All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. ~ Charles M. Schulz
Are you ready to be amazed? I hope so because these gems are not only chocolatey, chewy and delicious, but are also good for you and your heart! The other amazing thing about these brownies is how quick and easy they are to make–containing only three primary ingredients: dates, nuts and cacao.
The texture and flavor to me are a blending of brownies and fudge. They do not have the cakey texture of flour-based, baked brownies, nor the sugary texture or extreme sweetness of fudge, but trust me, they are chewy and yummy! I shared some with my friend, Michelle, this week and after taking a bite she asked “How much sugar is in these?” to which I smiled and happily replied “None!” And of course she said “Wow!”
And now let’s talk about the best part of why they’re amazing–they’re packed with fiber, heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!
Nuts in general are loaded with healthy fats and nutrients that are good for your heart. Mayo Clinic says people who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower their bad (LDL) cholesterol and reduce their risk of developing blood clots that can cause a heart attack. They also appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries.
But walnuts are the star of the show, containing more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other. They reduce inflammation and promote more relaxed, dilated blood vessels. And they also contain a high amount of alpha linoleic acid (ALA) which research suggests may help heart arrhythmias.
Dates are an excellent source of fiber as well as B vitamins also making them a heart-healthy food. Specifically, you’ll get three nutrients from dates that are essential for heart health: magnesium, potassium and Vitamin B-6. Magnesium helps the muscles in your heart and blood vessels relax which lowers blood pressure. Vitamin B-6 removes homocysteine from your blood, which is great since high levels of homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. And potassium is a mineral beneficial to blood pressure and heart health. For one, It regulates the electrical impulses that maintain a steady heartbeat. According to WebMD, “if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or heart rhythm problems, getting enough potassium can be especially important”.
And by the way, dates are higher in potassium than oranges, bananas and spinach!
Raw cacao. Some call it a superfood! Cacao beans are rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits. Raw cacao is significantly higher in antioxidants than processed cocoa as the heat required for processing destroys some of the antixoidant content. As we know, antioxidants help decrease inflammation and destroy free radicals in your cells and tissues. Natural News states “the latest research on cacao shows extraordinary benefits on blood pressure, cholesterol and more”. You can read more about cocao and cardiovascular heath from the National Institutes of Health.
This rich, dark deliciousness comes from my favorite healthy, whole food blogger, Sarah Britton. Sarah recommends using high quality ingredients and I totally agree. With so few ingredients the flavor is dependent on goodness and freshness. I made the mistake of being lazy and using the smaller, darker Deglet Noor dates which are readily available already pitted. The result was tasty but lacked some of the yummy richness you get from using Medjool dates. And as I quickly discovered, the Medjools are super easy to pit. Just make sure your dates are fresh and moist.
For the chopped nuts that are added to the final brownie mixture, Sarah’s recipe uses raw almonds. I prefer either pecans or walnuts, which are more traditionally used in brownies and fudge, and in my opinion have more flavor so they stand out in every bite, but of course you can certainly use any nuts you like or have on hand.
Give them a try and be amazed!
TRULY AMAZING RAW BROWNIES
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup raw cacao
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- In a food processor, blend walnuts until they are finely ground.
- Add the raw cacao and sea salt, then pulse to combine.
- With the food processor running, add the dates one at a time through the feed tube When you’re done the mixture will look somewhat crumbly but will easily stick together when pressed between your fingers. (If it’s not sticking together well, add more dates.)
- Transfer the brownie mixture to a large bowl and combine with the chopped pecans.
- Press into a lined cake pan or mold. (I use an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.) Place in your fridge or freezer until very cold. Cut and store in an airtight container.
Fix it! Plan Photos by: Bill Peterson Galleries