When is a brownie not a brownie? At university my philosophy professor's favourite problem was whether or not a car could be considered the same vehicle if various parts had been removed and replaced with those which had belonged to another model. I couldn't come up with an answer, but it's something I've been thinking about again since an attempt at making gluten-free vegan millionaire's shortbread went very wrong (or very right, depending on how you look at it).
Can brownies made without any of the traditional ingredients – flour, sugar, butter, eggs, melted chocolate –still be considered brownies? Well, these certainly look like brownies, and smell like brownies, and taste like brownies ... but they don't contain any of the gluten, refined sugar or animal products. They're gooey and rich, sticky and sweet. And because they don't need to be baked, they can be prepared in under ten minutes!
As there are so few ingredients, it's important to buy the best you can find. Most supermarkets carry Medjool dates now and raw cacao can be sourced online
(I bought some through Amazon).
200g Medjool Dates, pitted
60g Raw Cacao Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
1. Blend the walnuts in a food processor until they resemble flour.
2. Add the cacao powder, along with the merest amount of salt to bring out the flavour.
3. With the processor still running at a medium speed, add the dates one at a time.
4. At the last moment, put the hazelnuts down the spout, then pulse briefly to chop the nuts and combine them with the rest of the ingredients.
5. Tip the contents of the bowl into a lined square baking tray or dish, and gently press down with the back of a metal spoon that has been dipped in water.
6. The brownies can be eaten right away, but to make them easier to slice place them in the refrigerator for twenty minutes.
7. When the brownies are cold, divide them into evenly-sized pieces with a sharp knife that has been dipped into a jug of hot water.
The brownies will keep in an airtight container for three days but you'll be lucky if they last more than three minutes. And don't feel bad if you eat the whole thing yourself straight out of the processor bowl – no-one ever got judged for eating a whole bowl of fruit and nuts...
Delicious served with cold almond milk.
Makes 6–8 brownies | £5.00 | 10 mins of preparation + 20 mins of refrigeration.