It’s been a rough start to March here in Connecticut. We’ve had two really bad storms in a row roll through our community. This last one has left a lot of us without power, and with the all the kids home from school for THREE DAYS!! It’s been enough stress for one week to make me want to eat this whole pan of vegan chocolate brownies.
Now I know what many of you are already thinking right about now, “yum, vegan brownies……my favorite”. But I promise you, these are just as good, if not better, than any brownie you’re used to. In fact, JonPaul, who I promise you is doing everything in his power NOT to eat vegan, has been snacking on these all week.
The thing that makes these vegan chocolate brownies so special is how rich and dense they are. The dates and coconut oil create a thick base for the rick dark chocolate. And can we talk for a minute about the combination of the hazelnuts and chocolate?! It’s a Nutella lovers dream come true. Then you add in the walnuts for crunch and the shredded coconut for texture, and my fiends you have yourself a pretty dreamy brownie. Top it all of with a pinch of pink himalayan sea salt and it’s a combination that makes even snow days, feel like good days.
Plus, they couldn’t be easier. It’s a handful of ingredients, all chopped up and then blended together. That’s it. There’s no baking or any complicated steps. It’s honestly simple as mixing and chilling.
These also make a great base recipe to play around with. You can add in/swap any nut your like, add in dried fruits, flax seeds or a different type of chocolate. There are really so may options you could play around with, so let this just be a starting point.
Don’t let the “healthy” factor of these brownies scare you off. Trust me when I say that after the first bite you’ll forget that they’re even good for you. And we promise we wont tell anyone if you eat the whole pan.
- ½ cup of hazelnuts
- ¾ cup of walnuts
- ¾ cup of shredded coconut
- 1 cup of dates
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 2 tbsp of cacao powder
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil (melted)
- ¼ tsp of salt
- ¼ tsp of himalayan sea salt and a handful of chopped walnuts to garnish
- In a bowl of warm water, soak dates for 10-15 minutes until soft. Remove seeds, and roughly chop. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts and walnuts until they form an even "grainy" texture. About 10-15 pulses.
- Add shredded coconut, cacao powder, and salt. Pulse 3-5 times until combined. Transfer cacao/nut mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same food processor add chopped dates. Pulse 5-10 times until it forms small "bits". It may clump together, so you may have to use a spatula to scrape from the bottom/sides (don't worry, the nuts/shredded coconut will pull it from the sides).
- Add nut/cacao mixture to the dates in the food processor, as well as the coconut oil and vanilla. Pulse 10-15 more times until well combined (I like the brownies to have a little "texture", if you prefer a "smoother" consistency, continue pulsing until you've reached your desired consistency). Use a spatula between pulses if needed to pull batter from the sides/bottom. It's a fairly "sticky" batter, so it may need a little help from a spatula
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend past the sides of the pan. Transfer the brownie batter to the loaf pan. Using the "extended sides" of the parchment paper, gently press the batter evenly in the loaf pan, ensuring that the batter reaches the corners and has a nice flat surface.
- Pulling the parchment paper back, sprinkle the brownies with the extra chopped walnuts and himalayan sea salt. Recover with the parchment paper, and place in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.
- To serve, use the parchment paper sides to help pull the brownies out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into even squares and enjoy (I prefer them served "chilled").
- Can be stored in your fridge for up to one week.
- Note - this batter recipe can be used to make "truffles" as well. Instead of placing the brownie batter in a loaf pan, use a small melon scooper, to scoop out little balls of batter. Roll, place on a tray with parchment, and chill. Sprinkle with extra cacao powder, powdered sugar or drizzle with vegan melted chocolate.
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