Raw Brownies with Chocolate Pumpkin Frosting

by Gena on October 23, 2012


As I mentioned yesterday, when I attended Beth’s superb Feastly dinner party last weekend, I wanted to bring a small token of my appreciation. I know how much effort goes into being a hostess, and I was so impressed with Beth’s elegance in pulling it all off! I decided to make raw brownies, which I love both for their taste and for their simplicity. The raw brownies I’ve always made are four ingredients: dates, walnuts, cacao, and sea salt. Easy and delicious. But after I made them, and was getting ready to wrap them up, it occurred to me that the brownies would be even more delicious with a little extra something—frosting, perhaps?

Having never frosted my raw brownies before, I wasn’t sure what to use. I could do chocomole, of course, but one does tire of the same old recipe. I could do a cashew or coconut frosting, but heck, I overuse those ingredients in my raw treats, too. I thought about using superfoods like maca or mesquite, thought about using banana in some way, and then finally it occurred to me that I did have a can of organic pumpkin sitting in my pantry. Was chocolate and pumpkin too radical of a frosting concept??

A little Googling indicated that chocolate and pumpkin play together very nicely indeed; just check out Isa’s chocolate pumpkin bread if you need proof. I saw it, decided that I had all the evidence I needed to proceed with my idea, and got to blending. This frosting was every bit as easy as the brownies themselves, and honestly, I could easily enjoy it on its own, as a pudding. Seasonal, thick, and just sweet enough, it’s a great way to use up pureed pumpkin that you happen to have on hand, to create a vegan frosting without Earth Balance, and to enhance your frosted treats with some beta carotene.


Pumpkin Chocolate Frosting (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes over 2 cups

1 3/4 cups pumpkin purree (or 1 can organic pumpkin–I like the Farmer’s Market organic brand because the texture is nice and thick)
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 cup almond butter
3-4 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup (to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Serve on top of raw brownies (recipe below) or any other raw treat!

Raw Brownies (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 8-10 brownies

2 cups walnuts
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp raw cacao powder

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Press into an 8 inch pan, cut into brownie shapes, and serve. You can easily cut the recipe in half if you like.

I loved icing these scrumptious treats:



And I bet you will, too. Give the icing a shot: I guarantee that, if you like pumpkin and you like chocolate, you’ll be as impressed as I was.

As a side note, I was delighted to have some frosting leftover after I made the brownies, and even more delighted the morning after I made these, when I realized that stirring a few tablespoons of the frosting into warm oatmeal is about as decadent and delicious as can be. All hail the marriage of chocolate and pumpkin!


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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea October 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I thought that the best thing that would happen to me all week was a new garbage disposal. You just topped that!


Amber October 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

Lol! love this comment! Thanks for the morning laugh and i hope you receive your garbage disposal this week….

I will be making this “frosting” asap! Mmmm


L. October 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Do you buy fair-trade cacao?! It’s been driving me crazy. :) I don’t want to buy cocoa that isn’t fair-trade but then the fair-trade kind is so expensive and I go through it so fast!!! :P


Amy S. October 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I don’t have the ingredients for the brownies…but I do have the ones for the frosting! I think I like your frosting with oatmeal idea! I’m getting tired of the same old banana/peanut butter combo!


Gena October 25, 2012 at 6:08 am

Let me know how you like it, Amy!


Lia October 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Oh my! I feel like that’s all I really need to say actually hahahahaha! Seriously, that sounds so good right now. I like the idea of using nut butter in frosting. I’ve seen it a couple of times before. What a great gift to give to the hostess. Well done here Gena!


Lisa @ The Raw Serenity October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

This is a fantastic idea!
I love pumpkin, I love brownies and I love chocolate frosting so what could go wrong!
I have noticed in many American blogs that recipes include canned pumpkin. I have never seen or heard of canned pumpkin in Australia. Does it does extremely similar to freshly cooked pumpkin puree or does it include spices?


catherine October 24, 2012 at 5:04 am

Lisa, canned pumpkin can be sweetened or not, but otherwise it’s like a dense pumpkin puree. I always use homemade pumpkin puree instead, just make sure it’s not too liquid. The best method is to cut the squash in 2 halves, remove seeds and to roast it. Then you just need to scrape the flesh with a spoon and puree in the blender without addind water. I hope it helps!


