I am so excited about these cacao bars! One of my favorite cafés near us has a delicious cacao flax bar that tastes exactly like a brownie. My goal has become to replicate this fluffy brown pseudo-brownie for myself. So I found this recipe on Glowing Communications for “raw brownies” and thought I’d give it a shot. It’s a pretty simple recipe and the ingredients require no baking. While I have been downing these bars for a snack and dessert since I’ve made them, I will say that it does not make a fluffy brownie-quality cake, which is why I am calling it a “bar” instead of a “brownie.” Instead, it has almost a Power Bar, fudge-like consistency. But honestly, it is fine by me, because it is still delicious and also pretty healthy! The dates give it a sweet, cherry-like flavor on top of the cacao. If you want to be a little less healthy with these brownies, throw some chocolate chunks on top like I did for Adam. Yum!
I altered the original recipe I found based on what I had in my cupboards. Mainly, I replaced walnuts with cashews because Adam is somewhat allergic to walnuts (unfortunately). I also reduced the nut content from two cups to one cup because I am not a fan of super-nutty brownies. If you love that nutty taste in your brownies, though, go crazy and double the nuts!
What is great about these “brownies” is that they are totally customizable based on their toppings. As you can see below, I created rows of different bars with different toppings. I topped one set with dried cherries, one with chocolate chunks, and kept one plain. You can even roll them into balls for a quick no-bake chocolate ball to go! With a snack like this to give me an afternoon pick-me-up without the sugar crash later on, I will definitely be making these again.
- 1 cup cashews, walnuts or other nuts
- 1 cup raw cacao powder (or ground down cacao nibs)
- 1.5 cups pitted dates (about 14)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 vanilla beans)
- Topping Ideas: cacao nibs, chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts or nut butter
- Line an 8×8 pan with wax paper.
- Pit ~14 dates, placing dates in a small bowl and throwing pits in the trash.
- Combine everything in the food processor except the dates.
- While food processor is running, drop dates into chute one at a time.
- After it is all combined, take mixture and spread it into the pan. It should be a chunky quality – take your hands and spread it evenly throughout the pan.
- Take the toppings of your choice and push them into the tops of the brownies. If you’re using a nut butter, like almond butter, spread it on top.
- Refrigerate or freeze until cooled and ready to cut and enjoy!