No-Bake Fudgy Vegan Brownies

No-Bake Fudgy Vegan Brownies

So rich and fudgy, you’ll never guess that these no-bake vegan brownies are made from just a few basic ingredients and without any oil or added sugars.  

The original inspiration for this recipe was my desire to make a healthier version of cosmic brownies.

Growing up I was never a fan of those snack cakes, like Ding Dogs, Ho-Hos, or Zebra cakes. But cosmic brownies were just so irresistibly fudgy and chocolatey.

Super dense and not at all cake-like, the key to making a cosmic brownie imposter was to make a brownie base that melted in your mouth.

Bite out of a no-bake fudgy vegan brownie

After playing around with various baked options, I kept coming back to the idea of a no-bake brownie.

Besides the perk of not having to turn on your oven, this raw brownie base had a more consistent texture than any of the other baked experiments.

Once I finally decided on the right ratio of nuts, dates, cocoa powder and liquid to keep the brownies melt-in-your mouth rather than overly crunchy, the next step was a bit harder: frosting.

While I’ve been experimenting a lot with avocado and chocolate combos lately, I couldn’t get the idea of a date frosting out of my head.

If you haven’t experienced the magic that is date paste, prepare to be amazed.

The key is using dates that are still moist and having a powerful blender.

Spreading vegan date fudge frosting on top of date and nut brownie base

While you can try making the frosting in your food processor, I haven’t been able to keep the mixture from spilling liquid everywhere during the first step. If you know the secrete let me know!

Once you have everything made, all that’s left is to frost the brownies, let them set in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy! Oh and top with sprinkles. The sprinkles are key for the cosmic brownie feel.

What You’ll Need

  • Medjool dates
  • Raw cashews
  • Cocoa powder
  • Almond butter
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Water
  • Sprinkles (optional, but highly recommended)

What makes these healthier?

Is it a cop-out to say everything?

Let’s start with a comparison of nutrition facts:

  • 1 Cosmic Brownie contains: 280 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 42 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 24 g sugar, and 2 g protein
  • 1 No-Bake Fudgy Vegan Brownie contains: 140 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 22 g carb, 3 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 3 g protein  

Nutrition stats, alone, these brownies are much lower in calories, saturated fat, carbs and sugar.

Healthier cosmic brownie on spatula

But what really makes these a healthier dessert is that they’re made from all natural ingredients: cashews (high in healthy fats), dates (high in fiber and micronutrients), cocoa powder (high in antioxidants), almond butter, a little salt and vanilla extract.

In comparison, Cosmic Brownies contain bleached flour, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, food colorings, and a handful of thickeners and stabilizers.

Can I use other nuts?

Absolutely! While I find cashews made for a creamier brownie base, I haven’t noticed a significant difference using almonds or walnuts.

I haven’t tried other nuts, but I’m sure pecans would also work really well!

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Measure out ingredients and cover a loaf pan or small baking pan with parchment paper.

Medjool dates, cashews, cocoa powder, salt, almond butter, and vanilla extract

Step 2: Prepare dates for the frosting by placing 1 cup of dates in a bowl (or blender) with ½ cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Soaking dates in blender

Step 3: While dates are soaking, make the brownie base.

Start by placing cashews in a food processor and pulse until soft and crumbly, almost a sand-like texture.

Pulsed cashews in food processor

Next, add remaining cup of dates, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons of water.

Pulse until mixture is well-combined and sticky. If too dry, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time.

Brownie batter in food processor

Step 4: Pour brownie batter into prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

No-bake brownie base in loaf pan

Step 5: Make frosting by placing soaked dates and the water they’ve been soaking in into a high-powered blender (I saved time by just soaking them in the blender). Add the almond butter, ¼ cup of cocoa powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Date frosting in blender

Step 6: Spread date frosting evenly over brownies. Depending on how thick you want your frosting, you may end up with some leftover. Top with sprinkles if using.

Frosted brownies in loaf pan

Place brownies in freezer for 20-30 minutes or until set.

Step 7: Remove brownies from pan and slice into 10 squares depending on the size of your pan.

Sliced no-bake fudgy vegan brownies

Enjoy immediately or keep leftovers stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or freezer for 4 months.

No-Bake Fudgy Vegan Brownie with a bite out of the corner

What to do with leftover frosting?

While you can use all the frosting on these brownies, if you prefer a thinner frosting to brownie ratio, there’s no need to worry about it going to waste!

My personal favorite is to skip adding chocolate chips to my gooey chocolate mug cake and top it with some of this frosting instead.

You could also use it as a dip for fresh fruit slices or make your morning a little more indulgent by spreading it over pancakes – no judgement here ;).

What’s one of your favorite childhood food memories?

I’d love to hear in the comments below. And make sure to pin this recipe for later!

No-bake fudgy vegan brownie on spatula

No-Bake Fudgy Vegan Brownies

So rich and fudgy, you’ll never guess that these no-bake vegan brownies are made from just a few basic ingredients and without any oil or added sugars.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten free brownies, Healthier Cosmic Brownies, No-bake brownies, Vegan brownies
Servings: 10 brownies
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Ingredients

For the Brownies:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup Medjool dates about 9-10 dates, pitted
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 tablespoons sprinkles optional

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup Medjool dates about 9-10 dates, pitted
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Place 1 cup of dates and ½ cup of warm water in a bowl or blender and soak for 10 minutes. Line a loaf pan or small baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • While dates are soaking, make brownie base by placing raw cashews in food processor. Pulse until a sand-like texture.
  • Add remaining (non-soakindates, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, pinch salt, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of water to food processor. Pulse until mixture is quite sticky and moist. Add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time if needed.
  • Spread brownie mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
  • To make frosting, place soaked dates and the water they soaked in into a high powered blender. Add remaining ¼ cup cocoa powder, almond butter, and salt.
  • Blend on high until creamy.
  • Evenly spread date frosting over brownie mixture and top with sprinkles if using. Place pan in freezer for 20-30 minutes or until set.
  • Remove from freezer and slice into 10 squares. Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to serve.

Notes

Nutrition for 1/10 of recipe (not including sprinkles): 140 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 22 g carb, 3 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 3 g protein
Healthy Fudgy Brownies Pinterest image
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About
About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

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