Double Dark Chocolate Cacao Chip Brownies with Coconut-Vanilla Icing

Some of the world’s best inventions are by accident.

Post-it notes. Popsicles. These brownies.

In cleaning out my kitchen for an upcoming move (more about which I will share soon), I’ve been emptying my cabinets and trying to creatively use all my ingredients. There were a few flops, a few recipe makeovers, and then there were these.

I tried to make some chocolate granola bars to bring road-trippin this week. But the granola bars were just too good. So good, I decided to slather them with icing, thus converting them from health-snack status to divine, decadent desserts.

Scrumptious, sweet, satiating, and shareable. Very, very shareable. So shareable I had to take them into work, and then bring them on my road trip to ensure all of my friends were able to sample these little delights, and couldn’t take proper pictures at home. So shareable that I had to share them with you.

Double Dark Chocolate Cacao Chip Brownies with Coconut-Vanilla Icing (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

For the brownies:

Ingredients:

Start by making date paste: In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates and 2 tbsp filtered water, adding more water and combining as long as needed to achieve a nutella-like consistency. (Optional: combine in this mixture 1 tbsp bee pollen. 1 tbsp sprouted flax, 1 tbsp hemp or chia seeds, 1 tbsp maca… it’s easy to sneak a few superfood goodies in here!) Date paste acts as a great fruit-based sweetener and binding agent, and if you make extra it can be saved in the fridge.

Leave the date paste in the food processor and then add:

1/2 cup cup walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1 cup oats (I used gluten-free)

3/4 cup cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the food processor until the “dough” starts clumping together and forming a large ball. Transfer out of food processor and press dough into a pyrex tray, flattening with hands.

For the vanilla frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut butter

1/4 cup agave or honey

2 tbsp vanilla

dash of sea salt

Directions:

Make a “double boiler” by placing coconut butter in a small bowl and placing the bowl of coconut butter in a tub of hot water. Stir the coconut butter to aid its melting—it should be pudding-like, not runny. Stir in the agave, vanilla and sea salt, and while the mixture is still hot spread evenly over the top of the brownie base. Sprinkle with cacao powder and store in the fridge so the coconut butter doesn’t melt. Mine made 20 small square brownies.

These are dense and quite filling which is why I highly suggest them for sharing! Or, if you want some bite-sized goodies for later, do the opposite—put the icing at the bottom of a shot glass and top with brownie base. Put in the fridge for a few hours and pop out of the glass with a knife when you are ready to eat—brownie thimbles!

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Rehab-Worthy Chocoholic Pie

I just had to make this after a friend posted a healthy chocolate mousse recipe on my wall the other day. I just kept dreaming of how perfect a pie it would make.

And then it suddenly struck that I had made an entire pie for no apparent reason.

Uh. Oh.

Good thing I have a larger-than-life boyfriend for a roommate. And a gym nearby.

In reality, though, this pie ain’t so bad for ya. The chocolate comes from raw cacao (in both powder and nib form), a certified superfood rich in antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium and iron (!). So for all those flexitarians worried about their iron consumption (myself included), a chocolate pie just may be included as a part of a balanced diet. (Take that, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod!) The fats in this recipe are from diversified and healthy sources—almonds, cashews, and the secret thickening ingredient, my beloved avocado (fun fact: I considered, for some time, naming this blog “Avocado Desperado.” In the end, it sounded too desperate.). And does it have refined sugar? Nope! Just got a few dates—kind of like my boyfriend’s favorite pick-up line. And no, I don’t have any raisins, either.

I realize now that I seem to have developed a penchant for posting snacks and desserts, particularly those involving chocolate. I swear, I do eat real food for most of the time. The cocoa-drenched aspects of my diet are just that much more interesting.

Like this.

No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie (raw, vegan, no refined/added sugar, gluten-free, soy-free)

For the crust… (nut/date/coconut template from CCK)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked and rinsed (enhances digestability)

1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked and rinsed (makes them softer)

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

pinch of salt

Directions:

Process all ingredients in food processor—mixture should form clumps and stick together. Transfer into pie tin, press down with fingertips and refrigerate while you work on the delicious, chocolatey filling…

For the double chocolate filling (adapted from Dr. Oz)

Ingredients:

12 dates, soaked and rinsed

1 avocado, pitted

1/2 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3-4 tbsp filtered water

1/3 cup cacao nibs + additional for topping

Directions:

Process all ingredients up to cacao powder in food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth, adding in water through the mouth as needed. Stir in cacao nibs. Pour mixture into pie crust and spread flat, sprinkling with cacao nibs if desired. Return to fridge to firm up for at least two hours.

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Hope you enjoy this extreme chocolate recipe, and also that you have been liking the new blog overhaul so far! Please feel free to comment with any questions, suggestions or general comments—I do value each individual piece of feedback! I’ve got a few more goodies on the go—have a happy holiday weekend (you Canadians!), and see you soon after! xx

When Snack Attacks: Banana Cacao Crisps

Well it was a bit of whirlwind weekend, what with a 22-hour trip to Phoenix, AZ to see the screening of a a documentary featuring my volleyball team’s philanthropic trip to Mexico this past December. It was a wow-worthy evening, worth the trip indeed, and I am sure to share the film when it is posted up online (soon!).

And with more than a few hours in transit, I’ve been on a bit of a snacking kick—and I’ve got a new favourite. I can’t wait for you guys to try these, they’re pretty much genius and are going to be added to my must-have-in-pantry-at-all-times-and-maybe-extra list. What, you don’t have one of those?

I first saw Julia on my strange addiction, Dragon’s Den pitching these raw, vegan crackers she’d made to pack in her bag while jaunting around to school at the IHN (where I still want to go!), to practices, and workouts. I was impressed when she won the Dragons over, and even more impressed when I tried my mom came and splurged on an eight dollar package of these treats for me. They’re amazing, and I wish I could afford to purchase them and support her growing business, but they’re a bit out of my budget. Which obviously means I needed to dissect them immediately.

When I recreated them at home, I tried to bring a few for my ma this weekend to evaluate. Unfortunately, they didn’t survive the plane ride… though I have no idea how.

Seriously. Make these.

Banana Cacao Crisps (raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

Inspired by Nudfud‘s Cacao Energy

Ingredients:

4 bananas, ripe

1/2 cup sesame seeds (optional to soak for 30 minutes prior for enhanced digestibility)

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (preferably organic and unsulphured)

1/4 cup cacao powder

Directions:

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until combined (if you don’t have one, you could probably get away with mashing the bananas up with a potato masher or hands first, then mixing in the rest of the goodies). Spread on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and place in dehydrator or oven on lowest setting, or oven with door propped open a bit and dehydrate for 12 hours, scraping off and transferring, flipped, to a new sheet of parchment paper halfway through. (Alternatively, you could bake in the oven at 350 F until they’re crispy, but you will lose some of the nutritional quality at that heat.) Cut or break into desired size and store in a ziploc with some paper towel to absorb moisture.

Keep in purse/backpack/pocket for maximum all-the-time snacking. Alternatively, spread with some almond or coconut butter, use as a granola enhancer, or make a ridiculous dessert sandwich with some raw chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella IRL) and bananas. Okay, excuse me, I need to run to the kitchen NOW…