Feeling the pre-Christmas stress? Whip up a batch of these mood-boosting brownies 3 years ago

Feeling the pre-Christmas stress? Whip up a batch of these mood-boosting brownies

Plant-based cook Gemma Ogston believes that cooking and eating food that properly nourishes both mind and body is the ultimate way to show yourself some TLC. Here, in an extract from her new book, The Self-Care Cookbook, she shares a recipe for her ultimate pick-me-up brownies...

Dreamy Brownies

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When you’re feeling a bit low, something sweet can be a real cure-all. These brownies are so delicious, you will not believe they are such a healthy snack. They will give you all the TLC you need, as cacao is full of minerals and vitamins to boost your mood and energy levels, dates are a wonderful natural sweetener and the nuts add protein. These also make a great gift for a friend who might be feeling under the weather.

MAKES 8 | Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill

Ingredients

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150g pecans or walnuts
150g dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
6 tbsp cacao powder
5 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt

For the icing
150g dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (save the water after soaking)
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut oil

Optional toppings
chopped walnuts and slivered almonds
freeze-dried raspberries
edible rose petals

Method

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Blitz the nuts in a food processor until crumbly. Add the dates and blitz again until the mixture sticks together. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture turns a lovely dark brown. (If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts and dates finely and combine with the rest of the ingredients to make a fairly firm brownie mixture.)

Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper and spoon the mixture into it, pressing down firmly.

Now make the icing. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender with 50ml of the reserved date-soaking liquid, and blitz for a few minutes until smooth and velvety. Add a little more water if needed.

Using a spatula, spread the icing on top of the brownie mix. Top with any decorations you are using, then chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

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I usually slice the brownies before putting in the fridge to chill as they are easier to cut before they have been chilled.

Extracted from The Self-Care Cookbook by Gemma Ogston, published by Vermillion at £14.99. Photography by Gemma Ogston.