Doesn’t matter how many times I’ve made these raw brownies, I’m always amazed how wonderful they are. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these raw vegan brownies will change your life. Seriously. After making this rich, chewy, fudgy chocolate goodness topped with a thick chocolate layer, you’ll never even think about baking brownies again. Why would you?
I have to admit that making vegan, gluten-free desserts (without using any pre-made gluten-free flour mixes loaded with starch and gums) hasn’t been all that successful for me. No structure from eggs and no structure from gluten is a challenge. But raw desserts are a completely different story. They’re so easy to whip up with just a few ingredients, and always taste amazing.
These raw brownies have been a hit at every party I ever brought them to. It’s so rewarding to watch the faces of my friends when they first bite into a raw dessert. Nobody ever believes me when I tell them that these brownies are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and raw. They’re rich, dense, and so unbelievably delicious! But it’s not just the taste that sets these raw brownies apart, this recipe is unique in the textural contrast as well. As opposed to soft chocolate ganache (which is a typical topping for brownies), these brownies feature classic tempered chocolate. As you bite all the way through the thick layer of hard chocolate, you experience the soft, fudgy brownie base.
Tips for Making Raw Brownies
Credit: the raw brownies recipe has been adapted from Oh She Glows.
I’m a total snob when it comes to dates. There are many varieties of dates harvested worldwide, but the Medjool dates are one of the two of the most commercially produced varieties in the North America. The other most commonly produced are the Deglet Nour dates. Both Medjool dates and Deglet Nour dates work in this recipe, but Medjool dates are far superior. They are sweeter, tender, have a deeper caramel-like flavor, and melt in your mouth. They actually taste like a candy, but in an unprocessed sort of way.
To get the buttery taste and flaky texture brownies are famous for, I use walnuts. They truly work the best so you don’t want to substitute them for any other type of nuts. However, you can substitute the hemp seeds for some more ground walnuts if you’d like.
Finally, the chocolate. If you’re in a pinch, you can buy a tempered chocolate bar in a store, melt it on the stove, and pour it over the brownies base. I do that from time to time and it saves so much time. However, making your own tempered chocolate from scratch is such a rewarding experience. While tempering chocolate isn’t the easiest culinary technique out there, it’s definitely worth mastering.
You might be tempted to add too many dates because the brownie mixture will be sort of crumbly. But “crumbly” is exactly what you want (as long as the mixture sticks together when you pinch it in between your fingers).
As with many of my raw food desserts, you’ll need a powerful food processor. I use a food processor pretty much every day, for making nut butters, desserts, sauces, burgers and more. It’s great for large batches and dishes that need texture and just makes “cooking” so much faster.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Cookware Set (Calphalon, Stainless Steel) | 3. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 4. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple)| 5. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 6. Baking Dish (3 Quart & 2 Quart, Pyrex, Glass) | 7. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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- 2 cups raw walnuts
- 3 cups Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- pinch fine sea salt
Place the 2 cups of walnuts into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
Add the hemp seeds, cacao, cinnamon, and salt and process until combined.
Add the dates and process until the dough becomes sticky. It should easily stick together when you press it with your fingers. If it's not sticky enough and the mixture doesn't hold together, add more dates.
Stir in the chopped walnuts until combined.
Press the mixture into an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper. If it sticks to your hands, wet your hands. Once evenly pressed, place the brownies in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a small pot. Then whisk in the cacao powder, maple syrup, and sea salt until well combined.
Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on the chocolate. If you have a lot of chocolate, put the brownies back into the freezer for the chocolate to firm up a little bit. Then take them out again and pour on the rest of the chocolate to create even a thicker layer. Place the brownies back in the freezer for about 15 minutes before cutting.
To cut the brownies, run hot water over a knife for a few seconds and slowly slide the knife into the brownies. Serve immediately.
Store leftover brownies covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for 1-2 months.