The Natural Chef's No Bake Brownies

cacao_brownies

Brownies that are delicious, easy to make and good for you are the dream.  Here's Natural chef and food blogger Ceri Jones' recipe for her seriously delicious cacao espresso no bake brownies. Check out her blog Natural Kitchen Adventures for more inspiration and ideas...

'I believe that brownies should be rich, gooey and so unbelievably chocolately so I rarely find that ‘healthier’ versions hit the spot.  These no bake ‘raw’ brownies are quite different to your average coffee shop brownie but the gooey dates, and rich chocolately raw cacao ensure they deliver on my non-negotiables.  I’ve added a touch of coffee extract to my topping for added oomph too.'

INGREDIENTS
Makes 12-16 small squares

Base:
180g walnuts
200g soft medjool dates, pitted (bring to room temperature for best results)
50g cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract or pinch vanilla powder + tsp water
Pinch flaked sea salt

Frosting:
1 large ripe avocado, stone removed and flesh scooped out
60mls / 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
50g cacao powder
2-4 tbsp maple syrup (depending on desired level of sweetness)
2 tsp coffee extract
Pinch flaked sea salt
+ 24 coffee beans for garnish

You will need access to a food processor, hand blender and a 7 inch square baking dish lined with parchment paper.

METHOD:

  1. First bake the base.  Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they resemble fine crumbs.  Remove, then add in the dates along with the vanilla, blend until they come together into a large sticky ball.  Add the walnuts back in along with the cacao and salt.  Blitz again, the mixture will first turn into soil-like crumbs, and then it will start to stick together; you may need to scrape down the sides in-between blitzing.  Pinch a bit of the mix together between your fingers and if it sticks, then you’re good to go.  If not, you may need to add a teaspoon or two of water.
  2. Push the mix flat into the baking dish covering the base evenly, to around 1cm deep.  If you use baking parchment in-between your hand and the mix it will be easier to get a smooth and even finish.  Place in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) while you make the topping.
  3. Place all of the topping ingredients into a jug or the beaker that belongs to a small hand blender, and using a hand blender blend until completely silky smooth.  Taste and add more coffee extract if you like for a stronger flavour.  Smooth the topping over the firm brownie base using a spatula, and then transfer to the fridge to set again.  When the top has firmed up, you can remove the brownie from its tray and cut into 12 or 16 squares.  Top each brownie with one or two coffee beans.

These are best kept in the fridge (for 2 weeks) or freezer (for up to 3 months).

Ceri Jones, Natural Kitchen Adventures

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