Raw Brownie Bites

**Here's another post I did for Sakara Life a couple summers ago. More holiday treat inspiration! Perfect for cocktail parties, hostess gifts, long car rides, or late-night snacking!**

If you're like me, then you're probably aboard the breakfast-for-dinner-train, solely for an excuse to eat another sweet meal. As a kid, my eating habits were far from healthy, and even though I've cleaned myself up quite a bit, my sweet tooth remains intact. If you're trying to lead more of a whole foods diet, but still can't end your day without dessert, I give you dates. I honestly don't know why this amazingly rich, sweet treat has not gone mainstream. Medjool dates are Mother Nature's caramel, and I really don't think it's my biased earthy-crunchy attitude towards food in general. This candy-like fruit grows on the date palm in large hanging clusters near the top of the tree, very similar to the coconut variety. Although most of the calories in dates come from sugar, eating just one or two can really satisfy a craving for something sweet. Take out the pits and fill them with a scoop of almond or coconut butter, and suddenly I think we should be friends. They're a great source of fiber, copper, and manganese, and have more potassium than bananas. They're also the main ingredient in most raw food desserts and bars, making this ancient fruit a perfect substitute for your daily cookie break or pre-workout energy boost.

This past summer (two summers ago) I put together a weekend with some of my favorite gal pals, filled with great music and even better snacks. We threw on our crop tops and high-waisted shorts, adorned ourselves with flower crowns, and piled into a Volkswagen, hoping to bring a bit of the 1969 Woodstock to the 2013 Nines Festival. Now typically I tend not to make big batches of desserts, no matter how raw and healthy they are, because I have no self control and will eat 45 brownie bites as quickly as I roll them out. My digestive system wishes I wouldn't. But when I have a group of fellow food lovers to share with, I'll gladly pull out all the stops. Our festival menu included these raw brownies, almond butter and coconut cups, homegrown peach salsa, a fancy quince jam and cheese board, all sorts of chips and hummus, and the most delicious huckleberry vodka and pear cocktail. We definitely got after it. Vodka milkshakes happened, too. I can't be sure what happened after that. All I know is, I woke up around 3 a.m., turned into The Hulk, and shoveled a handful of these brownies into my mouth. Surprisingly, the next morning wasn't too painful. Must be all those superfoods running through my system. 

Raw Brownie Bites
I realize maple syrup is not raw, but like, cut me some slack

12 medjool dates
1 cup raw pecans
3 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Throw the pecans into a food processor and blend until crumbly. Add the dates and blend again. Mix in the cacao and maple syrup and process one last time until the dough comes together. 

Form into balls. Leave plain or roll in shredded coconut, cacao nibs, finely chopped walnuts, or extra cacao powder. Refrigerate or freeze to keep fresh (they thaw really quickly, and keep for months in the freezer!). 

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