Alright, I'll be frank - these are not brownies. The original recipe I used said they were brownies, but they are totally not brownies. I got the recipe here from Living Nutrition. They are paleo, vegan, refined-sugar free, and full of heart healthy fats and fiber. They are also raw. I am none of these things. I refuse to label myself by any certain food group. What attracted me to these...bars, we'll call them...are the ingredients and the fact that they just looked really yummy! First, they are very un-processed. They use minimal ingredients, and good clean ingredients. They also pose a great opportunity for getting good things into my toddler with the lure of chocolate and gooey-ness.
These bars would have been easy if I had a better food processor. As it is, my processor really got a workout and I ended up having to put in a little elbow grease and extra dishes. So if you are going to make these - make sure your food processor is in excellent condition. They still came out super good, but making them again is questionable just because I don't think my processor could handle it again. It is almost dead as it is.
The ingredients for the bars are pure and simple - walnuts, dates, coca, and a little sea salt. The original recipe also called for stevia but I just skipped that. Even though it is an all-natural sweetener, I think it gives things a kind of funny taste. Plus, a lot of things are natural, like alcohol and marijuana - that doesn't mean they should be consumed by my children in high concentrations. (I am totally for the legalization of marijuana by the way - but that is a topic for another time). Dates are pretty sweet, in my opinion, and I really don't think these need to be any sweeter. I would probably add honey if I really thought they weren't sweet enough. They kind of remind me of those lara bars or raw food bars you find at health food stores. I love those, so I knew no matter what I'd love these. the frosting has good ingredients as well: cocoa, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla.
This was my food processor trying so hard to grind up the walnuts and dates. I ended up moving them to another bowl and tried it in batches, but my processor was done. It had enough. So I had some chunks of dates in my bars. We are living with it.
The mixture pressed into a pan with waxed paper to help with removal.
And the frosting added. It gives it a brownie look and effect for sure. They still aren't brownies.
The true test - success! Love getting good things into this kid in a fun way!
They do resemble brownies, I guess. You can tell they are made with fruit and nuts though. Brownies have butter and are baked. The bottom line is, these are good - really good. And filling!! They are really packed with fiber and nutrients. I love that.
Being that it is the middle of summer - it is hot. My coconut oil is no longer solid at room temp, because room temp is about 76-80 degrees in my kitchen. So these need to be kept in the refridgerator so that the frosting doesn't melt all over the place. They are better cold anyway!
Chocolate Ooey-gooey Fruit and Nut Bars
4 cups whole walnuts
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
12 oz dates - fresh are best but dried are OK too, just use a little less and maybe add a little water
Process the walnuts in a food processor that likes a challenge. Add the cocoa powder and blend until combined. Add in the salt, and then the dates a little at a time. You should feed them in slowly. Press this mixture into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish lined with waxed paper.
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple strup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt coconut oil in a pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well, and pour on top of brownies. Refrigerate until set. Cut into brownies about a square inch in size. They are dense :).