So there are chocolate brownies and there are raw chocolate hemp seed brownies! Here, in this recipe, we are talking brownies filled with so much goodness that you’ll wonder why ever in the world we would need to eat sugar and wheat-filled sweet stuff again.
It’s true. I am easily excited when making superfood sweet treats in the kitchen. Vibrant, alive and incredibly delicious will do that to me every time.
Today I am sharing my raw chocolate hemp seed brownies, inspired with loads of love.
Using dates instead of sugar to make your raw brownies
Out with the refined sugar (like all of my recipes) and IN with nourishing sweetness. I am sweetening with dates.
I do use a smidgen of maple syrup for an added element of decadence (which, apart from its caramel-like sweetness, according to evidence maple syrup is said to contain a number of antioxidants and helps to protect against inflammatory diseases).
What is the difference between raw and no-bake brownies?
Raw is a bit strict tbh! It involves the use of strictly raw ingredients that have not been processed above 104–118°F (40–48°C). That’s difficult to control because heat is often used in processing raw ingredients. An example of this is cacao powder which can be heat treated during production or not. Personally speaking, I am not too fussed these days, as long as it’s wholesome.
No-bake means that something has been made without baking. I might call my recipe RAW hemp seed brownies since a lot of the ingredients are actually ‘raw’.
Just do whatever you like. If you don’t have raw everything, just use whatever you have available. The most important thing about this recipe is that it is gluten-free, vegan and free from refined sugar.
Cacao versus cocoa
It might sound confusing (baffled me at first), but it’s easy once you know the difference. Or is there even a difference haha?
It turns out that the cacao bean and cocoa bean are actually exactly the same thing. The difference is linguistic! In the 1600s English people started calling the cacao bean the cocoa bean.
Fast forward to the modern day. Whether the bean is called cacao or cocoa really depends on who you speak to, which country you are in, and the brand you look at.
The raw food movement tends to say the following…
Cocoa powder (spelt slightly differently from cacao) is the name given to the ground cacao beans that have been roasted/heat-treated before turning to powder.
Cacao is the name given to the raw stuff (which hasn’t been heat-treated).
- cacao = raw (was not processed with heat)
- cocoa = heat treated (fewer nutrients and sometimes (not always) chemically treated)
To confuse matters further, in some places, you might buy something called cocoa powder and find it has all sorts of other ingredients like milk powder and sugar in it – so watch out.
Still confused about the difference?
Then watch this detailed video to dispel the confusion between cacao and cacao here…
Just be careful that whatever you buy only has one ingredient in it – cocoa or cacao.
And ALWAYS buy organic & fairly traded varieties.
Is cacao good for you?
If you think that cacao/cocoa or chocolate is not good for you, then think again.
It’s really just those sugar-laden bars that give chocolate a bad reputation. If you use pure cacao (or cocoa) powder then we are talking tonnes of health benefits.
Cacao is loaded with mood-elevating nutrients to give us that feel-good factor. It’s rich in flavonoids and antioxidants which are linked to healthy heart benefits. Cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium (needed for brain health, nervous system health and strong bones & teeth) and is good for iron.
I am using hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews in this raw brownie recipe too. They all come with delightful nourishment, so you really can be sure that every morsel is good for you.
Health benefits of hemp seeds
I especially wanted to include hemp seeds in this superfood sweet treat because they are insanely good for you and I am always looking for nice ways to weave them into my cuisine. I’ve written an article all about the health benefits of hemp seeds here:
In essence, hemp is a complete protein (where do you get your protein and all that!!) and it has a perfect balance of essential fats. They are high in antioxidants, excellent for skin disorders, and good against inflammation and all sorts of stuff. I eat them every day.
One last thing before we make these!
If you like this raw hempseed brownie idea then you will absolutely love, love, love my recipe book The Kind Earth Cookbook – it’s full of delicious plant-based recipes (gluten-free, naturally sweetened too)…
Raw Chocolate Hempseed Brownies
Raw chocolate hempseed brownies using dates to sweeten, sunflower seeds and cashew nuts. Easy, delicious and jam-packed with goodness.
