Tag Archive: Dates

Raw Walnut Brownies

Raw Walnut Brownies

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. I don’t think that’s true always, but certainly in this case it is. It’s amazing what you can make with just dates, walnuts, and cocoa powder.

This is something I’ve been making for years now. I think I learned the originally recipe from a food blog that no longer exists; it’s simple enough that you don’t have to write it down or bookmark a page to remember it. The trick to making these well is recognizing what consistency the dough should be; thankfully these are very forgiving and it’s easy to figure out after making a few batches(and you’ll want to make a few batches).

Raw Walnut Brownies Block

You can use any nut for this but I think walnuts are the best both for flavor and texture. They also pack a lot of omega-3s which are great for anyone’s diet. I’d suggest adding crushed walnuts into the batter dough after processing to give these a crunch.

Raw Walnut Brownies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 8 squares):

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water

Raw Walnut Brownies Ingredients

Method:

  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they are pulverized and start to stick together.
  2. Add the walnuts and continue blending until the dough starts to stick to itself. Add water as necessary if your ingredients are too dry to clump.
  3. Lastly add the cocoa powder and continue blending until it’s mixed in.
  4. Dump the processed ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper. With your hands, clump them together into a square or rectangle.
  5. Freeze the dough for 5-10 minutes until it’s firm and cut it into even sized squares. Store in the refrigerator for freshness.

Raw Walnut Brownies Serving

You can add chocolate chips or other dried fruit to make this a little more exciting, but I think this is a perfect snack or pick-me-up for after a meal all on its own.

Copycat Chocolate Hazelnut Larabars

copycat chocolate hazelnut larabars

One of my most popular recipes is the raw/vegan chocolate cake I made last Summer, and every time someone new comments on the post or makes it for themselves and blogs their own mouth-watering photos(I’m looking at you, Texanerin) it makes me want it again.

Well, cake every week is a bit much, even if it’s raw and vegan. But as soon as I finished eating my chocolate chip peanut butter “Larabars” I was thinking of what flavor I could make next, and chocolate hazelnut seemed like the perfect answer.

copycat chocolate hazelnut larabars stack

These are definitely healthy enough to have every day but also can easily satisfy a candy craving. You can use raw or roasted hazelnuts, skin on or off. Roasted will definitely have a nuttier and stronger flavor. To make them truly raw, use cacao nibs in place of the chocolate chips. 

Copycat Chocolate Hazelnut Larabars

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 7 bars):

  • 8oz(about 2 cups) pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

copycat chocolate hazelnut larabars yield

Method:

  1. In a food processor, blend the dates until they clump together and form a sticky dough ball.
  2. Add the hazelnuts and salt into the food processor and pulse until the nuts are broken into a coarse flour.
  3. Transfer all the contents of the food processor into a large bowl with the chocolate chips and massage by hand until the hazelnut pieces and chocolate chips are completely mixed into the dates.
  4. Form the dough into equal-sized bars, squares, or balls. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

copycat chocolate hazelnut larabars bars

OK, it’s no raw chocolate cake with avocado buttercream, but it will definitely satisfy a late-night sweet tooth.

Copycat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

Copycat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

When you’re a food blogger, you end up having some pretty weird “snacks”. Leftover cheesecake in the afternoon? Sure. Chocolate granola for lunch and dinner some times. Anything goes.

That’s all great and delicious but there are times when I wish I ate a little bit healthier. Of course, the answer’s simple; if you want to eat healthy you need to buy and make healthy meals and snacks. So to start I made one of my favorites: peanut butter chocolate chip larabars.

Copycat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars Serving

Most pre-portioned snacks at the grocery store are overpriced; they’re even pricier if you get them from kiosks or snack stands. By making your own, you control the costs and quality of the ingredients. Larabars have pretty clean and simple ingredients as is, but by buying dates and using other ingredients I already had I was able to bring the cost down.

You could make your own and use almonds instead of peanuts to adapt these for someone with a peanut allergy.

