Saturday, 20 July 2013

the recipe for my double- trouble (raw, vegan) brownie

Everybody has a weakness. A vice. A guilty pleasure.

What's yours?

Are you the type of person who insists on having a bit of chocolate every day? Or the sort who won't get out of bed until you've had your morning coffee? Perhaps you're the sort who can never say no to a glass of South Australian red.

Whatever your vice, you can keep it - as long as you let me keep mine.

I simply cannot imagine my life without raw, vegan cake. (Or my boyfriend - baby, I can't imagine my life without you either.)

This cake in particular has been the (most recent) subject of my affection. I threw it together one Sunday morning as a birthday cake for my beautiful friend, Louise. That was only two weeks ago. I've made it another six times since.

The fact that people have tried it and then exclaimed (in a sensual, throaty voice and with their eyes closed), "Mandy, this can't possibly be healthy. It can't be. It's orgasmic!" should give you an idea of how good this cake is.

But it isn't all just pretty looks and tasty tastes.

(Did that even make sense?)

This raw, vegan cake is also -

  • gluten free
  • dairy free
  • preservative free,
  • (refined) sugar free, and
  • full of plant- based carbohydrates, good fats, protein and antioxidants.

I prefer to use organic ingredients to up the ante even more.

It takes only 20 minutes to whack together, requires no cooking, and is a definite crowd pleaser.

If you are allergic to nuts, you can substitute the walnuts and cashews for seeds instead. I've used pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in my example below. However -
  • seeds are much smaller in size than walnuts or cashews
  • when measuring out 1 cup of seeds, there will be fewer gaps between the seeds than when measuring out 1 cup of nuts
  • as a result, 1 cup of seeds, when blended, will yield more 'flour' than 1 cup of nuts
  • this means you will need more of the wet binding material (i.e. medjool dates and / or rice malt syrup) to achieve the desired sticky consistency of brownie 'batter'
When working with dates, I prefer to use fresh medjool dates over dried ones. However, they are more expensive, so dried dates are okay in a pinch - just make sure you soften them in a small amount of water prior to use. I store my medjool dates in the fridge and let them soften at room temperature before I use them in my cooking.

So, any last questions before I dive into my raw, vegan brownie?
Yes, of course you can thank me later. Enjoy!

my double- trouble (raw, vegan) brownie

serves 1 (just me)
(just kidding, it serves many) (but nobody will want to share it)

the brownie made with nuts -

the brownie made with seeds -

for the (bottom) walnut brownie layer
  • 1 cup organic, raw (unsalted) walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh, organic medjool dates (halved and pitted)
  • 4 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp organic raw cacao nibs
  • 4 tbsp finely dessicated, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp organic rice malt syrup (or coconut nectar, maple syrup, honey or agave syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp organic Himalayan sea salt
for the (top) acai cashew layer
  • 1 cup organic, raw (unsalted) cashews
  • 1 cup fresh, organic medjool dates (halved and pitted)
  • 3 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp organic acai powder
  • 4 tbsp finely dessicated, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp organic rice malt syrup (or coconut nectar, maple syrup, honey or agave syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp organic Himalayan sea salt

Line a round, springform cake tin with non- stick baking powder.

Place the walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and process until a fine flour forms - it should only take 30 seconds or so.

Place the dates into the bowl of the food processor with the walnuts and process until the mixture is sticky and well- combined.

Add the remaining ingredients and process again until the mixture is thoroughly combined and sticky. It should stick together if you pinch it between two fingers, but should not be so sticky that it has formed one huge ball of brownie 'dough' inside the food processor. If it is too sticky, remove it from the bowl and process some more walnut (to create more 'flour') before combining the two again. If it is too dry, gradually add more medjool dates until the desired consistency is achieved.

When the 'batter' is ready, empty the contents of the food processor into the lined cake tin and press it down firmly with the palm of your hand. Depending on how sticky the mixture is, it might be easier to just dump it all into the cake tin, refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes, and then press it down firmly (this makes it less sticky, and easier to work with). Use the back of a metal spoon to press the edges on the brownie 'batter' down, and drag it firmly along the surface of the 'batter' to help smooth the surface.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes while you prepare the top layer.

Repeat the above steps with the cashews, dates, and remaining ingredients.

When the acai cashew brownie 'batter' is ready, remove the cake tin from the refrigerator, empty the contents of the food processor over the walnut brownie layer, and press it down firmly.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

Please note - if using seeds instead of nuts (I used pumpkin seeds for the bottom layer, and sunflower seeds for the top layer), you will need an additional 1/4 - 1/2 cup of medjool dates per layer (depending on the size of the dates) to compensate for the additional 'flour' created by the seeds. I also found that using seeds makes the layers a little more difficult to see - but it still tastes really wonderful!

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