5 Minute Espresso Walnut Brownies

Minimalist Baker Raw Brownies

I learned something this week: Cocoa powder isn’t raw, it’s cooked. Therefore, just because a brownie isn’t baked like these fudgy beauties, doesn’t mean they’re truly raw. This, is good to know.

5 minute espresso walnut brownies | MINIMALISTBAKER

You see I’ve been learning a lot about whole foods lately. It all started with my stumbling upon Sprouted Kitchen where whole foods are tasty, and then ordering the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook. Since then I’ve been treating the thing like it’s my new foodie bible, because it is.

After that profound discovery came My New Roots, which I could rattle on about for hours. But for the sake of being concise, Sarah Britton is a whole foods genius and I want to shrink down to pocket size so I can ride around in her chef coat pocket and learn everything she knows about holistic cooking.

Think she’d mind? (OK, raise your hand if you think riding around in a little pocket would be super fun?!)

Espresso and Dates | minimalistbaker.com

Sarah’s taught me a lot about food recently. How medjool dates are best, organic is worth budging for, and cocoa powder is not the same thing as cacao powder, just to name a few.

As Sarah explains, COCOA (koe-koe) powder is cooked which strips it of 90-some percent of its nutrients. However, raw CACAO (kuh-cow) powder, is rife with health benefits like calcium, iron and beta carotene. And it’s one of the top sources of magnesium found in nature.

So you see, cocoa and cacao are very different things, which is important to know if you’re shooting for optimum health like I am (trying to) these days.

Walnuts and Almonds | minimalistbaker

Unfortunately I was not able to get my hands on raw cacao powder before making these no-bake fudgy brownies, so they are not technically raw. But, I have just placed an Amazon order for a bag today so the next time raw brownies appear on this blog they will be so healthy they’ll boast too many health benefits to count.

Oh goody.

But in the meantime, if you don’t have cacao powder you can make these brownies. And if you DO have cacao powder you can make them, too. Yours will just be healthier. But don’t go rubbing it in our faces or we’ll come and eat all your brownies. And how would you like that? Well, that’s what you get for gloating…

Raw Brownies | minimalistbakerThese brownies may not contain any butter, sugar or flour, but they are some of the best I’ve had. They are moist, rich, dense, full of intense chocolate flavor and a hint of espresso. The walnut chunks make it, in my opinion, but if they’re not your thing leave them out.

I’ve already eaten half the batch since making them last week and have another healthy recipe utilizing them coming up later in the week so stay tuned. You don’t want to miss this ooey gooey chocolatey treat.

5 Minute espresso walnut brownies | via minimalistbaker

4.9 from 27 reviews
5 Minute Espresso Walnut Brownies {No Bake}
Prep time
Total time
A no bake, fudgy brownie that's refined sugar-, gluten-, and dairy-free. Rich, moist, dense and full of chocolate espresso flavor.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: ~ 20
  • 1.5 cups raw walnuts, divided
  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
2 - 2 1/2 cups Medjool or Deglet Nour dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder OR raw cacao if you have it
  • 1-2 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee (depending on preference)
  • pinch sea salt
  1. Place 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup almonds in food processor and process until finely ground.
  2. Add the cocoa powder or cacao, espresso powder and sea salt. Pulse to combine and then transfer to bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the dates to the food processor and process until small bits remain. Remove from bowl and set aside.
  4. Add nut and cocoa mixture back into food processor and while processing, drop small handfuls of the date pieces down into the food processor spout. Process until a dough consistency is achieved, adding more dates if the mixture does not hold together when squeezed in your hand.
  5. Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined cake pan or loaf pan and add remaining 1/2 cup roughly roughly chopped walnuts. Toss to combine and evenly distribute, and then press down with you hands until it is flat and firm.
  6. Place in freezer or fridge to chill before cutting. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh. Will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks and in the freezer for at least 2 months.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 brownie Calories: 173 Fat: 8 g Saturated fat: 0.8 g Carbohydrates: 25 g Sugar: 18 g Sodium: 13 mg Fiber: 5.2 g Protein: 5 g

adapted from My New Roots 

danaHi, I'm Dana! I am a food stylist, photographer, and author of the Food Photography School and the 31 Meals Cookbook.

Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Talk About It

(or jump to leave a comment & review)
  1. E says

    Kind of bummed that all the recent ones require a food processor!
    Student living means my fanciest tool is an imersion blender. These look rad though! Any tips on not spending a fortune on medjool dates?

    • Jacklyn says

      Try stores with bulk bins! I get mine at Bulk Barn (Canadian) for a fraction of what they cost at grocery stores. My last 2 trips to the store I have not been able to find them so I sure hope this doesn’t mean they have stopped carrying them!