Gena October 25, 2012 at 6:09 am

Lisa, to echo Catherine, you can find it plain or seasoned. I always buy the plain, organic kind. It’s fine to make from scratch, but I do appreciate it as a time saver.


Amy @FragrantVanillaCake October 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Love this idea, so perfect for Autumn, and they look delicious! I bet they were a hit at the party :)!


Averie @ Averie Cooks October 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I love pumpkin and chocolate and your brownies look divine, Gena! I don’t think I’ve made raw vegan brownies in 2-3 years! And you have me excited to make a batch. And the frosting. I live for frosting that looks like that :)


laura October 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Wow this is every kind of wonderful :) I could just eat the frosting by the spoonful!


Damaris November 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Me too! And I have been :)


veganlisa October 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Sound phenomenal. xo


purelymichelle October 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

love chocolate and pumpkin together!


Noodle October 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Awesome!! what a scrummy combo, I can’t wait to try these. Thanks Gena^^


Ashley October 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Lovely light in these photos. I want that entire bowl of chocolate pumpkin frosting. Okay, I’ll take the brownies too. :)


Gena October 25, 2012 at 6:09 am

Hahaha. It’s the frosting that’s the best part :-)


Lisa October 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I made these tonight. My husband and I found them delicious! Thanks for curing my brownie craving!


Nicole October 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Oh. My. Goodness.

I mean, we have all seen and tasted the amazing delight that is a nut/date brownie – but that frosting! You’re wonderful.


Ragnhild October 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm

This looks wonderful! I cant think of anything I love more than raw brownies (or.. I do love plain raw chocolate a little more actyally) and the frosting sounds sooo good!
Must try this :)


Heidi kokborg October 24, 2012 at 1:40 am

Gosh! It looks so tasty and delicious!! :)


Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie October 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

These look amazing, I can’t wait to give them a try! <3


Bronwyn October 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

This sounds delicious, could definitely see it topping some delicious chocolate muffins.


Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian October 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

I love the idea of raw brownies to begin with, but this pumpkin frosting sounds like it’s something I’d greatly enjoy too. I love the creativity in your recipes!


Sylvia October 24, 2012 at 11:36 am

I’m amazed by that texture. I can’t believe the ingredient list. I’ll have to try it. Same with the brownies. Yum!


Hannah October 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

It’s happened. I’m on the pumpkin/squash boat. It feels a bit like I’m turning my back on my friends and family back home, but I can’t help it. Roasted sweet dumpling squash completes me, and I think I’ll be making this frosting to eat with a spoon as soon as I buy more organic canned pumpkin at Kensington Market.

You’re a gem.


Lw October 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I made the frosting last night intending to try it on my morning oatmeal, to make it more filling without just adding nuts and fruit. But oh NO, the batch didn’t make it to the oatmeal, because I just polished it off while the oatmeal was cooking! So just do everyone knows, this makes a pretty good pudding. The texture is so versatile — spreadable, smooth, pudding-like. I think any mix of squash and nuts/seeds would be excellent for oatmeal or frosting or whatever. In my house right now I have delacatas, tahini, and pumpkin seeds — hm…


Gena October 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

Glad it was a success, Lw :-)


Lisa October 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Any recommendations for substituting for tree nut ingredients in the brownies and frosting? This is probably not possible, but since this looks so yummy and both of my kids have peanut/tree nut allergies, I thought I would ask.



Lisa October 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

If anyone has ideas I would really appreciate!! Thank you!!


Gena October 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

Lisa, can your kids eat seeds? If so, I’d try pumpkin seeds!


hannah October 26, 2012 at 8:31 am

maybe coconut butter in the frosting?


Lisa October 26, 2012 at 11:16 am

As long as there is no cross contamination, pumpkin seeds are a “yes”. And I like the coconut butter idea too! I’ll letcha know how it goes!

Thank you so much and have a great weekend!!

Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset October 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I think I’m just going to eat that icing with a spoon :)


Allysia October 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I can’t believe I have yet to combine chocolate and pumpkin! Those brownies are beautiful, it’s been far too long since I’ve made raw brownies. And next month I’m doing a raw dessert class for the library, so I should probably do it up soon!


