We all have warm & fuzzy memories associated with brownies, I think. For some reason, most of my memories of making brownies are kin to that scene in Matilda where she’s magically whipping up her own breakfast. I have no memories of an adult supervisor being present.
Cake events, yes. Pie, perhaps. But my mother is ever the chef and rarely the baker. Although, I remember hearing stories of her bread-baking skills. She gave up her interest in most baking adventures after realizing that she was so good at it that it had added more than a few inches to everyones waistlines. My dad still laughs (somewhat despairingly) about that one.
Brownies were all about the box mix, of course. At 13 I could intelligently handle adding oil, eggs and milk to a bowl of sugary brownie powder. My mother was probably patiently hovering nearby, pretending she was busy with something else. I remember the sense of satisfaction and independence I got from making brownies on my own… it was unmatched by almost anything else in my young life.
As an adult, I get that feeling from developing new recipes. And doubly so when I mastered this quirky trip of a vegan brownie recipe!
I got the idea for these babies from a local baker who makes her own date-sweetened vegan brownies with buckwheat flour. I tried them and was completely enamored. But I had no clue what her process was. So, I set out to reconstruct them based on the flavor and texture alone.
It wasn’t until I started treating them more like, well, traditional brownies that I really got it.
And thank goodness I did. Because WOW. I mean, these brownies… I would say they’re on the level of mind blowing.
When you think about it, a brownie made with buckwheat flour, dates, figs, coconut oil and cocoa powder shouldn’t taste like a classic brownie. The only ingredient in these kin to a classic brownie is cocoa powder.
But TRUST ME. They taste amazingly like the classic version, albeit with a slightly deeper and more molasses-like flavor from the dates.
And, yeah, they’re healthy. Made with real-food, refined sugar free ingredients and whole, plant-based fats.
But why make brownies with dates and figs, Renee? Well, firstly, dates and figs are a refined sugar free source of sweetness. Dates are high in iron, potassium, B-vitamins and vitamins A and K. Figs contain calcium, magnesium manganese and vitamins K and B6. The dates and figs give the brownies a deep, molasses & caramel flavor. Not to mention that the fiber in the fruit gives the brownies heft, satisfying richness and a pull-apart quality. Oh and that fiber? It makes you eat fewer at a time because they fill you up faster. It’s a win win win win WIN.
Note: In the end, I decided that these vegan brownies don’t need a ganache swirl on top (despite the photos). I mean, yeah, it looks pretty fabulous! But the brownie itself ended up being so rich and decadent that more chocolate on top is serious overkill. (I shot these photos during my second trial run when they needed some extra oomph).