Valentine's Day Treats: Raw & Vegan Cherry Walnut Brownies

Call me a hopeless romantic, corny, or maybe I just love all things heart shaped, but I seriously love Valentines Day. I can honestly say the week leading up to V-day is one of my favorite weeks of the year! (I mean how cute are all the cupcakes, cookies, candles, and whatever else they sell that is heart shaped, pink, red, and gold )

This weekend I was experimenting with raw and vegan Valentines Day desserts for my friends & family and made these brownies from only a few items I already had in my cupboard.  All I can say, is WOW! These are so delicious and totally guilt free! Besides the fact that there is no processed sugar or dairy in the brownie batter, what I love the most about these babies is there is no baking time required. Just blend all ingredients, cut, and enjoy!

Say it isn't so... raw cacao is a superfood with all the advantages of chocolate - tons of antioxidants, magnesium, and iron - with none of the sugar. According to Chris Kilham, author of Medicine Hunting in Paradise ( , the compounds in cocoa elevate serotonin and enhance a feeling of well-being. Cocoa contains phenethylamine (PEA), a compound that stimulate endorphins and enhances the activity of dopamine, associated with the feelings of pleasure.

Need another reason to enjoy raw cacao? Cocoa has been linked to enhanced brain function and researchers have found that flavanols, like those found in cocoa could play a promising role in treating brain conditions such as stroke and dementia.

R E C I P E : 

1 Cup Raw Cacoa Powder ( I use this one and it's great quality)
1 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1 Tablespoon Maca Powder (Optional for added health benefits)
3/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
5 Medjool Dates
6 Dried Tart Cherries
1/4 Cup of Filtered Water
Powdered Sugar (For Dusting)
Cinnamon (For Dusting)

D I R E C T I O N S:

Blend all ingredients in food processor or Vitamix Blender. If you find your dough is not sticky, add another date or a tiny bit more water to help with the consistency. Roll out dough on parchment paper and refrigerate covered for about 10-15 minutes. Using cookie cutters cut your desired shapes and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar. The powdered sugar is optional for those who are limiting sugar intake. Enjoy!

HOW TO BENEFIT FROM RAW CACAO: Dubbed as "The Food of The Gods",  add 1 heaping teaspoon of raw cacao to your smoothies (Banana, Coconut, Chocolate anyone?)  or use as a replacement in baking. Look for 100% pure, certified organic products only.