Vegan Healthy Brownies With Peppermint Candy Cane Frosting
- 1 425 grams can black beans drained and well rinsed
- 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- 1/3 cup chopped Medjool dates (about 4-5, see notes)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond butter
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or other unrefined sweetener, OR add 1-2 extra dates)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup semi-sweet baking chips (vegan & refined-sugar-free. If you can't find chips, just crush a vegan dark chocolate bar.)
- 3/4 cups raw cashews soaked in hot water 1 hour or 6-8 hours at room temperature
- 1/4 cup vanilla yoghurt (I like cashew yoghurt for this recipe)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2-3 drops of pure peppermint extract. (Or 1/2-1 teaspoon of peppermint flavour. Do not use if oil free.)
- 2-3 strawberries
To make the brownies:
- Preheat oven to 180 °C. Use a non-stick 20cm x 20cm baking pan (Or lightly oil if not non-stick.).
- To soften the dates, place them in a small dish with 1 tablespoon of water in the microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds.
- To a large food processor, add the dates (and any liquid), beans, oats, cocoa powder, applesauce, almond butter, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt. Blend well until completely mixed, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. You want a creamy mixture, with no chewy chunks of oats or beans.
- Stir in the chocolate chips, but DO NOT BLEND (I stir them right in the food processor, just be careful not to get brownie mix in the whole in the centre!).
- Spread the brownie mix evenly in the pan and place in the oven. Cook, uncovered, 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the centre comes out clean (If the toothpick hits a chocolate chip, it will come out coated with melted chocolate! Check a different spot.). If they're a bit soft after cooling, they will firm up over time or place them in the fridge.
To make the frosting:
- Place the cashews, yoghurt, maple syrup, peppermint extract (or flavour) and strawberries in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. This can take several minutes.
- You can serve as is, but I recommend placing the frosting in refrigerator for about 1 hour to firm up.
- Spread a generous layer of frosting over brownies, ideally, just before eating. Store any extra frosting or frosted brownies in the refrigerator.
- Optional: If desired, top with crushed peppermint candies or candy canes JUST BEFORE EATING - (Do not use if you want to keep the recipe refined-sugar free.).