When my dad came to Canada from Russia over a quarter century ago he didn't know about Halloween. Our family legend goes that he was home alone that evening while my stepmom was out. She called him right around the time when little trick-or-treaters were supposed to show up and told him to turn off all the lights and hide in the basement while she rushed home with bags of candy. I am not even sure if the story is true or if I'm making it up, but every year it makes me smile.
I came to Canada almost twenty years ago and fell in love with this holiday. I loved coming up with costumes when I was still in school and putting on makeup and decorating our front yard. I went trick-or-treating until I was 19 years old (not even exaggerating here). Once I got older and moved out to live on my own, I started throwing Halloween parties. Those events became quite anticipated by my group of friends. We usually alternate between a regular dress-up Halloween party (you will be turned away at the door without a costume) and a themed party. One year during a Fairy Tale themed party I decided to have a sit down dinner for about 20 people. Everyone was skeptical, but it was such a success that I was asked to do dinner style parties from now on.
Last year half of my friends had babies in the fall, so I cancelled Halloween and this year I had to cancel again. This year it was me turning off all the lights in the house and crawling to the nursery to feed my baby and hiding from trick-or-treaters.
What does this story have to do with these delicious Quick Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies? Well, I actually bought a big box of candy to give out but since baby didn't cooperate I had to forgo that activity, which means that I also missed out on Halloween candy. This is when these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies come to the rescue. They are incredibly quick and easy to make. Perfect mom-recipe as not only they require just one food processor and two minutes to measure ingredients, but they could easily be left while making them to tend to a crying baby. They can take five minutes to make or a few hours if you get distracted and that won't affect anything. No-one who tried these brownies even knew that they weren't baked, that they didn't have any chocolate or butter, that they were actually good for you.
These Quick Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies come together super quickly, just mix together dates, prunes, peanut butter, some cocoa powder, and powdered peanut butter (optional) in a food processor until smooth. Add a little bit of maples syrup, rum or brandy for flavour, orange oil and you are all set. They are smooth and fudgy and chocolatey. They have a slight tang from prunes and a hint of orange. Oh, and they will definitely hit the spot if you are missing a certain chocolate and peanut butter Halloween candy! They'll last for a week or longer in the fridge, but to be honest they never lasted this long in my household as they go amazingly well with a fresh cup of coffee in the morning. There's still a lot of sugar in these brownies, but it's healthy and natural, so I feel really good eating them.
Quick Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (vegan and raw)
8" diameter pan
Pitted dates* - 1 cupPitted prunes - 1 cupSmooth peanut butter** - 1 cupPowdered chocolate peanut butter*** - 1/4 cupCocoa powder (dutch processed) - 1/4 cupRum or Brandy - 1 tablespoon (optional)Maple syrup - 2 tablespoonsOrange oil - 1/2 teaspoonChopped peanuts for sprinkling (optional)
- In a food processor combine all the ingredients and process until very smooth. You may need to stop it a few times and use a spatula to get the mixture off the sides. If the mixture is too dry, add an extra spoon of maple syrup or rum/brandy.
- Place the mixture into a parchment lined form and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with chopped peanuts if using.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
A couple of notes:
* I used both honey dates and medjool dates for this recipe. I love medjool dates, but I find it's a shame using them in these brownies as their beautiful flavour and texture gets hidden. I suggest using honey dates as they are still sweet and soft and a bit cheaper than medjool dates.
** I use regular Kraft peanut butter which has some sugar and salt and oils in it (I know, I know... not healthy). So, if you are using a better kind of peanut butter with fewer ingredients you may need to adjust the amount of maple syrup. I haven't tried using any other peanut butter.
*** Powdered peanut butter adds extra peanut buttery goodness. You don't have to use Powdered Chocolate Peanut Butter and you can use regular one. Alternatively, you don't even have to use powdered peanut butter at all. I haven't tried these brownies without it, but I have a feeling that it could be simply omitted or replaced by extra cocoa powder. If you just omit powdered peanut butter you may need to reduce the amount of liquid, i.e. less maple syrup/rum. This is just a guess as I haven't tried those substitutions.
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