We’ve been having a total love affair with these raw brownies for the past couple weeks. A little nibble here, a little nibble there. I’m actually amazed that they’ve lasted this long, but just a small square is enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings. That’s how you know a chocolate dessert is the real deal. Plus, if the dancing in my belly is any indication, they are a big hit.
Lately, our evenings go something like this: We put on the hockey game (we’re avidly following both the Pens and Habs series which is basically another full time job) and I’m on my laptop doing some nursery planning as I scream at the TV. Eric is searching the freezer for these brownies. Nursery planning leads me to the uneasy discovery that I have zero home décor ability (not to mention decision making skills), but I still hold onto the hope that I can turn the room into the DIY nursery of my dreams. I curse those picture perfect rooms on Pinterest as I eat my brownie and watch hockey. Eric reassures me that the dresser we picked up at the second hand store is going to be transformed into something amazing for the baby’s room. I’ve always wanted to be a crafty goddess, so now I’m excited to start this project and see what I’m really made of.
And O.M.G., these brownies. This raw brownie dough is made up with protein-packed hemp hearts, walnuts, Medjool dates, raw cacao powder (cocoa powder works too!), vanilla, and Himalayan sea salt. Just throw it into the food processor and voila. To add some crunch, I pulsed in some cacao nibs and chopped walnuts. The crunch is essential! The result is a chocolaty brownie-like dough all without the using the oven, flour, sugar, or butter.
But I didn’t stop with the brownie dough. Of course not. Go big or go home. I poured on homemade chocolate for a second layer. The chocolate hardens into a thick shell, giving these brownies a wonderful snappy texture – best enjoyed straight from the freezer. The contrast of the firm chocolate shell and the chewy brownie is just heaven!
This recipe is quite versatile though so have fun playing around with it. I imagine you could make several different variations on these just by changing the nuts/seeds, extracts, topping, etc.
Two-Layer Raw Chocolate Brownies
Who knew fudgy, decadent brownies could be so packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants? Don’t let the healthy, wholesome ingredients fool you though; these no-bake brownies will blow your mind with their intense chocolatey flavour and satisfyingly dense, chewy texture. Recipe inspired by Sweet Talk Blog.
For the brownies:
- 1 cup (100 g) walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup (70 g) hemp hearts
- 1 1/2 cups (275 g) lightly packed pitted Medjool dates*
- 1/2 cup (40 g) raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 to 3 teaspoons (5 to 15 mL) water, or as needed
- 1/3 cup (33 g) chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons (18 g) raw cacao nibs or chopped walnuts
For the homemade chocolate:
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) virgin coconut oil**
- 1/2 cup (40 g) raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)
- Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan (or an 8-inch square pan for thinner brownies) with a piece of parchment paper, leaving some overhang to remove the brownies in one piece.
- Place 1 cup of walnuts into a food processor and process to a fine crumb. Be careful not to overprocess, as too much break-down will turn the walnuts into butter.
- To the food processor, add the hemp seeds and pitted dates and process until finely chopped and sticky.
- Add the cacao powder (or cocoa powder, if using), vanilla, and salt and process until thoroughly combined. The dough should be slightly sticky; if it’s not, add water one teaspoon at a time and process the mixture again. I often add 1 to 3 teaspoons of water to achieve the right consistency.
- Add the 1/3 cup walnuts and 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (or additional chopped walnuts if using), and pulse the batter until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. If you have a pastry roller on hand, you can use it to roll the dough until smooth on top. Otherwise, simply press the dough down with your hands and ensure the edges are even. Place the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare the homemade chocolate: Melt the coconut oil over low heat in a medium pot. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cacao powder (or cocoa powder, if using), syrup, salt, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on all of the chocolate topping. Carefully transfer the pan back to the freezer and let rest on a flat, even surface. Chill uncovered for at least 20 minutes, or until the topping is firm enough to slice. You might find the homemade chocolate will freeze a bit unevenly, but this is normal!
- To remove the brownies, run a knife under hot water for a minute or so and carefully slide it along the ends of your pan to loosen the slab. Using the excess parchment paper, lift the brownie slab out of the pan and place it onto a cutting board. Run the knife under hot water again and wipe off excess water. Pressing the knife down slowly, slice the brownies into squares. Top with strawberries, if using.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days, or tightly wrapped and frozen for 1 to 2 months. You can enjoy the brownies frozen, chilled from the fridge, or at room temp...your choice! I personally love them semi-frozen.
