Since this was the first healthy brownie recipe I ever made that actually tasted good – after a bit of trial and tribulation on my part – I figured they deserved to be the first recipe on this blog. I first made them a little over a year ago and back then I was just getting into cooking to begin with, much less healthy cooking, so these brownies – that I affectionately refer to as Honey Date Brownies – blew me away! Delicious and simple; two things that make for a perfect recipe!
When I say healthy… I mean Paleo, vegan, flourless, nut-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free. Yep, pretty much safe for everyone. No crazy exotic flours either.
My little cousin and I were actually trying to find a healthy brownie recipe to try but so far we’d made two batches of some awful faux-chocolate concoction. The brownies came out tasting bland and bitter and blah. So what’s so special about these ones? Two things: honey and dates.
Since these are sugar-free naturally, they need something to make them sweet and dessert-like. The dates and honey do just that. And they are the perfect dynamic duo for sweetness. The perfect pair to compliment each other’s flavors and pack in the sweetness for dessert-time!
The dates really make the brownies. Just make sure the ones you use are soft and squishy, not hard. I use Deglet Noor dates but Medjools have worked great for me as well and I’m sure any variety of dates would be amazing!
These brownies turn out sweet, chocolate-y, fudgy, and with little sticky-sweet-chewy pieces of dates in every bite… so, in other words, perfection. This is the only paleo brownie recipe that has tasted so damn good and it has become my fall-back dessert recipe when I need something sweet and satisfying to satiate my sweet tooth. These Honey Date Brownies are here to stay!
The recipe can be altered pretty seamlessly! I have made this many times over the past year with many different variations. I’ve used different kinds of dates, different kinds of cocoa, different kinds of eggs (both vegan and non-vegan). I’ve omitted the vanilla, omitted the salt, and even omitted the eggs. I’ve added things like cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric (yep!), all kinds of nuts (pecans are my fav) and topped it with all kinds of berries and fruit and chocolate sauce (healthy homemade kind of course). Every time it comes out tasting amazing.
The chicken egg-version tasted exactly the same when I substituted with flax eggs, but when I didn’t use either it was more loose and didn’t hold together as well. Still delicious though! The original recipe actually mentions using applesauce as a substitute for coconut oil though I haven’t personally tried that yet. The point: sticking to the recipe will guarantee deliciousness, but don’t be afraid to play around with the recipe and change it to accommodate your needs.
Adding nut butter to the batter would not be a bad idea… not a bad idea at all. Or coconut flakes. Definitely not a bad idea.
I’ve actually altered this quite a bit from the original recipe. It called for chicken eggs, baking powder, baking soda and melted chocolate. The first time I ever made these I followed the recipe to the metaphorical t and while it turned out really good, I did tweak it up again the next time I made it. And I kept tweaking to better suit my tastes. I have made it with and without the baking soda/powder and don’t notice a difference to be honest, so I usually omit them. I also don’t always have vanilla extract on hand and while it gives the flavor a nice boost, it isn’t necessary. Adding things can also be really fun!
As a side note, I’ve cooked these brownies in glass, steel, and silicone baking pans. I LOVE silicone baking equipment (this is the exact square mold I used in this recipe). Obviously the brownies come out of the silicone pans better than the others because it is non-stick, but I do feel safer using glass because of possible chemicals. Either way, your brownies are guaranteed to be delicious regardless of your pan choice.
Tip: If you don’t use chicken eggs, this brownie batter can be eaten raw. Yummm. Like a thick chocolate-y sweet frosting.
Honey Date Brownie Batter? Bring it on!
- 2 cups chopped dates (.75 lbs)
- ½ cup raw honey (can use maple syrup)
- 2 flax eggs (or chia eggs or chicken eggs for non-vegans)
- ½ cup MELTED coconut oil (or unsweetened applesauce)
- 1¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Make your flax egg.
- Chop the dates. In a cup, add a tablespoon of hot water to plump them up. Pour in honey and vanilla, give a good mix and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the meantime, melt coconut oil and whip together with eggs (either with a whipper or a fork).
- Add date mixture to egg mixture. Give a good mix.
- Spoon in cocoa powder slowly (a few tablespoons at a time) until the batter is thick and chocolatey. Add salt. The batter should be quite thick.
- Pour batter into pan (glass, metal and silicone all work; use coconut oil if not using a nonstick baking pan).
- Baking for around 20 minutes. The longer you cook the batter, the harder the finished product will be. Best to undercook slightly than overcook.
- Cool in fridge for 1 hour. Enjoy the deliciously sweet Honey Date Brownies anytime, guilt-free.
Adding additional toppings is always a good idea (nuts, chocolate sauce, etc.).
Cooling the brownies in the fridge is an essential step, as they will become firmer and develop a more brownie-like texture. Although eating it straight from the oven is pretty good too...
What do you add to this brownie batter? Do you stick to the recipe or tweak it?