Brownies made without pure creamy unsalted butter and fresh eggs seemed impossible to imagine until recently. These were the ingredients – along with cocoa – that made brownies taste so decadent. But, when my daughter decided to lead a vegan life, I started to re-think several recipes because I wanted to make food that all of us would eat; otherwise, I would be chained to the kitchen making separate meals for everyone.
One day, my daughter decided to make vegan brownies from a recipe she found on Instagram that called for almonds, dates, and cocoa as a base with a frosting made of avocado, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. While she was at school a few days later, I altered the recipe because I’m not a big fan of maple syrup and chocolate together. Instead, I used agave nectar (but a smaller amount as the dates already provided sweetness), increased the cinnamon, and eliminated the salt. The result: rich, decadent, fudgy chocolate brownies that could make even the most fervent pure brownie connoisseur grin with joy.
The brownies are very easy to make (15 minutes preparation time), require no baking, but do require time in the freezer to firm up. They are gluten-free and there is no oil in this recipe so technically, these brownies qualify as raw brownies.
1 cup of raw almonds
1 cup of dates (I use Medjool organic dates from California which can be purchased from most grocery stores or from www.nuts.com)
1/3 cup of cocoa (I use Pernigotti cocoa powder)*
1/2 ripe (but not overly ripe..there needs to be a gentle firmness) Haas avocado
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* A cocoa from Italy that has a remarkable flavor; a 2-pound bag can be purchased from the Chef Shop for about $22.
- Line an 8 x 8 square or 10 x 6 loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper making sure the paper comes above the sides of the pan.
- Place the almonds, dates, and 1/3 cup of cocoa into a food processor and process until the mixture looks like crumbled dirt (really).
- Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper in the pan and using a spatula press the mixture down to make a flat surface. Set aside.
- Place the avocado, agave, 1/4 cup of cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon in the food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy (about 1 minute).
- Dollop the creamy mixture (frosting) on top of the brownie mixture and gently spread covering the entire top of the dessert.
- Cover the pan with a piece of plastic (but not letting the plastic touch the brownies) and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours., remove the plastic and lift the sides of the parchment paper to remove the brownies from the pan.
- With a large sharp knife, cut into bars and place in a plastic storage container with a piece of parchment paper or wax between rows.
- Place the storage container of brownies back in the freezer until ready to serve.
- Place the brownies on a plate as they will be a bit crumbly and eat immediately.
- Store any unused brownies in the freezer until ready to eat. Serves 12.