- 200g dates (pitted) (1 ¾ cup)
- 50g hemp seeds (shelled) (⅓ cup)
- 50g sunflower seeds (shelled) (½ cup)
- 100g cashew nuts (¾ cup)
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or water (optional)
- 3 tablespoons raw coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- Break down the sunflower seeds in a food processor until you get a rough 'meal'.
- Add the cashews and hemp seeds. Grind until you get a rustic meal. Doesn't have to be super fine like flour, but needs to be fairly well ground (a few rustic chunks are fine).
- Add the cacao, dates and vanilla and blend until everything comes together.
- The mixture may stick together (this is going to depend on how moist your dates are, which varies from batch to batch and is impossible to say until you use them).
- You need the mixture to stick together nicely when you press between your fingers. If it doesn't do that, then you will need to add extra moisture. Add extra moisture by either using maple syrup of water. You might only need a TINY amount, so be very careful if adding it at this stage. Try a tablespoon first then blend again. Press between your fingers again to test and then add another little dash if required.
- When you have the right consistency, press all of the mixture down very firmly into a parchment-lined container (I used my trusty loaf tin for this, although anything of that size will do).
- Pop into the fridge or freezer whilst you prepare your topping.
- Melt the coconut oil (if not already melted).
- Add the cacao, maple syrup and coconut sugar and mix together thoroughly.
- Pour on top of the brownie and then pop in the fridge or freezer to set (which shouldn't take long at all).
- When the topping has set, take out and slice up.
- This keeps in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a couple of months.
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Pin raw chocolate hemp seed brownies for later…
Trinity! These look so perfect for chocolatey cravings. I am all about that creamy TOPPING!
Ahhhhw thanks for the kind words Becky.
Haha yes that topping – I insist on scraping out the bowl after I’ve poured it on top – a delight in itself.
I’m excited about these brownies, too! I’m a total chocoholic, and I can’t wait to try this recipe!
These look so incredible Trinity! I’m just drooling over the yummy chocolate topping. I’ve really gotten in love with hemp seeds lately too!
Oh yes once you fall in love with hemp seeds, there is no going back haha.
These look delicious…healthy or not! And I love that they are freezer friendly….that’ll come in handy.
Thanks for your kind words Nicole.
Can’t wait to try these! Do you use dried pitted dates or Medjool dates that you pit yourself? Thanks!
I used regular dried (deglet noir type) pitted dates.
If you use medjool dates, just pit them first – they are really soft though, so you may also need less.
Have fun and be sure to let me know how you get on.
Hello, I would love for this to be converted into US measure..any chance of that. I would have got your cookbook but it is also in Great but again need the conversions….thanks just a thought.
I’ve just updated the hemp seeds and sunflower seeds into cups for you 🙂 I hope that helps.
Everything else should already fit with what you need in the USA.
I do everything myself here so as much as I’d love to I haven’t got the time to convert everything.
I always recommend buying a set of kitchen scales if you can… it opens up to a whole world of things from the rest of the world too.
with love and blessings
These look so decadent! Just wondering what nut you would recommend to replace the cashews?? Thanks so much.
I would try almonds or walnuts as a substitute.
Hello! I don’t do well with cashews (or most types of nuts except macadamia). Could I change the hemp and sunflower ratios to 100 grams each instead of 50? Or should I just substitute the cashews for macadamia? What would you recommend?
Just swap out for something that works for you like the seeds. Mac nuts would be definitely worth a try if you have them.
Could I use hemp protein powder instead of the seeds, do you think? Got a lot of it for free and need to use it up!
I wouldn’t use it in place of the seeds as it probably wouldn’t have the desired effect.
Thanks for your reply! Before I saw it i did try the powder, worked fine but keen to see the difference with seeds. Very yummy recipe!
I cannot have coconut oil. Would grapeseed oil be okay?
Just leave the oil out and it will be fine 😉
I make these on a regular basis, for my grandson. He has a nut allergy so I adapt the recipe to suit. I use all seeds, and they are a firm favourite. Thank you
Wonderful – glad you like
These are delicious. For an added twist, I put 1/4 t. mint flavoring in the topping. It turned out so tasty! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Happy to hear it. Glad that you added your delicious mint twist – that’s a wonderful idea.
Thanks for your kind comment.