On the first day of grade four the whole class (save my twin brother and maybe the teacher) thought I was a boy.
We had just moved to the neighbourhood and were in a new school so nobody knew us. To add to the confusion, for back-to-school clothes my twin brother and I each got two new pairs of Levis corduroy pants. Mine were pale blue and pale green. I think Timothy’s were brown and beige. And over the summer I had my hair cut very short so wouldn’t have to wear a bathing cap in my cousin’s pool.
All was revealed when our teacher, Miss Linden, had the boys and girls line up on either side of the class. After a few minutes of confusion, including my own, it was understood that in spite of my haircut and pants, I was a girl.
It goes to show that not everything is as it seems.
It’s much the same with this recipe for fudgy brownies. They happen to be raw, vegan and gluten-free but they have all of the deliciousness that you’d expect from a good pan of brownies.
I have made this recipe once as frosted brownies but I have made it half a dozen times as energy bites using the brownie base only.
As frosted brownies this recipe is deliciously decadent and as energy bites the recipe is tasty too and so versatile. My favourite version is with walnuts but the school-friendly version (half pumpkin seeds and half sunflower seeds) is delicious too.
If you’re interested in gluten-free, vegan, mostly raw recipes then this is an excellent starter cookbook. As the author, Laura-Jane Koers writes in the intro, “The easy…recipes in this book are practical and doable and use easy-to-find ingredients.”
The books starts with healthy eating tips and an ingredient list for stocking a healthy pantry. The recipes themselves are organized in a practical way too, starting with breakfast, progressing to light meals, appetizers and sides, main dishes, desserts, snacks and staples like nut and seed milk and sauces.
The recipes really are straight forward and easy to follow. The Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza came together so easily that it surprised me. And the Raw Brownies are a cinch to make.
The book also has a good variety of sauces and dressings to help keep things flavourful. The Ranch Goddess Dressing (with cashews and cider vinegar) is definitely a keeper and the Yellow Curry Sauce is very versatile.
You’ll use a lot of cashews, maple syrup, almond butter and flax when making recipes from this book. I have mixed things up with honey (I’m not vegan) and molasses. For recipes that call for dates I have had the best luck with lovely soft Medjool dates.
My adaptations: Everyone’s palate is different, but for the savoury recipes I prefer more seasoning so I have added more spice and fresh herbs.
Raw Brownies with Silky Chocolate Frosting
Makes one pan of brownies or 18 energy bites (brownie base only)
- 1 cup pecans (or walnuts, cashews, or half pumpkin seeds & half sunflower seeds)
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup dates
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup water (or a tiny bit more if needed)
To make the base (or the energy bites)
- Place nuts or seeds in food processor and process until small and crumbly. Add dates and process until the mixture sticks together and the dates are well processed.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture turns a dark chocolatey brown. Stop processing before it gets too buttery.
At this point you can form the mixture in to tablespoon-sized balls for energy bites or press the mixture into an 8”x 8” pan.
Refrigerate for an hour.
To make the frosting:
- Place all frosting ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. Let things sit for a few minutes before processing to softening the dates.
- Blend until creamy (this may take a few minutes, depending on your blender or food processor), scraping down the sides from time to time.
- Frost the brownies and refrigerate. (Keep refrigerated.)