Raw Food Podcast 01: Brownies
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Hello, and welcome to the Raw Food Podcast. I’m your host, the Rawtarian, and on today’s podcast, I am going to be teaching you how to make raw food brownies using a food processor. Stay tuned, and we’ll be back with you shortly.
Thank you so much for joining me. It’s good to have you here on the Raw Food Podcast. This is episode 1, and I’m very excited to be launching this new concept with you so that I can give you little bit more information in a different format for those of you who enjoy commuting. Or maybe who don’t enjoy commuting, but perhaps do fun sort of commuting, or jogging, or doing all those kinds of things, even cleaning up your house! I know I do love to listen to podcasts when I’m cleaning my bathroom!
I’m a little bit excited to be here with you today! What I wanted to do is just start with a bang by giving you one of my most popular, most commented on, most forwarded, most loved recipes which is a very simple raw vegan brownie recipe, which is very easy to make and it uses a food processor. And because it is a completely raw uncooked recipe, it’s super quick to make because you don’t have to wait for it in the oven, so it can be a really great recipe to make. I know that in our household, sometimes we even race to try to make it during the time span of a commercial break. It’s not quite that fast, but it’s almost that quick; it’s very very quick.
So, first, I think what I’m going to do here is just to give you a quick rundown of the general ingredients that you need, as well as the general equipment that you’d need so if you have a massive nut allergy, well, you’ll know right now that this is not the recipe for you.
In a nutshell, we are looking at 6 different ingredients to make your raw vegan brownies. We’re looking at some nuts; I usually use pecans. We’re using dates, cocoa powder, unsweetened shredded coconut. Optionally, you can include some honey or agave nectar for an extra kick of sweetness, which might be something you want to consider if you are feeding this to very picky children. And the last ingredient is sea-salt. So those are the 6 ingredients that I’m going to be using. And the only piece of equipment that you need for this is going to be a food processor, and I can explain a little bit about that shortly. And then, lastly you’re going to need some kind of pan, a brownie pan. I usually use a glass 8 by 8 inches something like that. A square glass dish or a pie plate, you can use that; any kind of dish that you’re going to be able to push your brownie mixture down into so that it will hold its shape.
I might as well get started here with the actual ingredients, and what I like to do when I’m making a recipe is, I like to get everything out and put it on the kitchen table or kitchen counter right away, so that I know that I have all my ingredients, because there’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re sort of halfway through your recipe and you suddenly realize that you’re out of something and my flow will be interrupted. I’m kind of in the zone to make something, and I like to know right away that I have everything. We’re looking here for 1 cup of pecans. If you don’t have pecans, you could substitute walnuts in this recipe, but pecans give it the nicest, richest sort of best nutty flavor. But if you use walnuts, it will still come out really well because the consistency of using a pecan and a walnut is quite similar; they both sort of oily in a good way. You need those natural nut oils to help get this recipe to stay together. So I would recommend pecans, but if you have to use walnuts because that’s all you have, or because you find, like in my community, pecans are at least double the price of walnuts, you could try walnuts as well. So, 1 cup of nuts.
Secondarily, you’re going to need 1 cup of dates. As you may know, in the raw food community, the most popular and recommended dates are called medjool dates (I hope I’m pronouncing that correctly. I think I am.) and they’re actually found in your grocery store in the produce section. They are a fresh fruit basically, so you’re going to want to find those fresh dates. They do tend to have pits, and they’re kind of like a plum or a peach; they have their pit. So if you are going to use medjool dates, you will want to slice them up length-wise and just pop out that pit that’s inside the dates. For some people, Medjool dates can be perhaps too expensive, or you can’t find them, or you’re just in a rush and you don’t want to have to be bothered with popping up the pits and all that lovely stuff, so some people could certainly use what I call “baking” dates. They are not located in the produce aisle; they are located with the flour and the sugar and the chocolate chips in the baking aisle in the grocery store, so they usually come in a sack of some sort, and they are way cheaper than medjool dates. However, for all of you raw foods out there who are concerned about whether things are raw, generally rather, these baking dates are not considered truly raw because generally they are heated up in order to remove the pits; to soften them and remove the pits, so just bear that in mind. I have made them with both, and definitely using the baking dates is far cheaper and much quicker as well, but if you’re really concerned about having a living food recipe, you’ll want to use the medjool dates.