* You’ll want to use soft, fresh Medjool dates for this recipe to ensure your batter is sticky enough. If your dates are firm, try soaking them in water for 30 to 60 minutes—drain well and use as directed.
** Instead of the homemade chocolate topping, you can melt 3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips in a small pot over the lowest heat, stirring until smooth.
Best brownies hands down! Wanted to make a cake for friend’s birthday but didn’t have enough time, or enough ingredients so I whipped these up and they were fantastic.
Had to post them on my blog too! Thank you!!
I have made the raw chocolate brownie recipe so many times. I adore it, so do my family and friends. I also recommend your site to my clients who often require healthy eating options. Thanks so much for your fabulous recipes. You clearly demonstrate that healthy is yummy!!
I made them today and they are great great great! Thank you so much for this incredible recipe – as well as all the others. ;-)
I made these the other night and they are fantastic! You only need a little piece to satisfy and even the non restrictive eating housemates enjoy them. Thanks much for the recipe.
These are divine. My family wanted brownies & I did not want to partake, so a handy search brought me here. Your recipes always save me! Thanks SO much!
First time at raw brownies, turned out brilliant be great for a treat, a little bit salty though would definitely use less next time. Loved the crunchy bits (I used pecans in chopped nuts at the end) and you couldn’t taste the hemp seeds ! A definite keeper !
I just made these!! This is the best recipe yet!! I only added chopped pecans on top the chocolate before it set. It was perfect. I wish I could share the pic with you. Also. I couldn’t find my small springform since I halved the recipe so I lined a small round cake pain with plastic wrap and once it set and was solid (about an hour), it pulled right out.
Oh. I substituted pecans for walnuts. Sorry, didn’t have any walnuts. It was fabulous.
I ate them. they tasted good. mission success
Hi Angela, I LOVE these brownies, and I believe I saw them in your protein-rich pregnancy sample meal plan. I’m wondering if you’ve done any research on the safety of raw cacao nibs during pregnancy?
Yum! Granted, these don’t compare to “real” brownies, in my opinion, but as far as a healthy version go, they’re delish. I didn’t have dates so I used prunes with great results. Also added a little honey to the topping, though I realize that might be taboo. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi there, I’m glad to hear the prunes worked out well! Thanks for the lovely comment.
I made these brownies today (love!) and added some cinnamon to the chocolate topping. Wow, did it make the flavors sing–kind of gave it a Mexican chocolate twist. I’ve recently committed totally to a plant-based diet, and your site has been an inspiration. Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes!
Hi Elizabeth, I am so happy to hear that my blog has been a source of inspiration for you. Thank you for the lovely comment, and enjoy those brownies!
Hi Angela, a BIG Thank you for your recipes! we (my husband especially) love them and my 15 mos loves your green monster!
Just a question, Hulled hemp seeds are actually unavailable where we are living, so do you have any substitution suggestion?
Thank you again!
They look amazing! I love the idea of double chocolate. Is there a substitution for walnuts?
Hi Katie, You can absolutely substitute the walnuts! Pecans are definitely the most popular swap and lots of people have had success with it, but I’d think any of your favourite nuts would be a good choice. Peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds…all would add their own unique spin to the recipe. It’s a pretty versatile one! Good luck if you try anything, and I’d love it if you’d report back.
Yum! Am waiting for these little darlings to set in the freezer now… So excited! Have not had any chocolate cravings in this pregnancy until just now, so cannot wait to tuck in to something so wholesome x
I hope these satisfy the craving for you!
Simply amazingly delicious!!! I just made these tonight and they are out-of-control awesomeness! Thank you, thank you Angela!!
These are seriously delicious! I used 1 cup blanched almonds and 1/2 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts/hemp seeds and I am so in love. They taste so decadent it’s hard to believe they’re healthy!
They’re a big fave of ours too, Taryn! I’m glad you enjoyed them. :)
Waiting (im)patiently as these firm up in the freezer! Oh man that chocolate ganache is crazy good… I used sunflower seeds instead of hemp seeds because it’s what was around, added some unsweetened coconut flakes to the brownie, and sprinkled the top with nibs + shredded coconut for party presentation :D
Salty, sweet and so DELICIOUS! Thanks for the recipe!
LOVE everything on this website. SO good. My go-to for all recipes!
Aw, that’s so lovely to hear, Liz!! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my recipes. :)
Do you have any suggestions for making this nut free? Seeds are OK. I was thinking of replacing the walnuts with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, but since they both have strong tastes I wanted to see if anyone else tried this without the walnuts.
