A better way to eat a brownie

A better way to eat a brownie

I have to be honest, the texture of some raw/vegan desserts makes my skin crawl. I know that they are better for me and my ass won’t jiggle quite as much when I consume them but the mind over matter thing just doesn’t work. Take my last vegan/raw brownie recipe, it was actually quite good but the texture of the top made me feel weird inside so I went in search of a better raw brownie. This is also why I don’t eat the following: jello, avocados, beef jerky and seafood of any kind. I have these mental barriers that I just can’t seem to overcome. And according to a lecture I watched today, your 20’s happens to be where it all goes down, all your opinions are formed in this decade. So if, approaching thirty (insert whiny face here) I can’t stomach seafood, it’s probably never going to happen for me. Anyways, I was surfing the great land of Pinterest the other night, where I am convinced most recipes go to die (green bell pepper stuffed with roast beef and then covered with american cheese and baked, ewwwwwww), when I stumbled upon this little gem. It led me to a site I am quite familiar with and happen to love love love: My New Roots. This lady gets it, food should be good and good for you. Labels are not necessary. And just because you are going healthy doesn’t mean you should feel like crying in the corner. My last vegan/raw brownie made me want to hit someone in the face. Reading the recipe, I was unsure, but I have tremendous faith in the author of this fabulous blog and her pictures looked amazing so I decided to give it a go in my kitchen.

It really is simple, you will need the following: Medjool dates (this will cost you anywhere from $9-$14 bucks, get over it, they’re worth it), walnuts, almonds, raw cocoa powder and sea salt. A food processor is also a must as there is no way any blender (not even my trusty Vitamix) can handle this business. Don’t skimp on ingredients, if you use some creepy regular grade cocoa powder, it will be obvious and then no one will want any part of these. I gave my almonds a nice little toast, as well as the walnuts, because my nuts don’t like to go naked, they like a little flavor. But to keep the brownies truly raw, don’t be doing any of that.

You start with the walnuts, pulsing them until they are fine. Then you add the silky raw cocoa powder  and the sea salt to the walnuts and give it a little additional pulse.

Then it’s merely dropping the dates in one by one until the mixture starts to come together. From there, I lined a square pan with parchment paper and threw the mixture right on in there. Then, I pulsed my almonds gently in the food processor (nope, didn’t even wash it) and then I combined the almonds with the date/chocolate mixture with my fingers. Once they were happy together, I pressed it all into my pan.

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After a nice deep freeze, I took them out, anxious to cut into them and see what they actually taste like. The texture is amazing. When you cut them, they look like real brownies. Which for me is just wonderful. It gets me excited. Deeply excited. But then I took a bite and was completely amazed. These really are good. Like really really good. They taste like a deeply rich, decadent, brownie. I think I just heard angels singing.

I’m telling you all, go and give these a whirl. They take zero time at all and they taste magical. Without the guilt.

The Raw Brownie, courtesy of My New Roots

Ingredients:
2 cups whole walnuts
2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cacao
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
¼ tsp. sea salt

Directions:
1. Place walnuts in food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground.
2. Add the cacao and salt. Pulse to combine.
3. Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).
4. In a large bowl (or the pan you plan on putting the brownies in), combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds. Press into a lined cake pan or mold. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve (it is also easier to cut these when they are very cold). Store in an airtight container.

Banana+Date Muffins

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So yesterday began with me having a “Gwenyth Paltrow” panick attack moments after looking at my calender for the months of May and June. If you are wondering what a “Gwenyth Paltrow” panic attack looks like, just envision the dumbest, most trivial problem you can conjure in your brain, roll around on the floor a little bit, kick your feet, and then proceed to whine loudly with no one around. That would be the jist of it. I purchased Gwennie’s new cookbook as soon as I started reading the reviews about it, because almost like a car crash, I just had to take a look. The introduction was as ridiculous as I had imagined. It was Gwennie describing what led her to this elimination diet as well as detailing some of her rich girl problems. Her theories are interesting for sure and they absolutely gave me a deep chuckle. However, once you peel back some of the layers of stupid, there do lye some decent recipes. And she does have some unique ways of slapping ingredients together. After having my absolutely dumb mini panic attack yesterday I decided I couldn’t quite give up: shellfish, tomatoes, red peppers, gluten, diary and the whole world basically, which Gwenyth swears will solve all your life problems but I thought, hey, maybe I’ll whip up some of these muffins. From there, I will encompass a little bit of Gwennie and the world will return to normalcy. So, I went to the market that sells everything she swears by, dropped a boat load of money, including a $14.95 bag of spelt flour, realized I was now poor and headed home to give these boys a go. They are extremely easy to whip up for sure and I was stunned by how normal they baked up, considering how much the batter freaked me out: olive oil in a muffin????? I was highly skeptical. But all was well in the world and out popped 12 muffins that not only looked like muffins but tasted pretty delicious. (for a healthy muffin)

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I’ve decided not to think about my calender again, as it may prompt me to do something completely retarded, like use Gwennie’s elimination diet to calm my nerves down. I’m just going to embrace where my life is right now and move on. I have always had a tendancy to overbook, double book and then completely fuck things up when I lose track of all my balls. At this point, I should have invested in a day planner or at least attempted to use the calender on my iphone but honestly, I kind of like that I’m a little sketchy with the schedule. Keeps me on my toes. Once I get through June, it’s smooth sailing for awhile. Until, of course, I dive into the million weddings I will be attending in the next year. God, I miss my single friends.

Anyways, if you are currently rolling around on the floor like a dog, panting wildly and feeling flustered, go make these muffins. Gwenyth says so.

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BANANA DATE MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon of spelt flour (her recipe calls for this if you can tolerate gluten but gluten free flour if you can’t)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed up
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cups maple syrup (use the good stuff people)
8-10 dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and then mix together the spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk your mashed bananas, olive oil and maple syrup.
3. Toss your dates and pecans in the 1 tablespoon of spelt flour, so they don’t all sink to the bottom and ruin your day.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
5. Fold in the floured dates and pecans.
6. Place batter into a muffin tin with liners in each, fill to the top of each liner.
7. Cook for 25-27 minutes, watching closely towards the end, using a toothpick to ensure the muffins are done in the middle.

Vegan Low-Fat Chocolate Cake

VEGAN LOW-FAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

(Below is specified as made in a cake pan, however, I sometimes make these as cupcakes, use paper liners or butter & flour individually)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light or dark molasses
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, butter and flour a 6 inch round cake pan

2. In one bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, in a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Then combine.

3. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the cake springs back a smidge when lightly pressed with a fingertip in the middle.

4. Remove, let cool, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar prior to serving.