These brownies are impossibly chewy, gooey, and fudgy. They are also gluten-free and dairy-free, contain no refined sugars, and require no baking — but you can keep that to yourself when you serve them, and let folks marvel at the time you must have spent on this decadent confection (shh… these take about 5 minutes of prep time, and then just an hour or so to chill in the fridge).
If you’ve visited What IF…? Gourmet before, then you know I have no room in my diet for empty calories, and even my desserts must offer up lots of nutrients, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. These fudgy brownies fit the bill. I prefer to make small batches of sweets, so I make this 8-serving recipe in a roughly 4″ x 7″ ceramic baking dish, but you could easily double the recipe and press the dough into an 8″ x 8″ pan for 16 servings.
Simplest, Fudgiest, No-Bake Brownies
3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 6) large medjool dates*
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao or more)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
*Use the softest, stickiest medjool dates you can find. I buy them with the pits still in, because they tend to dry out and harden once they have been pitted. If your dates aren’t very soft, then soak them in just-boiled water for 20 minutes and then drain before using.
Prepare a small baking dish (about 4″ x 7″, or similar) by lining it with parchment paper that comes up and over two sides. Lightly grease the other two, unlined sides of the dish with coconut oil.
Grind the cashews in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, and continue to process for another 30 to 40 seconds. Add the medjool dates (remove the pits first!) and pulse until they are coarsely incorporated into the ground cashews. Then process until the mixture starts to form a ball.
Melt the chocolate chips. I do this by heating them in a glass bowl for 30 seconds in the microwave, then stirring for about a minutes, then heating for another 30 seconds, then stirring for another minute or so until all the chocolate is melted. Use as little heat as possible to melt all the chips. Add the cocoa powder to the melted chocolate and stir to combine. At first, the mixture will look lumpy and grainy. Continue to stir for two to three minutes, until the mixture looks smooth and glossy.
Add the chocolate mixture to the cashew-date mixture in the food processor. Process for about a minute, until mixture is smooth and has gathered itself into a ball. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula and continue processing, if necessary. Press the chocolate dough into the prepared pan with a spatula or your fingers, being sure to press down well along the edges and in the corners. Fold the parchment paper gently over the top of the dough. Chill for at least one hour, or longer.
Loosen the brownies along the unlined edges of the baking dish with a knife, and then lift them from the baking dish with the parchment paper. Cut into sixteen pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes 8 servings.