The next ingredient, the third ingredient, is cocoa powder. In this recipe, I call for 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
The next ingredient is unsweetened shredded coconut, and I’m calling for 4 tablespoons of that in this recipe. As I mentioned earlier, if you really want to have this super sweet brownie flavor, you could add up to 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar. However, bear in mind that dates are already naturally sweet, so you could try omitting the honey, especially if you know that you don’t need things to be super sweet. It will still be nice and sweet without it, so that’s 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar. I will jump in as well, there will be show notes at theratwtarian.com in the podcast section, where you can get this recipe all written out. I don’t want you to be madly trying to write these ingredients down, while you’re driving or anything like that!
So then, the sixth and the final ingredient is sea-salt, and that’s just a quarter teaspoon of sea-salt, and if you are new to the raw food lifestyle, you may not yet have sea-salt. It’s actually quite inexpensive and it lasts for a long time. I’m just going to suggest that you throw away your normal table-salt, the oxidized table-salt that we all probably grew up with. Just get rid of that and replace it with sea-salt. It’s not overly expensive, and it lasta for a long time. The flavor is better. And the nutrition is better as well. So that was a quarter teaspoon of salt.
So now, I’m hoping you got all your ingredients, or you will whenever you try to make this recipe. You’ve got all those ingredients and now it’s so simple, it’s just a matter of putting the recipe together, and that can happen very quickly.
In your food processor, I’m going to suggest you just add that 1 cup of pecans or nuts, and pulse that until you get a nice sort of “mealy” kind of texture where it’s all crumbly. You’re going to want the nuts to be reduced to quite small little tiny balls.
So then, after you have processed your pecans, you’re going to add the 1 cup of dates - and this is something I should mention, about the dates - if you’re going to use the nice lovely fresh medjool dates, those are the perfect texture because they usually still have quite a bit of moisture in them, because they are fresh fruits, and they’re still quite moist. If you are going to be using baker’s dates I’m calling them, so it’s those dry dates that are in the baking aisle, those can be a little bit harder depending on which brand you get, and how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf and all that kind of thing.
If they are super duper rock-hard, you may want to wrap them in a moist paper towel or something like that to make them a little bit more moist. You do not have to do that and, frankly, I do use baker’s dates and they’re really hard, and I don’t care; I just throw them into my food processor and I’m not really too worried about it. But it is something to consider, the moistness of your dates.
If this is the first time you are making this recipe, don’t even worry about it. Take the dates you have, throw them into your food processor. This is my “get-it-done” philosophy, but let’s not be too worried about it. But when you’re tweaking it next time, if you found that your brownies were a bit dry, maybe you want to play with that… Anyway, I should stop there about dates! So, you’ve added your 1 cup of dates to your food processor, and then you just process again. This can be sort of a violent procedure, because if you have really hard dates, they’re kind of flying around in there but the things will reduce and you don’t need these dates to become tiny. You want to process them until they are just little chunks of dates as opposed to one big date. So process them for quite a while, but you don’t need to make it sort of completely unrecognizable.
So you’ve done your pecans, now you’ve done your dates, and then you’re just going to add everything else into your food processor, so that’s the 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut, and then your honey if you want to add that little dash of salt - the quarter teaspoon. You might also want to note that when you’re putting your cocoa powder in there, put that in there, and maybe manually with your hand or spoon or something, just kind of bury it. Because I find if I left the cocoa powder sit right on top when it spins at the very beginning, the cocoa powder will kind of come flying out at the sides, so it’s a bit of a mess. So just try to bury that cocoa powder a little bit, before you turn the food processor on.
So now you’re going to just process the rest of your ingredients, until basically it just looks like brownie batter. It’s quite amazing when you take it, and add that cocoa and start to process it up. I haven’t given you times, so if you’re not familiar with how long to process things for, the pecans maybe for 30 seconds, the dates maybe 30 seconds, and then this last addition of these remaining 4 ingredients - like when you add in the cocoa powder, the coconut, the honey and the sea-salt- maybe you have another go for about 30 seconds, or maybe a little longer. You just kind of want to wait until that cocoa powder is completely distributed so the whole thing just looks like a beautiful chocolaty dough.
Once that’s done, that’s pretty much it, my friends! All you need to do is, usually depending on your food processor, you’ll pop that blade out of your food processor and set it aside to be washed a little bit later. Then, you’ll just take your brownie pan, and dump the processed mixture into your brownie pan. And, that’s it! So you’re going to dump it into the pan, and then with clean hands (so you should wash your hands), you’re just going to press the brownie mixture down into the pan with your hands. You can do that quite firmly. It’s kind of interesting, you’ll notice that we didn’t add any oil into the mixture, but you’ll find - depending on your nuts especially - that the mixture is actually really quite oily which is kind of neat. It’s just the oils that are released from pecans. So you’re going to push that down really firmly, and it’s going to look like normal brownies. That’s the goal that you’re going for.
