Food post – Something a little different

Vegan/Dairy free, Gluten Free/Raw/Paleo Chocolate Brownies – no bake!

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Photo by Minimalist Baker

So what do you make a Yoga Goddess as a treat for her birthday? Chocolate Brownies that’s what!

I invited Olivia, my mate and Co-founder of The Yoga Cafe, and her niece round for dinner and decided to make my first ever desert from scratch. That’s right, I don’t make deserts! Shock! Well I haven’t since school anyway, so decided to give it a go. And this recipe is even better because you don’t need to bake!

I choose/try my hardest not to eat dairy or gluten and, most of the time, stick to a Paleo diet so I managed to find this amazing nut based recipe at The Minimalist Baker – a great site for people like me, who rarely see a cake tin or the inside of an oven! For the original recipe click on their image above.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Almonds (I used already made Almond Butter by Meridian – made with 100% Almonds. The cheapest tub I’ve found is at Fitness Inc Northampton – based in Peacock Place)
2 cups of fresh pitted dates (You can use dry ones and soak them)
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

You’ll also need a food processor to combine all the ingredients for the brownies and a whisk for the ganache.

And oh yes there’s a ganache!! I’ve adapted this from the original recipe which uses dairy free chocolate and sugar to make it Paleo friendly. For this you’ll need:
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of coconut milk (you can also use coconut oil but I didn’t have any left)
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup of pure Stevia or sugar (I get my Stevia online at raw miller)
some crushed walnuts
(You can also use a cup of dairy-free chocolate but I wanted to create a sugar free Paleo friendly desert too – why not challenge myself!)

Chocolate Brownie – get your food processor out

1. Grind the walnuts and almonds to make a thick paste.
2. Gradually stir in the coco powder and transfer to a bowl. (I made the school boy error of adding the coco powder to the mix after transferring to the bowl which is much harder) But you should have something like this:

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3. Now blend the dates.
4. Add the nut mixture to the dates and blend all together. (You can transfer the dates to a separate bowl and add the date mixture in a bit at a time but I couldn’t be bothered with that – you can tell I don’t bake!)
5. Add the mixture to a small parchment lined dish 8×8 (guess what! I didn’t have parchment paper so I just used foil – tomato tomatoe)

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(Or an 8×8 square dish so I just used some takeaway tubs! As you do)

6. Put in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes to set.

Ganache time – whisk it up

1. Warm the almond milk and add the chocolate powder. I made an effort and used a pan this time just because I thought it might work better than using a microwave. Let it cool for 2 minutes.
2. Transfer to a bowl then add the sea salt and whisk in the coconut milk.

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3. Gradually add the Stevia powder to thicken and a tiny bit of the coconut flour if you need to.

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4. When it reaches a gooey consistency get the brownies outta the fridge and smother. Add the crushed walnuts. (I decided to add crushed walnuts to only one of the brownie mixes)

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5. Put back in the fridge to set. You can cut into small square pieces after 10 minutes or leave until serving.

Bonus ‘Bluebeet’ Jus (Named appropriately by Olivia’s 12 yr old niece!)

I wanted the full shabang (Masterchef stylee) for my first ever homemade desert. The pressure was on. I needed to impress the birthday girl and her niece (one hard cookie to please) with my first attempt at a desert. When I opened the fridge and saw two things of the same colour I thought ‘Yes. This would look good on the plate’. Little did I know I was on to an absolute winner!

Just blend some blueberries and a beetroot together (maybe add a bit of water for a smoother texture) for a delicious raw jus/coulis. That’s it!

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Cut up the brownies into square bite sized pieces. You should get a total of 12 with this batch. I gave out two per person but you may only need one.

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And serve with ice-cream for those dairy eaters or if you’re like me a scoop of full fat coconut cream/milk drizzled in ‘Bluebeat’ jus. Delicious!
As an extra birthday treat stick a candle in one of the brownies and voila! (I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of this as I was all in a flap over my first ever desert)

Hopefully you’ll end up with some full tummies and guests who are unable to move 😉
Job done. Boom.

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