Ok so let’s get one thing straight: I’m no raw vegan. Let alone a vegan. I mean, ok, if we’re being honest, let alone a vegetarian… THIS GIRL EATS IT ALL. But a few weeks ago I polled you guys on Instagram asking what you wanted to see more of in 2019. And one thing you guys said was more diet-friendly recipes! And I went all out for you guys because these are gluten free brownies too!
Now, I truly believe there’s a way to make diet-friendly baked goods that still taste amazing and satisfy the most discerning of palates. Because being, say, vegan, doesn’t mean that you’re on a diet in the strict sense of the word. It just means you don’t eat animal products.
So with this recipe for Raw Vegan Brownies, for example, it still has fat in it, albeit good fats like walnuts, almond flour, and coconut cream. And it still has sugar in it, it’s just natural and non-refined sugar from dates and maple syrup. So yeah, these Raw Vegan Brownies are absolutely amazing. Because they don’t cut corners anywhere.
They’re not made with 2 grams of sugar and 5% of your daily fat. They’re brownies. As they should be. They’re just made with these more alternative ingredients to satisfy all diet-friendly tastebuds 🙂
What’s in these raw vegan brownies?
These raw vegan fudge brownies have all kinds of good for you ingredients in them and require less than 20 minutes of hands-on prep work. The key ingredients that make these brownies so amazing are:
Walnuts — You want to use roasted unsalted walnuts in these raw vegan brownies for the best taste and texture. The walnuts make these brownies a little sturdier and add a slightly nutty undertone to them. If you don’t have any walnuts on hand or are allergic, you can use another roasted unsalted nut, like cashews or peanuts.
Dates — If you’re new to the world of vegan baking (does it count as baking if the brownies are raw?), you might now know how amazingly sweet and delicious dates are. For this brownie recipe, you want to get your hands on pitted medjool dates — most grocery stores sell them now, which is great!
Cocoa powder — Buy the best quality cocoa powder you can, because it’s really the star of these raw brownies. Make sure it’s unsweetened as well!
Almond flour — The almond flour helps binds these brownies and prevents them from falling apart.
There are a handful of other ingredients in these raw vegan brownies, but these are the main ingredients that make them taste so amazing!
Tips for making raw vegan brownies
Soak the dates, if needed — Give your medjool dates a good squeeze. If they’re a little dry, soak them in boiling water for a few minutes. This will make them easier to blend and the added moisture means the brownies will stick together better. If your dates feel soft to the touch, you don’t need to soak them!
Buy full-fat coconut cream — This is not the time to buy low-fat coconut milk or anything like that. You want legit full-fat coconut cream for the raw chocolate ganache. Coconut cream whips up nicely and has a rich flavor that can’t be beat.
Add a pinch of espresso powder — If you have it on hand, add in some espresso powder to bring out the cocoa flavor of these raw vegan brownies even more. You won’t taste the coffee, it’ll just enhance the flavors in these brownies.
Optional vegan brownie toppings
You can keep these raw vegan brownies as simple as you want, but I opted to top them with dried rose buds because…well, why not? You could also top these fudge brownies with crushed walnuts (or another type of nut), unsweetened shredded coconut, or cacao nibs. Or just slap the raw ganache on top and enjoy as is!
How to store raw vegan brownies
These raw vegan brownies should be kept in a sealed container in the fridge. They’ll last for about a week and can be eaten chilled. If you leave these raw brownies out on the counter, the coconut cream ganache may melt a bit and lose its shape. Because these are raw brownies, they don’t really go stale and are a great make-ahead dessert!
Happy week, baby. Hoping you have a fantastic weekend, and I’ll be back with another recipe for you on Tuesday!
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, adds depth of flavor)
for the whipped ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons dried rose buds (optional)
Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper on all sides. Set aside.
In a food processor, puree walnuts until the texture resembles wet sand. Add in dates and puree to a paste. The texture should be very smooth. You might have to stop the food processor, mix with a spatula, and process again in order to get every last nook and cranny.
Add in cocoa powder, almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and espresso powder (if using). Pulse until everything is well combined. Mixture will be thick.
Transfer brownies to prepared baking pan. Press evenly into the pan. If you want to get the brownie surface perfectly smooth, place a sheet of parchment paper over everything and then use a flat measuring cup to press hard onto the surface of the brownies. This should make them flat!
Place in fridge to cool for at least 1 hour. Once cooled, make your ganache.
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the coconut cream until scalding (right below a simmer). Remove from heat and add in chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then stir with a whisk. Ganache should be fully melted at this point. If it isn’t, place back on the stove for 30 seconds.
Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and allow mixture to cool for 15 minutes, until it’s at about room temperature.
Use a hand mixer to whip the ganache for 5 minutes, until it’s a shade lighter in color and so the ganache gets thicker. Remove brownies from fridge and frost with whipped ganache. Optionally decorate with dried rose buds!
*If your dates feel a bit dry, soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes. If they feel soft to the touch, disregard this!