The Everyone-Can-Eat-It Brownie

No matter how healthy my eating habits, I have one big weakness: sweets. Put a giant bowl of mac and cheese in front of me and I’ll be able to stop eating after a few bites. Make it a big piece of cake or a pint of ice cream or a slice of warm pie and I make no promises.

I used to take down full-size ice cream sundaes at the age of two. They were from a local ice cream parlor called Betsy Ross, where the sundaes came topped with tiny paper American flags. I saved these, like a serial killer collecting trophies. I am a sweets killer. I show no mercy.

Needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for healthy-ish snacks that will satisfy my post-dinner sweets craving. Fresh fruit, dates, chocolate-covered dried cranberries, almonds and dried apples are the usual suspects. But as much as these snacks quiet the sweets monster, none are real desserts, not like a flourless chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream or a salted caramel tart.

But you know what is a real dessert? A brownie. What is special about this particular brownie is what isn’t in it — it’s vegan, gluten-free and raw — and the fact that it tastes rich and decadent, like a real dessert should.

Raw pulverized walnuts and raw cacao powder take the place of the usual flour, butter and melted chocolate, while dates add sweetness and a fudgy texture. I didn’t strictly make mine raw — I toasted the almonds in the oven! call the Raw Police! — but I was surprised by the nutritional difference between raw and regular cacao powder. The latter has significantly more fiber, iron and magnesium. It also costs a lot more, so feel free to use any good-quality cocoa powder; the brownies will still taste good.

I made these particular brownies for a Paleo dinner party for my gym (happy one-year anniversary, CrossFit 323!), so these are also Paleo-friendly. I was told later that certain guests were found hiding outside with the platter at the end of the party, scarfing down the remaining brownies. Doesn’t that sound like a real dessert to you?

Get the recipe: The Raw Brownie at My New Roots

I also wrote a brief review of this recipe on The Kitchn. That’s how good it is — two write-ups in one week!



  1. #
    June Blickenstaff — March 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    The sweet tooth is genetic! You share that DNA marker with your grandpa.

  2. #
    Jay — March 29, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I’m so glad brownies are now considered “greens”! I fully endorse the classification.

  3. #
    Sarah — March 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Normally I wouldn’t believe this til I tried it, but I’ll take your word 🙂 It’s not that I don’t like any of these things; I’m just one of those people who thinks if you’re going to eat a brownie, _eat a brownie_. Does that make sense? If someone called them cocoa-nut-date bars, I would think it sounded perfect…

    • Anjali — March 29th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I hear you, Sarah — I’d much rather have a spoonful of really good ice cream than a bucket of (shudder) low-fat “ice cream.” But I wouldn’t feel good about eating even a small piece of my usual brownies every night, while these hit all the same fudgy-chocolate-bittersweet buttons and could be a daily treat. Feel free to call them cocoa-nut-date bars — they’ll still be good!

  4. #
    Teresa Harrison — February 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

    How can I sign up to get your recipes on a regular basis and how do
    we get the recipe for your brownies.
    Thank you and I love your site, I am going to try the lentils today!

  5. #
    Marol — February 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I just made a half batch of these!! So excited! They’re in the freezer now! So, when you store them in the freezer in anticipation of sweet cravings, do you need to defrost them before eating or can you eat them straight from the freezer…?

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