Raw Frosted Hazelnut Brownies

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These brownies are rich, dense, and 100% decadent. And, they're entirely raw - made with minimal sugar, healthy fats, and chocked full of antioxidants thanks to the cacao powder. I still can't get over the fact that chocolate is a superfood in it's purest form. 

I guarantee that you'll please the most die-hard brownie fan - the frosting is what puts them over the top. Keep a batch in the freezer for those nights when I need a little extra something. 

Raw Frosted Hazelnut Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

24 Medjool dates, pitted (about 2 cups)*
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup cacao powder
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

For the Frosting:
1/4 cup cacao powder
3 Tbs. maple syrup
2 Tbs. raw coconut oil (room temperature, not melted)
pinch fine sea salt

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, for topping

Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper. 

Add the hazelnuts and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Add dates and pulse again until they're chopped into small pieces. Add cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Then, pulse again until a dough starts to form and the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers.

Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press down into an even layer. I like to use another piece of parchment paper and the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to make sure it's compact. 

To make the frosting: Sift cacao powder to break up any lumps. Then, whisk together with maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt until thick and creamy. (If coconut oil is very hard, microwave for 10-15 seconds until just soft, not melted.)

Evenly spread the frosting on top of the brownies and top with chopped hazelnuts, gently pressing them into the frosting. Chill for at least one hour, then cut into squares. 

Brownies will keep for up to one week in the fridge or frozen (well sealed) for several months. 

Notes: 

If dates are hard, soften in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drain well. 

If your coconut oil is runny and the frosting turns out too thin, just pour it on top of the brownies and place the pan in the freezer on a level shelf until set.