Everyone, even celebrity chefs, has his or her own kitchen disaster. Nigella Lawson, my kitchen idol, admitted that she could never poach an egg correctly. My great aunt in Myanmar always breaks the yolk when she fries an egg. Although I am blessed with the ability to both poach and fry an egg, I cannot bake desserts. Part of me was actually blessed that I lack the personality (I really dislike measuring. There are times when measuring actually gives me migraine) and skills for desserts. Otherwise, my oral fixation to eat every hour will definitely cause trouble for my girth. So, I am always preying on the dessert recipes that are relatively “healthy”, and measurement-and-heat-free.
Recently, I bought a tub of protein powder, fitting workout clothes and gloves to motivate myself to go to the gym more. To my own surprise, the protein powder actually tasted quite delicious. It is thick, sweet, chocolaty and packed with protein – characteristics of quintessential baking ingredients. So, I was inspired to make a flour-less, egg-less, butter-less, no-bake brownie bites. I know that it sounds like I am removing everything and anything that is addictive about a brownie. But, trust me on that this protein-packed brownie recipe will blow your mind.
Baking sounds daunting, at least to me because unlike cooking, I cannot be with the food throughout the process. I am forced to just follow the recipe, throw in oven, do some ritual dance and aimlessly hope that it will turn out great. I guess I am more of a paranoid and over-protective parent when it comes to cooking. But, knowing some of the basis of baking definitely helps. A comprehensive explanation can be found here. In summary, while protein (mostly from wheat gluten or egg white in baking) gives the dough or batter texture, fat supplies the moisture. Despite my limited knowledge in baking, understanding these concepts allow me to manipulate the batter to my own palate, especially in this non-bake recipe, where I can tweak the recipe along the way.
This brownie recipe is everything I want in my desert recipe – easy to make, extremely fudgy, indulgent with only a slight touch of guilt (In my opinion, feeling satisfied and guilty is part of the fun of eating desert. Without guilt would be equivalent to eating spicy food, without the burn and profuse sweat. What’s the point?). Finally, this brownie fudgy brownie gets its worthy partner, a layer of chocolate ganache as thick as the brownie itself. I cubed the brownie into bite size pieces so I don’t end up eating the whole thing in one setting. When you take a bite, you are immediately hit with intense coconut and chocolate aroma from the smooth and airy frosting, which is quickly contrasted by the crunchy and rich brownie. I just hope that all desert recipes cannot be turned into something this easy yet satisfying. Otherwise, I will have to tent in the gym to burn all those calories.
Serves about 4 people
- 1 cup of dried dates (loosely packed)
- ½ cup of chocolate chips (I personally use half of chocolate chips and half of peanut butter chips)
- ½ cup of sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup of oats
- 2/3 cup of protein powder
- 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
- 2 small avocados
- 2 tablespoon of extra-thick and creamy coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Soak the dates in the water for at least five minutes, so they become soft and succulent.
- Combine everything in the food processor, and blend until the mixture turns gooey. The dough should be studded with half-broken chocolate chips and sunflower seeds.
- Line the 6x6 baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the dough and refrigerate for however much long to make the frosting.
- 1/3 of a can (about 4 oz.) of extra-thick and creamy coconut cream
- 1/3 of a cup of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the coconut cream for chocolate ganache
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- Boil a pot of water.
- Place a ceramic bowl on top the pot, leaving an inch of gap between the water and the base of the bowl.
- Plunge in the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of coconut cream. Let the chocolate melt and be sure to stir constantly.
- While the chocolate is melting, you can be productive by whipping the coconut cream with hand held mixer. Whip until the cream becomes fluffy, add cocoa, vanilla extract and cinnamon powder and whip again to mix.
- After the chocolate has been melted completely, stir in the dark hot liquid into the coconut cream mixture. Don’t worry if it starts to melt the cream.
- Let the mixture cool down in the fridge for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the cooled down chocolate ganache on top of the chilled brownie.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.