Monday, September 7, 2009

Raw Blueberry Brownies

You know what I dislike? (I was going to say hate, but I hate to use that word.) I dislike making something really beautiful and delicious and then realizing, after someone has eaten the very last bite, that I never took a picture of it. Such was the case with my raw blueberry brownies, so you're just going to have to believe me that they were beautiful. Or, make them and see for yourself.

Today I attended Time for Lunch, one of hundreds of Slow Food potlucks around the country where people gathered to support the concept of real food in schools (what a concept). (By the way, during the month of September only, you can become a Slow Food member with any monetary donation, not the usual $60. Interested? Look here.)

Anyway, because this was a Slow Food potluck but I was time-pressed and had to make something fast (ironic), I fell back on an old potluck favorite (at least in my world). (Is it just me, or am I using a lot of parentheticals today?) This is something I make that people just love. They take a bite and look up, mystified. "What is it?" they ask, wide-eyed. "How can it be so good? Is it...bad for me?"

No. No, it's not. And yet, this isn't a brownie you find leftover on people's plates in the trash. This is the brownie that inspires even the most restrained to sneak extra pinches when they think nobody is looking. People want to lick out the pan. It's special, in a sort of earthy-spiritual way. Decadent but nourishing, sweet but wholesome, the best of both worlds. I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything. I didn't make up the concept of raw brownies. But I do consider myself a raw brownie evangelist.

I've made raw brownies from recipes before but today I thought I would try Bethenny Frankel's useful concept of using what you have instead of following a recipe. That's where I came up with the fancy-schmancy idea of adding the bleuberries. I didn't have time to go to the store, so I looked in my cupboards and refrigerator. I used what I had. Here's what I did.

Soak 2 cups walnuts and pecans for about 30 minutes (longer is good but I didn't have longer). Drain and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 cup mixed dried fruit (I had prunes and dried apricots), 1 cup grated coconut, 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Ghiaradelli), about 1/4 cup agave nectar (I didn't actually measure, and technically I'm not sure if agave nectar is raw?), and about 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Process until smooth. Add more agave nectar or a few tablespoons of water if it's too hard, but you want it pretty hard.

Press into a 9-inch square baking pan rubbed with a little bit of coconut (or vegetable) oil. Press down hard.

In a measuring cup, combine about 1/4 cup agave nectar and a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder. Mix well with a spoon. Adjust cocoa powder or agave nectar amounts until it becomes like frosting. Spread over the brownies. Pour fresh blueberries over the top, covering the brownies in a single layer. Put about 1 tablespoon more agave nectar into measuring cup with just about a 1/2 teaspoon cocoa. Mix to make icing. Drizzle over the blueberries. Chill. I only had time to chill mine for about 15 minutes.

Thick, decadent, rich, nourishing, blueberry-beautiful, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, fruity, absolutely delicious...they didn't last long. And I had some silly idea that I could bring home the leftovers. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to make them again.

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