Raw Hazelnut & Chai Brownies

After six months of traveling around the world, our life has now finally settled back to normal. And that is when we realize that we don’t know what normal is anymore. Even though Luise and I have been living together for a couple of years, it feels like our life as a family starts now. Just like Elsa, we are taking our first trembling steps towards our new family life. Right now we have no idea how that life will turn out, how we will find a balance between work and family, or even in which country our life will take place during the next couple of years. You might say that we have some figuring out to do. One thing that we do know, is that we will keep on sharing our favorite recipes with you. Like these Chai & Hazelnut Brownies that Luise made the other day. We would be lying if we called them healthy, but they are at least vegan, raw and gluten free. And they taste – pardon my french – fingerlickin’ good!

Before moving on to the recipe, we want to give you some basic tips when baking with dates.
1. Always use fresh dates. They should be dry on the outside, and very soft and sticky on the inside.
2. If you have to use dried dates, you need to soak them in drinking water a couple of hours before baking with them.
3. If you can’t find dates at all you can try using raisins, dried figs, dried plums or dried apricots (remember to always soak dried fruit first).
4. When you blend dates they should turn into a very sticky paste, so you need a strong food processor or blender. If you do not have one, place the pitted dates on a plate and mash with a fork until sticky and like caramel.

Raw Hazelnut & Chai Brownies
Makes 12 brownies

What makes this cake special is that it is spiced up with chai spices, it gives it such an unique taste! Use normal tea bags, cut them open and just pour them in the dough, isn’t it easy? -and you can choose green, black or herbal chai tea!

2 cups (5 dl) fresh medjool dates, pitted
4 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, room temperature
2 tbsp maple syrup

6 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp ground vanilla or vanilla extract
3 chai tea bags, (or your favorite tea blend) cut them open
2 tbsp ground flax seeds, chia, psyllium or hemp
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup (1,2 dl) raw hazelnut, coarsely chopped (or nuts and seeds of choice)

Place all ingredients, except the hazelnuts, in a food processor or a high speed blender. Mix until smooth, you probably have to scrape the mixture down with a spoon a couple of times. Add the chopped hazelnuts and knead the ‘dough’ by hand. Cover  a brownie tin with plastic wrap and press down the dough to about 1/2 inch (1,25 cm) high. Rub a bit of coconut oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Put the cake in the fridge and let it set for a least half an hour. Cut in brownie-size pieces, dust with cacao powder and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Photos by: Johanna Frenkel.