I have, I can’t remember how many, there’s like about 80 comments on my recipe post on my website at therawtarian.com. But somebody recently commented that their mixture was not really holding together very well, and I think that if that ever does happen, like you push it down into the pan and it seems still really crumbly… First of all, I would say push it down as best as you can. Pop that in the fridge for an hour or two, and then see how it’s set up in the fridge. But if you’re making it, and you found that it didn’t really ever set up and it’s still always hard to cut, and you’re not very impressed with it, I think the problem is going to be predominantly a lack of moisture that was the problem, so that could be that your dates were super hard or your pecans were like really old and dried out. It didn’t have a lot of those natural oils, so this is kind of troubleshooting at this point. Normally that doesn’t happen, but I’ve had a couple of people mention that to me, but that doesn’t ever tend to happen to me. Usually, the consistency’s pretty perfect.
So you’ve pushed your brownie mixture down into your pan, and then if you’re probably eager, like me, you can certainly cut a couple of slices off and eat those right away. They’re not going to be as firm as they would be after they have been in the fridge for an hour, so you might find it a little bit crumbly, those first couple of pieces that you snack on right away. But when you put it in the fridge it usually firms up quite a bit. So that’s all it takes.
I think I’ve probably taken about 10 or 15 minutes to explain it you, and that’s practically as long as it takes to make, so in the time you’ve listened to this, you probably could have been making brownies instead! The recipe for this is at The Rawtarian. I’ll put up the show notes there, and just click on podcasts and you’ll find it. This is episode 1, and that’s basically it!
As I’ve mentioned, or maybe I didn’t mention, that I also have a fabulous brownie icing recipe, and I’ll post up the notes to it as well. Whereas the brownie mixture that I just spoke about was made in a food processor, the icing recipe, you need a good blender, so that would be something you could consider if you have a good blender, and you want to add another delicious layer on top of the brownies, which would be like a chocolaty icing. There’s a recipe for that on my site, and the gist of that recipe is dates, water, cocoa powder and coconut oil, as well. And that coconut oil is extremely mandatory for that recipe, because what the coconut oil does is it hardens when you put it in the fridge, so the icing mixture is a little bit runnier when you take it out and pour it on top of the brownies. However, it will set up quite nicely. It doesn’t become hard, but it sets up perfectly on top of the brownies and we just love that recipe. And it’s so interesting because you don’t actually need any additional sweetener for that recipe! The icing recipe, like I said, it’s dates, water, cocoa powder, and coconut oil - and just those 4 ingredients, it tastes so fabulous. It’s like a chocolaty, fudgy, lick-it-with-your-finger when no one’s watching. Like remember when you were a kid, your parents would make chocolate icing if you were lucky enough to have a type of parent to do that, and you would lick the “beaters.” I just remember being a kid and having the chocolate icing off the spoon and being in heaven and this is the same. You don’t even need to add any extra sweetener to that icing recipe. It’s just super sweet on its own, and it’s awesome. You’re going to love it.
Anyway, that basically the gist of it. I hope you really enjoy the concept of listening to me talk a little bit more about my recipes. I’m hoping that this podcast can kind of enhance your experience, understanding, and ability to make raw food recipes. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or raw, or what you are. If you’re just interested in incorporating more live healthy whole food, delicious recipes that are actually quite simple to make and made with very basic ingredients, I think that these are really important skills that a lot of us did not learn when we were growing up. I know I certainly didn’t learn any of these skills, and it’s been more of learning experience for me as an adult. I really hope these podcasts can help you become a healthy cook at home and make things seem accessible and exciting too. I know that everybody gets more excited when they can taste something really delicious, that’s also healthy as well. It’s kind of this yin yang opposites attract kind of thing, but it’s really surprising and exciting. I’m really happy to be sharing it with all of you, and I love you all when you send me emails and notes and things, so this is just another way to get to know each other and communicate, and help each other succeed with healthy eating. Thank you so much. I’m going to sign off and I really appreciate you listening to me today. I hope this has been inspiring for you. If you do have a chance to make these recipes, let me know and I’d love to know what you think.
You have been listening to the Raw Food Podcast, with your host The Rawtarian. Be sure to visit me at www.therawtarian.com where you can browse over 100 of my absolute favorite simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes that you’ll find pretty quick to make and with just a few ingredients and that taste spectacular. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and once you’ve signed up for that, you’ll get a PDF copy of 11 of my most favorite, most satisfying, most delicious recipes, including raw vegan alfredo sauce, raw brownies, and a whole host of other delicious recipes that you can make at home that are raw vegan and taste amazing. Thank you so much for joining me, and I hope to hear from you very soon. And until next time, enjoy your raw adventure!
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