No eggs, oil, flour, sugar, butter. This is my first raw desert. The word “raw” is loaded with connotations, as if you have to be a certain way or convert to the magical realm of “raw foodism” in order to eat it. But it’s foolish to think that raw foodies are an exclusive clan because we all eat raw, all the time! Salad, fruit, nuts, juice, it’s all raw! I’m always tempted to roll my eyes at food trends because I believe that everyone finds their diets by testing what feels and tastes good to them, and although it’s nice to have company when you decide to try a new routine, ultimately you’ll slide back to what suits you.
That being said, however, my mom just returned from Costa Rica and brought back raw cacao bits. I’ve been holding onto a raw brownie recipe and pistachio butter for a while, waiting for the right time to try them out.
Sometimes I feel like not all of my recipes are certified “Slow Food”. I don’t always take 5 hours to prepare each meal, nor do I consult the Arc of Taste and try to incorporate dying ingredients. But somehow I have the feeling that the Slow Food headquarters wouldn’t mind. I love cooking because I love eating, but I also love cooking because I like to share what I make with others and introduce myself to new tastes. Even though these brownies were not passed down to me from my mother’s mother in her native tongue, and the ingredients I used didn’t come from my neighbor or the farm down the road, I think it’s the thought that counts!
And, if we’re being technical, raw food harkens back to early human days. So if Slow Food emphasizes reconnecting with our roots and focusing on the way we used to eat before pasteurization, hormones, GMOs, and fast food, raw brownies would be the antithesis of the modern meal.
I swirled the pistachio butter on top but, but as this is not the most accessible food you can also use toasted coconut, almond/peanut butter or any other topping!
This recipe has been adapted from “The Raw Brownie” by Sarah Britton. I incorporated the avocado and pistachio butter. I also added avocado to make it more creamy and light, since the dates are so filling. These are desserts, but you could consider them protein bars and take them on hikes or as snacks as well!
The Raw Brownie
2 cups whole walnuts
2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cacao
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
¼ tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup pistachio butter/nut butter/coconut
1. Place walnuts in food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground.
2. Add the cacao and salt. Pulse to combine.
3. Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).
4. Add the avocado in pieces and pulse until incorporated.
5. In a large bowl (or the pan you plan on putting the brownies in), combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds. Press into a lined cake pan or mold.
6. Add butter on top and swirl using a knife or spoon. Using a site, dust thickly with cocoa.
7. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve (it is also easier to cut these when they are very cold). Store in an airtight container.