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Raw Brownies and 30 Healthy + Whole Desserts

Raw Brownies | A Couple Cooks

Raw Brownies | A Couple Cooks

“Healthy desserts” is something of an oxymoron, we know. But right now, it’s the best term we have to describe desserts that are made of whole, nourishing foods. We’re all for splurging on standard desserts on occasion, but we’ll admit — sometimes a meal needs a sweet ending and we’re all out of our splurge quota for the week. So most often, we try to tailor the desserts we eat so that they contain nourishing whole foods. They’re better on the stomach and leave us feeling energized instead of sluggish.

We’ve devised the term “healthy + whole” to describe this type of dessert. What we look for in a healthy + whole dessert recipe is that it contains mostly real foods (like nuts, fruit, cocoa powder, milk, even chocolate on occasion), if possible contains natural sugars (like honey, maple syrup, or dates), and is relatively light on the refined sugar, refined flour, and butter (within reason).

What we don’t call a healthy + whole dessert are those not-too-healthy recipes with “healthy” ingredients added (like adding simply black beans to brownies or zucchini to chocolate chip cookies), or desserts that are categorized as healthy based entirely on calorie count and/or unreasonably tiny servings.

One of our first ventures into healthy desserts was the raw brownie, inspired by My New Roots. The thought that you could make a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth made only of dates and nuts changed our whole paradigm. We decided the photograph from our original post on the raw brownie needed a bit of updating, so we’ve re-photographed it here, updated the recipe, and added a list of the top 10 healthy + whole desserts from our site, as well as 30 extras from around the web.

Do you have a favorite wholesome dessert recipe? Let us know!

Healthy + Whole Desserts | A Couple CooksOur top 10 favorite healthy + whole desserts from A Couple Cooks

1. Raw Brownies (pictured above; recipe below) 

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse (4 Ingredients) | A Couple Cooks

3. Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes | A Couple Cooks

4. Triple Berry Raw Brownie Parfait

Triple Berry Raw Brownie Parfait | A Couple Cooks

5. Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint (not quite in season right now, but one of our favorites ever

Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint | A Couple Cooks

6. Dark Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream | A Couple Cooks

7. Roasted Bananas with Toasted Coconut

Roasted Bananas with Toasted Coconut | A Couple Cooks

8. Five-Spice Roasted Pears

Five Spice Roasted Pears | A Couple Cooks

9. Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

Healthy Chocolate Milkshake | A Couple Cooks

10. Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Clusters

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Clusters | A Couple Cooks20 More from Around the Web

Frozen Chocolate Bananas from Love and Lemons

Berries and Coconut Cream from Love and Lemons

Raw Almond Cacao Nib Bites from Oh Ladycakes

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Mousse from Oh My Veggies

Vegan Fudgsicles from Vegetarian Ventures

Raw Carrot Cake with Citrus Frosting from The First Mess

Honey and Wild Blueberry Smoothie from Pinch of Yum

Prosecco Poached Peaches and Coconut Yogurt from Girl Versus Dough

Peanut Butter Bites from Sprouted Kitchen

Watermelon Granitas with Coconut Whipped Cream from How Sweet It Is

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies from My New Roots

Grilled Pears with Cinnamon Drizzle from A House in the Hills

Vegan Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Bars from Dolly and Oatmeal on Food 52

Yogurt Brulee from Not Without Salt

Raw Vegan Banana Cream Pie from Minimalist Baker

Baked Figs with Honey, Ginger, and Vanilla from London Bakes

Ricotta Pear Stacks from Food Loves Writing

Avocado Chocolate Pudding from Edible Perspective

Strawberry and Quinoa Parfait from Foodie Crush

Peach Crisps from Cookie and Kate 

Raw Brownies + 30 Healthy Desserts
 
by:
Makes: 10-12
What You Need
  • 1 cup walnuts (unsalted)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
What To Do
  1. Remove the pits from the dates.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place 1 cup walnuts. Process on high until the nuts are finely ground. Add ½ cup cocoa powder and ⅛ teaspoon kosher or sea salt. Pulse to combine.
  3. Turn on the food processor. As the processor is running, add the dates one at a time. Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable. Add the almonds and pulse several times to combine.
  4. In a small, square dish, press the dough into the desired thickness (press it into the desired shape, even if it does not fill the entire pan). If desired, place in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Store refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for several months.
Notes
Adapted from My New Roots
 

 

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Comments 12

  1. Michelle

    I should have looked at this tomorrow since it is about time to go to bed and I am getting serious dessert cravings now. :p Your previous raw brownie recipe was the first of your recipes that I made. This was a nice reminder that I should make it again. :)

  2. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures

    Yes! This is the best kind of round up – I’m in love with those dark chocolate pistachio clusters (so colorful, petite, and delicious looking!). I find it so great to have so many wonderful resources like the recipes you mentioned above to curb sweet cravings without compromising health. There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a dessert that you know you are retaining tons of nutrients from in the form of dates, nuts, and spices.

  3. Kathryn

    Love this approach – we’ve been pretty good had just having plain yoghurt with a splash of honey or a couple of squares of dark chocolate when the sweets craving strikes but I’m excited to branch out a bit more but still keep thing slight + nourishing!

  4. Lydia

    I’m not sure this is what you intended to do with this post, but Thursday night I made flourless chocolate cakes and last night the dark chocolate coconut ice cream…hmm…which one should I make tonight?

  5. Elizabeth Yelle

    Your raw brownies are a revelation. I’ve been making them for a couple of months now and each time, I am still amazed at how good they are! I like them more than regular brownies (partially because they are just as delicious and because I feel great about eating them). Thanks so much for these!

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