This has been one of the roughest weeks of my life. On Tuesday, I found out that my good friend from my old job passed away. The news was shocking, but even more so because I just had dinner with her a week or so ago. We had beers and talked about going bookstore shopping.
My friend was one of those people who was there for you when you needed her most. She would come over to my desk at work and talk to me, and I’d always feel better afterward. She called me her “little French dumpling” after I started working at the bakery. She saw to the heart of me and appreciated me for who I truly am. She was extraordinarily gifted in the ability to love.
I was really depressed for a few days after hearing the news, but then, my boss (and friend) took me aside. Life goes on, she told me in French. You have to try.
Even though the words were difficult to hear, I knew that she was right. My friend who passed away would want me to be happy and do the things that bring me joy.
So yesterday night, I impulsively decided to make these no bake brownie bites. They’re not cloyingly sweet and have the perfect balance of salt and sugar. In a way, they’re a lot like my friend. She was sassy and no-BS, but she had the sweetest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.
These are for you, Caroline.
No Bake (Vegan) Brownie Bites (slightly adapted from The First Mess)
for the bites:
1 ½ cups raw walnut pieces/halves
⅓ cup raw cashews
¼ cup raw cacao powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon non-dairy milk (I used almond)
for the cacao glaze:
1 ½ tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
½ teaspoon maple syrup
two to three squares of 72% dark chocolate (omit if you want vegan bites)
finely shredded coconut
bee pollen (not vegan)
hulled hemp seeds
flaky sea salt
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, pulse the walnuts and cashews until you have a meal consistency. Add the cacao powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, and cinnamon. Pulse to mix evenly.
Add the dates and coconut butter to the food processor and run the motor on high, scraping down the sides of the bowl here and there. The mixture should just hold together if you pinch it with your fingers. Flip the motor on to high again, and pour the non-dairy milk in through the feed tube. The dough should ball up and appear glossy, but not too sticky and wet.
Scoop out the brownie bite mixture in 1 ½ teaspoon measures. Roll the portioned mixture into balls, set on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and slide into the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Make the cacao glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, dark chocolate and maple syrup. Whisk over low heat until combined. Set aside.
Retrieve the superfood brownie bites from the refrigerator. Dip each bite into the cacao glaze and set back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle each bite with the sprinkle of your choice.
Store superfood brownie bites in the refrigerator. Enjoy!