Festive raw chocolate orange brownies

Offer me an After Eight and you'll definitely get a 'no thank you' but a Terry's Chocolate Orange? Now you're talking. They're one of my favourite treats of the festive season which is why I thought I'd try and make a healthier version, using natural ingredients so I can snack on them whenever I want throughout December! Because realistically, I don't feel great after a few segments of a Terry's which led me to seek out an alternative. I took inspiration from Livia's Kitchen, using her raw chocolate orange brownie recipe, omitting or adding a few ingredients of my own.

These brownies are fudgy yet not too dense as there's no flour in them. The orange zest and juice adds a nice contrast to the cacao and gives you a bit of vitamin C which is something I definitely need at the moment as I'm battling a cold. I didn't make very many which wasn't intentional but you'll have to check out my Vlogmas video where I'm making them to find out why! Anyway, it was just enough to last me (and my family) a couple of days and give us a taste of the Christmas spirit.

For six large brownies, you will need the following ingredients:

*1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for at least an hour
*1/4 cup coconut flour
*1/4 cup of pecans
*1/4 cup of almonds
*1/2 cup of cacao (I would use less next time as they're very rich!)
*2 tbsp pure maple syrup
*A pinch of pink salt
*2 tbsp water
*2 tbsp orange juice
*Zest of one orange
*A powerful blender

Instructions

Start by draining the dates and adding them to your blender/mixer. Add the water, and cacao powder and blend. Then add the almonds and pecans and mix at a high speed until well combined. If you prefer a bit of crunch then don't blend them for as long.

Move the fudgy blend into a bowl and add the coconut flour, maple syrup, salt, orange juice and half of the orange zest and mix with a spoon until it's nice and smooth. Add more liquid if you think it needs it. The texture should be quite sticky so the pieces hold together well.

Spread the brownie batter into a lined, square tin, sprinkle some of the remaining zest on top of them and either put in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up, or alternatively in the fridge for a couple of hours. It all depends how in a rush you are to dive in!

Finally, remove from the tray and cut into slices before enjoying the gooey goodness! Maybe even pair one with a glass of Prosecco on the side. It is Christmas after all...

What's your favourite thing to bake around Christmas time? Do you fall in the mint or orange camp when paired with chocolate?