Recipe Collection: Hawthorn Berry Brownies |
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Recipe Collection: Hawthorn Berry Brownies

Sarena-Rae Santos April 26, 2023

By Sarena-Rae Santos, Natural Health Blogger

If you’re here, chances are you love brownies. Still, maybe you don’t love the ingredients in the store-bought mixes, or maybe you want to make functional foods. Let’s face it, in today’s world, most foods barely have nutritional value, so maybe you’re looking for food ingredients that provide health benefits beyond meeting basic nutritional needs. I know this is something I have been trying to do more of, and what better way to start than a heart-healthy brownie?

Yes, you read that right – HEART–HEALTHY BROWNIES!

Inspired by The Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, this brownie recipe contains hawthorn berries. Hawthorn berries are tart yet slightly sweet berries from the rose family. When you purchase your hawthorn berries, you may notice stems on the berries; these can be eaten.

If you read our hawthorn berry herbal profile, you know they have an array of medicinal benefits such as:

  • Rich in antioxidants (1)
  • Anti-inflammatory properties (2)
  • May lower blood pressure (3)
  • May decrease cholesterol (4)
  • Used to aid in digestion (5)
  • Helps prevent hair loss (6)
  • May reduce anxiety (7)

Additionally, you could add Earthley’s Cocoa Calm to this recipe instead of cacao powder. If you’ve read about the health benefits of chocolate, you already know all about cocoa/cacao, so let’s discuss Cocoa Calm. 

Cocoa Calm combines all-natural, antioxidant-rich cocoa powder with three key adaptogens (ashwagandha root, rhodiola root, and eleuthero root). The result is a cocoa powder that tastes just like chocolate but helps you feel calmer and more able to deal with common daily stresses! 

Benefits of Cocoa Calm include:

  • Prebiotic; promotes gut health
  • Relieves stress and promotes a calmer mood
  • Promotes heart health 
  • Promotes brain health 
  • Reduces systemic inflammation 
  • Supports a healthy immune system 
  • Balances blood sugar levels 
  • Helps with recovery time after exercise 

These benefits aren’t even considering the health benefits of honey, lemons, oats, or dates. Anyways, let’s get started.

Hawthorn Berry Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups filtered water – only use 3 cups if you don’t want to make a hawthorn berry syrup
  • 2 cups hawthorn berries (fresh or dried) – only use 1 cup if you don’t want to make a hawthorn berry syrup
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup honey (if you are making hawthorn berry syrup)
  • ¼-½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 5 tbsp. cacao powder or Earthley’s Cocoa Calm
  • ¼ cup millet flour, buckwheat, or rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 2 ½ tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 1/2 tbsp. of organic lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. aluminum-free baking soda
  • Oil of your choice (to oil your pan)

Directions:

Step 1: Add the water and hawthorn berries to a pot and bring them to a boil.

Step 2: Upon bringing to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer – you want a gentle, slow, but consistent simmer allowing it to decoct for about 40 minutes until you have about 4 cups of deep red liquid left.

Step 3: Strain the decoction to separate the hawthorn berries from the liquid. This is a great time to preheat your oven to 350°F.

Step 4: Pour the liquid back into the pot except for 1 cup, which will be used to make hawthorn berry syrup to top the brownies. You should have at least 3 cups of liquid total (2 cups get added back to the pot, and 1 cup is set aside).

Step 5: In the 1 cup for the topping (if making), add the honey to the hawthorn berry decoction while it is still hot. Be sure to mix the honey into the decoction until the honey is dissolved. Set the topping aside to cool.

Step 6: In the pot with 2 cups, add the dates to the hawthorn decoction, and place it back on the stove bringing it back to a boil.

Step 7: Upon reaching the boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer before covering the pot and allowing it to cook for 10 minutes. 

Step 8: After the 10 minutes are up, remove from heat, and with a hand blender (or add to a high-speed blender), blend the dates and hawthorn decoction until you have a thick, silky liquid.

