I’ve been trying my hand at raw dessert recipes recently, with an important prerequisite that the recipe be quick and easy, and that it not require any specialty kitchen appliances to prepare. As a quick confession, I have an undeniable urge to include the word “raw” in the name of any raw recipes that I make, so I actually always think of these as “brawnies.” These brawnies are even easier to throw together than regular brownies, contain ingredients that should be available at any health foods store, and taste absolutely fabulous!
I came across various raw brownie recipes while researching on the internet, and this is a recipe I made by combining and adapting the recipes that I encountered. I’m not at all an expert when it comes to soaking nuts, but I usually soak the almonds overnight in a glass bowl of cold filtered water in order to make them easier to digest. I like to prepare the raw almonds in advance by soaking them overnight, draining and rinsing them in the morning, letting them air dry on my kitchen counter, and then storing them in my freezer until I’m ready to use them. I imagine that substituting other kinds of nuts (walnuts would be a good choice) or dates would be equally delicious, although doing so would obviously alter the finished brawnies. The cinnamon is completely optional and could certainly be omitted or substituted with any spice that strikes your fancy. The agave nectar is also optional since the dates should provide ample sweetness, but I like to add a bit of agave to help balance the slight bitterness of the cacao powder.
The taste and texture of the finished brawnies is more like brownie dough than cooked brownies (which I consider to be bonus!), so I always keep the brawnies in the freezer to make them as firm as possible. One fun alternative to pressing the dough out in a baking dish is rolling spoonfuls of the dough into Brawnie Balls, which you can then roll in chopped almonds and then likewise store in the freezer. I love to serve the brawnies topped with a big scoop of raw ice cream, although there are certainly countless other ways to jazz up the presentation of the finished brawnies. If you’re interested in raw desserts but feel overwhelmed by some of the labor-intensive recipes and obscure ingredients you’ve encountered, then making a batch of brawnies could be a great recipe to try!
Yield: 16 brawnies
2 cups raw almonds, soaked and dried
1 pound Medjool dates, pitted
5 heaping teaspoons raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tablespoons raw agave nectar (optional, to taste)
Pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until they combine to form a homogeneous dough.
Press the mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Cut into pieces and enjoy!