Raw Chocolate Orange Brownies (Vegan)

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Two days after Christmas me and my boyfriend were sat in bed, just after dinner, eating junk while simultaneously complaining about how full we were. I was eating chocolate, while he was eating crisps. For a while now, we have both been trying to urge each other to eat better, exercise more and drink less, but after being in that long-term relationship stage of ‘comfortable’ for a long, long time, it is easy quite difficult to find motivation when all we want to do is watch Netflix and binge eat.

While we laughed at the irony of our complaints, we both decided that we didn’t just want to be comfortable anymore, we wanted to push ourselves and feel better overall. Then, something happened that I definitely do not recommend that you do over Christmas; we weighed ourselves. Now, I am a firm believer that weight isn’t the be all and end all and as long as you are comfortable that is all that matters. I have already established that is no way on earth that I am going on any sort of diet, we just need to inject a bit of common sense and grandmothers wisdom; eat more nutritional food and exercise more. We may be just be enthused by the motivational buzz that new year brings, but I hope that if we have each other to spur each other on, we might be able to become that better, healthier version of ourselves that we are aiming for.

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This recipe has been barely adapted from this recipe from Deliciously Ella. Gooey, chocolatey and sweet this is a great after dinner treat.  It is a typical post-Christmas recipe that is somewhat healthy, yet still gives you that chocolaty hit, so you don’t have to go full cold-turkey. You can use shop-bought or home-made almond butter to make this, I have included how you can make your own almond butter below. 

Ingredients for 16 squares:

For the Brownies:

  • 230g ground almonds
  • 7 tbsp cacao powder
  • 200g dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes then drained
  • 75g maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the Frosting:

  • 85g almond butter*
  • 40g coconut oil
  • 35g maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • Zest of 1 orange (reserve some to decorate the top)
  • 125ml orange juice (2 oranges)

Method: 

  1. Line a 20cm square tin with clingfilm
  2. Blitz all the ingredients for the brownies together into a food processor, until thoroughly combined
  3. Spread into the square tin, into an even layer
  4. Make the frosting by blitzing all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor
  5. Spread over the top of the brownies and sprinkle over the remaining orange zest
  6. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing into 16 squares

* To make your own almond butter, roast 250g almonds in a 190oc oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and blitz in a powerful food processor for 10-15 minutes or until smooth. You will need to scrape down the sides of the food processor occasionally, and it may seem like it’s taking forever, but be patient! Store leftover almond butter in an airtight container for up to a few weeks.