These Date Sweetened Brownies with Vanilla Cashew Frosting are a gluten-free, secretly healthy-ish perfect dessert. The brownie layer is rich, fudgy and slightly cake-like while the frosting is creamy, packed with vanilla flavor and hardly sweet at all. The balance is beautiful, but so are the sprinkles! This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be made vegan too.
I’ve had brownies on my mind for quite some time.
Let me preface by saying, brownies are my kitchen nemesis. If they’re not from a box, they’re always a flop. They’re that one thing I just can’t seem to pull off.
Isn’t that sad?
But I haven’t been able to stop trying. So when recently I was craving a brownie but couldn’t get dates and cocoa off my brain, I knew it was time to try again!
I have Renee of Will Frolic for Food to thank for these babies. I felt like I needed a big encouraging virtual hug when I decided to make date brownies, so when I saw she made a version, I was relieved and so excited! It only took a quick glance at her ingredient list for me to edit it a bit (based on what I had), swap things around…and my brownies were perfection!
These Date Sweetened Brownies are made in the blender. They couldn’t be any more simple! Just take a peek at that short ingredient list…think about throwing it all in the blender to make a batter, and it really is that easy!
The batter is beautiful to watch as it comes together. The dates blend into a beautiful sticky caramel. When you add the coconut oil, it turns into a German Chocolate Frosting sort of paste. Then you add everything else and a dark, rich brownie dough is turned out.
After I baked up the brownies, there was no question that I would slather them in frosting. I’m a frosting gal when it comes to cake, so it’s no secret that I’d love a frosted brownie. Plus, frosting is just the glue for sprinkles. So there’s that.
The frosting is simple, contains no sugar and just happens to be vegan too. I love making variations of it for cinnamon rolls and it’s delicious by the spoonful too. It is also whipped up in the blender, so I’m keeping it very fuss-free for you.
Sure, you could eat these Date Sweetened Brownies with Vanilla Cashew Frosting for Cinco de Mayo, but really I just needed to make a good brownie. And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to be eating the rest of this batch!
Date Sweetened Brownies with Vanilla Cashew Frosting
Makes one 9×9” pan of brownies
Recipe by Melissa @ Treats With a Twist
For the Brownies:
12 large Medjool dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature (not melted)
1 large egg
1 cup pure cacao or cocoa powder
¼ cup + 2 Tbs. buckwheat flour
½ tsp. sea salt
For the Frosting:
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1 large Medjool date*
6 Tbs. coconut cream**
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
LOTS of sprinkles (4 Tbs)
*If you want a sweet frosting, use 2-3. Just using one creates a pretty mellow frosting, which I find balances the rich brownies well. But if you’re a sweetie, then use 2-3. This also will create a darker frosting, but I don’t really care.
**Refrigerate your can of coconut cream or full fat coconut milk for at least 4 hours before carefully opening it and only scooping the coconut cream off the top. Avoid the water layer.
First, you’ll make the brownies. So preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9×9” pan with parchment and spray with coconut oil spray.
Pit your Medjool dates and soak them in very hot water for 20-30 minutes, until they are extremely soft. Drain them and transfer them to the basin of your Vitamix (or Blendtec or equivalent…or food processor with S blade). Add the vanilla to the dates and pulse them until you get a paste.
Next, add the coconut oil and blend together (it will look almost like German Chocolate Frosting). Finally, add the egg, cocoa, buckwheat flour and salt and blend until a thick brownie batter forms (almost a dough).z
Transfer your brownie batter to the prepared pan and use a silicone spatula to press it into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is set and sides are firm.
Let the brownies cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, soak the cashews and date in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain them and transfer them to your blender. Add the coconut cream, vanilla and salt and blend until extremely smooth. Refrigerate the frosting for 20-30 minutes before using it so it is a little firmer.
When you’re ready to frost your brownies, add a couple Tbs of sprinkles to your frosting and stir them together. Spread an even layer of frosting on top of the brownies. Top with more sprinkles. Cut, eat, enjoy!
Finished brownies can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days or wrapped tight and frozen.
For a vegan option, try using a chia or flax egg (1 Tbs chia, 3 Tbs water, let set 10 min) instead of the hen egg. I haven’t tried this, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
TO PRINT this recipe, copy and paste the text into a blank document on your computer and hit “print.” Yup, so old school and so easy too.