Day-Saver Brownie Squares
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup walnuts
2 tbs raw cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of pistachio, hulled
1 tsp coconut milk
1/4 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chunks
My fiancé has a serious sweet tooth. Most of the time his cravings hit pretty late at night, so when we started eating better it became a little difficult to quiet that craving without him feeling deprived. This super brownie has been a saving grace. It has also been a huge help for me at the end of a hard day. When I am slammed at work, I usually start to feel that gradual dip in my energy and focus right around 2 o'clock. One of these miracle workers is just what I need to recalibrate. I get an instant boost of energy and I swear I see more clearly.
Dates are a natural sweetener with a killer nutrition profile. They are packed with fibre and antioxidants. They improve digestive health. The fibre they provide assists with blood sugar control while the antioxidants promote heart health and can lessen the risk of several heart diseases. They also reduce inflammation and can help prevent the development of chronic illnesses. Did I mention that they promote brain health? So much so, that they are actually believed to serve useful as a preventative aid against Alzheimer's Disease.
The walnuts are also a good source of antioxidants, beyond that, they are a super plant source of Omega-3 fats that fight the risk of heart disease. They fight inflammation while promoting gut health by nourishing the beneficial bacterias that live in your gut. They can help lower cholesterol, improve brain function and support male reproductive health. Essentially, "deez nuts" are stacked (sorry, I had to).
Now, if all of that wasn't enough, the pistachio is loaded with nutrients and is notably the most Vitamin B6-rich food you can find. They are high in antioxidants, low in calories and high in protein. They lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and are good for your gut bacteria.
All of the health benefits aside, these brownies are freaking delicious!
In a blender, combine the Medjool dates, walnuts, cacao powder and vanilla extract.
Blend ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of undercooked brownie dough. You may need to stop now to push the mixture around if it isn't blending properly. The Medjool dates are pretty sticky and sometimes they need help becoming the best version of themselves.
Place some parchment paper in an 8" square baking dish. Trust me when I say this is essential.
Empty the mixture from the blender into the baking dish and flatten it evenly. Pro tip: To keep the mixture from sticking to you, wet your hands with water (not too much). The water will work like flour for dough.
Heat up the chocolate and mix in coconut milk. When the chocolate turns liquid, pour it over the brownies, spreading it evenly.
Sprinkle the pistachios over the brownies.
Place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the brownies from the pan. You can lift it right out by the parchment paper (you're welcome).
Cut the brownies into squares.
Important: I know that Medjool dates are pricey and you'll be tempted to swap them for the more reasonably priced regular dates, but they will make the brownies much more brittle. The texture is very different when you swap them out. They take your gooey brownie and turn them into more of a brownie crumble. I like to get my Medjool dates at BulkBarn or if I see that they are on sale at the grocery store I pick them up.
They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for 3 months (if they last that long). Make sure when you store them you do so in a container with a strong seal and separate each layer with parchment paper for easy removal.
Don't have coconut milk? Any dairy or nut milk will do.
Not a walnut fan? Use almonds, brazil nuts or mix two types of nuts. Have fun with it.
Want to play down the chocolate? Try drizzling peanut butter instead of chocolate on your brownie. And if you are feeling really cheeky, drizzle both.
Pistachio is a pistachi-no? You can top these bad boys with anything you're in the mood for, so get creative. I have topped them with everything from pumpkin seeds to toasted coconut and pomegranate seeds - the sky is the limit.
Alternatively to bars, you can roll these into protein bites or use cookie cutters fo special holidays!