. Otherwise, dust with cacao powder when you are ready to serve it.

You can keep it in the fridge, covered well with baking paper and wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, for at least 2 weeks.
You can also keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months.


  1. So interesting. I have always been suspicious of raw foods, especially “baked” goods. Being that I trust you, Magda, I will give these a try sometime. xo

    1. Thank you so much David! They're surely worth a try. They're so easy and very tasty :) xoxo