- The time I met up with my high school boyfriend, unbeknownst to my parents, at Barnes & Nobles (I wasn't allowed to date) and ended up running into my parents. End of date. Almost end of boyfriend.
- The time in college that I invited a guy over to hang out and he brought me a single beer, which he pulled out of his coat pocket when he arrived. Classy.
- The time I dated a metal dude who only ever wanted to take naps. Some date.
- The time I dated a guy I met on OkCupid. Enough said.
In contrast to those lame dates, these date-sweetened brownies are so very, very good that they almost cancel out the memories. I would have gladly traded any of those dates for a pan of these moist, crumbly, squishy, half-baked bricks of chocolatey goodness. If you're on a bad date right now, find an excuse to go make these; if you're recovering from a bad date, you have my permission to eat a plateful.
The recipe, adapted from this one at Mind Body Green, is as easy as paleo-friendly, gluten-free, fruit-sweetened pie. For the first step, you'll need to prepare some...
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until the dates begin to disintegrate. At this point, take them off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes, at the end of which the dates should be soft and falling apart. Using an immersion blender (aka, my favorite kitchen tool evarrr), pulverize the dates until the mixture is smooth and silky.
The finished date puree is a work of art in itself. Intensely sweet and creamy, almost like fig newton filing, it would be great for spreading on bread, drizzling on ice cream, sandwiching between ginger cookies, and just about anything else you can dream up.
Let the date puree cool and preheat the oven to 350 F while you assemble your dry ingredients. You'll need...
Whisk together the dry ingredients before adding the date puree and stirring well. I like to add a tablespoon or so of coconut oil (unpictured) to loosen up the batter and add a little healthy fat.
After the ingredients are well-mixed, stick the bowl in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before you add the pièce de résistance (and the reason these brownies are not completely sugar-free): the chocolate chips. I've found that in this Colorado heat, the smallest amount of warmth in the batter will cause the chocolate chips to melt a little and lose their shape. Melting chocolate chips are fantastic in brownies, but it's crucial that they hold their shape in the batter so that you'll have that great contrast between the fudge brownie and the oozy chips when they first come out of the oven.
The finished product will be unbelievable gooey and melty, almost possessing a half-baked quality but sturdy enough to provide a firm, yet silky mouthfeel. The texture, mainly from the dates is as sinful as any full-fat, full-sugar brownie, but infinitely better due to that slight healthier-than-thou feeling you get after eating it. True, this recipe does include real chocolate chips, but even without those, the batter itself is so incredible that you'll have a hard time believing it's anything but the real deal. My husband loves them and he's usually not into the whole healthy dessert thing.
If you dig healthy desserts, or shoot, if you dig desserts in general, make yourself a pan and down a few good dates to cancel out the bad ones.