Let me just put it out there - I am not a chocolate kind of person. My brother defined it beautifully years ago: "We are a vanilla family". When given the choice we will always go for the light or fruity flavors and not for sweet rich chocolate
With that in mind, it's understandable that brownies were never part of the dessert repertoire at our house. But as the years went by, and following a few nutrition and cooking classes that I took, I had the chance to discover some amazing things about raw cacao that made me super curious.
As it turns out, cacao has always been considered special. Some cultures even named it the food of the gods or the fruit of love. Raw cacao is the richest source of antioxidants and magnesium that can be found in nature, and it contains a large number of other minerals and vitamins. It is therefore considered to be a super-food!
Raw cacao may decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol), lower high blood pressure and most importantly improve our mood and pleasure! I personally find that adding raw cacao nibs to my breakfast also helps my energy levels to increase in the morning (much like coffee).
This recipe is all about raw cacao! The additional ingredients are simply here to help the cacao be at its best. The dates and maple syrup act as the natural sweeteners, the almonds, and almond butter add to the soft texture and help bind everything up, the vanilla and Himalayan salt just combine wonderfully with chocolate and the walnuts are traditionally included in brownie recipes.
Place the dates in a food processor, and blend for about 2 minutes.
Add the almond pulp and almond butter and blend into a smooth united mixture.
Add the raw cacao powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until well combined. The result should be a moist dough mixture. Taste and adjust, maybe adding the optional maple syrup if the mixture is not sweet enough.
Place the walnuts between two parchment sheets and use the rolling pin to crush them into small pieces. Place aside.
Place the brownies mixture between two parchment sheets and use the rolling pin to flatten into a 1" thick disk (~2.5 cm). Sprinkle half of the crushed walnuts and press them into the mixture, using your hands.
Fold the disk into half. Place a parchment sheet on top of the folded mixture and use the rolling pin to slightly flatten it. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts and place them in the freezer to set for 20 minutes.