A few years ago, Bob and I attempted those infamous black bean brownies. I was really excited about them too. I was in my prime brownie-baking phase, so the idea of protein-rich black bean brownies that tasted like real brownies sounded very appealing.
But then, we tried them and, at first, it was “These are…okay” and by the last bite it was “These are awful! Let’s try to pawn the rest of these off on my parents” (my parents didn’t go for them either). In all fairness, maybe a measurement or two was off. Maybe we added too many black beans. I don’t know. I just knew they tasted like black beans hiding behind a chocolate veil and I didn’t like it.
Considering that fiasco, I thought I’d be hesitant to try another recipe that claimed to taste like brownies but didn’t contain eggs, flour, butter and white sugar. But I was so on it. They looked fudgy and I go crazy for fudgy. A part of me thought, don’t get your hopes up for a healthy “brownie”, but another part said, these are going to be gooooood!
I’m happy to report that the latter thought was the correct one.
Healthy Fudgy No-Bake Brownie Bites (only slightly adapted from Averie Cooks)
makes about 10-12 bites, depending on how small you roll them
2/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/3 cup unsweetened natural dark cocoa powder (I used extra dark)
1 cup medjool dates, pitted and loosely packed.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 – 4 teaspoons agave syrup (or as needed)
Add the cashews and cocoa powder to a food prcoessor and blend until fine crumbs form, about 10-15 seconds.
Add the dates and vanilla extract and process until mixture begins to combine. The mixture may be dry and not combining well. Add agave syrup, one teaspoon at a time, pulsing to incorporate. If it happens to be the right consistency after adding the dates and vanilla, then using the agave syrup is optional.
The consistency is right when the dough combines into a ball-sized mound and the mound travels around the canister as one. [“It will still be tacky and sticky, but it shouldn’t be wet and sloppy. Dough that resembles the consistency of nut butter is too runny and loose and dry ingredients must be added to help it solidify. Add a tablespoon or two more cocoa powder or cashews, as necessary, to dry out the dough. Dough that’s too pebbly, dry, or sandy will benefit from anther couple dates or tablespoon of agave, as necessary, to moisten it”]
Transfer dough to a covered container and refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to a week, before rolling into small balls. It must be chilled before pulling off pieces and rolling between palms until smooth and round.
Optional: Roll the bites in a mound of sprinkles until completely covered (I prefer them without, but it looks mighty pretty with!).
You can’t taste the “healthiness”, which is what I dig about these. The bites are dense, very chocolatey and have the texture of a chewy underbaked brownie. And yet, they’re still a dessert to feel good about. Chocoholics rejoice!