Since I kind of botched my strawberry poptarts, I had to come up with an alternate offering for today’s Charlotte Food Bloggers meeting. And since the strawberry jam filling I made for the failed poptarts was such a winner, I knew that had to somehow be incorporated. And since I was so totally over baking at this point, I decided I’d be making something raw. And that, my friends, is how raw brownies topped with homemade strawberry jam came to be.
Raw brownies are one of the world’s easiest yet impressive dessert options. You simply use a food processor to combine:
- 1 c walnuts
- 1 c dates
- 1/4 c cocoa powder
I doubled that recipe and used black mission figs for one cup of the dried fruit when I ran out of dates to make this batch, which fit beautifully into an 8×8-in pan. Simply combine in a food processor and then press into a pan.
I think that doubling the recipe in one batch threw off the ratio a bit because my brownies weren’t coming together so I ended up adding about a 1/4 c of agave nectar to bind. So, in theory these brownies are intended to be raw. But since I used the cocoa powder and agave I had on hand rather than buying raw versions of each, mine are not really raw. Plus, I topped them with cooked jam. What do you want from me?
The strawberry jam I completely made up on the spot when I was trying to figure out how to make the poptarts happen. It was surprisingly simple.
Simplest Strawberry Jam
2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional, or could be doubled)
1.5 tsp agar agar*
Combine strawberries, sugar and balsamic (if using) in a pot and heat on medium until sugar melts and strawberries are soft. Stir frequently to prevent burning and turn heat down if necessary. Use an immersion blender to break up the softened strawberry chunks (or use a potato masher). Add in agar agar and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Pour some on top of your brownies (it’s up to you how thick you want the strawberry layer) and put the rest in a container to cool in the fridge. It will be very thin at this point. As the temperature drops, the gelatinizing properties of the agar agar will kick in (see below).
*Agar agar is a gelatinous substance derived from red algae. It makes an excellent vegan alternative to gelatin and has strong gel forming capabilities. You can find it in the ethnic food aisle of most specialty markets.