We love brownies. Our brownie love is so strong that I once walked into Peregrine and bought every single brownie in the shop.

But things have changed a little. We’re (and by we I mean ME) trying to cut down on refined sugar and processed food at home. And there’s the small matter of me trying to lose a crapton of weight so that I can do triathlon again.

It’s hard when you have a sweet tooth. I’ve tried to quit sugar, and it’s simply not sustainable for me, so I try to make sure that when I bake I don’t use refined sugar or sugar replacements, but look toward’s nature’s natural sweeteners instead.

In this case: DATES

When I started toying with the idea of using dates as a brownie sweetener my kids immediately turned into hater mode. The last thing they wanted was something I was going to sell as a brownie, but that tasted like Malva Pudding. Like when you’re vegan but buy fake meat and cheese.

I played around to get to a recipe that works, and this is a firm favourite among my picky teens, as well as The Huband who is a militant Banter.

The beauty of this recipe is that you mix everything in your food processor with the press of a button.

Recipe: Fudgy Sugar Free Hot Chocolate


125g pitted dates, chopped finely
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
1 tbsp gelatine
250g butter
4 large eggs (or 3 XL)
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g almond meal / flour
50g desiccated coconut
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
100g cocoa
80g slab dark chocolate, chopped
chopped pecan nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Chop dates and add to your food processor.
  3. Soak gelatine in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  4. Add gelatine water mix to chopped dates and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Blitz the melted butter into the mix.
  6. Add eggs to mix, one at a time, while blitzing mix in the food processor.
  7. Add almond meal, coconut, salt, baking powder and cocoa to the mix and mix
  8. If you can remove the chopping blade from the food processor, do so, and stir in chopped chocolate and nuts. If you can’t remove the blade, gently pulse the chocolate and nuts into the mix, taking care to not chop any further.
  9. Pour into a shallow baking tray lined with baking paper or foil.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  11. Let cool, cut into blocks and EAT.


  • Due to the high fat content, these brownies are quite rich, so don’t have too many in one go.
  • Don’t over-bake this. Rather take it out a smidge earlier.