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Decadent Raw Brownie Bites

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, meet the delicious date. 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 just my biased, earthy­crunchy attitude talking. This candy­like 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  you have a sweet slice of heaven. They're a great source of fiber, copper, and manganese, and  bite for bite, they 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 pre­workout energy boost.

This past summer I organized a weekend with some of my favorite gal pals, filled with great music and even better snacks. We threw on our crop tops and high­waisted 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. Usually I tend to not 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. Vodka milkshakes happened, too and to be honest, 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 
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). Written by beloved Sakara intern, Hayley Sullivan Bio: Weekly acupuncture sessions and a serious love for Food Network sprouted a health and wellness passion for Hayley Sullivan during her years at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She recorded her semesters experimenting in the kitchen on her blog, Buff Chickpea, and even started an online bakery business with a close friend and philosophy buff. Their goal was to deliver something sweet to body and soul. And even though there's nothing quite like working alongside your best friend, Hayley's heart was really not into all that sugar and butter. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in marketing, she began nannying while she searched for her dream job. Through her constant browsing of healthy living blogs, and a little luck, Hayley recently landed an internship at Sakara Life where she will be spreading her wisdom daily. She can't wait to see what the future holds! XXX

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