    • Victoria says

      I just use ordinary dried dates, but I soak them in some hot water for a minute to pump up the moisture factor before draining and adding to recipe. Definitely a cheaper option and tastes just as good!

  2. says

    Oh.My. If it wasn’t 5am, I would be ripping open my cabinet drawers to franticly grab all that is needed to make this recipe. My BFF gets into town today, so perhaps I DO have to run to the store in my skivvies to go pick up the dates (not pick up a “date” har har). Hopefully my stomach doesn’t take hold of my mind before I drop the kiddoes off at school. I am sure we will be sampling this tonight. Does this count as part of my January De-Tox? Maybe I need to push the whole de-tox thing to February. It IS a shorter month. PS: I also will be chuckling to myself all day about shrinking and riding around in a pocket.

  3. says

    Oh I love the edits you’ve made to the original. I have tried out Sarah’s recipe a number of times, and it is always a hit in my home! But, I like what you’ve changed and will give this recipe a go next time. Thank you Dana! :)

  4. De says

    these look yummy and I’m not even a huge brownie fan lol the health factor could be what entices me about this. & I’ll always remember how to pronounce CACAO now thanks to this post :)

  5. Stephanie says

    I just recently discovered your site and I am in LOVE with your recipes…ok…I haven’t actually tried any of them yet…but, they look amazing and THIS one may get made today!!! One question – what size pan do you “squish” them into? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but, just thought I’d ask.
    I, too, will be picturing you riding around in someone’s pocket today! My oldest son always wants to know what I would chose for my super-power and I always say “invisibility”. But, I may have to reconsider and chose “the ability to shrink or grow to any size”, cause that could just be fun!

    • Dana says

      Stephanie, the size of the pan depends on how thick you want them. If you want them to be THICK use a loaf pan. If you want them to be thinner, use a 9×13. Hope that helps!

  6. Susan Pantle says

    Looks like an interesting recipe. Not a date fan, but see how they could be good in this mixture!! Taking the date dive, will try!

    • Dana says

      Susan, I’m not particularly a date fan either, but they’re undetectable in this recipe! They merely add a natural sweetness and “stickiness” to the batter so they’ll bind. Hope you give them a try!

      • montse says

        these are delcious but i can’t work out how they can serve 20- i can only get 8 thickish ones from these amount of ingredients…am i doing something wrong?
        Thank you!

  7. says

    My very first blog post 4 years ago was raw vegan brownies with cocoa powder, walnuts, dates, and agave. It was quite the gem from a food photography perspective :) But the recipe still works. Love your brownies!

  8. says

    You’ll have to fight to evict me from Sarah’s pocket first! I feel like I’ve been learning a lot of similar things recently and I love it; it’s a whole new world and everything just seems so much more delicious. I normally make treats like these with oats so I’m super excited to see a recipe just using nuts. Definitely trying these!

  9. Mariam says

    These look good but I can’t quite get my head around raw bownoes made with dates! Luckily for me though I’m Arab so we always have a huge bag of Medjool dates, so I just might give it a go!

    • Dana says

      Mariam, I’m not really a date fan either but they don’t have a strong taste in this recipe. They just add a sweetness and “stickiness” to the batter so they’ll bind. Hope you give them a try!

      • Mariam says

        I actually bought a chocolate raw food bar made with dates and nuts just to taste and I loved it, so I’m really excited to try these and other energy balls made with dates!

  10. says

    Have no fear of the dates! They taste almost like caramel when they are blended like this, and give raw brownies that perfect gooey texture. Great recipe!

    • Dana says

      Thanks Jacklyn! So helpful. I was already familiar with oh she glows but will have to check out the other blog you mentioned. Glad I can bring a smile to your face :D

  11. Michele says

    LOVE Sarah Britton! watch her ted talk :) she’s so stinking charming in addition to being just a wealth of knowledge. I love her.

  12. Kay says

    This is the yummiest treat I’ve had in ages!! I don’t usually have a sweet tooth but this made me want to gobble the whole lot myself. Even the texture was spot on. Thank you.

  13. says

    Just found your blog- what a great space! Such lovely pictures and recipes. We also live our life in a ‘minimalist’ frame of mind when it comes to cooking- nice to find others who share the same thinking!

  14. says

    Well you learn something new every day – thanks for the lesson! I love treats like this – very enjoyable without the unhealthy butter and sugar (but don’t get me wrong, I love butter and sugar). My food processor gave up on me last night (*sigh*) but as soon as it’s back in working order I’m going to give this recipe a try!

