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Andrea’s no-bake vegan brownies with cherry sorbet

At our team festive feast this year, our art director, Andrea, made a batch of vegan brownies and cherry sorbet for us to taste. Add this recipe to your repertoire so that your guests can enjoy a lovely dessert no matter their dietary requirements, and we can guarantee that everyone will help themselves to seconds (and thirds). Plus the cherry sorbet adds a striking Christmas red to your festive spread.

SERVES 12 // COOKING TIME 1 hour, plus chilling and freezing time

For the brownies
2½ cups dates, pitted (if dried, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain)
1½ cups raw walnuts, plus extra for topping
1 cup raw almonds
¾ cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp cacao nibs, plus extra for topping
¼ tsp sea salt
For the ganache
¼ cup almond milk
1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
¼–½ cup icing sugar
For the cherry sorbet
Punnet cherries, pitted and frozen
100 ml fruit juice

For the brownies
1. Line a 20 × 20 cm dish with baking paper.
2. Blend dates in a food processor. Remove and set aside. Roughly chop ½ cup walnuts and set aside.
3. Finely grind the remaining 1 cup walnuts and the almonds. Add cacao/cocoa powder, cacao nibs and salt. Pulse to combine.
4. While processing, drop small handfuls of the date pieces into the processor’s spout. Continue until you have a dough that holds together when squeezed in your hand. (You may not need to use all the dates.)
5. Transfer the brownie mixture to the dish and sprinkle with the ½ cup chopped walnuts and the cacao nibs. Toss to distribute evenly throughout the mixture.
6. Using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon, press down the brownie mixture until flat and firm. (Cover with cling film to prevent it sticking.)
7. For slightly thicker, denser brownies, lift up the paper to remove the brownies from the dish and slightly squeeze in the sides to create a smaller square.
8. Chill in the freezer or fridge for 10–15 minutes, until firm.
For the ganache
1. Microwave the almond milk for 45 seconds, until hot. Or heat in a pot until just simmering, then transfer to a bowl.
2. Immediately add the chocolate to the hot milk and cover. Let it stand for 2 minutes to melt.
3. Add the salt to the milk and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the melted coconut oil. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge and add sugar a few tbsp at a time, whisking to combine, until the ganache is light and fluffy.
5. Ice brownies generously with ganache. Top with extra nuts and cacao nibs. Cut into 12 squares.
6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3–4 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.
For the cherry sorbet
1. Just before serving, blend everything in a food processor until mixture looks like sorbet. Sweeten with juice, to taste, pulsing to incorporate.

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