Sugar is a stranger at our house. A lover of all things dessert, you would guess otherwise, but I have found countless “alternatives” for ooey-gooey, sinfully delicious and satisfying treats. I put alternatives in quotations, because, in truth, what is available in the produce department is delightfully sweet, complex in texture and wildly versatile. The real deal.
When I was nineteen, overweight and eating junk, I came across this cookbook on macrobiotics. Lovingly written, this book changed my entire outlook on food, and in many ways, my body. It also retrained my palate to find a simple apple sweet to the taste, and soon after refined sugars became headache-producing. Anyway, that was, ahem, 18 years ago. While I’m not exactly macrobiotic now—I’d say I’m more, “if God provided it, it must be OK; If any ingredients were produced by industrial chemists, it must not be”—my very favorite type of cooking is raw food, rivalled only by my lust for (almost quizzically, now that I think of it,) French cuisine: the full-fat, rich-sauced, beautifully-prepared variety.
Anyway, above all, I adore raw desserts. I fantasize about existing on them alone. It was during one such fantasy that I came across this lovely little recipe that is so easy to make and so deceptively wonderful, that I just have to share. Not only is it made with only “good” fats, but it is also low-glycemic*, gluten-free, flourless and vegan.
Get out your food processor, and toss in
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Special note: Good food requires good ingredients. Treat yourself to some Scharffen Berger cocoa powder. Green and Black’s makes a nice organic one. Navitas makes Raw Cacao Power, perfect for the purist. (The extra cost for your luxury cocoa splurge is justified by your savings in flour, eggs, butter and milk!)
Grind these ingredients until they resemble potting soil, then pat firmly into an 8×8 pan.
Next, use your blender or hand-mixer to blend the icing:
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (see Special Note above)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
This icing is to die for!! Don’t tell anyone that you’re using avocados to make chocolate icing, they might just gag. But, one taste and you will never look at an avocado the same again. In fact, this icing recipe makes much more than you really need; consider it a bit ‘o love from me to you.
Ice your brownies, lick the spoon, and place in the freezer to set (1 hour). Since this is, essentially, a bunch of healthy fruit and nuts, feel free to nibble on a brownie on your way into work in the morning—and let me know how they turned out! Makes 12.
Other ideas: I’m going to try substituting organic almond or peanut butter for the walnuts, to create a “chocolate-peanut butter cup” version.
*To make this ultra-low-glycemic, replace the dates with prunes.
Looking for more great recipes like this one? Check out my other blog, the Unassuming Foodie!