Copycat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 6 bars):

  • 8oz pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Combine the dates and peanuts in a food processor and blend on high until the ingredients start to form a paste.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and salt and continue blending until a dough begins to form.
  3. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips and pulse a few times.
  4. Line a loaf or baking pan with plastic wrap.
  5. Drop the dough on top of the plastic wrap and press the dough into a square or rectangle about 3/4-inch thick.
  6. Cut into bars or squares. Wrap individually and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Copycate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar Cut

I left mine in squares. You could make bars or balls or really any shape you could think of with these.

Semi-Raw Chocolate Rum Truffles

Semi-Raw-Chocolate-Rum-Truffles

This weekend I’m moving back to Providence, which means I’ll be just a short bus ride away from my favorite bakery again. Lord help me, my stomach, and my wallet.

I keep trying to make some of their desserts in my own kitchen to save a little money, and I think I’ve figured out another one. Their rum truffles from what I can tell are a blend of dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and rum that tastes amazingly close to a “real” chocolaty dessert for something that’s made with whole foods. Since I’ve been kind of on a date ball kick lately, I wanted to see if I could make these, too.

048

Ps. If you’re ever around Providence you need to get the gluten-free chocolate pound cake that’s lurking in the back. I’m not even a big fan of cake but will happily eat a slice or two of that. It’s high on my list of recipes to recreate right behind this one. All I need is about a dozen taste testers who are willing to eat through a couple failed pound cake attempts.

Semi-Raw Chocolate Rum Truffles

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about a dozen):

  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  • 8oz pitted dates
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder plus more for rolling
  • Extra 1/4 cup walnut pieces(optional)

Semi-Raw-Chocolate-Rum-Truffles-Bottle

Method:

  • Blend 3/4 cup walnut pieces in a food processor until it turns into a smooth, buttery consistency. You can add the rum at the beginning to help the walnuts blend faster.
  • Add in the dates and continue processing until the dough sticks to itself and starts forming into a ball.
  • Add in the cocoa powder and continue mixing until all of the powder has been worked into the ball.
  • Stop the food processor. Add in the extra walnuts if using and work them into the dough using your hands.
  • Pour some cocoa powder into a flat-bottom bowl or plate. Break off pieces of the truffle dough and roll them into circles in your hand, rolling them in the cocoa powder afterwards to cover all sides.
  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Semi-Raw-Chocolate-Rum-Truffles-finished

These were good but a little lacking in the rum flavor. Next time I might try extract for a stronger punch of flavor. The originals also look better than mine came out, but isn’t that how it always is?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Balls

chocolate-peanut-butter-snack-balls

Lately I’ve been obsessed with these raw fruit and nut snacks. And I’m always obsessed with chocolate peanut butter. I can’t understand what took me so long to combine the two.

I’m not going to sugarcoat these and say they taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups; they don’t, and anyone who could get that flavor with just fruit and nuts would be a miracle worker. But these do taste deliciously sweet and salty with a hint of cocoa and silky smooth peanut butter. They’re certainly good enough to satisfy a snack craving. And if you want to take these to the next level, you can always mix some chocolate chips(or peanut butter chips!) into the batter for a real chocolate peanut butter treat.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Balls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(makes about 14 balls):

  • 16oz pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup peanuts or chocolate chips(optional)

chocolate-peanut-butter-snack-balls-peanut-butter

Method:

  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they stick together and form a big dough ball.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and cocoa powder and continue mixing until all of the ingredients are blended together.
  3. Stop the processor; move the dough to a separate bowl and add in the chia seeds and any other mix-ins you might want. Knead them in throughout the dough.
  4. Break off 1oz pieces and roll them into 1-inch balls. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. 

chocolate-peanut-butter-snack-balls-peanuts

PB&J Balls

PB&J-Balls

One of my favorite lunches growing up was a PB&J sandwich on white Wonderbread. Who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly? And Wonderbread—that was just great stuff before anyone realized bread shouldn’t be glow-in-the-dark white.

