September 1, 2015

A year ago, if you’d told me I’d be making raw desserts and loving them, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

But here we are, and here I am telling you that this weekend I made raw chocolate-orange brownies and they were so good. 

The recipe–which comes from Ella Woodward’s genius site–had me at the words “chocolate” and “orange.” I’m a sucker for that flavor combination; one of the best desserts I’ve ever made–this chocolate-orange pound cake–features it prominently. And when I saw how easy these brownies are to make–you just throw everything into a food processor–I immediately began collecting my ingredients.

Here’s the basic method (exact recipe follows): Pulse some almonds in your food processor until they form a coarse meal. Then add dates, cacao powder (not cocoa), maple syrup and a lot of orange zest and pulse to combine. You’ll be left with a thick, sticky dough that you press into a brownie tin.

Then comes the frosting, which is comprised of almond butter, coconut oil, orange juice and zest, cacao powder and maple syrup, honey or date syrup (they’re basically interchangeable; I ran out of maple syrup and used honey instead and it was fine).  Blitz the mixture in your food processor, spread it over the brownie dough and then let the pan chill in the fridge for a few hours. Then top the whole thing with more orange zest and some flaky salt, cut into squares and see if you’re a better human than I and can eat just one. The flavor is so chocolatey and concentrated–and the texture so much like a fudgy brownie–that you’ll have a hard time convincing people you serve them to that there is literally nothing bad for you in these. (Highest praise: Rob keeps going back for them, which is amazing considering I don’t think he’s ever eaten a medjool date in his life before this year.)

A few notes: 1. You really need a food processor for this, there’s no way around it. 2. Make sure to use cacao powder, not regular cocoa powder, which you can find at Whole Foods and other health food stores. And 3. This doesn’t make a huge amount of dough, but like I said, the flavor is so rich and concentrated that it doesn’t really matter–just don’t be surprised when the dough doesn’t fill up a regular-sized brownie tin.

Whew! Are you ready for the recipe? Here it is–and FYI, I’ve converted it from grams to cups and these ratios worked perfectly for me. Happy raw baking!

Raw Chocolate-Orange Brownies
Adapted just slightly from this recipe


1 cup raw almonds (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
7 Tbsp. cacao powder
3/4 cup medjool dates (make sure to use medjool, as they’re softer and stickier than other varieties)
1/3 cup maple syrup
Zest of two oranges


1/3 cup almond butter (again, I get mine–the raw, creamy version–at Trader Joe’s)
2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 1/4 Tbsp. maple syrup (or date syrup, or honey)
2 Tbsp. cacao powder
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice (I used the juice of half an orange, plus a little extra)

Orange zest and flaky salt (such as Maldon), for garnish

Pulse 1 cup of almonds in your food processor until the almonds form a coarse meal. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and mix well. Remove dough from food processor (it will be sticky) and press into a small baking pan.

For the frosting: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined. Spread frosting over brownie dough, then let the whole thing set in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Add orange zest and flaky salt for garnish, cut into squares and serve.

P.S. More recipes right this way. 

P.P.S. Happy September!

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