I’ve never been one to feel guilty about eating unconventional breakfasts. Cold pizza, cold Chinese takeout, cold remnants from the prior evening’s grilling adventures (I thoroughly enjoy leftovers).
And now – brownies.
Although, with this healthy spin on dessert, there’s no need to feel guilty at all about eating a brownie or two for breakfast.
My parents’ hobby this past year has been Clean Eating challenges, which all started with Buzzfeed’s Clean Eating Two Week Challenge after the New Year. They’re a pair of clean eating, gluten-free fanatics maintaining a 20 lb weight loss. Instead of a York Peppermint Patty/Gum Drop filled candy bowl, raw, gluten-free, vegan brownies are now a household staple to satisfy sweet tooths.
It was my parents who introduced me to raw gluten-free vegan brownies and not the other way around. (The students have become the teachers – yaasss queen).
The version my parents prepared over Easter featured cinnamon and almonds, a delicious combination for sure.
When I recreated my own version, I used spice and nut more my speed.
I adore the spicy kick of cardamom and how its robust flavor and aroma always remind me of fall.
Cardamom adds such depth of flavor to just about anything. Beets, cardamom, and chocolate? Hell yes.
Naturally, dates, cardamom, and chocolate would be another dizzyingly delightful combination.
The base of these gluten-free vegan brownies is walnuts, dates, and cocoa powder.
Not just any dates – Medjool dates – the “King of Dates.” Soft, luscious, caramel flavored bites of bliss.
Not just any cocoa powder – but rich, Dutch-process high-quality cocoa powder made by Rodelle.
For another layer of rich chocolate flavor (because you can’t have too many layers of chocolate flavor), add a teaspoon of chocolate extract.
These three simple ingredients come together to form a brownie-like batter, one that’s moist and easily moldable.
After folding in finely chopped unsalted pistachios, the batter is evenly pressed into a small wax paper lined dish.
Chilled until firm, the result is an incredibly rich chocolatey treat on the healthier side without eggs, butter, refined sugar, flour, and oil.
With a hint of sweet spicy cardamom and creamy crunchy pistachios, these raw gluten-free vegan brownies are a delicious treat for any time of day.
- 1 cup unsalted walnut pieces (or halves)
- 12 Medjool dates, pitted
- ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (highly recommend Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup +1 tbsp unsalted pistachios, finely chopped and divided
- 1 tsp chocolate extract (highly recommend Rodelle)
- sprinkle ground cardamom, for garnish
- Line the bottom of a small, square rimmed baking dish with wax paper. Set aside.
- Place walnut pieces in a bowl of a food processor. Run until a fine meal forms.
- Add the cocoa powder and salt to the walnut mixture. Pulse food processor a few times until ingredients come together.
- With the food processor running, add the pitted dates one at a time. Add the chocolate extract and pulse a few more times until a brownie-like batter forms (it's okay if a little crumbly, it will come together in the dish).
- Scoop the brownie batter into a mixing bowl. Fold in ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios then place brownie batter into the bottom of the wax-lined dish.
- With your hands or a spatula, press the batter evenly into desired thickness (the batter does not have to fill all four corners of your dish). Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of chopped pistachios evenly over top as well as a dusting of ground cardamom.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.