Almost raw brownies with maple ganache
The other night I had dream that I accidentally pulled out into oncoming traffic while driving my brother's truck. Just as I made impact with an 18 wheeler, I shot up out of bed and immediately thought THE FUCKING SUGAR (or, well, lack thereof) because half a dozen of you wrote in to let me know that I'd probably be experiencing some seriously trippy dreams during the initial detox. But considering I'm still eating natural sugar and pure maple syrup, I figured the lack of refined sugar alone couldn't be enough to cause trippy dreams. So I took to my trusty friend Google and once I read the result, it hit me: it's not the lack of sugar. It's the anxiety surrounding the fact that I'm finally announcing the business we've been keeping secret for the past year and a half.. in less than 48 hours.
Well. That was two days ago so I'll give you a wild guess what today is.
I've told you this before, but it was never our plan to stay in Denver. It was always a safe spot for us to rest and get things in order (read: get back on our feet) before we moved on to what we thought would be bigger and better things. But Denver grew on me the way the unrelenting ivy grows up the exterior of the place we now call home. And despite the fact that the air is thin and dirty and the city has become so crowded that I can no longer get a seat at my favorite bar on a Friday night, I love it here. The people. The food. Our proximity to the mountains. But we were pretty damn close to packing it all up and saying SAYONARA, DENVER. And had it not been for a jar of pungent green coconut oil that played musical chairs around our kitchen for a good 12 months, I'm 99% certain we'd be on a completely different path right now. Isn't that crazy to think? That a jar of freakin' coconut oil drastically altered the direction of our lives? It blows my mind every time I think about it.
Anyway. The coconut oil. I made something delicious with it and let's just say it was really well received. And a few months after the fact, I finally worked up the guts to confront Thom and be all Hey a lot of people like these things and I think we're in a pretty sweet spot to make something happen.
So we are. Because not only did Thom take my wild idea and embrace it, he ran with it. And not once did he hesitate or second guess the concept I just kind of hurled into the Universe one day, totally thinking he'd roll his eyes and move on because we had plans. Loose plans, but plans that would offer security and a fair amount of travel. Not ones that would come with a five year commercial lease and a mountain full of risk. Unlike me, neither of those things phased him because, you know, it's the cost of doing business. But on days that I've felt like we're way in over our heads - on days that I've wanted to say FTS and return to a life without suffocating uncertainty - he's been right behind me, picking up the pieces and reminding me that I can do this. That we can do this. That, "You are King Midas and you have the power to turn everything around you to gold." And for that I am eternally grateful because without Thom on my side - without his unwavering support and his grit and his fierce dedication - our life would probably look a lot different right now. He is, without a doubt, the reason this company exists. All because he was willing to forgo his short-term hopes and dreams to make my seemingly unattainable ones a reality.
Here's to new beginnings, to a wild idea, and to the recipe that started it all (minus one special ingredient, for obvious reasons). Somewhere out there, five year old me - who swore she'd grow up and be a teacher - is losing her shit right now.
Head over to Jessica Murnane's One Part Podcast to find out what we've got up our sleeves. And a little update from when we taped the pod: we got our license. Which means we're official. And yes, I celebrated appropriately.
Notes: I've made these brownies with almonds and walnuts in place of the cashews - and both turned out delicious - but the cashew base is my favorite as it doesn't interfere with the flavor of the cacao or maple ganache. If you'd like these to be 100% raw, replace the rolled oats with 3/4 cup more of raw cashew pieces. If your dates are on the dry side, soak them in warm water for ~10 minutes before using. If you don't have a mini cheesecake pan, you can press the mixture into a 6" cake pan and smear with ganache. Tastes just the same. PROMISE.
ALMOST RAW BROWNIES WITH MAPLE GANACHE
1 1/2 cups (190g) raw cashew pieces
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (34g) cacao powder
Heavy pinch of fine sea salt
12-14 (210g) medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons (24g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
2-3 tablespoons (28-42g) unsweetened almondmilk
1/2 cup (34g) cacao powder
3 tablespoons (36g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3-4 tablespoons (45-60g) Grade B maple syrup
Pinch of fine sea salt
YOU'LL ALSO NEED
Sea salt flakes
Lightly grease a 12 cavity mini cheesecake pan with coconut oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the cashews and oats into a super fine meal (this should take about 1-2 minutes), then add the cacao powder and sea salt and pulse just until combined. Add the dates (see notes above if working with dry dates) and pulse for 25-30 seconds, until evenly distributed. Add the coconut oil and almondmilk and process until fully incorporated. Divide and press the mixture into the cavities of the prepared pan then transfer to the freezer to chill for 20-30 minutes.
While the brownies are chilling, whip up the ganache by adding the cacao powder and 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil to a small bowl; whisk until all of the cacao power clumps dissolve, then whisk in the remaining coconut oil. Add the maple syrup and whisk just until combined (make sure your maple syrup is room temperature, otherwise it will cause the coconut oil to solidify). Once the brownies have chilled, pop them out of the pan and place them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with a spoonful of ganache, dust with cacao powder, and sprinkle with almonds, cacao nibs, and sea salt flakes. Brownies can be kept refrigerated (or frozen) for up to one month.
Although delicious at room temperature (while the ganache is perfectly melty), I prefer to eat the brownies straight from the fridge (because the chilled ganache develops a consistency similar to fudge).
Yield: 12 brownies