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Healthiest Meals on Earth
by Jonny Bowden
High-fiber and heart-healthy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 brownies
• 1¼ cups (about 10 ounces, or 225 g) pitted dates
• 9 tablespoons (1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup, or 72 g) high-quality cacao or cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) macadamia nut oil
• 1/2 cup (170 g) agave nectar
• 2 cups (450 g) canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (one 28-ounce can works), or 2 cups (200 g) fresh cooked beans
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, gas mark 4).
Measure the dates into a liquid measuring cup and pour in hot water to the 1½ cup (355 ml) line, turning the dates over with your hands until the water reaches all the dates. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Pour off 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the liquid in the dates and process the rest in a blender or food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
Put the date paste into a large bowl and add the cacao or cocoa powder, oil, and agave nectar, mixing well.
Combine the beans and eggs in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth. Add the garbanzo mixture to the date mixture, stirring well to combine. Add the baking powder and cinnamon, stirring to combine, and pour the batter into a 9-inch (23-cm), nonstick pan or pie dish. (If using glass, you can grease lightly with a little oil or Natucol.)
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes, cut, and serve. Store the remainder in the refrigerator.
Notes from the Kitchen
• These brownies are not chewy, but they have a dense consistency closer to chocolate bread pudding or flourless chocolate cake. They're rich and satisfying and loaded with fiber.
• Medjool dates have a naturally high sugar content. The carbohydrate content is about half glucose and half fructose, plus some fiber. Date sugar is very coarse and doesn't dissolve easily, but if you use the entire (pitted) date instead of the extracted sugars, it actually works quite well as a sweetener for baked goods. The trick is to soak and soften the dates in a small amount of water first, and then blend them into a smooth paste in a food processor. Most of the time you can't even taste the date flavors; you just taste their delicious sweetness.
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