Oh yeah, we’re doing it. One of my most popular recipes EVER is my Raw Vegan Nutella Cupcakes. I figured, why not make a similar recipe in brownie form? Slightly less messy to make and equally as delicious, these Vegan Nutella Brownies will make you SWOON.
But first, how was the weekend? Mine was borderline perfect, and by that I mean a mixture of fun and totally lame. After my Saturday barre classes, Miguel and I took Layla on a two hour hike through Frick Park to enjoy the leaves. SO MANY PRETTY LEAVES (and so many squirrels—someone help me), I was in autumn heaven. We then came home, watched House Hunters and took a nap, which I hadn’t done in months. I’m not much of a napper—I probably took a sum total of 10 naps all four years of college—but sometimes they are unknowingly necessary. And THEN, post nap, Miguel and I got ready to SALSAAAAAAA.
No, not eat salsa (though that wouldn’t have been the worst Saturday night ever)—salsa dance!
Miguel and I had salsa-ed before. ….ok maybe like twice, and both times it was for like, five minutes. I was determined to make this time different—we were going to dance the night away! Except we totally didn’t because I got all shy n’ stuff because everyone was SO GOOD. Here’s the thing: the place we went is a salsa dance studio where people can take dance lessons on a regular basis. Then Saturday nights, the studio hosts “salsa night”, where anyone is welcome to come and salsa the night away. I’m going to go ahead and say that at least 75 percent of the people who come to salsa night also take regular dance classes.
They were so, so good. Miguel suggested that we take dance classes and I said YES and then we both remembered that he’d mentioned that idea two years ago and clearly that never happened. Perhaps it shall be a goal for 2016. Being able to salsa would definitely make me cooler. I mean, right? It’s like those people who are oh-so casual about being amazing—you could be friends with them for MONTHS and then one day, out of the blue, they’re like oh yeah I’m in a band and I play drums and I can kind of sing too. And you’re like, A) STFU I hate you and B) that’s so awesome. I could be that person but with salsa dancing.
I’m kidding. I know myself well enough to know that I will never be that person. I can always pretend though.
Ok so, these brownies/bars. They’re made from hazelnuts, dates and cacao and then topped with a chocolate “icing” made from mashed avocado and cacao. My #1 tip is to mash the avocado really well. Otherwise you will have little avocado chunks throughout, and no one wants avo chunks in their icing.
Other than that, I hope you make these and love ‘em just as much as I did/still do!
- For the brownie:
- 1½ cup hazelnuts
- ½ cup cacao*
- 2½ cup pitted dates
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- For the "icing":
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup cacao*
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts, crushed, for topping
- Place hazelnuts and dates in food processor and pulse for at least 30 seconds so that they are mixed well.
- Add in cacao, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon; pulse.
- Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick spray, or cover with coconut oil, and then pour brownie "batter" into pan and use a spatula to smooth everything out.
- Place pan in freezer; allowing it to set.
- While brownies are setting, create icing.
- Mash avocado with a fork--make sure to mash REALLY well so that mixture is smooth.
- Add in cacao, syrup and oil and use an electric mixer to combine everything; stir until smooth.
- Pour icing overtop of brownies, using a spatula to smooth everything out and place back in freezer for approximately 5 minutes before cutting into brownies.
Q: Do you have a secret talent (i.e. can you sing/dance/hold a handstand for 22 mins straight?) My actual secret talent is that I can make my stomach growl. I know, it’s weird.