Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nuts to you, nuts to me... (Recipe for Super-healthy No-Bake Fudge Brownies)

I am on a nut kick lately.  Nuts have been found to help brain health, are associated with a reduced risk of weight gainimproved blood lipid levels, and other beneficial health outcomes.  I had a bunch of pecans left over from Christmas, plus a huge amount of dates in the fridge, so I decided to play around with this recipe I got from VegNews:


No-Bake Fudge Brownies
Makes 10 bars

What You Need:
Coconut oil, for pan

4-1/2 cups pecans
3/4 cup pitted dates, packed
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 teaspoon ground vanilla powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup dried black cherries, goji berries, golden berries, or mulberries
1/4 cup hemp seeds, reserved

What You Do:

1. Grease an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil. In a food processor, process pecans until slightly chunky (do not overprocess into pecan butter). Place 1/2 cup pecans in a separate bowl and set aside.

2. While food processor is running, slowly add dates, rocking base of food processor to combine evenly.

3. Add cacao, cinnamon, maca, vanilla, salt, and cayenne and process again until well combined. Fold in dried fruit, hemp seeds, and remaining pecans.

4. Spread mixture into baking dish, pressing down with your palms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set, then cut into squares. Serve with non-dairy ice cream or vegan chocolate sauce.

Chef’s Tip
Cacao powder has a deep, rich flavor that works well in hot chocolate, ice cream, and all types of desserts. It’s loaded with magnesium and phenylethylamine, which are great for your heart, brain, and libido.


Now, of course, I can't leave well enough alone, so I added my own twist to it:

-instead of maca, I used a big tablespoon of mesquite (has lots of fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc).
-I added a big handful of chia seeds (rich in omega 3's, plus tons of fiber, phosphorous, calcium, and manganese).
-I used about a tablespoon of cinnamon (great for regulating blood sugar, helps lower cholesterol, is anti-fungal and anti-carcinogenic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory).

-Instead of cayenne and salt, I added a good dollop of ghost pepper salt (is yummy).
-I did not have the berries on hand, so I used a tablespoon or so each of cherry powder, goji berry powder, and pomegranate powder.  (tons of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants in there)
-I added about 1/2 cup of coconut oil to the brownie mix.  (good for thyroid and blood sugar control, increases energy expenditure, helps metabolize fats, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, improves blood cholesterol levels, )

-I added some flaked coconut meat, 
-I used considerably more vanilla powder than the recipe calls for (possible anti-inflammatory, possible aphrodisiac, yummy).

Next time, I'm adding some ground coffee, too.  

Here's the finished result!

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