I had known that I wanted to whip up a Valentine’s Day-inspired dessert this week, even though the holiday isn’t for another few days and even though I will be spending it on my own in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis- but that will never stop me from indulging in a little chocolate and a lot of pretty garnishes.
Although this recipe calls for quite a few ingredients and a lot of patience- it’s the fact that I don’t need to turn my oven on or feel guilty about eating six or seven of these vegan, sugar-free delights that really sold me on this recipe.
Whether you’re making these for your special someone, or for yourself- this is a rich, decadent dessert that sure looks pretty when completed and may even have you feeling a little romantic!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Cooking spray, for pan
- 2⅓ cups pitted dates
- 1⅓ cups almonds
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- Fresh or dried rose petals, for finishing
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. MAKE THE BASE: Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dates, almonds, cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon water, vanilla extract and salt until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press into an even layer.
3. Scatter the cherries and macadamia nuts over the base and gently press them in.
4. MAKE THE TOPPING: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, maple syrup and coconut oil to combine. Pour onto the base and spread into an even layer. Garnish with rose petals.
5. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve immediately or store for up to a week in the refrigerator.
I have to say that the addition of dried cherries to this recipe gives these brownies an extra and unexpected tart kick that I absolutely love. If you have any food allergies or are simply looking for a healthier alternative to regular, loaded-with-sugar desserts- this is one you have to try!
And if dried rose petals aren’t your cup of tea- some good old fashioned pink, red and white sprinkles are just as festive and fun!