Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free and Raw
Do you know what I find really unnerving? When someone tells me they don’t like chocolate. I’m serious. It’s not just a little bit strange. It’s not like I don’t like picky eaters. Or people that don’t like some delicious things, there’s lots of those people in the world. I have a friend that doesn’t like cheese. (I know…) And I can accept that. But telling me you don’t like chocolate, it’s like saying you don’t like joy. Or you don’t like friendship. It’s like saying you don’t like life! It makes me wonder what kind of person they really are…
Maybe that’s extreme, but you have to admit it’s weird. Chocolate is just so necessary in life. I eat something in chocolate form Every. Day. Not always rich and decadent, usually plain or in the form of cocoa powder transformed into something amazing but still healthy. Brownies are a life-long obsession that will never quit, so this week when the chocolate craving called that’s what it had to be. I’ve made black bean and avocado brownies before that did not taste like burritos! But were instead dark and fudgy. But I wanted to try something that was easy to make as well as completely raw, and I wanted to try a new flavour as well!
There’s been so many iconic moments in my life defined by chocolate I can’t even imagine living without it. All my teenage sleepovers were defined by cheap cadbury milk bars, horror movies and packets of kit kats and chocolate mint slices. I remember once watching all three Lord of the Rings movies in a row in a marathon and eating eight, EIGHT pieces of dark chocolate caramel slice in the process. (I don’t even want to know what that says about me). So many special occasions have ended with big slices of celebratory cake covered in chocolate icing. Me and one friend once pulled a half-cooked tray of brownies out of the oven while they were still raw and ate the whole thing with a spoon. That last one was actually kind of a regretful memory…but still, so many sweet childhood moments.
Cocoa powder has so many health benefits and natural antioxidants I don’t understand the negative hype around chocolate! No I’m only joking. But it is really good for you. In its raw form, the nutrients and benefits are still preserved. You don’t get that most intense of chocolate flavours that comes from Dutch processing, but good quality cocoa is so deep and dark naturally it doesn’t need to be missed. Also you can use a blend to have the best of both worlds! That’s what I like to do for cakes and special occasions where chocolate intensity is imperative.
These brownies have the most amazing flavour from being infused with black tea before being blended. I used organic apricots as half of the fruit, because soaking medjool dates would make them too soft I think. Non-organic apricots (the bright orange ones) are not as sweet as their natural brothers and cannot really be substituted. Try sultanas, raisins or figs. My little piddly blender is not really up to making vegan desserts on a daily basis. They always seem to require such intense blending! If you’re in the same spot as me, simple solution. Just lovingly share the load of your blender. I pound the walnuts myself in a mortar and pestle, because once they go in the blender that’s the smallest they’re going to get. Soak your fruit for extra long, cut it up in to tiny pieces. Do it in small batches and let the motor cool down in-between ingredients. Love your blender and it will love you <3
There are lots of great things in these brownies and they have a perfect truffle-like texture when cold from the fridge. Don’t be fooled, they don’t taste like a classic fudgy chocolate brownie. Of course they don’t! But they taste like something else that is just as good, if not the same. It’s strange how processed flavours have evolved from natural flavours found in plants and whole ingredients. Like caramel for example. You taste caramel tones in things like honey, dates and maple syrup. Things that all occur naturally but are often discarded as not being as good as the “real” thing. Or coca cola! Apparently according to Jamie Oliver it’s meant to taste like poached fruit in cinnamon and spices. Hmm…They kind of missed with that one. I think someone accidentally added tar to the original recipe and they tried to adjust it with mountains of sugar.
I’ve been experimenting with lots of new recipes this week and I’m really excited to share them. There’s a very summery frozen yogurt in my freezer that I am ready to destroy! Yuuum. I’m sorry for all my Northern Hemisphere friends because I know your summer is coming to a close, but the weather is beautiful here! It feels like the middle of November and it’s only September! Plus! Exciting news, I’ve paid for all my flights for the end of the year! Hoollllla. If you haven’t read already, I’m going to Europe and Thailand for two months and am so excited!
If you’re feeling under-brownied and want to try some healthy brownies I’ve seen around and been inspired by recently, check out these bad boys:
The classic raw brownie from My New Roots
Salted raw brownie! Yuum from The Vedge
Coffee and Chocolate match made in heaven from Gluten Free Vegan Girl
Tea Infused Raw Chocolate Brownies:
350g (1.5 cups) medjool dates
300g (1.5 cups) organic apricots or sultanas
2 cups fresh shelled walnuts
1 cup strong brewed black tea
80g (5 tbsp) cocoa powder
Soak the apricots in tea until soft (at least 20 minutes). Blend all the ingredients together. Press into a plastic-lined 20 x 20 (8 x 8) pan and chill for at least 4 hours. Remove with the plastic and cut in to slices. Keep in the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Yum!