Hands down THE best brownies I’ve ever had. I’m not a huge fan of brownies in general, but I always like having something I can snack on stashed away in the freezer, so I decided to give these a shot. They couldn’t be anymore perfect! They remind me of a little your super seed chocolate bites. Great recipe!!!
Which food processor do you use? I don’t know which one I should buy
Hi Efi, you can check out my Amazon store to see all my fave kitchen appliances, including the food processor I use. :) Hope this helps!
These are positively AMAZING! Thanks so much! These are super healthy and taste really good. All of my siblings were devouring them :P
Hello! I just made this and they’re so good! I replaced the walnuts for almonds. I’m wondering if peanuts will work too?
Hi there Trini, So happy you enjoyed the recipe! I’d say you could swap in any of your favourite nuts. These brownies are pretty versatile! Peanuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts…all would add their own unique twist. Happy baking, and if you try anything, please let us know how it goes :)
Which food processor do you use? :)
Hi there! You can find a list of all my fave kitchen appliances here, at my Amazon store. Hope this helps! :)
Which food processor do you use? Your amazon link is down from the faq page is not working….
Hey there, Oh I’m sorry the link is not working for you! I’ll check on that.
My food processor is a Cuisinart (it’s 11 or 14 cup, I can’t quite remember). I have to say I’ve had issues with it though. A plastic part on the lid broke, and there was a blade recall late last year. I’m not sure I would repurchase it as it seems like their machines got a bit cheaper in quality.
The easiest, best brownies I’ve ever made! Modified the sweetness adding a little agave to the icing in addition to the maple, and also melted the coconut oil in the microwave after mixing the icing so it would pour on smoothly before freezing. The real test is, can a meat eating gluten eater enjoy this. Yes, I did!
Thank you so much for the feedback Cynthia..so glad it was a hit!
Could chia seeds replace the hemp seeds?
Hey Katrina, I’m not sure that I would add a full half cup of chia seed to this recipe as it’s probably a bit too much (they are quite crunchy compared to help hearts), but you may be able to add more walnuts (maybe 1/2 cup?) along with a tablespoon of chia seeds? If you try anything I’d love to hear how it goes.
NEW FAVORITE!! I had to make these immediately but was out of walnuts, so I did half almonds, half pumpkin seeds. I made it in a standard loaf pan and cut into 16 chunky squares. What a success! Just one really does the trick, they are absolutely delicious and without my asking, my husband said “we can serve these to guests” which is what I always want to know since we love to entertain – they are the perfect combo of homey and special. I keep them in the freezer and just let them sit out for about five minutes, that’s my favorite texture. THANK YOU!
Aww Melisa, I’m smiling from ear to ear! I’m so glad to hear you both love them so much that they’re guest-worthy. And that’s great the almond and pumpkin seed swap worked! Thanks for your review.
MAPLE SYRUP IS NOT RAW, EVERYONE.
Hi Kit, Raw here means that the brownies are not cooked. If you want a truly “raw” brownie you can swap the maple syrup for a raw liquid sweetener.
They won’t survive outside the fridge? Because of which ingredient?
I made these last night and they were such a huge hit with the kids and hubby! Thank you for this yummy treat! I followed the recipe as listed but for the topping I used the 3/4 cup of chocolate chips like you recommended!
These brownies are so amazingly delicious. I have made them 3 times already and the husband and kiddos keep asking for more. I love your beautiful book and love all of your recipes. Thank you so much!
a huge shoutout to your blog. such an amazing content. keep it up. I am going to devour these tonight when I make them. I know my whole family is going to love layered chocolate brownies.
Another OSG hit! My kiddo and pregnant belly are so happy with this one. A tip to other makers, so they can learn from MY mistake— make sure when cooking the sauce that you really do keep it on low as she says! My pregnant brain bumped up the heat to melt the coconut oil quicker (I’m a hungry woman). When I mixed the sauce it all freaked out and caused it to get sorta gooey and therefore uneven when freezing on top. ? HOWEVER, still delicious. Just don’t be me….
Angela, I’ve been following your blog since the early years, pre kiddos. Can’t believe I’ve never written a comment. It has been so lovely referencing your blog as I grow my own family and also seeing all your success! I have all your books and greatly appreciate your humility and care for health and family. Keep doing what you’re doing and a big thank you for the SF Bay Area??