Contributing Monkie Julie Morris
Published on December 2, 2011
The brownie universe isn’t exactly full of surprises. The combination of sugar, butter, flour, chocolate, eggs, a few extraneous ingredients, plus a little oven time, inevitably leads to some form of brownie action. Of course, the resulting degree of deliciousness is all in the details — just talk to the adamant nut-adders, the chocolate chip enthusiasts, or the “fudgy” versus “cakey” people that can seemingly never agree. Yet, by and large, the language of brownies is pretty much the same: delicious chocolate squares that just about everyone loves. Including me.
But I have a secret. With the exception of chocolate (which can be profoundly beneficial in its unprocessed form), I don’t use any of the “conventional” ingredients in my homemade brownies. In fact, I don’t even bake them. (I know — what a rebel.) Instead, by using exclusively natural, whole foods, the inherently gorgeous flavor of each healthy ingredient does all the sweet singing — without needing the crutch of sugar or butter. Undercover health benefits like antioxidants, good omega fats, potassium, magnesium (and more) nutritionally rank this dessert as more of an energy bar than an “extra 20 minutes on the treadmill indulgence.” Best of all, five ingredients plus five minutes is all it takes to go from zero to brownie.
Photographer: Julie Morris
Makes about 2 dozen small squares.
For the Brownies
1 cup medjool dates, pits removed
1 cup raw walnut pieces
½ cup cacao powder
Pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp – ½ cup Navitas Naturals Sweetened Cacao Nibs, or regular raw cacao nibs (use quantity to taste)
Mix: Place walnuts in a food processor and grind for a couple seconds to form a coarse flour. While machine is running, add pitted dates, cacao powder and salt, processing until a moist, crumb-like dough has formed.
Form: Spread into an 8×8 inch pan, sprinkle with cacao nibs, and press firmly into a solid brownie layer. Cut into bite-size squares and serve. Alternately, press and roll brownie dough into small balls to make brownie bites.