Friday, October 7, 2011

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. 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. 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. Place in freezer of fridge until ready to serve (it is also easier to cut these when they are cold). Store in an airtight container.

These are incredibly delicious and o' so easy to make. And believe it, these are actually good for you! When I found this recipe on Sarah Britton's site and since they sounded so good, I made them immediately. I think they took all of 5 minutes to whip up and maybe 10 minutes to make into the balls (see picture). It would probably take less time to press this mixture into a casserole dish to make traditional looking brownies, but I wanted to give them my own twist and so I made them into balls. I took them to work and since they were in small bite size portions, they were very easy to pass out to my coworkers. Unsurprisingly, they went pretty fast!
I like knowing that when I whip these up I am going to eat a treat that is much healthier than eating store bought, highly refined, processed and possibly contaminated brownies or candies from the store. Also, since they are fresh and raw, their nutrition hasn't been lost in lengthy storage or over processing. Both walnuts and Almonds are very nutritious, both containing loads of B complex vitamins. Those are great for giving you energy, nourishing your nervous system as well as your skin, nails and hair. If you have an issue with sluggish digestion, walnuts and almonds can provide you the necessary b- complex vitamins so your body can make the required acids in your stomach needed for digestion of fats, protein and carbohydrates. In addition, both of these nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids that if eaten regularly can actually reduce your risk of developing some types of cancer. Cool huh? Omega 3 fatty acids also help to lower the bad LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood.
 So, what about cacao? Simply stated, cacao is unprocessed cocoa. The processed cacao becomes cocoa which is used in the production of chocolate. Unlike the heavily processed chocolate bar, raw cacao contains loads more flavonoids, a chemical found in plants that have anti viral, anti-inflammatory and anti allergic properties.  By the way, cacao tastes like a richer version of cocoa. More good news is that cacao also contains a rich supply of the minerals calcium, zinc, copper and potassium as well as vitamins A, C and E. Another interesting fact is that cacao stimulates the body’s own antidepressant chemicals, serotonin and endorphins and it contains two chemicals - phenylethylalamine and anandamide that enhance mood and help you focus. Processed chocolate may not have the same quantities of these chemicals as raw cacao, but you still get some, and that explains why you feel so good after you eat chocolate, in any form.

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