Step 9: Add the cacao powder (or cocoa calm) and the maple syrup, and blend again until it is all evenly incorporated. Then pour the silky liquid into a mixing bowl.

Step 10: In a separate bowl, add baking soda and lemon juice to create a foamy mixture before adding it to the brownie batter and mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Step 11: Add the oats and the flour of your choice to the mix and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the batter thoroughly. Ensure that all dry ingredients are well incorporated into the wet ingredients. Allow sitting for 10 minutes to allow the oats and flour to soak up the liquid.

Step 12: Take a baking pan and rub the bottom and sides with the oil of your choice (I used coconut). 

Step 13: Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. You want the wet batter to be about 1.5 inches thick. Top with chocolate chips.

Step 14: Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the top should be somewhat firm and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Step 15: Allow to cool before topping your brownies with 1-2 teaspoons of hawthorn berry syrup, and enjoy!

Hawthorn Berry Brownies

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups hawthorn berries fresh or dried
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips optional
  • 5 tbsp. cacao powder or Earthley’s Cocoa Calm
  • 1/4 cup millet flour, buckwheat, or rice flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. aluminum-free baking soda
  • oil of choice to oil your pan

Instructions

  • Add the water and hawthorn berries to a pot and bring them to a boil.
  • Upon bringing to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer – you want a gentle, slow, but consistent simmer allowing it to decoct for about 40 minutes until you have about 4 cups of deep red liquid left.
  • Strain the decoction to separate the hawthorn berries from the liquid. This is a great time to preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Pour the liquid back into the pot except for 1 cup, which will be used to make hawthorn berry syrup to top the brownies. You should have at least 3 cups of liquid total (2 cups get added back to the pot, and 1 cup is set aside).
  • In the 1 cup for the topping, add the honey to the hawthorn berry decoction while it is still hot. Be sure to mix the honey into the decoction until the honey is dissolved. Set the topping aside to cool.
  • In the pot with 2 cups, add the dates to the hawthorn decoction, and place it back on the stove bringing it back to a boil.
  • Upon reaching the boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer before covering the pot and allowing it to cook for 10 minutes. 
  • After the 10 minutes are up, remove from heat, and with a hand blender (or add to a high-speed blender), blend the dates and hawthorn decoction until you have a thick, silky liquid.
  • Add the cacao powder (or cocoa calm) and the maple syrup, and blend again until it is all evenly incorporated. Then pour the silky liquid into a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, add baking soda and lemon juice to create a foamy mixture before adding it to the brownie batter and mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Add the oats and the flour of your choice to the mix and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the batter thoroughly. Ensure that all dry ingredients are well incorporated into the wet ingredients. Allow sitting for 10 minutes to allow the oats and flour to soak up the liquid.
  • Take a baking pan and rub the bottom and sides with the oil of your choice (I used coconut). 
  • Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. You want the wet batter to be about 1.5 inches thick. Top with chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the top should be somewhat firm and a toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool before topping your brownies with 1-2 teaspoons of hawthorn berry syrup, and enjoy!

Have you ever made functional brownies?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos is the founder of The Holistic Hipppie blog, dedicated to natural health and plant-based eating. Her journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.
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2 Comments

  1. Am I misunderstanding the instructions for the topping? In steps 4 and 5, we’re told to make a topping by mixing together 1 cup of hawthorn berry syrup and 1 cup of honey. Then the topping isn’t mentioned again until step 15, when only 1 or 2 tsp of topping are used. Thanks in advance for clarifying.

    Reply

    • I’m so sorry for the confusion, I can update the recipe to say this step is optional. Honestly, you could make as much or as little syrup as you want. Just equal parts hawthorn berry and honey. You could even skip making the syrup if you’d like. When I make this, I make the hawthorn berry syrup, too, and there’s usually plenty left to use as a heart-healthy sweetener for teas. 🙂

      Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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