I’m getting sidetracked. What I meant to say was that these taste like the filling of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that point where the sweetness of the jelly meets the smooth salty peanut butter. Since I hardly ever buy loaves of gluten-free bread, that’s not a taste I get to experience much; now I can have it whenever in a tasty raw snack.

PB&J-Balls-finished

You can mix in chopped peanuts at the final mixing step for a crunchier texture. For a different “jelly” flavor, use dried raspberries or dried strawberries in place of the raisins.

PB&J Balls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 18 balls):

  • 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds(optional but recommended)

PB&J-Balls-full

Method:

  1. Place the dates and raisins into a food processor and blend until they come together and form a dough ball.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and chia seeds and continue blending until everything has mixed together.
  3. Move the ingredients to a bowl and work them with your hands until it forms one big dough ball.
  4. Break off pieces by the ounce and roll into balls between your palms. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

PB&J-Balls-serving

I loved these even more after a day when the chia seeds had taken out some of the moisture and made them nice and chewy. It reminded me of a PB&J Larabar, so you could definitely shape these into bar form and have your own homemade ones.

Raw Salted Almond Brownies

raw-salted-almond-brownies

The last time I made raw brownies, I didn’t share the recipe. I wasn’t planning on it this time, either, but these came out so well I felt I’d be holding out if I didn’t share them.

raw-salted-almond-brownies-chocolate-covered-almonds

These almonds from Trader Joe’s are incredibly addicting; I’m pretty sure they’re all gone by now. Anything with chocolate and salt and I can’t stop snacking. Why not make some brownies with the same mix-ins?

The almond butter in these brownies make them a little more fudgy and decadent than your typical date bars. You can use any type of nuts you have on hand.

Raw Salted Almond Brownies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes a dozen brownies):

  • 16oz pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

raw-salted-almond-brownies-cut

Method:

  1. Put the dates in a food processor and blend until they stick together into a ball of dough. If the dates haven’t come together after a few minutes, add a tablespoon or so of water until they do.
  2. Add in the cocoa powder and almond butter and continue blending until they are mixed into the dough.
  3. Add in the almonds and sea salt. Pulse until the almonds are broken up into pieces.
  4. Turn off the food processor and move the mixture to a different bowl. Work it with your hands until all of the ingredients are well mixed together and the almonds stick in the batter.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and press with your hands into a square shape roughly 9×9. Cut into 12 pieces. Store in a sealed container at room temperature when not eating.

raw-salted-almond-brownies-stack

These are particularly good with some salty peanut butter spread on top as a snack or dessert. Next time I think I’ll use the chocolate covered almonds in the brownie dough assuming I don’t eat them all first again.

Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Torte

raw-salted-caramel-chocolate-pecan-torte

Happy New Year! I wanted to get the year off to a sweet start, so here’s the dessert I made for Christmas, which just happened to turn out to be one of my favorite desserts ever.

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. I love things that are salty and sweet and pecans are never a bad thing either; add chocolate and you have to have a winning dessert.

raw-salted-caramel-chocolate-pecan-torte-cut

I actually think it’s easier to make raw tortes and pies than cooked ones; you don’t have to worry about cutting cold butter into the crust or cooking them in a water bath. This recipe comes together extremely quickly and is full of flavor.

I used maple syrup because I had plenty on hand. To make this fully raw, use agave nectar or raw honey.

Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Torte

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 1 torte):

For the crust:

  • 6oz(about 1 1/2 cups) dates
  • 6oz(1 1/2 cups) pecans

For the caramel:

  • 2oz dates
  • 6 Tablespoons maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • Sea salt and pecans for garnish

raw-salted-caramel-chocolate-pecan-torte-pie

Method:

  1. To make the crust, pulse the dates and pecans in a food processor until it forms a dough ball. If after a while the dough hasn’t come together, add water by the tablespoon slowly until it does.
  2. Grease a 9-inch pan lightly with coconut oil. Press the dough into the pan and spread it out evenly into a pie crust shape, raising it at the side. Make sure there are no holes in the bottom.
  3. Make the caramel by blending together the maple syrup and dates in a food processor until smooth and golden in color. Once it’s blended into a sauce, add in the sea salt and mix gently.
  4. Pour the caramel in a thin layer on top of the bottom of the crust, spreading it out evenly.
  5. To make the filling, blend the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup in a food processor until it’s uniformly mixed.
  6. Carefully cover the caramel layer with the chocolate layer. For me it was easiest to add a little bit of topping all around the pie and lightly blending the top together with a soft spatula.
  7. Garnish the top with pecans and sea salt if desired.
  8. Refrigerate your torte until the filling sets. Remove it from the refrigerator about 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Personally I liked this when it was still slightly chilled but you can also eat it at room temperature.

raw-salted-caramel-chocolate-pecan-torte-serving

I would have liked to have gotten better pictures of this but it was too good not to just dig into. It may not be one of the prettiest desserts, but it’s by far one of the tastiest I’ve made in a long time. I can’t wait to make this again.

Eat Healthy: Raw Brownies

filling-up-on-raw-brownies

I could never give up chocolate. It’s a daily thing for me. Even when I want to eat healthy, I’m always drawn back to it, and frankly I have no willpower to resist.

That’s where the beauty of something like raw brownies come in. These are sweetened with dried fruit and the only fat comes from nuts, which are whole foods. It’s a big improvement over refined sugar, cocoa butter and milk fat. To make these, I threw together some dates, figs, hazelnuts and walnuts in my food processor, and then folded in extra walnuts when it was done to give them an added crunch. Not only are they delicious, but they’re filling, too.

filling-up-on-raw-brownies-serving

Since that’s not exactly a recipe, I thought I’d share a few raw chocolate cake recipes I have made in the past that are similar and just as delicious:

Gabriel’s recipe is super simple. It has added coconut oil and agave nectar which makes the brownies a little more moist and extravagant. It’d be the perfect thing to make if you want to impress someone and show off how good raw food can be.

Katie’s recipe has just fruit for the sweetener and nuts for the fat like the ones I made. I like the addition of vanilla for a stronger chocolate flavor.

filling-up-on-raw-brownies-stack

I went through the first batch of these all too quickly. You’d better double the recipes since I’m sure you’ll fall in love with them, too.

Fig And Hazelnut Balls

fig-and-hazelnut-balls

One of the things I said I was going to do now was eat better, especially when it comes to sugar. Now I’m not delusioned too think I could ever give up the sweet stuff; instead I’m just looking to eat more sweets that also have nutrition to them. And for that I look towards dried fruit.

fig-and-hazelnut-ball

I’ve always loved fruit and nut snack bars like Larabars. They’re one of those all-too-few things that taste good and are good for you. They’re also incredibly easy to make at home, which opens up infinite flavor combinations. The combination of figs, hazelnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg taste like Winter to me.

Fig And Hazelnut Balls

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 14):

  • 8oz pitted dates
  • 8 figs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:

  1. In a food processor, blend the dates until they form a sticky dough ball. If after a few minutes your dates haven’t come together, they might have been too dry to begin. Simply add a tablespoon of water and continue blending until they do come together.
  2. Move the date dough to a separate bowl. Chop the hazelnuts and figs in the food processor until they’re broken into small pieces.
  3. Dump the fig and hazelnut bits into the bowl with the date dough, adding in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Knead the two together. Break off pieces to roll into a ball or into a bar.
  4. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

fig-and-hazelnut-balls-stack

I used the roasted salted hazelnuts from Oh Nuts! and the little bit of salt really was a nice touch if you like salty-sweet snacks. It’s not going to fool anyone as a dessert but it’s a good snack to keep on hand to fight an afternoon sweet craving.