These are great as a energy boosting snack or dessert. The only time consuming part in this is pitting the dates (if you didn’t get pitted ones) and making sure you don’t over-blend the entire mixture. Enjoy!!
1 cup raw almonds (see note)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2 cups (packed) pitted dates (see note)
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder (or regular cocoa if you prefer)
1 vanilla bean (see note)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1) In a food processor, first add almonds and cashews and process until very fine (the almonds are the hardest, and need to be worked until crumbly). Let them process for a minute or two until quite fine.
2) Then add walnuts, dates and cherries and pulse/process until mixture is quite crumbly, but not yet coming together.
4) Then, add cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract, and pulse through. With a sharp tip knife, slice the vanilla bean down the outer side to open up the bean. Using a blunt (butter) knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and add them to the processor (or add vanilla extract).
5) Process again, along with the almond extract if using. Process until the mixture comes together. The mixture should be sticky and hold together when pressed with your fingers. You don’t want to over-mix (to prevent the nuts from releasing their oils, see note), but the mixture does need to hold and be sticky. If it’s not doing so, add a few drops of water, as your dates might be dry.
6) Once you have a good, sticky mixture that will hold together, remove it from the processor and press into a brownie pan (8” x 8”) lined with parchment paper. Use a small piece of the parchment to help press and flatten the mixture evenly into the pan. Press it firmly to insure the mixture holds. Remove the mixture and cut into cubes of ~2×2 cm. Roll into balls.
7) Garnish with shredded coconut, cocoa powder or nuts if desired.
A combination of ¾ cup almonds and ½ cup cashews also works well
You can substitute 1 – 1 ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds.
If your dates are on the dry side, you can add 1-2 tbsp of water to the mixture to help assist the pureeing and the mixture easily coming together.
If you process the mixture too long, the heat generated by the food processor will bring the oils out of the nuts. If this happens, the brownies won’t be ruined necessarily, but they will have an oily appearance and be oily to the touch. So, process minimally to begin, rather than over processing the nuts at the outset.