Raw Chocolate Hempseed Brownies – vegan, gluten-free, superfood
So there are chocolate brownies and there are CHOCOLATE BROWNIES! Here, in this recipe, we are talking brownies filled with so much goodness that you’ll wonder why ever in the world we would need to eat sugar and wheat-filled sweet stuff again.
It’s true. I am easily excited when making superfood sweet treats in the kitchen. Vibrant, alive and incredibly delicious will do that to me every time.
Today I am sharing my Raw Chocolate Brownies, inspired with hempseeds.
Out with the refined sugar (like all of my recipes) and IN with nourishing sweetness. I am sweetening with dates.
I do use a smidgen of maple syrup for an added element of decadence (which, apart from its caramel-like sweetness, according to Dr Axe is said to contain a number of antioxidants and helps to protect against inflammatory diseases).
Raw or not raw? I often prefer to use raw ingredients for this (apart from the maple syrup), which are said to retain more of their goodness. However, if you don’t have raw everything, just use whatever you have available.
The thing about cacao versus cocoa…
It might sound confusing (baffled me at first), but it’s easy once you know the difference. Cocoa powder (spelled slightly differently to cacao) is the name given to the ground cacao beans that have been roasted/heat-treated before turning to powder. Cacao is the name given to the raw stuff (which hasn’t been heat-treated).
- cacao = raw (the purest form, with more nutrients intact)
- cocoa = heat treated (fewer nutrients and sometimes (not always) chemically treated)
Raw cacao is said to preserve more of the ingredients than the regular heat-treated variety. I find raw cacao really high vibe too.
That said, you could still use organic, fairly-traded cocoa powder instead of the raw stuff – just make sure it is pure and the only ingredient in your tub/packet is cocoa. In some places, you might buy something called cocoa powder and find it has all sorts of other ingredients like milk powder and sugar in it – so watch out.
Just be careful that whatever you buy only has one ingredient in it – cocoa or cacao.
And ALWAYS buy organic & fairly traded varieties.
If you think that cacao/cocoa or chocolate is not good for you, then think again. It’s really just those sugar-laden bars that give chocolate a bad reputation. If you use pure cacao (or cocoa) powder then we are talking tonnes of health benefits. Cacao is loaded with mood-elevating nutrients to give us that feel-good factor. It’s rich in flavonoids and antioxidants which are linked to healthy heart benefits. Cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium (needed for brain health, nervous system health and strong bones & teeth) and is good for iron.
I am using hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews in this raw brownie recipe too. They all come with delightful nourishment, so you really can be sure that every morsel is good for you.
I especially wanted to include hemp seeds in this superfood sweet treat because they are insanely good for you and I am always looking for nice ways to weave them into my cuisine. I’ve written an article all about the health benefits of hempseeds here:
One last thing before we make these! If you like this raw hempseed brownie idea then you will absolutely love, love, love my new recipe book The Kind Earth Cookbook – it’s full of delicious plant-based recipes (gluten-free, naturally sweetened too)…
- Break down the sunflower seeds in a food processor until you get a rough ‘meal’.
- Add the cashews and hemp seeds. Grind until you get a rustic meal. Doesn’t have to be super fine like flour, but needs to be fairly well ground (a few rustic chunks are fine).
- Add the cacao, dates and vanilla and blend until everything comes together.
- The mixture may stick together (this is going to depend on how moist your dates are, which varies from batch to batch and is impossible to say until you use them).
- You need the mixture to stick together nicely when you press between your fingers. If it doesn’t do that, then you will need to add extra moisture. Add extra moisture by either using maple syrup of water. You might only need a TINY amount, so be very careful if adding it at this stage. Try a tablespoon first then blend again. Press between your fingers again to test and then add another little dash if required.
- When you have the right consistency, press all of the mixture down very firmly into a parchment-lined container (I used my trusty loaf tin for this, although anything of that size will do).
- Pop into the fridge or freezer whilst you prepare your topping.
- Melt the coconut oil (if not already melted).
- Add the cacao, maple syrup and coconut sugar and mix together thoroughly.
- Pour on top of the brownie and then pop in the fridge or freezer to set (which shouldn’t take long at all).
- When the topping has set, take out and slice up.
- This keeps in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a couple of months.