In a mad fit of domestic bliss, I felt like making brownies today. Yay!
But we don't have an oven.
Unless you think this counts...
Technically this makes me no more handicapped than people like my friend Stacey who keeps sweaters in her oven.
I find it ironic that the one and only commonality she shares with Carrie Bradshaw is the quintessentially definitive trait of a character who, if she existed on any level of reality, would in all certainty be her nemesis. Well, that and I'm pretty sure that if ever either of them were ever afflicted with a rabid craving for brownies, they would satisfy theirs at the nearest overpriced coffee shop.
Sadly, this is not an option for me.
I've recently discovered (at at most inopportune moment of Stage One Chai Withdrawl) that the only two, TWO, Starbucks that exist in all of Holland are at the airport and Nike headquarters. And God only knows what's in a brownie at a Dutch "coffee shop".
Actually, I'm pretty sure Stace knows as well.
In my despair, I turned to Jennfier at Sweet on Veg. Her adorable website always puts me in a good mood and I desperately needed a good shot of bliss. As if by divine intervention, I spotted a yummalicious recipe for Katrine Volynsky's raw vegan brownies which, Hallelujah and Aaaay-men, don't need baking.
Behold! Salvation is close at hand.
No-Bake Vegan Brownies (a.k.a. bRAWnies)
Makes 4-6 servings*
Time: 30 minutes
1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup plump raisins (make sure they're fresh - if they're dry they won't stick)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw chocolate powder or finally ground cacao beans
1/2 teaspoon coconut butter*
1 teaspoon grated raw cacao butter*
* if you don't have these handy, Nutella or any nut butter (peanut, almond, etc) will work fabulously
Guilt-Free Lemon Date Frosting
1/2 cup lemon juice (I use 2-3 fresh lemons but the bottled stuff works in a pinch)
1/2 cup soaked dates
*FYI - these quantities will not yield Starbucks-super-sized squares so if that's what you're looking for, you might want to double the batch. In a glass baking pan of 18x26cm (7x10in) they end up being about 2cm (1in) thick, which is actually fine because they're really dense.
Anyway, moving on...
Soak the dates for at least 30 minutes. For those of us who aren't accustomed to raw food preps, that means stick 'em in a bowl of water.
Next, process walnuts, raisins, chocolate powder, and raw cacao butter (or Nutella) in a food processor. This will yield a gravel-like crumble of nutty chocolate bliss. Resist the urge to start taste-testing.
Now, add the add vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut butter and blend until batter forms into a ball. The first time I made these I ended up with a big bunch of nutty chocolate gravel that bore no resemblance whatsoever to a ball. Turns out the raisins were too dry. If this happens to you as well, you can try adding a little more maple syrup to bind it all together. Or add more Nutella. Nutella fixes everything.
Either way, spread the batter into a glass pan about 1 inch high. If you end up with a pan full of gravel like I did, just spread it evenly and start at one end to mash it down into an even layer until it looks solid and somewhat cuttable.
Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Once the dates are gorgeously mushy, blend them with the lemon juice until it's all smooth and creamy.
I swear this is the yummiest icing I've ever tasted and it's only got two ingredients - both of which are fruit. Crazy good and good for you. Super score.
Supposedly these guys will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days. This I cannot attest to. They barely lasted 5 minutes in our house.
If you'd like to see what these are supposed to look like, you can take a peek here.