Fudgy Dark Chocolate Balsamic Basil Brownies (Raw)

There are so many places to begin this post that I am finding myself at a loss for words. I have two exciting things to share today, and while they are distinctly different and important in their own ways, I find them blurring together in my mind. I think it might be because they both represent the future in an abstract yet date specific kind of way. 

It is Spice & Sprout's 2nd birthday!

When I started out two years ago, I knew nothing of the blogging world. I read a handful of food blogs and spent all of my free time in the kitchen with messy hands and a full heart. I loved cooking and baking (I still do) and it seemed like the natural progression of my childhood and teenage passions to start this space. It's funny to be on the other side. While my passion hasn't dwindled, I do find myself motivated by different reasons. I would love to say that readers and followers don't factor into my feelings of self worth, but that would be dishonest. It can be hard to separate out external vs. internal validations. That being said, I am ever so grateful for the amazing community that I am now a part of.

I had no idea of the intense support system that exists in this community before I started blogging. I can honestly say that I have never felt competitive or jealous of the bloggers around me, but instead so completely inspired by the beautiful work that they all do. Every writer, photographer, recipe developer, cook, and stylist (because sometimes blogger feels reductive) is unique and has their own vision. I feel so lucky to be a part of this world and I want to send a big hug out to everyone who hangs out in this space with me. Thank you for your constant support, your sweet messages, and the brightness that you bring into my life. xo

I am moving to Vancouver!

It's happening! So soooooon! I am so ridiculously excited.

I don't know exactly why I wanted to share these two things in the same post, but they both feel important and monumental in my life. At the end of June, Sebastian and I will pack up the few belongings we own (plus our cat) and fly across the country to start a new adventure. 

I've spoken about my love for the outdoors here before and this move feels so intuitive. We are starting something fresh and new, in a city overflowing with green spaces and beautiful views. The mountains and the ocean. That's all I keep thinking of. It is not an exaggeration to say this takes up at least 50% of my headspace daily. 

I am sure I'll talk more about this move as it approaches. I can't wait to hear from all of you west coasters on the best places to eat, hike, and travel to. And I can't wait to meet some of you in person!

So many exciting things on the horizon, my loves. You all rule ♥

Did you think I was going to forget to tell you about these brownies?

They are kind of my idea of perfection. I would never claim to have made the perfect brownie recipe (who are we kidding) but these are a pretty joyous spin on the classic fudgy raw version. 

The actual brownie is spiked with balsamic vinegar. Amidst the dense chocolatey goodness you get hints of that almost floral brightness. A deep tang that lingers for just a moment after the chocolate disperses. 

Basil provides an earthy, bright contrast to the deeper flavour notes. It is infused in coconut oil and whipped into a creamy, rich ganache that tops the brownies. Personally, I think a raw brownie always deserves a little love on top.

The creamy layers are juxtaposed with bits of walnut, adding some crunch and texture variation. 

I cannot say enough good things about these brownies. I really hope that you try them out and let me know what you think. Remember you can always tag @spiceandsprout to show me your creations! 

fudgy dark chocolate balsamic basil brownies (raw)

Makes an 8x8 dish of brownie goodness! 

The hardest part about these brownies is the waiting. For the brownies to properly set, you really need to leave them for at least an hour in the freezer before serving. Keep this in mind when planning to make these treats! :)

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Ingredients

Brownies

  • 2 1/2 cups walnuts, divided
  • 2 cups gooey pitted dates 
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ganache

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 5 basil leaves, minced
  • 50g chopped dark chocolate (I used 90% but anything over 70% works)
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • walnuts and chopped basil to decorate

 

Notes

Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (you can oil the dish if you want, it makes the parchment paper stick more easily). Set aside. 

In a food processor, combine 2 cups of the walnuts and all of the dates. Blend on high until it forms a dough that gathers into a ball inside the food processor (see photos 3 and 4). Add the rest of the brownie ingredients and continue to process until the dough is thick and slightly sticky (it shouldn't take more than a minute or two). Add in the remaining half cup of walnuts and pulse once or twice until they are mixed in but not blended. 

Press the brownie dough into the prepared baking dish and make sure it is evenly distributed and smooth on the top. Place in the freezer to set. 

To make the ganache melt the coconut oil with the basil in a double boiler (boil a pot of water and place a heatproof dish over it). Once melted add in the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts. Add in the cacao powder and maple syrup and whisk until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. 

Pour the ganache over the brownies and spread so that it evenly coats the top. Sprinkle on chopped walnuts and basil. Place back into the freezer and let set for at least one hour before serving. These brownies are super fudgy and will be too gooey to cut if they don't set for long enough. Store in a sealed container in the freezer for a couple of weeks.