Well, here I am today with another raw-foods post! If you missed the last one, you’ll want to check it out: you can win a prize pack of Live Organic Raw cookies, crackers, granola and kale chips in the giveaway–open to anyone, anywhere! (hear that, Martians?). 😀
Yes, I seem to be doing everything “raw” these days (not to be confused with “doing everything in the raw”–SO not happening). I do think warmer weather prompts us to eat more foods in their natural states, though. Whenever the mercury rises, I suddenly feel a hankering for juicy, slobbery watermelon; crunchy kale and carrots; pop-in-your-mouth grape tomatoes; crisp stalks of grassy celery; handfuls of plump, dark blueberries; as well as every kind of prepared raw dish, from raw pâté to smoothies to ice cream to salads. (Ah, yes, lots of salads. It’s the Summer of the Salad, after all. More to come.).
In fact, these darling morsels were first served up at my Salad Soirée a couple of weeks ago. After stuffing ourselves with ten different kinds of salad, sipping on faux kombucha and chatting the evening away, my friends and I capped off our feast with some fresh berries and these, my raw take on an old favorite.
Today’s dessert was inspired by a sweet treat I used to bake regularly back in the day (that would be the “still-ate-sugar-still-ate-milk chocolate-still-ate-butter” day), called Fudge-Topped Brownies. They hailed from a recipe pamphlet called Favorite All Time Recipes: Chocolate Lover’s Cookies and Brownies, that I found in a remainder bin somewhere; and for a while, they were pretty much the only brownie I made. In fact, I recall mixing up 6 or 7 batches of them in one weekend for a wedding I catered once. Here’s the formula: take one rich, dense, moist and decadent brownie, top with one thick, even richer, even more decadent slab of chocolate fudge–and what have you got? A hundred and eighty brownie-satiated wedding guests (and one slightly distracted groom), that’s what.
One of my favorite brownies on this blog are the chocolate-hazelnut “Marry Me” brownies, so I decided to create my own raw version. I topped it with an equally alluring mix of hazelnuts and cacao (plus raw coconut to give it staying power) and came up with these. Given the reaction of my nutrition school friends, I’d say we have a winner.
Fudge-Topped Brownie perfection–and you won’t even have to turn on the oven.
“Mum, we love the idea of eating raw foods, too! Except we wish you’d stop making so many things with chocolate, since you know we can’t eat it. Next time, how about a Sweet Potato-Topped Denta-Bone brownie instead?”
Raw Chocolate Fudge Topped Brownies
A double fudgy treat that’s reminiscent of Nutella in its chocolate-hazelnut glory. The raw cacao here imparts a distinct chocolate flavor that melds well with the sweeteners used; you could use regular cocoa powder, but in that case increase the coconut sugar and decrease the stevia.
For the Brownies:
1-1/2 cups (170 g) raw walnut halves and pieces
1-1/2 cups (225 g) raw or lightly toasted hazelnuts (see note 1)
1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut sugar
pinch fine sea salt
3/4 cup (180 ml) raw cacao powder
1/3 cup (80 ml) agave nectar or coconut nectar
2 tsp (10 ml) raw vanilla powder or pure vanilla extract
40-50 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
For the Fudge Topping:
2 cups (160 g) raw unsweetened finely shredded coconut (not the large shreds); OR use 1 cup coconut butter (not oil; see Note 2)
1 cup (140 g) raw or lightly toasted hazelnuts or 1/2 cup (120 ml) smooth natural hazelnut butter (see Note 2)
1 heaping 1/4 cup (70 ml) raw cacao powder
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) raw vanilla powder (or 1 tsp/5 ml pure vanilla extract)
pinch fine sea salt
20-30 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
Make the brownies: Line an 8.5 inch (21.5 cm) square pan with parchment paper and set aside (for higher and thicker brownies, recipe can be made in a loaf pan instead).
In a food processor, whir the nuts, coconut sugar and salt until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add remaining ingredients and process until it begins to come together in a ball. Stop and scrape sides if necessary while processing. Take care not to overprocess or you’ll end up with nut butter! The mixture should be moist enough to stick together when pinched, but not wet.
Turn the brownie “dough” into the pan and press down firmly with your hands or a stiff spatula so that the mixture is dense and there are no air bubbles. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the fudge topping.
Make the fudge topping: Place the coconut, hazelnuts, cacao powder, coconut sugar, vanilla powder and salt in a high-speed blender (if using liquid vanilla, add it later). Using the tamper to push mixture toward the blades, blend until the mixture liquefies, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary. Add the liquid vanilla if using, and stevia, and blend again.
Pour the mixture over the brownies in the pan. Return to the refrigerator until the fudge sets up, about an hour. Using the parchment as a sling, pull out the brownie and place on a cutting board. Cut into 1.5 inch/4 cm squares and store, covered, in the refrigertor until ready to serve. Makes about 25 small squares. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 5 days. May be frozen; defrost, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.
Note 1: For the brownie base, if you’re not concerned about the recipe being raw, you can use lightly toasted nuts. Do not toast the coconut for the fudge topping, however, or it won’t work! (For a coconut butter-based topping option, see Note 2).
Note 2: An easier, if less economical, way to make the fudge topping is to use prepared hazelnut butter and coconut butter. In that case, melt your coconut butter before combining in the recipe, and use half as much of each item; eg, 1/2 cup (120 ml) hazelnut butter and 1 cup (240 ml) coconut butter. IMPORTANT: you MUST begin with whole nuts for the brownie base; hazelnut butter and walnut butter won’t work for that part of the recipe.
Suitable For: ACD Stage 3 and beyond; dairy free; egg free; grain free; lower glycemic; vegan.
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