Creating healthy recipes has always been fun for me. Savory dishes, admittedly, are much easier to adapt into something you can feel good about eating. Healthier sweets…well, they can be challenging. For me, the first obstacle I tackle is reducing carbs and keeping sugar levels low. I’ve removed refined sugar from my diet and try to keep even unrefined sugars to a minimum. So…finding that perfect, yummy place where there’s enough sweetness to satisfy you, but keep things less sugary takes lots of trial and error. I’ve eaten my errors…many times over. It’s a tough job, friends.
This. Well, let’s just say, this is no error. In fact, I’m super excited about this easy, decadent recipe. It’s evolved over some serious testing and I really think you’re going to love it. The greatest surprise, was figuring the nutritional facts on this and finding that one piece has under one hundred and eighty calories and just six grams of sugar! Whooohooo! Mission accomplished. :)
So, what is a raw brownie anyway? Well, aside from not being baked, it’s packed with whole, nutritious ingredients. Don’t be fooled though. These brownies are intensely fudgy, chocolatey, chewy and sweet. They are topped with a very thin layer of a ganache-like frosting to up the sweetness a tiny bit. These are naturally vegan, gluten-free, paleo and low-carb. All the bases are covered!
Almond flour makes up the bulk of these brownies. It’s very low in carbs, adds some great protein, healthy fats, Vitamin E and magnesium. I love baking with it. My favorite is Bob’s Red Mill. Its fine texture is really nice and works well in low carb baking. To sweeten things up naturally, I love using Medjool dates. They are beefy dates with intense, almost molasses-y flavor. Just six of them in this recipe keeps sugar levels pretty low.
The recipe calls for raw cacao powder. It’s full of antioxidants, even more than green tea or red wine. But, my feeling is, use what you have available. If you’ve got regular cocoa powder in the pantry…go right ahead and use that. Either one will taste amazing.
I’m kind of on a roll now with creating healthier sweets and looking forward to my next recipe. Leave me a comment below and tell me what sweet treat you’d like to see made-over! I’d love to make something special for you!
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups (300g) almond flour
- 6 (about 4 ounces total or 115 grams, pitted) Medjool dates, pitted
- ⅓ cup (31g) raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- Frosting and Toppings
- 2 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 ounces chopped raw almonds
- few pinches coarse sea salt flakes
- crushed espresso/coffee beans (optional)
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment.
- In a very small bowl, combine the chia seeds with the water. Stir to get the seeds wet and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of your food processor, combine the almond flour, dates, cacao powder, espresso powder, salt, coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts along with the chia mixture. Run the processor for about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Run the processor again until the dough comes together in a ball. This may take another 30 to 40 seconds.
- Remove the dough ball carefully from your processor and place it in the prepared baking pan. Use your fingers to press the dough out to all sides. Smooth the top by using a flat bottomed cup to press down. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the dark chocolate and the coconut oil. Melt it in your microwave for 30 seconds. Give it a stir and continue melting in 20 to 30 second intervals until melted.
- Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting them straight out with the parchment. Place them, with the parchment, onto a small baking sheet or cutting board. It's much easier to frost them this way. Pour the frosting on top and spread thinly with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with the chopped almonds, a few pinches of coarse sea salt and, if you'd like, some crushed espresso beans.
- Refrigerate to set for about 2 hours. Cut into 16 two-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container either in the fridge or at room temperature.
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting brands like Bob’s that I trust and use myself. Visit them at Bob’s Red Mill, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.