Sugar is my Achilles’ heel. Always has been, and at the risk of sounding indolent, probably always will be. Nevermind that fact that I can pound wheatgrass shots and veggie juices with the best of ‘em, I just can’t seem to shake this particular monkey off my back. I can’t ever have just one serving/slice/square/bite of anything containing some incarnation of sweetness, oh no, I have to have several Everest-sized servings. I am always on the lookout for a dessert recipe that will minimize the damage I do when I go on one of my infamous sugar benders. I adore any sweet treat with fruit, nuts, whole grain flours, honey… you get the idea. My distorted junkie logic assures me that this is license to go for the gold and have those two extra helpings.
When I saw this recipe for raw, vegan brownies, brownies that merely contained dates, walnuts, almonds, and raw cacoa, my eyes did a little bit of bugging. “Could this be the recipe that finally saves me from my self-destructive sugar addiction?” I wondered. And so off I motored to Whole Foods as fast as my sugar hangover from the previous night’s festivities would allow, miniscule grocery list in hand, in search of raw cacao powder and a boatload of Medjool dates. FOUND.
Apparently my Mona Lisa smile made for a rather mad-looking shopper, with my cashier inquiring as to what the big secret was, “RAW BROWNIES!” I breathlessly enthused. He grinned. He grinned because he does not know the depths of my addiction! He does not know that these raw brownies are merely a cover, a fix, for a deep-seeded addiction! But that’s between you and me, dear reader. Please do not allow these ramblings of a sugar junkie dissuade you from trying these truly life-changing little squares of healthful heaven. Ok?
This recipe is slightly adapted from the wondrous My New Roots, hands-down my favorite food blog of the moment. Beautifully photographed and intelligently penned, these inspiring recipes will motivate you to dust off your measuring spoons and get cooking.
2 cups whole walnuts
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 3/4-3 cups Medjool dates, pitted
3/4 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
1.) Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside. In the bed of a food processor, process nuts on high until finely ground and fluffy.
2.) Add the cacao and salt and pulse to combine.
3.) Add a handful of dates and process on high, pulsing as necessary, until the mixture starts coming together and the cacao powder is integrated. Add the remaining dates, one at a time through the feeding tube of the processor while it is running, until you have a big ball of gooey goodness. If the mixture starts sticking to the blade and won’t budge, use a spoon to help it along. Add as many dates as necessary to get the mixture sticking together.
4.) Place date mixture in a large bowl and stir in the almonds until evenly distributed. Firmly press mixture down into the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours until firmly stuck together.