This recipe is so easy, I made it up in 10 minutes. I've seen raw brownies or similar things here and here but as I rarely have the internet in my kitchen and not having the time to try and find recipes I made it from what I had, my memory and tastes I like. The waiting for it to set and get cold is the hard part. Go for a walk. A long walk so you can't eat it before it's time.
There are also so many variations (see the very end) to this recipe that switching it up could become a regular thing meaning you will never get bored. Be careful when you've had a little too much wine as you'll wake up with half the thing gone…
Let's talk about dates. I adore them, literally could eat them till I'm sick. Especially the medjool date. It's a sticky, sweet moist little piece of fruit that contains good, natural sugar. It was one of four fruit used to help curing throat and chest problems back in the early medicine days and because of it's high good natural sugar levels it's great for those of us who do physical exercise regularly or heavy work.
I love that its considered one of the most ancient symbolic forms of the Tree of Life in subtropical desert regions, among Egyptians it is the symbolic Tree of the Year because it produces a new set of branches every year. Isn't nature amazing?!?
I'm warming up to the hazelnut outside of Nutella. I find it quite a nutty nut if that makes sense and sometimes I'm just not sure. But following the Nutella theme that hazelnuts and chocolate go well together I figured why not. Classically people seem to always pair almonds and chocolate and it works. But I like to be a little different.
The hazelnut although tiny, is good for your teeth and gums. It is quite hard to digest even for those with a good digestive system so don't go crazy on them! They are also pretty good for normalising metabolism so lets go with a couple a day rather than a handful.
Two other ingredients were used in the making of this. The chia seed and raw cacao powder.
There is big talk about the chia seed at the moment and it's becoming a fad but it's still a great little thing of goodness. The plant itself is actually a member of the Sage family, which surprised me! Next to flax seeds, chia are the highest source of Omega 3 and back in the day these little seeds roasted and crushed were eaten to give enough energy to go desert walking in Central America. A lot of people make a chia pudding by soaking a teaspoon of seeds in almond milk. They swell up a little and form a jelly like surrounding and end up being similar to tapioca. I love it and it certainly energises me.
I used raw cacao (and cacao nibs to decorate) instead of cocoa powder as it's natural. There are so many benefits to raw cacao that range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function and alleviating stress. It's said that the theobromine which is naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some people even believe can treat depression. Pretty good stuff huh?!?
2 cups of dates that I soaked over night as I didn't have medjool.
½ cup of hazelnuts, chopped up
1 ½ dessert spoons of cacao powder
3 teaspoons of chia seeds
handful of cacao nibs to decorate.
If soaking dates, put them in a bowl and cover with water overnight. Next day, discard the water and put dates in a blender. Whizz till a pulpy mush that is not too lumpy. The smoother the better, but with a spoon mush it around a bit and see if it's a texture you're happy with. I had no lumps. Add the cocao powder, chia seeds and chopped hazelnuts. Whizz again and then spread out into your dish. Sprinkle the cacao nibs over the top, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. Longer is better!
add a handful of cranberries
use almonds instead of hazelnuts
add hemp seeds
add a little bit of rock/flaky salt
add a little desiccated coconut.