    • Dana says

      I think this brand has been the best one I’ve seen so far, considering price. But I haven’t actually tried it yet – it just seemed to have the best reviews online.

      • Heather says

        I use the Navitas brand from Amazon as I am unable to purchase cacao powder locally. The Navitas brand is a superior tasting cacao powder, in my opinion. I’ve tried recipes calling for cacao, substituting cocoa because I didn’t have cacao powder at the time. Because of the cocoa’s bitterness, the recipe was overwhelming and I had to half the cocoa called for. I redid the recipe with cacao and the rich deep chocolatey flavor was right on. Cacao has a very rounded chocolate smell and taste to it. Cacao also tastes awesome in smoothies. it’s chocolate lover’s heaven! Even when I’m not making a raw recipe, I reach for my cacao powder first!

    • marie says

      Live Superfoods (www.livesuperfoods) has a very high quality raw cacao powder, and other products, at a really good price. Like it better than Navitas. Worth checking out.

  15. Mariam says

    I tried a small batch of these, just kin
    d of eye-balling it. Delicious! I tasted it before the espresso and salt and it was okay… Add the sea salt and espresoo, wooaah!

  16. Ilana says

    Just made these for a ton of people- everyone loved them! Maybe would add a little more espresso next time, I couldn’t really taste it. And had a difficult time cleaning the dates out of my food processor- lots of scrubbing! But couldn’t believe how healthy these were, for next time, what espresso powder would you recommend? Love your site and recipes- I made your Vegan Apple Crisp tonight too!

  17. says

    Love this! I have a persistent sweet tooth, and I’ve been looking for healthy ways to satisfy my after-dinner cravings. This is going on my short list of new favorite desserts!

  18. says

    I’m on a diet, but I think I’m going to make that brownie – it will be perfect for my chocolate craving (and in the same way I will not consume so much calories)!

  19. Renee says

    The brownies look delicious! Great photography.

    ALSO: cocoa and cacao are the same thing. Cocoa is a british slang derivative of the original cacahuatl. Even though cacahuatl is only an approximation of what the natives of central america called the cacao seeds.

    AAAAND if cacao labeled “raw,” the term “raw” being unregulated, is not particularly raw at all. In fact, truly raw cacao is acrid and tastes like fermented socks. Even after fermentation (which can heat the cacao up and over 200 degrees Fahrenheit), the cacao, when unroasted, is not a tasty or particularly healthy treat. Unroasted cacao potentially carries pathogens/harmful bacteria which are usually killed in the roasting process.

    Also, cacao is generally only lightly toasted, and no nutrients are destroyed during the roasting process.

    Idk if it’s just David Wolfe’s “research” that got this whole raw cacao thing going, but please know: “raw” chocolate sold in stores is often exactly the same as roasted cacao, especially raw cocoa butter and powders.

    Sounds sneaky. Because it is. Ok, there are some people who really believe that the cacao they are using to make their “raw” products is in fact truly raw. But, seriously, they have never actually interacted with the raw product right off of the tree. If they had they would understand the challenges of making cacao raw and still edible.

    Thanks for letting me rant on this. I just think people should know.

    • Anna says

      Excellent, you anticipated my comment. I would like to add that minerals like magnesium and calcium are not altered by heat and do not disappear when heated. In general, exactly how much nutrients are lost due to heating, or in fact made available to us through the process of heating up the food is a complex issue. Raw is a good thing sometimes, and sometimes not.

  20. Aura says

    I decided to whip this up for a visit with my sister-in-law in tomorrow. I soon realized I had only enough dates to make a half batch and worse they had dried out. Undaunted I soaked them in water for awhile then nuked them in the microwave in an effort to soften them. This worked… ish? It ended up taking over 30 minutes fiddling them in a magic bullet to get them chopped but I persevered! Then I realized my cocoa powder “may contain milk” (my sister-in-law is a strict vegan) so I used some vegan chocolate chips instead. The results taste A-MAZING!!
    Except I think the dates might have gotten too moist or maybe the cocoa powder would have helped dry things out because when I scooped the results into the pan it was more like pudding. Is that normal pre-refrigeration phase?
    Long story short, she just had to cancel so now I keep looking at the pan in the fridge and thinking maybe I should grab a spoon… but then I may never find out if they solidify in the fridge because I will probably eat the whole thing.

  21. Flora says

    you are my absolute favourite food blog, i just tried this recipe and its amazing!!! all my friends loved them and couldn’t believe it when i told them they were vegan, sugar-free and actually healthy! seriously the best recipe, i love that it’s so simple and easy. thank you so much!!

