Vegan Hazelnut Brownies with Cacao Frosting
These hazelnut brownies are kind of an accidental post. It all started with a bag of hazelnut flour. I had used the bulk of it making the crust for a strawberry rhubarb galette (kind of a free-form pie without a pie plate) last weekend. The galette was pretty tasty but the crust still needed a little finessing which I hope to do before rhubarb season is over.
On Monday morning, this half-full bag of hazelnut flour was sitting on the counter, staring me right in the face. I had to do something with it. As a former Nutella addict, when ever I see hazelnuts, I think chocolate. Except when I was thinking strawberry rhubarb galette. Ok…back to the bag of flour. On a whim, I threw the flour in a mixing bowl and started working on vegan hazelnut brownies. I wanted to make a recipe that was oil free and low in refined sugar. Dang if it didn’t turn out great and worthy of a blog post for you!
My sweetener of choice right now is homemade date paste. Even though dates are 80% sugar, they are also full of nutrients and fiber. Crazily enough, dates don’t adversely effect blood sugar. And eating them can cause benefits in triglycerides and antioxidant stress levels. Dr. Greger has a wonderful video on dates as a green light food here: Dates.
I wanted to keep the ingredients simple so I used golden flax seeds for the binder, and no oil! A little baking powder and apple cider vinegar gives some lightness to this fudge-like brownie and that is it. You can add a half of a cup of Lily’s Chocolate Chips (sweetened with stevia) or cacao nibs for a little extra chocolate surprise.
In went the date paste to sweeten the brownies. But if you are anything like me, sometimes, date paste just isn’t enough. So, as an experiment, I also added a little maple syrup to even things out. And that is the beauty of this recipe. Use a bunch of healthy sweetener and balance it out with a bit of maple syrup and you get deeper, more complex, sweeter flavor than if you had just used dates.
When they came out of the oven, it was apparent that a little frosting would make a good thing, better. So I obliged. I still wanted to keep it as healthy as possible so I took my chocolate mousse recipe and altered it a tad to make a delicious frosting. Once again, sweetened with date paste and a little maple syrup. And to balance off the flavor and make it taste a little more like traditional chocolate frosting, a half of a cup of Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips. It’s entirely optional but it is amazing how much just a little bit of a more traditional ingredient can round out the flavor.
Don’t be afraid of flax in a recipe! If you use golden flax, you really don’t taste it. And it brings with it numerous health benefits! They are high in antioxidents, good for your heart, help fight cancer, and are high in omega 3’s! Bring on the flax and bring on the health!
For a raw version of Hazelnut Brownies, click here: Hazelnut Brownies
This is not a sponsored post, nor do I have any connection with Lily’s Chocolate Chips. I just really love them. As always, we do get a tiny commission if you use our links to buy the product off of amazon. It goes towards paying for the cost of the ingredients and site maintenance. Cheers!
Makes One 8-inch x 8-inch pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 2 cups hazelnut flour
- 1/2 cup cacao powder (can substitute cocoa powder)
- 1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup date paste (see below)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup Lilys’ Sugar Free Chocolate Chips or Cacao Nibs optional
- In a medium size bowl, stir together hazelnut flour and cacao powder.
- In a second bowl stir together, ground flax seeds, water, date paste and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
- Spread in an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.
- Let cool and spread with frosting.
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup date paste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1/2 Lily’s chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled (optional)
- Place all ingredients except melted chocolate in food processor and process until smooth.
- Add optional melted chocolate chips. Process until completely blended.
- 2 cups dates
- Water to cover by 1-inch
- Soak dates until they are soft and plump. (Overnight is great)
- Put dates in a high-speed blender along with 1/2 to 3/4 cup soaking water. Blend until smooth.