Raw coconut brownies
When it comes to desserts, rich and decadent doesn’t have to mean unhealthy, at least not in the raw food world. While they are not nearly fat-free, desserts in the raw contain a number of benefits that most baked desserts don’t–one of the most important being that raw food ingredients are minimally processed and in their natural, nutrient-rich state. They are ideal for anyone looking for healthier dessert choices without refined sugars, or for people with special dietary needs, such as allergies to dairy or gluten.
Many raw desserts share similar building blocks: succulent dried fruit (usually dates); ground nuts (usually almonds, cashews and walnuts); a dash of sweetener (usually raw agave nectar); coconut meat, oil or butter; and sometimes a tablespoon or two of cacao powder. Delicious miracles occur when these ingredients are blended, soaked, strained, dehydrated or whipped into delicious pies, cakes, cookies or tarts. A food processor makes putting together raw desserts a cinch (I couldn’t imagine life without one!) and chilling the desserts is a must to help them hold their shape.
My latest raw treat has become one of my all-time favourites: a rich, fudgy brownie that will definitely delight your taste buds. It will likely convince even the most die-hard dessert lover that raw treats can be just as indulgent and decadent as any sugar-laden baked brownie. These raw brownies are dense and chewy just like real brownies, with a top layer that is a thick, silky, chocolate heaven with a hint of coconut. These freeze well, so feel free to make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer until ready to serve.
Raw coconut brownies
For the brownie layer:
- In a food processor, grind the almonds and walnuts to a meal, being careful not to overprocess or the nuts will become oily.
- Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is combined and crumbly.
- Add the cacao powder, vanilla extract and sea salt and pulse to combine. The mixture should stick together when pressed between two fingers.
- Press the brownie mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or small square pan) and set aside.
For the top layer:
- In a food processor, process the coconut butter and agave nectar until smooth.
- Add the cacao powder and pulse to combine.
- Spoon the mixture onto the brownie base and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
- Cover the pan with tin foil and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until set. Cut into squares and serve, or store in the freezer for up to one month.