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Sugar-Free, Bake-Free, Gluten-Free Brownies…and they’re actually good!

Posted Oct 12 2011 9:07pm

I won’t lie to you.  When I saw a recipe for these vegan no-bake brownies I thought “what are the odds that this is going to be good?”  I had already bet on a vegan no-bake dessert the night before (Chocolate mousse made with tofu and agave) and lost.

So tonight again, I wanted something a little sweet, but I wanted something without sugar so it would be healthier and guilt-free too.  I bought some dates because I know these are used a lot in baking to replace sugar and add moistness like in oil or butter in desserts.

no-bake brownies

These moist, sweet little gems have no oil and no sugar

I was pleasantly surprised.  They were very good, satisfied my sweet tooth, and I didn’t have to wait for them to cool.  The only down side is, there is no batter bowl to lick.

The recipe calls for Medjool dates which are a specific kind of date that is very large.  You can find these at most grocery stores.  I, being the observant person that I am, chose the regular dates, not the Medjool, but they worked fine.  After reading the story supplied  in the link for Medjool dates above, I will buy them next time as they are supposed to have a more tender “caramel-like” texture and flavor– far above that of the ordinary date.  So if you can find them, indulge.


  • 1 cup walnuts (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup dates (preferably about 12 Medjool dates)
  • 1/4 cup almonds (unsalted) crushed or chopped
  • food processor
  1. Remove pits from dates if not already done.  If you are using whole almonds, place them in a plastic bag and whack them with a heavy spoon or the like.
  2. Place the walnuts in the food processor and process on high until the nuts are finely ground
  3. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp salt.  Pulse to combine
  4. Turn on the food processor.  As the processor is running, add the dates, one at a time.  Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable. (if you process it long enough it may form a ball)  Throw almonds in the mix and pulse to combine.  (if ball has formed, you can mix the almonds in in a bowl)

    brownie batter

    the batter will look crumbly, but will form easily

  • Form the brownies:  Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with wax paper and press mix into desired thickness.  The batter will be moist and oily.  If the mix doesn’t reach to all ends of the pan, just form it as you want.  You can also press them into mini-muffin tin forms (as I did).  Place in the fridge or freezer 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.  They are easily cut when cold.  You could also form into balls like truffles and roll in cocoa powder if you want a more festive look.
  • You can dust with cinnamon if you like.

    Makes 12 mini muffins Serving size: 1 brownie
    Nutrition:  Calories: 151,  Fat: 8g,  Carbs: 21 g,  Protein: 3g, Fiber: 3g, Iron: 5.8% RDA  Calcium: 4.4% RDA

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