This past week, Tim and I did sort of a cleanse, wherein we ate a mostly raw diet: fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, raw dairy, and dried fruit.
It was interesting. First of all, it wasn’t hard, at least not in the way typical cleanses are. I wasn’t starving, I didn’t get major detox reactions, there was no need to summon all my willpower not to eat a cookie.
A couple times, one of us would say to the other, “Doesn’t a taco sound good?” But for the most part, we felt like there was so much we still could eat:
A bowl of juicy grapefruit; fresh pomegranate arils sprinkled with flax seeds and coconut; caprese salad (tomatoes, raw mozzarella, and fresh basil); morning smoothies; giant green salads; frozen fruit mixed with nuts in raw milk; homemade pecan nut butter on celery sticks — all along with our soup and roasted vegetables.
So, as you can imagine, we were quite full and satisfied.
Also, it was really, well, cleansing, just as we hoped it would be. The week made us feel good — really good — from our skin to our digestion to our energy levels. After the holidays, I had been fighting a little bit of a sore throat/cold/infection, the first one since I changed my diet in 2009.
This cleanse week killed it, knocked it right out of me.
But there’s something else that has been especially fascinating, something I didn’t expect or plan for: this week has started to open my eyes to the world of raw eating in a bigger way.
It’s really something. You know, there are raw restaurants, raw blogs, raw cookbooks.
And it’s not like you just eat an apple and a carrot and call it a day, either. There are crazy inventive raw recipes available for things like raw donuts, raw cookies, and delicious chocolate avocado pudding, for example.
I mean, have you ever had a raw brownie before? This was an idea that had never before occurred, let alone appealed, to me.
And I know they say, when you remove something from your diet for a little while – such as refined sugar, for example – that your tastes change. So I know it’s possible that these brownies won’t seem sweet enough to satisfy the average palate, or chocolatey enough compared to the typical brownie.
But to me, they were amazing, enough to make me wonder why I’ve trained my brain to think I need things sweeter than they have to be. I loved them.
I made them twice. And both times, when I saw the simple combination of dates, walnuts, and cocoa powder make a brownie, and the ability of half an avocado with honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon, along with just a pinch of salt, to create a velvety chocolate frosting, I marveled at it.
It’s the same feeling I’ve had looking at a piece of segmented grapefruit or the inside of a pomegranate: what amazing foods we’ve been given. It’s good to celebrate them.
This recipe makes one loaf pan of brownies, or 10 mini brownies bites.
Just for a bit of bonus info, this utilizes all whole foods that bring all kinds of nutritional benefits. Walnuts are high in omega-3s, known to control inflammation. Dates are not only an excellent source of fiber but also B vitamins. There are rich antioxidants in cocoa powder and honey, and the avocado is one of those really amazing sources of good monounsaturated fat, shown to be easily burned by the body for energy.Print
These delicious brownies are made from whole, raw ingredients with a simple combination of dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and a few other tasty additions.
For the Brownie Layer:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 9)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 5 tablespoons raw honey (you can adjust to taste)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- a hefty dash of cinnamon
- a tiny pinch of salt
To Make the Brownies:
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, with extra paper hanging off the sides so you can lift it out like a sling when the brownies are done.
- Combine walnuts, dates and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like clumpy dirt or potting soil.
- Pat this mixture into a compact layer in the bottom of your prepared loaf pan.
To Make the Frosting:
- Combine avocado, honey, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor* and blend until smooth. Spread mixture over the brownie layer in the loaf pan, creating an even layer on top.
- Freeze the loaf pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove parchment from loaf pan, lifting the brownies out in one big piece.
- Slice and serve. Note the brownies will be slightly crumbly, so they are best eaten with a spoon or fork.
I didn’t wash out the food processor between the brownie and frosting layers. No need!
- Category: Vegan
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: Raw, Chocolate, Brownie, vegan
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.