Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chocolate Brownie Bites (Gluten Free, Vegan...)

Low Carb, Soy Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, Egg Free, Taste Free... KIDDING! These little brownie bites are so amazingly delicious, they are definitely NOT taste free!

About a month ago, I was at a grocery store and starving (not a good combination) and I found these little bars called, "Pure Bars". On the wrapper they were listed as "raw" food. In other words, not cooked, pure, organic ingredients. I thought for sure the bar would be awful! But I was hungry and the package stated that it was free of gluten it was "chocolate brownie" flavor, so I thought I would try it for the ride home.

How can you resist something that says "Like a Good Mood in a wrapper!" ;-)

Oh. My. Word.

It was amazing.

It was so good! The bar was rich and super chocolately and didn't feel the least bit healthy, even though it said on the package it was! I thought they were lying! Now, I will warn you, it does clearly state on the package that while it is free from any ingredients that contain gluten, it IS produced in a facility that processes foods made with wheat, eggs, dairy, and soy, so there is a chance of cross-contamination. The company is called Pure of Holland (USA), and they make many different kinds of "raw" vegan bars. I've tried three different kinds and they are all delicious! They are also a little bit pricey at $2 a bar, and I wondered if I could possibly make them at home.

Enter our dear friend Sea, over at Book of Yum. She recently had a wonderful little post on a shower she went to that happened to serve healthy gluten free foods! Of those foods, one thing served was a delicious little brownie, posted here.

I looked online and found variations of that recipe and other "raw" bar/brownie recipes and created my own version with ingredients I had at home. I made these brownies, not once, but several times, and they are so good! They taste very similar to that wonderful Pure Bar!!

These are deliciously, naturally, sweet little treats, super healthy, and free from refined sugars and most allergens. I love that the dates in this recipe are fully capable of working as both the binder and sweetener. The agave nectar is completely optional.

Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites
Created by Carrie Forbes
Free of gluten, soy, grain, casein/dairy, eggs
For a printer friendly version, click here

1/2 cup raw pecans or almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup chopped and/or pitted dates
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
**1 teaspoon coconut oil (not necessary, but adds moisture)
**1-2 teaspoons agave nectar (again not necessary, but adds additional moisture and sweetness)

Optional Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes, finely chopped

Soak dates in a small bowl of warm water for 5 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Set aside. In your food processor or *blender (see note below) grind pecans or almonds and walnuts until very fine. Add dates and grind into a paste. Pour into a bowl and add cocoa powder, sea salt, and any additional ingredients you desire. Stir ingredients together thoroughly. You should have a thick, shiny, chocolate dough.

For Bars: Spread dough into a small rectangular container. Flatten with spatula. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut into 8 bars.

For Mini Brownie Bites: Add roughly 1 tablespoon of dough into a candy mold or mini cupcake tin. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Makes around 16 mini brownie bites.

Brownie Bars made with almonds and walnuts

NOTES: Unfortunately I don't have a food processor. The almonds were very hard to process in the blender and now my blender isn't speaking to me! Pecans and walnuts are slightly softer than raw almonds and were much easier to process in my blender. I highly recommend using a food processor if you have one. The bars with the almonds were my favorite, but I definitely enjoyed the brownie bites made with pecans as well.

Also, you can eat these yummy bites immediately, since you do not have to cook them, but they are rather sticky if they haven't been refrigerated, especially if you used an additional sweetener such as agave nectar.

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