Dates, nuts, and cocoa powder form a fudgy base crowned with creamy coconut maple ganache in these chocolate hazelnut no-bake brownies. These brownies are gluten-free, raw, vegan, and refined sugar-free.
¾cupwhole raw hazelnuts, plus 2 tablespoons (20 g) for topping, (110 g)
½cupraw sliced or whole almonds, (50 g)
½cupnatural cocoa powder or raw cacao powder, (35 g)
1/8teaspoonfine sea salt
1cuppitted, slightly packed dates (I use medjool), (230 g)
2tablespoonsalmond or hazelnut milk, (30 g)
¼cupextra-virgin coconut oil, (55 g)
¼cupmaple syrup, (70 g)
¼cupnatural cocoa powder or raw cacao powder, (20 g)
chopped hazelnuts (from above)
handful cacao nibs
a few pinches of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the hazelnuts on a small, rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden and fragrant, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely, then rub off as much of the loose skins as want to come off.
Place ¾ cup of the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor, reserving the rest for garnish, and add the almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Process until finely ground, stopping the processor when the mixture just begins to clump, taking care not to overprocess to a paste. Scrape the nut mixture into a medium bowl and set aside.
Add the dates and vanilla to the now-empty food processor and blend to a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Scrape up the date paste, add the nut mixture, and process until a clumpy dough-like substance forms. Scrape this mixture into a 8x4 or 9x5-inch loaf pan lined with a sling of parchment paper and pack it into an even layer. Chill until needed.
To make the ganache, combine the almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly to thicken, whisking occasionally, 5-10 minutes. Pour the ganache over the brownies. Chill in the refrigerator until a bit firmer, 30 minutes. Chop the remaining 2 tablespoons of hazelnuts into large pieces. When the ganache has firmed a bit, sprinkle the hazelnuts, cacao nibs, and flaky salt evenly over the top. Chill until completely firm, 1 hour.
Use the parchment handles to lift the brownie out of the pan, and use a chef's knife to cut into 8 or 10 bars.
The brownies keep well, refrigerated airtight, for up to 1 week.
These decadent bar cookies come together in no time; do be sure to allow an hour or so for the ganache to set. If your dates aren't fresh and moist, give them a quick soak in enough hot water to cover the little guys, then drain well and proceed with the recipe.Brownie base adapted from Minimalist Baker.I love the taste of toasted hazelnuts here, but feel free to skip the toasting process for all-raw brownies.Nutritional values are based on one of eight brownies.