Natalie October 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I was looking forward to these the moment you mentioned them in yesterday’s post and they didn’t didnt disappoint – absolutely delicious!!


Gena October 25, 2012 at 6:07 am

I’m so glad they lived up to expectation!


Yesenia October 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I need to explore the world of raw deserts! They always looks so delicious!


wendy (healthy girls kitchen) October 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Radical. I often combine pumpkin and chocolate (made pumpkin muffins and donuts with chocolate chips tonight), but that icing recipe is really cool. It even looks like icing. Just radical . . .


Shannon October 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Oh. Wow. This was my first ever try at raw brownies and I’m in love. Thank you for this, Gena! I ate one brownie and now have to ignore the rest until my roomie gets home because I’m afraid I might lose my mind and not save any for her at all. I’ll just go take care of the extra frosting…


Gena October 25, 2012 at 5:56 am

Oh hooray! I love them too.


Christy@SweetandSavoring October 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm

There was 1/2 a can of pumpkin in my fridge forever- now I know what to do with it next time! This looks utterly delicious!


Jasmin Singer October 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I haven’t made these (YET), but I will be, very, very soon. :-) The best part of these already is that they are instantaneous brownies. I mean, does one need more in life?


Gena October 25, 2012 at 5:54 am

No, one doesn’t. Well, except maybe for coffee and kale. But give me those three things, and my needs as an organism are met.


Sarah October 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

These look yummy! You’re a genius.


Michelle@HappyHeart October 25, 2012 at 6:07 am

Delicious!!! I agree with Sarah above…you are officially a genius!


Bex October 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Mmmm these look amazing!
And I made Isa’s chocolate pumpkin bread into muffins last autumn for my coworkers. Huge success! They had no idea they were vegan!


Sam (the Quantum Vegan) October 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I LOVE chocolate and pumpkin! And that your pumpkin frosting isn’t overly sweet or “goopy”. I might have to make it just to stir into oatmeal, now that you’ve put the idea in my head. :)


Sl October 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Sounds delicious. Is this pumpkin purée raw?


Ela October 26, 2012 at 12:38 am

I’ve been meaning to read this post a couple days now–so many things going on and struggling along.

Yes and yes! I worry sometimes about the density of raw brownies, but non-raw brownies are often extremely dense also, and they are a treat, and raw brownies are dense with good stuff.

Pumpkin (or any squash) and chocolate is an awesome combination! I love chocolate pudding made that way. I’ve done it with coconut cream, or nut butter, or even avocado! Also, maple syrup with pumpkin and chocolate is extra wonderful.

Missing you!


Kath October 26, 2012 at 11:54 am

Sorry it has nothing to do with this post but i wanted to ask what’s the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast ? i bought brewer’s yeast flakes .. does nutritional yeast tastes the same ? what about health benefits ?


hannah October 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

Gena, I actually made this.

Just wanted to let you know.

Had some as a pudding and it was very rich but yumm



Amy S. October 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I made this frosting…and it became pudding. Spoon. Mouth. Bliss.


Houston October 31, 2012 at 9:43 am

I can’t wait to make these as my first vegan dessert and give them to my parents! Mmmm chocolate


SaraMM November 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hi Gena-lurker to your site everyday. I made these this weekend and even my picky 3 year old daughter loved them. Thank you!


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed November 14, 2012 at 4:13 am

oh my, how gorgeous! Love the sound & look of this pumpkin choc frosting – something different :)
Heidi xo


Marianne November 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Those look amazing. I love the simplicity of the brownies and the frosting. And I pretty much always have all the ingredients in my house. I think I need to find a reason to make these asap!


Miliany November 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Gena, your brownies look delicious and so does your frosting! I will give your brownies a try! They remind me of my raw brownies: http://0medz0.com/raw-vegan-brownies/ that you can check out.


Marissa - Hip & Healthy Kids December 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Looks delicious! Was thinking of making this for a friend’s party. She is dairy-free, but allergic to almonds. Any idea of a good substitute for the almond butter while still getting the right flavor?



Gena December 22, 2012 at 8:09 am

Pretty much any other nut butter–cashew, walnut–would work!


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