  22. Mari says

    I loveeeee this blog! I found you recently and I can’t get ober how much I love everything you make. Its helping me alot in making healthier food choices. One question…could almond meal be replaced for the almonds in this recipe? If so how much should be used? Thanks!

    • Dana says

      Thanks Mari! Glad you found us and you’ve been enjoying our recipes thus far. As for the almond meal question, I’d say add 1/2 cup then 1 TBSP at a time until you reach the right consistency. Hope that helps!

  23. Lindsey says

    I made these this weekend for a vegan potluck I hosted yesterday. The brownie flavor is spot on, they are delicious! I agree with the user above that the espresso isn’t a strong flavor; I may add more next time. I love coffee :)

    It was my first time using dates, and they nearly murdered my food processor :( Luckily, after the motor cooled down, it worked again. Should I have soaked my dates first? I see that a lot of date recipes say to soak them.

    • says

      Lindsey, good question. You shouldn’t have to soak your dates but if your food processor has questionable power, it wouldn’t hurt. Also, if your dates seem to be hard or aren’t as fresh as they were when you first purchased them, soaking them in a little water for 15 min – 1 hour will bring them back to life. Hope that helps!

      • Lindsey says

        That could have been the problem. I bought them just a day in advance, but from a bulk store where the bin isn’t sealed and they were quite firm. They probably just needed a little re-hydrating. Dates are new to me, so I’m still learning :) Thanks for your reply!

        • says

          Of course! I’ve done that before too. I only buy dates in the bulk bins if I can see that they’re fresh and kind of moist. For this reason I prefer to buy them in prepackaged bags/containers so they’re sealed.

  24. says

    OMG! These are so simple and absolutely perfect. I added a about 2 tbs of coconut oil to loosen the dates while processing…. I love not feeling guilty about these and getting good protein.

  25. Holly says

    This is my new ‘go-to’ recipe for brownies! Delicious! I sprinkled a little sea salt and cocoa to the surface of the brownies after pressing them in. The salty-chocolate taste is uber delicious!

  26. says

    Dana, I just bought a cacao pod at the grocery last week and am currently fermenting the beans in the sun to make cacao powder. I’d love to try making these brownies with it. Here, the pods only cost about $1 so it will be fun trying a whole bunch of new things with them! Thanks for the recipe.

    • says

      Wow, JEALOUS! I eye cacao powder at the store and it’s always $10 US or higher for like a cup. So pricey! That’s sooo cool that you can make your own. Let me know how these brownies turn out!

  27. says

    These look devilish delicious! Just as a suggestion, to avoid an extra step you could do step #3 first (processing the dates). Doing the dates before starting the brownies so you don’t have to take out the mixture and then put it back to add the dates.

  28. Ashton says

    Super yummy! Hard to make with a food processor, (I had to use a Ninja blender with the food processor attachment…does not work the same) but it can be done. The brownies just have a different texture and you have to scrape the sides of the blender a lot and add little bits of water as you go.

    I omitted the espresso in favour of cinnamon (I was not shy on the cinnamon) and they are awesome.
    Thanks Dana!

  29. Claire says

    These brownies are delicious, especially with ice cream or whipped cream. Mine were a bit dry/crumbly, so the addition of moist ice cream was perfect. To keep it vegan, we ate them with soy milk ice cream. So good and easy. I kept them in the freezer for 2 weeks and they tasted great.

  30. suzie-kate says

    AWEEEESSSOOMMMMMEEE!! I’ll be trying these later! can i skip the coffee though? i’m off caffeine and not a massive fan anyways! what a lush recipe can’t wait to whip these up :) xxxx

  31. Mycale E says

    At 8:45 last night I realized that the double batch of brownies that I made for a company BBQ were a oily hot mess. Into the trash they went, such a waste of great chocolate. A single tear slid down my face. Out of butter and out of cream cheese(shame on me), my choices were either run to store for more or find a substitue using the ingredients I had on hand. Dana to the rescue! These turned out beautifully and were easy to adjust to work with the just shy of two cups of dates that I had on hand. They’re rich fudgy squares of vegan happiness!

    Without the walnut bits, the coconut filling from your Oreo Cookie Pancakes would go perfectly with these. Boom! Chocolate Espresso Coconut Brownies

  32. Jaimee says

    These are amazing! Dense and chewy, chocolatey and sweet. Just finished making my second batch (this week).

  33. Brittany says

    These look great! However, you need to be careful with the medjool dates, they have a crazy amount of sugar in them, even though they say its “natural” … 2 and a half cups will send your sugar consumption through the roof!

