Personal Chef: Brilliant Brownies by a Brainy Bicyclist | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Personal Chef: Brilliant Brownies by a Brainy Bicyclist

Unprocessed cacao is a superfood, and walnuts are brain food


I love riding my bicycle in the summer. I’m not a cyclist who eats mouthfuls of simple carbs to “race” by themselves. I can ride fast, but I ride at a pace that allows me to enjoy the scenery. I pack four or five of these brownies, made without wheat, added sugar, eggs or dairy, to give me energy. The walnuts, dates, unsweetened raisins and pure raw cacao give me fuel for a 30- to 40-mile ride. Unprocessed cacao is a superfood, and walnuts are brain food. I don’t even bake these brownies, and they can be made in 20 minutes! I save a lot of time for thinking about new recipe ideas and bigger projects.

I’m a chef who weighs 98 pounds, and I’m currently riding my bicycle from coast to coast. Off the bike, I’m organizing my recipes for my upcoming cookbook, Eat Slowly, Move Fast: Plant-Perfect Recipes by a Holistic Chef & Cross-Country Cyclist. I’m also working toward certification in nutritional therapy. 


  • 1 lb. walnuts
  • 1 lb. unsweetened organic raisins
  • 1 lb. dates, pits removed
  • 2½ oz. raw organic cacao powder


Process a half-pound each of the walnuts, raisins and dates in a food processor until ground. A few bits of walnuts should still be visible. Add half of the cacao powder to the mixture and process for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is consistent and smooth. It should be oily from the natural oils in the dates and stick to the food-processor blades as if it were a dough. Repeat the process with the remaining half of the ingredients. Place the mixture in a square ceramic baking dish (about 8-by-8-inches) and firmly press until the mixture is packed and leveled. Cut into quarters. Then cut each brownie quarter into four more pieces.

Tip: Brownies last for a week at room temperature and are best eaten within four days.

Zeronis’ award-winning recipes have been published in a variety of publications and blogs, including Brazen Kitchen and Taste of Home magazine. You can pre-order her cookbook at

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