Recently a patron asked if I could make some date-sweetened brownies.
A what? A patron? What's this? A patron is someone who supports me financially on Patreon by paying as little as $1 per post. In return, patrons can ask questions for me to answer on this blog, suggest topic ideas, request recipes, and more. But why would a blogger need financial support? Good question. Let me break down my answer into three parts.
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So, what about those date-sweetened brownies?
Ah yes, the date brownies. So a patron asked if I could make a batch of date-sweetened brownies. "Sure!" I said before immediately getting into a situation that prevented me from being able to work on it for a few weeks (more on that in a later post). But never fear, today the day finally came when I could devote myself entirely to an afternoon of brownie experimentation.
The delayed timing of this turned out to be perfect because for the last few weeks, my husband and I have been discussing the idea of using our nutrition knowledge to create our own recipes to present on this blog, with the hopes of amassing enough to someday make a complete cookbook. We're excited about this venture because until now, all the recipes I've shared on this blog have either been someone else's recipe or a slightly tweaked version of someone else's recipe. My husband and I finally feel like we have the confidence in the kitchen to create our own recipes. So that's what we're going to do: create from-scratch recipes that reflect our desire to combine optimal nutrition and delicious flavors. We want to create real, clean food using fresh, whole ingredients — the kind of food that will make you feel amazing after you consume it. We also want to create food that tastes good, period. Those are our goals.
Perhaps what's most exciting about this project is that my husband and I are merging our very different food backgrounds to give you a variety of options when making our dishes. I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and am to the point now where my diet contains very little dairy or eggs. My husband is a carnivore from Belgium who loves fine food, good beer, and bold flavors. We have been cooking meals together for the last few years and you can often find a little bit of both our personalities in the dishes we choose.
So today we're presenting our first recipe from Krike's Kitchen (Kristen + Mike = Krike): oohey gooey brownies. I knew I wanted to make date-sweetened brownies, but I also wanted to see how else I could "healthify" a brownie recipe. I looked at black bean brownie recipes. I looked at avocado brownie recipes. I looked at date-sweetened brownie recipes. Ultimately, I decided to make a combination of all three.
These brownies are about as clean and natural as you can get. No sugar, no oil, no flour, no butter. The sweetness comes from dates and a hint of maple syrup and vanilla. The creaminess comes from avocado and black beans. The intense chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder. This is a brownie you can feel good about eating.
I am a huge fan of keeping ingredients plant-based, especially when it comes to baking. I rarely use eggs or butter because I just don't feel like they're necessary to create delicious flavors. Mike will be contributing some meaty dishes in the future, so I think you'll find there's something for everyone in our recipe selections.
I had so much fun making these brownies because I was truly experimenting. I had no expectations of the outcome. I've learned to adapt to different scenarios in the kitchen, so I now have a much better idea of how to fix problems that arise. There are a few ingredients I added in the end that I wasn't originally planning to put in the recipe. Once I added them, it made all the difference.
So how do you make these oohey gooey brownies? I'm so glad you asked. Without further ado, I present to you our inaugural From Krike's Kitchen recipe.
FROM KRIKE'S KITCHEN: CHEAP DATE BROWNIES
For the crust:
1 1/2 c pitted dates
2 c walnuts
For the brownies:
1 15 oz. can BPA-free black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c cashews
1 c pitted dates
1 pinch sea salt
2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c milk of choice (I used an almond/coconut blend)
1 T maple syrup
First, make the crust. (Why do these brownies have a crust? The brownies themselves are delicious but so oohey gooey, so the crust gives them a solid base.)
Combine dates and walnuts in a high-powered food processor. Blend well. Use a spatula to blend crust into a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Pop in the fridge while making the brownies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put all brownie ingredients in high-powered food processor. Blend well. Batter will be thick and creamy.
Pour batter over crust and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let fully cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour. This helps the brownies firm up. Even at their firmest, they will still be a little oohey gooey. Be prepared to get a little messy as you enjoy these amazing morsels.
Done and yum!