What would you say if I told you that these fudgy gems (see photo) were not only utterly delicious but also incredibly good for you? They’re also quick and easy to prepare, plus there’s no heat involved in their creation — they’re raw!
These brownie bites are chock-full of chocolatey goodness, and bonus: they’re gluten-free, vegan and filled with beneficial vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein — thanks to superfoods like nuts, dates, raw cacao and coconut.
I know some of you might be wondering how can I give you a dish swimming in cream and cheese one week and then turn around and offer a recipe for what some would consider “earthy, crunchy hippie food” the next. It’s because life is about balance. And just because you have to get healthy foods into your diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.
To further sell you on these, let’s break down the health benefits in the ingredients: Medjool dates have a rich flavor and act as both a natural sweetener and a binder for these brownies. They’re used in many raw desserts and are a great replacement for sugar or honey, plus they have high levels of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese, and are a great source of fiber. Nuts — in this case pecans — are ground up and serve as the “flour” for the brownies. Nuts contain both protein and contain healthy unsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids (particularly pecans and walnuts), which aid in the prevention of vascular diseases.
Powdered raw cacao is the pure, ground form of the “meat” of the cacao bean, also known as the “nib.” This is the raw form of chocolate before it has been mashed into a paste and melted down. Not only does cacao contain a natural chemical which acts as an aphrodisiac (aka: theobromine), it also has more antioxidant flavonoids (cancer and cardiovascular disease fighters) than any other food, and has up to four times more antioxidants than green tea. As for the coconut, it is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
If I’ve sold you on these brownies’ salubrious benefits (or haven’t scared you off with all this healthy talk), be sure to give them a try. You’ll wonder why you ever wasted the empty calories on those standard baked ones.
Raw Brownie Bites
Makes about 20
1 cup pecans (or walnuts), plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup powdered raw cacao, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for garnish
A pinch of sea or Kosher salt
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut, plus extra for garnish
Optional add-ins: 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, a few teaspoons of agave nectar (for added sweetness)
1. Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Throw in the cacao, salt and cinnamon (and any other spices); pulse for a few seconds to mix them in.
2. Add the dates and coconut and process until smooth. If the mixture is too dry and doesn’t hold together, add more dates. Taste the mixture and add vanilla extract or agave nectar for added flavor and sweetness.
3. Roll the mixture into small, 1-inch balls. Place the extra garnish on a plate and roll the balls in them to coat the surface. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least an hour so they can firm up. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer if you want them to keep longer.