Easy Date-Sweetened Vegan Brownies
We all have warm & fuzzy memories associated with brownies, I think. For some reason, most of my memories of making brownies are kin to that scene in Matilda where she’s magically whipping up her own breakfast. I have no memories of an adult supervisor being present.
Now, this is not to say that my parents weren’t there. I just don’t remember a collaborative brownie event.
Cake events, yes. Pie, perhaps. But my mother is ever the chef and rarely the baker. Although, I remember hearing stories of her bread-baking skills. She gave up her interest in most baking adventures after realizing that she was so good at it that it had added more than a few inches to everyones waistlines. My dad still laughs (somewhat despairingly) about that one.
Brownies were all about the box mix, of course. At 13 I could intelligently handle adding oil, eggs and milk to a bowl of sugary brownie powder. My mother was probably patiently hovering nearby, pretending she was busy with something else. I remember the sense of satisfaction and independence I got from making brownies on my own… it was unmatched by almost anything else in my young life.
As an adult, I get that feeling from developing new recipes. And doubly so when I mastered this quirky trip of a vegan brownie recipe!
I got the idea for these babies from a local baker who makes her own date-sweetened vegan brownies with buckwheat flour. I tried them and was completely enamored. But I had no clue what her process was. So, I set out to reconstruct them based on the flavor and texture alone.
It wasn’t until I started treating them more like, well, traditional brownies that I really got it. And thank goodness I did. Because WOW. I mean, these brownies... I would say they’re on the level of mind blowing.
When you think about it, a brownie made with buckwheat flour, dates, figs, coconut oil and cocoa powder shouldn’t taste like a classic brownie. The only ingredient in these kin to a classic brownie is cocoa powder.
But TRUST ME. They taste amazingly like the classic version, albeit with a slightly deeper and more molasses-like flavor from the dates.
And, yeah, they’re healthy. Made with real-food, refined sugar free ingredients and whole, plant-based fats. But why make brownies with dates and figs, Renee? Well, firstly, dates and figs are a refined sugar free source of sweetness. Dates are high in iron, potassium, B-vitamins and vitamins A and K. Figs contain calcium, magnesium manganese and vitamins K and B6. The dates and figs give the brownies a deep, molasses & caramel flavor. Not to mention that the fiber in the fruit gives the brownies heft, satisfying richness and a pull-apart quality. Oh and that fiber? It makes you eat fewer at a time because they fill you up faster. It's a win win win win WIN.
Note: In the end, I decided that these vegan brownies don't need a ganache swirl on top (despite the photos). I mean, yeah, it looks pretty fabulous! But the brownie itself ended up being so rich and decadent that more chocolate on top is serious overkill. (I shot these photos during my second trial run when they needed some extra oomph).
Date-Sweetened Buckwheat Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Created by Renee on April 15, 2016
These dark chocolate brownies are fudgey, rich and refined sugar free!
- Prep Time: 15m
- Cook Time: 25m
- Serves: 12
- 12 medjool dates, pitted and packed into your cup measure ~ 1.5 cups
- 4 juicy golden figs, hard stem removed ~ 1/4 cup
- cups hot water
- 10 tablespoons virgin coconut oil at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink sea salt
- 1 chia egg — 1 tablespoon chia + 3 tablespoons water soaking together for 15 minutes
- 1/8 cup chopped almonds
- 1/8 cup cacao nibs
- 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 10” square brownie pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the dates and figs to a medium mixing bowl. Pour the hot water over top (you want enough hot water to cover the fruit). Soak for 10 minutes, then drain off and discard the water.
- To the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade, add the soaked dates / figs and the coconut oil. Blend on high until you have a smooth paste. Add the buckwheat flour, rum / vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, chia egg and blend again until your brownie batter comes together. It will be very sticky and creamy.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the brownie batter out of your food processor and into your parchment paper lined brownie pan. Fold in your chopped almonds and spread the batter evenly out in the pan, smoothing the top out as you go. Sprinkle the cacao nibs and buckwheat groats over top and press them gently into the top of your batter.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until the brownie is set and firm to the touch. Let cool to room temperature before slicing your brownie into squares and digging in! Enjoy!