Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Healthy Dessert to Kick-Off the New Year: Raw Brownies!

Happy New Year! Did everyone make their new year's resolutions? I decided my new year's resolution would be to start making healthier desserts. As most of you know, I have a HORRIBLE sweet tooth. I may eat mostly healthy meals, but that all goes out the window when dessert is in front of me! Oy vey!

I had never heard of a "raw" diet until only recently. To get a better understanding of what exactly a raw food diet is, I've found some websites that sum it all up pretty well!

Alternative Medicine: Raw Food Diet
WebMD: Raw Food Diet
Raw Food Health Watch
Raw Guru

As most of you also know I've been somewhat curious about the vegan diet, so I began following some vegan blogs to get some recipe ideas. Turns out, Dreena's Vegan Recipes posted a recipe for raw brownies!

Dreena's Frosted B-raw-nies


For the brownies:
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 3/4 cups (packed) pitted medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup dried organic pitted cherries
  • 1/3 cup cacao (raw cocoa powder) or regular cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional) 
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna)
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp cacao (raw cocoa powder) or regular cocoa powder
  • pinch sea salt 
  1. In a food processor, first add the almonds and cashews and process until very fine (the almonds are the hardest, and need to be worked until crumbly).
  2. Then add walnuts, dates and cherries and pulse/process until mixture is quite crumbly, but not yet coming together. *Note: If the dates are on the dry side, add 1-2 tbsp water.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts and pulse through. Process until the mixture starts to come together but do not overmix so that the nuts release their oils. *Note: Heat generated by the food processor will bring the oils out of the nuts if overmixed.
  4. Remove the mixture and press into a brownie pan (8” x 8”) lined with parchment paper. Use a small piece of the parchment to help press and flatten the mixture evenly into the pan.
  5. For the frosting, in a mini-food processor, first combine the coconut butter and agave nectar until smooth. Then add the cocoa powder and salt, and pulse through again until just combined. Do not overprocess or the frosting will begin to separate with the heat of the churning and become oily. (If you don’t have a mini-processor, you can follow the same steps stirring by hand in a bowl).
  6. Smooth frosting over the brownies, and refrigerate for an hour or more until set. Cut into squares and serve! These brownies are freezer-friendly!
I would like to give a special thank you to Dreena, the creater of these amazing raw brownies! They were perfect! I love how they are naturally sweet and the chocolate-coconut frosting pairs wonderfully with this brownie. Honestly, it doesn't even taste like you're eating dried fruits! This was my first "raw" recipe to try and I'm excited to try more in the future.


  1. I'm glad you had such a good first raw experience! And the photograph looks delicious!

    I'm happy that you've done your raw food research after we mentioned the diet. It's a pretty fascinating concept they have, isn't it? I wasn't too sure about it, but after trying it, Chris and I both felt way more energetic and lean. It's a tough life-style change, but I think we're committed to doing it for about a month every spring. I also want to start eating a few raw dishes throughout the year, but not be hard-core about it.

    I want to make these brownies, now! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chris and I both agree that these are amazing! Different, but just as delicious as a baked brownie. We ate the whole lot in one day. And now, just a few days later, I'm craving more.

    You better watch out! Chris thinks you're going to make him fat--by giving me ideas! lol