I’d be a horrible chocolate-lover if I didn’t include a delicious chocolate dessert recipe for you all this Valentine’s Day…right? Well no worries, today I’m sharing one of my new favorite variations on a brownie, and it’s raw! Raw Chocolate Nib Brownies are one of the easiest brownie recipes you may ever make, and not to mention, are loaded with only nutrient dense all natural ingredients. That means no refined sugar, healthy fats, fiber, protein, and antioxidant rich chocolate. These are also a beautiful way to show your body some love as well as sharing a healthy treat with the one you love. You can’t ask for a better Valentine’s Day treat than that.
The brownies I grew up on came from a box and were loaded with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce let alone identify what they were used for. I’ll be honest, they tasted great, but the health benefits were non-existent. I wanted to spruce up a traditional brownie recipe and give it a unique spin perfect for anyone to enjoy. Brownies are typically made with loads of refined sugars, flours, and even artificial coloring (?). These brownies are only made with whole food ingredients including dates, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder, and my favorite cacao nibs. (p.s. I highly recommend using a fun brownie pan like this that makes individual perfect squares, especially if this is for a gift). I tested this recipe (as most of them) on willing friends and my sweet several times to get the stamp of approval. I wanted to maintain the integrity of a classic brownie with several important factors: taste, texture, and chocolate-y-ness (yes, chocolate-y-ness). These Raw Chocolate Nib Brownies have all of the above, from rich chocolate flavor, to a chewy and moist texture and a hint of sweetness.
Have a date with dates. Dates are a key ingredient in this recipe, not only do they sweeten these brownies and bind the ingredients, but dates also give them a moist, ooey-gooey chewy texture. Yes, dates contain sugar and actually have a bit more fructose content than most other fruits, therefore I use dates for desserts and sweet treats in moderation. I’m all about flexibility and making it fit for your diet.
Coo-coo for cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are one of my favorite “superfoods” to add into smoothies, smoothie bowls, desserts, etc. They’re rich in minerals, antioxidants, and contain some fat. Don’t confuse cacao nibs with chocolate chips, they’re completely different. Cacao nibs (as with other bitter types of foods) may register as an intense bitter taste to some and others will find the taste less bitter. Personally I find cacao nibs to have a bitter taste, but also a slightly sweet, bold, and robust chocolate flavor to them – I love it! If you’re meal planning for the week ahead, add these brownies to your list so you always have a sweet treat ready to go and they freeze really well too! Download my Back to Basics Bundle for meal planning tips and tricks.
Fun fact: Did you know that the way we register a “bitter” taste is due to our genetics? Your genes and the amount of papillae/taste buds on your tongue may be responsible for your tasting ability. If you can taste extremely bitter foods you may be a “supertaster”. You can find out if you are by testing your taste with PTC (a synthetic bitter substance) on a taste strip. I did this test in culinary class and I was in the group of “supertaster”. I remember the bitter taste and to this day it makes me jolt my head back away from the strip on my tongue! I have a theory that those of you who are “supertasters” and dislike bitter foods may not enjoy cacao nibs compared to “non-tasters”. Either way, if you choose not to use the cacao nibs, you can simply replace them with a quality dark chocolate chip instead.
- 2 cups (about 200g) dates, pitted
- 1 1/4 cup walnuts, ground finely
- 1 cup almonds, ground finely
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and ground finely
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon maca powder, optional
- dash of cinnamon
- In a food processor or blender, ground the walnuts, almonds, and pistachios until fine (I prefer to leave a couple chunks).
- Next add in the pitted dates, a few at a time helps, using your tamper from the blender or gently using a spatula to scrape the sides. Repeat pulsing and blending until the mixture has come together. Add in cocoa powder. Pulse to combine again.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour this mixture, add in melted coconut oil, cacao nibs, and remaining ingredients.
- Using a spatula or your hands, stir.
- In a lined (with parchment paper) 7×7 square pan, pour the brownie mixture in and start to evenly press down until you form a brownie layer.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Cut into squares.
- Store in the freezer for a later snack or serve immediately!
Have a LOVELY Valentine’s Day everyone!