    • Dana Shultz says

      These are, of course, mean to be eaten in moderation as with any dessert. Thanks for the insight, Brittany.

  34. Marta says

    I’ve just made these and – unfortunately – brownies seem to be a little bit too “greasy”. Have I blended them too long? Or maybe something else? Anyway, they taste pretty good, though I had to use lots of paper towels to remove “oil” from the top and the bottom. Any advice?

    • michele says

      if you blend the walnuts a touch too long they will release natural oils, which is possibly what happened here (same thing happened to me when making a cake crust that had similar ingredients to those listed for these brownies) :)

  35. Ellen Lederman says

    Yum! Love the way you tweaked the original with coffee, making it a wonderful mocha. Loved the healthiness of the ingredients.

    But—they were so crumbly. Maybe I spread them too thin in a 8 inch square pan? You just said to put them in a pan and press down flat…that’s what I did.

    Do you think adding some coconut oil to the batter would help? I try not to use too much oil, but think it’s okay and necessary to use some.

    Your blog is now one of my must reads! Love your writing and photos. And I’ve got to say—-you may not be a vegan, but you sure are vegan friendly!

    • Ozum says

      Crumbly means you didn’t add enough dates. The more dates you add the chewier they get. I added more dates so they are extra chewy.

  36. ishita says

    A TOTAL HIT. These are better than brownies, I’d say. NO GUILT.
    Can you help me with your recipes that have a shelf life of 15 days or more when stored in air tight containers on the kitchen shelf, please.

    Thanks :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      You can, but it will make them more moist, so maybe cut back on the dates a little OR add more nuts. Hope that helps!

  37. Ozum says

    Oh MY!! I just made these and they are delicious! I had a container of dates I needed to use so I used a little more dates than the recipe suggested. I also added more coffee. So good! Thank you!

  38. Jackie says

    I was wondering if these taste similar to the brownie Lara bars? I’ve been looking for a healthy brownie recipe similar to this one, however I don’t really like the taste or texture of the brownie Lara bars. Before I buy the ingredients for this I wanted to know if they are similar?

  39. Meggie says

    !!!!!! I just made these, and luckily about half of the dough ended up in the pan, the rest I devoured. I’m BEYOND happy that I can share these with my family without the usual eye-rolls they dole out when presented with my vegan fare.

  40. Monique Lorena says

    Have you tried this recipe or any of the recipes that call for dates with figs instead? I am definitely willing to try it myself, but I just thought I would see what your take it on it was, in regards to texture and taste.

  41. says

    I am kind of surprised these hold together so well–I’m glad I came across this recipe. These are good as a breakfast bar or healthy snack.

    Mine have barely a hint of sweetness, so it’s hard for me to consider it a brownie. It does look like a brownie but doesn’t resemble the texture or flavor of a traditional brownie.

  42. Robyn says

    I made these tonight & am now officially hooked! They’re really good & I think they taste like a fudgy brownie. I halved the recipe (since I know my husband won’t eat them) & I got 8 decent sized pieces from the batch. I will be making these again (& possibly without the espresso so my little one can have them, too)! Thanks!

  43. john says

    Cocoa powder and cacao powder is the same.
    What is considered “raw” cacao is suppose to be a cocoa powder that has been in a process that never exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit…which is already an almost impossible scenario, since cocoa beans are grown in the Equator, and you may exceed that temperature while drying in the patio under the sun covered with black linens (to heat it up and allow the fermentation of the bean)….and yes, you need to dry them, otherwise they will rotten in a few days, and the shell will be too difficult to peel off.

    Back to cocoa powder….
    ALL cocoa powder comes from the cocoa bean, which without the shell is called cocoa nib (a.k.a. cacao nib). The first step is grinding of the nib (which again, when you grind something to such small particle size you will create a lot of friction with -that’s right – heat!). That will give you the cocoa/cacao paste (a.k.a. cacao mass or liquor), which has about 50 to 56% fat (cocoa butter) in it…and ALL cocoa powders have to go through that stage.

    Next stage is to take some of that butter away, which the raw community claims can be done through “cold pressing”. For any that don’t understand that term, cold pressing is done with oils like olive oil to preserve the oil almost intact by cooling the press plates while applying pressure (pressure generates heat, therefore it needs to be cooled). But here is a reminder, olive oil is liquid in room temperature, cocoa butter is SOLID, and it STARTS melting at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit … so, you cannot control and cool it to a point where it will be still in a solid phase, because it cannot be pressed and “flow” out.

    Last operation is to grind the solids left in the press, again – heat…and there is your cocoa powder or cacao powder

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